A boat is a fitting symbol for what is being taught in Elder M. Russell Ballard's October 2014 General Conference talk.
What would you do if you were on the Titanic? If you could see what was coming, would you say anything to the other passengers? Or would you quietly get your family off the boat, back to shore, and onto a rock where there is sure footing?
A boat is very vulnerable to the storms of life. The judgments of God can be easily felt on a boat.
Jonah felt the Lord's displeasure out at sea. “But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” Jonah 1:4
Laman and Lemuel felt the judgments of God out at sea. “And it came to pass that after they [Laman and Lemuel] had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me. And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof.” 1 Nephi 18:12-15
The disciples of Jesus were fearful and showed their lack of faith on the sea. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea,Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:37-41
The waters cannot be trusted. Like the doctrines and teachings of men, they are shifting and ever moving. When the storms of life come upon me, I don't want to be on a boat at all. I don't care how many people are on the boat with their life jackets. When the mighty storm is beating upon me, I don't even want to be standing on a sandy beach Matthew 7:24-29. I want to be standing on a sturdy rock:-) Holding on to a sinking boat with both hands will not save me.
In Russell Ballard'sOctober 2014 General Conference, he likened himself to an experienced river guide. He said he recently spoke at the new mission presidents’ seminar and counseled the leaders to “Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church. … We will not and … cannot lead [you] astray. And as you teach your missionaries to focus their eyes on us. . .”
In contrast, Helaman taught, “And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” Helaman 5:12
"Call me Mr. Fat Jack"
If you're looking to the “church boat” to save you, you have reason to be uneasy. If you know how to get your own revelation and swim, get off the boat, and swim back to shore. The only guide you need is the Lord Jesus Christ. Only pretenders would divert your attention away from the Lord and teach you to focus your eyes on them. No man should ever stand between you and your Lord. Plant your feet on the Rock of our Redeemer.