News Release

Elder Ballard addresses thousands of Church members in Europe

Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited Stockholm and Paris to minister to local missionaries and Church members.

Elder Ballard began his visit on 8 June by meeting with missionaries serving in Sweden. He was accompanied by several senior leaders of the Church: Elder Gérald Caussé of the Presiding Bishopric, Elder José Teixeira, President of the Church in the Europe Area, and Ingvar Olsson, an Area Seventy from Sweden.

In the evening he spoke to young single adults in Stockholm, Sweden. This devotional was broadcasted to 402 meeting houses and about 56,000 European young single adults in the Europe Area. The young single adults are single Mormons ages 18 to 30.

In the devotional Elder Caussé spoke about the story in the Bible when Jesus calms the stormy sea. He compared the Church to the boat and the Savior as the captain of the boat. Elder Caussé said that everyone experiences their own individual tempest, but encouraged the youth to find solace by staying in the “boat” with the Savior.

Elder Ballard spoke to the young Church members about the importance of marriage. Additionally, he emphasized that the choices they make to live according to the gospel teachings will greatly determine the future of the Church. He concluded by issuing them a challenge to either bring one person into the Church or to bring someone back to the Church by the end of the year through their own personal efforts. Elder Ballard instructed that what the young Church members do today to rescue and invite others will prepare the Church for what it will be in the future.

“The feeling I had from listening to the conference was an overwhelmingly good one. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good. I felt even better than the day I got baptized. I was both spiritually and physically nourished,” said Thor Jonsson, a 22-year-old recently baptized member of the Church from Iceland.

Another young man also shared this same enthusiasm from the conference. Niclas Molander is a 21-year-old newly baptized member from Sweden. “Ever since I started learning about the Church, I have been fascinated with the idea of living apostles and prophets. I was especially looking forward to this conference and hear from an apostle in person,” said Molander.

In the morning of the following day, Elder Ballard addressed Church members in a Nordic Conference that was broadcasted to all meeting houses in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has 123 congregations in the Nordic countries with a membership of over 23,400 people.

Elder Ballard retold the origin of the Church in the Scandinavian countries and applauded the members from the Church’s early history that made sacrifices for their faith. He reminded the Nordic members of the many blessings they have thanks to those that paved the way for them. He encouraged members to look to the example of early Church members and continue living in faith.

Elder José Teixeira spoke at the conference as well. He referred to the joy that comes in inviting friends and others to learn about the Church. “I renew the invitation today to all within the reach of my voice: Let’s invite our family members, friends, and neighbors to experience the same joy we feel by inviting them to join us in attending sacrament meeting. Let’s assure them they will be welcomed,” said Elder Teixeira.

To have an apostle visit and minister to the local Church members is of great importance to them. “I am confident that Elder Ballard’s visit has strengthened the Church in Sweden, in the Nordic countries and out in Europe. Members, families and friends of the Church that apply his teachings will be blessed by a renewed desire to live their covenants and share the gospel. In whatever circumstances they are in their lives, they will be blessed and have increased spiritual strength to help them have joy in their lives and build up the Lord’s kingdom,” said Elder Ingvar Olssen of the Area Seventy.

Elder Ballard and Elder Teixeira traveled to London on Monday. Here they met with the missionaries of the London and London South Missions. Elder Ballard’s visit in London at this time was significant to the missionaries because of the recent “I'm a Mormon” campaign in London. Hundreds of missionaries listened to Elder Ballard’s testimony and enthusiasm for missionary work.

On June 11, 2013, Elder Ballard then traveled to France to meet with missionaries in Versailles and also stopped to visit the future temple site. In the October 2011 General Conference, Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church, announced the beginnings of a temple in Paris, France. Since then, a location in Versailles has been selected for the future temple. Church leaders and local officials are currently working together to finalize building plans.

Elder Ballard was sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on 6 October 1985. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the second-highest presiding body in the government of the Church. In addition to their primary responsibility to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ throughout the world, the apostles oversee the development of the global church.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.