The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is the heart and core and center of revealed religion.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie Christ and the Creation

I wonder if we fully appreciate the enormous significance of our belief in a literal, universal resurrection. The assurance of immortality is fundamental to our faith. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared:

“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1938], 121).

Of all things in that glorious ministry, why did the Prophet Joseph Smith use the testimony of the Savior’s death, burial, and Resurrection as the fundamental principle of our religion, saying that “all other things … are only appendages to it”? The answer is found in the fact that the Savior’s Resurrection is central to what the prophets have called “the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death” (2 Ne. 11:5).

In our eternal journey, the resurrection is the mighty milepost that signifies the end of mortality and the beginning of immortality. The Lord described the importance of this vital transition when He declared, “And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe” (D&C 29:43). Similarly, the Book of Mormon teaches, “For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection” (2 Ne. 9:6). We also know, from modern revelation, that without the reuniting of our spirits and our bodies in the resurrection we could not receive a “fulness of joy” (D&C 93:33–34).

When we understand the vital position of the resurrection in the “plan of redemption” that governs our eternal journey (Alma 12:25), we see why the Apostle Paul taught, “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then … is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:13–14). We also see why the Apostle Peter referred to the fact that God the Father, in His abundant mercy, “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Pet. 1:3; see also 1 Thes. 4:13–18).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks
Resurrection,” Ensign, May 2000, 14

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