By AARON HUFF
In the Saturday morning session of the 170th Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, said resurrection is a pillar of faith for church members.
In the New Testament account of the Savior’s resurrection, all of the ancient apostles, including the doubting Thomas, saw the resurrected Jesus Christ. Christ also showed himself to other individuals and multitudes, Elder Oaks said.
“Despite these biblical witnesses, many who call themselves Christians reject or confess serious doubts about the reality of the resurrection,” Elder Oaks said.
The belief that a mortal who dies will live again with a resurrected body has “awakened hope and stirred controversy” throughout history, he said.
But for members of the LDS Church, he said, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not a controversy; it’s a living reality.
“Relying on clear scriptural teachings, Latter-day Saints join in affirming that Christ has broken the bands of death and that death is swallowed up in victory,” Elder Oaks said.
Prophets and apostles are not the only people who can testify to the reality of resurrection. Many people, Elder Oaks said, have seen departed loved ones “in vision or personal appearance and have witnessed their restoration in ‘proper and perfect frame’ in the prime of life.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that the Savior’s death, burial, and resurrection are the “fundamental principles our religion,” and that “all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it,” Elder Oaks said.
In light of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s teachings, Elder Oaks said he wonders if members of the LDS Church appreciate the enormous significance of their belief in a literal, universal resurrection.
“When we understand the vital position of the resurrection … we see why the Apostle Paul taught, ‘If there be no resurrection of the dead, then … is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.'”
Assurance in the resurrection also helps people to bear the death of a loved one, Elder Oaks said.
“We should all praise God for the assured resurrection that makes our mortal separations temporary and gives us the hope and strength to carry on.”