Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Elder M. Russell Ballard on spiritual safety in turbulent times

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.
"Admittedly we have ample reason to be deeply concerned because we see no immediate answers to the seemingly unsolvable problems confronting the human family. But regardless of this dark picture, which will ultimately get worse, we must never allow ourselves to give up hope! Moroni, having seen our day, counseled, 'Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope.' (Moro. 10:20.)
"To all who have harbored feelings of despair and an absence of hope, I offer the words of the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith:
"'Fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.…
"'Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not' (D&C 6:34, 36), 'even so am I in the midst of you' (D&C 6:32).
"My message to you today, my brothers and sisters, is simply this: the Lord is in control. He knows the end from the beginning. He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis. His purposes will be fulfilled, and someday we will understand the eternal reasons for all of these events. Therefore, today we must be careful to not overreact, nor should we be caught up in extreme preparations; but what we must do is keep the commandments of God and never lose hope!
"But where do we find hope in the midst of such turmoil and catastrophe? Quite simply, our one hope for spiritual safety during these turbulent times is to turn our minds and our hearts to Jesus Christ."
- M. Russell Ballard, "The Joy of Hope Fulfilled," General Conference October 1992
Click here to read the full talk

Every day we see a new barrage of distressing news and information about the "seemingly unsolvable problems confronting the human family" in moral, social, political, and economic aspects. And as Elder Ballard notes, there is reason to be "deeply concerned" about the state of things in our surroundings and the trends they express. However, the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ always offers hope and assurance to those who have faith in Jesus Christ. Even if "earth and hell combine against [us]", we still have the Rock of the Savior as a foundation and protection.

The key lies in understanding and following the message of the Savior. Elder Ballard's testimony is challenging but reassuring: "He has given us adequate instruction that, if followed, will see us safely through any crisis." Do we know that instruction? Are we following it carefully?

Elder Ballard cautions us not to overreact or be "caught up in extreme preparations." The sure, quiet, steady life of the disciple is the only way to peace.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2021)
June 24, 2016

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