News Release

Church Leaders Minister to Sydney Latter-day Saints

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Gary E. Stevenson, also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and other visiting Church leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with and spoke to members of the Church in Sydney on Sunday 20th May.

Accompanying President Ballard and Elder Stevenson were Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy, and members of the Pacific Area Presidency, Elder O. Vincent Haleck, Elder Craig A. Cardon and Elder Ian S. Ardern. Sister Peggy Haleck, Sister Deborah Cardon and Sister Paula Ardern also attended meetings in Sydney on Sunday.


The visiting leaders separated to attend three stake conferences at the same time on Sunday morning in Baulkham Hills, Prairiewood and Penrith.


President Ballard began his remarks by saying how happy he was to be back in Australia – “a great part of the Church.”

He urged each member of the congregation, “Be a missionary. Be more bold in sharing what you know to be true. Don't think you can't do it. We must do it. We have everything we need to bring the great message of the restoration to everyone.”

He declared, “The gospel message is simple. Keep it simple and do what you can to help people feel the simplicity of this glorious message."

President Ballard continued, "This is the only true and living Church that has the priesthood—the authority and power to act in the name of God, that binds ordinances and covenants on both sides of the veil."

To those of other faiths, and no faith, he extended an invitation. "Keep all that is good and true and let us share with you the fullness of all that God has revealed in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times."

He ended his remarks with words of encouragement: "Be kind in your homes, keep your voices down and listen. Teach and counsel with each other."

"We leave the love of our Heavenly Father with you. I leave you with my love. May He bless you with the righteous desires of your hearts."

Elder Craig A. Cardon, counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency who accompanied President Ballard, spoke of the responsibilities of a Seventy “to bear witness of the name of the Lord in all the world wherever the Twelve Apostles assign them to go.”

He testified, “Our loving Heavenly Father has seen fit to give us instructions in the scriptures concerning our duties and responsibilities. The Lord is bringing forth the things that will bring us the greatest happiness.”

Participants responded to questions on how their words impressed them.

Craig Willson, Bishop of the Kellyville Ward (congregation), remarked, “Today we were absolutely thrilled to hear from President Ballard. We felt encouraged, motivated. We felt the Saviour's love in his encouragement for us to strive a little better and to share the Gospel in a natural way with our friends and others around us.”

Paul Gray of the Winston Hills Ward shared, “It is just amazing to have an apostle here and to have him speak to us about the things that we need to do and to feel the spirit that comes from seeing an apostle.”


Elder Gary E. Stevenson was introduced to the Prairiewood Stake by President Andrew Manousso, who explained to those in attendance that Elder Stevenson is a mouthpiece of God and speaks as the apostles Peter, James and John did anciently.

Elder Stevenson shared his observations with the congregation, commenting, “I am impressed with the children with bright eyes and countenances, young men and young women – there are lots of future missionaries and very impressive young adults.  There is just a wonderful warm feeling here this morning. I have a sense of gratitude for you.  Beautiful people, beautiful names, in a beautiful part of the world.”

Elder Stevenson focused his remarks on “ministering,” referring to it as something holier and higher.

He said, “We live in a time when the heavens are open. President Manousso has been called and given keys and is 'turning them.'"

Elder Stevenson taught how ministering and missionary work go hand in hand. Ward and stake leaders can use missionaries in their ministering.

Elder Ian S. Ardern, also a counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency, urged the members of the stake to “love one another, to be more tender-hearted, to be more forgiving of each other. Be more Christlike and to increase in their service.”

After the Prairiewood Conference, Sister Molie Maka’afi, a full time missionary in the Sydney South Mission, said, “Our conference with Elder Stevenson was amazing.  It was a room of revelation and love. He has helped me to be able to fulfil my baptismal covenants in a better way.”


Elder Carl B. Cook of the Presidency of the Seventy invited members to ponder, "How have you been blessed by keeping the commandments? Look for opportunities to stretch ourselves and do beyond what we think is possible."

Elder Cook also quoted President Ballard: "We must go on. We must wear out our lives. We must eliminate distractions and disruptions that stop us from missionary work."

Pacific Area President Elder O. Vincent Haleck spoke about tithing and temple attendance.  He said, "We need to keep the blessings of paying full tithing to receive the blessings that come from it. We need more of you attending [the temple] more often than you do."

The Penrith Stake Relief Society President, Sister Merril Betham, shared her reflections on the conference. "It was a reminder of the blessings we have and to constantly share it with others through our ministry, and through sharing the gospel with others."

The visit from these leaders through Sydney lifted spirits, healed hearts and blessed all who participated throughout the weekend.

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