Many people believe that Mormons do not celebrate Easter, but the answer may be more complicated than you think.
Yes, Mormons do celebrate Easter. Contrary to popular belief. An extravagant Easter pageant is held at the Latter-Day Saints Temple in Mesa where a cast of hundreds perform a musical about the Easter story and Jesus’ resurrection to an audience of 100,000.
So, there you have it—Mormons do celebrate Easter. Why then is the myth that Mormons shun this traditional Christian holiday so prevalent?
Are there any Mormons who do reject Easter? And how is the holiday celebrated by those who embrace it? Read on to find out.
Why do Mormons celebrate Easter?
Mormons believe that Christ took on the weight of all humanity’s sins (past and future) in the Garden of Gethsemane before he died on the cross.
And they believe that Jesus was resurrected three days later.
Christ’s sacrifice and his triumph over death means that ALL people can repent their sins and live after death in Heaven.
The death and resurrection of Christ is the most important part of Mormon doctrine, and they want to celebrate Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for the sake of humanity.
Why do people think that celebrating Easter is against Mormon beliefs?
One of the main symbols of Easter is the cross. Most Mormons do not wear a cross nor are crosses displayed in Mormon places of worship.
This is, most likely, the main reason we assume Mormons do not celebrate Easter when in fact they do.
However, as Gordon B. Hinkley, a Mormon prophet stated: “because our Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith.”
Do all Mormons celebrate Easter?
Not all Mormons celebrate Easter. At least one group rejects Easter as a pagan tradition.
The dates of both Easter and Christmas celebrations were aligned with the pagan holidays they were designed to replace: Eostre and Yule.
The most likely reason for this was to make it easier to bring pagans across to the new religion.
The secular symbols of Easter, including the egg and the rabbit, are fertility symbols that represent new life in spring.
How do Mormons celebrate Easter?
One of the ways Mormons celebrate Easter is with a huge outdoor pageant in Mesa. It’s free to attend and has beautiful sets and costumes.
The pageant tells the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and includes musical numbers.
Mormons attend Easter services at church where they sing Easter-themed hymns about atonement.
They have Easter Egg hunts, decorate Easter baskets, wear new Easter dresses, and have celebratory feasts with their families.
There are performances by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. And the church produces new videos about Christ so that families can sit down together after lunch or dinner and watch new media.
Do Mormon Easter celebrations differ from those of other Christians?
One of the things that Mormons believe is that Christ visited the people of Nephi on the American continent after his resurrection.
These people, the spiritual ancestors of Mormons, were encouraged to touch Christ’s wounds.
They believe that, during his three days in the tomb, Jesus visited the spirit world and preached to the dead.
“While this vast multitude waited and conversed, rejoicing in the hour of their adeliverance from the chains of death, the Son of God appeared, declaring bliberty to the ccaptives who had been faithful;” (Doctrine and Covenants 138).
At some point during their Easter celebrations, at home, at the Mesa pageant, or in Church, Mormons will hear these stories of Christ’s Atonement, Crucifixion and Resurrection.
Want to learn more?
There you have it – Mormons do in fact celebrate Easter, although it’s not necessarily the same way Christians do.
If you want to know more about how Mormons celebrate Easter, their church services are open to people of all faiths, and you will be welcome to join them.