April 6th – As Explained With a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

reesesLast Sunday, April 5th, our spirits were busy soaking in the final sessions of the LDS General Conference. It was terrific. The next day, April 6th, went largely unnoticed, even though it is unrivaled in importance. To most of the world, and to much of the church, it was just another Monday.

What is the big deal about April 6th?

Two things:

1) Modern scripture and prophets have told us that April 6th is the actual anniversary of the birth of the Savior. Yes, according to modern scripture, Spencer W. Kimball, Harold B. Lee, Gordon B. Hinckley and others, April 6th is Christ’s birthday. (Link)Nativity Thankfully, we still celebrate Christmas on December 25th with the rest of the Christian world. Besides, it would be much too close to Easter…

2) On April 6, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored to the earth. A meeting was held in a small cabin in Fayette, New York. There, a small group of people, led by the prophet Joseph Smith, legally organized the Church. Fayette Now are you feeling bad that you missed it last Monday? Better put it in your phone for next year.

Here are two quick references that bind these two events on April 6th:

“The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April–” D&C 20:1

And one much more current: “May each of us do and become better through the Savior’s Atonement. Today is April 6. We know by revelation that today is the actual and accurate date of the Savior’s birth. April 6 also is the day on which The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized.” Elder David A. Bednar, May, 2014.

I do not believe that those two events celebrate their anniversaries on the same date by accident. Why, because the go together. They are like a washer and dryer, salt and pepper, cookies and milk, or Chocolate and Peanut Butter. Yes, I’m going there. reeses 2 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are delicious. One of the best candies out there. They have such a great ratio of peanut butter to chocolate. Something about the blend between the sweetness of the chocolate outside and the saltiness of the peanut butter middle… I’ll stop, because it is Fast Sunday for many of you.

This is my point: To really enjoy all that a Reese’s cup has to offer, you need to eat both the outside and the inside. If you didn’t like chocolate, but only liked the middle, then you would have a ridiculous task of trying to dig the insides out to eat by themselves. It would be equally ridiculous to suck on a Reese’s for the chocolate, only to thow it away when you started tasting peanut butter.  To enjoy this candy, you had better enjoy both parts – the outside and the inside It is a package deal.

What does this have to do with April 6th?  I’m getting there, I promise.

April 6th represents the birth of Christ, which lead to the glorious act that we call the Atonement. Without that miraculous event, we would have no hope for salvation, let alone exaltation. We consider the Atonement of Christ the key point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our definition of the gospel stems from the Savior himself – he described it in the New Testament, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Book of Mormon. “And this is my gospel – repentance and baptism by water and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter.” (D&C 39:6)

April 6th also represents the organization of His church on the earth. The very church that has the authority from Christ to perform those ordinances necessary to tap into the Atonement He offers us.  The Church and Gospel are a package deal. Even more so than the candy, there is no way into the middle of the gospel without going through the church.

You have probably heard the same claims that I have:  “I don’t believe in the Church, but I try and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Another version that I have heard is “I have a testimony of the gospel, but not the Church.”  Many people who make the decision to leave the church, do so with a false hope that they can fully access the Atonement through their own faith and effort.It doesn’t work that way. That is not how the Savior set things up. It is impossible to live the gospel of Jesus Christ from outside of the true, authorized Church of Jesus Christ.

It is a package deal: The ordinances of the gospel are administered within the church. The priesthood exists in the church. Any ordinance that happens without the priesthood, or without the consent of priesthood keys is not valid. So, to get baptized or confirmed outside of the church organization and authority is meaningless.

Now that one was kind of easy – let’s get more profound: Unless you are a baptized member of the church, you can’t attain forgiveness and cleanliness. Yes,I know it sounds a little extreme, but it is true. Without the covenant of baptism, there has been no agreement – no covenant-  made with God that you can repent and that He will forgive. You have to make the deal first.

This concept was reinforced by Elder Christofferson when he said: “Without this covenant (baptism) repentance remains incomplete and the remission of sins unattained.” (The Divine Gift of Repentance)

Next, the way we complete the repentance process is through participating in the sacrament – another ordinance that cannot effectively be done without the priesthood, under priesthood keys. —Elder Dallin H. Oaks said it this way: “Not one of you … has lived without sin since your baptism. Without some means of further cleansing after our baptism, each of us is lost to things spiritual. We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and at the final judgment we would be bound to be “cast off forever” (1 Ne. 10:21). How grateful we are that the Lord has provided a means for each baptized member of His Church to be … cleansed from the soil of sin. The sacrament is a necessary part of that process.” (Ensign, November 1998, page 38.) (Full text here)

(Have you started to understand why I am so fixated on the ordinance of the sacrament? Here, here, here, here, etc.)

So, how does this all apply to us if we claim to live the gospel independent of the church?   I would say this: It doesn’t  work. It is a package deal.

• We can’t be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Therefore…
• We can’t repent and be forgiven. This applies to both unbaptized people, AND baptized members who do not come to church and take the sacrament. Both carry around a lifetime of unresolved sins. It is truly sad, and gives a renewed urgency to our reactivation and missionary efforts.

So, if you think, or have heard “I have a testimony of the gospel, but not the church,” please know that it doesn’t work that way.  It is a package deal.

The events of April 6th, both 185 years ago, and 2,000 years ago work together to permit us to access God’s grace and forgiveness. The events of that date also give us a chance to reach beyond salvation to exaltation.

Or, more simple put, the first of the two April 6ths gave us the ultimate gift. The second gave us the means to open it.

MMM logo small
Some of this might feel a bit familiar to my longtime readers. Several years ago I addressed some of these idea, but felt it needed to be revisited and expanded on. 🙂

 

About the author

Comments

  1. I love the occasional year that Easter is on April 6th. The last time it happened, looking at the calendar a little ahead, I remarked to my husband that Easter falls on Christmas this year. Plus Conference and the commemoration of the founding of the Church. I always remember–thanks.

  2. I don’t think it could be in March, it has to be on the same date as all other important things. I’m sorry.

  3. I have never done the math, but have always thought that April 6th was the beginning and end of the Savior’s ministry…. and somehow feel that it was appropriate.

    For me personally, it is a date to celebrate the savior’s birth “in secret” as opposed to the boisterousness of December 25th. An opportunity to say “thank you” and reason to have a little bit more of an intimate moment with my big brother.

  4. I enjoyed the wonderful run of significant dates last weekend. Friday, April 3 was the date the Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple and was also the anniversary of Christ’s crucifiction. April 4 and 5 continued the holy story as well as being Conference weekend. Then Monday, April 6, was, as you say, the perfect combination of two significant events. I tend to believe that Sunday, March 26, 1820 has been reliably put forth as the date of the First Vision on the basis of weather calendars and other evidence (Pratt and Lefgren, Meridian Magazine). According to a weather log kept for the area, April 6, 1820 would have been cold and dreary. I had my primary class celebrate April 6 by creating small plaques with two suns and a moon to represent the ‘day, a night and a day’ prophesied by Samuel. I love having two Christmases. It’s sort of like having two birthdays, one splashy and public and one private and sacred.

  5. I’m so personally grateful for both April 6th events. Just today, I was able to partake of the Sacrament with a worthy and repentant heart, and because He was born, lived, suffered, died, and rose again, AND because I am a baptized and worthy member of His restored church, my sins of the week were forgiven. I felt the cleansing process. Wonderful.

  6. My daughter just returned from a mission and in her last email home, she asked if we could be in Palmyra on April 6th. So we spent that day in the Sacred Grove and out at the Whitmer farm. The next morning we enjoyed a session in the Palmyra temple. You don’t have to be in the place where the church was organized to know it’s true and Christ is at its head, but you certainly feel the powerful, spiritual confirmation standing in those sacred places. Also, motherof8 (hey! I’m mother of eight too!) standing in the Sacred Grove on April 6th, my daughter and I considered the possibility that “early in the spring” could have been April 6th.

  7. I had to print this one up before I headed off to church…good job MMM
    xoDaleB.xo

  8. What an absolutely lovely parable. 🙂 I may have stolen it and used it in my Gospel Principles lesson today, with credit to you of course. We were speaking about the Church as it is organized today and I felt it was very fitting to comment that the organization and the authority wrap around the gospel principles and ordinances.

  9. Very well put. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Our FHE on Monday was about the significance of April 6th. Kudos to my hubby for not letting the day pass without recognition.

  10. Wonderfully written article MMM thank you.
    I did not forget the importance of April 6th. on my social media I posted a Happy birthday to my Savior with a testimony. I changed my cover photo to the Elder Bednar quote you posted here as well as posted a link to President Hinkley’s talk on the True and Real Meaning of Christmas.

    Still you write far better than I do, so I will be posting this today later after church.
    Thank you for your thoughts and efforts!

  11. I suspect (and I admit it is just my theory. I have not done proper research on when various dates coincided with Passover) that April 6 was also Resurrection Day. I would not be at all surprised to someday learn that the day in early spring that a young boy entered a grove of trees to pray was also April 6. I always tie them together in my mind – Christ’s birth, resurrection, the First Vision, and the organization. I don’t usually manage to do anything special to commemorate it, but it is a day of reflection and gratitude for me as I go about my daily life.

Add your 2¢. (Be nice.)

%d bloggers like this: