M. Russell Ballard: Stay in the boat, and hold on

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Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve, speaks in the Sunday afternoon session. He spoke about staying with the Church through hard times. (Mormon Newsroom).

SALT LAKE CITY — Elder M. Russell Ballard opened the Sunday session of general conference with a powerful analogy that referenced a recent trip he took down the Colorado River.

He spoke of three important rules that everyone on the raft needed to follow in order to stay safe throughout the trip. These rules were to stay in the boat, always wear a life jacket and always hold on with both hands. Elder Ballard compared these rules to the rules we should be following to stay safe while on our mortal journey.

The first rule, to stay on the boat, included multiple metaphors. The Church was compared to the boat while Church leadership was compared to those guides chosen to navigate the boat through the dangerous water.

Elder Ballard referred to a talk he recently gave to new mission presidents.

“We will not and cannot lead you astray,” Elder Ballard explained. “Never follow those who think they know more about how to administer the affairs of the Church than Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

He went on to explain that Church leaders have experienced many of the same things in their lives as other members of the Church and are not out of touch with members’ lives.

The second rule, to always wear a life jacket, applied to the counsel and direction of the apostles and prophets.

Elder Ballard challenged church members to become like the sons of Mosiah, who were described in the Book of Mormon as “strong in the knowledge of the truth.”

The third rule, to always hold on with both hands, referred back to the metaphor of the Church.

“As I have known people who have not stayed in the boat and have not held on with both hands, I have observed that many of them have lost their focus on the central truths of the gospel,” Elder Ballard explained.

In conclusion, Elder Ballard pleaded with members of the Church to “stay in the boat” and to “hold on with both hands,” promising that the Church would seek out and find anyone who had fallen out.

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