Monday, October 8, 2018

President M. Russell Ballard on the blessing of eternal families

President M. Russell Ballard (born October 8, 1928) was called as a Seventy in 1976, and has served as a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles since 1985. He became acting president of the Twelve in January 2018.
"Crisis or transition of any kind reminds us of what matters most. In the routine of life, we often take our families—our parents and children and siblings—for granted. But in times of danger and need and change, there is no question that what we care about most is our families! It will be even more so when we leave this life and enter into the spirit world. Surely the first people we will seek to find there will be father, mother, spouse, children, and siblings.
"I believe the mission statement for mortality might be 'to build an eternal family.' Here on this earth we strive to become part of extended families with the ability to create and form our own part of those families. That is one of the reasons our Heavenly Father sent us here. Not everyone will find a companion and have a family in mortality, but everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, is a precious member of God’s family."
- M. Russell Ballard, "What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest," General Conference October 2005
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

President Ballard's wife of 67 years, Barbara Bowen Ballard, passed away last Monday at age 86. Her funeral will be held today, which is also President Ballard's 90th birthday. President Ballard has often spoken about the sacred nature of families and the doctrine of eternal relationships; this excerpt is especially poignant given the timing of Sister Ballard's passing.

As he spoke in general conference this past weekend, President Ballard taught about Joseph F. Smith's vision of the redemption of the dead (D&C 138) and said, "We too can be comforted and learn more about our own future when we or our loved ones die and go to the spirit world by studying this revelation and pondering its significance in the way we live our lives each day."

We would be wise to not wait for a "crisis or transition" in order to learn the message President Ballard is teaching:

Part of our mission in mortality is "to build an eternal family." We should never forget the sacred and precious blessing and opportunity that is ours; in the midst of the distractions of our time, we must be committed and focused on "the things that matter most."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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