The Dying Christ

As we approach Good Friday, the Cross of Christ is on our hearts and minds. The cross, the great symbol of the Christian faith — the symbol of our hope and assurance — is not embraced by all as an apt expression of one’s faith in and devotion to Christ.

The Mormon Church chooses different symbolism to represent the faith of its members. At lds.org we’re told,

“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.”

CrucifiedHeel

Heel bone of a crucified man, Israel Museum

Past Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley explained,

“For us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ…”

“This was the cross, the instrument of his torture, the terrible device designed to destroy the Man of Peace, the evil recompense for his miraculous work of healing the sick, of causing the blind to see, of raising the dead. This was the cross on which he hung and died on Golgotha’s lonely summit…

“On Calvary he was the dying Jesus. From the tomb he emerged the living Christ. The cross had been the bitter fruit of Judas’ betrayal, the summary of Peter’s denial. The empty tomb now became the testimony of His divinity, the assurance of eternal life…” (“The Symbol of Christ,” Ensign, May 1975)

This thinking has filtered down through the church’s membership to often be expressed something like this:

“Most Mormons find displays of the cross to be distasteful.  On my mission, I remember being asked why Mormons don’t show the cross.  My standard response was that if Christ had been killed by a knife, gun, or electric chair, would we hang one of those weapons around our neck in remembrance. The cross was a very gruesome, tortured way to die.”

Indeed, on the face of it, it does seem incongruous to wear or display an instrument of torture and death as a symbol of eternal hope; but there is good reason for it. Please read on.

The Wondrous Cross

by Keith Mathison

I sometimes wonder how many Christians stop to think about how incredibly odd it is that crucifixes are used as works of art. Crucifixes adorn church architecture, classic paintings, sculpture, and even jewelry. But consider for a moment what a crucifix was originally. It was a means of execution. In fact, it was and is one of the most ghastly means of execution ever devised by man. So horrible was it that it was reserved for the lowest of the low: slaves, pirates, and rebels. Roman citizens were exempt. Cultured Romans considered it unworthy of discussion in polite company. Yet today we wear this symbol of degrading and humiliating death around our necks. The jarring nature of this is not immediately apparent to us because over time, the symbol of the cross has lost many of its original connotations. To get some idea of the oddity, imagine seeing people wearing necklaces with images of a guillotine or an electric chair.

What happened, then, to account for the change? We know Jesus was put to death on a Roman cross, but what was it about His death that transformed this symbol of horror into a symbol of hope? In the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion we read, for the most part, about what any observer on the hill that day would have seen. We do not read as much about the interpretation of what was going on until we get to the book of Acts and the Epistles. In Paul’s preaching, for example, he explained from the Old Testament that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and that Jesus was the Messiah (Acts 17:2–3). But where would Paul have gone in the Old Testament to prove that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer? There are a number of texts to which he could have turned (for example, Ps. 16; 22), but one of the most significant was likely Isaiah 52:13–53:12.

Isaiah 52:13–53:12 is one of Isaiah’s “Servant Songs.” In the first Servant Song (42:1–9), Isaiah describes the Servant’s mission to establish justice and a kingdom across the earth. The second Servant Song (49:1–6) describes the Servant’s mission to restore Israel. The third Servant Song (50:4–9) reveals the obedience of the Servant and the suffering he endures as a result. The fourth and final Servant Song then reveals how the Servant will redeem his people. It reveals that his suffering will be the means by which he delivers his people from sin. It reveals that he will take their sin upon himself. Isaiah writes (53:5):

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.

This is what happened on the cross as Jesus was crucified. He was God’s Servant. He was the one whom God revealed to Isaiah eight centuries before His death. On the cross, He took our sins upon Himself and bore God’s wrath. His death was the atonement for all of our sins. We who have placed our faith in Jesus have forgiveness of sins and peace with God because of what was accomplished on the cross. Is it any wonder that Paul declares to the Corinthian church: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

Think on this. Let it sink in. Christ suffered and died on the cross because of sin. Your sin. My sin. Since the fall, sin has been the problem in the world. We do not think much of sin in our day and age. We are beyond such things. Sin is an “old-fashioned” and outdated concept, or so we think.

If you want to know the true perspective on the seriousness of sin, however, look to the cross. Look at the extreme nature of the solution to this problem. If sin were “no big deal,” would God have sent His only begotten Son to die a shameful death on a cross to deal with it? And what kind of love is this? What kind of love is displayed when God sends His only begotten Son to die for the sins we commit against Him? This is love of a kind and degree that we can hardly fathom. This is what changed the cross from a symbol of fear to a symbol of faith. This is what led Isaac Watts to write:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine. Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk. Email: [email protected] Toll free: 1-800-435-4343.

 

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.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Jesus Christ, LDS Church, Mormon Culture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

161 Responses to The Dying Christ

  1. jaxi says:

    OC,

    You really don’t understand what Paul is talking about. Im not sure why you are so confused. He is talking about participation in ANOTHER or DIFFERENT faith. He is not talking about changing the Christian faith because of others misconceptions.

    Let’s turn this to Mormonism.

    The inverted pentagrams and Masonic images on the LDS temples make me think of the occult, please remove them. Women not receiving the priesthood makes me feel oppressed and inferior to men, please change practice. I feel like I worship Joseph Smith because if I deny him as a prophet I can never be with God, please change plan of salvation so that only through Christ I get to God. I feel like I have to pay to get to heaven because without being a perfect tithe payer I can’t be a temple recommend holder. It feels like indulgences. Please remove tithing requirement. The temple video has a part where I feel like I am following Satan, please edit. The ordinances, temple worthiness, and remembering signs and tokens makes me think more about myself than others. That doesn’t seem right, can we change the practices to be more towards loving God and others, and not so much about worrying about our own exaltation? These are stumbling blocks, so can the LDS Church please make changes.

    So is the LDS Church going to indulge my request, or try to explain their faith?

    Also, you’ve mentioned this put to death thing a lot in other posts and how that makes traditional Christianity false. I have to say that people have done stupid, heartless, and cruel things in the name of God. These are actions of men, not God. LDS also have a shady history of killing people that don’t agree with them. The Blood Atonement was something very real that was taught. I have a family member with family journals of LDS ancestors that wanted to leave but couldn’t because of fear they would be killed. They were trapped and being forced to believe and practice something they didn’t want to. And Brigham Young taught Blood Atonement like it did come straight from God. You can argue that it wasn’t doctrine. I can argue that the actions that you are upset about aren’t doctrine. mountain Meadows Massacre was pretty horrific too. you are willing to forgive only these things as the imperfections of man?

  2. MistakenTestimony says:

    So let me get this straight. You believe that you serve a god who is so incompetent that he brought his son into the world only to have the New Covenant he created to fall into apostasy once his Apostles died. Then he waited for 1700 years to restore this covenant through a religion that has had no real growth, and even today it is only a pebble beside the world of Christendom. Consider what percentage of the populations around Palmyra, Independence, and Nauvoo are Mormon today: they barely even register on census data. This is not characteristic growth of world religions. Christendom was able to conquer an empire within 300 years, Mormonism hasn’t even conquered two percent of the U.S. population after nearly 200 years.

    So if a religion were going to twist the scriptures which would be the most likely culprit, (1) the religion that has existed continually for 2000 years and encompasses a third of the world’s population, or (2) the religion that says that their god failed miserably right out of the gate and had to be restored nearly 2000 years later only to grow at an abysmal pace. If a false religion were to twist the scriptures what would that religion look like, and if God were in control of a religion what would that religion look like? You be the judge.

  3. grindael says:

    IMO, there is another VERY valid reason to discourage use of the cross. It has to do with the very appearance of evil. How many non-LDS Christian churches put a cross up in a place of prominence in their place of worship? I have attended many different churches in my day and some (Not ALL) place a large cross or crucifix front and center in the chapel. And then the congregation attends and the pastor or priest say’s “Let us pray” , head are bowed, hand sometimes extended to the air facing this Cross in the center of the chapel.. WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?

    LOL. The Israelites had the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Holy smokes, what does that mean? Paul also wrote:

    May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

    Oh no, Paul is guilty of “the appearance of evil”! Why would he “boast” about the CROSS? Why would he say,

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

    Not the message of Christ, but the message of the CROSS. Oh, what an evil, evil man Paul was for using such language.

    Some people will never understand what it is to be a Christian, because they hate the cross of Christ.

    For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Philippians 3:18

    Mormons put the angel “Moroni” on top of their temples. By the same logic we can confidently say that Mormons worship Moroni, because that place of honor goes to him instead of to Christ, and they make the angel a GOLD angel. Must be idol worship. Like the “golden” calf. Since everything in the Temples is secret, how does the world know that the people in it aren’t worshiping the golden angel on top of it? Appearance of evil and all that….

    Jaxi, God gave to people common sense, of which some people are entirely lacking it seems.

    For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

    Common sense tells us what this means, but only to those with an agenda to tear down Christians would it be taken as an evil “association”.

  4. grindael says:

    Brigham Young affirmed the doctrine of castration as a means of punishment also. It was “death” to commit adultery, break your covenants, steal, and a host of other things according to Young. This is not what Christ would have done OR EVEN HAVE TAUGHT. FOR SURE.

  5. jaxi says:

    grindael,

    Its funny you mention the angel Moroni. It made me remember something last year. I was participating in an activity where we put Christmas wreaths on the military tombstones on base. The gravestones have markings above the persons name, a symbol of their faith. Most of the gravestones had crosses, everyone knew they were Christian. There were a few that had the star of David, obviously Jewish. There were a couple Muslim gravestones with the star and crescent. Some had no markings, maybe they weren’t religious. I was starting to wonder what would be the Mormon symbol. I figured maybe they had a typical cross as well or maybe they left it empty. Then someone said, what is that one? It’s a guy with a trumpet? So the symbol of the Mormon faith is the angel Moroni. Isn’t it strange that the symbol is a person, and that person isn’t Jesus Christ?

  6. shematwater says:

    Sharon

    I admitted that I could be misunderstanding what you meant, which is why I asked the question in the first place. The quote I gave may have been speaking of looking to what Christ did, but the context of it made me question whether or not the intention was to claim that not using the symbol of the cross meant the same thing. This is why I asked for clarification. I turned nothing around, though I may have failed to properly explain my meaning.
    As to the ridicule, I may be reading things into that weren’t there, which is another reason I was asking for clarification. Sorry if I offended you in any way.

    Mistaken

    “You are basing your point from what a website says?”
    No, I base my point on what the appointed leaders of God’s church say, which they have been kind enough to provide for us using the modern technology of the Internet. Honestly, the ridiculousness of your comment is astounding.

    Rick

    “I’m responsible for what I say and do, I’m not responsible for how you understand it.”

    I have to disagree. After all, if what you do and say caused people to reject Christ because of how they understand it, aren’t you responsible for that?

    Brewed

    I think you misunderstand what we mean when we say we remember the Life of Christ. We are not talking about his 33 years in mortality. We remember that he lives now, turning our thoughts to what was truly the final moment of the atonement; the resurrection. Thus you are in error to say we don’t see this as a fulfillment. It was a fulfillment of prophecy and the promise of a Savior who would save us from both physical and spiritual death. We just recognize that if he had not been resurrected than the atonement would not have been complete and we still would have been forever lost. This is why we do not focus on the cross; because it was not until later that it was all truly fulfilled.

    Jaxi

    You really are missing the point that Oceancoast is making. No one is talking about altering the doctrines of the church in order to appease outsiders. We are talking about the manner in which we practice our religion, not what we actually believe. Everything you reference for your examples has nothing to do with practices, but doctrine, and thus will not be changed. The use of the symbol of the cross, as Oceancoast points out, is a practice that can appear in the wrong way. This is exactly what Paul was talking about. If something we practice causes others to stumble we should alter our practice, without changing our doctrine.

  7. jaxi says:

    Shem,

    Wow, I cant believe you don’t get it either.

    <"This is exactly what Paul was talking about. If something we practice causes others to stumble we should alter our practice, without changing our doctrine."

    Buying other people's meat at the market wasn't a religious practice or doctrine. They could get their food elsewhere. This in no way hindered the practice or doctrine of the early Church.

    <"Everything you reference for your examples has nothing to do with practices, but doctrine, and thus will not be changed."

    So the inverted pentagrams and masonic symbols are doctrine? Interesting.

  8. MistakenTestimony says:

    Shem,

    You said, “No, I base my point on what the appointed leaders of God’s church say”. It would have been better if you would have agreed that you were basing your information off of a website rather than off a group of charlaitans who are perpetuating a false religion. I could say the same thing to you: “Honestly, the ridiculousness of your comment is astounding.” Would you like to know how I know your religion is false (hint, it has nothing to do with warm fuzzies)?

  9. Brewed says:

    Shem,
    Let me explain further what I meant when I said Mormons see an example and christians see fulfillment. I was referring to his 33 years. He lived them perfectly so that he could be the spotless lamb. I often hear Mormons say they prefer to focus on Christ’s life and use it as an example.
    I am glad you are excited about the resurrection but this doesn’t account for the major gap in LDS observance of the atonement. Christ did not say “it is finished” in the garden of gethsemane nor did he say it upon the resurrection. He said it from the cross. This lack of focus on where Christ truly suffered for us is disrespectful. It’s as if the church is purposely ignoring it, like it wasn’t necessary. We should be forced to look upon the cross so that we might know what our sin truly looks like. It looks like a man marred and beaten beyond recognition dying the most agonizing death imaginable, upon a cross.
    This is just one more thing the church has perverted.

  10. oceancoast says:

    MistakenTestimony said:

    So let me get this straight. You believe that you serve a god who is so incompetent that he brought his son into the world only to have the New Covenant he created to fall into apostasy once his Apostles died. Then he waited for 1700 years to restore this covenant through a religion that has had no real growth, and even today it is only a pebble beside the world of Christendom. Consider what percentage of the populations around Palmyra, Independence, and Nauvoo are Mormon today: they barely even register on census data. This is not characteristic growth of world religions. Christendom was able to conquer an empire within 300 years, Mormonism hasn’t even conquered two percent of the U.S. population after nearly 200 years.

    Now doesn’t the above reflect the measure of ignorance of LDS critics?
    As to assert that God is incompetent because man falls into apostasy? I guess you don’t actually read your Bible and believe it.. For it starts with a story of God making man who falls.. Was God so incompetent he couldn’t make a man that wouldn’t fall?

    Christianity didn’t conquer an empire in 300 years.. You need to study history better. In fact within the first two hundred years it was barely much more than a “cult”.. In just 180 years the Restored Gospel has gone from a group of six to 16 Million… That FAR exceeds by an immense measure the gains of early Christianity in a similar period of time. There many reasons for this, and good reasons that have little to do with faith. And when Orthodoxy emerged in the 4th century within the Roman Empire, it spread in the empire, not by Love of Christ but by the fear of death.. as it was forced on an illiterate populace to either accept of be labeled as a heretic and guilty of treason against the state of Rome and it’s emperor.. So Christ like..

    So if a religion were going to twist the scriptures which would be the most likely culprit, (1) the religion that has existed continually for 2000 years and encompasses a third of the world’s population, or (2) the religion that says that their god failed miserably right out of the gate and had to be restored nearly 2000 years later only to grow at an abysmal pace.

    Your so-called abysmal pace is better than that of virtually all other Christian denominations.. For today , they all grow at a abysmal pace and many are in decline.

    But if the rate of growth is your measure for if a faith is of God or not, well then I’d expect that you would be a Muslim.. For Islam grew and spread at an ENORMOUS rate compared to Christianity. Mohammad achieved in his lifetime what Christianity took centuries and even a help of Roman emperor to achieve. The Greeks under Alexander were also far more successful in spreading Hellenism in a very short time than Christians were able to do.. In fact, Christianity didn’t spread begin to really spread until it was Hellenized.

  11. oceancoast says:

    grindael said:

    LOL. The Israelites had the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Holy smokes, what does that mean?

    Yet the Ark wasn’t in public view now was it?

    Mormons put the angel “Moroni” on top of their temples. By the same logic we can confidently say that Mormons worship Moroni, because that place of honor goes to him instead of to Christ, and they make the angel a GOLD angel. Must be idol worship. Like the “golden” calf. Since everything in the Temples is secret, how does the world know that the people in it aren’t worshiping the golden angel on top of it? Appearance of evil and all that….

    You have a point, but I think it’s mitigated by the fact that it’s a decoration on the OUTSIDE not inside a chapel where people are seen facing it a praying. Placing the icon inside the hall of worship is where idols were placed in antiquity..

    May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
    Oh no, Paul is guilty of “the appearance of evil”! Why would he “boast” about the CROSS?

    I’m glad you bring up all the citations by Paul regarding the cross.. Here is where traditional Christianity has manufactured a meaning to the Biblical text to support the practice of cross bearing. And it’s an example of how you don’t understand the biblical text.. The term ‘cross’ comes from the Greek word ‘stauros’ which in the classical Greek of the period simply meant a ‘Pole’ or ‘Stake’, not the T shaped crosses used by tradition.

    The term was also used figuratively as to represent ‘Burden or sacrifice’.. It’s written that Jesus said ” And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” This has no relation to a physical cross, but that of a sacrifice. This is how Paul used the term.. I believe only ONCE does it appear he’s referencing the physical cross, but not that it should be venerated. I challenge our critics to go back and read those versus from Paul, replacing the word “cross” with “sacrifice” and see if the meaning becomes a bit more clear..

    What Paul admonishes is the veneration of the ‘Sacrifice’ that Christ gave for us.. NOT The physical cross. In that respect LDS VERY MUCH Do venerate the sacrifice of Christ, it’s an integral and foundational aspect of our faith. Every Sunday we worship an sing hymns in remembrance of his sacrifice, and then we participate in what we believe to be the most important aspect of sunday meeting, the Sacrament.. Which is ALL about the sacrifice Christ gave..

    Furthermore, the veneration of the “Cross” as a symbol used by Christians was done centuries after the fact.. Late 2nd to early 3rd Century. There is no evidence that the earliest Christians looked at it any differently than LDS do today.. It was an instrument of death. In fact the cross originally before being adopted by the emerging orthodoxy, was a pagan symbol of fertility. That should be no great suprise to anyone who has done their homework.. Orthodoxy adopted and converted a great many Pagan symbols into so-called Christian symbols.. This was just the natural thing to do when playing the politics to fill the power vacuum for a Roman empire that was full of pagan worship.

    So as I have said before, I don’t know of any overt discouragement on crosses from an LDS point of view.. But likewise there is no over encouragement either, but the encouragement is to remember Christ and his sacrifice, and resurrection. He’s the LIVING Christ.

    I just bring up the point that erecting a cross before a praying congregation has the appearance that those praying are worshiping an idol.

  12. For clarification and accuracy, the current number of Mormon Church members is listed at lds.org as 14,441,346.

  13. oceancoast says:

    Sharon,

    For clarification.. That’s NOT the current membership.. That was the membership reported in 2011.. It’s now 2013.. And I believe the current estimate is about 16 Million.

  14. grindael says:

    Yet the Ark wasn’t in public view now was it?

    But EVERYONE KNEW IT WAS THERE, didn’t they?

    I’m glad you bring up all the citations by Paul regarding the cross.. Here is where traditional Christianity has manufactured a meaning to the Biblical text to support the practice of cross bearing. And it’s an example of how you don’t understand the biblical text.. The term ‘cross’ comes from the Greek word ‘stauros’ which in the classical Greek of the period simply meant a ‘Pole’ or ‘Stake’, not the T shaped crosses used by tradition. Furthermore, the veneration of the “Cross” as a symbol used by Christians was done centuries after the fact.. Late 2nd to early 3rd Century. There is no evidence that the earliest Christians looked at it any differently than LDS do today..

    Sorry but you are wrong… again. We KNOW that the Romans used CRUCIFIXION which employed T-shaped crosses, and from early sources at that. In Koine Greek (300 B.C.-300 A.D.) the word σταυρός was already used to refer to a cross, as when Justin Martyr said the σταυρός (cross) of Christ was prefigured in the Jewish paschal lamb:

    “That lamb which was commanded to be wholly roasted was a symbol of the suffering of the cross (σταυρός) which Christ would undergo. For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of the cross (σταυρός). For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb.Dialogue with Trypho, chapter XL.

    Martyr died in 165 A.D. Do me a favor and please READ all of the Early Church Fathers before you go making generalized statements which are so easily proven wrong as I have done time after time with you. Some of us have actually read them, and know what the history of early Christianity really is, and have not gotten their information from the Mormon rumor mill.

    The Epistle of Barnabas, which was certainly earlier than 135 near the time when the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus were written likened the σταυρός to the letter T (the Greek letter tau, which had the numeric value of 300),and to the position assumed by Moses in Exodus 17:11-12. The shape of the σταυρός is likened to that of the letter T also in the final words of Trial in the Court of Vowels among the works of 2nd-century Lucian, and other 2nd-century witnesses to the fact that at that time the σταυρός was envisaged as being cross-shaped and not in the form of a simple pole. (Paraphrased from wiki)

    This is well documented. Regardless, You are trying to play word games here, but it wont work. Even if you do substitute “stake” for cross, then you get the same meaning which you still can’t explain any better than you did with the word “cross”. Changing the word does not change the meaning of what Paul said. If he had meant sacrifice, he would have written θυσία, ας, ἡ, but he did not, he wrote σταυρὸς A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORD. You do understand Greek, don’t you OC?

    Your whole argument here is ridiculous, and could be made for any number of things, like your own angel Moroni. Just because you think it is “mitigated” is just silly on your part, and you are only saying so because you are trying to defend your own nonsensical assertion. You can say the same about the Mormon podium. It stands at the head of the worshipers, they pray towards it, and so everyone must therefore think that you worship the podium. Mormons sometimes have plants at the head of the congregation. Are we to assume they are tree worshipers? How about the piano, or the organ? How about the Bishopric that sits in the front facing everyone? See how ridiculous this is?

    I just bring up the point that erecting a cross before a praying congregation has the appearance that those praying are worshiping an idol.

    This again, is ridiculous, because in Church they VERBALIZE PRAYER. It is said who is being prayed to. The songs that are sung, are sung to GOD and not to the cross. Your trying to justify this line of thought and the continual posts trying to do so simply makes you look more and more foolish.

  15. Old man says:

    Shem & Ocean

    The topic of this thread concerns the symbolism of the cross, there has been many responses, all of which explained the reasons why Christians feel the way they do. I thought it was time you gave some kind of explanation as to why you believe the cross is less important than the Garden of Gethsemane. I asked both of you questions concerning this but as you seem reluctant to answer I’ll ask them again.

    Shem
    Most members of the LDS believe that the atonement not only began but was completed in the garden & I provided quotes to show what was said. I’m sure you will tell me that LDS doctrine doesn’t teach that but nevertheless ordinary lay members of the LDS believe it so someone must be teaching it.

    A quote from McConkie
    “The sectarian world falsely suppose that the climax of his torture and suffering was on the cross (Matt. 27:26-50; Mark 15:1-38; Luke 23:1-46; John 18; 19:1-18)—a view which 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”
    (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Bookcraft, 1966], 555).

    And from the Ensign
    “Near the end of His earthly ministry, the Savior went with His disciples to the Mount of Olives, to the Garden of Gethsemane…. It was there that the Savior paid the price for all the sorrows, sins, and transgressions of every human being who ever lived or ever will live. There He drank the bitter cup and suffered so that all who repent may not suffer” (Wolfgang H. Paul, “Gratitude for the Atonement,” Ensign, June 2007, 15).

    So I’ll ask you once again, can you show me where in the scriptures this doctrine is taught?
    Please don’t mention the very brief descriptions of events in the garden found in the gospels as they describe the prelude to the atonement, not the atonement itself.

    Ocean
    I’ll repeat what I said to you yesterday, perhaps you would be good enough to answer.

    With respect Ocean, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say, “more focus on the garden” Why focus on something that has only an indirect connection with the atonement? I’m aware that the LDS teaches the atonement started in the garden as I explained in my last post, but I get the distinct impression that attention is being diverted away from the atonement rather than to it. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that the atonement took place on the cross, not in the garden & therefore Christians of all denominations look to it as a symbol of what Christ suffered & accomplished for us. Try to understand that for Christians the cross isn’t a symbol of torture it’s a symbol of infinite love & sacrifice. What more is there to say?

    So why are you saying we should focus more on the garden?

  16. grindael says:

    The OFFICIAL number is just “over 14 million”. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topic/church-growth Why haven’t they updated it in 2 years? Hmmm.

    Just who estimates 16 million? What official church document or website does so?

    Perhaps these articles will help if you think it’s at 16 million…

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/culture/5611/mormon_numbers_not_adding_up/

    http://www.abc4.com/content/news/top_stories/story/Number-of-faithful-Mormons-rapidly-declining/rvih3gOKxEm5om9IYJYnRA.cspx

  17. oceancoast says:

    Old man,
    From the LDS.ORG :

    Jesus’s atoning sacrifice took place in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary. In Gethsemane He submitted to the will of the Father and began to take upon Himself the sins of all people. He has revealed some of what He experienced as He paid the price for our sins:

    “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;

    “But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;

    “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

    Old man,

    It’s not so much that we are focusing on the Garden anymore than we focus on the cross, but we focus on the whole event from Garden to cross, whereas it seems as Traditional Christianity seems to have lost the significance of the Garden and only focuses on the cross.

  18. Kate says:

    From the last article grindael linked to:

    “The LDS church declined to comment on the article. But Elder Jensen told Reuters, the church is attempting to reach out to the less-active church members, update its manuals on sensitive church doctrines, and improve the amount of accurate information about the church on the internet.”

    Gee, if only they had been honest about the sensitive church doctrines from the beginning they wouldn’t have to “improve” any amount of accurate information on the internet or anywhere else for that matter.

    I’ve never heard that it is 16 million. It’s barely been 14 million for a few years. Even that number isn’t correct. The true number of active Mormons is only 5 million. Compare that to active Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, etc. Not so impressive. I’d like to know if all members sending in letters and leaving are still included in that 14 million number. I have read that we are, but not sure.

  19. oceancoast says:

    grindael,
    As with most LDS Antagonists, you appear to celebrate anything that diminishes the LDS Faith in any way and try marginalize anything that supports it. A clear indication that the criticism is emotionally based antipathy.

    The figure published is that of 2011.. The Church is not under any RULE that require formal statistics to be published every year. Perhaps after this next conference weekend we’ll have updated numbers.

    I heard the estimates to be between 15-16 million.. Now that wouldn’t be surprising at all.. If in 2011, it was 14.4 million at a growth rate of 2.5% per annum would put it into the 15mill + territory.. But we have had a couple of extraordinary events over the past two years that may account for slightly higher growth.

    1) the candidacy of Mitt Romney on the world stage. This undoubtedly drew attention to the LDS faith, and there was more curiosity in the faith than before.

    2) last year they lowered the missionary age, which resulted in an marked increase in the number of missionaries..More missionaries tend to equivocate to more conversion.. Just on the principle of numbers.

    The 2.5% growth rate is twice that of the population growth, and twice the average growth rate for all Christians.. So as there has been a decline in the Church Growth rate that our critics like to celebrate and emphasize, they conveniently conceal the fact that population growth and Christian membership growth both have declined significantly.

  20. oceancoast says:

    Kate said,

    Gee, if only they had been honest about the sensitive church doctrines from the beginning they wouldn’t have to “improve” any amount of accurate information on the internet or anywhere else for that matter.

    Ah yes, again the critics project the requirement of inerrancy on our leaders.. As if there can be no room for human error within the church.. What a fallacious criticism..

    I’ve never heard that it is 16 million. It’s barely been 14 million for a few years. Even that number isn’t correct. The true number of active Mormons is only 5 million.

    16 million was an estimate.. but 14.441 million in 2011 is not barely over 14 million. And who are YOU to say that isn’t correct? Now I don’t know where you get the 5 million active, but that wouldn’t surprise me either, since like most denominations, the inactive far outnumber the actives.

    Compare that to active Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, etc. Not so impressive.

    Really.. you better get your facts straight.. Recent independent surveys and studies have shown that LDS are FAR more active in their faith than other forms of Christianity. In fact one post on this OP complained or criticized about how LDS don’t have such a big service on Easter comparatively to other Sundays.. Yet other churches do.. I think this is primarily because for a LARGE majority of Christians.. Attending Church on Easter or Christmas is about the extent of their activity, aside from that the actual active attendance is quite dismal.

    I’d like to know if all members sending in letters and leaving are still included in that 14 million number. I have read that we are, but not sure.

    Probably read that from sources antagonistic to the LDS Faith. But as for numbers of adherents being included in a statistic.. I know for many denominations, the statistic is often inflated.. Heck, I’m sure I’m still included on the Catholic roles as a member… So there’s some double counting going all over the place.

  21. Old man says:

    Oceancoast

    “It’s not so much that we are focusing on the Garden anymore than we focus on the cross, but we focus on the whole event from Garden to cross, whereas it seems as Traditional Christianity seems to have lost the significance of the Garden and only focuses on the cross.”

    I appreciate your reply but you gave me only a partial answer. I think I made it clear that my question wasn’t just ‘why focus on the garden’ it was why focus on the garden at all when the atonement did NOT take place in the garden? We focus on the cross for the simple reason that that was where the atonement took place. I would find your belief more acceptable if you could show me where scripture teaches what you believe rather than giving me quotes from the organization that taught you the doctrine in the first place.
    Incidentally, part of the quote you used says
    “….to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore…..”
    Presumably that’s a reference to Luke 22:44 but the verse does not say Christ was bleeding, it says “…His sweat WAS LIKE drops of blood falling to the ground” & doesn’t even appear in some early manuscripts.

  22. Kate says:

    Oceancoast,

    http://blog.mrm.org/2013/02/some-people-think-truth-is-more-important-than-loyalty-to-a-tradition/

    I think it’s you who needs to do some actual research. Where are the facts or research in any of what you posted as reply to my comments? It’s all your opinion and why should anyone believe your opinions? Where’s the sources to back it up?
    Of course everyone who says anything that challenges Mormons, Mormonism or the LDS church, is just antagonistic, or spewing fallacious criticism. Maybe instead of attacking, whining and complaining, you could actually do some research on what your own leaders say. That’s where most of us get our information. Forgive me, but I will take your leader’s words over yours. I know how badly Mormons want what their leaders taught to be seen as their opinion, and they were only speaking as a man and men make mistakes, but it’s all out there in black and white for all to see. The difference between you and me is that I take your leaders at their word, you for some reason have a need to deny, twist, spin and perform an amazing amount of mental gymnastics to protect the organization no matter what the cost. What you say here is nothing but YOUR opinion, and your opinion is wrong according to your leaders and their teachings.
    It would be nice if you could seriously defend your religion, show us facts from your side instead of fallaciously criticizing anyone who dare speak against the organization you follow. Defend your faith, use facts, show your sources. Grindael buries us with facts. It’s great!

  23. Brewed says:

    Even if the church had 50 trillion members, would that make it true? Last I checked universal truth is not measured by mass appeal. Additionally, of course the LDS church has a large number of “members”. Their members pop out babies like crazy, they have missionaries watering down doctrine in order to gain more members, they make it very difficult to have your membership removed from records, and most of all they hold your families salvation (or at least exhalation) over your head. Not to mention, at least in Utah, how the culture makes it unfavorable to ask questions or leave the church. You could lose your family, your job, your business, and dignity. People spread rumors like wildfire when a well known member leaves, even worse when they are excommunicated. It’s a very scary and long process to leave the church.

    The only reason these numbers matter is because thats how many individuals are being deceived and lied to.

    Funny story
    So we bought a house not to long ago and the former owner came by to pick up some things he had left. He proceeds to tell me about this book that gives a more complete account of God than the bible. Apparently some guy found this magic book with all these secrets that were some how left out of the Bible. He goes on to tell me that this book is the key to really understanding God and Jesus. And that, get this, it was found in North America!
    He goes on to tell me that this new religion is still small, it’s only been around since the 70’s and that the numbers are growing steadily. He also tells me that people think he’s crazy and persecute him just like they did Jesus.
    Other than the 70’s thing, this story sure sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    My point is, people always try to use numbers to justify their faith. I don’t think that cuts it. Even the crazy cult the dude in my story belonged to is steadily growing.
    Islam is exploding.
    Atheism is on the rise.
    Numbers don’t make the church true. However sound doctrine and evidence do.

    Until Mormons can prove their doctrine is more accurate and reliable than the Bible, I have no reason to give the LDS church any credibility. When I say prove I mean, for reals, prove it. Don’t tell me to wait for warm fussy feelings to confirm it. These feelings do not signify truth. Drug addicts get those feelings about their drugs. Abused women get those feelings for their abuser. Radical Islamic Terrorists get those feelings for their Allah. It’s called emotionalism and it’s a big fat lie.

    Bottom line, Mormonism robs God of his glory and puts it on men.
    It gives man a sense of superiority by having goals to achieve higher status (and thus adoration from others) within the church.
    It waters down the severity of our sins and looks away from the cross, where our punishment was placed upon God in flesh.
    It’s main requirements for being able to supposedly enter the presence of God (temple recommend) include not drinking coffee and tithing the full 10%.
    It glorifies the worst thing to ever happen to the human race by reenacting it in the temple. (the Fall)
    It claims that marriage is forever and that somehow somehow so are families.
    It still embraces spiritual polygamy.
    And I could go on and on.

    Bottom line, the church makes huge truth claims without a shred of evidence to back it up. The number of members doesn’t change that.

  24. grindael says:

    As with most LDS Antagonists, you appear to celebrate anything that diminishes the LDS Faith in any way and try marginalize anything that supports it. A clear indication that the criticism is emotionally based antipathy.

    Gee OC, those are big words, sure you understand them? You did very badly with the Greek. Actually your term “emotionally based antipathy” is hilarious. Who’s being emotional? I’m quoting facts. All you do is speculate and when asked to back up your speculations you can’t produce one iota of fact to back up what you say. And I don’t have “antipathy” for Mormonism, I actually hate it, which is a much stronger word. But people like you can’t understand the concept of hating a religious organization that you personally know frauds itself upon the public, (having been duped by it) but doing so in a manner that is forthright and full of calm reasoning facts.

    These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. 2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. 4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. 5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. 6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Revelation 2:1-4)

    All of the accouterments of language, (in dealing with trolls like you) like sarcasm, irony, and blunt presentation of facts are lost on such as you, (and why I’ve taken this approach with you) is because you think that you are knowledgeable, but you are only another know it all of generalized speculations gotten from some Mormon rumor mill that you couldn’t confirm or back up in your wildest dreams. Almost everything you say is inaccurate.

    For instance, you firmly rebut Sharon’s ACCURATE number portrayed by the official LDS Newsroom as “That’s NOT the current membership…I believe the current estimate is about 16 million”, but that’s not what the Church says on its official site. You didn’t “clarify” anything. And because you “heard it” somewhere, or believe it, it must be true, right? Now that seems to be the same approach you take with everything else, because we have seen no quotes from you, no facts, only generalized statements that can’t be backed up by anything. And someone with FAR MORE CREDENTIALS than you, Joanna Brooks, says that what you are saying about growth is to be taken with skepticism.

    But recent studies tell a different story—different because whereas LDS Church records count anyone who has ever been baptized, demographers and pollsters count only those who currently identify themselves as Mormon. Those are the parameters for the landmark Trinity College American Religious Identification Survey: a two-decade project that has produced the largest and most accurate database of self-reported religious identification ever compiled, with 100,000 randomly sampled participants. According to Rick Phillips and Ryan Cragun, the authors of a study of Mormons based on ARIS data, self-identified adult Mormons make up not 2% but rather 1.4% of the adult US population—that’s about 4.4 million LDS adults

    And you are totally wrong about Christian membership growth. Total church membership reported in the 2012 Yearbook is 145,691,446 members, down 1.15 percent over 2011. http://hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html

    This is NOT a “significant” number. There is simply no comparison with Mormonism and THIS IS ONLY IN THE U.S.

    And if your candidate “Mitt” Romney is anything to judge Mormonism by, why it’s not a good thing. He said that 47% of Americans were worthless. He LOST the election. He showed that Mormons are liars, because that is what he constantly did. LIE. He has no backbone. He flipped on everything for political gain, and is a Vulture Capitalist that could not even be transparent with his own tax returns. If you think that this is an “extraordinary event”, I agree, EXTRAORDINARILY BAD. Romney made a fool out of himself, and with it the church, but that’s not too hard to fathom since that is probably where he got his love of money and corporate greed from. He was also on the Marriot Corp. Audit Board when they had the SON OF BOSS Tax evasion scandal. And more Missionaries may mean more conversions, but once they get on the internet and start researching Mormonism, that will drop as it has been doing for a decade.

    And my comment was,

    The OFFICIAL number is just “over 14 million”. http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/topic/church-growth Why haven’t they updated it in 2 years? Hmmm.

    Just who estimates 16 million? What official church document or website does so?

    Perhaps these articles will help if you think it’s at 16 million…

    And your very bad observation that I ALWAYS try to marginalize EVERYTHING about Mormonism shows your own lack of staying even current, for on this very thread I said,

    Christians don’t worship the cross, for how can you worship something that is forever linked with Christ’s triumph over it? Mormons realize this as well as Christians for some have had no aversion to its symbolism. (see Kate’s post)

    I applaud THOSE MORMONS who understand it. You are on a mission to denigrate it, and that is what I responded to, because you were WRONG, and tried to make Christians out as nothing more than cross worshipers, using, in your words, every means possible to marginalize and denigrate true Christianity.

    And, Where am I “celebrating” anything here? Only in YOUR mind, inside the Mormon Bubble. It is just a clear refutation of your speculation and a couple of links that others have written to show that you may be incorrect. But I guess ALL REPLIES to such as you, are “emotional” or flawed in some way because that is the only thing that you have to say about them since you constantly ignore all the facts included in the comments.

  25. falcon says:

    OK you guys, I’m stopping this fight! It’s not fair to begin with. You come armed with facts and our Mormon pugilist is functioning on feelings.
    Where is it, one of you fo-mos tell me, in D & C where it instructs the faithful Mormon to go on feelings to confirm what the LDS org is putting out? I just heard it recently and should have written it down.
    Anyway, I can’t add anything of substance here since you folks have covered it.

    I told our Mormon poster a while back that he serves as a foil for the Christians to present the facts and evidence regarding the false religious system of Mormonism.
    It’s good to have guys like that around posting because then the questioning Mormon can compare the two and move forward to leaving the fold.

  26. Rick B says:

    Shem said

    I have to disagree. After all, if what you do and say caused people to reject Christ because of how they understand it, aren’t you responsible for that?

    Sorry Shem but again you are wrong. First off, I wont talk to a true Believer and try and talk him out of His relationship with Jesus. So nothing I do or say will cause someone to Reject Jesus.

    2nd. The Bible tells us everyone is with out excuse, No person alive will stand before God and say, Sorry I rejected you, I did it because of something Rick said or did.

    3rd, Like my pastor says a lot, no matter what church to go to, if your leaving and going to live in sin, and your using some excuse like, A member said this…
    or did this….
    Or the pastor said….

    Your simply looking for an excuse to leave and making some person that excuse. If you really could reject God, or walk away from Him after knowing Him and making some other person the reason for your rejecting Him, then the Bible would not say, we are with out excuse.

    It’s like the old saying, The Devil made me do it. We cannot blame him or anyone else for are sin, we either choose to sin or we dont.

  27. MistakenTestimony says:

    The following are the oldest overseas countries that have temples and the percentage of active LDS membership in each.

    Canada – 0.19% of the population is TBM 90 years after it’s first temple was dedicated.
    Switzerland – 0.03% of the population is TBM 58 years after its first temple was dedicated.
    New Zealand – 0.71% of the population is TBM 55 years after its first temple was dedicated.
    United Kingdom – 0.09% of the population is TBM 55 years after its first temple was dedicated.

    Note that 2013 is the 183rd anniversary of the founding of the LDS religion. The LDS church can’t even break 1% of the population overseas except in tiny island-states. This cannot be labeled as anything other than abysmal growth. And just for the record, the active membership in these states is about a third of claimed membership so even if the claimed membership is 16 million then there are only actually about 5.28 million active LDS in the world.

    The important thing is that the Mormon god is incompetent for waiting so late in the history of humanity to begin bringing people into the CK when he allegedly had the chance to allow the Mormon church to be where Christendom is today. Growth rates do not point to veracity of a religion’s truthfulness per se, but when you couple their abysmal growth with the absurdity of their claim to one true religion in contrast with the global history of Christendom then you can see that the Mormon god can be summed up in one word: incompetent. But alas our whole conversation has digressed from the OP.

  28. Mike R says:

    Falcon, I think you’ve hit on a valid point with your assessment of Mormons like Ocean who
    are trying to defend Mormonism . It’s rather sad to see him employ the tactics he uses . Being an
    antagonist against the beliefs of those ex members here as well as exposing his antipathy towards
    them and others by his unabashed allegiance to Mormon discriminatory dogmas , he has only
    made a good case why those Mormons who know something is’nt quite right with their leadership
    would be making the correct move to exchange their apostles for more reliable ones —the ones
    in the New Testament. The complete forgiven and new life in Jesus that people experienced then
    is still available today because the same Jesus is alive and able to forgive and save all who place
    their trust in Him alone —Heb 7:25.

  29. oceancoast says:

    Kate said:

    I think it’s you who needs to do some actual research. Where are the facts or research in any of what you posted as reply to my comments? It’s all your opinion and why should anyone believe your opinions? Where’s the sources to back it up?

    You don’t like my comments, this is a comment section to a blog.. The comments that any of you have posted are your opinions and they are no more valid than mine.

    Of course everyone who says anything that challenges Mormons, Mormonism or the LDS church, is just antagonistic, or spewing fallacious criticism.

    Maybe instead of attacking, whining and complaining, you could actually do some research on what your own leaders say.

    I am well acquainted with what my leaders say.. I also aware of what you and your friends here say.. 99% of the time your criticisms turn out to be nothing more than antagonistic rhetoric based on out of context remarks and hearsay.. Rarely is there any true substance. It appears to me you simply delight in farming for select quotes from the JOD and other sources claiming such quotes represent the LDS faith, which is hardly the case. The question I have is why do you delight in such activities? What emotional hole is it filling?

    That’s where most of us get our information. Forgive me, but I will take your leader’s words over yours.

    And I’ll take my leaders word over yours too.. I’ll won’t assert the false notion that they are inerrant in everything they say, and I accept they are fallible humans like all of us and I will accept the 99.9% of the quotes that are harmonious with my own beliefs, the Bible text and so forth and not discount the faith because of the 0.1% of out of context quotes that you and your friends like to exploit.

    The difference between you and me is that I take your leaders at their word, you for some reason have a need to deny, twist, spin and perform an amazing amount of mental gymnastics to protect the organization no matter what the cost.

    To the contrary, we take them at their word accepting them as human.. It’s you and your friends that deny accurate context, twist, spin and distort what they say and assert that such represents the LDS faith in its entirety, all why hypocritically deny, twisting, spinning and performing similar amazing mental gymnastics to defend the mind numbing incongruent dogma of Traditional Christianity.

    What you say here is nothing but YOUR opinion, and your opinion is wrong according to your leaders and their teachings.

    And what you say here is nothing but YOUR opinion, and your opinion is wrong according to how LDS view their own faith and interpret the comments of our leaders.

    It would be nice if you could seriously defend your religion, show us facts from your side instead of fallaciously criticizing anyone who dare speak against the organization you follow.

    I have asked the same of many like you.. So far you haven’t been able to defend your own faith but yet simply resort to attacking the faith of others.

    Grindael buries us with facts. It’s great!

    Grindael, buries us yes, but not with facts, but ad homine attacks, long draw out cut and pastes from propaganda, personal opinions and spins interpretation of scripture that supports his/her own parochial views, but not facts. That you believe them to be facts is part of the problem.

  30. MistakenTestimony says:

    Let’s keep in mind that oceancoast uses the following tactics of argumentation as demonstrated by one of our conversations above:

    Me: “I will agree with you that Christians should not judge each other regarding how each regard days and seasons due to the freedom that they have in Christ.”

    OC: “You first agree that you shouldn’t judge and then you proceed to judge demonstrating that you are more akin to the Pharisees”

    Me: “John 7:24; I never said that people were not to judge, you just eisogeted my statement. Read Romans 14:5 to understand what I mean.”

    OC: “I didn’t eisogete anything.”

    Logic like a bear trap. And the good thing is that all the doubters and investigators here get to see it first hand.

  31. jaxi says:

    I was reading this essay today and thought it fit the topic. This is part of it.

    “The Cross of Christ

    by Fr. Dr. V. C. Varghese

    If we leave the cross out of life of Christ, we have nothing left, and certainly not Christianity. Cross is related to our sin. Sin, what is it? Do we have sin? No, we do not need to hear about sin. (Pilate asked What is truth?, John 18:38, and turned his back on to The Truth). As a skeptic, are we trying to divorce of Christ and His Cross. Put the Cross-less Christ on the right side, and the Christ-less Cross on the left. Who picks up the Cross-less Christ? Our decadent intellectual skeptical masses. They have love-so often erotic-without sacrifice. We do know one thing that the end time, when the great conflict between the forces of good and evil takes place, Satan will appear without the Cross, as the great social reformer to become the final temptation of mankind.

    Long before the day of His crucifixion, Our Lord taught that “take up his cross, and follow Me (Matt.16:24; 10:38). The divine sin-bearing was not confined to one moment of time, but that there is an eternal atonement in the very being and life of God, of which the cross was the incarnate part. If anybody does not take up his cross and follow Him, he is not worthy of Him and cannot be His disciple (Lk. 9:23; Mk.10:38). In this way either we are a Simon of Cyrene nor a Barabbas. If we do not carry His cross (not literal) and venerate His cross in obedience, we escape the cross of Christ like Barabbas. (Tyndale Biblical Theology Lecture: Alan Stibbs, 1954, London).”

  32. grindael says:

    Grindael, buries us yes, but not with facts, but ad homine attacks, long draw out cut and pastes from propaganda, personal opinions and spins interpretation of scripture that supports his/her own parochial views, but not facts. That you believe them to be facts is part of the problem.

    Still just opinion & bluster but no rebuttal. And I agree that the cut and pastes from Mormon “authorities” is nothing but cheap propaganda. Attacking the person who presents the facts is an old tactic, because you have nothing else to offer. Stay in the bubble OC, I’m sure you feel safe there.

    And what you say here is nothing but YOUR opinion, and your opinion is wrong according to how LDS view their own faith and interpret the comments of our leaders.

    Ya gotta love the Early Church Fathers, they saw Mormons coming long ago….

    “If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself.” ― Augustine of Hippo

    Feel free to substitute “Mormonism” for “the Gospel”. It fits the bubble mentality perfectly.

  33. grindael says:

    It’s you and your friends that deny accurate context, twist, spin and distort what they say and assert that such represents the LDS faith in its entirety, all why hypocritically deny, twisting, spinning and performing similar amazing mental gymnastics to defend the mind numbing incongruent dogma of Traditional Christianity.

    Notice he can SAY it, but he can’t PROVE it. The problem is, OC is just terrified that he can’t find anything substantial to disprove what his leaders really teach. He won’t bother to explain how we deny context, how we are twisting, spinning and distorting, or where we say that such and such “represents” Mormonism ” in its entirety”.

    Of course he tries to assert that we do “mental gymnastics” to defend Christianity when all we really do is show how little OC knows about the Christianity he keeps trying to tear down with gems from the Mormon rumour mill.

    Once again, all we see is bluster and blather, and nothing substantial from him that shows he knows anything about Mormonism except the trite memorized snippets he gets from Church manuals, Mormon apologists and the modern bunch of corporate suits at the head of the Mormon financial empire in the current business cycle.

  34. grindael says:

    So far you haven’t been able to defend your own faith but yet simply resort to attacking the faith of others.

    Yeah, you really dazzled us with that Greek lesson.

  35. grindael says:

    But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must cask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. 9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong….

  36. falcon says:

    grindael,

    You no good, low down, cut-and-paste opinion-ator. How dare you post information from Mormon sources and then comment on them. This is what you need to do. Write what you believe and what makes you feel good and then say that God revealed it to you. Believe it or not I did that once a couple of years back on this blog and the Mormon I was playing ping pong with accepted it. Go figure!
    These Mormons have some very obvious “tells”. One of them is when their backs are to the wall they claim that they are being persecuted. Then we have the “it’s just your opinion” which can be applied to just about any comment but is also used try and work their way around facts and evidence. At some point, when they are painted into a corner we’ll get the “I bear my testimony” routine and then they disappear.

    The majority of people who post here believe that Mormonism isn’t true. The majority of those folks lately are former Mormons. Now you’d think a couple of bells would go off in the minds of the Mormon posters that perhaps these fo-mos are on to something. I say this because the fo-mos weren’t just fellow travelers but those who were deeply steeped in the Mormon religion and culture.
    The problem is that Mormons have a pretty high threshold to reach to try and prove that Mormonism is true. That’s why the testimony has to be the results of some good feelings rather than any evidence. The first time I heard the Mormon story I knew it was false and at the time I wasn’t even a Christian. In fact at the time I was searching for some answers to some spiritual questions. I couldn’t hardly contain my laughter when I heard about Joseph Smith and his magic glasses. Out of respect for my Mormon friend I listened respectfully but was wondering how in the world he could swallow such nonsense.
    Some things just don’t pass the smell test and with Mormonism you don’t even have to get much of a wiff to know it’s rotten.

  37. shematwater says:

    Old Man

    Maybe you should read and quote peoples comments in their entirety.

    Here is the full quote from the Ensign.
    “It was there that the Savior paid the price for all the sorrows, sins, and transgressions of every human being who ever lived or ever will live. There He drank the bitter cup and suffered so that all who repent may not suffer. Following this dreadful experience, He was taken to Golgotha and was nailed to a cross, which was another brutal and painful torture He had to go through in bringing about the Atonement for all humankind.”
    Clearly Elder Paul is teaching us that the Garden and the Crucifixion combined make up the atonement, just as I have said.

    As to Bruce McConkie, what does he say that says it was all done in the Garden? Nothing, really. He only states that the suffering in the garden was more intense than that of the cross, as it was there that he took on him the sins of the world. This does not mean that he paid for those in in the garden only. It only means that he took them at that time.
    Elder McConkie also stated this in his book: “He came into the world for the purpose of dying on the cross for the sins of the world.” (under the entry on the blood atonement doctrine). He also references the Book of Mormon when it states “he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.” (under the entry on the condescension of God). Clearly Elder McConkie knew the significance of the cross and taught that atonement for sins was involved in that event. However, he acknowledged that the greatest actual suffering occurred in the Garden.

    “Please don’t mention the very brief descriptions of events in the garden found in the gospels as they describe the prelude to the atonement, not the atonement itself.”

    And that is where we disagree. I can’t show you this in the Bible, for the simple reason that you already refuse to see it. I know people like to point out that Luke says his sweat was ‘like’ blood, but can you give a better explanation. And why was it that he needed an angel to strengthen him at that time if he was not already enduring great pain? It is also interesting that all four gospel mention the event; even John, which has very little in common with the other three (comparatively).

    Brewed

    We aren’t the ones who are claiming that numbers prove truth. That is Mistaken Testimony. He claimed that our growth rates proves us false, and Oceancoast merely pointed out his argument was not only ridiculous, but based on misrepresentation of the numbers.
    No, numbers and growth prove nothing, and I don’t think Oceancoast would ever make the claim they did. After all, the false traditions of Christianity have far more people believing them then the truth of the Gospel.

  38. shematwater says:

    Just to put a few things strait.

    We do not separate Christ from the Cross. We know and appreciate his suffering at that time. We look to the cross as it was the time in which his suffering was finished and the payment for sin was complete. But we do not look to it as the time when that suffering and payment began. The cross in an integral part of our faith and our worship.
    However, the original article is talking about the Sign of the Cross, or the use of crosses and crucifixes in architecture, art, and other areas of life. We do not use them on a regular basis, and while the members are free to have a cross in their jewelry or the like, we do not put them on our buildings.
    Sharon made this distinction when she answer my request for clarification, and I think it is a distinction that everyone here needs to recognize. Just because we do not use the Sign of the Cross in our buildings does not mean we do not believe in, understand, or appreciate the suffering and sacrifice of Christ when he was crucified for our sins.

  39. Kate says:

    So I was thinking while reading grindael’s last post that he (and others) quote the early Church Fathers. There’s no twisting of the words or trying to spin what they say. No these men weren’t prophets and never claimed to be, but they did know Christianity. Now think about this, these men lived nearly 2,000 years ago, not just 180 years ago. What they say still stands today. Christians don’t throw them under the bus and say they were only giving their opinion so therefore it doesn’t count. I recently bought some books about the early Church Fathers and the Orthodox Church (Jaxi peaked my curiosity) I take what these men say as truth and I am using their words to learn more about the roots of Christianity. How many Mormons do that with their early leaders? How many do that even with the last prophet ( Gordon B. Hinckley)? What would these men think if they came back today and saw how current Mormons treat their teachings and revelations. Brigham Young would probably order blood atonement all around. The current LDS membership would be seen as apostate. I would imagine the FLDS would get a pat on the back.

  40. Kate says:

    “Sharon made this distinction when she answer my request for clarification, and I think it is a distinction that everyone here needs to recognize. Just because we do not use the Sign of the Cross in our buildings does not mean we do not believe in, understand, or appreciate the suffering and sacrifice of Christ when he was crucified for our sins.”

    The problem here is that Mormons claim to be Christian. The Cross is a Christian symbol and Mormons devalue it. You cannot deny that there is an aversion to the symbol of the Cross in Mormonism. I’ve lived it. It’s still alive in Mormondom where I live. So I won’t let you down play that. What symbols do Mormons use? Mythical golden angels on top of temples, occult symbols including an upside down pentagram plastered on some temples and spires on church buildings pointing to the exaltation of man. These are not Christian symbols and are out of harmony with Christianity. If Mormons would stop claiming to be Christians and stop hijackiing Christianity and just be plain old Mormons as a completely different religion, no one would care what symbols Mormonism uses.
    My friend was raised Catholic and she wore a pair of cross earrings to school one day (elementary school) and she was called into the principle’s office and sent home for wearing inappropriate jewelry. I doubt any principle would get away with this now days but the aversion is still there.

  41. Rick B says:

    Ralph, I cannot help but laugh and say. Your hypocritical. You use mormon doctrine snd quote Bruce to old man. But when I mention what Bruce said. You claim he has no authority and made some false statements, yet you quote him when it suits your needs. You guys do that with all you leaders and things like the j.o.d. funny how that works.

  42. Old man says:

    Shem
    You said
    “Maybe you should read and quote peoples comments in their entirety.”
    It’s irrelevant whether I gave the full quote or not. The argument wasn’t about whether it took place fully or partially in the garden, it was whether any part of it happened there. The fact remains that NO PART of the atonement took place in the garden

    You said
    “And that is where we disagree. I can’t show you this in the Bible, for the simple reason that you already refuse to see it. I know people like to point out that Luke says his sweat was ‘like’ blood, but can you give a better explanation. And why was it that he needed an angel to strengthen him at that time if he was not already enduring great pain? It is also interesting that all four gospel mention the event; even John, which has very little in common with the other three (comparatively).”

    The reason you can’t show me from the Bible is because it can’t be found in the Bible
    & in answer to your question, yes I can give you a better explanation; I already did that several days ago & I quote
    “The suffering in the garden was a prelude to the atonement. Christ knew He was going to suffer Gods wrath. His prayer that His cup might be taken from Him indicates a future event, not something that had already begun”
    Followed by
    “The crucifixion isn’t about the pain, awful as it must have been, no, the horror was in becoming sin & experiencing the separation from God that sin brings. There could have been no greater suffering than that.”
    Is it any wonder that our Lord, when in the garden, was sweating profusely & needed strengthening? I’m quite sure that if Luke had wanted us to believe that the sweat was blood he would have said so.
    Finally, the fact that the garden is mentioned in all four gospel accounts has nothing at all to do with what we’re talking about, the writers are simply describing what they witnessed.

  43. grindael says:

    This my friends is how Jo thought about what DOCTRINE is, read carefully

    Sunday This was an interesting day. A large assembly met in the grove near the Temple. Br Amisa Lyman addressed the assembly & made many interesting remarks. He was followed by Joseph the seer who made some edifying remarks concerning Baptism for the dead. He said the Bible supported the doctrin. “Why are ye Baptized for the dead if the dead rise not &c.” If their is one word of the Lord that supports the doctrin it is enough to make it a true doctrin. Again if we can baptize a man in the Name of the Father of the Son & of the Holy Ghost for the remission of sins it is just as much our privilege to act as an agent & be baptized for the remission of sins for & in behalf of our dead kindred who have not herd the gospel or fulness of it. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.165, March 26, 1842.

    If “there is one WORD of the Lord to support a doctrine, that makes it a TRUE doctrine.“. That means that if you have a prophet who they claim “speaks for God and AS GOD” who is the ORACLE OF GOD, and he gives ONE WORD about something, it is a DOCTRINE.

    Most Mormons have no idea what their “prophets” teach. Here is an item that probably very few have any idea about. (Notice Jo says nothing about context, because that idea was foreign to him). Such are Mormon “prophets”. Remember what “prophet” Marion G. Romney said:

    “What we get out of general conference is a build-up of our spirits as we listen to those particular principles and practices of the gospel which the Lord inspires the present leadership of the Church to bring to our attention at the time. He knows why he inspired Brother Joseph F. Merrill to give the talk he just gave. He knows why he inspired the other brethren who have talked in this conference to say what they have said. It is our high privilege to hear, through these men, what the Lord would say if he were here. If we do not agree with what they say, it is because we are out of harmony with the Spirit of the Lord.” (Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, October 1950, p.126)

    ONE of their words on a subject is a DOCTRINE. Unless of course, you don’t believe that Mormon “prophets” speak the word of the Lord. Of course, Mormons in the bubble will try and say that they don’t always do so, because they just arbitrarily have the Holy “Ghost”, and they give “opinions” all the time and love to spout “folklore”.

  44. oceancoast says:

    grindael said:

    Yeah, you really dazzled us with that Greek lesson.

    I bet you were.. Since I never gave a “Greek Lesson”, and you never actually refuted the point I made regarding the use and definition of the word “cross”, it’s bizarre to say the least that you think I gave a Greek lesson.

  45. grindael says:

    I bet you were.. Since I never gave a “Greek Lesson”, and you never actually refuted the point I made regarding the use and definition of the word “cross”, it’s bizarre to say the least that you think I gave a Greek lesson.

    Of course, in the Mormon bubble they tend to forget what they say. Here is OC’s Greek lesson:

    I’m glad you bring up all the citations by Paul regarding the cross.. Here is where traditional Christianity has manufactured a meaning to the Biblical text to support the practice of cross bearing. And it’s an example of how you don’t understand the biblical text.. The term ‘cross’ comes from the Greek word ‘stauros’ which in the classical Greek of the period simply meant a ‘Pole’ or ‘Stake’, not the T shaped crosses used by tradition.

    The term was also used figuratively as to represent ‘Burden or sacrifice’.. It’s written that Jesus said ” And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” This has no relation to a physical cross, but that of a sacrifice. This is how Paul used the term.. I believe only ONCE does it appear he’s referencing the physical cross, but not that it should be venerated. I challenge our critics to go back and read those versus from Paul, replacing the word “cross” with “sacrifice” and see if the meaning becomes a bit more clear..

    As I so thoroughly discussed above, you are totally mistaken in how you apply the Greek. Paul used a Greek word that meant CROSS, as verified by other historical uses of the word. It doesn’t, and never did mean “sacrifice” in the instances I cited. That is a whole OTHER GREEK WORD, that Paul if he desired to do so COULD HAVE EASILY USED. He did not. He used the Greek word for CROSS. That folks, was OC’s GREEK LESSON, and it was wrong. In CLASSICAL GREEK it can be applied as you say, but in KOINE Greek, (which Paul wrote in) it means CROSS. You had the wrong period, and a wrong interpretation and it was a BAD lesson in GREEK. But that is the DAZZLING logic from the Mormon Bubble.

    Only HATERS of the CROSS of CHRIST would try so hard to deny that Paul even used the word. And while you’re at it, please have the Mormon Church take down all of it’s art with Jesus being crucified on a CROSS. According to you, they have made a terrible mistake.

  46. grindael says:

    “Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.” ― Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

  47. oceancoast says:

    grindael said:

    It doesn’t, and never did mean “sacrifice”. That is a whole OTHER GREEK WORD, that Paul if he desired to do so COULD HAVE EASILY USED. He did not. He used the Greek word for CROSS..

    Apparently you don’t know about “colloquialisms” , so you deny that the term ever refers to sacrifice or burden? Surely you jest?

    Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt 10:37-39

    To say the Paul could have desired to use a different word, but he didn’t.. that doesn’t change the fact that the word was customarily used to refer to burden or sacrifice as illustrated above.

    You are however correct with Konine versus classic Greek.

  48. Old man says:

    Just wondering why Christ would say, “take his cross & follow me” if the greater part of the atonement took place in the garden. It seems clear, at least to me, in that particular verse Christ isn’t just talking about a burden but is pointing to His death on the cross as the means by which He would redeem mankind, in fact He mentions the cross several times in all the gospels but never once mentions the garden where (according to LDS doctrine) His worst suffering took place. Is it me or is there something strange about that scenario? Thanks for mentioning that verse Ocean as you have, albeit inadvertently, helped to put to rest that rather ridiculous LDS doctrine.

  49. grindael says:

    Apparently you don’t know about “colloquialisms” , so you deny that the term ever refers to sacrifice or burden? Surely you jest?

    Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt 10:37-39

    To say the Paul could have desired to use a different word, but he didn’t.. that doesn’t change the fact that the word was customarily used to refer to burden or sacrifice as illustrated above.

    I KNEW you were going to do that, so I edited my comment, but you caught it before I could finish. I’m not jesting. But of course you have to look at the context. Here is what YOU said (again):

    I’m glad you bring up all the citations by Paul regarding the cross.. Here is where traditional Christianity has manufactured a meaning to the Biblical text to support the practice of cross bearing. And it’s an example of how you don’t understand the biblical text.. The term ‘cross’ comes from the Greek word ‘stauros’ which in the classical Greek of the period simply meant a ‘Pole’ or ‘Stake’, not the T shaped crosses used by tradition.

    This is wrong and you have admitted it. THEN you said,

    The term was also used figuratively as to represent ‘Burden or sacrifice’.. It’s written that Jesus said ” And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” This has no relation to a physical cross, but that of a sacrifice.

    Fine, I agree with that, (and there is much more to it than that). But THEN you QUALIFIED IT BY SAYING:

    This is how Paul used the term.. I believe only ONCE does it appear he’s referencing the physical cross, but not that it should be venerated. I challenge our critics to go back and read those versus from Paul, replacing the word “cross” with “sacrifice” and see if the meaning becomes a bit more clear.. What Paul admonishes is the veneration of the ‘Sacrifice’ that Christ gave for us.. NOT The physical cross.

    What you were doing, OC, is putting that word on ALL INSTANCES OF THE USE OF THE WORD EXCEPT ONE. It’s wrong. Totally wrong. And I will prove it by common sense. Before that though here was my answer to your ORIGINAL remark:

    LOL. The Israelites had the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. Holy smokes, what does that mean? Paul also wrote:

    May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

    Oh no, Paul is guilty of “the appearance of evil”! Why would he “boast” about the CROSS? Why would he say,

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

    Not the message of Christ, but the message of the CROSS. Oh, what an evil, evil man Paul was for using such language.

    Some people will never understand what it is to be a Christian, because they hate the cross of Christ.

    For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Philippians 3:18

    All of these examples use the word σταυρὸς (stauros) CROSS, not θυσία, or (thusia) sacrifice:

    Galatians 5:11 And I, brothers, if I yet preach circumcision, why am I persecuted? Then the offence of the cross has been made void.

    How does “the offense of the sacrifice” make sense? His sacrifice was not offensive. It was the offense of the CROSS, the manner in which Jesus died, the most offensive way a person could die in Jewish culture.

    6:12 As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

    6:14 But let it not be that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

    Again, imagery of the CROSS, the despised and hated CROSS. If they had wanted to use the word “sacrifice” they would have applied the Greek word FOR IT. They did not because they were linking Jesus sacrifice SPECIFICALLY to the PHYSICAL CROSS.

    Ephesians 2:16 And that he might reconcile both to God in one body through the cross, having slain the enmity by it:

    Slain the enmity of the sacrifice? Senseless. He slew the enmity of death by the manner in which he died, or death by the CROSS.

    Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

    Death of the SACRIFICE? Hardly.

    3:18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

    Greek word CROSS. Again linking Jesus sacrifice DIRECTLY to the word for CROSS.

    Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; through him, whether they are things on earth, or things in heaven.
    2:14 Having blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and has taken it out of the midst, having nailed it to the cross;

    Once again, the word used here in every instance is the word σταυρὸς (stauros) CROSS, not θυσία, or (thusia) sacrifice. If Paul and the apostles had not wanted to convey that IMAGERY the IMAGERY of the CROSS, they would not have used the very word for it.

    Hebrews 12:2 Looking to Jesus the leader and comleter of our faith; who, for the joy lying before him, endured the cross, and having despised the shame, sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Same word. CROSS. “having despised the shame”. How could there be “shame” in his sacrifice? There wasn’t any. The message of the CROSS is that Jesus chose the most horrible way to die, and turned it into the most glorious event, his triumph over death. Jesus words “take up your cross”, were prescient, he KNEW that would be the manner of his death and his apostles used the exact GREEK word “CROSS” when they wrote the accounts, not the Greek word for “sacrifice” or “burden” φορτίον (phortion) for that matter.

    Your qualifier, “This is how Paul used the term.” is wrong. He meant to use it as he did, taking the most ignominious, OFFENSIVE word and changing it into something that evokes not shame but honor and glory. THAT is why we use the imagery of the CROSS, and are not ASHAMED to do so. That is the true message of the CROSS.

  50. jaxi says:

    I have to admit, I’m confused what Oceancoast’s ultimate point is? We have said what the cross means to us. Why is he fighting this?

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