Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Neal A. Maxwell on Christ's victory over death

Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926-2004) served as a Seventy from 1976-1981, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve until his death from cancer in 2004.
"The gift of immortality to all mankind through the reality of the Resurrection is so powerful a promise that our rejoicing in these great and generous gifts should drown out any sorrow, assuage any grief, conquer any mood, dissolve any despair, and tame any tragedy. Those who now see life as pointless will one day point with adoration to the performance of the Man of Galilee in those crowded moments of time known as Gethsemane and Calvary. Those who presently say life is meaningless will yet applaud the Atonement which saves us from meaninglessness. Christ's victory over death ended the human predicaments, and from these too we may be rescued by following the teachings of him who rescued us from general extinction.
"Our 'brightness of hope,' therefore, means that at funerals our tears are genuine, but not because of termination—rather because of interruption. Though just as wet, our tears are not of despair but are of appreciation and anticipation. Yes, for disciples, the closing of a grave is but the closing of a door which later will be flung open with rejoicing.
"We say, humbly but firmly that it is the garden tomb—not life—that is empty."
- Neal A. Maxwell, "All Hell Is Moved," BYU Devotional, Nov 8, 1977
Click here to read the full talk
Elder Maxwell provides a powerful suggestion. If we consider the magnitude of the "great and generous gifts" provided to us by the Savior through the Resurrection alongside the sorrows and despairs of mortality, the former should completely drown out and overwhelm the latter. What a marvelous perspective; if our understanding is deep enough, all else falls into place.

As an example, he discusses the challenge of dealing with the loss of a loved one to death. Real disciples, who understand the doctrine, respond differently to this part of life:

And that leads us to the profound but simple testimony that is at the core of Elder Maxwell's remarks, the Easter season, and indeed the very core of Christianity:

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