Church leaders testify of the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection on Easter weekend

In the messages shared on Saturday, April 3, and Sunday, April 4 — Easter Sunday — as part of the 191st Annual General Conference, the Lord’s authorized servants took the opportunity to share their testimonies and feelings of love and gratitude for His divine mission.

President Russell M. Nelson declared his witness that Jesus Christ is risen. “He is risen to lead His Church. He is risen to bless the lives of all of God’s children, wherever they live. With faith in Him, we can move the mountains in our lives,” President Nelson said.

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 4, 2021.
President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

During “this joyful Easter season,” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf asked listeners to open their hearts to the Savior and Redeemer, “no matter your circumstances, trials, sufferings, or mistakes; you can know that He lives, that He loves you, and because of Him, you will never be alone. God is among us,” the Apostle testified Saturday morning.

In that same session, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said that during the Easter season, Jesus Christ also invites individuals to become like Him, a Good Samaritan, and to make His Inn, or His Church, a refuge for all from life’s bruises and storms. 

“We prepare for His promised Second Coming as each day we do unto the ‘least of these’ as we would unto Him. ‘The least of these’ is each of us,” Elder Gong said.

Read more: General conference on Easter — What it means to Church members across the globe to hear messages about the Savior

Elder Gary E. Stevenson speaks during the Saturday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 3, 2021.
Elder Gary E. Stevenson speaks during the Saturday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 3, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said he finds abiding peace in knowing that “the Lord is my shepherd” and that all are known by Him and under His kind watch care.  “When we confront life’s wind and rainstorms, sickness and injuries, the Lord — our Shepherd, our caregiver — will nourish us with love and kindness. He will heal our hearts and restore our souls.”

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said Easter time is an opportunity to remember Christ’s loving invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). 

“The Savior’s invitation to come unto Him is an invitation to all to not only come unto Him but also to belong to His Church,” President Ballard said.

Calling Easter “a time to pledge total loyalty in word and deed to the Lamb of God,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asked his listeners to try to “practice peace in a personal way, applying the grace and healing balm of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ to ourselves and our families and all those we can reach around us.”

The Apostle told listeners to “Have a blessed, joyful, peaceful Easter. Its untold possibilities have already been paid for by the Prince of Peace, whom I love with all my heart, whose Church this is.”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Saturday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 3, 2021.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Saturday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 3, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles began his remarks by acknowledging three Church members who recently and unexpectedly “moved beyond mortality.” 

“While we weep, we also rejoice in the glorious resurrection of our Savior. Because of Him, our loved ones and friends continue their eternal journey,” Elder Andersen said.

Calling the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ “the most marvelous, the most majestic, and the most immeasurable act that has occurred in all of human history,” Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified that the Savior is “our ultimate spiritual caregiver.”

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021.
Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“I testify to you that through Him and His infinite Atonement, the Savior provided us the way to overcome death, both physically and spiritually,” Elder Soares said. “In addition to these great blessings, He also offers us comfort and assurance in difficult times.”

Easter is also the commemoration of “the greatest miracle in human history” — the Atonement and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, said Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“On this Easter Sunday, as we celebrate the miracle of our Lord’s Resurrection, as an Apostle of Jesus Christ I humbly pray that you will feel the power of the Redeemer in your life, that your appeals to our Heavenly Father will be answered with the love and commitment Jesus Christ demonstrated throughout His ministry,” Elder Rasband said.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2021.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the Sunday afternoon session of the 191st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Personal experiences

Several of the international Church leaders who spoke in the Easter morning session shared personal, poignant experiences to testify of the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection.

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke about losing her brother to a devastating earthquake in Nicaragua when she was 9 years old. 

“I was heartbroken by sorrow,” Sister Aburto recalled, “and I would ask myself, ‘What happened to my brother? Where is he? Where did he go? Will I ever see him again?’”

A few years later, before Sister Aburto knew about the plan of salvation, she would imagine her brother knocking on the door and when she opened it he would say, “I am not dead. I am alive. I could not come to you, but now I will stay with you and never leave again.”

Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, speaks during the Sunday morning session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 191st Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on April 4, 2021.
Sister Reyna Isabel Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, speaks during the Sunday morning session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 191st Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

About 40 years later, during Easter time, as Sister Aburto was pondering the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, she realized her imaginings of her brother was the Spirit comforting her in a difficult time. “I had received a witness that my brother’s spirit is not dead; he is alive. He is still progressing in his eternal existence,” she said.

Sister Aburto testified, “Through the redeeming Atonement and glorious Resurrection of Jesus Christ, broken hearts can be healed, anguish can become peace, and distress can become hope. He can embrace us in His arms of mercy, comforting, empowering, and healing each of us.”

Elder Edward Dube, a General Authority Seventy from Zimbabwe, explained that serving the Lord with love and gratitude in spite of great sufferings is “pressing toward the mark.”

His mother provided him an example of pressing forward and accepting God’s will in her painful battle with cancer. As she endured intense pain, Elder Dube prayed that the Lord would relieve her suffering. She told him, “It is not up to you or anyone else, but it is up to God whether this pain will go away or not.”

Jesus Christ suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Golgotha to “do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me” (3 Nephi 27:13), Elder Dube said.

Elder Edward Dube, General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021.
Elder Edward Dube, General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunday morning session of the 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

New Zealand General Authority Seventy Elder S. Mark Palmer testified that because Jesus Christ was resurrected, all will live again after death. “This knowledge gives meaning and purpose to our lives,” he said.

As a young couple in New Zealand, Elder Palmer’s parents lost their 17-month-old daughter, Ann, in a tragic drowning accident, which caused unspeakable sorrow. “It also caused a yearning for answers to life’s most important questions: What will become of our precious Ann? Will we ever see her again? How can our family ever be happy again?”

Years later, missionaries taught them truths including the remarkable doctrine that families can be bound together forever. His parents recognized truth, received a witness of the Spirit and were baptized, and their family was sealed in the temple.

All who feel sorrow, wrestle with doubt or wonder what happens after death are invited to have faith in Christ. “I promise that if you desire to believe, then act in faith and follow the whisperings of the Spirit, you will find joy in this life and in the world to come,” Elder Palmer said.

Elder S. Mark Palmer, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunday morning session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021.
Elder S. Mark Palmer, a General Authority Seventy, speaks during the Sunday morning session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 191st Annual General Conference on April 4, 2021. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints