The World Congress of Families IX announced on September 1 that Elder M. Russell Ballard will be a keynote speaker for this global gathering, set to begin October 27, 2015. It will be the first time the event will take place in the United States and will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The World Congress of Families (WCF) is the largest gathering of pro-family advocates in the world. It is an international group that strives to promote the natural family.
"We are pleased to announce Elder Ballard as a keynote speaker," said Janice Shaw Crouse, executive director of the World Congress of Families IX. "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long been a strong ally to the World Congress of Families and it is an honor to have one of its senior apostles speak at our conference—particularly someone whose lifelong commitment and leadership has been to preserve and strengthen the family unit."
Elder Ballard was selected as a speaker for his long-time advocacy of strengthening home and family.
In the October 2005 General Conference, Elder Ballard said:
I believe the mission statement for mortality might be "to build an eternal family.” Here on this earth we strive to become part of extended families with the ability to create and form our own part of those families. That is one of the reasons our Heavenly Father sent us here. Not everyone will find a companion and have a family in mortality, but everyone, regardless of individual circumstances, is a precious member of God’s family. . . .
It is important to remember that all larger units of society depend on the smallest and most fundamental unit, the family. No matter who or what we are, we help ourselves when we help families.
Brothers and sisters, as we hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth. We will find peace and happiness here and in the world to come. We should not need a hurricane or other crisis to remind us of what matters most. The gospel and the Lord’s plan of happiness and salvation should remind us. What matters most is what lasts longest, and our families are for eternity.
In addition, LDS blogger and author Stephanie Nielson will also present at the congress on Friday, October 30. Nielson learned the importance of being a mother and loving herself after a plane crash severely burned over 80 percent of her body. By sharing her experience through public speaking and writing, Nielson has inspired burn victims and families across the world to find meaning and beauty in their family roles, not merely in their body. (Read more about her miraculous survival and recovery here).
Later that same night, Friday, October 30, the Piano Guys will put on a two-hour program accompanied by the American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic.
For more information about the conference, click here.