Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often mistakenly called the Mormon Church), celebrate Christmas and Easter with enthusiasm and spirit.  Mormons live in many lands and cultures, some of which have a Christian majority, making Easter a holiday observed by all.  In other countries without a Christian majority, Mormons join with other Christians in observing the most important holiday of the year, the observance of the atonement and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

easter_good cheer.jpgThe atonement of Jesus Christ is the center of Mormon belief.  Everything we are and do hinges on that.  Mormons believe that the entire work of God is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 1:39).  Immortality is guaranteed through the universal resurrection of all living things, brought about by the atonement of Christ.  In the resurrection, we will all enjoy perfect, immortal, and whole bodies that cannot age, become diseased, or die.  Therefore, Christ has overcome physical death; He has overcome the grave.

Eternal life is to dwell forever in God’s very presence.  This is not the same as salvation, which is to be saved into one of the myriad mansions in heaven.  This is exaltation into God’s presence, and it is conditional upon our righteousness, thoughts, deeds, intents, and in fulfilling requirements of eternal covenants and ordinances.  Through doing work for the dead in holy Mormon temples, Latter-day Saints provide those ordinances, that the dead may choose to accept them or reject them.  Thus, they can move from salvation to exaltation, should they choose and qualify to do so.

On normal Sundays, Mormons attend church for three hours.  Sacrament meeting, during which the sacramental emblems (Eucharist) are passed, is different on Easter.  Mormons sing hymns about the resurrection of Christ, (some of which are old Christian standards) and the congregation’s choir may sing special hymns.  Sermons (presented by lay members, who call them “talks”) deal with the resurrection and atonement of the Savior.

Mormons do not have a Lenten season leading up to Easter.  They fast one Sunday each month throughout the year and donate the funds they would have spent on food to the poor.  They repent constantly of their sins and strive to do better. There is no carnival season, either, just normal, diligence and humility.  The Mormon laws of health guarantee that Mormons live circumspectly and in moderation all their days, and not just during Lent.

The peripheral trappings of Easter observed by Latter-day Saints vary from family to family and culture to culture.  In the United States, Latter-day Saints may join their neighbors for Easter egg rolls, or coloring eggs.  In Greece Latter-day Saint families will dye Easter eggs blood red, as their neighbors do, and bake festive breads.  Gathering the family together for a feast is common everywhere.

Mormons perceive the atonement of Christ as the central event in all of history and the one that is most powerful and meaningful in the lives of all who have ever dwelt on earth.  Therefore, they try to minimize the peripheral and more worldly trappings of Easter to focus on the Savior and His sacrifice for us.

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