Last night we listened to the CES fireside with Elder M. Russell Ballard. Near the end he told a story about a stake conference talk he heard from his 90 year old stake patriarch on the importance of enduring to the end. Part of that story included the phrase "safely dead" and I knew I had heard that phrase before, but I remembered it being a general conference talk, and not a stake conference talk. I also didn't think it was given by Elder Ballard. So, I did some research in my old D&C seminary manual, and discovered it really did come from Elder Ballard. This isn't the first time he's told the story!
Here's the quote:
"We are a covenant people. If there is a distinguishing feature about members of the Church, it is that we make covenants. We need to be known as a covenant-keeping people as well. Making promises is easy, but to follow through and do what we have promised is another matter. That involves staying the course, being constant and steadfast. It means keeping the faith and being faithful to the end despite success or failure, doubt or discouragement. It is drawing near to the Lord with all our hearts. It is doing whatever we promise to do with all our might -- even when we might not feel like it.
"I once attended a funeral service with Elder M. Russell Ballard. A statement he made there has remained with me to this day. He said, 'Life isn't over for a Latter-day Saint until he or she is safely dead, with their testimony still burning brightly.' 'Safely dead' -- what a challenging concept. Brothers and sisters, we will not be safe until we have given our hearts to the Lord -- until we have learned to do what we have promised."
Elder F. Burton Howard, April 1996 general conference