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Mike Reed

Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

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Thanks Mike. I've been checking every so often to see when your book would be available. Your book and the Brigham Young biography are on my books to buy list.

M.

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For us new folk... Can you synopsis?

As I would understand it, the cross was used as a symbol in the early years of the LDS Church. We used it as any Protestant would, in our buildings and so on.

Then it all changed. :eek: (get the book)

HiJolly

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Here is a brief bit on the book from LDS Apologist and BYU professor Daniel Peterson:

Apparently from the jacket cover: ”Michael Reed’s invaluable study shines new light on Mormons’ complex and ambiguous relationship with the cross. Reed’s research, the most exhaustive ever undertaken on this subject, should help other Christians understand the historic, cultural and religious context out of which Latter-day Saint attitudes toward the cross emerged—and it should help Latter-day Saints find greater spiritual meaning in this most poignant and profound of Christian symbols.”

I'm sort of getting the feeling that this book is one of many in a new genre of books about LDS. Not really written for us or against us, just written about us. I've gotten so used to every single word spoken about Mormons being either pro- or anti-, it's a little hard to know what to do when I encounter something that's not really trying to forward some agenda. I haven't read this book, but I'm guessing it might be that kind of book. Scholarly for the sake of scholarliness? Could be...

Edited by Loudmouth_Mormon

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I'm sort of getting the feeling that this book is one of many in a new genre of books about LDS. Not really written for us or against us, just written about us. I've gotten so used to every single word spoken about Mormons being either pro- or anti-, it's a little hard to know what to do when I encounter something that's not really trying to forward some agenda. I haven't read this book, but I'm guessing it might be that kind of book. Scholarly for the sake of scholarliness? Could be...

"...and it should help Latter-day Saints find greater spiritual meaning in this most poignant and profound of Christian symbols.” (apparently from the jacket cover)

Sounds like an agenda to me.

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I think it's unfortunate that we belong to a church that carries Christ's name, and others assume we lack appreciation for His crucifixion because we don't choose its vehicle as primary a symbol of our faith.

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"...and it should help Latter-day Saints find greater spiritual meaning in this most poignant and profound of Christian symbols.” (apparently from the jacket cover)

Sounds like an agenda to me.
Well, true. I suppose I meant the usual agendas of either supporting and defending the church, or seeking to weaken or destroy it.

From that quoted bit, it would seem like the agenda here is "Y'all get nervous around the cross, and there's really no good reason for it, ya know..."

I think I've seen more than one thread here present the same notion.

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Well, true. I suppose I meant the usual agendas of either supporting and defending the church, or seeking to weaken or destroy it.

From that quoted bit, it would seem like the agenda here is "Y'all get nervous around the cross, and there's really no good reason for it, ya know..."

I think I've seen more than one thread here present the same notion.

Might be significantly more valuable to present a reasonably unbiased history rather than a polemic. I appreciate an author that trusts my intelligence enough to let ME decide whether there's a good reason or not. Those who insist on telling me what I should think are far less compelling.

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Vort, perhaps...but helping re-stoke appreciation for the icon of Christ's crucifixion does not seem like a malicious agenda. I know...I know...that's how these things start... :-)

My problem is not that the agenda is malicious, but that it's pedantic and overbearing. Why not present evidences about the symbol of the cross and how it has been used (and rejected) in LDS circles, then let ME decide the appropriate response?

In general, I mistrust any book or author who presumes to instruct the Saints or their leaders on how they ought to be doing things.

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I lament that more news organizations do not do as Vort suggests. On the other hand, I rather expect that topical books will express the author's ultimate perspective. Before I could say that this one is over polemic I'd have to read it. However, in my historical studies, professors expected us to write papers that expressed all the major perspectives, and then to synthesize them and offer our own analysis. We were only condemned as polemic if we failed to properly explain alternative views.

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FWIW, authors don't write - and frequently don't even get to approve or veto - whatever turns up on their book's jacket. That's a decision made by the publishing house, more often than not.

As I would understand it, the cross was used as a symbol in the early years of the LDS Church. We used it as any Protestant would, in our buildings and so on.

I'll defer to Mike, but I would take slight exception to this. The cross was a relatively common architectural element in early LDS history, (the floor plans of the Provo Tabernacle and Salt Lake Assembly Hall are laid out in cruciform patterns, for example), but I think it was generally incorporated in quite subtle ways. I don't think you ever had ginormous crosses topping LDS steeples or dominating LDS sanctuaries they way you see in more traditional Christian churches.

It seems to me that some (certainly not all) mainline Christians see the cross itself as having mystical power before which the enemies of God must inevitably quail (witness the stereotypical exorcist entering a demonic dwelling waving a cross aloft before him). From that perspective, our modern practice of eschewing the cross probably raises some eyebrows. But I think our reversing the policy now would just be seen as pandering; so I'm not hot-to-trot to see anything change.

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I have very strong feelings on this. Perhaps it has to do with seeing a man nailed to a cross in agony and bleeding on my grandmothers wall and being totally horrified. Why would any one want to see that everyday? I asked my grandmother and she tried to explain it but it never did make sense. I love Jesus and hold Him in my heart but cringe at any thought of ever having such a thing on my wall or neck or anywhere actually. When I was that little girl I did not know anything about anyones opinion on the cross. It was a visceral reaction and I trust my soul to be right not some guy wanting to push this agenda.

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Here is a brief bit on the book from LDS Apologist and BYU professor Daniel Peterson:

I'm sort of getting the feeling that this book is one of many in a new genre of books about LDS. Not really written for us or against us, just written about us. I've gotten so used to every single word spoken about Mormons being either pro- or anti-, it's a little hard to know what to do when I encounter something that's not really trying to forward some agenda. I haven't read this book, but I'm guessing it might be that kind of book. Scholarly for the sake of scholarliness? Could be...

I have read Mike's threads on another site and he has an agenda. He is not the neutral writer you seem to be seeing.

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I have read Mike's threads on another site and he has an agenda. He is not the neutral writer you seem to be seeing.

The following link seems to confirm your suspicions and suggest that Brother Reed has an agenda definitely opposed to the expressed purpose of this site:

Cultural Mormon Cafeteria

Of course, I welcome clarification from Brother Reed.

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I haven't read the book and I know little about the author. In fact, just about everything I know about both came from that one Dan Peterson blog post I linked earlier and from the dust jacket.

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I have very strong feelings on this. Perhaps it has to do with seeing a man nailed to a cross in agony and bleeding on my grandmothers wall and being totally horrified. Why would any one want to see that everyday? I asked my grandmother and she tried to explain it but it never did make sense. I love Jesus and hold Him in my heart but cringe at any thought of ever having such a thing on my wall or neck or anywhere actually. When I was that little girl I did not know anything about anyones opinion on the cross. It was a visceral reaction and I trust my soul to be right not some guy wanting to push this agenda.

Your description above is of the "crucifix" and Mike Reed's book is about the use of the "cross" in early LDS history - similar in some ways but still quite different.

M.

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Well, true. I suppose I meant the usual agendas of either supporting and defending the church, or seeking to weaken or destroy it.

From that quoted bit, it would seem like the agenda here is "Y'all get nervous around the cross, and there's really no good reason for it, ya know...".

I've only ever witnessed one crucification... But that was enough to not have a cross (or metal spring bedframe and battery, etc.) ever provide a source of comfort. Instruments of torture make me VERY nervous.

Granted, its one of the many, but one of the things I like so much about the church is the focus on his life, instead of his death.

Edited by BadWolf
On vs One in a rather key place can get a little 'Whoa!

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Your description above is of the "crucifix" and Mike Reed's book is about the use of the "cross" in early LDS history - similar in some ways but still quite different.

M.

The cross and the crucifix are the same cross. Even as a piece of jewelry or above a church building it is about the same thing. Even without the body hanging from a cross the implication is still there.

I do apologize to those outside the church who use this symbol. I am not trying to insult you. This is how I feel about the cross, and crucifix, not about you.

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You saw someone crucified for real? :eek:

Yeah.... No bueno. It's still used in parts of the world as a form of torture. I used to schlep medical supplies n stuff to some of those parts for various NGOs. Shudder. I will NEVER willingly ever wear a crucifix. An electric chair (wireframe bed & battery, noose, guillotine, dental drill, etc.) is warmer & fuzzier. The only thing worse would be an impalement spike. Granted, I suppose I'd be all set for vampires wearing a sharpened wooden stake around my neck.

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