Jesus and the Cross

31 March

In the April 2014 issue of the Friend, a children’s magazine published by the Mormon Church I found an interesting picture and article I want to share with you. The article is titled To Think about Jesus; below the title we find this illustrated picture:

cross-in-friend

The picture is an illustration of a song the children sing in primary. They sing it as a reminder to be quiet and sit still in sacrament meeting and to think about all Jesus did for them.

During sacrament meeting church members partake of the sacrament (which is leavened bread and water), sing hymns, and listen to talks given by selected members of the church.

The article tells the children that it shouldn’t be hard for them to sit quietly and be reverent as they think about all Jesus has done for them.  It goes on to list things Jesus has done and points out the following items:

Jesus healed people. Jesus loved children. Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan. All these things are true; however I can’t say the same for this one:

Jesus suffered and died so we can repent.

Really, I thought He suffered and died we can be forgiven of our sins and know that we have a home in heaven when we die? And what about those who lived before the crucifixion? From the time of Adam to Jesus Christ, God sent prophets to warn people of the punishment that would come if they continued to sin. Throughout the Old Testament the prophets implored the people, begging them to turn from their sins and return back to God’s fold.

Do they truly not understand what happened on the cross, and the reason Jesus was there?

Lately it seems the Church has become more and more comfortable with the cross. What was unsightly and repugnant to them has become something they use publicly as if to say they’re Christian too.

A couple of years ago we reported that soon there will be a temple in Rome Italy with a cross on the front door. This temple is still under construction, and yet I wonder what the first thoughts will be of those who walk through the doors for the first time and see the cross. What sort of emotions will they experience seeing it on the doorway of a building they believe they must pass through to live to God?

I don’t know the exact word I’m searching for here, but I find them passing through the cross to get to the section of the temple where they will perform ordinances for their salvation…..surreal.

In regards to the cross Joseph Fielding Smith once said:

“To many, like the writer, such a custom is repugnant and contrary to the true worship of our Redeemer. Why should we bow down before a cross or use it as a symbol? Because our Savior died on the cross, the wearing of crosses is to most Latter-day Saints in very poor taste…” (Answers to Gospel Questions 4:17)

President Gordon B. Hinckley also commented on the cross when he was asked by a minister why Mormons don’t wear them or display them on/in their buildings. This was his reply:

 “‘I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian colleagues who use the cross on the steeples of their cathedrals and at the altars of their chapels, who wear it on their vestments, and imprint it on their books and other literature. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the Living Christ.’” (“The Symbol of Christ,” New Era, Apr. 1990, 4.)

I wish Mormons could truly accept the cross, and not bring it out when it’s convenient. I wish they would teach their children the real reason he was there, what brought him there, and what brings us to the foot of the cross.

In her book If Amy Carmichael said

“If I covet any place on earth but the dust at the foot of the Cross, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

I want Mormons to know that love.

In Christ,

Melissa Grimes (melissa@lifeafter.org)

Reference

LDS Friend, April 2014

 

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