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Apostles Conclude Ministry Visit to Great Britain

President Ballard, Elder Holland and Elder Cook speak to Latter-day Saints in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Speaking in a special stake conference that was broadcast to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland on Sunday, President M. Russell Ballard testified of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and counseled members to share their faith with others.

“I love this great land,” the Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said. “I love you sons and daughters of God who follow and love the Lord in the great land of England and Ireland and Scotland and Wales — the British Isles. Cherish the gospel and give it away by helping others understand the gospel message.”

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The Sunday conference concluded a full week of ministering in the area by President Ballard, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The leaders met with all full-time missionaries serving throughout England and in the Scotland-Ireland mission and ministered to young single adults in a devotional on Saturday afternoon.

President Ballard, who turned 93 on October 8, was a missionary in the British Isles in 1948. Elders Holland and Cook began service there in 1960 and later were assigned as companions. Each said their deep love for this area comes from their missionary experience. They encouraged missionaries who are serving today to find joy in their service.

“I’ve had the privilege of coming to this great Island where I served as a full-time missionary from 1948 to 1950,” President Ballard said. “To be able to be here with Elder Holland and Elder Cook, my dear colleagues of the Quorum of the Twelve, who also were missionaries as young men here — for me, it’s been an absolute delight.”

Elder Massimo De Feo, a General Authority Seventy and President of the Church’s Europe Area, accompanied the leaders on their weeklong visit. He conducted the Sunday conference and the Saturday devotional.

Elder Alan T. Phillips, an Area Seventy of Britain, assured Latter-day Saints in the Sunday meeting that God loves them and is mindful of them. “You are His child. For that simple reason, you are His, you belong to Him,” Elder Philips said. “We are His focus, His priority and His joy and His glory. You are not alone.”

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Latter-day Saints listen to Church leaders speak in London, England, on Saturday, October 30, 2021.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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In a combined meeting for missionaries in the London and Birmingham Missions on Friday, Sister Mary G. Cook encouraged the missionaries to face challenges with faith. “I testify that as you strive to become like the Savior, you will have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. And the windows of heaven will open up to you in ways that you can’t even imagine. I know you are on the Lord’s errand and will be blessed by your service,” she said.

Speaking in the same meeting, Sister Patricia T. Holland told the missionaries to consider themselves as a “companion” with the three Apostles who were there to teach and testify to them. “These three men love this land. They loved their missions. You are companions with all of these great people. You can have a very similar experience, if you can just keep your eyes single to the glory of God,” Sister Holland said.

Some of the most poignant moments for the leaders came as they followed in the footsteps of early apostles, who came to England beginning in 1837 and baptized many converts into the Church. Each of the leaders has a family connection to those early Saints.

Elder Cook is a great-great grandson of Heber C. Kimball, an early Apostle who was the first missionary to arrive in England. Elder Holland has close ties to Benbow Farm, where many converts were baptized in 1840 by Apostle Wilford Woodruff, including a grandmother in his ancestry. Many of President Ballard’s ancestors also joined the Church in both England and Scotland.

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President M. Russell Ballard preaches in a market square in Nottingham in 1949.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The leaders also retraced the steps of their own missionary service. President Ballard visited Nottingham, where a photo taken in 1949 shows him preaching in the market square. He also walked the banks of the Trent River in Nottingham, where he recounted having a spiritual witness of his call as a missionary.

“I had a special spiritual experience walking along the Trent River in Nottingham, England,” President Ballard said. “I was coming back from a street meeting that we had held in the market square, and while walking along this river I knew that the Lord knew that I was there. And it’s those things you never forget.”

Elder Holland, who served as the Area President in England in the early 1990s, observed that during his return to the country this week he has felt optimistic for the future of the Church.

“The great days of the United Kingdom are still ahead of us,” Elder Holland said. “We don’t look to the past to say, ‘Oh, only if it were yesterday.’ The great, great days of this island are still ahead of us in the gospel.”

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President M. Russell Ballard greets Latter-day Saints in London, England, on Saturday, October 30, 2021.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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“I was much more emotional than I thought I would be walking in and seeing all those missionaries,” Elder Cook said. “It really took me back in a way that I hadn’t been before during the trip. I’ve been very touched throughout the trip.”

President Ballard said the faith and strength of the Church in Britain is strong. “The membership of the Church is solid,” he said, “and their testimonies and their love for the Lord are building the Church and kingdom of God as well now, perhaps as anytime in the history of the Church in England.”

Elder Cook and Elder Holland expressed their appreciation to President Ballard for inviting them to join him on this assignment.

“We’re thrilled to be here with President Ballard,” Elder Holland said. “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him in many ways. He’s our quorum president, and we feel about him the way those early missionaries felt about Brigham Young as he led their quorum. We love you, President, we love you with all our hearts. It means everything to [Elder Cook] and I to be here with you.”

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