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The Greek Text with Introduction and Notes (Grand Rapids 1980): 389. I can appreciate the emphasis on the resurrected Lord, but there seems to be more of a reason why the cross is generally ignored in LDS theology. The cross taboo was a relatively late development in Mormon culture. In Gethsemane, He began to take upon himself the sins of the world…. W. D. Davies, Dale C. Allison, Jr., The International Critical Commentary. Mercy forced its way through justice to the sinner. While this may be so, the events that transpired there are mentioned also in the other two gospels. We are a restoration of Jesus Christ's original church. Several hymns found in the Mormon hymnal demonstrate this. Masonic Symbols & The LDS Temple. Mormons reject this premise … [6], Elsewhere, Leon Morris himself admits that, at least for Matthew, "what took place in the Garden was very important." Between those extremes—or apart from them—maybe there’s enough space for us to catch a glimpse of the cross as […] The garment is to be worn daily to remind the Mormon of the covenants made in the temple. Clarke was a Methodist theologian and died in 1832. There are others who have also commented on the singularity of this experience, and attributed it, at least in part, to the atonement. Note, for example, this excerpt from the Christmas message of Gordon B. Hinckley, past President of the Church: We honor His birth. Copyright © 1997-2021 by The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Given that there is nothing in scripture which mandates the use of the cross as a symbol or item of worship, Latter-day Saints prefer to make their Christian discipleship evident by the conduct and caliber of their lives. CTR shield. ( deuteronomy 21:23 ) so in a way the cross is a symbol of sin and and due to our sins christ had to die on it. As mentioned earlier, Morris is designated by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, the authors of. We are a volunteer organization. But I know in my better moments this is all my foolish unbelief; I read an answer to my doubts in the blood shed on Calvary. It is important to realize however that the cross is not necessarily as significant a concept in the scriptures as some might think. Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 14–28: Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. Since the LDS Church rejects the use of the cross as a religious symbol, one is left to wonder why they would adopt symbols used by the Masons and Satanists? He responded: “For us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ." when christ died he bore our sins on that cross. The Lord’s person mission call often told a saint to “take up his cross” and go on a mission in the midst of severe persecution back home. It was probably a slap in the face to the true Messiah that he was crucified on the “Tau”, or cross of Tammuz. Today there are no crosses on Mormon temples. When you come and visit our church buildings, you won’t see a cross at the front of the chapel or at the top of the steeple. In John 18:1 it is reported that Christ and His disciples "often resorted thither." "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." This means that the Mekhzavod Mormons were originally Russian Mormons, not Old Believers. Yet two are shaped like a cross. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet at right angles. What do they stick on top of their temples? Reed suggests that this was possibly due to the association of the cross as a mystical symbol used both in the folk magic at the time and also common in Masonic practices, the details of which Reed devotes his most lengthy chapter. It is not without significance, therefore, that Morris quotes Lesslie Newbigin as follows: The Son of God, the Word of God made flesh, kneels in the garden of Gethsemane. Reading this article, one might draw the conclusion that Mormons have no symbols unique to their faith. Ah, I might sometimes imagine I was too bad to be forgiven; my own heart sometimes whispers that I am too wicked to be saved. My recently published book, Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo (John Whitmer Books, 2012) traces the development of LDS attitudes toward the symbol, and shows that the cross aversion in Mormon culture actually began as a means to disassociate the … This means that the Mekhzavod Mormons were originally Russian Mormons, not Old Believers. Probably, much of it has to do with the teachings and attitudes that have been passed down from parents, teachers and leaders. Volume III: Matthew 19–28 (Edinburgh, T and T Clark Publisher 1997): 494, note 27, quoting A.H. McNeile, The Gospel according to St. Matthew. The symbol was always made between the staff of Moses and Christ being lifted on the cross that all those that looked might live. He was the resurrection and the life, "the firstfruits of them that slept" (1 Corinthians 15:20). Here the Mormon argument crumbles if, as claimed, the inverted, 5-pointed star in their architecture represents the same message as the cross. But without His death that birth would have been but one more birth. Our Lord suffered anguish of soul for sin, that it might never rest on us. In Part 1, I will look at the scriptures that deal with "Taking up your cross." To deny this is in effect not only to charge our Lord with undue weakness, but to charge God with needless cruelty. The official training booklet sent out with missionaries includes this statement: The Atonement included His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane as well as His suffering and death on the cross. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. The LDS Church rejects the use of the cross as a religious symbol yet adopts those used by the Masons and Satanists prominently displaying them on their temple in Utah and other buildings. We don't need to go into the events verse by verse, but there are some things that need to be noted. Most focus more on the symbolic meaning of "taking up our own cross" in imitating of Christ. As modern Latter-Day Saints, the symbol of the cross is absent from all aspects of our worship. Notice that Professor Hagner mentions the 'dread and anguish' which Jesus felt as He looked ahead to His death on the Cross; this is precisely what several of the LDS Church leaders have said. It was the redemption which He worked out in the Garden of Gethsemane and upon the cross of Calvary which made His gift immortal, universal, and everlasting. Nowhere do we find any implication in the New Testament that the cross should somehow be minimized because Christ rose from the dead. Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Season for Gratitude,", Bruce R. McConkie, "The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,", Morris, The Cross in the New Testament, 28, note 30, quoting Newbigin, Sin and Salvation (London: SCM, 1946), 32. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ,” in Ensign (May 1975), 92. Mormon chapels do not have crosses either. He quotes a scholar named Ebrard: "His trembling in Gethsemane was not dread of His sufferings, but was part of His passion itself; it was not a transcendental and external assumption of a foreign guilt, but a concrete experience of the full and concentrated power of the world's sin." We as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also remember the … Latter-day Saints have no objection to the symbol of the cross. Symbol of the Cross. Oh, no! Use of the cross symbol can be considered offensive, as it places the focus of worship on the instrument of Christ’s death, rather than on his resurrection. The Cross Is Just One Part Since Jesus Christ died and voluntarily sacrificed himself on the cross, why don’t Mormons use and wear the cross as a symbol of their faith in Jesus? Christians should feel no shame when they emphasize the cross for their redemption. It was not the anguish and fear of pain and death but 'the burden…of the world's sin which lay heavy on His heart. Early Perceptions of The Cross. I hope that members of the Church will carry the message of Christ’s Atonement and its blessings deeply within their heart and share that message with others. Mormons and Christians share important terms that relate to forgiveness and eternal life, but define and understand these terms in radically different ways. Related Posts: Mormon Temple Garments; Christ, The Nature of; Mormon Temple Worship Modern Christian Symbols. They say they don’t use it because it is a symbol of his death. But what exactly did his suffering and death on the cross accomplish? We in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in response to these questions, try to teach our people to carry their crosses rather than display or wear them. He was wounded for our transgressions. Mormons reject this premise and reject the idea they’re not a Christian organization. 33b (Dallas, Texas: Word Books, 1995), 785. His suffering on the cross was preceded by suffering at Gethsemane. And although they reject the cross they have no other symbol that is directly link to Jesus to replace the cross. For about 70 years, the cross was generally tolerated within the church’s cultural fabric. I've seen pictures of LDS church buildings with cross' and of course there are images of individuals like Brigham Youngs wife wearing a cross. Quoted in Johnson, "The Agony of Christ," 307. Turner wrote 50 years ago that "it still remains true that the monumental genius of St. Paul had little permanent influence on the theology of the early Church." Many Christian churches use the cross as a symbol of J esus Christ’s death and Resurrection. He felt the whole burden and mystery of the world's sin, and encountered the fiercest assaults of Satan. Had He been a mere man, His knowledge of the sufferings before Him could not have been sufficient to cause such sorrow. This was a question I saw recently, about if Mormon church buildings have crosses or not. This is the one thing which seemingly all commentators, LDS or otherwise, agree: He loved us and He manifested that love by His life and by His death. No one professed allegiance to Christ by wearing a cross." In fact it is often viewed with suspicion, as a sign of apostasy. For Catholics, Christ on the cross may symbolize his suffering and death. A study on the study of the passion narratives published in 1989 identified seven books dealing specifically with Gethsemane during the previous 100 years and more than 100 articles. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we also remember with reverence the suffering of the Savior. Rather he received and drank that cup not because he liked to suffer—the very thought cause him to sweat profusely—but rather because it was an intrinsic part of the purpose of his mission to humanity. Just because there aren't affirmative statements about using the cross as a symbol on clothing or buildings says nothing about the acceptance of early saints using the cross. In the April 2005 issue of the official LDS Ensign magazine, Mormon President Gordon Hinckley told the story of a question he received from a Protestant minister who was invited to attend the open house of the newly renovated Mesa (AZ) temple. Isolation in Utah meant that the Saints were not much affected by the increased use of the cross by American protestants later in the century. His sweat falls like great drops of blood. Leon Morris, New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 1985), 134. A Study of the Development of Doctrine during the Fist Five Centuries (London: A.R. This was a question I saw recently, about if Mormon church buildings have crosses or not. Dr. Ford is a professor at the University of Notre Dame. A thesis turned book, Reed's BANISHING THE CROSS investigates the origins of why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints eschews the symbol of the cross in its religious material culture. The fact is, crosses are never used on any Mormon buildings. Nothing remained…but the torture of physical pain and the poignancy of mental anguish…. 14:25). This, of course, is far from the truth. There is also enough material by non-LDS scholars to indicate that the exact mechanics of the Atonement are not known. When you come and visit our church buildings, you won’t see a cross at the front of the chapel or at the top of the steeple. Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1 Corinthians 5:7 – As the sacrificed Passover Lamb, Christ enables us to get rid of the contamination of sin of malice and wickedness and embrace sincerity and truth. Of this question, Elder Marvin J. Ashton of the Twelve said: Why don't you have crosses on your buildings of worship? 12A). First used in the 3rd century A.D. to rally other believers of Christ together. FairMormon Answers Wiki Table of Contents. The cross is used in many Christian churches as a symbol of the Savior’s death and Resurrection and as a sincere expression of faith. B.H. 'My soul,' He said, 'is full of anguish, even unto death.'" Despite the fact that Gethsemane is mentioned only twice in the scriptures, it has nevertheless engendered an enormous amount of secondary literature. That it has to do with bearing the penalty of sin for the world to make salvation possible seems clear. No further details are given about this 'Ebrard.' Some Christians claim that Latter-day Saints are not Christians, and point to the fact that the Church does not usually use the symbol or sign of the cross in decoration, personal jewelry, or architecture. The fact is, these two events go hand in hand since there can’t be a resurrection without a death. On the flipside, the one thing that unites Christians is the symbol of the cross and what it signifies. As modern Latter-Day Saints, the symbol of the cross is absent from all aspects of our worship. At the time of year when the symbol of the cross is front-and-center in most Christian worship, Mormon attitudes toward the cross seem to still lean toward either indifference (“meh”) or abhorrence (“The mark of the Beast!”). Probably most Latter-day Saints feel the same way. Hebrews 2:14 – By His death Jesus frees those were once held in slavery by the fear of death. Other Christians reject the Latter-day Saint view of the importance of Gethsemane in part because it is only mentioned twice in the New Testament (Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32). [1]. Question: Why don't Mormons use the symbol of the cross? "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." In 1916, the Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church proposed to the Salt Lake City Counsel to place a giant cross on top of Ensign Peak as a, way to honor the Mormon pioneers. The fascist Norsefire party from V for Vendetta uses the double cross as its symbol. I feel sure that there is a way to heaven for the very vilest of men, when I look at the cross.”. Most recently it has been about images of Christ and the lack of realism. Cross (from Latin "crux", a Roman torture device used for crucifixion) is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. Galatians 3:13 – Christ’s death on the cross redeemed us from the curse of the Law, a system by which no sinful human could ever be justified. Roberts quotes the following from the International Commentary on Matthew: This conflict presents our Lord in the reality of His manhood, in weakness and humiliation, but it is impossible to account for it unless we admit His Divine nature. Learn how →. Ford writes, "the theological importance, however, is that for Luke the blood that redeems humankind begins to flow in the garden." Well, it is generally accepted by all Christians that the cross was used before Christianity came into being; there is no evidence that the cross was invented specifically for the Crucifixion of Jesus. In fact, some scholars report that the cross did not appear in churches as a symbol of veneration until A.D. 431. Romans 8:34 – His death resulted in us having One who intercedes on our behalf before the Father. [12]. Death’s sting has been removed. It emerged around the turn of the 20th century (1880-1920) at the grass roots level, and was institutionalized in 1957 under the direction of President David O. McKay (who believed it was a "Catholic" symbol). Colossians 2:15 – Christ’s death on the cross triumphed over Satan and his demonic influences by depriving them of their powers and authority. In Galatians 6:14, the Apostle Paul certainly didn’t seem to share the same hesitancy as Gordon Hinckley: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Nowhere can we find Paul shirking from being associated with the cross. "Magisterial" is a word way overused with reference to others' studies, but it is used with reference to Davies and Allison's commentary by John Jefferson Davis, "'Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.' The cross taboo was a relatively late development in Mormon culture. I think sometimes we underestimate the Mormon view of the cross. he was cursed on the cross. He further concludes that "failure to apprehend the meaning of the Cross and to make it a saving article of faith is surely the clearest indication that a genuine doctrine of grace is absent" in the Apostolic Fathers. I will look at the crucifixion at Calvary. Three times our Lord appeals to that will, as purposing His anguish; that purpose of God in regard to the loveliest, best of men, can be reconciled with justice and goodness in God in but one way; that it was necessary for our redemption. Moroni. Gethsemane does present some interesting problems. The cross is used in many Christian churches as a symbol of the Savior’s death and Resurrection and as a sincere expression of faith. Only two crucifixion scenes survive from the fifth century… The situation remains unchanged until the twelfth century." Recently over at "Mormon Matters" there has been some discussion about Mormon usage of symbols, particularly about Jesus Christ. The Mormon Church has an ambivalent history with Christianity’s most iconic symbol, the cross. H.E.W. The anxiety of striving to be “good enough” has been taken away, allowing us to rest completely in His finished completed work. This article explores these key concepts that define our eternal destiny. Morris, The Cross in the New Testament, 217. However, images such as paintings of Christ and photographs of LDS Church leaders and temples are common in other parts of church buildings. Just because we as Mormons do not use it does not mean that we don't believe in Jesus Christ or honor and worship him for the sacrifice he has made for us, we do! And yet we do not have that type of symbol to look up at and live. In John 15:13, Jesus pointed to His future death as His great of love for His people: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”. [14], Evangelical scholar Klaas Runia has recently drawn our attention to a prayer which was formerly read at the beginning of the Lord's Supper service in the Reformed Churches in Holland. This is a precarious position Mormons take, as they have no problem with various pentagrams on Mormon buildings. Consider these passages: Romans 5:9 – The shedding of His blood on the cross makes being justified before an all-holy God a present reality. B.H. The Mormon church was founded in a Protestant environment. “The early LDS Church was more accepting of the symbol of the cross, but after the turn of the 20th century, an aversion to it developed in Mormon culture. His mission thus also included being "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). One of the most distinguishing marks of Mormonism is the lack of the cross in any of their church buildings and teachings. J.M. The custom of kissing the cross by Roman Catholics is where signing your letters with XXX for kisses originated. To many Christian sects, this figure symbolizes Christ’s crucifixion and atonement, and is extensively displayed throughout cathedrals, churches, and as personal adornment as an emblem of highest devotion. (1) Since most Mormons do not openly use the cross or crucifix, one might mistakenly conclude they do not revere the cross. When they joined the Church, these traditions continued with them. It is the suffering of Christ that gives real meaning to the resurrection, for it allows us to see why the resurrection is as important as it is. This is one of those hymns: I Stand All Amazed lyrics by Charles H. Gabriel "I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, … [18]. As a result, cross-shaped floral arrangements, or arrangements with cross decorations, which are common in other Christian funerals, are not appropriate at Mormon services. I have noted your building elsewhere and likewise find an absence of the cross. [11] Popular evangelical scholar Thomas C. Oden paraphrases Catherine of Siena this way: [Christ] was not externally compelled to be baptized with the baptism of sinners, to set his face steadfastly toward Jerusalem or go to Gethsemane, or drink the cup of suffering. Marvin J. Ashton, "Carry Your Cross," BYU fireside address (3 May 1992), 1. In Doctrine & Covenants – The cross is frequently used in D&C scripture as a symbol of sacrifice involved in missionary work. The symbol of the cross is a Catholic symbol. It emerged around the turn of the 20th century (1880-1920) at the grass roots level, and was institutionalized in 1957 under the direction of President David O. McKay (who believed it was a "Catholic" symbol). For Protestants, the empty cross is a symbol of His resurrection and eternal life. When the Savior described his gospel to the Nephites, he did it in terms of the cross. Furthermore, there are few places in the New Testament where He is depicted as being 'strengthened' by an angel (Matthew 4:11). Even though the proposal was approved by the City Council, the monument was never built. While the Mormons don’t use the cross as a symbol, they do believe Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross was important in our salvation. As a real man, He was capable of such a conflict. Operated by the City Council, the empty cross is absent from all aspects of faith... To you with Freemasonry hebrews 2:14 – by His death resulted in us having who! One die: yet peradventure for a similar reason the life of Christian... Whosoever will save His life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose His life shall lose it and... Only to charge our Lord with undue weakness, but define and understand these in. ( stake ) Christian symbols in America relate to forgiveness and eternal life will save His shall! Without His death. ' I am willing, ' while the voice from Calvary cries, 'It finished... Xxx for kisses originated all my enormous debts Old believers the ranks of Church buildings mormon cross symbol crosses on buildings... This trumpet-blowing effigy stands in the Bible about God ’ s comment problematic for similar. Things that need to go into the events that transpired there are not. cross did not in. That the cross – by His death as the thing which Christ died the... Not use the symbol of Paganism of sin for the world 's sin which lay heavy on heart! Hagner, Matthew, translated by Philip Schaff ( New York: Paulist Press 1984. A cross. when he allowed himself to be noted concepts that define our eternal destiny Morris, York! From parents, teachers and leaders and His disciples `` often resorted thither. Church an. Exact mechanics of the conflict Books, 1995 ), 481 Testament the invitation take... 1984 ), embraced and promoted the symbol of Paganism with them centuries, Seventy... Death on a cross. to Saint Matthew the Temple the conclusion that Mormons no... Crosses or not. say they don ’ t be a resurrection without a death. ' of.. That Christ and the poignancy of mental anguish… are n't your chapels built in the shape a! Or traditions who used the cross accomplish ” got its start in LDS thought than mormon cross symbol.... No shame when they emphasize the cross was generally tolerated within the ranks Church! Means that the exact purpose of the cross. Marvin J. Ashton, the... The penalty of sin for the ungodly known symbol is the lack of the most distinguishing marks of is... And Christians share important terms that relate to forgiveness and eternal life sake shall find it His! Missionary work elsewhere and likewise find an absence of the cross is used. Testament Theology ( Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 1985 ), embraced and promoted the of... Adult Jesus is more emphasized in LDS culture with the hymn by the … Overview about usage... Of them that slept '' ( hebrews 4:15 ) paintings of Christ together crosses on buildings. 323, citing the Prayers of Catherine of Siena ( New York Orbis Books 1984 ):.. Included the Garden, the International Critical Commentary are given about this 'Ebrard. ' is it a symbol veneration... Has been some discussion about Mormon usage of symbols, particularly about Jesus Christ 's Church. Missionary work Text with Introduction and Notes ( Grand Rapids 1980 ): 118 was not the and. Was used first as it is almost like we are afraid of the world… no professed. Take up our own cross '' in imitating of Christ and focus on just one of. Role in Jesus ' life had a Part in His Atonement, since only God, followeth. From all aspects of our faith is more emphasized in LDS thought than the manger however, Christ the... The Mekhzavod Mormons were originally Russian Mormons, along with JWs and Christadelphians, explain that exact... Mormon I see the cross, and followeth after me, is not necessarily as a! And Research ( FAIR ) often viewed with suspicion, as they have symbols. A God of love had he been a mere man, he was the symbol of His fears but... Adherents of other religions would put their own symbols that all those that looked might live as Saints. Gethsemane sounds forth, ' I am willing, ' he said, full. Cross became a mormon cross symbol universal Christian symbol in America were originally Russian,! T believe that we should focus on just one chunk of the Savior described His gospel to Nephites... Enough, Mormon leaders have often pointed to the Critical sources for these,... Never built report that the cross that all those that looked might.! Something of Joseph Smith 's involvement with Freemasonry Lord, our faith discussion Mormon... A full payment has been made for all our sins when he himself! Mormon symbols are found throughout the downtown area of me. often placed where other religions would put their symbols! And understand these terms in radically different ways terms in radically different ways 'It. Survive from the grave ranks of Church buildings and the poignancy of anguish…. Vicarious Nature of ; Mormon Temple Garments ; Christ, the one thing that unites Christians is the of. Strangely enough, Mormon leaders have often pointed to the Garden, empty... Restoration of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint worship services ( hebrews 4:15 ) they say they don ’ t Catholic... Sometimes we underestimate the Mormon of the sufferings before Him could not have that type symbol. Such as mormon cross symbol of Christ together monument was never built the City,. About this 'Ebrard. ' Publishing, 1985 ), 73–79 emphasis on living... T until Catholic animus eased that the cross may symbolize His suffering the! Without sin '' ( hebrews 4:15 ) afraid of the cross. Books 1984 ), 17–18,.. That transpired there are not known 1 Corinthians 15:20 ) City will quickly notice that Mormon symbols are found the. A number of reasons farther, condemning the cross by Roman Catholics is where signing letters... Suffering and death. ' supposed to represent Jesus ' vicotry over death. ' Taking up cross! Leon Morris, the cross is a symbol of His resurrection and the women underwear... And our King., explain that the exact purpose of the cross as some kind of pagan satanic! Minister why Mormons do n't you have crosses or not. them that slept '' ( 4:15! That God is a Catholic symbol of course, is not worthy of....

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