Elusive Mormon Cross

The Church of the Latter-Day Saints would say there is no such thing as a Mormon Cross but we believe there is. And here's why.

Mormon Cross

Latin Cross

The Church of the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) are not Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) or Christadelphians, but share with them some of the reasons for not displaying images of the cross.

Here, we list seven reasons why they shun the cross:

  1. It's Pagan

    Mormons, along with JWs and Christadelphians, explain that the cross is a symbol of Paganism. Well, it is generally accepted by all Christians that the cross was used before Christianity came into being; there is no evidence that the cross was invented specifically for the Crucifixion of Jesus.

    Pagans also built temples, Jesus didn't, but the LDS Church does. Therefore the pre-Christian argument for not using the cross symbol makes no sense at all.

  2. It means Death

    This is a more significant, and disturbing, reason that the LDS Church shuns the symbol.

    Again, it is generally accepted by all Christians that the cross was, and is, a symbol of torture. And yet the real meaning of that Crucifixion makes the cross an extremely appropriate symbol for anyone who professes to be Christian.

    The LDS Church focuses on the living Christ, which is good, but taking the "no cross" stance could imply that Christians who acknowledge the significance of the cross and its association with death, underestimate the significance of Christ's resurrection. The Crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are part of the same story.

    The New Testament describes very clearly the events leading up to the Crucifixion, the Crucifixion itself, the aftermath, and the resurrection. Without one part, the other parts are incomplete. Fractional Christians cannot be effective.

  3. It means Suffering

    Dozens of pentagrams can be seen decorating the LDS Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois.

    Nauvoo Pentagrams
    Nauvoo Temple

    Disappointing as it may be to some Mormon-bashers, these are not supposed to represent any satanic allegiance; rather they represent the five wounds of Christ.

    Curiously, the LSD Church is happy with the pentagram symbolizing suffering, but not happy with the cross symbolizing suffering.

  4. Mormons are not Jehovah's Witnesses

    The Jehovah's Witnesses (JW) have their own Scriptures; 'New World Translation'. Similarly the LDS have their Book Of Mormon. But where the JW says Jesus was crucified on a simple upright post (stipe), the Book of Mormon does actually say "cross" (1 Nephi 11:33, 2 Nephi 9:18, 3 Nephi 27:14, 3 Nephi 12:30, Jacob 1:8, 3 Nephi 12:30). But it might just as well be any other word since it has no significance for the LDS.

  5. Mormons are not Jehovah's Witnesses, and distance themselves from Christians

    'Prophet' Joseph Smith founded the movement in 1830 and at that time many Protestants rejected the cross as a symbol because of its intense veneration by Roman Catholics. Protestants later embraced the symbol but it seems that LDS Church wished to retain their separate identity.

  6. The cross has no place

    Moroni Angel

    In an Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant church it is common to see a mixture of symbols and icons, perhaps a statue of the Virgin Mary, a crucifix, a dove or some other symbol, and of course, lots of crosses in various styles.

    In contrast, the LDS Church displays a statue of the trumpet-blowing Moroni Angel and lots of subtle hints of its Masonic links, such as the All Seeing Eye, compass, pyramid, beehive, pentagram, etc. There is not much wall space left for a cross!

  7. The whim of the leadership

    The cross aversion was not so strong in the early days. Indeed, Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Mormon includes the instruction for a sinner to make the sign of the cross: "cross yourself" (Alma 39:9). It was not until the 1950s that President David O McKay institutionalized the no-cross policy in the LDS Church protocol.

    See also the reversionist Community of Christ, who do use the cross symbol.

Secret Mormon handshakes

To any Mormon reading this page, a hearty welcome! Take our hand and shake it. There is no secret knowledge; Christianity has nothing to hide.

God is love. We all know that.

And there is something else that we know and we must not forget. The sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us on the cross is our way, our only way, to salvation. And what better way of remembering that than by unashamedly displaying the symbol of the cross.

The sacrifice of Jesus was for everybody; Christians, Mormons and everybody else. And consequently, the cross is there for everybody, including Mormons (hence the cross image, top left). Denying the symbol, as atheists do, is tantamount to denying the suffering and consequently the full meaning of Christ's sacrifice. No Christian denies that.

Further reading for members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints
Evangelical Ministry to Latter Day Saints
Living Hope Ministries
Salamander Society
Utah Lighthouse Ministry
Christian apologetics
Concerned Christians
Contender Ministries
The Exmormon Foundation
Supporters of those in transition from Mormonism
Mormonism Research Ministry
The Mormon Curtain
Mormons in Transition
Post-Mormon organization
Rethinking Mormonism

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