Wednesday, October 14, 2015

M. Russell Ballard on the blessings of the Old Ship Zion

Elder M. Russell Ballard (1928- ) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985.
"Now, as we ponder just these few truths that exist within the Old Ship Zion, let us stay on board and remember that, by definition, a ship is a vehicle, and the purpose of a vehicle is to take us to a destination.
"Our ship's destination is the full blessings of the gospel, the kingdom of heaven, the celestial glory, and the presence of God!
"God's plan is in place. He is at the helm, and His great and powerful ship flows toward salvation and exaltation. Remember that we cannot get there by jumping out of the boat and trying to swim there by ourselves.
"Exaltation is the goal of this mortal journey, and no one gets there without the means of the gospel of Jesus Christ: His Atonement, the ordinances, and the guiding doctrine and principles that are found in the Church.
"It is the Church wherein we learn the works of God and accept the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that saves us. It is within the Church that we form the commitments and covenants of eternal families that become our passport to exaltation. It is the Church that is powered by the priesthood to propel us through the unpredictable waters of mortality.
"Let us be grateful for the beautiful Old Ship Zion, for without it we are cast adrift, alone and powerless, swept along without rudder or oar, swirling with the strong currents of the adversary's wind and waves.
"Hold tight, brothers and sisters, and sail on within the glorious ship, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we will reach our eternal destination."
- M. Russell Ballard, "God Is at the Helm," General Conference, October 2015, Saturday morning session
Click here to read the full talk
Elder Ballard appreciates this analogy from Brigham Young, identifying the Church as "the old ship Zion":


The key message is to "stay on" the ship in order to successfully complete the journey of life. God's plan requires us to travel to the destination as He described; "we cannot get there by jumping out of the boat and trying to swim there by ourselves." The answer lies in "the gospel of Jesus Christ: His Atonement, the ordinances, and the guiding doctrine and principles that are found in the Church."

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