1 Corinthians 1:18-19; “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Ensign, ‘The Meaning of the Cross for Latter-day Saints,’ July 2011; “Is the cross important to our faith? The answer is an unequivocal yes! The Redeemer’s suffering on the cross is vitally important to us and is an inseparable part of the Atonement, through which He suffered and died for our sins and thereby provided us with a clear path to salvation and exaltation.” – Gregory A. Schwitzer
1 Peter 2:24; “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.”
Today we’re looking at a message Mr. Schwitzer gave just a few years back. As you can readily see, his words are disingenuous at best. By and large, the cross in Utah Mormonism is regarded as nothing more than a murder weapon. Growing up a 6th generation Utah Mormon, I can attest to the analogy many there have assigned to it. Compounding the problem, is the LDS belief of Jesus paying for man’s sins in Gethsemane, not Calvary.
Their canon emphatically declares the following in D&C 19:18 –
‘Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—’
The statement he made about the cross providing ‘a clear path to salvation and exaltation’ is again, nothing but a ruse. The Church in no uncertain terms, teaches salvation is only attained by performing works. Works for the dead in their temples, works for the Church (teaching, bishopric, etc.), monetary works (i.e. 10% of gross income), and still other works (for example; giving birth). All of these things equate to a lifetime of service to mankind.
Furthermore, in the rest of his statement about the cross providing a clear path…did you notice what he said?
The cross is a clear path ‘to exaltation’…
John 3:30 tells us we must decrease because Jesus is above all. How can this happen with a belief in man’s exaltation?
Sadly, the Cross of Christ couldn’t squeeze itself sideways into Mormon theology if it tried.
Here are a few other references made by LDS authorities on where Jesus paid the price for the sins of mankind. As you’ll see, the message of the Cross is nowhere to be found in Mormonism.
Journal of Discourses 21:214; “But notwithstanding this and the fact of his being the Only Begotten of the Father, yet, when he came to wrestle with the difficulties he had to cope with, he sweat great drops of blood, and said, ‘Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; I shrink to encounter the things I have to cope with, but nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.’” – John Taylor, Kaysville, Utah, March 1, 1880
New Era, “Q&A: Questions and Answers,” Sept., 1996, p. 18; “Our church believes that Christ’s crucifixion was an important part of the atonement, but we believe that a more important part was when he suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane.”
Ensign, “Singing the Song of Redeeming Love,” March, 1993, p. 58; “We don’t know exactly how Jesus accomplished the Atonement. We only know that somehow during the course of the excruciating and agonizing hours in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, he became our Redeemer,” – Joseph Walker
Soul Destroying & Sickening Influences of Christianity
The Seer, p. 111; “Must we, under the broad folds of the American Constitution, be compelled to bow down to the narrow contracted notions of Apostate Christianity…Must we be slaves to custom and render homage to the soul-destroying, sickening influences of modern Christianity? No!” – Orson Pratt
Ensign, “The Atonement and the Value of One Soul,” May 2004, 84; “There in the quiet isolation of the Garden of Gethsemane, He knelt among the gnarled olive trees, and in some incredible way that none of us can fully comprehend, the Savior took upon Himself the sins of the world. Even though His life was pure and free of sin, He paid the ultimate penalty for sin—yours, mine, and everyone who has ever lived. His mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish were so great they caused Him to bleed from every pore (see Luke 22:44; D&C 19:18). And yet Jesus suffered willingly so that we might all have the opportunity to be washed clean—through having faith in Him, repenting of our sins, being baptized by proper priesthood authority, receiving the purifying gift of the Holy Ghost by confirmation, and accepting all other essential ordinances. Without the Atonement of the Lord, none of these blessings would be available to us, and we could not become worthy and prepared to return to dwell in the presence of God.” – M. Russell Ballard