Happy Belated Easter, everyone! I hope your Easter was wonderful.
Yesterday was a beautiful way to spend Easter. Sometimes, Easter coincides with the General Conference of the Church and this weekend that was the case. So the weekend was a celebration of the greatest event on earth, the atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, he lived, and lives still. That is a hard concept for some to understand. He is the most remarkable person to ever walk the earth. He had power over death, His and ours.
He chose to live His life perfectly in order that He could save us. He endured taunting, those who bore false witness against Him, those who only followed when times were good, unfaithfulness, sorrow, loneliness, pain, sadness, weariness, torture and death. He never faltered. I can't imagine the feelings of our Heavenly Father as Jesus was enduring the suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross. The scriptures do not explain what exactly took place when Jesus cried out to God, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" Was it that Jesus also had to feel the anguish of wondering if God was there (a feeling that so many people feel), or was it the pain of a parent who just could not watch a child suffer even with the understanding that the child had to do so? Let there be no doubt, God did not leave Jesus. Our Heavenly Father was always there.
Depite how difficult it was, Jesus Christ never lost sight of His mission. We were all counting on Him. Because he completed his mission, we WILL be resurrected. I loved the conference talks, and especially President Uchtdorf's talk about grace. If you were confused about grace and works, I thought President Uchtdorf explained it well. If we love Jesus Christ and accept His atonement, we will want to follow His way. Really, it is not about us earning some eternal reward, it is about us accepting the gift of grace given by Jesus Christ. We can't earn our way into the Celestial kingdom, neither can we expect to get there simply by declaring that we believe in Christ without being willing to live the commandments.
I was talking to two of our beautiful young sisters yesterday about a contact they had with a member of another religion. The woman asked our missionaries if they knew the REAL story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our sisters were bold and indicated that they did, and would return to share that with the woman.
So I have been thinking about the REAL story of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Those who feared Jesus Christ and His message did their best to destroy that message. They persecuted and killed the believers, believing that in doing so, the path established by Jesus would cease to exist. What they did not then understand, is that the path of Jesus Christ is an eternal one that cannot be destroyed by men. Those with evil designs were able to destroy people, even churches. For a time, their actions caused confusion and dissension among those who believed in Christ.
God is a God of order. dissension and disputations are not part of His gospel. He was not going to leave the world in that condition, and He did not. He set things in motion so that the priesthood could be restored, that there would be prophets on the earth once more. He called upon a boy, Joseph Smith, to translate the Book of Mormon, a second testament of the truth that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.
So April is a special month for us. It is the month that God has sent his Son, and then reestablished His word. That is the Real story. Like the Church while Jesus Christ was here, there are those who deny that it is true. Their denials do not change truth.
Don't forget to check out #BecauseHeLives. It will continue for quite a while.