dahlia

Wearing symbols/jewelry from other religions

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On another thread, someone mentioned purchasing an item from the Catholic Store. As I looked around, I wondered if LDS could wear something like a Miraculous Medal, or have a picture of a guardian angel in a child's room?

I understand that LDS don't usually wear crucifixes and it would probably be hard to justify having a rosary at Sacrament meeting, but I'm curious how far people can go.  Recently I've seen non-Jews, black and white, using prayer shawls. I'm not sure what I think about that, I typically equate the shawls with Jews, not black Baptists, but there you are. Maybe there's some other religious item that people have started using across religions? 

I think the Mother Theresa dish towel might be a bit over the top, tho... : )

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We had this hanging on our wall in the kitchen for years and years.  It's a ceremonial Masonic plate, inherited from my paternal grandmother.  

MasonicPlateIMG_0198.JPG

(Full disclosure - I mainly had it hanging to try to provoke a reaction from the missionaries or home teachers, or any other Mormon who showed up.)

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7 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

We had this hanging on our wall in the kitchen for years and years.  It's a ceremonial Masonic plate, inherited from my paternal grandmother.  

MasonicPlateIMG_0198.JPG

(Full disclosure - I mainly had it hanging to try to provoke a reaction from the missionaries or home teachers, or any other Mormon who showed up.)

You devil, you. :D

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46 minutes ago, dahlia said:

On another thread, someone mentioned purchasing an item from the Catholic Store. As I looked around, I wondered if LDS could wear something like a Miraculous Medal, or have a picture of a guardian angel in a child's room?

I understand that LDS don't usually wear crucifixes and it would probably be hard to justify having a rosary at Sacrament meeting, but I'm curious how far people can go.  Recently I've seen non-Jews, black and white, using prayer shawls. I'm not sure what I think about that, I typically equate the shawls with Jews, not black Baptists, but there you are. Maybe there's some other religious item that people have started using across religions? 

I think the Mother Theresa dish towel might be a bit over the top, tho... : )

Clarification here: there is nothing in the LDS faith against crosses/crucifixes/etc.  These are some cultural ways people choose to show their faith, and that's great.  There are also plenty of other symbols people use to show their faith (a Jesus fish and CTR ring come to mind off the top of my head) and those are great too.  Which symbols one chooses are the is product of culture and personal preference.  Choice of using a cross/crucifix fell out a favor in LDS culture following the severe persecution by mainstream Christian in the 1800's.  There are entire essays describing this cultural trend.  But anyways, that's culture.  If an LDS person wants to wear a cross that's not a problem.  

 

 

Anyway, on to addressing your actual question!  Symbols of any type don't have power themselves, but rather their power comes from the meaning people associate with them.  If your meaning and faith is true, I don't see any issues with other symbols (though there is the complication of what meaning other people associate with them).  I myself really like the Taoist yin-yang symbol paired with "opposition in all things" ideas.  Obviously the original Taoist meaning is a somewhat similar by also different. 

 

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I'll say two statements about this.

1) There is nothing sinful about a crucifix.  There is the cultural aspect of the crucifix that is something that "just isn't done" in LDS circles.  If someone just converted from another faith... yeah, people need to be understanding.  But for a Mormon who never wore one before, I don't see what the motivation would be.  So, to me, that seems weird.

2) This particular medallion, however, goes another step further.  It actually has a prayer to the Mother Mary embossed on it.  That is just not right.

Edited by Guest

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In my house, I have a statue of Ganesha, a statue of Buddha, the Lord's Supper all in the same room.

I have a crucifix in my bedroom and a big cross-stitch of an angel with wings.

I used to sometimes wear my crucifix pendant but not too much anymore because I got that crucifix for a Catholic devotion.  I don't wear my scapular anymore since I got baptized LDS because that scapular is also a devotion.

So yeah, it's not so much the "stuff".  It's the purpose behind it.

Catholics don't wear sacred religious symbols for "jewelry".  They wear it for devotions in the same manner that LDS wear garments.  That's why Catholics got upset over Madonna - raised a Catholic - when she used the crucifix for earrings in one of her music videos.  It's not an approved manner of devotion as the crucifix should only be worn as a pendant.

Edited by anatess2

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I have a statue of the Hindu God Ganesh in my living room. Some missionaries are shocked-shocked!-that I have such a blasphemous statue in my home. I love it. I grew up near a Hindu family and I collect Hindu God statues. 

There is no problem with it. Wear whatever you like. 

Edited by MormonGator

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1 hour ago, anatess2 said:

Catholics don't wear sacred religious symbols for "jewelry".  They wear it for devotions in the same manner that LDS wear garments.  That's why Catholics got upset over Madonna - raised a Catholic - when she used the crucifix for earrings in one of her music videos.  It's not an approved manner of devotion as the crucifix should only be worn as a pendant.

to reinforce this point...  How and why you are using it matters.  If person are LDS and they are using it as a "devotion" from another faith... Then that is a sign that they might be needing help with their testimony/conversion to the LDS faith.  If a person is wearing as "jewelry" then that is not a problem or sign of anything.  The problem is... externally both look the same to an outsider... Thus one should expect to get questions about it from well meaning but effectively clueless people.

On the flipside... is how are members of the faith whose devotional symbol they have taken as jewelry (or other fashion statement) going to feel about that?  Most might not care, but some might.  (Like in the Madonna example).  I know that if some non or exed member was wearing garments (for whatever reason) I would have issues with it.  I couldn't really do anything about it but there would be issues none the less.

Edited by estradling75

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1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

I have a statue of the Hindu God Ganesh in my living room. Some missionaries are shocked-shocked!-that I have such a blasphemous statue in my home.

I think it's more shocking to them that you're using it as an ashtray.

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Without meaning to judge any other person in their choices my personal taste about what I choose to put on was probably influenced to a great deal by what Tom Bombadil told Frodo when he invited Frodo to remove his golden ring. :) I like to think it has helped me in my efforts to see the fairness in people by looking past what they happen to have on.

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17 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

...Choice of using a cross/crucifix fell out a favor in LDS culture following the severe persecution by mainstream Christian in the 1800's....

Not really, the trend to not use a cross or crucifix didn't really start happening until the 20th century.

The Mormon Cross Taboo had the same basis as the nineteenth century Protestant rejection of the symbol: a desire to disassociate themselves from the Catholic Church. Contrary to the assumptions of many historians today, however, the Mormon aversion to the cross was more a late development that occurred around the turn of the twentieth century, and by this time, Protestants had already widely accepted the symbol.

It is true that early Mormons echoed many of the same anti-Catholic polemics that concurrently circulated throughout Protestant America. Nevertheless, early Mormons initially avoided condemning the cross, and did so for three fundamental reasons: (1) The early Mormon involvement in folk magic and (2) Freemasonry both encouraged the use of the cross; and (3) the pre-Columbian cross validated the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

The influence of the first two factors lost their strength as later generations turned away from past involvement in folk magic and Freemasonry. The third factor alone was insufficient for Latter-day Saints to preserve the general acceptance of the cross. This became true particularly as two waves of anti-Catholicism hit Utah, the first at the turn of the twentieth century and the second at mid-century. Attitudes toward the cross polarized in Utah at the grass-roots level, manifesting rather loudly in 1916 when many vocal Saints protested their leader's petition to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak. A generation later, President David O. McKay officially institutionalized the taboo into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, defining the cross as inappropriate for members, claiming that it was a purely "Catholic form of worship".

The lateness of this evolution was largely forgotten. Church authorities and apologists have since persisted in echoing early nineteenth century Protestant anti-Catholic polemics to justify their aversion. These arguments - coupled with the assumption that the rejection of the cross has always existed in Mormon culture - helped to perpetuate the aversion into the twenty-first century.....

....Negative attitudes toward the cross in the LDS Church have softened since the second half of the 20th century, so much so that it would be surprising (if not shocking) to hear today's Church authorities disparage the symbol as the "mark of the Beast", "symbol of the Devil", or "image of the Great and Abominable Church." However, does this shift indicate a trajectory leading to the taboo's ultimate extinction? As old habits die hard, resistance to change is even greater when certain practices are institutionalized, rationalized, and declared true by Church authorities. It may indeed be that Church leaders will eventually decide that there is no real doctrinal or revelatory basis for the taboo, and hence feel inclined to weigh the costs against the benefits. Until this happens, interfaith tension over this issue will likely persist and interfere with the Church's efforts to be accepted in the Christian denominational family. Many new converts will also remain disheartened by the taboo, and feel compelled to hide jewelry, discard decorations and pack away cherished heirlooms that were once used to express[ed] their faith in and love for Jesus Christ.

(Banishing the Cross - The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo by Michael G. Reed, pages 145-148)

M.

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I absolutely love the ankh. It's the ancient symbol for life or eternal life. It looks like a cross, maybe a fancy cross. I like the symbolism and just how it looks. So, I've worn one to church before. I use as jewelry, not as a devotional symbol. 

I've slowly learned over the years that I need to worry more about my own intents, thoughts, actions, or behaviors rather than worry about someone else and what they wear or do. There are just so many factors into reasons why people say, do, wear what they do--and I haven't developed God's omniscience yet, so I'll leave it up to Him to work on them. 

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I have tons of Islamic stuff in my house and have no problem with it.  (Others have shown that Catholic, Buddhist and Hindu religious symbolism is OK, and naturally I didn't want our Muslim friends to feel left out, so I had to say something!  Besides, it is true - I have all sorts of Islamic books, etc.)

 

Edited by DoctorLemon

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I don't see anything wrong with wearing a cross but President McKay disagreed.

Back in the very early days, it was commonly used among the saints as jewelry and even in funeral arrangements, such as the floral cross on John Taylor's casket.

Edited by Suzie
typo

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An interesting question is where to draw the line.  I would feel uncomfortable with a shrine to Chemosh (you can read all about Chemosh in the Bible dictionary - an ugly false idol).  Obviously, Chemosh does not equal another culture's expression of God.

That said, I think an argument can be made that most other modern religions are fundamentally different from the idolatry of old.  While Chemosh, Dagon and Baal do not equal God (although there is some indication that Baal was Zeus), part of the difference may be that these idols were "worshipped" through immorality, child sacrifice, etc. and did not lead people towards righteousness.  While Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism may not contain 100% of the gospel (no offense to anyone, but let's face it - this is why I am a Mormon, because I believe it alone to be a full restoration of first century Christianity and a full restoration of all truth), they do appear to all teach at least some, if not many, gospel basics and good moral principles.  

Perhaps this is why somehow I really do believe that Allah really is God the Father, the gods of Hinduism may actually be an expression for the many sides of Heavenly Father, and Buddah really was just a guy doing the best with what he had to search for truths now restored through the gospel? 

Anyhow, interesting thing to think about.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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11 hours ago, anatess2 said:

In my house, I have a statue of Ganesha, a statue of Buddha, the Lord's Supper all in the same room.

I have a crucifix in my bedroom and a big cross-stitch of an angel with wings.

I used to sometimes wear my crucifix pendant but not too much anymore because I got that crucifix for a Catholic devotion.  I don't wear my scapular anymore since I got baptized LDS because that scapular is also a devotion.

So yeah, it's not so much the "stuff".  It's the purpose behind it.

Catholics don't wear sacred religious symbols for "jewelry".  They wear it for devotions in the same manner that LDS wear garments.  That's why Catholics got upset over Madonna - raised a Catholic - when she used the crucifix for earrings in one of her music videos.  It's not an approved manner of devotion as the crucifix should only be worn as a pendant.

I didn't even address the scapular because I figured it might be too much for folks here, even after looking at it online. :P

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15 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Catholics don't wear sacred religious symbols for "jewelry".  They wear it for devotions in the same manner that LDS wear garments.  That's why Catholics got upset over Madonna - raised a Catholic - when she used the crucifix for earrings in one of her music videos.  It's not an approved manner of devotion as the crucifix should only be worn as a pendant.

Lots of non-Catholics wear Catholic "stuff", sometimes only as a fashion accessory. Rosaries as gang bling, really gets under the skin of some people. I'd rather not get into guessing why people wear what they wear. I gave my daughter, who is an atheist, a rosary which she wears now and then like a necklace.  Makes my Catholic heart glad to see it on her. She wears it only because I gave it to her. Any busy body can think what they like. :D

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8 hours ago, Blueskye2 said:

 

Lots of non-Catholics wear Catholic "stuff", sometimes only as a fashion accessory. Rosaries as gang bling, really gets under the skin of some people. I'd rather not get into guessing why people wear what they wear. I gave my daughter, who is an atheist, a rosary which she wears now and then like a necklace.  Makes my Catholic heart glad to see it on her. She wears it only because I gave it to her. Any busy body can think what they like. :D

Growing up Catholic we were always told "not to wear our rosaries" by the more orthodox teachers. I never cared one way or the other. Like you said, let the busy bodies think what they want. 

Edited by MormonGator

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8 hours ago, Blueskye2 said:

 

Lots of non-Catholics wear Catholic "stuff", sometimes only as a fashion accessory. Rosaries as gang bling, really gets under the skin of some people. I'd rather not get into guessing why people wear what they wear. I gave my daughter, who is an atheist, a rosary which she wears now and then like a necklace.  Makes my Catholic heart glad to see it on her. She wears it only because I gave it to her. Any busy body can think what they like. :D

The rosary as a necklace is an acceptable use of the rosary.  It can also be worn as a bracelet with just 1 decade (10 beads and the cross).  There is also the ring which is also just a decade.  The concept behind it is that the rosary is a prayer you can pray anywhere and anytime so rosary beads worn on the body is not just an acceptable option but a recommended one by the Marian devotees. 

Yes, I used to have all 3.  Imported all the way from Lourdes.

A lot of Marian nuns wear the rosary around their waist like belts.

Edited by anatess2

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On 2/8/2017 at 5:08 PM, dahlia said:

On another thread, someone mentioned purchasing an item from the Catholic Store. As I looked around, I wondered if LDS could wear something like a Miraculous Medal, or have a picture of a guardian angel in a child's room?

I understand that LDS don't usually wear crucifixes and it would probably be hard to justify having a rosary at Sacrament meeting, but I'm curious how far people can go.  Recently I've seen non-Jews, black and white, using prayer shawls. I'm not sure what I think about that, I typically equate the shawls with Jews, not black Baptists, but there you are. Maybe there's some other religious item that people have started using across religions? 

I think the Mother Theresa dish towel might be a bit over the top, tho... : )

probably depends... for the grand majority of items if worn as jewelry for jewelry sake i don't think there would be anything against that. Stuff that have messages on them or have very specific or significant meaning to other people, especially if the meaning or what is symbolised dosn't mesh well with what you believe I would be quite a bit more hesitant and very careful with on the other hand.

Whether you intend to or not, what you wear or decide not to wear will always send messages to others.

Edited by Blackmarch

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