"Many witnesses in many places have seen the risen Lord," said Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Council of the Twelve in his April 1987 general conference address. He said the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most carefully documented events in history.
Among the witnesses were Jesus' associates in the Holy Land:1. Mary Magdalene. (John 20:16-17.)
- Mary, mother of James; Salome, mother of James and John; Joana, Susanna, and others. (Mark 16:1; Luke 8:3.)
- Simon Peter. (1 Cor. 15:5.)
- Cleopas and his companion on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:30, 33.)
- The Apostles, except Thomas, in the upper room. (Luke 24:42-43.)
- The Apostles, including Thomas. (John 20:26-28.)
- Seven of the Twelve at the Sea of Tiberias. (John 21:1-24.)
- Multitude on the mount near Galilee's shore. (1 Cor. 15:6.)
- The Apostles, at which time He charged them, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations." (Matt. 28:16, 19.)
- James, His brother. (1 Cor. 15:7.)
- Paul. (1 Cor. 15:8; Acts 9:4-5.)
- Leaders of His Church in Asia. (Mark 16:19, Luke 24:50-51.)
- Stephen. (Acts 7:55.)
In addition, the resurrected Jesus appeared to the Nephites on the American continent, (3 Ne. 11:7-17; 17:25), ministered unto the dead in the post-earthly spirit world (1 Pet. 4:6; 3 Ne. 23:9-10), and visited the lost tribes of the house of Israel. (2 Ne. 29:13; 3 Ne. 17:4, 21:26.)
Appearances of the resurrected Savior were not limited to past dispensations. In this dispensation He, with the Father, revealed Himself to the Prophet Joseph Smith (Joseph Smith-History 1:17; D&C 130:22), to the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon (D&C 76:23), and to Prophet and Oliver Cowdery. (D&C 110:2-4.)
'Nothing more universal than Resurrection'
"The greatest events of history are those which affect the greatest number for the longest periods," declared President Ezra Taft Benson.
"By this standard, none could be more important to individuals or nations than the resurrection of the Master. The eventual resurrection of every soul who has lived and died on earth is a scriptural certainty. And surely there is none for which one should make more careful preparation.
"Nothing is more absolutely universal than the Resurrection. Every living being will be resurrected.
As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' (1 Cor. 15:22.) Yes, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a glorious reality. He became the first fruits of them that sleep. He truly rose from the tomb the third day, as He and His prophets foretold, and became, in very deed,the resurrection and the life.' (John 11:25.) He broke the bonds of death for all of us. We, too, will be resurrected - our spirits will be reunited with our bodies." (From So Shall Ye Reap, quoted in Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson.)
In a 1964 general conference address, President Benson - then a member of the Council of the Twelve - said: "Christ's resurrection was abundantly verified. The witnesses are many. Throughout the forty days following His resurrection the Lord manifested Himself at intervals and gave instructions in the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. Much that He said and did is not written, but such things as are of record, John assures us, `are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.' (John 20:31.)
"Three days after Jesus' body was laid in a tomb, He took His body up again. By doing so He overcame death for every other individual so that we, too, will live after this life. This is what He meant when He said that `because I live, ye shall live also.' (John 14:19.)
`Why did the Lord take my son?'
In the April 1945 general conference, Elder Spencer W. Kimball of the Council of the Twelve told of a woman who, grieving over her son's death, asked: "Why would the Lord take my son from me? Why didn't the Lord answer my prayers and save him? I know my son has remained clean; why should he be taken?"
Elder Kimball said he thought of another mother who, kneeling at her son's cross, might have asked similar questions. "He was taken from His mother, though it broke her heart. . . . His was the perfect life, clean, guileless, divine, and yet He passed. . . . Why? There was a definite reason. Being divine and mortal, He had a work to do which could not be done in mortality, which required His transfer to other spheres of activity."