President Worthen emphasizes ‘The Living Christ’ during annual BYU Easter Conference

Ryan Hernandez
From left: Camille Olson, President Kevin J Worthen and Hank Smith touched on the importance of Christ during this year’s Easter Conference. (Ryan Hernandez).

BYU President Kevin J Worthen, as well as other speakers, spoke about Christ during the annual Easter Conference on Friday, April 14.

BYU assistant professor of ancient scripture Hank R. Smith, spoke first about the hardships that death brings to all people.

Smith recounted a story where the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke to the early saints about the death of a child of a member of the church.

“We mourn the loss but we do not mourn as those without hope,” Smith said, quoting the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Smith said those who do not understand the gospel, struggle with the concept of death. He said many in the world cannot find the way to truly move on with their lives.

This is not the case with Latter-day Saints, according to Smith. He said though LDS people do mourn, they mourn differently.

“We mourn with hope,” Smith said.

Smith explained this is due to the understanding of the resurrection wrought by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He said the knowledge that everyone will be resurrected is the only way to counteract the effects of losing a loved one.

“Because of Jesus Christ, even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise,” Smith said.

Chair of the Department of Ancient Scripture at BYU Camille Olson spoke about Christ’s actions during the Last Supper.

She said Christ’s action of washing the Twelve Apostle’s feet was an action most Jews would only have their non-Jew servants perform. She related the washing of feet to Christ’s Atonement that washed away the sins of the world.

She said Peter’s resistance to Christ washing his feet may have been an attempt to hide, not the dirt on his feet, but in his soul.

“I wonder if Jesus wasn’t reminding Peter, and all of us, that he knows we are dirty,” Olson said. “Very dirty. Including impure and sullied habits, desires and attributes we can easily hid from the world but not from Him.”

Olson said the only way people can truly be clean is through Christ’s Atonement. She said when people understand that, then they will run to Christ to be cleaned.

She said Christ did this act to give an example to follow and that members must selflessly serve one another.

“With our souls filled with the love of Jesus Christ, we will show that same love to others through meek and lowly service,” Olson said. “In other words, happiness comes not by merely knowing the teaching this truth, happiness is the gift we receive when we actively engage in it.”

BYU President Worthen spoke about how Christ-centered the words of modern day prophets and apostles have been. He spoke about “The Living Christ,” which the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles released in April 2000.

President Worthen gave statistics about the frequency of Christ themed talks in General Conference and noted their increase. He said members need to become more familiar with “The Living Christ” because of a statement made by Elder Robert D. Hales that a time will come when members will need it most; a time President Worthen believes is now.

“Thus while a generation or two ago, it could be taken as a given among most Americans that Jesus’ mortal life was real and unparalleled, that may no longer be the case” President Worthen said.

He stressed the importance of having living prophets and apostles that bear testimony of Christ’s divinity in this day. President Worthen also said everything Christ did was part of his Atonement.

“He not only gave his life in a manner that permitted him to save all human kind from death and misery,” President Worthen said.He also lived his life in a way that made that infinite sacrifice possible.”

President Worthen said every action Christ and Heavenly Father have made since then has been to bring eternal life to all men. He said Christ is as active in the lives of members as much as they allow him to be.

“He knocks at the door and waits for us to invite him into our lives,” President Worthen said. “And when we do, we will find the truth of the apostolic witness that his way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come.”

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