It is a strange thing that Mormons, while claiming to be Christian and to believe in the bible, reject and are truly repulsed by the Cross of Christ. It is absolutely unacceptable for any Mormon Church member to wear a Cross necklace or to display a Cross in their home or anywhere else. If an Mormon Church member showed up to church meeting wearing a Cross, they would receive immediate stares and looks of disapproval from other members in the ward and would, no doubt, be chastised by some in between meetings (I have indeed seen that happen on several occasions).
When asked about the reasons for the avoidance of the Cross, Mormon Church members and leaders will explain that they believe in the living Christ and not in a dead Christ. Further, they will often explain that they focus on Christ’s suffering in Gethsemane for the sins of the world and not on the Cross which was merely where he died. They may also say that they focus on his resurrection and not the method of his death.
IS THE MORMON POSITION IN ACCORD WITH GOD’S WORD?
[Before we move further in this discussion, I think it is important to note that the wearing or adorning of the Cross itself is not requisite to nor a part of the ordinary worship of the bible-believing Christian. The Cross itself is not the object of worship. Christ alone is the object of our worship. Nonetheless, the Cross an important symbol for the bible-believing Christian as a symbol of the sacrifice for sin which was made by Christ and of his triumph over death and sin (as the New Testament writers point out with multitudinous references throughout the bible). It was on the Cross that Christ suffered, shed His blood and gave His life, the eternal sacrifice as the Lamb of God, for the sins of all who would believe on Him. For me, it has great significance as I put on my cross that I wear each day. It reminds me each time of Christ's adomonition: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24. It reminds me that I follow Jesus and Jesus alone. He is my Lord and my Shepherd. I have grown to love the simple reminder of this fact everyday of my life.]
WHAT DOES GOD'S WORD SAY ON THE SUBJECT OF THE CROSS?
"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” 1 Corinthians 1:17.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18.
“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: BUT WE PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 17-24 (Emphasis added).
"He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption." Hebrews 9:12.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
Those are just a few of the declarations in the bible concerning the Cross.
UNDERSTANDING MORMON BELIEFS ABOUT THE ATONEMENT HELPS IN UNDERSTANDING WHY THE CROSS HAS NO SIGNIFICANCE FOR THEM
The bible makes clear that Jesus suffered and shed his blood on the cross so that we could receive life and salvation through faith on Him and what He did for us. For the Christian, the cross is the symbol of life, salvation and triumph over sin and death. For the LDS (I was a member of the Mormon Church for 39 years), the crucifixion has little significance.
For Mormons, Jesus atoned for our sins not on the cross, but rather in the Garden of Gethsemane when the weight of the sins of the world were placed on Him. Contrary to the clear message of the bible, Jesus' suffering on the cross and His shed blood was not the eternal atoning sacrifice for sin, according to LDS doctrine. The crucifiction was essentially only the gruesome door to death and resurrection. According to Mormon doctrine, resurrection (being raised from the dead to an immortal body) was the only free gift of God(a/k/a "salvation", according to Mormon doctrine). Eternal life (the Celestial Kingdom – the highest of three kingdoms - the only place where one may become a god and have eternal progression, according to LDS doctrine), must be earned through our own works and through jumping through each of the mandatory hoops that lead there (i.e., gain a testimony of and accept the Book of Mormon, believe that Joseph Smith restored the church and that each successive "prophet" of the LDS church is a true prophet, receive water baptism, confirmation, priesthood (males), temple endowment and temple marriage, following the Mormon Prophet and leaders of the church, and through strict obedience to all of the LDS teachings and commandments).
When one understands Mormon doctrine, it is easy to see why the Cross has no significance for the LDS people. Masonic symbols and rituals are welcome and lifted up in the LDS church, the Christian symbol of life, salvation and triumph is shunned. The Mormon eye is off of Jesus as the author and finisher of our salvation and instead directed towards the Mormon Church, its ordinances, its prophet and our own works.
But the bible clearly declares:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Jesus declared: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me. John 14:6
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.” “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” John 10:1; 7
Mormonism is indeed a different (“another”) gospel than what Christ and His apostles preached. (2 Corinthians 11: 3-4).
Consider a Few More Verses:
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Colossians 1:15-20.
“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross," Colossians 2:14.
"And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed," 1 Peter 2:24.
"For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life," Romans 5:10.
"For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified," 1 Cor. 2:2.
Can the significance of the Cross be any more clear than what the Word of God declares?
WAS IT GETHSEMANE OR THE CROSS?
Again, one reason that the Mormons don’t use the Cross as a symbol is that they believe that Christ’s real payment for sin was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Did Christ really atone for the sins of the world on the Cross or in Gethsemane? Let’s consider this doctrine, in light of the bible.
The Mormon belief is that Christ did not pay the price for sin on the Cross but rather Christ paid for the sins of the world by having the weight of the sins of the world placed upon him in the Garden of Gethsemane. According to this belief, to the extent that it was Christ’s blood that was shed for sin, it was shed when He sweat drops of blood in the garden.
There is no dispute that Christ bled while in the Garden, as the bible is clear on that. However, I would challenge my Mormon friends to find one single reference in the New Testament that references the blood of the Garden as the atonement for the sins of mankind. In fact, the bible references Christ’s bleeding in the Garden only once, in Luke.
I’ve heard LDS individuals state that Christians “gloss over” the suffering of Gethsemane. Not to diminish the Garden as insignificant, but it is important to note that all other Gospel authors and New Testament writers do not even mention Christ’s bleeding in the Garden. And Luke, who does mention it, makes no attempt to teach or even insinuate that it was through that event that the sins of the world were atoned for.
Instead, what the New Testament makes abundantly clear is that Christ bore our sins while on the cross (and not through a mere obscure passage but through a multitude of explicit statements). For example, Peter unequivocally states it is Christ:
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24.
Does this not mean exactly what it says? Only if you ignore the plain and simple Word of God.
Further: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20
THE WAGES OF SIN:
In addition, it is only through the New Testament account of Christ’s crucifixion as the sacrifice for sin that the Old Testament makes any sense. We are told that the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Indeed, under the old covenant of the Old Testament, sin could be cleansed only by the shedding of blood (by death – not a blood draining, sweating or by any other means; the shedding of blood by slaying of the animal slain).
Under the old covenant, atonement had to be perpetually made. But Christ was the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8. Christ: “did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12. The Most Holy Place was where the sacrifice was slain for the sins of the people. Indeed, the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, declared that Christ was “wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.
How could Gethsemane be the event where Christ was “wounded” for our transgressions and “bruised” for our iniquities? Does having the weight of the sins of the world placed on Jesus in Gethsemane sound even remotely like what scripture plainly declares that sacrifice for sin to be?
Once again, the Mormon doctrine and teaching is in conflict with the Word of God.
THE SYMBOLS OF MORMONISM
So, Mormons reject the Cross, the universal symbol of Christ’s triumph over sin and death. What, then, are the symbols that Mormonism accepts and uses? Some of them are:
-THE INVERTED PENTAGRAM: associated with the occult and satanism, the all-seeing eye (of Freemasonry)
-THE COMPASS AND THE SQUARE: used by Freemasons
-SUN, MOON AND STARS: Traces back to Baal worship, pagan worship and carried on by Freemasons and others
-SECRET HANDSHAKE (both in visual representation and as handshakes received in the Mormon Temple endowment): Used by Freemasons and other secret societies
At a minimum, it should make you wonder. Why are the Mormons so adamant about not displaying the Cross? Why these occult related symbols instead? Who then is the author of Mormonism?
For more information on Mormonism from a biblical perspective, see:
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