Write Down a Date: The Ballard Challenge

Our writer makes a formal invitation to our readers:

One of my favorite features of the Gospel Library app is the ability to sort General Conference talks by topic or speaker. I’ve used both to great effect; of late, I have been choosing one speaker at a time and listening to each of his talks, from oldest to newest, in order. Doing so has had some surprising benefits — in addition to inviting the Spirit into my day and getting some gospel learnin’ done, I also get to know each of the general authorities I’ve focused on a little better. President Oaks, for instance, has great insights on the priesthood and is really good at breaking things down and defining them; Elder Holland has a remarkable ability to see right through to the heart of the matter (but we already knew that); President Eyring is masterful at likening both scriptures and gospel principles unto ourselves.

Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 1984

President Eyring’s talks are currently freshest in my mind, as it was his talks that I just recently finished binging (for lack of a better term). I had planned to look in on President Packer next, but felt moved in another direction; instead, I tapped on Elder M. Russell Ballard’s name and scrolled down.

Elder Ballard’s talks so far seem to trend toward the shorter side, so I was breezing through them at a pretty quick pace — that is, until I got to his October 1984 address, entitled, “Write Down a Date.” Somehow, this talk, originally given when I was was but a wee toddler, has managed to stick in my spiritual craw.

I’ll give you a minute to go read/listen to it, if you’re not familiar with it.

Go on, I can wait.



*hums Jeopardy theme*




“Why is this stuck in your spiritual craw, Angela? I don’t see anything wrong with it.” You are correct, sir or madame: there is nothing at all wrong with the talk or its premise. I believe its current sticky status has everything to do with the Lord wanting me to take this 35-year-old challenge, and my alarmed reticence to do any such thing. So, because I am roughly a Piglet on the Pooh’s Scale of Courage (this is a thing now), I am asking for your help.

Will you do this with me? Will you also write down a date and pray over it?

Help a sister out here.

Supplemental Reading:

Write Down a Date” – Elder M. Russell Ballard, October 1984

The Essential Role of Member Missionary Work” – Elder M. Russell Ballard, April 2003

Following Up” – Elder M. Russell Ballard, April 2014

You can follow Angela on Twitter @angelaisms.

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