- There is an urgency in this work that motivates us to extend the blessings of the temple to as many of our Heavenly Father’s children as possible.
Councils in the church need to take Elder Ballard's advice that he has given over the past several years and use that training to become more effective in their callings. He is calling on all members to do more to move the work forward.
- This is not the time to relax or to coast in our callings. Every council of the Church should be working together on ways to be more effective in preparing our members to be worthy to enjoy all the blessings of the Church and especially the blessings of the temple.
- We are rapidly approaching a time when the number of operating temples throughout the world will be double what it was just four short years ago. Now is a good time to ask, stake presidents and bishops, what are your stake and ward councils doing to fill these temples with worthy members and sufficient dedicated workers? Are your priesthood quorums functioning at peak efficiency? Are the home and visiting teachers involved in serving those families to whom they are assigned? Are your auxiliaries actively building faith and testimonies? Are the activities in your stake and ward aimed at strengthening the family and every member? Are you carefully coordinating the proselyting efforts with the stake and full-time missionaries, helping them to find, teach, and baptize many more people? Are your councils concerning themselves with helping every new convert and less-active member become fully fellowshipped and completely anchored to the doctrines of the Church?
- Brothers and sisters, there is much to be done by us to complete the work assigned by the Lord to this dispensation. We must focus our work, and we must work smarter if we are to accomplish our role in preparing all Church members to receive their temple blessings. Church leaders, both men and women, can and must extend the length of their reach and broaden the power of their influence. We must be wise to protect and teach our own families first and then take full advantage of the inspired Church council system to achieve greater success in the work Heavenly Father has given us to do, within the time frame He has given us to do it.
He speaks about new converts and the responsibility we all have to help and support them in their new journey of discipleship.
- No ward or branch council should allow a new convert to feel insecure in his newly embraced Church membership. And yet there are still too many of them who do not feel warmly welcomed.
- The time has come when we must marshal every resource to fellowship every convert and bless the lives of many more of our Heavenly Father’s children. This can best be accomplished when ward council members see that each organization does its part to make sure new members have friends, have an assignment, and are nourished by the good word of God. Every soul is very precious to our Heavenly Father. We must never forget that through the Atonement, the Lord Jesus Christ paid a great price for the redemption of each one of us. His suffering must not be in vain because we fail to nurture and teach those who are striving to be active in the Church.
He speaks specifically about the responsibilities of the priesthood quorums in looking after the temporal and spiritual welfare of the members.
- Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are responsible for the spiritual and temporal welfare of all men and their families. Much of the work among the families of the ward that is currently being done by members of the bishopric could appropriately be performed by the men of the Melchizedek Priesthood if properly discussed and coordinated in council meetings.
Elder Ballard concludes with asking us a series of questions that should cause us to reflect on where we stand personally in our lives. He then bares testimony of the power of unity in accomplishing the Lord's work.
- We need to ask ourselves: Are we setting an example of Christian virtue and gospel faithfulness in our lives and in our homes? Are we reaching out to our inactive and nonmember friends, family members, and neighbors with loving concern? Are we boldly sharing our testimonies?
- I know the power of inspired men and women who unitedly strive to strengthen families and individual members of the Church. Please fully utilize your combined ability to bless the lives of every person—man or woman, teenager or child, member or nonmember—who lives within the ward boundaries. Brothers and sisters, let us unite as never before to do our part, individually and collectively, to prepare our people to receive the blessings that can only be given in the house of the Lord.
Elder Ballard causes us to reflect on if we are doing all we can to move the work of salvation forward. I have asked myself, have I helped someone in my quorum become closer to the Savior this week, have I helped a new convert feel welcome, have I helped a struggling member find peace this week in a manner that the Savior would? Although I have a long way to go to be answering yes to all these questions, I am going to do a little more this week, to be a little better. I am going to reach out to a new convert and let them know I am thinking of them and share with them something that I have been studying this week.