Give the Lord Equal Time

give the lord equal time

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Russell M. Ballard

One of my missionaries came to me some time ago. He was a fine missionary. I asked him, "Elder, how can I help you?"

"President," he said, "I think I'm losing my testimony."

"I couldn't believe it. I asked him how that could be possible.

"For the first time I have read some anti-Mormon literature," he said. "I have some questions, and nobody will answer them for me. I am confused, and I think I am losing my testimony."

I asked him what his questions were, and he told me. They were the standard anti-Church issues, but I wanted a little time to gather materials so I could provide meaningful answers. So we set up an appointment ten days later, at which time I told him I would answer every one of his questions. As he started to leave, I stopped him.

"Elder, you've asked me several questions here today," I said. "Now I have one for you."

"Yes, President?"

"How long has it been since you read from the Book of Mormon?" I asked.

His eyes dropped. He looked at the floor for a while. Then he looked at me. "It's been a long time, President," he confessed.

"All right," I said. "You have given me my assignment. It's only fair that I give you yours. I want you to promise me that you will read in the Book of Mormon for at least one hour every day between now and our next appointment." He agreed that he would do that.

Ten days later he returned to my office, and I was ready. I pulled out my papers to start answering his questions. But he stopped me.

"President," he said, "that isn't going to be necessary." Then he explained. "I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God."

"Well, that's great," I said, "but you're going to get answers to your questions anyway. I worked a long time on this, so you just sit there and listen."

And so I answered all of those questions, and then asked, "Elder, what have you learned from this?"

And he said, "Give the Lord equal time."

Now, my young brothers and sisters, you engrave that thought on your minds and carry it with you as you walk through this process of mortality.

Give the Lord equal time. Give Him His due share of your thoughts, your time, your talent, and your attention. Establish a time and place to study the scriptures on a daily basis, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time. Pray regularly.

This personal experience was shared by Russell M. Ballard at a BYU Dev. March 12, 1996.