Elder Ballard addresses BYU Management Society

Greetings, everyone.  I’ve been absent for a few weeks, and after posting this little piece will retreat into the darkness yet again, hoping to emerge in about a week re-energized (and hopefully unscathed) from the stress of the closing semester.

Who knows where Cassia is, though.  Off being pregnant, I suppose.  :)

Anyway, the LDS Newsroom has just posted the full transcript of Elder M. Russell Ballard’s address to the BYU Management Society (read: BYU M.B.A. grads) in Washington, D.C.  It’s a long but highly fascinating piece, certainly a breath of fresh air for anyone who thinks Elder Ballard is unaware of anything to do with “the real world.”

Elder Ballard spoke in the past about members of the Church making their influence felt on Internet blogs and other new media to counter the increasing tide of vitriol directed at the Church and its doctrines.  He goes into even greater detail here:

If you are a member of the Church, what is your responsibility during this period of unusual attention and debate? Interest has continued at a high level and probably will for some time. If a national conversation is going on about the Church, are you going to be an active participant or a silent observer? 

Church leaders must not be reluctant to participate in public discussion. Where appropriate, we will engage with the media whether itís the traditional, mainstream media or the new media of the Internet. But Church leaders canít do it all, especially at the grass-roots, community level. While we do speak authoritatively for the Church, we look to our responsible and faithful members to engage personally with blogs, to write thoughtful, online letters to news organizations, and to act in other ways to correct the record with their own opinions.

However, I emphasize that it is not always about correcting misinformation. Sometimes it is about getting solid information and ideas out there in the first place. Share your experiences Ė those from your own life Ė that show how your values and your faith intersect. It doesnít matter whether thatís face to face with another person, or whether you do it by participating from your own blog or contributing to someone elseís blog. The most important thing is that you let people know that you are a Latter-day Saint, and that your behavior and attitude always reflect the high standards of the Church and what is expected as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, you will be speaking as an individual member and not as an official representative of the Church.

Clearly, in this context I am not talking about declaring your testimony of faith in the traditional sense. Naturally, you can and should do that where the setting is appropriate and the audience is receptive, such as a church meeting. Rather, I am talking about taking part in everyday conversations in an unforced way, where your values and your religious beliefs will arise naturally. No one likes to have religion thrust down their throats. Instead, allow people to see how your beliefs lift and shape your life for the better. How does the gospel help you as a parent engage with your teens? How do your values encourage you to participate in civic affairs? How has your experience as a home or visiting teacher enlarged your compassion or care for the sick and needy? How has your Church life helped you to avoid such things as pornography and immorality? How have family councils or home evenings helped you resolve differences of opinion with members of your family? How has your experience in speaking in church helped you address large public groups? Where did you learn to respect and not to criticize other faiths? And so on. 

In many of these conversations, you will be sharing common ground with people who will relate to your values. And as people sense that common ground, your relationship with them and their respect for you and for your faith will be enhanced. Even people who may disagree with you philosophically will often accept you more readily for your candid, honest and open observations about how your faith impacts your life. I have a great belief in the basic fairness of most all people. They respect honesty, not timidity. They relate to sincerity, not to pretended piety.

The full text is available to read here, and I highly recommend taking a few minutes out of your day to check it out.  That’s all.


Okay, just for giggles, I think I’ll throw in this little bombshell from the speech:

What an honor for me to be introduced by my good friend Senator Harry Reid. Thank you Senator.  

Peace out.

5 Responses to “Elder Ballard addresses BYU Management Society”

  1. Yes, off being pregnant. Also off wrangling the ever-energetic children who are especially tired of being kept home since they are technically “sick” (though you wouldn’t know it by how much they can get into!).

  2. You just HAD to throw that last little thing in there about Sen. Reid didn’t you……….

  3. Absolutely. Well, I wanted to do something to encourage people to read the entire speech, so I figured throwing that little snippet in there would cause some people to do a double-take and read the transcript to see the comment in context. And then just keep on reading.

    And yes, I do find some of the personally directed vitriol against Harry Reid quite saddening. I’ve often asked myself, were I to see him praying in the temple, would I be able to stand next to him? I’ve decided that if he’s worthy enough to enter the temple, I can be a mature enough person to put aside my own feelings about some of his political stances and embrace him as a brother in the gospel. It’s an ideal I strive to live up to.

  4. In the temple the other night, I read Alma 51………………it’s amazing how history seems to repeat itself.

  5. It is indeed.

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