Thinking about Easter

This year Easter is April 16. In our ward, there will be a musical number, flowers on the podium, and a couple of talks to mark the occasion. It will not be surprising if the lessons in the auxiliaries and Sunday School go on with the pre-set lesson schedule and make no mention of the holiday (holy day). It would be a big surprise if talks the week before Easter made reference to Palm Sunday. There will be no mention made of Good Friday, and most Mormons wouldn’t understand a reference to Maundy Thursday.

Granted, Lent, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday all come out of a religious tradition that the early Mormons consciously broke from. Coming from the New England states they would have had a horror of anything that had a scent of “popery” about it. Our church has deliberately favored simplicity and lack of ritual in our Sunday services. I am wondering if we have taken it too far. I wonder if Mormons attend the only Christian church that doesn’t have a group of members who only come at Christmas and Easter.

A young woman whom I know was dating a Mormon, admittedly a not-too-active one. As their relationship progressed they decided to go to the local ward on Easter Sunday. As she continues to talk about it, I can only assume she has never gotten over getting to church and finding everyone watching TV. It was one of those years when Easter coincided with spring General Conference. I am sure many of the talks had an Easter theme, but I can certainly understand her shock in finding the Mormon celebration of Easter was vicarious and passive.

In a recent Dialogue article, Robert Rees discusses this subject of Mormons and their celebration of Easter at length. ( “Why Mormons Should Celebrate Holy Week,” 37, No. 3 [Fall, 2004] You can read this article at the Dialogue website under Past Issue Selections.). I fully agree with one of his conclusions:

One of the costs of our not focussing on Holy Week is that our Easter celebrations tend to be flat and mundane. Perhaps we don’t make more out of Easter because we haven’t spiritually prepared ourselves for this day of joy and gladness by preparing for it during the week before. Rarely are our Easter sacrament services marked by more than the singing of a few Easter hymns (and we have only a few) and a ‘talk’ on an Easter theme. For the most part, we pretty much go about doing things in our usual way. In doing so I believe we rob ourselves of the opportunity to bring Christ more fully into our hearts.

He also makes an interesting argument for a peculiarly Mormon Holy Week, saying it is possible that the First Vision took place on Easter, and that when Jesus Christ appeared to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836, it was Easter Sunday.

If ritual is discussed in our church, it is often preceded by the adjective “empty.” And certainly ritual can be empty. But simplicity can also be empty, when it is a mask for laziness and indifference. And for lack of initiative. One response to criticizing our lack of institutional observance of Easter would be to say there is nothing to stop us from enriching our observance in our own homes. I am sure there are homes where the Easter story is reviewed in Family Night, and where maybe even the concept behind Lent, that we do something different in our lives as a way of honoring the Savior’s sacrifice, is acted upon. But there is strength to be derived and beauty to be found in celebrating as a group–that is the reason we go to church. And that is one of the beauties of ritual: it provides a form for a group and we as individuals can feel inspired to provide and understand content.

In our church I think “correlation” has discouraged initiative. The directives about what musical instruments are or are not appropriate has narrowed the musical outlets for expression . All the cautions about the use of sources in lessons and talks discourage initiative. I think bishops and teachers are reluctant to step outside the directives and be creative even when they could. I think we are caught between thinking we are capable of putting together a meaningful service, and fear that we will step outside some unwritten line. I know that wards are not equal in their resources. Some wards have very little musical talent. Some wards have few people who are comfortable planning and implementing a “program” for Easter. But in the church we are used to accepting sincerity in place of skill and polish. It seems to me the congregation would respond to any energetic attempt from any source to celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

Why, for example, do we sing from Handel’s Messiah at Christmas, but not Easter? A crucifixion story, even with a happy ending, is tough competition for a baby in a manger with angels and shepherds and stars in supporting roles, but after all, the resurrection is more central to the message of Christianity than the birth of the Savior.

I do remember a day when little girls (and women) had an “Easter” dress–the new clothes a symbol of the new start. I remember when people who were motivated to participate in the choir at Christmastime were also motivated to participate at Easter. I think as our church emphasizes Christ more and more, our congregations long more and more for a richer observance of Easter. What do you think? Are you satisfied with Easter observance in your ward? If not, who is responsible for changing it?

Comments

  1. There is only one miracle I invest 100% faith in–the resurrection of Christ. All other miracles I don’t think matter too much. The virgin birth–I don’t need it, really. The 3 wise men–so what if it’s a theologically inventive narrative. But Easter–that’s what it is all about. I, for one, can’t celebrate it enough.

    This comment you note from Rees is interesting:

    He also makes an interesting argument for a peculiarly Mormon Holy Week, saying it is possible that the First Vision took place on Easter, and that when Jesus Christ appeared to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith in the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836, it was Easter Sunday.

    I would be afraid of this–if this happened, Easter might suffer from the Joseph Smith birthday affliction that happens at Christmas, ie, it could get out of hand and overshadow Easter in some families and wards.

    BTW, Rees has an interesting article in the newest Sunstone on views of Joseph Smith in art. I like Rees a lot and see the mantle of Eugene England falling on his shoulders.

  2. I like your thoughts. I usually break the lesson cycle for Christmas and Easter; this year I might break it for Palm Sunday as well.

  3. This year, the assigned lessons from the Wilford Woodruff manual for April (assuming that your ward hasn’t switched them around somehow) are on the Atonement (April 9) and Resurrection (April 16). Sunday School Gospel Doctrine should be on “Look to God and Live” — a lesson that includes the story of Moses and the brass serpent, a type of Christ on the cross. “Correlation” could do much worse.

  4. Nice post Kathleen. I would encourage everyone to find a Christian friend or co-worker and go to their Easter services. I observed Good Friday last year with a Catholic friend and it was wonderful.

  5. I have to agree with Ed Snow regarding trepidation with affiliating JS and Easter. The discomfort I feel when Christmas is ursurped by Joseph’s birthday in talks and in print is not something I hope to have at Easter too.

    While I understand the desire not to have “hollow” ritual, sometimes I do miss the beauty and cadence that comes with time-honored ritual. There is a certain comfort and draw to making Holy days very special.

  6. I wonder if Mormons attend the only Christian church that doesn’t have a group of members who only come at Christmas and Easter.

    There’s your answer. We celebrate Christ and His gospel all year ’round. We remember Him with every Sacrament blessing. Why put so much emphasis on one or two days? Because other people are surprised when we’re not like them? Because that’s the way the rest of America (Or Canada or France or…) does it? We do things the Lord’s way, not our neighbor’s way. D&C has detailed instructions on how to structure the preisthood and how to administer ordinances but nothing on special pageantry for particular holy days. In fact, a quick search through the OT shows that “observing times” is displeasing to the Lord. He has given us the Sabbath and the Sacrament for remembering Him. Trying to add to what He has given us without His direction… well, it doesn’t seem like a good idea.

  7. Re # 6, I thought the Sacrament prayer said we should always remember Him. To do that in a combined effort with the rest of the Christian world during a couple of holidays, a type of family reunion with our cousins in Christ, shouldn’t be too offensive to the creator and sustainer of the universe … at least in my opinion. I don’t think a person needs to be commanded in all things.

  8. Eric Russell says:

    It will not be surprising if the lessons in the auxiliaries and Sunday School go on with the pre-set lesson schedule and make no mention of the holiday (holy day).

    I don’t think the lessons allow for that much leeway, I think they’re pretty tightly scheduled for the full year. Thus, I agree that it would not be surprising if members continued with their lesson schedules, but not because members lack appreciation for Easter, but because if members were to do so it would comprise something of a mutiny.

  9. Eric Russell in #8: “because if members were to do so it would comprise something of a mutiny.”

    Eric, I guess one man’s mutiny is another’s welcome exercise of creativity and initiative/revelation.

    Can you wait to hang the mutineers until we get a chance to enjoy the lesson?

  10. Eric Russell says:

    Good point, Merrill. Maybe we should exercise our creativity and initiative and cancel church altogether and go have mass with the Catholics instead.

  11. Eric, let me know how that goes for you. For me, Catholic theology is too gothic.

    As an example, let me reference Ed’s comment above: “The virgin birth–I don’t need it, really.”

    I like that sentiment. I’ve been surprised that Mormonism ended up with a virgin birth. Given our elevation of man/woman to Godhood, I don’t think we had the theological need that seems to have driven the development of the concept. Personally, I view Christ as the offspring of Joseph and Mary.

  12. As Mormonism increasingly becomes its own religious tradition, Christian feasts and holidays become less relevant to the LDS liturgical calendar. So instead of Lent and Palm Sunday and even Easter, the LDS annual cycle revolves around the two General Conference weekends and such anniversaries as the birth of Joseph Smith, the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood, and Pioneer Day commemorating the arrival of the migrating Saints into the Salt Lake Valley. If there were known dates for the First Vision and the restoration of the Melchizedek priesthood, I’m sure they would be on the Mormon calendar as well.

    One can debate whether this movement away from officially commemorating traditional Christian holidays is good or bad for the LDS Church. Some people like the pomp and circumstance of high-church holidays and a Christian liturgical year. Personally, I’m happier attending a big meeting where speakers try and say something interesting and relevant to religion and LDS spirituality (i.e., General Conference) than I would be attending a solemn ceremony or even an entertaining religious spectacle like the Crystal Cathedral might produce. I don’t miss the ritual, and I don’t see the various Christian rituals (the implicit alternative to LDS-style services) as any less empty than what little LDS ritual we have. But maybe that’s just my personal view of religious holidays and ritual.

  13. For a proposed Mormon liturgical calendar, look here.

    As Mormons, we are really ritual starved (outside of the temple, that is).

  14. Must be your location, because in our ward and stake in TGSOT, the Easter services are outstanding. Our music director makes the most of our choir’s talents and the speaker(s) — usually one, but sometimes two (don’t want to take up choir time) — always give an excellent Christ-oriented message.

    Growing up in the midwest, in a mission-field ward that was a half-hour in any direction, we had excellent Easter services, as well.

    I tend to be a ceremonial minimalist and appreciate the lack of formalism in our Church services, but in this case, if you have a bad Easter service, it’s not the *Church*’s fault. It’s your ward’s fault.

  15. Kevin Barney says:

    A few years ago on Easter Sunday my ward’s sacrament meeting was devoted to the subject of *tithing*. I think it took a full week for my one-time Lutheran wife to manage to pick her jaw up off of the floor at that one.

    I would love to pay more attention to the liturgical calendar, in a Mormonesque way, of course.

    If I happen to be teaching at Easter or Christmas, I always go off the reservation and teach a special lesson appropriate to that holiday. No one yet has ever complained.

    And I agree with Ronan. Easter and Christmas are good times to take a break from the local ward and visit some other Christian services.

  16. (For the liturgical calendar John C cited, it’s in the April 2005 archives)

    Our current ward does have special Christmas and Easter Sacrament Meetings, and I think that is as it should be. I tire of hearing the argument that we worship all year round, so these holy days aren’t important. Other churches worship all year round too, but still give the proper attention to these days. Why shouldn’t we? We don’t want to part of a bigger Christian community? Christ’s birth, death and resurrection aren’t events of significance? For those of you that think we do it every week and that’s enough should stop celebrating your birthday – every day is a celebration that your alive!

  17. Antonio Parr says:

    Kudos to Kathleen for raising what I believe to be the single greatest scandal in all of our beloved Mormonism: the casual way in which the Church treats the atonement/passion of Christ. In fact, Dallin Oaks once stated during a CES fireside that the Church was under condemnation for its neglect of the atonement of Christ. (SEE, “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”, 6 June 1993.) In that same talk, Elder Oaks noted that even General Conference addresses have not adequately focused on Christ’s atonement.

    This neglect is evidenced weekly in our Sacrament meetings, where the historical figure Jesus Christ and His teachings are rarely addressed in the 2 or 3 scheduled talks. (Ditto for Fast and Testimony meetings.) The neglect of Christ during the Easter season is particularly troubling, as Latter-Day Saints are very much a history-focused people, and have no problem remembering Pioneer Day or the anniversary of Joseph Smith’s birthday. How, then, can we justify the casual treatment of the single most important week in the history of humankind?

    If there is anything lovely or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. The sacrifice and resurrection of Christ are lovely and praiseworthy, and should be at the precise center of LDS worship. Shouldn’t we at least be as diligent honoring Christ’s sacrifice during “Holy Week” (where we can trace, step-by-step, his entry into Jerusalem; his last supper; his intercessory prayer; his agony in the Garden; his crucifixtion; his resurrection) as we were with our lavish celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s birth? If Christ is our Exemplar, how can we do anything other than remember as vividly as possible the path that He walked for our sakes?

    There is absolutely nothing in LDS theology that would prohibit the celebration of Holy Week. On the contrary, we are commanded to remember Him always, and I for one would love to see Holy Week become a part of our very rich spiritual tradition.

  18. rleonard says:

    My ward always celebrates easter with style and a Christ focus.

    I guess it just depends on the ward/stake you are in.

  19. Dave (12): don’t forget Relief Society Birthday Party.

  20. Long ago I began celebrating Good Friday at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. Music and mini sermons continue all day. A large crowd comes and goes. No one seems to mind us outsiders slipping into a pew at the back so as not to draw attention to our failure to genuflect or make the sign of the cross. But if ever there were a day for the mannerists, it’s Good Friday, and no one does mannerism better than the Catholics. I find many of the messages insightful, inspiring and no threat to my Mormon perspective. I go because I am so fed by an environment totally focused on Christ’s atonement. Beautiful music, beautiful place, lovely or provocative messages, and all around me good people equally eager to eliminate all non-Christian distractions and focus on Christ. Going to the woods with a good requiem CD is the only alternative and there I would miss the comraderie of pondering Christ’s gift with others who appreciate its worth. I can’t wait!

  21. Amri Brown says:

    For the first time in my life (it’s short I’m 29) I went to a Catholic Church on Ash Wednesday and received the ashes from last year’s palms. It was wonderfully spiritual and I felt very connected to God and Jesus. I decided to give up diet Coke for Lent. It’s a horrible vice and its sacrifice benefits me more than anyone else. So I also decided to donate the money I save from not drinking diet Coke to a program at the church where I received the ashes. Giving it up has been much harder than I thought and has provoked a lot of thought about addiction, sacrifice and Jesus. Anyway, all of this made me think that I couldn’t have gotten this particular experience from a Mormon church. It has come from Catholicism and the fact that all of this is new to me, that I am a stranger. The novelty adds to the spirituality, I think. So while I’m for every ward planning an excellent Easter service, I think Mormons should experiment in other religions traditions and truths occasionally, especially during times of deep-seated rituals like Easter in Catholicism.

  22. Antonio #17,

    Actually I think we do “talk” about the atonement quite a bit in the Church. You’ll hear the word “atonement” much more among Mormons than among anyone else. But it’s not the “talk” that I miss, it’s the adoration at the foot of the cross. Last Easter I watched with envy as my Catholic friend touched and kissed the cross; I could talk about the atonement all day, but I lack a ritual connection to it. The sacrament is done so poorly wherever I’ve been to church, that it doesn’t compare.

  23. Antonio Parr says:

    Molly’s very poetic observation bears repeating and contemplation:

    I go because I am so fed by an environment totally focused on Christ’s atonement. Beautiful music, beautiful place, lovely or provocative messages, and all around me good people equally eager to eliminate all non-Christian distractions and focus on Christ.

    What is stopping us from providing/experiencing this same kind of “total” focus on Christ’s atonement? Isn’t this type of worship experience completely consistent with our mandate to remember Christ; to talk of Him; to rejoice in Him; so that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of sins? See, 2 Nephi 25:26. How sad that the Church (how wonderful it is in so many other respects) misses such a rich opportunity during the Easter season to provide a communal worship environment “totally focused on Christ’s atonement.” Sadder still for our children.

  24. Antonio Parr says:

    Ronan #22:

    It is this absence of adoration that I find so tragic. Has any of us ever heard an Easter song sung with even half the zeal that goes into “Praise to the Man”?

  25. If you’re in New York next month, come to St. Peter’s Lutheran (53rd and Lexington) at noon on Good Friday for their service.

    Bach’s St. Matthew Passion.

    Bring your singing voice, because the congregation gets to sing along on some of the choruses.

  26. Thanks a lot for your wonderful post, Kathleen.

    I love Bach’s passions, especially the St. Matthew’s passion. There is a lot of power in the image of a God who became subject to the fall and suffered among mortals.

    As for a better quality experience at Church, I think that is one of the factors why retention has collapsed. Frankly, both the services and the activities used to be more meaningful in the past.

    Organizations and leaders always have a hard time with Jesus Christ. He challenged the high and mighty. That’s not a Mormon tradition.

    We are not alone in our discomfort about Christ. Because Christ is a subversive, any organization will attempt to suppress his message.

    The difference is that Mormonism’s civil society is weaker than in Catholicism, for example. As power is more centralized, there are less challengers that would talk the good news to challenge power.

    May be, the bloggernacle is the germ for a Mormon civil society. If that’s true then it will engender many problems as well as the renewal that any Christian organization and culture requires.

  27. Ronan #22, amen.

    Jan Shipps refers to what you’re talking about as “atonement discourse” among Mormons. There is tons of this. My objection to most of it is that it’s as if the Atonement is a force of nature like gravity. “It’s because of the atonement” some one might say. Or it sounds like a service you might access, like an internet provider, the way some people talk about it.

    The atonement is, of course, a concept, but it does not exist outside of the acts of Jesus of Nazareth, a personality. It is the personality of Jesus, his words and deeds, that I think are often missing. Any liturgical act that can bring us to encounter the words and deeds of Jesus is what’s missing.

    The Mormon Sacrament remains, in spite of its sometimes lackluster trappings, a powerful ritual, a short play of sorts, where the body of Jesus lies symbolically under a shroud on the table, where children, as awkward as they might be in white shirts and ties, reminding us to be like them (as Jesus said), bring His broken body and blood to us in tangible signs, a miraculous few minutes that invoke a catharsis worthier than any Greek play, and with an enduring effect.

  28. I like going to other Christian services (read Catholic and Anglican), but I have to admit that I have a hard time relating to them as anything other than aesthetic experiences. My reaction is a kind of Puritan Epicurianism, which is willing to enjoy the artistry of the experience while still finding it spiritually alienating at some level. I would much rather be preached at about Christ on Easter, along with some sort of non-liturgical choral music. The problem is that we have a worship service centered around sermons, and by and large we are awful preachers…

  29. I can relate to that, Nate. Unfortunately, there is not much good preaching going on either. Correlation plays in role there as well.

  30. Antonio Parr says:

    Nate #28 and Hellmut #29

    For an example of absolutely sublime preaching (and prose), check out the newest book by the incomparable Frederick Buechner: “Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons”.

    Buechner is an ordained Presbyterian minister who has authored more than thirty works of fiction and non-fiction. He has been a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and, bar none, is the finest living Christian writer.

  31. I must second the motion made by Antonio Parr in #30. Let me put it this way, Buechner’s sermons, biographical writings and fiction surpass C.S. Lewis in every conceivable way. Buechner is not a theologian, and so in this regard is not comparable to Lewis. Which is okay with me since I don’t care much for theology.

    I hope that Buechner will become the patron “non-latter-day” saint of some future Mormon apostle in the same way that C.S. Lewis was for Elder Maxwell, someone who might be quoted in a Gen. Conference talk someday.

  32. Nate Oman says:

    Hellmut: I actually think that it is less a matter of correlation than the shift in the way that we do missionary work. It used to be that most missionaries spent most of their time doing public preaching. This is how Mormons (at least Mormon men) learned to preach. However, with the general decline of oral culture — especially in the West — this is no longer an especially effective missionary tool. As a result, we don’t have a large segment of the Church membership that has had intensive “preaching training.” For what it is worth, the best preaching that I have seen in the Church was by a very conservative high counselor in Little Rock, Arkansas. I loved it when he would come to the ward! He would thunder about the truths of the Restoration, call up images of sinners in the hands of an angry god, and call us home to Jesus. Great, great stuff!

  33. Antonio and Ed: Thanks for the recommendation. I will add Buechner to my Amazon wish list.
    Nate: I can see how that guy must be fun. One connection to correlation is that we don’t train anyone to do anything intensively anymore.

    It’s just going through the motions. There is no sense of ownership.

  34. Is it possible that one of the things that lends some gravity and solemnity to Christian holidays is that the sermon is delivered by someone “trained in the ministry,” to use our derogatory term, rather than just a couple of teenagers (youth talks) and a couple of adults that might as well have been picked at random or by lot from the congregation? The “everyone gets their turn at the pulpit” approach does very little to elevate the quality of Mormon worship services and can be especially glaring at Easter or Christmas. On the other hand, it makes life easy for bishops, who just go down the ward list or tap every new move-in couple for a Sacrament Meeting assignment.

  35. “It’s just going through the motions. There is no sense of ownership.”

    Nonsense. I have a sense of ownership.

  36. Kathleen Petty says:

    I have read everyone’s comments with interest and appreciation. More than anything I guess I am trying to say that I long for a little intensity during this season. I want to celebrate with the people in my ward, whom I know and love; I would like to feel that we are all exerting ourselves in song or word or thought around this occasion. But it’s almost like everyone is too busy, or I fear, too lazy. And a person can’t just take this upon herself for the ward. It has to come down from the bishop or it’s suspect.

  37. A couple of years ago we decided to mark Passover in our family. I’m surprised no one else has mentioned this as an adjunct to their private celebrations of Easter. To me, this felt more authentic than trying to mimic the Holy Week celebrations of the Christian faiths we’re surrounded by but try otherwise to be distinguished from. I know the Mormon liturgical calendar is unadorned, but I think that’s okay (if only we could get rid of Halloween in Primary, but that’s another story). We have enjoyed celebrating a simple Passover meal & Haggadah and I felt like that *really* celebrates “Holy Week” for me, since it makes the Last Supper really come alive for myself and for our kids.

  38. Antonio Parr says:

    Today while flying home from a business trip, I had the opportunity to reflect upon the crucifixion of Jesus. I was travelling during the hours traditionally attributed to Christ’s suffering on the cross, and was struck by the length of time of our Lord’s physical agony. Movies tend to portray His death as a rather brief occurrence; however, three hours seemed almost endless to me as I imagined His suffering.

    I then though about the events between His last supper and his crucifixion: His unheeded request for His three closest disciples to stay with Him; their failure to do so; Christ’s bleeding at every pour because of our sins; Judas showing up, only to betray Him; and the blur of events that followed with Herod and Pilate. As I pondered the drama and significance of these events, I felt deep frustration/sadness over the utterly perplexing neglect of Christ’s life and death in LDS worship, particularly during this week of weeks. If Christ is, in fact, our Exemplar, why do we not focus on His life as if it were the one life that really matters? We spend more time talking about Church history than we do Christ’s mortal ministry, and that, to me, is scandalous. (I have never heard of a forgotten Pioneer Day — Easter, on the other hand, has been neglected more than once in LDS worship services.)

    What makes this issue most frustrating is that a focus on Jesus of Nazareth is entirely consistent with LDS theology, in particular the teachings of the Book of Mormon, which challenge us to talk of Christ and rejoice in Christ. I wonder if Dallin Oaks is correct when he stated that the Church is under condemnation because of its neglect of Christ and His atonement . . .

    I would think that the greatest challenge for Latter-Day Saints who revere Christ and His life is to find a way to bring Christ to the center of LDS worship, where He all-too-often sits on the periphery.

    All that being said, this hour, and the hours that lead up to Easter morning, provide a unique opportunity to ponder the reality of Christ’s death — indeed, the reality of death in the human experience, and to prepare for a celebration of that happiest of moment when death was conquered, when Christ arose. As noted by Ed Snow, this is the one miracle that truly matters.

  39. I read your post with great interest Antonio. Perhaps Latter-day Saints can participate in Holy Week at sites just like this, here at BCC.

    Just as the Jews, after the loss of their temple, focused their attention in creating a temple of “time” on their Sabbath in which to worship, we who would like to participate together on a somewhat dual track with the rest of Christianity can do that in the unusual space of the internet, even if we can’t replicate that in real time at our own places of worship.

  40. Deborah Pruden says:

    I was looking for some kind of answer for why my LDS niece knew nothing about Good Friday or Palm Sunday. I began to read from this website. At 26 years old she has no deep understanding of Christ’s death and its meaning for Christians. Yet she has participated in all types of secret ceremonies and rituals in the LDS temple. There is no secrecy in Christianity. Reading all the posts is further confirmation for me that her LDS upbringing was horrific and I pray that she will someday become enlightened and leave this group.

  41. Wow, Deborah, that was nicely bigotted. Where in the Bible, exactly, does it talk about lent? Ask your average Christian on the street what Ash Wednesday is or Good Friday and you will be met with blank stares. I hope your niece would appreciate any prayer in her behalf. But, your conclusions of this thread are mistaken. I just got back from a Mormon service that was highly focused on Christ’s sacrifice. I realize that there weren’t door prizes (x-box and ipod) like one of the local Christian services that I got invited to, but it was deeply embued with Jesus. I imagine that your niece’s was the same.

  42. They have DOOR PRIZES?! Wow… count me in.

  43. Yeah. The full color invite came in the mail. 1 hour easter service then a live band, free hot dogs and soda, inflatable bouncer for the kids AND 10,000 easter eggs. How can you compete with that?

  44. J., you CAN’T compete with that. Can you please send me that flyer?

  45. Eric Russell says:

    I think we’ve found a solution to our menos ativo problems.

  46. Deborah Pruden says:

    For J. Stapley:
    A thread from one of your members pointed out that many wards do little or nothing to celebrate Easter. Greater attention is paid to Smith’s 200th birthday? Lent is a personal sacrifice many Christians make to remember the sacrifice of Christ. Don’t under estimate the “average” Christian and don’t get me started on what is in the Bible. Funny you use the word bigot. It has always been synonymous with LDS for me. It’s not that I have no tolerance for your people, I just can’t in my wildest imagination understand how anyone can look at the facts and be an LDS member. Can’t, never will. I do appreciate that you made the distinction between being Mormon and being Christian. The color flyer you received in the mail was from a family-centered church providing a celebration for its members AFTER the service. God Bless them! I won’t be back to your little web site. Quite honestly it is upsetting and sad.

  47. Steve Evans says:

    Deborah, you don’t have a daughter named Prudence, do you?

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