Prophet bore testimony of resurrected redeemer

Died on Calvary

Was buried- Arose from the tomb

Proclaiming Easter as the anniversary of "the greatest miracle in human history," President Gordon B. Hinckley centered part of his Sunday morning address on the Savior's atoning sacrifice and resurrection. He spoke also of another anniversary - the 150th of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, said the miracle of Easter encompasses all who have lived, all who now live and all who will yet live upon the earth. "Nothing done before or since has so affected mankind as the atonement wrought by Jesus of Nazareth who died on Calvary's cross, was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, and on the third day arose from the grave as the Living Son of the Living God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world," he said.

"As mortals we all must die. Death is as much a part of life as is birth. Looked at through our mortal eyes, without comprehension of the eternal plan of God, death is a bleak, final and unrelenting experience described by Shakespeare as `the undiscover'd country from whose bourn no traveller returns.'

"But our Eternal Father, whose children we are, made possible a far better thing through the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This had to be. Can anyone believe that the Great Creator would provide for life and growth and achievement only to snuff it all into oblivion in the process of death? Reason says no. Justice demands a better answer. The God of heaven has given one. The Lord Jesus Christ provided it.

"His was the ultimate sacrifice, His the sublime victory."

President Hinckley said there is not a more fully attested experience in history than the resurrection of Jesus on the first Easter morning. He referred to the New Testament, in which is recorded accounts of many who saw the resurrected Savior. "It has served as the foundation of faith of uncounted millions across the world into whose hearts there has come the witness of the Holy Spirit that it is true. They have lived by this testimony and they have died by it. When the dark shadow of death has crossed their paths, when hope normally would have fled, there has come the reassurance that `as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' (1 Cor. 15:22.) In such hours of darkness there has shown forth a light steady and certain to sustain and comfort and bless."

Holding up a copy of the Book of Mormon, he said there is another testament: "This scripture of the new world is before us as an added witness of the divinity and reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the all-encompassing beneficence of His atonement, and of His coming forth from the darkness of the grave." He spoke of prophets' testimonies about Jesus Christ that are recorded in the Book of Mormon.

"This testimony is here to handle, it is here to be read, it is here to be pondered, it is here to be prayed over with a promise that he who prays shall know by the power of the Holy Ghost of its truth and validity."

He said if that is not enough, there is the testimony of Joseph Smith, "who sealed with his blood the testimony of his Lord. Today we celebrate the anniversary of Easter. This year we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith."

President Hinckley spoke of the deaths of the Prophet and his brother Hyrum at Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. He cited John Taylor's tribute to them, recorded in D&C 135:3, 7.

President Hinckley spoke of the "leading characters" on both sides of "that tragic event" in Carthage: Joseph the prophet-martyr on one side, and, on the other Thomas Ford, the governor of Illinois who pledged the protection of the state but failed to provide it.

He read an excerpt from History of Illinois, in which the governor called the Prophet an imposter, and predicted he would never establish a policy "which looked to permanent success in the future."

President Hinckley recounted how the governor fell upon tragic and sorrowful circumstances and died in abject poverty, with his remains consigned to an unmarked grave for many years. He noted that the Prophet's work has endured and his name is mentioned by millions in honor.

He said he regarded Governor Ford "as one who sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind."

He said, "The shadow of the events of June 1844 have now lengthened over a century and a half. That shadow has reached across a substantial part of the world. The history is clear, and it is wonderful to survey."

President Hinckley further said of the Prophet: "Out of a vision wondrous and beautiful, experienced in the prime and vigor of his life, he wrote these words which confirm the truth of that first Easter morning:

" `And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

" `For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father -

" `That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.' " (D&C 76:22-24.)

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