Tag Archives: quorum of the twelve apostles

Have you seen the Latter-day Apostles web site?

Have you seen the Latter-day Apostles web site? It is a cool site that someone has put together that shows all of the First Presidencies and Apostles that we’ve had since the Church was organized. You can pick a date in time or you can view a bit of a slide show and watch the changes happen over time.

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latter-day_apostles_2013

I spent a little bit of time the other day looking at the changes. I wondered what was the greatest number of future presidents that were in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the same time. This is what I’ve seen. I may have missed someone, but these are definitely going to be among the highest:

  • In March 1945 there was the President of the Church (Heber J Grant) with a future president as a counselor (David O McKay), and 5 future presidents in the quorum together (George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson)
  • In October 1968 there was the President of the Church (David O McKay) and 7 future presidents in the quorum together (Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W Hunter, Gordon B Hinckley, and Thomas S Monson)

Neat!

182nd Semiannual General Conference – Press Conference Regarding Lower Missionary Service Age

This morning I watched the press conference that was held between the two general sessions yesterday regarding the lower missionary service age. It was pretty good. Michael Purdy, Director of Media Relations for the Church led the press conference. He briefly introduced Elders Russell M Nelson and Jeffrey R Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder David F Evans of the Seventy. Elder Nelson spoke for a few minutes, and then Elder Holland spoke for the rest of the time. Elder Holland fielded most of the questions, but did have Elder Nelson and Elder Evans contribute.

Here are my notes from the press conference. I didn’t make note of who said what, but most things were said by Elder Holland.

  • no one knew that this was coming. President Monson wanted to keep it confidential, so only the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles knew
  • the main qualification for missionary service is total personal worthiness
  • new missionaries will spend approximately 1/3 less time at their MTC, regardless whether they are speaking their native language or learning a new language
  • prospective missionaries need to have improved preparation
  • there is a fairly new 12-week training program that has been implemented that is done in-field by Mission Presidents that has helped
  • there are no new missions yet, but it is expected that there will be new ones (currently there are 347)
  • the Lord is hastening His work and needs more missionaries
  • parents need to take a strong hand in helping prospective missionaries prepare
  • prospective missionaries can be recommended for a mission up to 120 days before their 18th birthday or when they are finished high school
  • young men can enter the Missionary Training Centre after they have turned 18 and finished high school
  • young women can enter the MTC after they have turned 19
  • missionary work remains a priesthood responsibility
  • why the difference in age at which they serve? Years of experience has shown them this is the best way
  • young men can serve any time between the ages of 18 and 25
  • young women can serve from 19 onward. There is no upper limit
  • two years ago President Monson asked for more missionaries. In those 2 years, the number of YM becoming missionaries has increased by 6%, young women by 12% and couples by 18%
  • they considered many options when making this change including ages and length of service, but they decided to go with this for now. One miracle at a time.

Read the recaps and other notes from the 182nd Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Leadership Training Conference with Elder Ballard

This past Saturday I attended a Priesthood Leadership Conference held at the Brampton Ontario Stake Centre (beside the Toronto Temple). It was presided over by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy traveled with him. Our Area Authority, W. T. David Murray was also there. The whole meeting lasted 4 1/2 hours (including a 1/2 lunch break). Even though an apostle was going to be there, I have to admit the thought of driving an hour and a half to go to another meeting wasn’t very appealing. It turned out to be a fantastic meeting. I am so glad I went.

Here are a few random notes:

  • Elder Ballard sounded good, and looked about the same as he does in General Conference
  • The technology setup was neat. When I heard this was going to be for all of Eastern Canada, I assumed it would be done via satellite, but it was done via a webcast. Through the whole meeting there was a screen up that showed people in Ottawa, Sudbury, Montreal, and in a few places in the Maritime provinces.
  • Rather than having them up at the pulpit, the first couple rows of pews were removed and a stage was setup. There was a long table with three chairs setup at the front of the room where they sat. It gave a more intimate feeling to the meeting. I was in the third row, about 20 feet away.
  • Throughout the meeting, you certainly could feel the humility of each of the men
  • Elder Ballard wore a Canada flag pin
  • Elder Ballard spoke of several problems, and each time told us to “Fix it!”
  • As a side note, after sitting through 4 hours of meetings, it occurred to me that pornography wasn’t mentioned once

We were never asked not to share our notes, so I’ll share a few highlights , but not everything (I had 6 pages of notes!)

—————–

Elder Clayton showed us this picture and we discussed what we saw.

The picture shows a pearl in a nice box. We discussed what the pearl and the box might be. Some people said it could be a man. The pearl is the heart. Others said it could be the Church (box) and the doctrine (the pearl). Elder Clayton then read from a talk by President Packer at the dedication of the Conference Center. President Packer shared a parable:

A merchant man seeking precious jewels found at last the perfect pearl. He had the finest craftsman carve a superb jewel box and line it with blue velvet. He put his pearl of great price on display so others could share his treasure. He watched as people came to see it. Soon he turned away in sorrow. It was the box they admired, not the pearl.
Boyd K. Packer, “The Cloven Tongues of Fire,” Ensign, May 2000, 7

Of course there is no right or wrong answer, but the point they were trying to make is that the pearl is the one thing that you need to do, whatever that may be. Don’t be distracted by the other things. We need to focus on the important thing(s).

—————–

Elder Ballard told us about some training that President Monson had done with all of the General Authorities. He spoke on the topic of “The Rescue”. He showed us this picture:

This is a painting by Joseph Mallord William Turner. It shows a boat in danger off in the distance, and they’ve set off a flare. There is another boat going out to rescue them. There are also people on the shore. Regardless of what the artist was showing, there are some clear gospel parallels. There are people in desperate need that we need to rescue. Sometimes it is hard or even dangerous, but there are people counting on us.

—————–

Elder Ballard said he and President Monson have known each other since 1951. President Monson used to work for Deseret News and Elder Ballard worked at his father’s car lot. President Monson used to come around and pick up the classified ads.

—————–

Elder Murray (I think it was him) shared the store of Clinton T. Duffy. I believe this was from a talk called Judge Righteously by Bishop Keith McMullin, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric at LDS Business College Devotional on September 15, 2009.

“…famed prison warden Clinton T. Duffy, who became the warden at California’s San Quentin Prison in 1940. When he was appointed, he began one of the most dramatic housecleaning jobs in penal history. He fired the brutish captain of guards and six of his lieutenants. He closed up a dungeon of airless, lightless, unfurnished, iron-door [clad] stone cells into which convicts were thrown as punishment for even the most trivial offenses. At the time he became warden, men were being fed from buckets. He installed a cafeteria and hired a dietitian. To the horror of his staff, he strolled, unarmed, into the prison yard and chatted with convicts. To their infinite surprise, he strolled out again. He established a broad program of vocational training. He was the first warden to let prisoners listen to radios in their cells. He encouraged athletics, inaugurated a prison newspaper to which he contributed a regular column and established the first prison chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous. In cleaning up San Quentin, he became one of the best-known, most admired prison administrators in U.S. penal history. But the most eloquent acclaim came from inside the walls, from the prisoners themselves, who truly respected him.
“A critic who knew of Warden Duffy’s efforts to rehabilitate the men said to him, ‘Don’t you know that leopards can’t change their spots?’
Responded Warden Duffy, ‘You should know that I don’t work with leopards. I work with men, and men change every day.’”

Great line there at the end!

—————–

As part of his concluding testimony, Elder Ballard shared “The Oak Tree” poem by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr:

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

Brother Russ Ballard in the Instructor

1970_july_instructor_cover

As I’ve mentioned before, I recently borrowed some old issues of the Instructor magazine (see The Busy George Romneys – Juvenile Instructor May 1958 and April 1957 Juvenile Instructor – Draw It With Chalk… note: I erroneously called the magazine Juvenile Instructor). The July 1970 issue of the magazine had an article by some guy named Russ Ballard:

1970_july_instructor_russ_ballard_title

Russ Ballard is president of the Family Achievement Institute and the organizer of several business in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he and his wife, Barbara Bowen, make their home. The couple have seven children and are members of the Monument park (Utah) Stake. Brother Ballard completed a mission to Great Britain in 1950, has served as a high councilor and twice as a bishop. He currently teaches Sunday School in the Monument Park 13th Ward.

Yes, that is Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I’m not exactly sure why, but I love stuff like this. I loved hearing Presidents Hinckley, Monson and Faust, referring to themselves or each other as Gordon, Tommy, and Jim (I wonder if Dieter has an short-form). We show so much respect and reverence for their positions, that sometimes we forget these are men, who at one point lived just like me. I actually find it more faith-promoting to think of these men as regular men who have overcome the average challenges of life to become who they are, rather than as these perfected beings that we seem to associate with Prophets, Seers and Revelators. I wonder what type of a person Russ was… Was he a good Sunday School teacher? Did his members like him when he was a bishop? Was there any sign in 1970 that 15 years later he’d be an Apostle?

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Church Leaders to Attend Inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama

I was going to post something else today, but since it is Inauguration Day, I figured this was more timely. Last Friday the LDS Newsroom released information about their representation at a couple of inaugural events. Here is the entire release:

SALT LAKE CITY 16 January 2009 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be represented at inaugural events for President-elect Barack Obama by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The two leaders, who have been asked to represent the Church by Church President Thomas S. Monson, are scheduled to attend the swearing-in ceremony on January 20 and the National Prayer Service at Washington’s National Cathedral on January 21.

“It is always an honor for the Church to be represented at the inauguration of a new president,” said President Monson. “We send our best wishes to President-elect Obama and pray for the blessings of a loving Father in Heaven to be upon him and his administration.”

I know the events of today will be big news in the United States. I guess here in Canada people are excited, too, as it is expected that Canada-US relations will improve. I’m at work all day, so I’ll read a few things online, but I won’t be watching Obama take the Oath of Office.