Why the LDS Church will not be conducting Easter services this year.
The LDS Church will not be celebrating Easter this year.
The 2015 Spring General Conference of the LDS Church always takes place during the first weekend in April. This important biannual conference is an opportunity for the General Authorities and the Living Prophet to offer encouragement, inspiration and teachings of the Mormon Church. As a result, there will be no formal services or meeting times on Easter Sunday at Mormon churches around the world.
This should not be a surprise since the celebration of Easter is downplayed each year. Instead, like most teachings of the LDS Church, attention is given to inspire the works of human beings rather than the works of Jesus Christ. In an Easter message given by President Thomas Monson, he stated, "So that we might have every chance of success, He provided a Savior, who would suffer and die for us."**
To help understand what President Monson is trying to say, Mormonism teaches that life begins in a person's pre-existence as a spirit child begotten by Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. The purpose of life on earth is to obtain mortal bodies so that people may experience a time of testing to prove themselves and qualify for what God has prepared for them in the heavenly realm. According to Mormon doctrine, Jesus Christ came to this earth to mark the way to perfection. He is Heavenly Father's literal son who was born into mortal flesh. Through his life and the Atonement, he passed the test and has become a god. Now, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ "beckon us to follow [him] and to become perfect, as They are perfect."*
Mormonism teaches that as a result of Christ's atonement, all people are "saved" from physical death and will be resurrected. Christ's resurrection is an example of what will happen to us as a result of his Atonement. This act is referred to as Christ redeeming our soul. For this reason, a Mormon will say, "He lives and we will too." Christ has done his part through his perfect life and death, now Heavenly Father and Jesus have been given the opportunity for Mormons to fulfill their eternal potential and become like them in every way. "I testify to you that He lives and that He awaits our triumphant return."* A Mormon celebration of Easter is recognizing what Jesus has done, but the emphasis is now on the Mormon to “eternally progress” and renew their commitment and covenant promises to be like Christ. This is the Mormon "gospel."
A Mormon's Easter celebration will also focus on the joy family members will receive by being reunited after death. They are encouraged to obey God's instructions in order for the entire family to get to the right kingdom of glory. In another Easter message entitled, "He is Risen!", President Monson shared a story of a fifteen year old boy who recently died from an illness. The boy's father sent a message to Monson that included a photograph of his dying son on a hospital bed. His older brother was standing next to the bed holding his mission call. The caption beneath the photograph read, "Called to serve their missions together - on both sides of the veil." It also included a letter from his sister who was serving an LDS mission in Argentina. She wrote, "I know that Jesus Christ lives, and because He lives, all of us, including our beloved brother, will live again too. .. We can take comfort in the sure knowledge we have that we have been sealed together as an eternal family. ... If we do our very best to obey and do better in this life, we will see him again."**
The obedience of a Mormon will dictate how far our soul can eternally progress and qualify for heavenly rewards. Ultimately, the desire of every Mormon is to have their entire family be worthy and obedient so they may be together for eternity.
What a different gospel then the one presented in the Bible! Because Jesus declared, "It is finished!", and then rose triumphant on Easter morning, we have full comfort, peace, and assurance. We know that our inheritance in heaven is secure. It is not by our works, but by Christ’s completed work on our behalf. Our sins have been fully paid for by the perfect sacrifice of Christ.
*"The Race of Life" by President Thomas S. Monson (April, 2012, General Conference) **"He is Risen!" by President Thomas S. Monson (May, 2010, Liahona magazine)