Do Mormons Celebrate Easter?
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes called "Mormons," because of the collection of scripture called the Book of Mormon, the atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ is the most important and central event in the history of the earth.
Mormon doctrine holds that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, was baptized by immersion by John the Baptist, ministered in the Holy Land to the Jews, established His Church, gave power and authority to His apostles to continue His work, suffered in Gethsemane, was crucified, and rose again the third day — the "firstfruits of the resurrection." His resurrection guaranteed that all of us, both the righteous and the wicked, will be resurrected, to live on eternally with perfect bodies, no longer subject to injury, sickness, or death. Thus, by His resurrection, Christ has overcome physical death, and the grave has no power over us except to separate us for a time from loved ones who have passed on before us.
Christ's atonement has also overcome what Mormons call the "second death," defined as our separation from God. His atonement offers us salvation from our sins, and purification through His grace, that we might stand before the Father and on condition of our faith and repentance, and our willingness to follow Him, to live with Him forever. Mormons call this "exaltation" or "eternal life."
How Mormons Celebrate Easter
Mormons celebrate Easter mostly according to the traditions of the cultures in which they live. In every area of the world, however, Mormons hold a special Sacrament Meeting to honor the resurrection of Christ. Choirs prepare musical pieces and special hymns honoring the day and the event, and narratives are based on the biblical account. Mormons do not follow the traditions of Lent, Ash Wednesday, or Good Friday. Nor do they participate in passion rites, such as mock crucifixions. It should be noted that Mormon General Conference is always held the first weekend of April, Easter season, and this also makes the season very special, as Latter-day Saints worldwide are able to listen to messages presented by prophets and apostles and other General Authorities of the LDS Church, and to listen to beautiful seasonal music presented by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and other choirs made up of members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Many Mormon temples also sponsor special events. Especially notable is the Easter pageant presented on the grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple. This is the largest Easter pageant in the world.
In 2012 the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ issued the following Easter message:
- This is the season of the year when the Christian world remembers the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Out of love for His Father and for us, the Savior allowed Himself to suffer beyond the capacity of mortal man. He said, "Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit — and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink — Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men" (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18-19).
- Our Savior broke the bands of death. Through His Resurrection there is assurance that life is everlasting. Our Lord and Savior is the living witness that such is so.
- As special witnesses, we declare that God does live. Jesus Christ is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer, our Mediator with the Father. Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again.
- The First Presidency,
- Thomas S. Monson
- Henry B. Eyring
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf
The Mesa Arizona Mormon Temple Easter Pageant
The Easter pageant staged at the Mesa Arizona Temple has been performed for seventy years. Recently, the pageant has been drawing about 15,000 people each evening to watch the performance.  Attendance at the yearly pageant is free of charge and tickets are not required. Cast members are not all Mormon, and people of many faiths attend the pageants. The pageant depicts the story of Jesus Christ's birth, ministry, death and Resurrection through music, dance and drama. The pageant is performed in Spanish on some evenings.