Mormons and the CROSS

The Prophet

Active member
The Wearing of the Cross

Question: Having been reared in a Latter-day Saint community, I have never had occasion to give serious thought to this question of the wearing of the cross until I moved to the mission field.

"Many who join the Church who come from a Catholic or Protestant background while trying their utmost to live the gospel, and rid themselves of past habits, unconsciously bring some of the customs of their former environment with them. One of these is the wearing of the crucifix on a necklace, bracelet, or in some other form.

"The teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seem to indicate that this is improper because we do not hold any special reverence for the cross as such, nor do we have crosses in our chapels or homes or wear a crucifix as jewelry. How may we uphold this belief, if my assumption is correct, through the study of the scriptures? Is there some statement that might be given from the General Authorities of the Church which would give me a clear understanding of this question?"

Answer: While we have never questioned the sincerity of Catholics and Protestants for wearing the cross, or felt that they were doing something which was wrong, it is a custom that has never appealed to members of the Church. The motive for such a custom by those who are of other churches, we must conclude, is a most sincere and sacred gesture. To them the cross does not represent an emblem of torture but evidently carried the impression of sacrifice and suffering endured by the Son of God. However, to bow down before a cross or to look upon it as an emblem to be revered because of the fact that our Savior died upon a cross is repugnant to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



THE CROSS WAS AN EGYPTIAN SYMBOL

The use of the cross dates back to a very early time. Its early meaning is somewhat obscure. We are informed that the Egyptians used it as a symbol representing life and fertility of crops. However the general use throughout the Christian world comes from the crucifixion of our Redeemer. This custom of adoring the cross seems to have grown out of the purported vision given to Constantine when it is stated that he saw a cross in the heavens and was told that by it he was to conquer. From that time the use of the cross as an object of reverence grew, and when the rebellion against the Catholic Church commenced, the adoration of the cross continued more or less among the Protestant churches.



To many, like the writer, such a custom is repugnant and contrary to the true worship of our Redeemer. Why should we bow down before a cross or use it as a symbol? Because our Savior died on the cross, the wearing of crosses is to most Latter-day Saints in very poor taste and inconsistent to our worship. Of all the ways ever invented for taking life and the execution of individuals, among the most cruel is likely the cross. This was a favorite method among the Romans who excelled in torture. We may be definitely sure that if our Lord had been killed with a dagger or with a sword, it would have been very strange indeed if religious people of this day would have graced such a weapon by wearing it and adoring it because it was by such a means that our Lord was put to death.



A humble, contrite spirit and sincere prayer of gratitude is a far better means of worship and acknowledgment of our love for the great blessings we receive through our Savior's voluntary sacrifice than to adore the cross. It is through the shedding of his blood that we gain the resurrection; and by our faithfulness, exaltation in the kingdom of God



ANSWERS TO GOSPEL QUESTIONS, VOL. 4

by Joseph Fielding Smith



MORMON DOCTRINE

by Bruce R. McConkie

See CHRIST, CRUCIFIED ONE, CRUCIFIXION, SIGN OF THE CROSS. 1. Among the Assyrians, Persians, Phoenicians of Carthage, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, the cross was an instrument of execution. From earliest times the eventual crucifixion and death of our Lord upon the cross was revealed to holy prophets. (Moses 7: 55; 1 Ne. 11:33; 19:10-13; 2 Ne. 6:9; 10:3-7; 25:13; Mosiah 3:9: 15:7.) The gospel authors detail many of the events and circumstances incident thereto. (Matt. 26; 27; 28; Mark 14; 15; 16; Luke 22; 23; 24; John 18; 19; 20; 21.) And after his resurrection, our Lord said that the very reason he came into the world was to fulfil the will of the Father in being lifted up upon the cross. (3 Ne. 27:13-15.)



2. Because of its association with our Lord, the cross has come to have symbolic meanings for those who profess belief in his atoning blood. Paul properly used the cross of Christ to identify to the mind the whole doctrine of the atonement, reconciliation, and redemption. (1 Cor. 1:17-18; Gal. 6:12-14; Eph. 2: 8-21; Philip. 2:5-9; 3:18; Col. 1:20; 2:14; Heb. 12:2.)



In succeeding centuries, the churches which came into being through an intermingling of pagan concepts with the true apostolic Christianity developed the practice of using symbolic crosses in the architecture of their buildings and as jewelry attached to the robes of their priests. Frequently this practice of dwelling on the personal death struggle of our Lord has caused these churches to put sculptured representations of Christ on their crosses, thus forming so called crucifixes. All this is inharmonious with the quiet spirit of worship and reverence that should attend a true Christian's remembrance of our Lord's sufferings and death. In fact, the revealed symbolism to bring these things to the attention of true worshipers is found in the ordinance of the sacrament.



3. Growing out of the crucifixion of Christ is the concept that any great affliction or trial that comes upon the saints does in itself constitute a cross they must bear as part of their obligation to overcome the world. Thus the saints — knowing that Christ "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2) — are themselves strengthened to withstand all trials and persecutions which come upon them in the gospel cause. Such afflictions or trials are regarded as crosses which test Christian patience or virtue. (2 Ne. 9:18; Jac. 1:8.)



4. Similarly the gospel cause commands every man to take up his cross and follow him who carried his own cross to Golgotha. That is, the saints are to carry the cross of service and consecration, the cross of devotion and obedience. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me," our Lord said. "And now for a man to take up his cross, is to deny himself all ungodliness, and every worldly lust and keep my commandments." (Inspired Version, Matt. 16:25-26.)
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
Keeping in mind that the poster is quoting what Mormons have written, I will respond:

Question: Having been reared in a Latter-day Saint community, I have never had occasion to give serious thought to this question of the wearing of the cross until I moved to the mission field.

I can't speak for earlier, but when I witnessed to Mormons in the '90's and '00's, every time the subject of the cross came up (usually when we were discussing whether the atonement occurred on the cross or in the garden), the typical response by Mormons was, "If Jesus was killed by a rifle, would you wear an AK-47 around your neck?" And of course, the attitude is mocking and condescending. Mormons have nothing but contempt for the cross.

"Many who join the Church who come from a Catholic or Protestant background while trying their utmost to live the gospel, and rid themselves of past habits, unconsciously bring some of the customs of their former environment with them. One of these is the wearing of the crucifix on a necklace, bracelet, or in some other form.

This indicates that JFS doesn't know what he's talking about. He goes from speaking of "the cross", to speaking of "the crucifix". They are not the same thing. A "crucifix" (Latin, "fixed to the cross") is an emblem of Jesus on the cross which is predominantly used by Catholics. It emphasizes the body of Christ as an atoning sacrifice. The (empty) cross, OTOH, is predominantly used by Protestants, and emphasizes the resurrection of Christ, who is no longer on the cross.

"The teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seem to indicate that this is improper because we do not hold any special reverence for the cross as such, nor do we have crosses in our chapels or homes or wear a crucifix as jewelry.

I don't understand the (lack of) logic between, "We don't do it, therefore it is improper".

And it's sad that LDS "do not hold any special reference for the cross", since it represents the atonement, and the love and grace of God. I guess this could be unpacked to show how far away Mormonism is from true Christianity.

To show how central the cross is to Christianity (which is why you see it on our churches, and on our Christians):

1Cor. 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Answer: While we have never questioned the sincerity of Catholics and Protestants for wearing the cross, or felt that they were doing something which was wrong, it is a custom that has never appealed to members of the Church.

Not a very impressive reason.

The motive for such a custom by those who are of other churches, we must conclude, is a most sincere and sacred gesture. To them the cross does not represent an emblem of torture but evidently carried the impression of sacrifice and suffering endured by the Son of God. However, to bow down before a cross or to look upon it as an emblem to be revered because of the fact that our Savior died upon a cross is repugnant to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Adoration of the cross is specific to Roman Catholicism, and not practiced by Protestants, as it is repugnant to us as well.

THE CROSS WAS AN EGYPTIAN SYMBOL

The use of the cross dates back to a very early time. Its early meaning is somewhat obscure. We are informed that the Egyptians used it as a symbol representing life and fertility of crops.

And of course, almost no one is aware of this today. To most people, the cross represents Christ and Christianity. This is like arguing, "Well, the Swastika predated the Third Reich, so I guess it's okay to ask Jewish bakers to put it on a cake, right?"

Regardless of what the Swastika represented before, today it represents fascism.
And regardless of what the cross represented before, today it represents Christianity.

From that time the use of the cross as an object of reverence grew, and when the rebellion against the Catholic Church commenced, the adoration of the cross continued more or less among the Protestant churches.

A false claim based on the ignorance of Mormon leaders.

Because our Savior died on the cross, the wearing of crosses is to most Latter-day Saints in very poor taste and inconsistent to our worship.

The main reason Christians wear a cross is PRECISELY "because our Savior died on the cross". Perhaps this LDS leader doesn't understand how symbolism works?

Of all the ways ever invented for taking life and the execution of individuals, among the most cruel is likely the cross.

... which demonstrates the great love that Christ (our Shepherd) demonstrated for us, by submitting to such a cruel death.

This was a favorite method among the Romans who excelled in torture. We may be definitely sure that if our Lord had been killed with a dagger or with a sword, it would have been very strange indeed if religious people of this day would have graced such a weapon by wearing it and adoring it because it was by such a means that our Lord was put to death.

There you go.... Not exactly an AK-47, but the "sword" mockery.

Again:

1Cor. 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

The cross is CENTRAL to Christianity, and if Mormons don't understand that, then that's just sad, and demonstrates that Mormonism is not Christian.

A humble, contrite spirit and sincere prayer of gratitude is a far better means of worship and acknowledgment of our love for the great blessings we receive through our Savior's voluntary sacrifice than to adore the cross.

It is very short sighted (and arguably uncharitable) to present these "options" as mutually exclusive. It seems to (uncharitably) suggest that those who wear a cross DON'T worship with "a humble, contrite spirit and sincere prayer of gratitude".

It is through the shedding of his blood that we gain the resurrection;

... through the shedding of his blood on the.............?

In succeeding centuries, the churches which came into being through an intermingling of pagan concepts with the true apostolic Christianity developed the practice of using symbolic crosses in the architecture of their buildings and as jewelry attached to the robes of their priests.

The cross is not a "pagan symbol", it is the means of Christ's death, and the source of Christian atonement. McConkie disappoints here.

Frequently this practice of dwelling on the personal death struggle of our Lord has caused these churches to put sculptured representations of Christ on their crosses, thus forming so called crucifixes. All this is inharmonious with the quiet spirit of worship and reverence that should attend a true Christian's remembrance of our Lord's sufferings and death.

There is, of course, nothing "inharmonious" about it.
 
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