My beloved brothers and sisters, words are so inadequate to express the deep and tender feelings of my heart as I stand at this pulpit, which has been hallowed by the prophets of God and their associates, the General Authorities of the Church. Yes, “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:21), for “they spake the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31.)
I love and revere these valiant servants of our Heavenly Father and feel honored and very humbled to be numbered among them.
I come to this calling knowing that God lives—that he is our Father, that Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, our Savior and the Redeemer of the world. I say, as did Job:
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
“And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
“Whom I shall see for myself.” (Job 19:25–27.)
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, called of God, an instrument in His hands to restore the gospel in its fulness.
The accounts of the marvelous manifestations and experiences of his youth, and throughout his life, have always been very real to me. I have identified with him as if they had almost been experiences of my own.
I sustain our beloved prophet, Spencer W. Kimball, with all the strength that I possess. I never cease to marvel at the lengthened stride and progress of the Church under his inspired leadership and that of his noble associates.
I express special appreciation to President Gordon B. Hinckley this day for his great and dedicated service at this time in the history of the Church.
Now, the great desire of my heart is to always be found in step and in unity with the Brethren and to be in harmony with the revealed word and will of God, for I know that obedience is the first law of heaven and the first law of his kingdom here on earth.
Therefore I desire to do well that which is assigned to me, wherever and under whatever circumstances. “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord.” I’ll do what you want me to do. (See Hymns, no. 75.)
With all my heart I desire to share my testimony with others of our Father’s children—those who may have need of strengthening within the flock, those who may have estranged themselves from God and his Church, or those who may never have heard the glorious gospel message.
My earnest desire is to kindle in their hearts that which burns so deeply and strongly within my own, that they, too, may have the peace, the happiness, the security, and the spiritual strength that gospel living brings.
As President Kimball has said of truth and of testimony, it “is the electric light illuminating the cavern; the wind and sun dissipating the fog. … It is much more than all else, for … ‘this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.’ (John 17:3.)” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 14.)
Testimony, like the widow’s cruse of oil, will not fail (see 1 Kgs. 17:14), neither be diminished as it is shared; rather, it will be enlarged at its base and renewed at its source.
With this calling comes the privilege and the blessing and obligation of sharing my testimony as an especial witness of Him whose name we bear and in whose image and likeness we were created. (See D&C 107:25.)
I want to kindle in the hearts of our Father’s children a desire to receive the sacred ordinances of His holy house and help them to understand the importance of associated covenants and the necessity of honoring those covenants if they are to have eternal life.
I want to help them understand and appreciate the joy of service in the temples and to understand that service is essential to their salvation. The Savior taught this mighty principle when he said, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matt. 25:40.)
In closing, I wish to express my eternal gratitude to the sweetheart of my youth, my eternal companion, for her long and loyal and faithful service and devotion to that cause which we both espouse. I express my love and devotion to our five daughters, their husbands, our grandchildren, and to my sisters and their families, all of whom extend to me their confidence and their love. I bear this sacred witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.