Rejecting the Cross

Last week (August 9, 2008) Deseret News reported on a lecture given at the Sunstone Symposium by Robert A. Rees, the “former editor of the LDS periodical Dialogue.” “On the Cross of Calvary: Mormons and the Broken Tree” discussed the Mormon view of this “universal symbol of Christianity.”

Deseret News reported:

“[Rees] said there are ‘no good reasons’ why Mormons could not make the cross more central to their religious experience and that rejecting the cross is ‘illogical and unnecessary.’

Mr. Rees pointed out that Latter-day Saints often view the cross symbol negatively. Here in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission a manual was distributed to missionaries in the mid-1990s that contained a “sample presentation” including a short discussion of the cross. It went like this:

LDS Missionary: “In the end, Mr. Brown, what did the people do to Jesus? That’s right, they crucified him. They rejected the word of God by killing God’s son, Jesus. And after they killed him, they gradually fell into another apostasy. They went through the dark ages and didn’t progress spiritually for hundreds and hundreds of years. …Of course, these people in apostasy were very religious. There were a lot of different churches here on earth, but none of them had a living prophet which means they had no guidance from God – only the wisdom of men. They did remember Jesus and so they used the cross as a symbol of Christianity. But they made many changes in his teachings. What did the Jews use to crucify Jesus? That’s right, a cross. Then really, Mr. Brown, the cross is a sign of what? ‘APOSTASY.'”

If Mormons view the “universal symbol of Christianity” as a sign of apostasy, it makes perfect sense that they would reject the symbol of the cross.

Another reason for the rejection of the cross symbol brought up in the Deseret News article was this:

“Rees said the fact that LDS Church members believe the most crucial elements of the Atonement took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and not on the cross also tend to shift importance away from the cross.”

Late LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explained,

“The sectarian world falsely suppose that the climax of his torture and suffering was on the cross…a view they keep ever before them by the constant use of the cross as a religious symbol. The fact is that intense and severe as the suffering was on the cross, yet the great pains were endured in the Garden of Gethsemane.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 555)

LDS professor Robert L. Millet suggests this is the reason that “for LDS people the acceptance of the Atonement is not symbolized by the cross” (The Mormon Faith: Understanding Restored Christianity, page 168).

But for Christians the cross encapsulates our hope. As pastor John Piper said,

“…for redeemed sinners, every good thing – indeed every bad thing that God turns for good – was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore everything that you enjoy in Christ – as a Christian, as a person who trusts Christ – is owing to the death of Christ. And all your rejoicing in all things should therefore be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. …Every blessing in life is designed to magnify the cross of Christ, or to say it another way, every good thing in life is meant to magnify Christ and him crucified.”

In the Old Testament, God told us through the prophet Isaiah,

“He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; …we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)

In the New Testament we are told that we are to glory in the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14). The cross represents the amazing and unsurpassable gift of our redemption through the atoning death of our Savior. This is our focus as Christians. For us, the word of the cross is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

In 1999 I attended a “VIP tour” of the St. Paul Minnesota Temple. The tour group consisted primarily of pastors and other clergy, led by LDS Seventy Hugh W. Pinnock. In response to a question someone asked about the absence of the cross in the temple Mr. Pinnock explained that, while they respect others who use the cross as a symbol, Latter-day Saints do not use it because “our focus is different.”

So, unlike Mr. Rees who reportedly thinks “there are ‘no good reasons’ why Mormons could not make the cross more central to their religious experience and that rejecting the cross is ‘illogical and unnecessary,’ I think there are several good reasons that Mormons reject the cross, including the fact that the focus of LDS devotion and worship is elsewhere. As President Gordon B. Hinckley said,

“…the lives of our people must become the most meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.”

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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88 Responses to Rejecting the Cross

  1. cwix says:

    DJB: Just cause a word means one thing to you, doesn’t mean its actual definition is something markedly different. I don’t mean to make a mountain out of a molehill here, I just don’t think that a word that means a religious war, as in a violent killing type war, is appropriate here.

  2. falcon says:

    Mormons won’t end up in outer darkness for what they “do” which, by and large is live wholesome, upright lives. Mormons will end up in outer darkness for what they believe or more accurately, what they don’t believe. The Bible calls Satan the Father of Lies. He found a kindered spirit in Joseph Smith. He found one willing to reject the Cross of Christ, which is the symbol of salvation and eternal life. No amount of equivacating and rationalizing will take away the bottom line and hide the fact that in rejecting the Cross and substituting the pentagram, Mormons have chosen their god and their fate. The occult symbols on the Mormon “sacred underwear” keeps close to their hearts the god they serve.

    Christians proudly display the Cross because as terrible as it is, it reminds us of the sacrifice God made in redeeming us. I will stick with the Cross and the God of the Bible. It’s is only through the means God has provided us that we have eternal life and not eternal outer darkness.

  3. DJBrown says:

    cwix: point taken. My intention was to demonstrate that people can convince themselves that they are doing “God’s work” in tearing down other people. Christ’s way is simply inconsistent with a sarcastic, aggressive attack on others beliefs. This is how many religious wars have started. There is no way around this point. I am sincerely sorry for offending you. Words cannot describe my gratitude for those sacrificing their time and lives to protect America.

    My point is well demonstrated by falcon’s resonse though: there is no communicating with somebody who is convinced I am going to outer darkness. He somehow knows better than I what I believe. The ultimate out used time and again is the old conspiracy theory- the leaders of the church are misleading and covering up the truth. There is no way to communicate when this is the underlying conviction of where we stand as LDS.

    Think of this one analogy: take the traditional historical christian doctrines. Imagine it is a view through a camera or telescope. I believe modern revelation has broadened the view available, adding context not available before.
    You can disagree, and that is OK. It is not impossible for God to call and communicate through prophets- He has in the past. There is simply more background available through modern prophets.

    Again about the “other” Jesus argument. You can rail against anything you don’t like about us, but that will never change our faith in Jesus of Nazareth as the Savior of the world and the only means of salvation. The points you disagree with are arbitrary- in other words, you do not control the criteria for who is a christian. You do not stand at the door of the house of christendom, judging who enters. You have no more authority than I.

  4. falcon says:

    DJB,
    I can tell the discussion is over. It happens when Mormons either haul-out their testimony or go for something out of the persecution complex. Mormon leaders do lie and deceive. And that’s not from me. It’s the exMos who feel had; that chant that refrain the loudest. How many examples do you need? Gordon B. Hinkley in response to the god progression question on Larry King, “I don’t know that we teach that.” Come on. Go all the way back to the Reed Smoot hearings circa 1905 when the Mormon prophet gave answers that caused a minor uproar back in Salt Lake City among the faithful. What about Joseph Smith denying polygamy? We don’t have enough room here. The problem isn’t me and my understanding of Mormonism. The problem is with Mormons and their inability to process the information and evidence that’s available regarding Mormonism despite having it right in front of their eyes. The fundamental principle in dealing with Mormons is to define terms. Mormons don’t like to define terms attempting to coop the vocabulary of evangelical Christianity in an attempt to deceive possible converts. The Jesus you claim, is not the Jesus of Nazareth. Your Jesus is “a god”, the offspring of former humans that became mother god and father god. Tell me you don’t believe that? That’s not Christianity. There is a standard Christianity that’s been around for 2,000 years. I would think that the folks who hold to the basic Christian beliefs, values and traditions handed down from the Church fathers should be able to evaluate and make a judgement as to what is and isn’t within the Christian belief system. Look, the Christians who post here are doing you a favor by clearly stating the differences between Christianity and Mormonism and giving you the opportunity to repent and claim eternal life through the blood of the Cross.

  5. JessicaJoy says:

    DJ said “I would bet anything that if truth be known, very few if any of the non-LDS people commenting here (who were never LDS) have read the Book of Mormon cover to cover.”

    I actually have the BoM sitting right now on my desk on top of a book called Are Mormons Christians? by Stephen Robinson. Preach My Gospel is behind me on top of my bookshelf. The floor around my bookshelf is littered with LDS books such as A Different Jesus by Robert L. Millet as well as history books such as Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet by Dan Vogel next to a box of DVD’s entitled “The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon” that I share with people considering whether the BoM might be comparable to the Bible. This is not my only interest, but it has become a tremendous burden of mine lately as I recently moved to an area of southern Idaho that is populated with a huge percentage of Mormons and I am invested in trying to understand LDS beliefs. Thank you for your participation in this blog as it is helping me to understand better where you are coming from.

    You see, I was raised in a Christian home by parents who were sold out to Jesus Christ and set an amazing example for me of what it means to be a Christ follower. I came to know Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at a very young age and grew up reading His Word daily and attending church and being involved in church and para-church ministries. I love Jesus, I believe His Word is true and has been preserved as He promised, that it is ‘living and active’, Holy-Spirit breathed, and life-changing to read and study. I studied for 4 years at a Bible college and obtained a master’s degree from a Christian university as well. As I have continued to grow and mature in my faith, my love for Jesus just keeps growing sweeter and I desire to obey Him in everything and live my entire life to please Him and to tell others about Him.

    (cont. in next post)

  6. JessicaJoy says:

    (cont. from last post)

    The Bible describes those who are mature in the faith, stating their senses are exercised “to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14). IF the Bible is true, it warns us about those who come and preach another gospel – we are not to accept it even if someone claims an angel from heaven appeared to them (Gal. 1:6-9). So, for someone who was trained in the Bible, I sensed something evil immediately when I read the introduction to the BoM where Joseph Smith says an angel of light appeared to him and gave him this revelation for these latter days (see II Cor. 11:14 “for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” and Matt. 24:4-26 where Jesus said “Take heed that no man deceive you…many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved, and THIS gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come…For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…Behold, I have told you before…”).

    So, yes, I will be honest – I have not yet read the BoM cover to cover and I’m not excited to. Quite honestly, the book gives me the creeps. I intend to read it through, but I have to resist an evil presence while I’m reading it. It’s similar for me to the time I was trying to understand New Age and reading their books where they are channeling what evil spirits have revealed to them about the end times.

    My question is – IF the Bible is true in its warnings regarding those who would come in the latter days and try to deceive the world by pointing people to a false Christ, and IF the BoM is the product of one such false prophet warned about in Scripture that points people to a false Christ, who do you think might be better able to discern this? Someone well-studied in the Bible, or someone untrained in the Bible, who has been taught (and believes) the Bible cannot really be trusted?

  7. JessicaJoy says:

    Ralph said “you want us to show you proof of different things knowing that we can’t because our religion is based on faith”

    Actually, I just want you to be honest with me that this is what your religion is based on – and this only. Thank you for being honest about this. I have an article sitting on my desk that was given to me a couple of weeks ago by an LDS missionary. It appears to be an Appendix to a book, but it does not say which book. It is titled “Challenges to the Book of Mormon” and it lists 34 reasons why I should believe the BoM is true and it cites zero sources. The reasons include mis-leading statements at best – they are actually out-and-out lies – such as indicating that the book has been examined by “the ablest scholars and experts” and that “after 146 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproved, but all is vindicated” and that “thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries” have verified “even the minutest details of this history to be perfectly true, even to the types of roads they built”

    We know this is perfectly false. LDS archaeologists and scholars are in the challenge right now of trying to provide ANY historical or archaeological basis for this book and they are attempting to explain why there are glaring contradictions in the archaeological record.

    So, thank you for being honest. I hope you will continue to be honest with anyone who is considering joining your ranks and provide them the opportunity to make an “informed decision” about placing their faith in this book. They need to understand that none of the claims or facts in the book have been verified by history or archeology, but they will receive a feeling when they pray to the author of this book and they will need to cling to this feeling when confronted with contradictions in history, archeology, and the gospel of the Bible.

  8. cwix says:

    I after having “lurked” here for the past two weeks have come to a few conclusions. There are a few of you who truly embody the teachings of Christ, both Mormon and other Christians alike. There are also a few who have degraded to “badmouthing” the others.

    Please remember:

    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
    — Gal 5:25-26

    So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.
    — Matt 7:12

    Even the Muslim holy book the Quran says this about Christians, and “people of the book.”

    Believers, Jews, Sabaeans and Christians –
    whoever believes in God and the Last Day and does what is right –
    shall have nothing to fear or regret.
    — Sura 5:69

    Can’t we just be friends and debate everything in a friendly manner, I don’t see any reason for proselytizing here. If your points are as strong as you want them to be, they will be self evident, forcing a religion on another is always, always a bad idea.

  9. Rick B says:

    DJ Said

    there is no communicating with somebody who is convinced I am going to outer darkness.

    DJ, This works both ways, you guys are so closed minded, that despite all the evidence you refuse to see it or you reject it.

    I have on topic on my blog I have posted about 4 times and even had it linked 2-3 times from this blog, as of yet NOT ONE Mormon has ever answered it, One tried but did not answer it, he gave info, but no real answers.

    I also have one post that shows 3-4 LDS prophets who cannot agree and also contrdict each other. You can say what you want, but the biggest gripe from believers on this blog, is the LDS dodging hard questions.

    If you want to try and answer my questions on my blog, feel free, if you refuse or remain silent like I never said this, then that will be a silent rebuke to you that I was correct. But LDS are very guilty of these types of this.

    CWIX, Nice verses, but have you not read the book of Jude, or Gal 1:8-9 or How Jesus harshly rebuked the religious leaders. Can you give me chapter and verse where Jesus, Peter, Paul Etc allows false teaching to be spread.

    I recall a demon Possesed girl speaking the TRUTH getting cast out. Or a certain Socerrer having blindness called down upon him, or Jesus rebuking his own, saying Satan get behind me. False teaching was not/is not embraced by the apostles and they are my examples for not embracing it either. Rick b

  10. Rick B says:

    DJBrown said

    My point is well demonstrated by falcon’s resonse though: there is no communicating with somebody who is convinced I am going to outer darkness. He somehow knows better than I what I believe.

    DJ, I hate to tell you but you are so wrong, Their is really no talking with LDS when they are convinced they are correct despite the evidence.

    Let me share a couple of examples.

    On my blog I have some good topics that show great contrdictions, I have even posted some here that go unanswered, or I have given out my email or invited LDS to my blog to reply, to which they never do. This tells me the LDS are all talk but no substance.

    If you want to take me up you can feel free to go to my blog, click on my profile and you will find my email. If you choose not to, then stop saying we as believers are closed minded.

    the other evidence is this,
    I was at a friends house who knew zero about LDS. I was sitting drinking my coffee not saying a word, my friend was asking honest very basic questions, like what do you believe, ETC.

    Then my friend said I understand your not allowed to drink coffee, they said, your correct, the word of wisdom says were not allowed to drink coffee.

    Now this was the first time I opened my mouth, but I said, whoa wait a minute, the WoW says Hot Drinks, not Coffee. You guys define Hot drinks as Coffee, so please be more accurate in what you say.

    The LDS member got so mad at me he was claiming I have a spirit of contention and wanted to leave. How do you figure that was my fault for him not being total honest?

    Another time, a friend said Do you believe Jesus is God (IE) The Trinity, The LDS member said yes, I corrected him and said, Nope thats not true. Now you can say I am making this up since I can only prove whats on my blog, but not these experinces. But many Christians have said experinces like these here on this blog with LDS being less than honest. So be careful before you try and tell us were close minded. RB

  11. cwix says:

    RB: You and I both know that there is nothing to that effect. (Although you might be able to twist something to it)
    I would just like to know what gives anyone here the right to be rude or condensing to anyone else here.

    Things do come to mind here… I can come up with plenty of verses that instruct us to respect other people. Shoot, Matt 22:39 comes to mind, Lev 19:18 repeats that message.

    Although I think 1 Peter 3:15 comes to mind the strongest here. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”

    I think a lot of people here should ask themselves if they are treating the others here with “gentleness and respect”

    I’ve seen a lot of the WWJD wrist bands. I wonder if Jesus would approve of us berating other faiths. That doesn’t sound like the Jesus I believe in.

  12. GRCluff says:

    Arthur said:
    “Mormonism teaches a different Christ, and mormons constantly duck this issue. When you invoke the name of Christ, but mean a finite, created being”

    By ducking the issue, do you mean we (Mormons) never use the terms you choose?

    We never claim belief in a finite, created being, because our Christ is NOT a finite, created being– but niether is Satan, or you and I, for that matter.

    Abr 3:22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
    23 …for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them;
    24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, (Christ, if you continue reading)

    According to cannonized LDS scripture (PoGP) we were all intelligences that were “organized” as spirit beings. No created beings there.

    Just like Christ’s spirit took on flesh when he was born on the earth, his “intelligence” was orgainzed into a spirit when he became the first “born” child of God the Father. When you think about it, birth is just a detailed organization event of sorts.

    We existed before we were born in the flesh as spirit children of God. We existed before we were “organized” as spirits as intelligence.

    God just took Christ’s intelligence and gave him structure in heaven, just like he took his spirit and gave him flesh on earth.

  13. GRCluff says:

    To quote J Ruben Clark (an apostle) in his book “Behold The Lamb of God”:

    The Latter-day Saints believe that these intelligences were co-eternal with God. As the Lord said to the Prophet in a revelation given at Kirtland in 1833, “I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn…. Ye were also in the beginning with the Father…. Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth,

    WAS NOT CREATED OR MADE, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE…

    Behold, here is the agency of man…. For man is spirit.” (D & C 93:21, 23, 29, 31, 33.)

  14. Berean says:

    Cluff,

    You know you’re asking for flack when you mention the PoGP. It’s those pesky documents that were found back in 1967 that showed that Joseph Smith got it wrong on the interpretation. It’s just a funeral text that is in every Egyptian’s funeral box just to state it briefly. “like unto God” kind of goes along with “a god” as stated by your Church…big difference between Jesus “is God” as stated by Christendom.

    Nice job of spinning the creation of Jesus. I also like the quote by Ruben Clark. He’s an apostle. So was Bruce McConkie. I’d like to hear them discuss this quote by McConkie:

    “Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 547)

    That seems pretty simple to understand. Do you have any teenagers that have received sex education? Run that quote by them and ask them what it means. I bet they get it. I’ll ask my 15 year-old and we can compare notes…sound good? I know how I brought my kid into the world…the same way you did. The quote above said it’s the same way…big problem and contradictions amongst the apostles of the Lord at LDS headquarters. However, McConkie’s view does line up more with further doctrine when it says that “Heavenly Father is LITERALLY the father of Jesus”. That’s not hard to figure out.

    Lastly, McConkie’s work is referenced all over the place in authorized publications of the Church. This work by Ruben Clark isn’t talked about much in all the books I’ve received from LDS Distribution. They sure love McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” though.

  15. Ralph says:

    Berean,

    There has only been less than one eighth of the papyri found that JS used to translate the PoGP/Book of Abraham from. He had 4 to 5 papyri and one was at least 8 metres long. So how can you be sure that the whole of the papyri he had was just an Egyptian funeral text? Yes, that is all we have available at the moment, but where is the rest and what was it about?

    JessicaJoy,

    I was open and honest on my mission to all investigating people. One borrowed 3 books from the local library after her first meeting with us. One was about religions developed in the pasty 200 years, one was from an apostate ex-member and one was from a member. She had no questions about the book by the member, but ahd many about the other 2. So we suspended the discussions and answered her questions truthfully, then went back to the discussions. She started by saying that she can see that we believe in those things but she couldn’t at that point in time. She did eventually join the church and one of the things that assisted was that my companion and I told the truth even though they were ‘damaging’ questions/answers at the time.

  16. Rick B says:

    CWIX,
    I hate to tell you this, but even the LDS act the way you claim the Christians do, and for the record I recall one or two LDS being banned from this blog for that reason, but no Christians.

    Then speaking only for my self, no other Christians, Paul said Follow me as I follow Jesus, Paul and Jesus did not show respect to people that were bringing souls to hell or into false religions, and I do not respect that either. Thats not to say I cannot show them love and try to win lost souls.

    The Bible tells us not to call these people brothers and the Bible tells us they are eneimes of the Cross of Christ and even some come from with in our own ranks to kill, Paul even told us this would happen. If you want to show respect to a wolf in sheeps clothing, then by all means do so.

    Where do the wolves in sheeps clothing get the sheeps clothing? Do they buy it at a store? No they kill the sheep to get it. Rick b

  17. falcon says:

    The problem is that Mormonism depends on “revealed truth” confirmed by a “burning in the bosom”. To further complicate this, the leaders say and teach goofy off-the-wall things that then the apologists for the religion are left to spin, fudge, shade, rationalize and equivicate. When you read their comments, it’s apparent that these guys were really full of themselves, taking to heart the premise that God was speaking to and through them. It’s all such fun getting direct messages and revelation. It doesn’t even have to make sense. The more off-the-wall the better. Logic is Satan’s way of leading people away from the “faith”.

    Ralph,
    I think the problem is that Joseph probably didn’t use his magic rock therefore he didn’t have his full mojo working when he interpreted that section of the funeral text. You really amaze me. You have to be one of the best spin doctors the Mormons have. I often wonder if you are serious or if you’re just playing head games out here. It often sounds like a grown man giving explanations for the existance of Santa Claus.

    CWIX, I think our Mormon friends are searching for validation by us of their religious beliefs. That’d be like validating a guy who’s passing counterfeit $20 dollar bills, but is doing it sincerely. It seems that you are offended by the straight forward, blunt approach many of us here take in defending the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If you stick around, my guess is you will be offended on a daily basis if you’re the sensitive type. But do stick around and present in your own way. Just don’t spend your posts chiding us for how we go about our business. Moderator Sharon lets us know if someone steps over the line.

  18. cwix says:

    Rick B: I was approached by some LDS missionaries, and that is the reason I’m here. I Have studied the bible in the past, I also studied the Quran while I was deployed to Iraq. (I found it a good way to identify with not only the people we protected, but from the people we were fighting.) At this point Im studying the BoM. I see how there is throughout these books the message to treat others with some form of respect. You ever hear the saying you catch more flys with honey then with vinegar. By posting rudely, (This is to both LDS and Christians alike) You give someone who is looking for the truth a bad taste in his mouth about all religions.

    Falcon: If they are doing it sincerely this is no reason to be rude. I am searching for truth with no punches held. I want to know what the LDS faith is about, and not from the figureheads, and propaganda spread by BOTH sides. Doesn’t mean there is any reason to be rude.

    “Just don’t spend your posts chiding us for how we go about our business.”
    Your business is by your belief Jesus business, and from what I know of him, He might go about this differently. Im sure Moderator Sharon does a wonderful job keeping the peace. If any of you wish to convince someone who wanders on to this site that yours is the truest form of Christianity then you might want to set your sights above having a moderator play mediator. Otherwise you scare all curious away and end up only with diehards that are more concerened with putting down the SINCERE beliefs of others. Again honey and vinegar.

    To Everyone: If someone came up to you and asked about your religion, would you want to portray yourself as intolerant? Im here to find out about your religions, and frankly 90% of the time you all seem intolerant of each other. Im expecting a public stoning any day now.

    Ohh BTW the name is cwix, but Cwix is acceptable. CWIX seems like your yelling my name.

  19. falcon says:

    cwix,
    If you’re going to include, in your search for truth, the group of people who are the nicest, and most polite, you’re a great candidate for a cult. Mormons are terrific at love bombing. That is, making the prospect the center of attention, satisfying their emotional needs, being all smoochie. It’s the art of seduction. Forgive me for being suspicious, but your posts sound like they come right out of the Mormon playbook. Would it surprise you that Mormons show up on sites like this claiming to be seekers of truth and then BOOM….They suddenly have found Mormonism……”I believe the Book of Mormon is true, I believe Joseph Smith was god’s prophet, I believe the LDS church is god’s one true church. And it’s all because you Christians are nasty, mean confrontational and all around bad!” I would suggest if you are really a seeker that you get the Mormon doctrine and line it up next to Christian doctrine and see the difference. I would suggest you go out to “The Mormon Curtain” a website run by exMormons. They have a warehouse of information out there. I warn you though, they tend to the caustic side of things. Been burned you see.

    JessicaJoy,
    RALPH spun you a good yarn there about the person he gave all of the negative Mormon info to and the person still found truth, light and hapiness in the Mormon church. I’m sure that story is on page 27 of the “Myths and Legends of Mormon Missionaries” Volume 19. See, that story is to be generalized and believed that it is how the MMs operate. I have a story of MMs that were showing up at the local community swimming pool and “baptizing” teenagers there and entering their names on the rolls. There was a bunch of people who had no idea that they were “members” of the Mormons church. Man did that areas numbers look good though to the crunchers with the sharp pencils and adding machines back in Salt Lake City. Let’s generalize that story too.

  20. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    Okay, time for a moderator to step in. I’d like to see this thread return to the topic (the Cross) and abandon the discussion about our individual approaches to error and heresy. cwix, it is always good to be reminded to be respectful; let’s leave it there.

    Speaking of respect, I would also like to see us give each other the benefit of the doubt when it comes to personal experiences. Unless we have actual evidence that something is an urban legend (eg., we can provide the same story involving different people/place/time from another source), let’s discuss the elements of the story rather than its suspect validity.

    Thanks.

  21. cwix says:

    Id like a chance to defend myself, so if we could move it to email, I have no objection to you getting my email from a moderator. I feel that was a personal attack on my credibility. I can supply proof of military service in Iraq, including official religious preference as Non-denominational Christian.

    I would object strenuously to anyone who portrays themselves as one thing and is another. I hate liars, I strive not to lie.

    On topic, I do find it strange that the LDS church kinda puts the cross to the way side, and I in what ive learned havent found any reason in official church doctrine. Can someone shed some light on the subject?

  22. susan says:

    cwix –

    I have not had time to read through every one of these comments, so I hope I’m not being repetitious, but maybe this will shed some light on the LDS perspective on the cross.

    On lds.org under Gospel Library:

    Cross – “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. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, we also remember with reverence the suffering of the Savior. But because the Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith.”

    Once again, right there on the internet for the world to read. We do not seek to hide our doctrine.

  23. Berean says:

    I’d like to honor Sharon’s request to get back on topic. I actually posted this on Saturday morning, but it was delayed being posted because of the links that I gave. I think we can respect that the moderators on here need time to check and verify what is being put out on the blog for accuracy so as to not undermine the credibility of the Mormonism Research Ministry which I highly respect and admire.

    Do you want to know why the cross is not seen in LDS Churches? I invite you to scroll up and look at my post dated on the 16th and look at the photographs for evidence.

    Feel free to Google what a pentagram is and what it means if you doubt this.

  24. JessicaJoy says:

    Berean is right on as usual!

    It’s interesting to me that the Mormon temples continue to be built with pentagrams in spite of the controversy surrounding their use.

    Apparently, some of the members of the temple committee for the 2002 Nauvoo Temple inquired of the designer as to whether the point of the stars could be rotated upwards instead. The designer assured them it was an easy fix with President Hinckley’s permission, but Hinckley decided to keep the pentagrams in spite of questions and concerns that Christians have raised regarding their use on Mormon temples.

    For the whole story, see Bill McKeever’s article:

    http://www.mrm.org/topics/mormon-temple/nauvoo-pentagrams

  25. Ralph says:

    Thanks Sharon for the support but I just want to say in quick defence, Falcon, The lady lived in Kerava, Finland 16 years ago when I taught her – I will have to go home an look up her name if you want me to, that way you can verify the story. The ward she was baptised in was Kerava ward. She had 2 children and she was baptised 2 years after I taught her because her husband did not want her to be baptised. He divorced her 2 years later, leaving her able to be baptised. Is that evidence enough for you?

    As for me being a ‘spin-doctor’ look at some historical facts on either FAIRLDS or FARM – yes I know you don’t like those sites but sometimes they do have the correct things. On one of their defences for the Book of Abraham they have quotes from JS and contemporaries as well as historical evidence showing JS had 4 or 5 papyri and one was the length of 2 rooms (about 8 metres). JS also describes the writing on one of the papyri. The pieces we have are from 2 papyri and represent less than one eighth of what JS had on his possession. None of the pieces have writing similar to that described by JS as the one he used to translate the Book of Abraham from. From what I see, most Mormon critic sites only say that we have found the papyrus JS used and it’s just Egyptian funeral text. If the writing does not match JS description and if it represents less than one eighth of what JS had and is from 2 out of a possible 4 – 5 papyri, putting aside your bias of the LDS church and JS, can you definitely say that all of the papyri were Egyptian funeral texts? Or could at least on of the papyri be something else? I am not saying that it is the Book of Abraham (although I do believe it was) but the facts leave room for reasonable doubt that there may have been something else don’t you think?

  26. Ralph says:

    Berean,

    Here is what one site has to say about the history of the pentagram, it has been used by many cultures and religions including the Christian religion. Here is the website for the full article, and after are quotes to note from the site –

    http://altreligion.about.com/library/weekly/aa100102a.htm

    A “point down” pentacle is nothing new- nor is it necessarily Satanic when it appears as such. Historical depictions of the pentagram were as likely to be points down as point up- a distinction between one or the other was rarely made by the ancients. Even today, one must not assume a point down pentagram is Satanic, as it is just likely to be Masonic, Wiccan, or simply upside-down.

    In the minds of many, the pentagram is inextricably linked with black magick and Satan worship. The Satanic pentagram is a difficult symbol- it is the newest and least used, but at the same time the best known and most controversial. The Satanic pentacle is almost always presented upside down, or inverted, with a single point facing downward, and it is this pentacle that is presented incorrectly as ‘evil.’

    The adoption of the pentacle as a Satanic emblem is quite recent, dating only to the latter half of the twentieth century.

    In a dictionary I found in a bookshop about symbols it says many things about the pentagram including its use in Christianity. But one thing to note, it states that the point up is symbolic of white magic. So when Christians use the pentagram with point up are they indicating their use/belief in white magic? A symbol means what the user of it wants it to mean.

    JessicaJoy,

    As far as the reconstructed Nauvoo temple, it was constructed to be historically accurate, so why not leave it true to the past, especially taking the above quotes into consideration that at that time it did not symbolise a Satanic cult?

  27. Arthur Sido says:

    Cluff,

    ““Mormonism teaches a different Christ, and mormons constantly duck this issue. When you invoke the name of Christ, but mean a finite, created being”

    By ducking the issue, do you mean we (Mormons) never use the terms you choose?”

    No, I mean you never reveal to people unfront what you believe. Show me an interview with Hinckley where he doesn’t dodge and duck the question. He was a master at changing the subject. And they aren’t the terms I choose, they are the terms God chose in His Word.

  28. Arthur Sido says:

    Ralph, concerning the Papyri, isn’t it an odd coincidence that the images found in mormon scripture that have direct “translations” taken from them with specific meanings? Those facsimiles are hard to explain away when they match the papyri that have been found. Kind of implausible. Now it is a lot more plausible to say that Smith was trapped into translating another Egyptian document when confronted by one, and figured no one could contradict him anyway, so he spun a fanciful tale that became mormon scripture.

    Look at the facsimiles still shown on the mormon webpage here: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/abr/fac_1

    Then compare them to what an actual egyptologist says here: http://www.mrm.org/topics/dc-and-pearl-great-price/the-book-abraham

    Then try telling me Smith didn’t make the whole thing up.

  29. JessicaJoy says:

    Ralph,

    I don’t know where you heard that Christians use a pentagram with point up for a symbol – I’m not familiar with that. From what I understand, that is a symbol used in Wicca. As this post was discussing, Christians prefer the cross for their symbol.

    I’m not sure if you had a chance to read Bill McKeever’s article. He gives a very fair analysis of the history of the pentagram as a Satanic symbol. He provided some sources who take the position you do – that the pentagram has only recently come to be identified as a Satanic symbol. He also gave the sources on the other side of this issue who believe it has long been associated with Satanism.

    I think this is a particular sticky point for LDS because Joseph Smith is the one who chose this symbol for the original temple and his involvement with occultic objects (seer stones, amulets, and magical parchments) is well-documented and not disputed.

    Bill McKeever was very fair in stating that he was not aware of any evidence actually proving that Smith knowingly used a Satanic symbol. He did point out, however, that whatever the origins or whether or not Smith thought of the symbol as Satanic – the symbol is now directly linked with Satanism (since the founding of the Church of Satan in 1966) to the point that Wiccans have stopped using this symbol to prevent mis-understandings of their religion.

    McKeever points out:
    Just as any American who chooses to adorn his building with a swastika should expect to be criticized, so too should any religious group that chooses to utilize an inverted pentagram be second-guessed. If a Mormon wishes to belong to a church that purposely uses an emblem currently associated with evil, that is their choice. If a Mormon wishes to have their apologists defend such a symbol, that is their prerogative also. I personally don’t see this as [an] emblem to be proud of and to prove my point I don’t expect to see pentagram necklaces being sold next to CTR rings.

  30. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    Trying to catch up is impossible. good to be back.

    Sido,
    I’ve said this before, but since it doesn’t seem to get through, I’lll try again.

    Article of Faith #1. Nature of God. Christ is a seperate being. First Vision, seperate being with a body. That is about as upfront as you can get. All in the 1st discussion. You helped teach the missionary discussions, I’m sure you haven’t forgotten. What’s funny is that almost universally, the Christians I have had this discussion with believe this. Of course, the resurrection proves that. That was Christ major message to his apostles after the resurrection. That is what the Bible teaches. And if you are saying that you believe in a Christ without his body then so be it. But don’t try to put out a scare tactic that we are trying to hide something. It is all there from the first discussion.

    By the way, I love Hinckley. Why does he dodge the questions? Because his message is “to Repent all ye ends of the earth and come unto Christ”. It is not whatever some journalists decides will excite his audience. He has been commissioned to teach and witness, not to respond. That is annoying, isn’t it? He understands that if the people will not repent and come unto Christ in faith (do His will) then they will never understand the doctrine. His is saying, if you want to know the true gospel you had better approach it according to the Lord’s terms.

    The cross is simply another laundry list of issues that revolve around one issue. REVELATION. If the Lord wanted us to use the cross as a symbol in our daily worship, he would have told us. Maybe someday He will and we will change accordingly. We are grateful for the scriptures which tell us much about what took place there. Nevertheless, we understand (or at least trying to increase our understanding) of what took place there and will praise His name forever. (By the way, I submit the greatest insight about His sacrifice comes from the Lord’s own voice in Doctrine & Covenants 18.

  31. germit says:

    cwix: christianity is, in my view, a strange animal. On a relational level, Jesus is something beyond tolerant: he is accepting and compassionate. He is able to do that and be that, because He never let’s go of what (and WHOM) is true. Truth and love, perfectly blended. Today’s version of ‘tolerance’ is not very ‘truth friendly’, and for that reason ‘being tolerant’ , the way those words are popularly understood, is not a high value to me, and does not represent Jesus to me: it’s an acceptance of others AT THE EXPENSE OF OBJECTIVE TRUTH. I know that truth,or our interpretation of that, can be a stick to hit people with, but anything good can be abused. I wish you all the best on your search for all your questions. Aside to DOF: trust whom you will, I will not trust anyones message on ‘repentance’ who cannot, or will not , give straight answers to straight (and honest) questions. And I have not forgotten about Jesus and the parables: I’ll allow Jesus a leeway I don’t give Hinckley and me. GERMIT PS to Ralp: I think it is no accident that the facts around the book of Abe are often sited by those LEAVING the LDS faith as something that just did not ring true (I know peoples reasons for believing anything are complicated, but this book of Abe thing has stood out to me, it’s an LDS apologetic nightmare)

  32. I’ve just hopped on in my lunch break.

    GRCluff said

    “It is life and the celebration of life that is worthwhile”

    Actually, I would partially agree. Evangelicals have a particular focus on the death of Christ (which is not a bad thing), but I suggest they also take a wider view of the whole story – the story of Israel, Jesus’ birth, life, resurrection and ascension and the present, continuing story of the New Jerusalem.

    However, GR, I suggest you reconsider your aversion to the cross. This instrument of death is presented by the Bible as being the meeting place between humanity and God; it is the ‘real’ mercy seat of the old covenant. Without it, we cannot be crucified with Christ and so become a new creation in his ressurection (Romans 6:1-10).

    Here’s a riddle for you; Why does John write “I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev 21:22)? John sees that Jesus fulfilled, or completed, all of the functions of the old temple, including the system of sacrifice and atonement. The cross is integral to this picture and without it there would be no meeting place with God, regardless of how you describe the processes of incarnation, death, sacrifice, resurrection, ascension, affirmation and initiation.

    Here’s another question; if Jesus is the ‘true’ temple, then what business have LDS in building their temples all over the place? What do we need them for? Was John wrong?

  33. Berean says:

    Staying on topic and also following my past post in which others have been discussing the pentagram as displayed on LDS buildings, I would like to offer as further evidence the Temple of Set and it’s trademark logo. There is much I could say about the Temple of Set. First, it’s extremely dangerous when it comes to outright occultic practices and the worship of Satan. Michael Aquino, the founder, established this occultic sect when he left the Church of Satan in the 1970’s. Most people think that the Church of Satan worships Satan – they don’t. They believe Satan is just symbolic and the real worship is of self. The Temple of Set is very aggressive in it’s worship of the pagan god Set who is the god of chaos. This is Lucifer to them. With so many occultic practices brandishing the pentagram as their logo I would like to think that the LDS Church would want to distance itself from it. However they don’t. Compare the logo of the Temple of Set to the logo on the picture of the LDS Museum of Church History and Art…come to your own conclusions if they are a match. While the Mormons don’t worship Set, they are dabbling in symbolism that has strong occultic ties – very dangerous.

    I have never gone past the introduction page to the Temple of Set for spiritual reasons so please use discretion and discernment. I merely offer proof of its logo to make my point.

    http://www.xeper.org/

    You can read more about them here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Set

    The cross of Christ is at odds with symbols like these. There is no fellowship with light with darkness. Demonic forces that embrace symbols of the pentagram are repulsed by the sight of the cross especially the crucifix. There is power in the cross because of what Christ did for us there and the demons know it thus they hate it. Their fate was forever sealed when Jesus paid our sin debt there – not in the Garden of Gethsemane.

  34. Andrea says:

    This is going to be a loooong post because there are several different topics to address here.

    Ralph said : “None of the pieces have writing similar to that described by JS as the one he used to translate the Book of Abraham from.” Not true. Apparently you haven’t heard of JS Egyptian Alphabet & Grammar or the Kirtland Egyptian Papers. From the Mormon Curtain website: “one of the sections of papyrus was clearly the Egyptian writing from which Smith claimed to “translate” the Book of Abraham. There were still handwritten copies of the original translation work which showed the individual Egyptian figures down the left margin of a page, with the English translation right next to it. The handwriting on these copies was by Smith’s regular scribes who helped him in his work. These Egyptian figures are clearly seen in a section of one of the recovered papyrus sections, all in exactly the same order that they appear on the handwritten “translation” pages.” The writing on at least one scroll does match not only what JS describes, but wrote down. And as Arthur pointed out, anyone slightly familiar with Egyptology can tell you that the facsimiles do not represent was JS said they do.

    DOF said: “If the Lord wanted us to use the cross as a symbol in our daily worship, he would have told us.” Did you miss all the scriptures that say to look to the cross? Gal 6:14 specifically comes to mind.

    I’ll address the pentagram issues in my next post…

  35. Andrea says:

    (cont’d)

    Ralph quoted: “The adoption of the pentacle as a Satanic emblem is quite recent, dating only to the latter half of the twentieth century.
    The inverted pentagram was adopted by the Church of Satan in the 1960’s, but it’s affiliation with evil goes back much farther. In the early centuries A.D. the upright pentagram was used by the Christians as it could represent the 5 wounds of Christ and could be drawn in one continuous movement, representing Alpha and Omega without end. But “During the burning times when the Christian church burned alive or hung hundreds of thousands of innocent people, the meaning of the pentagram changed. It began to symbolize a goat’s head or the devil in the form of Baphomet. ‘The folk-symbol of security – for the first time in history – was equated with evil and was called the Witch’s Foot.’ http://www.religioustolerance.org/wic_pent.htm

    It was around the 1830’s the inverted pentagram began to commonly be associated with occultism, of which JS was so fond. So for him to “receive revelation that this symbol was to be used on all temples” doesn’t surprise me, and shows me to whom the LDS church really belongs.

    By the way, “one must not assume a point down pentagram is Satanic, as it is just likely to be Masonic,(or) Wiccan” -Wiccans very rarely use the inverted pentagram because of its association with Satanism; they almost exclusively use the upright pentagram. (This is from personal knowledge as I was pagan/Wiccan for 10 years.)

  36. Ralph says:

    JessicaJoy,

    If you google “pentagram Christianity” you will find many references to the early use of the pentagram in Christianity. The site I referenced last post says it, Wikipedia has a section on Christianity using the pentagram as a symbol. Since we are not allowed to use too many links I will give this one and a quote from it underneath –

    http://www.angelfire.com/id/robpurvis/pentagram.html

    ”The Pentagram As A Christian Symbol
    Up until medieval times, the five points of the pentagram represented the five wounds of Christ on the Cross. It was a symbol of Christ the Saviour. This is in stark contrast to today where the pentagram is criticized by modern Fundamentalist Christians, as being a symbol of evil.
    The church eventually chose the cross as a more significant symbol for Christianity, and the use of the pentagram as a Christian symbol gradually ceased.”

    So according to this site the pentagram was the first or main symbol used by the early Christians.

    Another interesting thing about the pentagram is that it has a part in Jewish history and belief. The upside-down pentagram is the Jerusalem seal (http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagram.html).

    I have read Bill McKeever’s article about the pentagram and he is reasonably fair about it. He also states that it has been used in Christianity in the past. Most of the sites I have looked at about it also support a long relationship with magic, but not with Satanism. It was the goat’s head that was drawn in the shape of a pentagram (with no pentagram around it) that was the early symbol according to the website I referenced in the previous post. It also gives a picture of it.

    Yes, I can see why people object to it being used but as I said earlier – a symbol means what the person using wants it to mean. It’s the same with words.

    Andrea,

    If you have a problem with the quote I gave, contact the site as its their words not mine.

  37. 4givn says:

    In regards to the Cross, just go to Philippians 3:18,19. I believe that will explain why the mormans don’t use the cross as a symbol. There is one true symbol that has been in the Christian Church throughout its exsistance, that is the Cross.

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