`What a glorious day this is!'

By Joseph Smith's own account, it was "on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring" that the long-sealed up heavens were opened and the voice of God was once again heard on the earth. (See JS-H 1:14.)

Perhaps there was nothing significant about the time of the year that this transcendent event occurred, but the season is symbolic of what took place.When spring returns as it has done every year since the dawn of time, it brings with it the brightness of a new day. The drab and dreariness of winter are pushed aside once again and the cycle of life begins anew. Such is now occurring in the Northern Hemisphere, as spring has returned once again. In many locales, temperatures are beginning to climb, spring bulb flowers are popping through the ground, trees will soon be leafed out, and many animals will bring forth their newborn. In the spring, the world takes on a bright, new look. How many times have we exclaimed on one of those first lovely spring mornings, "What a beautiful day!"?

When the Father and the Son appeared in a grove of trees in upstate New York to the boy Prophet in 1820 after a long winter of silence lasting many centuries, it also ushered in the brightness of a new day - a new era where the heavens were opened and man once again received divine guidance from above. A new day dawned. The winter of spiritual stillness had ended.

"Oh, how lovely was the morning! Radiant beamed the sun above." (See Hymns, #26.) Yes, what a momentous day it was!

Many significant events in the Church have occurred in the spring, although the time of the year may have had little to do with what happened.

The Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods were restored in the spring of 1829 on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. In the spring of 1830, in upstate New York, the Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra, and the Church was organized in Fayette. In the spring of 1836, heavenly messengers returned to the earth, restoring keys of the kingdom to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. The first six temples in the Church (Kirtland, Nauvoo, Logan, Manti, St. George and Salt Lake) were all dedicated in the spring during a nearly 60-year span.

With each event, a new day dawned in the restoration of the gospel. Surely, the Prophet must have thought what a tremendous day it was when the first copies of the Book of Mormon came off the Grandin press. And following their baptisms after the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, Joseph and Oliver undoubtedly felt it was a grand day as they "experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father." (History of the Church 1:42.) After the Church was organized, the Prophet recorded that "the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree . . . while we all praised the Lord and rejoiced exceedingly." (History of the Church 1:78.) Certainly that also was a great day in the life of the Prophet. And after the Kirtland Temple was dedicated, the proceedings of the day ended by the participants shouting hosanna. (History of the Church 2:427.) For them, it had to have been a marvelous time as the first temple in this dispensation was dedicated.

Rejoiced exceedingly is a term that could be used after each of those special events took place.

Rejoiced exceedingly is also a term that we could use after participating in important happenings in our own lives, so many of which pertain to family. "What a beautiful day it is" - regardless of the weather - when our children are married in the temple, when our sons or daughters go on missions, when our children or grandchildren are baptized, when our children do what is right.

But, sadly, there are other days in our lives when we may not find such joy. The rains come when marriages fall on the rocks, when children turn from our teachings, when health fails, when death stalks a young mother or a small child in the spring of his or her life. However, if it were not for the atonement of Jesus Christ, the rains in our lives would never cease.

As we commemorate that most sacred event at Easter time, may we give thanks that the Savior's infinite sacrifice made it possible that we will all rise from the grave. May we also give thanks that, in spite of our sorrows which certainly will come in this earthly life, He also made it possible that we, on condition of our righteousness, may return to Him in the brightness of a new day. Surely, when that time comes, we will rejoice exceedingly, and undoubtedly even say, "What a glorious day this is!"

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