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RMGuy

Cross on the temple

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To insist that the cross is merely a symbol of death is to fail to understand what a symbol is. A thing becomes a symbol when it is intended to communicate something *beyond* that which is depicted. There are scriptural literary symbols, and the cross is one of them. The cross is the dominant symbol for the atonement in LDS scripture (not the empty tomb or garden of Gethsemane) in the BoM, D&C, and NT. If the cross is acceptable as a literary symbol, then why does it suddenly become taboo in a visual or material form? If it is a symbol of death, and only a symbol of death (and if it is to be assumed that symbols related to Jesus death are inappropriate because Jesus lives), then why is the literary symbol of the cross even found in scripture? Another thing to consider (I am purposefully being vague here) is this: Read Isaiah 22:23, and ask whether similar (if not identical) symbolism is found in sacred LDS ordinances. A consideration of the sacrament/communion and 1 Corinthinans 11:26 may also be in order.

Edited by Mike Reed

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To insist that the cross is merely a symbol of death is to fail to understand what a symbol is. A thing becomes a symbol when it is intended to communicate something *beyond* that which is depicted. There are scriptural literary symbols, and the cross is one of them. The cross is the dominant symbol for the atonement in LDS scripture (not the empty tomb or garden of Gethsemane) in the BoM, D&C, and NT. If the cross is acceptable as a literary symbol, then why does it suddenly become taboo in a visual or material form? If it is a symbol of death, and only a symbol of death (and if it is to be assumed that symbols related to Jesus death are inappropriate because Jesus lives), then why is the literary symbol of the cross even found in scripture? Another thing to consider (I am purposefully being vague here) is this: Read Isaiah 22:23, and ask whether similar (if not identical) symbolism is found in sacred LDS ordinances.

There are exactly two important elements here:

1. How do the scriptures use the symbols?

2. How do the Saints understand the symbols?

I believe the scriptures, especially the New Testament, very clearly use the cross as a symbol of atonement and covenant. I do not believe the Saints today view the symbol in the same way. So the utility of the symbol is greatly compromised in today's Church.

Given that the truths conveyed by the symbol are covered with other teachings and symbols in the modern kingdom of God, I don't see that it's that big a deal. I think it's not worth making enemies of our Christian neighbors by defaming the symbolism of the cross, but neither do I see any imperative that we, the LDS Church, adopt that symbolism when it simply is not an important part of our own communications. I am not generally into conformity for conformity's sake, especially when it is the kingdom of God doing the conforming.

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There are exactly two important elements here:

1. How do the scriptures use the symbols?

2. How do the Saints understand the symbols?

I believe the scriptures, especially the New Testament, very clearly use the cross as a symbol of atonement and covenant. I do not believe the Saints today view the symbol in the same way. So the utility of the symbol is greatly compromised in today's Church.

Given that the truths conveyed by the symbol are covered with other teachings and symbols in the modern kingdom of God, I don't see that it's that big a deal. I think it's not worth making enemies of our Christian neighbors by defaming the symbolism of the cross, but neither do I see any imperative that we, the LDS Church, adopt that symbolism when it simply is not an important part of our own communications. I am not generally into conformity for conformity's sake, especially when it is the kingdom of God doing the conforming.

Great points, and I agree with you. I am not proposing that the Church adopt the symbol of the cross as a dominant expression of their faith. But I do think it wise to reconsider the cultural taboo that has no real doctrinal basis. For example, I think it is a shame that new members often feel compelled to abandon, discard, or hide heirlooms/artwork that were once spiritually meaningful to them. Moreover, I think an open mind is useful, if it is given that God communicates to people according to their own language/understanding. On my mission an investigator believed that a dream of a cross (confirmed by feelings of the HS) was an answer to prayer, letting him know that he should join the church. And as I also mentioned in the youtube video linked to above, Spender W. Kimball had a similar answer to prayer, when he asked God to confirm to his soul that he was indeed divinely called to serve in the quorum of the 12. Edited by Mike Reed

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I think if Christianity didn't have a near worship veneration to the cross, Mormons would have embraced it more as a symbol. Yes, we have symbols (Moroni statues, 12 oxen for the baptismal font, and all sorts of temple related symbols both in the ceremony and in the architecture), but we don't worship the symbols (and I know I am getting into nuanced issues here). Interestingly enough, the church has chosen to have chapels void of any symbols or even pictures or decoration of any kind. They are simple and plain. So unlike catholic or Orthodox churches which rely on iconography to represent the various doctrines, from the stations of the cross, to the various parables and Bible stories that fill virtually every nook and cranny of every wall in grand spectacle. So I look at it as more of a cultural thing, and not a doctrinal one. The angel Moroni is not required to be on temples, but it makes the buildings immediately identifiable, and has special meaning and symbolism. On the other hand, there are symbols required for ordinances. We break bread as a very specific symbol and is required for the ritual, although we have flexibility on what bread (or food) is used. But we MUST partake to fulfill the ordinance. So, the physical cross is a cultural reference, and as Mr. Reed's research shows, Mormons for a time purposely distanced ourselves from the body of Christianity, and the lack of crosses is a side effect of that. And it does still separate us from other churches, and even now, you can tell a Mormon church or a Temple, and sometimes I even see another church and say, "hey that's an old Mormon building". It's a conscience decision, and one that reflects that we remain a "peculiar people."

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I think if Christianity didn't have a near worship veneration to the cross, Mormons would have embraced it more as a symbol.

You are painting with a pretty wide brush there, and unfairly I would say.

Recently I have listened to (via podcast) and books on CD: a Presbyterian Pastor, a Catholic Father (I think he is a monk), and someone from the Epsicopal Church. Each in a different way has helped me draw closer to Christ and Heavenly Father.

In none of them have experienced anything of "near worship veneration to the cross" as you say. All I have experienced so far, are really good people that are trying to do what God wants them to do, just as we are.

Sorry bytebear, my frustration is not only with you, but with a general theme in this thread of critisizing those we should be loving and accepting. I worry about the image of LDS people that conversations like this one can give to non-members...I dare not even put words to it.

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I think the simple fact that you take offense at an observation, give credence to the observation. I stand by my statement.

You are free to do so. You realize though, that I am LDS, right? In my mind that then gives no credence to your observation, but think of it as you will.

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Of course you realize that the cross is a symbol. The device that would have actually been used at the time would have been either a Y shape or an upper case T. Over the centuries the symbol evolved into the shape recognized today, as there was a more sturdy place to hang the sign at the top of a lower case t shaped cross, rather than just a small stick that might have been used at the time of the crucifixion. Now, the symbol, rather than the actual device, is what Christ carries and hangs upon in depictions.

So, it's not a diagram of the device of crucifixion, just a generational tradition that associates the two things. As a symbol of those who believe in Christ, it seems appropriate, and is instantly recognizable.

Personally, I don't mind them. I am not fond of the crucifix statues however, I find them unsettling. Maybe that is the way it should be.

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... So, the physical cross is a cultural reference, and as Mr. Reed's research shows, Mormons for a time purposely distanced ourselves from the body of Christianity, and the lack of crosses is a side effect of that. And it does still separate us from other churches, and even now, you can tell a Mormon church or a Temple, and sometimes I even see another church and say, "hey that's an old Mormon building". It's a conscience decision, and one that reflects that we remain a "peculiar people."

When I first went into contact with the missionaries of the Mormon Church and first was invited to the parish rooms there were no crosses. But I didn't miss the cross, anyway (as a symbol as it's always be found in other churches). The reason, therefore, might have been that I hadn't been in a church for approx. thirty years at that time and thus didn't miss the cross very much (:lol:). And have you ever recognized how many people wear a cross (on a necklace) golden or silver, who shouldn't be called Christians...?

I once was Lutheran-Protestant, and I was baptized shortly after the birth. I left that church in the age of twenty-three (the official way was an application for the registry office because of leaving the church and an application for exemption from the church tax). From the missionaries I have learned that the cross actually is used as a symbol for the died Jesus Christ, but they believe in the living Christ and thus reject a symbol of torture and dead. I would agree with that.

Edited by JimmiGerman

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...From the missionaries I have learned that the cross actually is used as a symbol for the died Jesus Christ, but they believe in the living Christ and thus reject a symbol of torture and dead. I would agree with that.

I can understand that some LDS would view the cross this way, but other Christians who like the cross, usually see it as a symbol of the atonement. And the atonement came about with Christ's death and resurrection.

M.

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I think we are now repeating the same points as before. I feel like this is a repeat of page 6 (or five, or something).

I think it comes down to the fact that people have different emotional responses to the cross based on their experiences and the teachings or ideas they have associated with it. It is hard to argue with other people's emotional responses.

I do wish people would stop using the weapon/torture arguments because it does more harm than good. But I suppose if it is a deeply held belief rather than a polemical argument...

As I've said before I see nothing wrong with using the cross. I think it is a great symbol. I would hang one on my wall near the photograph of the temple we have (and confuse everyone who saw it).

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This, I'm sure, has already been mentioned in previous pages, but I see nothing wrong at all with having a cross. Although we don't display crosses on our Church buildings or in the temple, it's not like we're afraid of it or against it. It's a symbol worldwide for what Jesus Christ did for us. And personally, I don't know if it was intentional to place it on the door of the temple like that, but even if it was, I don't see a problem with it.

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I think everyone is restating the same points over and over. I think we should respect the views of other denominations regarding the symbol of the cross. They see it as a symbol of being a Christian and that is wonderful. I hope they in turn respect LDS views in that most of us prefer images of the Living Christ. The important thing is for all of us to try and live a Christ-like life.

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Guest DeborahC

I have to admit I did not read this entire thread, but my immediate thoughts were:

1. It's so obvious, I just can't believe the authorities haven't noticed it

2. ::shrug:: It's a cross, and it's appropriate

3. It could very well be done out of respect for the deeply ingrained Catholic culture in Italy

4. It's an EMPTY cross, which you'll rarely, if ever, see in a church in Italy and that is part of the message, right?

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The cross is clearly the mark of the beast in Revelation. It was the tortuous method of death for the poor throughout Rome and adopted somewhere around the 5th century as an icon of worship. The cross isn't the problem, it's the giving of powers, veneration and worship to it which goes beyond the "mark". The problem is that the cross has become more important than the "living Christ", wherein people give powers to it over the actual Savior. This is why Mormonism doesn't use it. IF the temple in Rome has a cross on the door, it would be "accidental". Undoubtedly, this will be changed before the dedication.   

In the Old Testament, the Nehushtan (serpent on the staff), became a source of worship after it's use. It had to be destroyed as people gave it more power than God Himself (see Numbers 21-22; 2 Kings 18:4).  

Edited by dh449100
adding more

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On September 30, 2011 at 0:41 PM, RMGuy said:

My apologies if this has been posted previously, but what are everyones thoughts with regards to the cross that will be on the main doors of the new Rome Italy temple? Particularly, I ask the question in regards to what has been past teachings regarding the cross in the church.

-RM

We have crosses on many churches if you count the type that have double doors and a window above each dooor. Most likely just a happy coincidence of geometry and design. For those of you who are more conspiratory leaning... Temples tend to use design influences from the culture they are built in.... And the cross would definitely be very descrptive of that culture.

 

We view christs time in gethsemane, on the cross, his death, and his resurrection with equal importance.

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5 hours ago, dh449100 said:

The cross is clearly the mark of the beast in Revelation. It was the tortuous method of death for the poor throughout Rome and adopted somewhere around the 5th century as an icon of worship. The cross isn't the problem, it's the giving of powers, veneration and worship to it which goes beyond the "mark". The problem is that the cross has become more important than the "living Christ", wherein people give powers to it over the actual Savior. This is why Mormonism doesn't use it. IF the temple in Rome has a cross on the door, it would be "accidental". Undoubtedly, this will be changed before the dedication.   

In the Old Testament, the Nehushtan (serpent on the staff), became a source of worship after it's use. It had to be destroyed as people gave it more power than God Himself (see Numbers 21-22; 2 Kings 18:4).  

:huh:That's a lot of big claims with little to no backup.

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There is actually, a lot of evidence to support these claims. There are two beasts (empires) discussed in chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation. The first is Rome and the second is the church which came out of Rome (earth). The mark upon the foreheads (ash Friday, etc.) and held in the hand (rosary) is a reference to the cross (see Rev. 17 also). Incidentally, if Christ had been killed by a gun, would churches today bow beneath guns, somehow giving them a sacred status instead?

 

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