DIXON HERZOG | Scroll Photography

DIXON HERZOG | Scroll Photography

Apostles began the Priesthood Session of the 185th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by speaking to the young adults of the Church.

Elder Ballard reflected on the October 2002 General Priesthood Meeting when he challenged bishops, parents and prospective missionaries to “raise the bar” set for full-time missionaries.

“I then said that, ‘What we need is the greatest generation of missionaries in the history of the Church,” Elder Ballard said. “We need worthy, qualified, spiritually energized missionaries . . . We need your whole heart and soul. We need vibrant, thinking, passionate missionaries who know how to listen to and respond to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit.’”

Elder Ballard said although today’s prospective missionaries do not have face-to-face interviews with General Authorities as they have in the past, mission assignments are still personal and inspired.

“Your photograph comes up on a computer screen together with key information provided by your bishop and stake president,” Elder Ballard said. “When your picture appears, we look into your eyes and review your answers to the missionary recommendation questions. For that brief moment, it seems as if you are present and responding to us directly.”

Elder Ballard encouraged all returned missionaries to continue applying the spiritual skills they acquired on their missions after they are released as missionaries.

He said those who are preparing to serve missions should attend and graduate from seminary, enroll in religious courses and attend institute.

“Whether you attend a church school or not, whether you attend college or not, do not think you are too busy to study the gospel,” Elder Ballard said.

Elder Ballard encouraged young single adults to date and marry.

“Please stop delaying,” he said. “I know some of you fear family formation. However, if you marry the right person at the right time and in the right place, you need not fear.”

Elder Ballard closed his talk by sharing his support and love for the young people of the Church.

“We need every one of you young adults to prepare to marry, to serve missions and to lead in the days ahead,” he said.​