What is the significance of Easter for Mormons?

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answered by a former leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Easter Pageants

Most temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) perform pageants. Some, such as the temple where I live in Mesa, Arizona, choose to annually perform a beautiful “Easter” pageant. Mormons and Christians do not share the same understanding of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection. In years past, the pageant was performed depicting events in accordance with Mormon teachings. Apparently, in more recent years, when LDS leaders realized that this was offending Christians, they began presenting the Christian view of Easter. The main purpose after all seems to be to draw non-Mormons. During this show, one may find the grounds teeming with Mormon missionaries. They use this performance to get visitors to fill out a card which results in later home visits from missionaries. The non-LDS person rarely knows that the pageant is used for that purpose.

Celebration of Resurrection Sunday

Resurrection Sunday itself is pretty much a non-event for Mormons. Although this religious holiday is mentioned among Mormons, I know of none that actually celebrate it in a major way. Most use the time to either view the annual LDS conference televised from Salt Lake, Utah, or discuss the conference or prepare for it.

Christ’s Death

The Mormon's concept of Jesus is different than the Bible's. When their Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane, he shed there his blood for the transgression of sins. The LDS Church does not accept the biblical idea that Christ's blood was shed on the cross to wash away our sins - present, past and future. Mormons fail to realize that the empty cross is for Christians the symbol of their salvation and the fulfillment of God's promise.

Under the Mormon system of theology, one must in effect, earn their way into heaven. In the LDS Articles of Faith, Mormon apostle James Talmadge states that since your "sins are the result of individual acts it is just that forgiveness for them should be conditioned on individual compliance with prescribed requirements - ‘obedience to the laws and ordinances of the [LDS] Gospel.’" [James Talmadge*, Articles of Faith, p. 87.] "Christ's atonement makes it possible to be saved from sin if we do our part," says Elder Boyd K. Packer, an apostle of the LDS Church. Doing “our part” refers a need to work out our own salvation. This is in disagreement with the New Testament's teaching of grace (See Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:21-25; Romans 5; Titus 3:5; Luke 18:10-14, Romans 4:5, Galatians 3 and 5:4). According to the Bible one cannot work their way to Heaven. Salvation is by faith alone - acceptance of God's gift of salvation and reliance on Christ's promise of what will happen after our Earthly death. Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life" (John 5:24).

The Bible says…
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
-Ephesians 2:8-9

The Resurrection

Mormons believe that Christ’s resurrection is their personal guarantee that they and everyone else will also be resurrected. But where they go after death is determined by the number of works they perform in this life and whether they are good Mormons.

When Mormons are asked, “If you were to die at this very moment, where would you go?” If they are honest, they will reply, “Well, I hope that I've done enough good works that I can progress to the highest heaven, the Celestial Kingdom.” Mormons believe that there is a “paradise” or spirit world where all humans go after death. In this spirit world, there are supposedly Mormon missionaries who give you one more chance to accept or reject the message of Mormonism. If you accept, then you are baptized by proxy into the church here on Earth. This is known as baptism for the dead. Those that have accepted LDS teachings go to one of the Mormon heavens (Celestial, Terrestrial or Telestial), depending on their Earthly works.

Author: Jim Robertson, Concerned Christians. Editor: Paul S. Taylor, Christian Answers.

Reference Note

* Although there are “13 Articles of Faith” in the LDS religion, there is also a book written on the subject called Articles of Faith by the late LDS apostle Dr. James E. Talmage, first published by Deseret Book Co. (the LDS religion's publishing company) in 1899. Mr. Talmage served in the LDS religion as an apostle between December 7, 1911 and his death on July 27, 1933. His book is considered to be an LDS classic. The quote can actually be found in chapter 4, at the top of p. 79 of “Articles of Faith.” (Bob Betts, Concerned Christians)

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