This got me thinking about something I’ve never been quite sure about. How do we Mormons really feel about the cross? It’s one of those things that we don’t really discuss very often, but over the years I’ve heard everything from respect to disdain from Mormons for the. Some reasons that I’ve heard the cross being absent from Mormon life is that:
a) It’s more of a Catholic or Protestant symbol and we are neither
b) The cross represents some terrible crimes that have been committed in the name of Christianity, such as the Crusades, and we don’t want to be associated with that
c) The cross has become nothing but a fashion statement for most
d) We want to focus on the Resurrection and not so much the
Non-LDS Christians are often quick to notice the lack of crosses in LDS chapels and materials. When they’ve asked me about it, I usually give them the speech citing reason d), about how we don’t use the cross because we prefer to focus on Christ’s resurrection and the fact that we believe that He lives, instead of focusing on his death. I don’t feel like I’m lying when I give them the speech, but I have wondered about other possible reasons. I will summarize a story that I remember reading once, which illustrated how some Mormons feel about the cross. A non-LDS Christian woman entered the home of an LDS family. The non-LDS woman was wearing a cross, and somehow the subject came up. When asked why they did not use the cross, the LDS woman said that she could explain it this way: “If one of your loved ones was killed in a car accident, would you wear a car around your neck to remember them?”
Personally, I accept the reasoning that we choose to focus on the fact that Christ lives. But at the same time, remembering and honoring the Crucifixion is a vital element in giving His life the significance that it deserves. If we focus only on the Resurrection, the Atonement seems to lose some of its meaning — at least for me. I’ve visited many Catholic and Protestant churches and cathedrals throughout my travels and have always been impressed by all the paintings, statues and icons depicting Christ on the cross. I find them to be very moving, as they capture a special spirit that I haven’t felt anywhere else — not even in the. I love Mormon art of the Saviour, but I find traditional crucifixes to be something unique and unmatched in beauty. I remember being in Münich, Germany and visiting a small store which sold Catholic art, crucifixes and statues of Christ and the . I remember thinking how beautiful they were and that I would proudly display them in my own home, except for the fact that other Mormons would find it so strange.
So aside from when I’m at church, I will continue to wear my cross whenever I feel like it. Most probably won’t even notice but if they do, they will either:
a) Assume that I’m just trying to be fashionable
b) Assume I’m just another Catholic or Protestant
c) Not care
Ironically, I think the only ones who would notice would be fellow Mormons who know me.
- Have you or would you wear a cross or crucifix to meetings in the LDS Church?
- Would you display a cross, crucifix, or a traditional Christian work of art where the cross is prominent, in your home?
- Do you think that we should be more open to using and displaying the cross (at least outside of official LDS Church capacities), or will we lose our unique Christian-Mormon identity by doing so?