‘Mormon Land’: How Latter-day Saints can follow their prophet and add more Christian traditions to Easter

With Lent approaching next week, members can start now to make this holy season even holier.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) "In Remembrance of Me," by Walter Rane. This scene depicts the biblical Last Supper.

Easter is the most significant holiday on the Christian calendar, celebrated in solemnity and song, pageantry and prayer, rituals and rejoicing, “hosannas and hallelujahs.”

While members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe deeply in Christ’s resurrection, they have not participated as a church with the rest of Christendom in immersive traditions like waving palms on Palm Sunday, washing feet on Maundy Thursday or carrying a large cross for Good Friday. So, many Latter-day Saints have joined with other Christians on these holy practices.

Last year, though, top Latter-day Saint leaders encouraged members to find ways to better commemorate the sacred moment when they believe Jesus rose from the dead.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Actors portraying the resurrected Jesus Christ, right, and one of his new disciples, Nephi, left, depict a scene from 3 Nephi from the Book of Mormon during production of the “Book of Mormon Videos” series in 2021.

Eric Huntsman, a Brigham Young University professor of ancient scripture, has spent his career reading biblical texts in their original languages. Last year, Huntsman, who is currently on hiatus from his position as academic director at BYU’s Jerusalem Center, co-wrote a book with Trevan Hatch, “Greater Love Hath No Man: A Latter-day Saint Guide to Celebrating the Easter Season.”

On Holy Wednesday, for example, Huntsman and his family read the biblical story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, who knew Jesus was king, and that he had come to die for humankind. The Huntsmans celebrate those in their extended family who are “women of Christ,” and who have “planted the seeds of faith” in everyone. Family members then mention other women who are those kind of disciples. That is their “female night” of Holy Week.

As many Christians prepare for next week’s Lent, Huntsman offers other tips on how Latter-day Saint individuals and families can better remember the “climax of the gospel story.”

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