Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yes, Mormons Do Celebrate Easter; Easter Messages From The LDS Church's First Presidency And From Elder Jeffrey Holland Of The Quorum Of The Twelve

Some people wonder whether we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually celebrate Easter. They cite the lack of unique events, like sunrise services, as cause for their doubt. Sometimes their doubt is fueled by the handful of anti-Mormon apostates who seek to undermine the Church by misrepresentation.

Let me assure you, we do celebrate Easter. We focus on Jesus Christ at Easter by celebrating His atonement and resurrection. One singular example is a huge pageant held in Mesa, Arizona about Christ's life, ministry, death, and resurrection. This Easter pageant is the world's largest annual outdoor Easter pageant, with a cast of over 400 who celebrate Easter through music, dance, and drama.

More typically, the Easter message is incorporated into the normal services at each ward. During Sacrament meeting, we worship the Lord by partaking of the sacrament, singing hymns of praise, and praying together. We focus on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, including talks, lessons, Easter hymns, songs, and prayers. Sometimes a ward may hold a special Easter program during sacrament meeting which might include a narrative, special musical number(s), and talks about Easter and Jesus Christ.

And this year, the First Presidency of the LDS Church has delivered the following message:

At this Easter season of hope and renewal we testify of the glorious reality of the atonement and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The empty tomb brought comforting assurance and provided the answer to the question of Job, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14).

Because of the Savior’s resurrection we will overcome death and become the beneficiaries of His mercy and grace. In a world of trouble and uncertainty, His peace fills our hearts and eases our minds. Jesus is in very deed “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).

We give our sure witness that Jesus is the Christ. Though He was crucified, He rose triumphant from the tomb to our everlasting blessing and benefit. To each member of the human family He stands as our Advocate, our Savior, and our Friend.

The Quorum of the Twelve has also delivered their own Easter message, entitled "None Were With Him", through Elder Jeffrey Holland, who reminds us that Christ had to walk alone through his ultimate moment, as even the "rock" upon who he would found his church, Peter, denied Him thrice:

Other inspirational videos can be found on the Mormon Messages website.

Yes, we most definitely celebrate Easter as the culminating event of Jesus Christ's mission. At Gethsemane, He took upon Himself the sins of the world. At Calvary, he offered Himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sinners of the world. But it was his Resurrection, where he became the only person to ever take up his mortal tabernacle of his own volition after laying it down, that turned the key which opens the door to eternal life for all of us, if we accept Him as our Savior. So it's the Risen Savior we commemorate.

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