Answers to Gospel Questions 5:155:
“Question: “Can you please tell me why members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not observe Good Friday as other Christians do?
Answer: The reason why we do not observe Good Friday should be clear enough. Easter is taken from a pagan spring holiday, that was governed by the moon. The Roman Catholic Church connected the birth of the Savior with this pagan ceremony. As you know, Easter is governed by the moon, and this spring pagan festival was celebrated according to the moon, any time in March and the end of April.
THE RESURRECTION DATE DID NOT VARY. Now as you well know that the resurrection did not vary and it is foolish to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord at the end of March or the first of April, or middle of April or near the first of May, and put Good Friday the Friday before the Easter Sunday. I think you are wise enough to see the foolishness of it. The resurrection of the Savior does not vary year by year but it is a constant thing. Why should we follow the silly custom rather than to have one day for the resurrection?”
Joseph Fielding Smith, “Answers to Gospel Questions,” volume 5
The author of this “answer” demonstrates his total ignorance of the origin of Easter being celebrated in the Christian church.
Easter is about celebrating the resurrection of Christ, which was originally done by Christians meeting on the first day of the week since that was the day of the week during which Christ rose from the dead. So in essence, every Sunday is a celebration of Easter (this word originates from a German word meaning “resurrection”).
Some time during the 2nd century (long before Roman Catholicism) early Christians began setting apart a special time to celebrate the Resurrection, and it was based on taking place during the Jewish Passover. Easter is celebrated during the time of the Passover because that is when Jesus was crucified. The Passover is based on the Jewish calendar; as described by Wikipedia: The Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan, which typically falls in March or April of the Gregorian calendar. Passover is a spring festival, so the 15th day of Nisan typically begins on the night of a full moon after the northern vernal equinox. However, due to intercalary months or leap months falling after the vernal equinox, Passover sometimes starts on the second full moon after vernal equinox, as in 2016. This is the reason Easter varies in dates—Passover is “governed by the moon,” but the festival is not pagan. Passover was established by God.
Why does it matter what day we choose to specifically celebrate the Resurrection? Did it ever occur to you that the point of celebrating during the Passover is for the symbolism? So how is it silly?
Yes, over the years, a lot of pagan trappings were brought into the celebration of Easter, but that doesn’t make the celebration itself pagan any more than the celebration of Christmas is pagan due to the import of pagan trappings.
Smith’s claim about Easter is exactly like most Mormon teachings — one big LIE. What is truly “silly” is the whole false religious cult of the Latter-day Saints.