Cross, Amy Carmichael

Originally posted March 2013

I’m certain I’m not alone when I say that Good Friday always gives us lots to think upon and pray about! Each of us has our own list of reasons why we’re grateful God intervened in our life and we each carry our own set of memories why this day is special for us.

One of the most memorable experiences for me dates back to my days in Junior High School of all things. At the time I had become friends with a handful of other girls and as it turned out I was the only Mormon. My small group of friends included a Catholic, a Presbyterian, an Episcopalian and a Methodist. I began noticing my Catholic friend only ate fish on Fridays and while all the girls had their own set of doctrinal creeds they held dear, their customs afforded me a front row seat to other cultures right there in the heart of Utah Mormonism. I began wondering what it’d be like to attend a church that had a cross somewhere on the building.

It was very simplistic thinking at the time, however, while growing up in a religion that demanded complete allegiance I was always careful not to stare at the crosses or ask too many questions because I’d already been taught the cross had evil intentions.  Which brings me to the subject matter at hand!

My small group of friends never attended school on Good Friday and I always wondered why. They also went to church on that night and not understanding what they were doing I let my judgmental mind conform to what I’d been raised to believe. In Utah the Church bands itself together and becomes like Fort Knox in their attitude towards outsiders. While they have a perfect opportunity to reach out to those who are literally in their backyard, it turns inward as if shielding their views from onlookers which in turn produces criticism of others by exclusion. The days of multi-denominational Christians working alongside each other as they had done in the Great Awakenings was all but forgotten behind the Zion Curtain.

After more than two centuries of isolating itself from the outside world and holding fast to the ill-conceived ideas of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Church can’t afford to celebrate or honor Good Friday because they’d have to disavow every single doctrine they’ve espoused. Their doctrines and customs have been built upon the teachings of what Smith deemed worthy of worship.

From the catacombs of Egyptian hieroglyphics to witchcraft and don’t forget about the rumors of what was popular in American culture during the time Smith lived, Mormonism became a menagerie of several different ideologies.

If they began observing Good Friday they’d have to accept that Jesus died on the cross for their sins instead of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. They’d also have to accept they were born with a sin nature, thus needful of a Savior and accepting they can’t become gods.

They’d also have to come to terms with knowing the oaths they take in the temple are all for naught because again, they can’t become gods and there are no marriages in heaven – just as Jesus told the Sadducees during the Passover. Here’s an example of one of Mormonism’s standard replies as to why they don’t celebrate Good Friday;

Answers to Gospel Questions 5:155;

“Question: “Can you please tell me why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not observe Good Friday as other Christians do?”

Answer: The reason why we do not observe Good Friday should be clear enough.  Easter is taken from a pagan spring holiday, that was governed by the moon. The Roman Catholic Church connected the birth of the Savior with this pagan ceremony. As you know, Easter is governed by the moon, and this spring pagan festival was celebrated according to the moon, any time in March and the end of April.  THE RESURRECTION DATE DID NOT VARY.

Now as you well know that the resurrection did not vary and it is foolish to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at the end of March or the first of April, or middle of April or near the first of May, and put Good Friday the Friday before the Easter Sunday. I think you are wise enough to see the foolishness of it. The resurrection of the Savior does not vary year by year but it is a constant thing. Why should we follow the silly custom rather than to have one day for the resurrection?”

Ironically, while the Church has spent a great deal of time berating what others do, they’ve not taken the time to find out the truth for themselves! In our studies this week we saw how God has given directives of when the Israelites were to slaughter their lambs to atone for their sin. The date for Passover as far as God was concerned would always be on the 14th day of Nisan.

Exodus 12:6; “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.”

And yes, in the early church it was decided to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection as close to the Passover Feast as possible so that we’re always reminded of the correlation of the Jewish Passover and the Paschal Lamb God provided in His Son. Because the churches at the time were using two different calendars (Julian and Gregorian) the dates can differ amongst the denominations.

It was eventually decided to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after (or on) the first full moon after the arrival of spring. While the way it came about may not be perfect, the God we worship is and that’s where the focus should be placed.

I’ve often wondered…

If the LDS Church is so dogmatic about not falling into the same theological footsteps of the Christian church (aka, the “whores of Babylon”), then why do they celebrate Easter when we do?

For me Good Friday brings me face to face with the sinful creature I am. There being no divine anything in or about me causes my desire to turn away from God. The only provision I have to want to please Him today is the indwelling of His Holy Spirit – thank You Jesus! – that keeps me in line.

Today is commemorated, acknowledged and prayed through because of the deep love and awe we as Christians have for our Savior. Sunday as we don our new dresses and suits to attend church and celebrate His resurrection, it’ll be a breath of fresh air as we walk through the doors and are greeted with the voices of others who proclaim

“He is Risen Indeed”!

With Love in Christ;

Michelle Grim

1 Corinthians 1:18-1923-24; “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”