In a video message released on Palm Sunday, President Russell M. Nelson issued an invitation to encourage people everywhere to focus on Jesus Christ this Easter. Included in his video was an invitation to watch the Church’s Easter Sunday general conference.
“Please join with us,” President Nelson said. “Invite your friends! Jesus Christ lives! As our resurrected and atoning Savior, He stands ready to help us grow from the dramatic, unexpected events in our lives. At this Easter season, let us worship and praise Him for the peace, hope, light, and truth He brings to us.”
This year, April general conference is also Easter general conference and some may be wondering, “How often do general conference and Easter coincide?”
The answer is on occasion. Starting in April 1977, general conference was scheduled to include the first Sunday of April and the first Sunday of October. Previously, the spring general conference included the date of April 6 in commemoration of the date of the organization of the Church, even if that date fell on a weekday.
Since that change 44 years ago, Easter and conference have occurred on the same weekend 11 times.
Unlike other holidays with a specified date, like Christmas being held on December 25, Easter varies from year to year. The date is picked based on the lunar calendar. Easter always falls on the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, this means that Easter falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, with the most common occurrences of Easter being March 31 and April 16.
When general conference and Easter overlap, we have the special opportunity to hear beautiful testimonies of the Savior on one of the most significant days of the year. Here is a look back at some of the powerful testimonies shared by Apostles at Easter general conferences since 1977.
April 6, 1980
General conference in 1980 marked two significant occasions: Easter and the 150th anniversary of the formal organization of the Church. The conference had sessions that originated from both Temple Square as well as Fayette, New York—the location of the organization of the Church.
“It is a pleasing coincidence that the birthday of the Church falls on Easter Sunday,” then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said in his conference remarks. “Today the entire Christian world pauses to remember the most remarkable and significant event in history, the resurrection from the dead of the Son of God, the Savior of mankind. To a world plagued with doubt over the actuality of that resurrection, Joseph Smith testified unequivocally of the risen, living Christ.”
April 3, 1983
Elder Mark E. Petersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke on Easter Sunday in the 1983 session of general conference. In his remarks, “Creator and Savior,” he shared, “It was He who gave us the true meaning of Easter through His glorious resurrection, with the assurance of everlasting life. Think of it! Everlasting life!”
April 7, 1985
A timeless address by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was given during the 1985 Easter conference. In his Saturday morning remarks, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Elder McConkie shared a powerful testimony of the Savior. The address became known as his final testimony as he passed away just two weeks later.
“I am one of his witnesses, and in a coming day I shall feel the nail marks in his hands and in his feet and shall wet his feet with my tears,” Elder McConkie said. “But I shall not know any better then than I know now that he is God’s Almighty Son, that he is our Savior and Redeemer, and that salvation comes in and through his atoning blood and in no other way.”
April 3, 1988
During the 1988 general conference, President Howard W. Hunter, then-Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, testified of the Savior’s resurrection in his remarks, “He Is Risen.”
“On this beautiful and sacred Easter weekend, surely no doctrine will be the subject of more sermons nor the object of more praise than that of the atoning sacrifice and the literal resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ,” President Hunter said. “And so it should be at Easter and at every other season of the year, for no doctrine in the Christian canon is more important to all mankind than the doctrine of the resurrection of the Son of God. Through him came the resurrection of all men, women, and children who have ever been—or ever will be—born into the world.”
April 3, 1994
During the 1994 Easter conference, Elder David B. Haight focused his remarks, entitled “Jesus of Nazareth,” on the Savior.
“Today is Easter—a day designated to solemnize the bodily resurrection of the Savior of the world,” he said. “As members of His restored church, it is imperative that we do our utmost to expand our understanding of His premortal commission, His earthly ministry, His unjust crucifixion, the agony of His suffering, His final sacrifice, and His resurrection. Each of us is profoundly indebted to Him, for we were purchased by the shedding of His own precious blood. We are surely obligated to follow His admonition, to believe on His name, and to testify of Him and His word.”
April 7, 1996
In his Easter morning remarks, President Hinckley focused on Jesus Christ through his message, “This Glorious Easter Morn.”
“He is our King, our Lord, our Master, the living Christ, who stands on the right hand of His Father,” President Hinckley said. “He lives! He lives, resplendent and wonderful, the living Son of the living God. Of this we bear solemn testimony this day of rejoicing, this Easter morning, when we commemorate the miracle of the empty tomb.”
April 4, 1999
In the April 1999 general conference, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared an address, “The Hands of the Fathers,” testifying of how Christ completed the will of the Father.
“On this Easter weekend I wish to thank not only the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ but also His true Father, our spiritual Father and God, who, by accepting the sacrifice of His firstborn, perfect Son, blessed all of His children in those hours of atonement and redemption,” Elder Holland said. “Never more than at Easter time is there so much meaning in that declaration from John the Beloved, which praises the Father as well as the Son: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’” (John 3:16).
April 4, 2010
On Easter Sunday 2010, Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles used familiar hymn lyrics for the title of his talk: “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!”
Elder Scott taught, “Easter is that sacred season when the heart of each devout Christian turns in humble gratitude to our beloved Savior. It is a season that should bring peace and joy to all who love Him and show it by obeying His commandments. Easter brings thoughts of Jesus, His life, His Atonement, His Resurrection, His love. He has risen from the dead ‘with healing in his wings’ (Malachi 4:2; 3 Nephi 25:2). Oh, how we all need that healing the Redeemer can provide.”
April 5, 2015
During the 2015 Easter conference, then-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf spoke of the significance of Easter in his talk, “The Gift of Grace.”
“On Easter Sunday we celebrate the most long-awaited and glorious event in the history of the world,” President Uchtdorf said. “It is the day that changed everything. On that day, my life changed. Your life changed. The destiny of all God’s children changed. On that blessed day, the Savior of mankind, who had taken upon Himself the chains of sin and death that held us captive, burst those chains and set us free.”
April 1, 2018
In his first general conference as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson shared his testimony of the Savior on Easter Sunday in his address, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.”
“What a glorious privilege it has been to celebrate Easter with you on this Sunday of general conference! Nothing could be more fitting than to commemorate the most important event that ever occurred on this earth by worshipping the most important being who ever walked this earth,” President Nelson said. “In this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we worship Him who commenced His infinite Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was willing to suffer for the sins and weaknesses of each of us, which suffering caused Him ‘to bleed at every pore’ (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18). He was crucified on Calvary’s cross and rose the third day as the first resurrected being of our Heavenly Father’s children. I love Him and testify that He lives! It is He who leads and guides His Church.”
April 4, 2021
In his video message, President Nelson shared that Easter conference would “be filled with Christ-centered messages and music. . . . Let us worship and praise Him for the peace, hope, light and truth He brings to us.”
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Lead image: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
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