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Elder Ronald A. Rasband

Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Elder Ronald A. Rasband
Elder Ronald A. Rasband was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 3, 2015. He had been serving as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since 2005 and was serving as the senior president of the Presidency of the Seventy when called to the Twelve. Elder Rasband was named a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 1 April 2000. He has served as a counselor in the Europe Central Area Presidency, president of the Utah Salt Lake City Area, executive director of the Temple Department; and has supervised the North America West, Northwest, and three Utah areas as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Elder Rasband attended the University of Utah. In 1995, Utah Valley University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Business and Commerce. In 1976 he joined Huntsman Container Company as sales representative, and in 1987, he was appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of Huntsman Chemical Corporation.

When he left Huntsman Chemical Corporation in 1996 to serve as a mission president in New York, he was also serving as a member of the Board of Directors.

Elder Rasband has held numerous Church callings, including full-time missionary in the Eastern States Mission (1970-1972), Temple Square missionary guide, bishop, and member of the Church’s Sesquicentennial Committee. He presided over the New York, New York North Mission from 1996 to 1999.

Elder Rasband was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1951. He married Melanie Twitchell in 1973. They are the parents of five children and have 28 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild.




Introduction by Elder Clark G. Gilbert

What a beautiful piece, thank you for that. President Kusch it’s wonderful to be with you and your remarkable students. It is also a delight to be here with Elder Rasband. Every time I see him I am reminded to be a good father. You might think that’s because he is a good example or he has taught about that. But for me it is much more specific. Years ago he gave my daughter his business card and said, “If your dad ever stops paying attention to you, you call me and tell me.” Fortunately, she hasn’t used that number yet Elder Rasband. He said, “Not that I am aware of.”

Just a short word about the mission of Ensign College. The mission of this College is to develop trusted and capable disciples of Jesus Christ and what an inspiring purpose and legacy for this institution. I hope you take that responsibility seriously. I know your university faculty and teachers and this administration do.

As I thought about your mission and where we sit this morning right at the foot of this remarkable project that is happening on the Salt Lake Temple. I thought I would just share a thought from General Conference with President Nelson talking about that. Most members of the Church watched that video but as students at Ensign College you are right here at the footsteps to that temple and this project.

President Nelson said, “The foundation of any building, particularly one as large as this one, must be strong and resilient enough to withstand earthquakes, corrosion, high winds, and the inevitable settling that affects all buildings. The complex task of strengthening now underway will reinforce this sacred temple with the foundation that can and will stand the test of time.”

President Nelson then goes on to say, “My brothers and sisters, these are the latter days. If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.” With such a charge from our prophet, you are in a wonderful place to develop your foundation on Jesus Christ, at an institution that teaches discipleship. I believe today we are especially blessed to have one of those special witnesses of Jesus Christ here with us.

I would add my testimony that I know this is the Lord’s church. This is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The world will try to make us forget or decouple Jesus Christ from His church and Jesus Christ from His apostles. But this is Jesus Christ’s church and we are a part of it. I know that the Savior lives. I know he died for our sins and through Him we will live again. We all have the chance to change and repent and become something better in Jesus Christ. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I Shall Not Be Moved  

By Elder Ronald A. Rasband
of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Good morning. That was really lame, can we do better than that? Good morning. Thank you. Oh, this is wonderful to be with you today on many fronts. One, I’m grateful for President Kusch and Elder Gilbert being here with me. Sister Kusch, thank you. Administrators, thank you. And the beautiful institute choir and where is that violinist? Wow! Fantastic. Thank you.

This is a special building to me. As you heard in the introduction, I used to be a tour guide here on Temple Square and I would bring groups into this building often and demonstrate the acoustical ability of the building and share with them some of its history. And I am so grateful that you get to use this often here at Ensign College. I’m also grateful, before I give my message that I have prepared, just to tell you that as President Kusch described the type of students that you all are who come here, I thought back on my life and thought that I would have been very comfortable here at this school. When I was your age I wanted to go to BYU but I couldn’t afford it. My dad was a Wonder Bread truck driver and we lived way out in the southern most end of the valley. And the only way I could go to college was to live at home and attend the U of U from home. And I am grateful for that privilege. It was there that I met Sister Rasband. It was there that I met Jon Huntsman and a lot of my life keyed off of my early college experience at the U of U but I’m just very grateful to all of you for attending Ensign College. This college fits a unique role in your life and I’m impressed with how many of you come from other parts of the world or the country and somehow you have gravitated to be here. Congratulations. It is wonderful for you to be affiliated at one of the Lord’s institutions. And that says much about your desire to stay close to the Lord as you study and prepare your lives, prepare your families, to go forward in business, in the Church, into a world that dearly needs you as who you are.

I want to begin my message today by relating an experience I had just weeks ago in Bologna, Italy. On assignment from the First Presidency, I spoke to an interfaith forum of religious leaders from many nations. I described to them how we, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared in their commitment to God and to charity. I explained that true religion prompts us to help those in need. I then added that there is no question that the world needs the efforts of all that were assembled there in Bologna, as well as other believers, to build upon our desire to go “about doing good.” [1] With such noble effort comes the promise that God will be with us. I also stressed that no matter the culture, color, creed or country, God’s love unites us to stand together to face down religious persecution.

As I was concluding my remarks, I had an interesting experience. This was a religious forum in an ancient setting that called for images of Christ teaching the people. Yet not one of the seven speakers before me had closed in any faith-tradition way, in the name of God, Allah or anything like that. At the close of my presentation, I had a moment to wonder and think, “Do I just say thank you to this group and sit down, or do I close in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ?”

As a special witness of Jesus Christ, called to bear witness of Him to all the world, I knew the Lord would have me say His name to conclude my message. And so, I did. I knew that it was very important to declare the Lord’s name and emphasize the significance of divinity in our work and so I closed my remarks in the name of Jesus Christ. I was the only speaker that day who invoked the name of the Lord or even any form of aDeity.

In Bologna, I stood as a witness that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.

As you all know, all baptized members of the Church are blessed to bear the sacred name of Jesus Christ. We represent Him, you and I, and His sacred name by what we say, what we do and how we do it. In the Book of Mormon, we read of Alma’s counsel to those being baptized.

“And to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in.” [2]

This scripture sets the bar for our mortal journey with the promise that if we are true to the Savior, we “may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that [we] may have eternal life.” [3]

Well, you have heard of the position I was put in in Bologna, how about you? Do you seek to stand with your head always held high as a disciple of Jesus Christ, in all things, and in all places? Or do you shrink as did Peter who denied the Christ three times in those brutal last hours of the Lord’s life. I feel for Peter. He had affirmed his loyalty many times; he had boldly asserted that he would never deny the Christ. But then under the pressure of the guards, the crowds, and the mayhem, his resolve weakened. Realizing what he had done, he went out, “and wept.” [4]

Peter however, showed us that even if we have faltered, we can rise and become steadfast and immovable in standing for the Lord. Following the Savior’s death and resurrection Peter and his fellow apostles were beaten, threatened with death, and commanded that they “should not speak in the name of Jesus” anymore. In response, Peter and the others went out “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” [5]

My humble message to you today is to stand as a witness of God, nothing wavering. As a member of Christ’s restored Church, what you do, how, why, and when, reflects your desire to be counted as His disciple. I love the description in Psalms that says it all:

“I have set the LORD always before me: . . . I shall not be moved.” [6]

I hope you leave this meeting today with that scripture, Psalms Sixteen verse eight, imprinted in your heart and mind and that you live true to it.

Your discipleship began in the Council in Heaven when Jesus Christ stepped forth as the Father’s plan was presented. We rightly call it the Great Plan of Happiness. Jesus Christ, the Father’s firstborn, committed to do His part in His earthly ministry which would culminate in the Atonement for all of God’s children. Five words were spoken. “Here am I send me,” [7] He said. No fanfare, no selfies, just a strong statement of loyalty, understanding, preparation, and purpose. Any my young friends, we were all there. You were there. I was there. We chose in that council to stand with our Lord, to come to earth, and to be valiant in the cause of Christ, to be true to His Church, His gospel, His prophets, and our own covenants. We pledged to strive to become like the Savior that at the final judgement we would be found worthy to receive exaltation in the presence of our Father.

It is recounted brothers and sisters, we shouted for joy at the prospect.

Did we know mortality was going to be hard? This hard? I think we did, but we did not shy away. We had faith in our Father and His plan. We embraced agency, our right to choose and prove ourselves. We trusted Jesus Christ and His incomprehensible love for each one of us to be manifest in His Atonement. And we each went forth.

Picture the scene in your mind of the last hours and days of Jesus Christ’s ministry. With His boundless capacity to shoulder all our sins, pains, and infirmities, He suffered in agony that I certainly can’t comprehend. It began in the Garden of Gethsemane, extended to the cross and ended in His resurrection at the Garden Tomb.

In Gethsemane He asked His three disciples to watch while he went on alone to pray. However, they fell asleep in their vigil, not once, but three times. Did He scold or berate them for not standing strong? No. He was about the business of the Atonement that would compensate for their lapse and all others. Everywhere. Always. The soldiers were coming with Judas who led them to Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. Those thirty pieces of silver represent a lot of sins committed in this life. They were a paltry reward for having turned on the Son of God. But Jesus’s time to redeem all of God’s children had come.

He was dragged before Caiaphas and the chief priests, questioned, and taunted. He stood silent. Nailed to a cross, He was mocked with, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.” [8] Again, He did not respond. Those abusing Him did not grasp “the love Jesus offered them.” [9] Nonetheless, His few words in the end were telling, for He said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” [10] He gathered the strength to bless them and then, having completed His mission with the requisite pain, He concluded with, “Father it is finished, thy will is done.” [11]

Sobering isn’t it; that even as He was tortured, He was thinking of those who would be blessed by His Atonement.

Every one of us has a backpack of sins, mistakes, misdeeds, words we wish we could take back, days filled with disappointment, unbridled ambition, broken hearts, broken dreams, and broken covenants. I think that about covers most of it. The Savior knows we are not perfect. But by His atoning sacrifice we can become “just men [and women] made perfect” [12] prepared to stand before our Father in Heaven.

Drawing upon the power of the Savior’s Atonement is not an end-of-life experience when some make amends fearful of what is ahead. It is for today and tomorrow and every tomorrow after that. We need to consistently get back up on our feet through the Lord’s saving Grace by the power of the Atonement with His promise:

“I will . . . ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, . . . and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.” [13]

Elder John A. Widtsoe, thirty years as an apostle in the twentieth century, said this of our part in that Council in Heaven:

“We agreed, right then and there, to be…saviors for the whole human family. . . . The working out of the plan became . . . not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work.” [14]

Joseph Smith knew all about doing the Lord’s work. I stand before you today bearing firm witness that Joseph Smith was called by God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ to be His first Prophet of the Restoration. Sixteen men subsequently have followed Joseph to lead for a season. John Taylor, apostle and fourth president of the Church who survived the attack at Carthage Jail, said of our first Prophet:

“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” “…He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people.” [15]

In my lifetime I have come to know that very strong statement to be true.

Let’s look briefly at what Joseph did that influences our lives today. You have to ask, my friends, how could anyone do these remarkable things without divine inspiration and assistance?

Here we go. Here are a few. Joseph saw God the Father and Jesus Christ standing above him in the air. [16] Their appearance ushered in the Restoration of the Fullness of Times. We are blessed immeasurably by the Restoration.

The Prophet Joseph translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I hope you get to read it every day.

He talked with many heavenly messengers and prophets of old and they ministered to him. Moroni alone visited him twenty-two times that we know of.

Joseph received priesthood keys from John the Baptist and Peter, James and John and other ancient prophets. Those same keys are held by the President and the Apostles of the Church in our day - today.

He began temple building so that all of God’s children might receive the sacred ordinances in His holy house. Today those same ordinances are performed in temples all around the world. At general conference President Nelson announced thirteen new temples, which brought the number of announced temples, those under construction, and those in operation, amazing – think of this - to two hundred and sixty-five. [17]

He received revelation for the Church and for individuals. Many of those revelations make up the Doctrine and Covenants that we have been studying in Come Follow Me this year. Let me explore one verse from latter-day revelation with you. When Joseph was translating the plates, his scribe Oliver Cowdery asked Joseph if the Lord might have a revelation for him, he had already received a divine manifestation of the truth of the Prophet’s testimony regarding the plates. Joseph asked in prayer and received Section Six of the Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord’s words in verse eighteen were not just important for Oliver. They are important for all of us.

“Be diligent;” the Lord said, “stand by my servant Joseph, faithfully, in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be for the word’s sake.” [18]

Stand by Joseph.” That is not just a good thought; it is a commandment. Do you do that? Having a testimony of Joseph Smith, that he was called of God, is fundamental to your faith and your witness of Jesus Christ and His Church. If your testimony of Joseph is casual or wavering, search the scriptures and the teachings of those who have followed Him in doing the Lord’s work. Pray and seek a witness from the Holy Ghost that Joseph was divinely called and divinely directed and then stand by him.

In October, just a few weeks ago, Two Thousand Fifteen, shortly before General Conference, then Church President Thomas S. Monson extended the call for me to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He made it clear the call came from the Lord. You can imagine, I hope, how humbled I was and I still feel that way today. When I spoke in General Conference that Sunday after just a few days’ notice, I referred to one of my favorite hymns, in fact I named my talk that day after this hymn, “I Stand All Amazed.”

The words of the first verse of the hymn still resonate deeply in my heart:

I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,

Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me. …

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine

To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,

That he should extend his great love unto such as I,

Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.…

Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me. [19]

To this very moment I stand all amazed at the Savior’s love expressed through His Atonement. Time and again He has lifted my burdens, born my sorrows, and He will do the same for you. He has said, “…Be of good cheer and do not fear for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you.” [20]

A friend of mine described her account of feeling pain, more than she could bear, when someone dear to her, someone just like you, had chosen to step away from the Church. She had sleepless nights, suffering not from sin but from heartache. She had turned to the scriptures, gone to the temple, prayed for comfort, and prayed again, and those righteous efforts kept her going. She was still standing with the Lord—not allowing bitterness, contention, or misery to pull her down; and she was at Church on Sunday, where she knew she should be although sitting on the back bench struggling to feel something, anything, that might get her through the day. Some of you may have felt like that when someone’s poor decisions have shattered your family or friendship circle.

The closing hymn that day was one of my friend’s favorites, “I Know that my Redeemer Lives,” and she felt a little better as she sang those words through tears, “He lives to calm my troubled heart.” [21] And then came the sacrament hymn that day, “I Stand All Amazed.” Good choice, I would say. As she sang, the words, a verse touched her and the Spirit filled her heart like it had for me so many times.

“That for me, a sinner, he suffered he bled and died.” [22]

That moment she felt “encircled about…in the arms of [the Savior’s] love.” [23] Her broken heart was in His hands. The Spirit reminded her that the Lord had already paid for what was destroying her peace and afflicting her soul. [24] She thought of those redeeming words, “That for me . . .He suffered, he bled and died” [25] and realized they were meant for her, right then, not for any sin on her part, but for an aching breaking heart. She described that literally the pain lifted and did not come back. Weeks later she stood before the ward and bore her testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. She bore it with faith in Him who is mighty to save.

“How is it done?” [26] the prophet Enos asked when he knelt before the Lord. The answer is through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience and repentance. When we exercise faith, we find ourselves being lifted because of the Savior’s infinite Atonement.

Consider these few examples of faith from the scriptures.

Lehi, early in the Book of Mormon, prophesied of the destruction that was to come to his beloved Jerusalem. The people mocked him and sought his life. He exclaimed, “Great and marvelous are thy works, O Lord God Almighty!” [27] Does that sound like a man distressed to be going out into the wilderness? He was a man of faith and he knew the Lord was with him.

Nephi went back with his brothers to get the plates from Laban. He valiantly testified, “…I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.” [28] He was a disciple. He faced hardships and the harassment of his brothers, but he trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Abinadi, one of my favorites, stood firm in his witness of the Savior even as he was consumed by fire. He testified before King Noah and his wicked priests that “only in and through Christ ye can be saved.” [29] They killed him for it; he sealed the truth of his words with his death.

Alma, touched in his heart by the words of Abinadi’s, fled the court of King Noah and became a great prophet leader. He taught and baptized many crying unto the Lord. “…Pour out thy Spirit upon thy servant, that he may do this work with holiness of heart.” [30] If Alma were here today, he would pray that all of us assembled would do the work we came to do with “holiness of heart.” [31]

The two thousand stripling warriors stood in defense of their families against those attacking the ways of God. What I love in this account is the statement that these youth were “true at all times in whatsoever thing they were entrusted.” [32]

Samuel, a Lamanite prophet, was cast out of Zarahemla for preaching repentance. But he jumped up on the wall over the city speaking the words the Lord put in his heart. [33] He did not come down as naysayers threw rocks and shot arrows at him. With faith emboldened, he called the people to repentance and prophesied of the signs of the birth and death of Jesus Christ. [34]

And then Moroni, who stood on the battlefield strewn with the bodies of his people and lamented, “I am alone.” [35] The next time you worry about showing up for a ward activity, alone, think what Moroni would do and walk in with your head up and your faith that the Lord stands by you. Moroni continues, “My father hath been slain in battle, and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends, nor whither to go; and how long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.” [36] Then these hugely powerful words, “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.” [37]

Moroni saw earthquakes, storms, wars, the collapse of societies amidst the turmoil of our day. But I believe he also saw strong, covenant-keeping young people just like you who would hold high the banner of the Kingdom of God on earth, who would follow the living Prophet, President Nelson. President Nelson reminded us in Two Thousand and Nine when President Thomas S. Monson was presiding over the Church:

“Some revelations have been given for unique circumstances such as Noah’s building of the ark or the necessity for prophets like Moses, Lehi, and Brigham to lead their followers in arduous travel. God’s long-established pattern of teaching His children through prophets assures us that He will bless each prophet and that He will bless those who heed prophetic counsel.” [38]

What is President Nelson’s counsel today? Just weeks ago, in Conference referring to the same talk Elder Gilbert has mentioned:

“If you and I are to withstand the forthcoming perils and pressures, it is imperative that we each have a firm spiritual foundation built upon the rock of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.” [39]


“…It is now time that we each implement extraordinary measures—extraordinary—perhaps measures we have never taken before—to strengthen our personal spiritual foundations. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures.” [40] Unprecedented.

We know the plan and we revere we have a part in it. As we read in the scriptures:

“…Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.” [41]

I particularly like the encouragement to “cheerfully do all things.” Brothers and sisters this is a happy gospel with a glorious conclusion. Never get caught up in the cycle of “poor me . . . why me . . . what about me!” Never be drawn off by what is circulating on the internet or be among those hunched over with downcast faces and aimless lives. The Lord knows you; He knows your wounds and frailties and His Atonement has provided that with repentance, you may return home to your Father in Heaven.

Today in the office of the holy apostleship, I extend to you with an Apostolic blessing, every one of you here in the Assembly Hall and those of you online watching, that you will keep Jesus Christ always in your sights, that you will seek the power of His Atonement to bless your life when you falter, struggle, or need His strong hand, that you will be blessed to follow the counsel of living prophets and apostles and study their teachings. I pray that you “shall not be moved” [42] from standing as a witness of God. Take heed to the words our Lord and Savior spoke to Joseph in Liberty Jail, “…Hold on thy way . . . for God shall be with you forever and ever.” [43]

Brothers and sisters, from the First Presidency and the Twelve, know this—we love you, we love you. We thank you and we need you in this journey I have described today. I so testify. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] Acts 10:38

[2] Mosiah 18:9

[3] Mosiah 18:9

[4] See Luke 22:62

[5] Acts 5:40-42

[6] Psalms 16:8

[7] Abraham 3:27

[8] Matthew 27:40

[9] Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #193, “I Stand All Amazed”

[10] Luke 23:34

[11] Matthew 27:50 JST

[12] Doctrine and Covenants 76:69

[13] Mosiah 24:14.

[14] “The Worth of Souls,” The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct 1934, p. 189.

[15] Doctrine and Covenants 135:3

[16] See Joseph Smith—History 1:17

[17] “Make Time For the Lord,” President Russell M. Nelson, October 3, 2021 General Conference

[18] Doctrine and Covenants 6:18

[19] Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #193, “I Stand All Amazed.”

[20] Doctrine and Covenants 68:6

[21] Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #302, “I Know That My Redeemer Lives.”

[22] Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #193, “I Stand All Amazed.”

[23] 2 Nephi 1:15

[24] See 2 Nephi 4:27

[25] Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #193, “I Stand All Amazed.”

[26] Enos 1:7

[27] 1 Nephi 1:14

[28] 1 Nephi 3:7

[29] Mosiah 16:13

[30] Mosiah 18:12

[31] Mosiah 18:12

[32] Alma 53:20

[33] See Helaman 13:5

[34] See Helaman 13-16

[35] Mormon 8:5

[36] Mormon 8:5

[37] Mormon 8:35

[38] President Russell M. Nelson, “Ask, Seek, Knock,” General Conference October 2009.

[39] President Russell M. Nelson, “The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” General Conference October 2021.

[40] President Russell M. Nelson, “The Temple and Your Spiritual Foundation,” General Conference October 2021.

[41] Doctrine and Covenants 123:17.

[42] Doctrine and Covenants 124:45.

[43] Doctrine and Covenants 122:9.


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