'With healing in His wings' theme of BYU Easter Conference

Church leader and scholars teach about the Resurrection of Christ


All things bear record of the Savior, Elder Gary J. Coleman, an emeritus General Authority, said during the annual BYU Easter Conference on April 7.

"The birds are building their nests, the cows are having their calves," he said. "The flowers are blooming and all things bear record of Him — the season, springtime."

The conference's theme, "With healing in His wings," focused on different elements of the Resurrection of the Savior. Elder Coleman, Andrew Skinner and Gaye Strathearn addressed the conference.

Elder Coleman spoke of his upbringing in a different religion, and how that affected his knowledge of the Resurrection of the Savior.

It was in December of 1961, as a student at Washington State University, that he was first introduced to the Church.

"A poster appeared on the walls of different campus buildings saying a young, returned Mormon missionary was going to share the Mormon's attitude of life and death," Elder Coleman said. "I contemplated whether or not I should go."

Having considered becoming a Catholic priest for the decade prior to his college career, Elder Coleman said that he began to wrestle within his soul whether or not he would even attend the meeting. He thought it would be going against what he had been taught.

Elder Gary J. Coleman speaks during the BYU Easter Conference on April 7.
Elder Gary J. Coleman speaks during the BYU Easter Conference on April 7. | Photo by Marianne Holman

He decided to attend and as he was there he began learning the truth about the Plan of Salvation. He talked with the returned missionary, and after reading some passages from the Book of Mormon, he learned that "Resurrection must pass upon all men," and that it is "the crown jewel in our Father's plan," he said.

Now, more than fifty years later, Elder Coleman shared how his knowledge of the Restoration of the gospel changed his understanding of the Resurrection of the Savior.

He shared the definition of the Resurrection found in the Bible Dictionary, citing the many references and words associated with the entry.

"All of those things make such a difference in the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ," he said.

Looking to the scriptures, Elder Coleman said that although the word "Resurrection" does not occur in the four gospels record of the actual event that occurred on Resurrection morning, there are many references to the sacred event.

But it is the further knowledge of the Resurrection that comes with the Restoration — that family relationships extend beyond the grave, the nature of the Godhead and how that applies to man's potential, and the opportunity made available through the Savior for all individuals to return to the presence of God — that brings a more complete knowledge, he said.

"The true doctrine of the Resurrection is one of the great and glorious doctrines of these latter days, ..." he said. "I testify that the resurrection will occur for all."

Brother Skinner, a professor of ancient scripture and former dean of religious education at BYU, spoke of the Savior's mission to the world of spirits.

"The spirit world in which Jesus entered was a fundamentally and thoroughly different environment than the one He had just come from," Brother Skinner said.

He shared four elements of those environments — the state of the souls, the atmosphere, the number of people at the cross versus the spirit world, and the overall environment — comparing the contrast of each.

"Jesus' ministry to the spirit world is a powerful testament of God's love," Brother Skinner said. "Death need not hold any fear for disciples of Jesus Christ."

Sister Strathearn, an associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU, focussed her presentation on the Crucifixion of Christ, specifically on reclamation of the cross. She shared four reasons why the cross holds significance with the Resurrection.

1. The events on the cross are an integral part of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

2. The scriptural metaphor that all can be "lifted up" because Christ was lifted up on the cross is a symbol of God's great love for His children.

3. In the New Testament the invitation "to take up your cross" was the symbol of discipleship.

4. The signs of the Crucifixion were so important for Christ that they are forever engraved upon His body.

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