Your Monday poll #16



  1. MikeInWeHo says:

    Episcopal parishes (in the U.S.) are a great choice for Holy Week services. You can’t go wrong with the music and ritual, and the congregation won’t blink an eye at the idea of a Mormon guest (or Buddhist guest, or punk rocker guest, etc). Anyone who defines him/herself as a Christian is welcome to receive Holy Communion if they want to. It’s a throw of the dice as to what theology you hear from the pulpit, buts that’s part of the fun.

  2. I’m a non-traditionalist.

  3. Last year, Easter fell on the Sunday traditionally reserved for high council speakers in our stake. The stake leaders did not want to reschedule high council Sunday, and did not assign an Easter-related topic either. After a few complaints from ward members, our Bishop decided we would simply celebrate Easter a week early(!)

    The wife of a bishopric counselor ended up attending a local Episcopal service on Easter, and was not quiet about her decision.

  4. I will probably go to a mass with my in-laws some time this week.

  5. Went to Sacrament Meeting yesterday and slipped out a bit early to go and attend Palm Sunday services at an Anglican Church. Will do the same next Sunday and plan on going to services there on Thursday and Friday as well. Would go on Saturday but I have a commitment to help out someone I VT that night.

  6. We don’t actually have churches where I live. None.

    Oddly enough though, my children are, at this very moment, singing the praises to Jesus at a Christian Youth meeting called “awana.” I have mixed feelings about this, but they want to attend because their friends go and don’t want to feel left out. We go over the doctrine when they get home (“no honey, babies are not born full of sin…”)

  7. Is is mostly converts who do this? I’ve never had any thought of attending another church on a special Sunday because, I assume, ours just isn’t good enough on those days. I don’t want to sound like a second grader, but shouldn’t our church be good enough or not every week? I guess the thought process just doesn’t ressonate with me.

  8. I’ll probably catch a sunrise service on Easter morning before going to Sacrament Meeting. If I don’t have to work on Friday, I may attend a Good Friday mass as well.

  9. I’m kind of like #7. I don’t see anything wrong with someone choosing to go to other services (like Christmas Eve Mass, etc.), but I don’t see any reason why I would have to. It’s not as if I’m not Christian enough if I don’t. Weird.

  10. Yet Another John says:

    Sign me up with #7 and #9. It’s all I can do to go to sacrament meeting. I’m not sure why I would want to go to another meeting, unless it was for the cultural aspect of it. I certainly don’t think I could worship any better or more correctly there.

  11. I am a convert and grew up in the Methodist tradition. My parents’ church still has a series of services during Holy Week, including ones with great names like Maundy Thursday (feet washing), Tenebrae on Good Friday (tenebrae = “darkness”), etc. I don’t plan on attending any simply for lack of time and interest, not because I think that those traditions are false, evil, and wrong.

    In years past, I have attended a Christmas eve service with my parents that is basically a big hymn sing-a-long with some scripture readings and communion.

  12. Antonio Parr says:

    KyleM (et al.), the interest expressed on this blog in participating in worship services related to Holy Week is, I believe, a reflection of the magnitude of the events at issue, and the understandable desire to commemorate these seminal moments in the life of our Lord.

    You will recall that there were significant communal events marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith. Why should Latter-Day Saints feel any less of a desire to mark with particular focus the events leading up to the atonement, i.e., the act that enables us to overcome sin and death?

    If our local wards and stake decline to do anything to note the suffering and death of Christ (it blows me away to have written the preceding 18 words . . .), and yet our souls cry out for the opportunity to be with others to acknowledge and honor and worship the steps that Christ took to atone for our sins, where else are we to go?

    The Church is no less true because of its neglect of the Easter season, but it is certainly less perfect as a result.

  13. I’ve not attended another church’s services, other than funerals, since college. I’m curious, though, and recently when out of town, my wife and I were going to try and attend another denomination’s meeting in a historic chapel. We ended up sleeping in late that Sunday, and found an LDS ward that started later to attend.

    I’ve thought about that this week. I spoke in another ward in our stake yesterday, and strayed from my assigned topic briefly to mention Palm Sunday, and the triumphal entry. Normally, by the time I get to HC meeting, my assigned ward responsibilities, and perhaps one meeting at my home ward, I’ve spent 7 hours in meetings, and I’m done for the day. The desire is there, but no time on most Sundays. I guess I could do a late night Saturday Catholic Mass, but as we all know, Saturday is a special day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday. So late night Saturday is usually grocery shopping for the week.

  14. Antonio,

    As someone who once enjoyed Halloween trunk n’ treat in your ward’s parking lot, I’ve got to agree that it’s sad we offer nowhere for our people to go on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, and that Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are often sorely lacking in their focus on Christ. I seem to remember an Easter activity at your ward once – I think it was an Easter Egg hunt.

    So, if my church cannot help me share a communal faith in Christ this week, I’ll go elsewhere. Which is a shame.

    My wife’s Easter Vigil in Vienna was stunning by all accounts.

    Kyle, I am not a convert.

  15. Well, golly. I worship Christ and thank Him for His sacrifice every single Sunday, in FHE each Monday, in the Temple monthly, and on numerous occiasions outside of the regular Church services. For some reason, that is enough for me.

    People whine about their wards not doing enough for Easter (and have for years, although I have never, ever, ever seen a ward that didn’t celebrate Easter, so I honestly have no idea where it’s all coming from). Why not change it, then? Talk with the local leaders; volunteer to speak or perform musical numbers. Why complain about it when there could be change?

    Just sayin’.

  16. Which is why, Cheryl, my wife and I have organised an Easter fireside next Sunday. Thanks for your concern.

  17. P.S.
    Nice St. Patrick’s Day green on your blog.

  18. St. Peter’s Lutheran, at 53rd and Park, has a wonderful Good Friday service at noon. Organ, orchestra, soloists and choir (with the congregation joining in some of the choruses) doing Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. If work spares me the three hours, I’ll be there.

    And that leaves plenty of time Sunday for the regular meetings.

  19. While I’ll go to the Anglican church Friday to hear a friend in the choir, I have to say our ward is pretty good at doing up Palm Sunday, Easter etc. We sang good Jesus songs from the hymnbook and beyond last Sunday, with violins and whatnot.

  20. Antonio Parr says:


    Thanks for the ad hominem attacks — they are always useful in forging common consent . . .

    Perhaps it would be useful for you to read Elder Oaks’ talk regarding the occasional neglect of Christ-centeredness in our meetings (, and the condemnation that results from this neglect.

    Pining and “whining” are two very different approaches to a problem. Nobody is whining — some of us simply find great strength and inspiration in meetings that talk specifically about Christ, and pine for such meetings during the week that surrounds Christ’s great and infinite atonement.

  21. Antonio Parr says:

    Oops — I clicked “Add my comment” without appropriate edits. I hereby recant my remark about ad hominen attacks, and apologize for not being more careful before sending.

  22. Perhaps those who like to participate in Holy Week services find meaning in the symbolic rituals of moving through the final week of the Saviour’s life and His Atonement in community with other Christians. Our church simply doesn’t offer this. My stake does have an Easter music event — a one hour presentation of music as well as some readings. Last year on Easter, my ward had a sacrament meeting with the theme of missionary work. I’m not sure if this was because they thought that people could get their Easter service in the evening.

    As for criticism of complainers, Kristine’s excellent post “A Defense of Whining” is a thought provoking read.

  23. CE #3

    Easter fell on the Sunday traditionally reserved for high council speakers in our stake. The stake leaders did not want to reschedule high council Sunday, and did not assign an Easter-related topic either. After a few complaints from ward members, our Bishop decided we would simply celebrate Easter a week early(!)

    According to the handbook, Bishops have the responsibility for the Sacrament meeting. When a conflict like this arises, I simply ask the High Counselor to either not show up or to speak about a topic of my choice. Most are more than happy to spend a holiday with their families.

  24. Amen, Darrell. We moved our HC speaking assignments up a week to avoid Easter this month.

  25. I attend a Christian Church/Churches of Christ seminary in East TN, in which I will welcome the opportunity to worship for the reasons Antonio has nicely articulated. My interest in doing more on Easter than sing a couple of Easter hymns in corporate worship, and especially during Holy Week, was inspired by a Dialogue essay entitled, Why Mormons Should Celebrate Holy Week. It can be found here:,32415
    I, personally choose to celebrate Holy Week with other worshipers of other denominations as a result of this article. I do not believe more can be done than what Ronan has arranged in his ward with special music to encourage positive on this issue.

  26. I’m looking forward to our ward’s Easter service. Lots of music, including primary children singing, which is always the best.

  27. The two reasons for participation in other denominations worship services durring this time is your local ward ignores Easter or you dig the rituals? That’s better than anything I could come up with in my mind. I’ve never been in a ward that ignored Easter, and I don’t like ritual. So it should come as no suprise that I didn’t get it.

  28. Darrell (#23)–

    Our Bishop at that time was not the type to question stake leaders on things like that. Believe me, he had plenty of encouragement from ward auxillary leaders, but there was no give.

  29. Amen, Darrell. We moved our HC speaking assignments up a week to avoid Easter this month.

    Hmm, our bishop made a different choice, we’re moving Easter-themed sacrament meeting instead.

  30. 28 & 29 That makes me a little sad.

    I remember being bothered very much when Easter fell on a General Conference Sunday and most people elected to stay home and watch it on tv. There was No intimate communal celebration of the event that year for us. I really missed it. I still did not feel compelled to go to another church’s service. Though I do not fault those who do.

  31. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 6
    Unsolicited advice: I’d be very careful about Awana meetings for your kids, meems. They’re a very hard-core Evangelical group (basically Baptist) and they would absolutely consider your kids “unsaved.” It’s quite likely anti-Mormon rhetoric will head their way. Their beliefs are listed here.

    When you see the word “inerrant” in a doctrinal statement you can rest assured that “Mormomism is a cult” isn’t far behind!

  32. Peter LLC says:

    I will be attending my wife’s native church on Easter. I suppose that’s the price one pays out in the mission field where visiting family = being light years away from the nearest chapel.

  33. We have a tradition of attending midnight mass at the Russian Orthodox Church in SLC.

  34. cj douglass says:

    I’m confused. We can figure out how to correlate the manuals but not Easter Sunday? We have a responsibility to whine if our wards/branches don’t make Easter a special event.

    But if you’re looking for some more ritual during Holy Week, what’s wrong with going elsewhere? I gather the same people complaining about the lack of Mormon celebration during Holy Week are the same who complain that Mormons are ignorant and arrogant about other religions. Yet…here’s our chance to learn more. Enjoy it.

  35. Antonio Parr says:

    I think it would be a mistake to attempt to characterize a hunger for Holy Week observance as a hunger for ritual.

    Although I often enjoy ritual (e.g., the Temple), my desire for a focus on Christ’s passion has absolutely nothing to do with ritual. In fact, rather than attend a more ritualistic worship service, I would much prefer that the focused honoring of the last week of Christ’s life take place in the familiar confines of my Ward, with my fellow Latter-Day Saints.

    I don’t need ritual; I need Christ, and I agree with President Benson & Elder Oaks that our communal neglect of His atoning sacrifice places us under condemnation.

    What would be a better topic for our Sacrament meetings during Palm Sunday and Easter than Christ’s atonement? What am I missing here?

  36. Isn’t Russian Orthodox Easter on a different day this year?

  37. 35) “What am I missing here?”

    Ward leadership.

  38. Already did. I spent Palm Sunday at the First Baptist Church on 79th and Broadway.

    The term they’d probably prefer is conservative evangelical (to ‘fundamentalist,’ but they’re premillennial dispensationalist and inerrentists. Very nice people though. I spent an hour or so talking with the pastor Wednesday and Friday, and was given a palm frond on my way out.

    I also enjoyed hearing “The Old Rugged Cross” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” – a couple of classic evangelical hymns our hymnbooks don’t use.

  39. cj douglass says:

    I also wonder how much our lack of a Holy Week has to do with our lay leadership . It’s much easier to hold a weekday mass when you’ve got pro clergy.

  40. Antonio Parr says:

    KyleM: Mercifully, I am in a Ward that has scheduled a beautiful, music-filled Easter Sunday Sacrament Meeting.

    My prior posts are reflective of a concern that such a meeting should be a universal experience for Latter-Day Saints, and not a hit-or-miss event. Based on Elder Oaks’ talk, personal historical experience, and anecdotal accounts, Latter-Day Saints are not yet where we should be when it comes to honoring the final week of Christ’s matchless life.

  41. I would consider a Catholic mass because I enjoy the antiquity of it, but I’m giving the youth talk Easter Sunday; a big deal to me because of the occasion, especially since a fair number of non-members will no doubt be present. The closest I’ve ever gotten to nervous about giving a talk;)

  42. Eric Russell says:

    What [edited for rude words otherwise unbecoming someone as righteous as Mr. Russell] is that the church doesn’t recognize Yom Kippur either, much less celebrate it. Last year, as I was about to begin my fast in observance of the holy day, I noticed that there was a ward social that evening. I stopped by because I believed that they would be reading from the Torah, chanting the Kol Nidre and fasting. Imagine my horror when I walked into the cultural hall and they were dishing out ice cream! Most of them didn’t even know it was Yom Kippur and none of them seemed to care. When I started reading to them from Leviticus they just looked at me like I was crazy. We’re far from where we should be in celebrating this holy day, but I’m not complaining – I know I need to do my part to encourage the ward leadership to observe it.

  43. JA Benson says:

    Hey Russell I am all for it. It is a downer to only celebrate Halloween, Christmas and sometimes Pioneer Day. I suggest we add Easter, Palm Sunday, and Passover too. It is holidays that make a people. It is time we LDS become a people.

    Since we are the “restored” Gospel, it is time we restore a few religious holidays.

  44. If I was singing in a choir somewhere, I’d certainly be there. It’s more laziness than lack of interest. I did Easter with the Methodists several years ago, and it was great.

    I think what I miss most is “high church” worship. Yeah, we think about Jesus and celebrate his resurrection every week blah blah blah. But it’s a decidedly low church experience, and while the purpose may be “the same,” the content is entirely different. For some people, form matters.

    Our little ward choir will be singing “Christ Arose.” We sounded really nice at practice yesterday.

  45. MikeInWeHo says:

    Will most wards sing Hymn 200 (Christ the Lord Is Risen Today) next Sunday? That is the definitive Easter hymn throughout much of Christendom. Sing that with gusto and you’ve pretty much got the holiday covered, imo.

  46. Eric,
    That’s a truly weird comment. Or should I be grateful to you for reminding us that we’re Jewish? Honestly, I don’t know.

  47. I just want to know if we get to hear “You’ve had a Birthday” on April 6th.

    The Tabernacle Choir could still fit into the rehersal schedule. It falls on Conference Sunday this year. Just imagine the majestic “Hurray!” those sopranos could belt out!

  48. Steve Evans says:

    LOLZ, Eric. Surely there’s something of value in the worship practices of other faiths? No need to completely throw out everything else, although to be sure there’s a point at which we risk losing our Mormon-ness (although I think we’re a long way from that, based on these comments…).

  49. cj douglass says:

    Since we are the “restored” Gospel, it is time we restore a few religious holidays.


    Is there a record of Easter before Constantine? I’d really like to know.

  50. Antonio Parr says:

    I have already moved into the realm of redundancy with this topic, but the issue of what constitutes enough of talking about Christ is one that is near and dear to my heart.

    1. Christ is our Examplar. We look to Him as the one perfect example of what it means to be fully human. IMHO, we should hear a story about Christ’s life every Sunday.

    2. Christ is our Saviour. We are saved by grace after all we can do. This grace is a gift of Jesus Christ, who descended from a throne of glory to become a child in a manger. He took upon Himself each and all of our sins in Gesthemane, a weight so great that he bled at every pour. He then submitted to a brutal death, in order that we might live forever. To quote the great hymn “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”:

    What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
    For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
    O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
    Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

    Talking of Christ and rejoicing in Christ is a recipe for fellowship with the Spirit, as is our weekly covenant to remember Him always, that we may have His spirit to be with us.

    We are given a perfect opportunity to remember Him during the week of His passion. I am absolutely convinced that we will be uplifted by drawing our attention to His words and deeds during this final week of His mortal ministry. I am equally convinced that we will be given greater missionary opportunities as we invite others to join us as we worship and honor the One who gives us victory over sin and victory over death.

  51. cj,
    I think you can be fairly certain that the earliest Christians commemorated the death of Christ.

  52. Antonio – how I miss talking with you and your wonderful wife over topics such as this!

    I fully intend on attending a service (Anglican) on Good Friday with my family. Easter vigil (Catholic) for me last year (Ronan linked to it in #14) was a wonderful experience.

    And hopefully, the adding to our ward this year of the Musical Easter Fireside, that Ronan and I have organised will help enhance Easter for us this year.

    I teach Gospel Principles and we’ll be skipping regular lessons for a video presentation/special Easter lesson.

    I know we celebrate Christ every week (although my Baltimore ward sometimes went weeks with no mention of Jesus), but I really think of Easter as a time we can unite with other Christians. They have much to offer to enhance our spiritual experience especially this week.

    Shameless plug…Look out for my posts on FMH later in the week, for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday!

  53. Perhaps if Eric had begun his comment with the disclaimer “wry humorous comment to follow” his intent would have been clearer.

  54. Eric Russell says:

    Steve, I think there’s a great deal of value in the practices of other faiths, I just mean that I don’t see any difference in substance among Hanukkah, Lent, Ramadan, Corpus Cristi, Rosh Hashanah, Palm Sunday, Kwanzaa, or Pentecost. They’re all the holidays of foreign religions. Sure, we share a belief in Jesus Christ with the Catholics and Protestants, but it doesn’t mean that their holidays are Christian holidays or that we have any Christian obligation to observe them.

    I think chilling with them on their holidays is great. I just resist any notion that we are remiss because our services or practices fail to be like theirs.

  55. Most of us aspire to “wry, humorous comments”, but often fall short, and it seems better to just take the shot than say “likely very silly and pedestrian comments to follow”.

  56. namakemono says:

    As a convert, I have always wondered why LDS don`t do anything more for Easter and Christmas – can someone tell me, or point me in the direction of talks etc that can explain? (yes, this is a serious question – last year the YW I teach didn`t even know it was Easter that Sunday till I told them!(non-Christian country))

  57. Errr, I meant to add “Kudos, Eric”!

  58. “likely very silly and pedestrian comments to follow”

    If I ever get a blog, that will be my tagline, stolen from Kevinf.

  59. A ward in our stake is doing a “Journey to Jerusalem” presentation three nights this week. They are making sure to publicize this as a community event instead of a Mormon event. While I am a little nervous about the event smacking of the cheesiness we know so well, I am pleased to see a bishop that asked for his ward to host a community event commemorating the events of Holy Week.

    As for those who cannot understand worshiping with those of other faiths, why do we so readily accept the idea that others should come and worship as we worship? It is very closed-minded to want the world to join us and at the same time shun others’ practices as if having nothing to offer.

    I understand there are those who wouldn’t go worship simply because that’s not how they roll (ie, boring, wouldn’t do it at my own church, etc), but to feel confused that a Mormon could possibly fill a void by participating in a non-LDS service is to fail to recognize the virtue all around us. And again, it’s highly hypocritical of those who endorse our proselytizing ways.

  60. Eric, I have to disagree with you. While you’re right that broadly speaking they are each religions apart from Mormonism, we draw far more deeply from some traditions than others. There’s no need to place Rosh Hashanah and Palm Sunday in the same basket as Kwanzaa!

  61. Antonio Parr says:


    Respectfully, the events leading up to and through the resurrection of Christ are not foreign to Mormonism — in fact, the Book of Mormon teaches that they are at the very heart of Mormonism. In fact, it can be argued that the atonement of Christ is the exclusive message of Nephi.

    As to our Christian obligations, I respectfully suggest that we very much have an obligation to celebrate Easter (and the events that immediately precede Easter), and we are remiss if we fail to remember Christ’s atonement, and remiss if we turn a blind eye to the final week of His mortal ministry.

    Easter week has nothing to do with “chilling” with Christians, and everything to do with worship and the sacred act of remembering.

  62. Eric,

    Read Antonio’s #35 and then burn this straw man of yours that suggests a Mormon’s desire to speak more passionately of Christ at Easter is the functional equivalent of celebrating Kwanzaa during sacrament meeting.

    I’m all for wry humour, but your comment #42 is trapped inside a wicker statue surrounded by pagans on a remote Scottish isle.

  63. Antonio Parr says:


    Looking forward with anticipation to your reflections on the events of the coming week!

  64. cj douglass says:

    C’mon Ronan,
    Do you really think that is what I meant? Of course the early Christians observed the death of Christ. Since the original question was about the rites and worship of other Christian faiths, of course I was referring to the specific way Easter is celebrated by THEM.

  65. cj,
    I think I know where you are going. Of course Easter has acquired a patina, but that has never stopped us celebrating Christmas. And when that patina includes chocolate, Easter bunnies and egg hunts, how bizarre that we might think it odd to want a stronger emphasis on Christ this week!

  66. 59) “And again, it’s highly hypocritical of those who endorse our proselytizing ways.”

    Good thing I don’t.

  67. Eric Russell says:

    There’s a world of difference between talking about Jesus on Easter and pining for a Catholic Holy Week. But if all this is just about giving talks on the resurrection on Easter, then I guess we’re all agreed.

  68. pining for a Catholic Holy Week

    You didn’t read the comment. Ah well.

  69. cj douglass says:

    True Ronan,
    But we don’t go to Midnight Mass – or church for that matter! (unless Christmas falls on a Sunday). But you make a great point. Against Palm Sunday but in favor of the Easter Bunny = not much sense. I’m a convert!

  70. Antonio Parr says:


    The resurrection is only part of the greatest story ever told. There is also the matter of Christ’s atonement for our sins. Not to mention the wisdom and the courage of the man from Nazareth who won these victories for us.

    This is a holy week, indeed, in both the Catholic and the LDS sense of the word, and warrants our focused attention.

    (Sorry to have taken so much space on this topic. Back to lurking!)

    Happy Easter to all.

  71. Antonio,
    Happy Easter to you, too. I miss Maryland this time of year.

  72. #66- That line wasn’t addressing you. From your comments I would toss you in the

    I understand there are those who wouldn’t go worship simply because that’s not how they roll (ie, boring, wouldn’t do it at my own church, etc)


  73. While we join with the Christian world in celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ at Easter-time, Easter itself does have pagan beginnings. I’m totally fine with people who want to celebrate the whole Catholic routine from Lent to Ascension Day. But I’m also fine with certain fundamentalist groups and JWs choosing to avoid a holiday which began in paganism. There’s certainly a lot of middle ground out there.

    We just do plain ol’ Easter around here. With a FHE on the atonement during the week. We always do the egg hunt and candy on Saturday. We (my man & I) really love music so we toss around a lot of those Easter hymns during the year, but especially now. The little folk roll their eyes at us.

    This word occurs only once in the Bible (Acts 12: 4) and then would be better translated passover. The word Easter is from Eastre, a Norse goddess whose pagan festival was observed at the spring equinox. The association of this pagan goddess with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ was only by adaptation and synthesis. There is no real connection. Jesus, being the Lamb of God, was crucified at passover time and is the true Passover (see 1 Cor. 5: 7). He was raised from the grave on the third day thereafter. It thus became a springtime anniversary, and has come to be called Easter in the Christian world.

  74. MikeInWeHo says:

    Nobody here has mentioned the Easter pageant at the Mesa Temple. I believe it’s the world’s largest outdoor Easter pageant. My parents went one year (they’re snow-birds and were nearby) and said it was incredible. So at least those LDS out there in the desert focus on the holiday in a major way.

  75. JA Benson says:

    #49 CJ Douglas,
    Yeah I agree we don’t need to worship like other churches. We need to do something that is LDSish. For instance on Palm Sunday we got a HC talk that referred to Mountain Meadows Massacre, Priesthood Issue and Polygamy. Some nice comments on missionary work, BUT really nothing on the Savior and the Atonement.

    It is that kind of thing that is bothersome. Antonio is right we are shooting ourselves in the foot with converts, old timers and investigators alike. We need to grow and mature as “people” and establish some meaningful remembrances. Trunk or Treat and Egg Hunts are fun, but we need something more.

  76. Is there a record of Easter before Constantine? I’d really like to know.

    Most definitely. One early Christian movement active already in the second century, the Quartodecimans or “fourteeners,” celebrated Easter (the crucifixion) yearly on the 14th of Nisan (meaning, on Passover, the logical time to commemorate it if you follow John’s chronology), but they were stamped out by the proto-Orthodox community which made the commemoration of the Resurrection primary and insisted it be observed on Sunday; thus the day of the week became more important than the day of the year. (Obviously the sacrament/Eucharist became entirely independent of Easter liturgy and became the focus of Sunday, the weekly rather than yearly commemoration of the Last Supper, but on the day of the week chosen to commemorate the Resurrection!) But Easter as a Christian holy day certainly has significantly earlier roots than Christmas.

    Certainly none of this development strikes me as at all straightforward, either within Christianity generally or Mormonism. It would seem just as natural, for example, to commemorate the Last Supper yearly rather than weekly, and on Maunday Thursday rather than every Sunday.

    It’s true there’s a pagan substrate to Easter involving fertility symbols such as eggs and rabbits, and the holiday’s name is derived from a Germanic fertility goddess. But in Greek and Romance languages, the word for “Easter” is a cognate of “Passover.” In high church services the connection to Passover–Christ as Lamb–is fairly evident. Since the Last Supper was a Passover meal in the synoptics, and Jesus was himself the paschal Lamb in John, a desire for a Christian annual adaptation of Passover, but centered on Jesus’ death and resurrection, does not seem at all far-fetched for those who consider the gospels canon or find the image of Jesus as Lamb resonant, in my opinion.

    Perhaps Mormonism’s low church origins predispose us to find yearly liturgical cycles suspect and foreign? But to me it seems fairly arbitrary what elements of mainstream Christianity the Church has adopted or rejected. Given belief in the Great Apostasy, perhaps a rejection of what are assumed to be post-NT accretions to the Christian tradition makes sense. But then why have pews and organs? Why observe the sabbath on Sunday? Why not have an Easter liturgy?

  77. Utah has a non-Mormon church?

  78. Perhaps Mormonism’s low church origins predispose us to find yearly liturgical cycles suspect and foreign?
    Did you mean Low Church with capitals? In that case, sort of.
    The church did not adopt Easter traditions because they weren’t even really around in the US until about the time of the civil war. The Protestants who settled were against celebrations and the pilgrims even scaled back Christmas once they hit North America, hence pies were adopted into Thanksgiving since they could not have their Christmas pies.
    The church formed during the second Great Awakening, some decades before the death and carnage of the civil war would change the way people in the US thought about death and the body, resurrection and a therefore a resurgence in interest in Easter. The Saints had already moved west by this time. They missed the revival of Easter holidays into the faith.

  79. I voted “nah, I don’t think it’s necessary” only because there was not an option to vote “not this year, but I’ve needed it in the past.” (Though I did go to Evensong at St. Pauls when I was in London last week — I try to do that whenever I travel there) Like #30, my big beef is when General Conference and Easter coincide. I do visit other church’s services when that happens. The church also has a file on me because every year when that happens I write to church headquarters and beg them to change the date of General Conference when this happens again to allow us to worship Christ and partake of the Sacrament and sing in our own choir and congregations on Easter Sunday. Going to the church building to watch conference on TV in the dark or staying home in my pajamas to watch it on the internet just doesn’t do it for me on Easter Sunday. I always get a reply from the church referencing my earlier letters and remarking on the conference addresses that focused on Jesus Christ. I love General Conference other times, but on Easter Sunday, I really feel that I’m missing the chance to worship — so I worship elsewhere and watch conference later. I don’t know when this will happen next, but maybe I should start my letter writing campaign now.

  80. Antonio Parr says:


    Easter and General Conference will next coincide in 2010, followed by 2015, 2018, etc. (Easter seems to fall on the first Sunday of April about 20% of the time.)

  81. tesseract says:

    Just this past Sunday, my husband was complaining about there being no talk of Christ in Sacrament Meeting other than the sacrament prayer and sacrament hymn. I’m sure people think they are referring to Christ when they talk about “the church” or “the gospel” but it really would be nice to hear His name spoken over the pulpit every Sunday. I really wish I could make time to go to another service for Easter, but I’ve got so many church responsibilities already, and I think our day is already packed with family events. For me, I just really crave to hear and sing about Christ, especially on such a significant day and a lot of times I don’t always get that our services.

  82. JA Benson says:

    My feelings and thoughts exactly. I look forward to when I am old lady, because then I am doing exactly what I want to. I will be abel to attend whatever church service I want to and no one will miss me.