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Do Mormons have sub-par Easter services?
Tags: Catholicism, celebration, Christianity, easter, Jesus, mass, poll, ritual, tradition, worship
This entry was posted on April 7, 2012 at 3:16 AM and is filed under Church Policy, Faith, Mormon, Mormon Belief, Mormon Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
I find it unsettling Easter is given the same Sunday treatment as Mother/Father’s Day.
No special event, just a bunch of badly written talks rehashing the same phrases and stories.
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I find it amusing that some LDS members wish to emulate their Christian Brothers and Sisters in ritualized services when we are asked to remember the Savior always, which includes his teachings, atonement, sacrifice, resurrection, example and laws and ordinances.
I like the particular songs as well as anyone. but…..
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For me, I have found it more effective to integrate the sacred and the profane. I find it too easy to slip into Sunday religion to really emphasize sacred time in my own life. Holy days, as a result, have lost some of their significance, but the rest of the days have gained something.
That being said, I do practice Lent – it is a long term commitment and it has helped me to rid myself of certain habits that needed to just go away. Mixed feelings for me on this topic, I guess. :)
I do, however, think that there certainly could be more done in the church to celebrate Easter – a more communal approach would be nice in my life, too.
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2 cases in point:
@general conference last Sunday, 0 references to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, no shout outs to Palm Sunday festivities celebrating Christ as Lord and Son of God. No hosannas shouted that day. Hardly any references at all to the upcoming Easter holy day.
@priesthood session last Saturday, no one mentioned Jesus at all until Pres. Monson in the final talk given.
We have sub-par Easter celebrations because we have sub-par emphasis on Jesus in this Church. This is modeled from the highest levels of authority and mimicked all the way down to the ward and branch levels. Also, the “pride” at not participating in theological scholarship, the Christian liturgical calendar, and other outward forms of Christian worship make us not only look less like Christians, but have a real effect on the amount of emphasis we place on talking of Christ in our meetings.
It troubles me, because I see most of my LDS friends treat Holy Week and Easter sunday as just another week at church, or a week off from church (because they’re out for vacation), or a time to focus on easter egg hunts for the kids and presents from the easter bunny, or a few extra songs sung in sacrament meeting (after which we have lessons on wars in the book of mormon in sunday school, and then a lesson on food storage or tithing in priesthood/relief society).
I’m not arguing that the rituals, traditions, and modes of worship developed by Christians over the past 2,000 years are exactly what Jesus wanted for his followers to observe. I don’t believe that there is a “one true way” to celebrate Christ crucified and the empty tomb. But I do find it a bit arrogant when Mormons glibly dismiss the rituals and traditions of Christianity because of their restorationist appeals to authority. In so doing, we miss out on a wealth of potentially transformative spiritual opportunity.
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SteveS – I completely agree. It occurs to me that Easter is the locus of our worship, whether we admit it or not. Even though we say it’s because we worship a living Christ, we only do so because of the atonement. The resurrection is the entire reason for Christianity. It’s the whole purpose, that Jesus completed his mission. How can it NOT be a huge deal? I think we’ve got a major gap from a missionary perspective on this front too. How could you go from another Christian sect without seeing the obvious – that we are missing the point of Easter?
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The following is from a talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
A few years ago I received a letter from a man who said he had attended an LDS testimony meeting and listened to seventeen testimonies without hearing the Savior mentioned or referred to in any way. He also wrote that the following Sunday he listened to a priesthood lesson, a Gospel Doctrine lesson, and seven sacrament meeting speakers without hearing any reference to Jesus Christ (see Ensign, Nov. 1990, p. 30). Some may have considered that report an exaggeration or an extreme case. The similar accounts I have received in subsequent letters persuade me that this was not an isolated experience. In too many of our classes, in too many of our worship services, we are not teaching of Christ and testifying of Christ in the way we should. This is one way we are failing to “remember the new covenant.”
To cite another example, I believe that for a time and until recently our public talks and our literature were deficient in the frequency and depth with which they explained and rejoiced in those doctrinal subjects most closely related to the atonement of the Savior. A prominent gospel scholar saw this deficiency in our Church periodicals published in a 23-year period ending in 1983 (see Daniel H. Ludlow, quoted in Bruce C. Hafen, The Broken Heart, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989, pp. 3–4). I saw this same deficiency when I reviewed the subjects of general conference addresses during the decade ending in the mid-1980s.
Another illustration is provided by some Latter-day Saint funerals. I attend some funerals and hear reports of many others. Worthy tributes to the deceased are appropriate, and so are family memories. But such matters must not dominate an LDS funeral service to the exclusion or neglect of those gospel truths that review the purpose of life and testify of our Creator and Redeemer. At a funeral service—of all places—we must not neglect to testify of him whose gospel gives meaning and purpose to life and whose resurrection and atonement give hope for the deceased and comfort to the bereaved. Yet, I know of some LDS funerals in which there was no mention of the resurrection and no mention of the Savior. Isn’t this an example of “treat[ing] lightly the things [we] have received”? Isn’t this another cause for some of us to “repent and remember the new covenant”?
Dallin H. Oaks, “‘Another Testament of Jesus Christ’,” Ensign, Mar 1994, 60
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[...] were some interesting comments from the poll yesterday. I won’t say that our poll is representative of Mormons in general, but I do agree with the [...]
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A letter was sent by the Church to local leaders prior to General Conference requesting that Sacrament Meeting on Easter focus on the Savior (at least is was sent to our Midwest Bishop). This suggests that the corporate Church’s polling and surveying may have revealed that without a reminder, some Wards/Branches may have followed standard procedure and had Fast & Testimony meeting on Easter Sunday.
Not surprising considering that the Prophet’s message to the world (as published in the January 2012 Ensign) had no real mention of Jesus Christ. In fact, the message contained no scriptures and no quotes from modern prophets and apostles; although, there were some witty/thoughtful quotes from worldly philosephers
This was followed by the March Ensign that has a large portrait of Thomas S Monson on the cover. The bulk of the articles reiterate and emphasize in the minds of the Church members the importance of Following the Prophet and sustaining our leaders. Here are a few of the articles:
· “Follow the Prophet” · “Led by a living prophet” · “Following the Prophet makes me happy.” · “We sustain our Leaders” · “Why do we need prophets?” · “Preparing for General Conference” · “Life Experiences of President Thomas S. Monson”
(taken from: http://barerecord.blogspot.com/2012/02/30-prophets-new-clothes.html)
The Corporation of the Church has trained us well. Follow the Prophet. Follow the leaders. Follow the program. All is well in Zion. We will never be led astray.
All is well in Zion? Really? As for me and my house, “I am a Child of God.” we will follow the Savior. Follow the Spirit. Trust in the Lord, not in the arm of flesh.
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I thought LDS didn’t “do” the cross because we said our focus would be on the risen Christ?
Our service was people being called up from the stand to bear their testimony on their favorite talk during Conference (a tradition the bishop has been doing since he was called and said he felt it appropriate to still due this year even though it was Easter).
We had a beautiful sacrament service yesterday. We had songs from the primary and ward choir and to good talks on the attonment and resurrection. It saddens me when more wards don’t focus on Christ every Sunday, but it’s worse when Easter is “forgotten”.
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Easter should be “remembered” each week, not once a year.
Those of you who answered “Sometimes” and “No” to the poll clearly have no idea what other churches do for Easter. Easter is the holiest of all Christian holidays and other churches show it with week-long celebrations, cantatas, pageants, and elaborate services. Even ultra conservative denominations generally have wonderful Easter services that put ours to shame. We’re lucky if Easter is even mentioned on Easter. Our Easter services are way below sub-par.