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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Declaration of Easter

Today being Easter Sunday, I will promote the Mormon views on Easter and the Christ.

Nothing but joy can emanate from my heart on a day like today.  It was a warm day in Provo, UT, and testimony rang from the sermons at Church regarding the Christ.  Still, many outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wonder of our declaration of the Christ on Easter, and I feel to give it here, as spoken by the Prophets and Apostles, both of old and of modern origin.  Then I will give my own knowledge pertaining thereto.

It is amazing to me that One so pure and undefiled would be willing to put His life on the line - both His physical and spiritual life - to expiate my every sin.  But, not only did Jesus do that for me, He did that for you - He took upon Himself every pain, sorrow, heartache, sadness, loss, difficulty, blemish (physical and otherwise), inadequacy, trauma, etc. - for you and me and everyone who has, does now, or will yet live upon the earth.  "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent. . . . 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. (D&C 19:16-18)"  This suffering took place in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The Master was then taken to a mock trial, and afterward crucified between two thieves.  Elder McConkie tells us that whilst Messiah was hanging on the cross "all the infinite agonies and merciless pains of Gethsemane recurred" ("The Purifying Power of Gethsemane", Ensign, May 1985).

After three days, a most marvelous, miraculous, and transcendent event occurred.  As prophesied by many ancient prophets, "now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:20).  Because of this Resurrected Christ, we need not fear with the lowering of the body into the cold and silent grave, but rather rejoice evermore in that Christ hath swallowed up death in Himself, He having the key to the bottomless pit.  

We need not trust in just the written word alone for this knowledge, for it has been given anew by modern Prophets and Apostles that Christ is indeed risen again from the dead.  Joseph Smith taught, 

The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened. We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber. His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father. (D&C 110:1-4)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, 

And now, as pertaining to this perfect Atonement, wrought by the shedding of the blood of God—I testify that it took place in Gethsemane and at Golgotha, and as pertaining to Jesus Christ, I testify that He is the Son of the living God and was crucified for the sins of the world.  He is our Lord, our God, and our King.  This I know of myself, independent of any other person.  I am one of His witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in His hands and in His feet and shall wet His feet with my tears.  But I shall not know any better then than I know now that He is God’s Almighty Son, that He is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through His atoning blood and in no other way ("Purifying Power", Ensign, May 1985).

President Gordon B. Hinckley testified boldly, "He is our triumphant Lord. He is our Redeemer, who atoned for our sins. Through His redeeming sacrifice all men shall rise from the grave. He has opened the way whereby we may gain not only immortality but also eternal life.  As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I bear witness and testimony of these things this Easter day. I speak in solemnity and reverence and gratitude" ("He Is Not Here, but Is Risen", Ensign, May 1999).

I also bear record that I, Clark LeRay Herlin, know with assurance, that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead.  This doctrine taught I in California for two years, and have been teaching the doctrine online for the past two also.  I know that Christ lives and that we will see our loved ones who have died again, and that in our own bodies - all because of One single life - that of Jesus the Christ.  In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen!

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