Dear brothers and sisters, when our sons were very young, I told them bedtime stories about beagle puppies and hummed bedtime hymns, including “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.”1 Sometimes I playfully changed the words: Now it’s time to go to sleep—hallelujah. Usually our sons fell asleep quickly; or at least they knew if I thought they were asleep, I would stop singing.
Words—at least my words—cannot express the overwhelming feelings since President Russell M. Nelson lovingly took my hands in his, my dear Susan at my side, and extended this sacred call from the Lord that took my breath away and has left me weeping many times these past days.
This Easter Sabbath, I joyfully sing, “Alleluia.” The song of our risen Savior’s redeeming love2 celebrates the harmony of covenants (that connect us to God and to each other) and the Atonement of Jesus Christ (that helps us put off the natural man and woman and yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit3).
Together, our covenants and our Savior’s Atonement enable and ennoble. Together, they help us hold on and let go. Together, they sweeten, preserve, sanctify, redeem.
Said the Prophet Joseph Smith: “It may seem to some to be a very bold doctrine that we talk of—a power which records or binds on earth and binds in heaven. Nevertheless, in all ages of the world, whenever the Lord has given a dispensation of the priesthood to any man by actual revelation, or any set of men, this power has always been given.”4
And so it is today. Sacred covenants and ordinances, not available anywhere else, are received in 159 holy houses of the Lord in 43 countries. Promised blessings come through restored priesthood keys, doctrine, and authority, reflecting our faith, obedience, and the promises of His Holy Spirit to us in our generations, in time and eternity.
Dear brothers and sisters in every nation, kindred, and tongue, across our worldwide Church, thank you for your living faith, hope, and charity in every footstep. Thank you for becoming a gathering fulness of restored gospel testimony and experience.
Dear brothers and sisters, we belong to each other. We can be “knit together in unity and in love”5 in all things and in all places.6 As the Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances, please “come and see.”7
This day I humbly pledge all the energies and faculties of my soul,8 whatever they be or may become, to my Savior, to my dear Susan and our family, to my Brethren, and to each of you, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Everything worthy and eternal is centered in the living reality of God, our loving Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Atonement, witnessed by the Holy Ghost.9 This is Easter Sunday. I reverently witness and solemnly testify of the living Christ—He who “died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven.”10 He is Alpha and Omega11—with us in the beginning, He is with us to the end.
I testify of latter-day prophets, from the Prophet Joseph Smith to our dear President Russell M. Nelson, whom we joyfully sustain. As our Primary children sing, “Follow the prophet; he knows the way.”12 I witness that, as prophesied in the holy scriptures, including in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, “the Lord’s kingdom [is] once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.”13 In the holy and sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.