No-Cross Protocol

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Sethbag
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Post by Sethbag »

Thanks, Mike, for saying it better than me. And not only was the Catholic Church the Church of Satan to those of us who'd read some good, old-timey McConkie Doctrine, but all the other churches out there using the cross were an Abomination in the sight of God, as per our very own Joseph Smith's First Vision. Any way you cut it, there was plenty of room in all of that for a couple of 19 or 20 year old, credulous Mormon boys to look upon the cross with suspicion.
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Post by Coggins7 »

The Catholic Church was identified as the church of the devil, great abominable, and mother harlots, by more than a few LDS authorities. And MANY more identified the symbol of the cross as a "Catholic" symbol. It followed from these premises quite naturally that the symbol of the cross therefore was a symbol of the devil. And in addition to this, it became no stretch for Bruce R. McConkie to identify the sign of the cross as the Mark of the Beast.



And the Roman Catholic Church, in a spiritual sense, should indeed be identified as a major aspect of the great and abominable church of Satan as a system of religion. So is all of Protestantism, every other apostate or unauthorized system of religious belief, and any organization or whatever kind, whether political, religious, or philosophical (following McConkie and others here) that tend to take human beings away from the truth regarding God, the purpose of existence, and the true means of salvation.

But Christ said he brings not peace but a sword, and that he came to divide son against father and daughter agaist mother (Matt 10:34), and in a nutshell, members of families and communities against each other. Or rather, this is the inevitable consequence of the truth being made known. As C.S. Lewis named two of his books, The Great Divorce and The Great Controversy, the truth creates division and strife sense some accept it and some do not. Those that will not accept it on many occasions become visceral and aggressive persecuters of those who do, and hence, as we see here in this thread, the "great divorce".

The Church teaches, of course, that all these other religions and philosophies contain numerous instances of truth, but that, as systems of belief, they contain numerous errors as well and lack authority. Hence, Satan uses them as vehicles draw us away from the Lord's authorized church and Kingdom within which the fullness of the Gospel is found. All nonetheless contain truth and, in many, many cases, do much good in the world through the activities of individual members.

The insistent claim that the church somehow 'attacks" other's religion is disingenuous at the very best. There is no "anti" movement in the Church, as we see within Evangelical Protestantism, no LDS ministries dedicated to impugning and defaming the religious beliefs of others, and we do not call other's religions emotionally loaded names such as "cult" and "morg" and "other such.

We disagree and dissent from many of the doctrines of sectarian Christianity, and of course must, as it is the mandate of the Lord upon us to teach the Gospel and warn our neighbors before the "end cometh", but we do not attack, impugn, and defame others or their beliefs as ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons do here and for which many EVs has become a full time profession and intellectual tradition.

Jesus disagreed with, condemned, and, on many occasions, excoriated the beliefs and cultural practices of those whom he came to save; the House of Israel of the era. He always did it, of course, in love, even when he did it with sternness and passion. We do not, as humans, always do this perfectly. There is hyperbole and intemperate language used on occasion that perhaps would have been better refrained from, but our mandate is to "teach, preach and exhort" and call the world to repentance. To do this, we must, as a matter of course, dissent from and point out the errors in the belief systems with which we contend (as well as cooperate with, on many occasions, as organizations), for the minds and hearts of God's children.

As an aside, there has never been a doctrine in the Church, in any form, that the cross is a symbol of the Devil. This is a figment of someone's fevered bigotry, not a LDS teaching. To the extent that it was ever taught by individuals in the church (I'm almost 50, and although my parents taught me that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church of The Devil (false doctrine by the way. Any belief system that pulls people, or tends to pull them, away from the true Kingdom of God and his true Gospel, is a part of this "church"), I've never heard this extrapolated to the cross until this thread, which indicates to me, as with some other supposed church "doctrines" I've seen bandied about with morally self righteous ferver, that the idea is most likely a highly provincial folk concept that passed through some elements if the the church, in some regions, in the past, and then disappeared).

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Post by Blixa »

..."This is a figment of someone's fevered bigotry, not a LDS teaching. To the extent that it was ever taught by individuals in the church (I'm almost 50, and although my parents taught me that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church of The Devil (false doctrine by the way. Any belief system that pulls people, or tends to pull them, away from the true Kingdom of God and his true Gospel, is a part of this "church"), I've never heard this extrapolated to the cross until this thread, which indicates to me, as with some other supposed church "doctrines" I've seen bandied about with morally self righteous ferver, that the idea is most likely a highly provincial folk concept that passed through some elements if the the church, in some regions, in the past, and then disappeared)."

Well I'm your age cohort and I heard this in Sunday School, Primary, MIA and seminary (in Salt Lake City) the entire time I went to church. It was clear to me that crosses and crucifixes were looked on with alarm and oftimes superstitous fear and were in fact tools of Satan because they were associated with the Catholic Church.

This "highly provincial folk concept" was general enough that I've heard the same thing from people I know, of many different ages, who grew up in California, Texas, Minnesota and upstate New York. I believe it must still be somewhat extent because my Utah neices and nephews regard crosses as a "devil thing."

I do agree that the line between "doctrine" and "folk concept" is a highly permeable one in Mormonism. It always struck me that it was more or less a religion by rumor: I remember friends who grew up in other parts of the SL valley who had been taught entirely different, and contradictory, understandings of many points of beleif: speaking in tongues, the existence of ghosts, the use of folk magic, who is and who isn't "black," and so on...

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Post by Coggins7 »

The absence of the cross is quite ironic, as the symbol was used throughout Christian literature, and (by evidence of their literature) we know that it appealed particularly to their increasing regard for ideals of asceticism and martyrdom. The symbol, in fact, took on such a sacred nature, that traditions like Peter refusing to be crucified in the same way as Jesus, developed: “for I am not worthy to be crucified like my Lord,” declares Peter. (3)

Dispite the favorable interpretation of the cross that developed, Christians had significant reservations for depicting the symbol artistically. These reasons include:

1) A desire to worship inconspicuously, in order to avoid persecution.

2) It was a symbol of capital punishment to Jews and Gentiles, and therefore was not an effective tool for evangelizing.

3) Some Christians believed that it was a sin to materially depict an image.

Many Christians worshiped inconspicuously, in hopes that they would avoid drawing the attention of their enemies. Tertullian speaks to these Christians who are afraid to assemble “in large numbers to the Church. You are afraid that we may awaken their anxieties.” (4) Tertullian remarks further elsewhere,



This entire argument has one very serious weakness, and that is that is assumes Christians must have wanted to wear crosses, use them in artwork and sculpture, and depict it upon gravestones and tombs, but couldn't because of persecution and a need to be inconspicuous as to worship and open display of religious belief. If modern Christians did such and such, ancient Christians must have been doing such and such as well (this argument would open up horrendous problems for one making it, however, in other areas).

The problem here is a kind of reverse of the "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" argument. In this case, we have an implicit claim that absence of evidence is positive evidence based in a theoretically pertinent mediating circumstance. If it weren't for the persecution of Christians by the Roman empire (a plausible assumption) they would have been wearing crosses and using them iconically just as modern Protestants and Catholics do.

However, its just as plausible to think that early Christians wouldn't have worn as a symbol the horrendous implement used to crucify their Lord, and this is especially true given the clear implication that the Atonement itself was undergone in the Garden of Gethsemane, an occurrence that would be difficult to symbolize in physical form.

Futher, its also the case that the use of the cross as physical adornment or as an iconic symbol used in art or as funerary symbolism doesn't show up prior to the great Christian persecutions any more than it shows up during them, and its largely absent from the 3rd century, well after Constantine had put an end to such persecution. Whence the cross then? It begins showing up as an item of personal adornment in the 4th century, and thereafter, it proliferates gradually, in art and other venues. The crucifix appears much later.

In other words, the cross as a physical symbol, used iconically and as a personal symbol for individual Christians only becomes prevalent well after the time of the Apostles and well into the eras of substantial Hellenization and paganization the church underwent during the second, third, and fourth centuries.

The wearing of the cross, like the use of sprinkling in baptism, is a post Nicean accretion. This argument has nothing, it should be said, to do with the literary or metaphoric use of the cross in the New Testament as a symbol of the culmination of his mission on earth, in which it played an important if terrible role. No one is claiming that it has no symbolic value to ancient Christians. It certainly did. What the historical record tells us, however, is that its use as a personal symbol of Christian fellowship, and later, as a charm, ward, or amulet somehow channeling divine power (and hence the cross's power over the vampire), is a very late invention and one, indeed, derived not from apostolic teaching or tradition but, as with so many other modifications, from the general Pagan world around the post apostolic church.

It should also be pointed out again, that the fish symbol was used as late as the early 1st century as a Christian symbol, and has been found on some Christians gravestones or tomb inscriptions. Did the Romans not understand that this was a Christian symbol, and would its use in the late 1st century not have drawn the same unwanted attention as if they had used the cross on the same tombs or gravestones?

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Post by Blixa »

So, do you wear crosses in your bling or what? I'm guessin' you're iced out in something like a 14 k gold 8" 24 princess-cut diamond-studded cross pendant on a 30" cuban link...

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Post by Coggins7 »

"This is a figment of someone's fevered bigotry, not a LDS teaching. To the extent that it was ever taught by individuals in the church

(I'm almost 50, and although my parents taught me that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church of The Devil (false doctrine by the way. Any belief system that pulls people, or tends to pull them, away from the true Kingdom of God and his true Gospel, is a part of this "church"), I've never heard this extrapolated to the cross until this thread, which indicates to me, as with some other supposed church "doctrines" I've seen bandied about with morally self righteous ferver, that the idea is most likely a highly provincial folk concept that passed through some elements if the the church, in some regions, in the past, and then disappeared)."

Well I'm your age cohort and I heard this in Sunday School, Primary, MIA and seminary (in Salt Lake City) the entire time I went to church. It was clear to me that crosses and crucifixes were looked on with alarm and oftimes superstitous fear and were in fact tools of Satan because they were associated with the Catholic Church.

This "highly provincial folk concept" was general enough that I've heard the same thing from people I know, of many different ages, who grew up in California, Texas, Minnesota and upstate New York. I believe it must still be somewhat extent because my Utah neices and nephews regard crosses as a "devil thing."

I do agree that the line between "doctrine" and "folk concept" is a highly permeable one in Mormonism. It always struck me that it was more or less a religion by rumor: I remember friends who grew up in other parts of the SL valley who had been taught entirely different, and contradictory, understandings of many points of beleif: speaking in tongues, the existence of ghosts, the use of folk magic, who is and who isn't "black," and so on...



Yeah, uh huh, right. You're on very thin ice here Blixa, very thin. I've been a member all of my life, lived in eight states, spent roughly eight years in San Diego, and virtually all of my relatives are from Utah, Ogden and Cache Valley respectively, and I've never heard any, not one, of the things you are talking about, save that the Catholic Church is the Church of The Devil, in some unique way.

You may, and many have tried, to pull the proverbial wool over my eyes with this kind of thing, but I'm sorry, its a non-starter. The "official doctrines" of the Church is quite clear and settled, and the authorities of the Church have plainly taught the manner in which teachings that are not officially recognized or overtly spelled out as such can be recognized for what they are. The fact that you didn't pay attention to these principles, or had little interest in them in any event, hardly qualifies you as a serious critic. Odd things have and do seep into the Church at the periphery, it is true, and on subjects of little relevance to our salvation (such as evolution, for example), but the fundamental teachings are well understood and easily accessible to all, unless one has not paid attention and given serious thought to them, and lived them.

The Church has no doctrines at all upon the subject of the existence of "ghosts", folk magic, or who is or is not black.

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Post by Blixa »

I'm on "thin ice"? huh? Isn't that rather threatening language for what, even by your own logic is a minor argument, if one at all?

So my experiences were different than yours. That's not hard to believe within a church in which there has often been such variance in interpretations: variance over the space of years, or even a few city blocks. I don't find it hard to think that some missionary could be naïve enough to have had "the willies" about seeing a cross. It makes sense given what I observed. That you never encountered the same ideas or beliefs makes sense to me, but NOT TO YOU. Apparently, if anyone experienced anything else they are lying or "not paying attention." That's really, well, quite an over reaction.

Perhaps my Primary teachers, et. al, were not paying attention, perhaps my Bishop wasn't, who knows... I am only reporting on my observations, and not posturing as some kind of "serious" "critic" here.

But frankly, I would state in all serious that odd ideas are not at the periphery, but rather the heart of Mormonism. I thought that was the point, after all: that Joseph Smith brought such correction after the apostacy that true doctrine would be deemed "odd" by "church of satan" standards. Peculiar people. A higher form of knowledge. A reworking of Christianity by way of the Kabbalah. This is what makes it of interest to unbelievers like Harold Bloom---it is a literal Space Oddity.

Richard Dawkins

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lu

Richard Dawkins

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Edited by myself. One of my Finches is still here...waiting.

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Coggins7
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Post by Coggins7 »

Bye Blixa...enjoy your time in low orbit.

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Post by Mephitus »

Ignore cog, he likes to think he has full experience in what everyone goes through in Mormon corp. I also was taught from a young age to show disdain for the cross. Or even what could be described as fear towards its use. It was a sumbol of death and an almost worship of the death of Jesus.

When you get right down to it, it is a symbol of a tool of death, but most people just use it as a representation of the mythos of Jesus. I say let peopel use whatever symbology they want to.
One nice thing is, ze game of love is never called on account of darkness - Pepe Le Pew

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Post by Blixa »

Ha! I'm not disturbed by that juvenile "burn," sono hito, but I am rather taken aback by the line of argument---if your experience varied than you're lying or knowingly trying to get away with something ("pulling wool").

I think one of the most interesting characteristics of Mormonism is its history of variance, at center, at periphery, throughout its scripture and history. And there are several ways to approach/explain that: some which use it criticize and dismiss the church, others which use it to justify and legitimate the church.

And then there's the strategy of just plain denying that anything at anytime has been confusing or unexplained or even altered. That's the tack I find intellectually unsupportable, although I've certainly encountered it plenty o' times in my life.

And I actually found the discussion of when the cross was adopted rather interesting, though it still begs the question of why no crosses for Mormons. Or am I wrong? In that case Mr. Coggins should be rockin' a Jesus rope, or at least have no problem with the possibility...

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Post by Mephitus »

The history of christian symbolism has never really interested me. Though it would be interesting if someone could post what they know about the historical of use of the cross within Mormonism. Where the protocol began or started its roots. I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar to the WoW efforts.
One nice thing is, ze game of love is never called on account of darkness - Pepe Le Pew

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Post by Blixa »

Well I have to say the history of christain symbolism doesn't interest me all that much either in the greater scheme of things.

Tracing the use/non use of the cross and other symbols within Mormonism would be an interesting study, though. There may be several or more symbols not in current usage that were orignally felt to be central or important. The vagaries of the honey bee/beehive could be a fascinating book in itself (I've always wondered about the exclusion of the "stinging out of the hive" phrase from later versions of the Articles of Faith, for example).

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Post by Mephitus »

The beehive is an easy one. It stems from Joseph Smith's joining the freemasons. Its one of their symbols of industrialness/hard work.
One nice thing is, ze game of love is never called on account of darkness - Pepe Le Pew

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Post by Blixa »

Oh, I know that. What I meant was it would be interesting to gather many pictorial and textual instances and follow any developments and changes in its usage. It may be that there is nothing much more than the masonic borrowing, or its history may reveal some reversals and additions that are not commonly known. I'm thinking of the phrasing found in some versions of the 13th article of faith, for example:

"But an idle or lazy person cannot be a Christian, neither have salvation. He is a drone, and destined to be stung to death and tumbled out of the hive."

I read this first in Burton's, City of the Saints and later in Gunnison's, [i]The Mormons,or Latter-day Saints, in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. I've read a few bits on the development of the articles of faith, but none which address this specific form of the beehive trope.

Anyway, it was just a stray thought---something which would be interesting to read, but something I don't have the time or drive to research and write myself...[/i]

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Post by Mercury »

richardMdBorn wrote:
moksha wrote:If we did do a Stations of the Cross, I wonder if the first scene would be set in a primeval Independence County, Missouri?
This reminds me of a joke. God appears to the Pope. He tells him that he's got good news and bad news. The Pope asks what the good news is. "Jesus is coming back tomorrow." The Pope asks what the bad news is. "He's coming back to Missouri."


I thought of that joke the other day. The unfunny thing about it is that Mormons ACTUALLY believe it.

It stands in Mormon culture as a sign of marginalization and is a send up to Mormons on how important they think they are. It also shows the animosity the church has for Catholicism.
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Post by Mercury »

Sono_hito wrote:The history of christian symbolism has never really interested me. Though it would be interesting if someone could post what they know about the historical of use of the cross within Mormonism. Where the protocol began or started its roots. I wouldn't be surprised if it was similar to the WoW efforts.


My WoW efforts have been exciting. I have a 21 night elf ranger, 34 human mage, 12 gnome rogue and a 32 Taurin Druid
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Post by Mercury »

Mike Reed wrote:
Coggins7 wrote:
You got the willies from a cross hanging on a wall? You believed it was an instrument of Satan? Let's see, you couldn't have gotten that idea from anything taught in the Church, so...from whence was it derived?

The Catholic Church was identified as the church of the devil, great abominable, and mother harlots, by more than a few LDS authorities. And MANY more identified the symbol of the cross as a "Catholic" symbol. It followed from these premises quite naturally that the symbol of the cross therefore was a symbol of the devil. And in addition to this, it became no stretch for Bruce R. McConkie to identify the sign of the cross as the Mark of the Beast.


He knows that, and deep down im sure coggy realizes that he throws out red herrings like a chinese fish market.
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Post by Blixa »

heh...your WoW efforts...

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Post by Mike Reed »

Coggins7: And the Roman Catholic Church, in a spiritual sense, should indeed be identified as a major aspect of the great and abominable church of Satan as a system of religion. So is all of Protestantism, every other apostate or unauthorized system of religious belief, and any organization or whatever kind, whether political, religious, or philosophical (following McConkie and others here) that tend to take human beings away from the truth regarding God, the purpose of existence, and the true means of salvation.


All organizations that are not the LDS Church. Got it. ;)

But Christ said he brings not peace but a sword, and that he came to divide son against father and daughter agaist mother (Matt 10:34), and in a nutshell, members of families and communities against each other.


Yes... and Deuteronomy 13:6-9 states that if your son preaches a different god to you, you are to kill him. Not only are you to turn your child over to be killed... but your hand is to be the first blow of death against him. The Bible can be selectively quoted to promote both peace and conflict. Forgive me if I don't see your archaic text as a measuring stick for morality in the 21st century.

Or rather, this is the inevitable consequence of the truth being made known. As C.S. Lewis named two of his books, The Great Divorce and The Great Controversy, the truth creates division and strife sense some accept it and some do not. Those that will not accept it on many occasions become visceral and aggressive persecuters of those who do, and hence, as we see here in this thread, the "great divorce".


The irony is that the LDS authorities seem to have been the aggressors during their season of anti-Catholicism.

The insistent claim that the church somehow 'attacks" other's religion is disingenuous at the very best.


Disingenuous? Ahh... now you attack me. Strange. Did Jesus teach you that too?

There is no "anti" movement in the Church, as we see within Evangelical Protestantism, no LDS ministries dedicated to impugning and defaming the religious beliefs of others, and we do not call other's religions emotionally loaded names such as "cult" and "morg" and "other such.


Where have you been? Perhaps this may be the tone of the Church over the last decade or two, but it doesn't reflect the Church's tone throughout history. The pendulum has swung between the two extremes of assimilation and retrenchment. The Church is now on the up swing towards assimilation, and because of that, dogmatic claims are softened and pronounced less frequently.

Early 1916 was also a time of assimilation for the Church... secularism was seeping in (increasing skepticism and undermining dogmatism), the Church had abandoned polygamy, Reed Smoot had entered office (showing to the world that to be a Mormon is to be an American), World War I made doctrinal fights seem less important, apocalyptic expectation was on the rise, and the Prohibition became a rally cry for interfaith efforts to band together. With these conditions and general mindset in the Church, it is understandable that the Church had petitioned the Salt Lake City Council to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak (in hopes to make the claim, "You see?... We are Christians too!").

In regards to relations with the Catholic Church, the mid-20th century quickly snow-balled tension to the point that Church authorities believed they were involved in theological warfare. Read Prince and Wright's David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism pp 112-123 and you will have a brief introduction to the conflict that I am informing you about. You will read McKay's exclamation, "O what a Godless farce that organization is," and his distinction of the Catholic Church as being one of "two great anti-Christs in the world" (the 2nd being Communism). Or about J. Rueben Clark Jr's (acting president, due to George Albert Smith's health problems) KSL weekly polemic tirade, and Mark E. Peterson's paranoia that "a powerful church is mustering all possible strength from all over America for an intensified and concentrated attack on us." And then there's Bruce R. McConkie's Mormon Doctrine entry under Roman Catholicism. Need I say any more?

We disagree and dissent from many of the doctrines of sectarian Christianity, and of course must, as it is the mandate of the Lord upon us to teach the Gospel and warn our neighbors before the "end cometh", but we do not attack, impugn, and defame others or their beliefs as ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons do here and for which many EVs has become a full time profession and intellectual tradition.


<chuckle> Mormons have always walked the high road. Never Mind what McKay, Mark E. Peterson, J. Ruben Clark, Orson Pratt, or Bruce R. McConkie has said. Never mind Apostle Hyrum Smith's conference remarks, "The Catholic church is a national liability in any country where it has a strong foothold. It wields great power for evil over the minds and hearts of men under its sway. It brings its thousands to the confessional, but it brings but few if any to repentance and the forsaking of sin. The Power wielded by the Catholic church does not promote civilization or advancement, either morally or spiritually. It blinds its adherents in a thralldom of superstition, of spiritual slavery and fear. The nations and people governed and controlled by the Catholic church are the least advanced of any of the nations of the world." (October 1916)--Given the church's assimilative efforts of the time, these remarks were a particular surprise to the Catholics and Protestant population.

As an aside, there has never been a doctrine in the Church, in any form, that the cross is a symbol of the Devil.


I am assuming that by "doctrine" you mean "teaching based on revelation." If this is what you mean, I would entirely agree. But then again... as a non-believer, this conclusion comes quite naturally... as all teachings (from my view) are not based on revelation. You do know, however, that the Church continues to promote the idea that the cross symbol is contrary to Mormonism... don't you? Do you believe this to be doctrine?

This is a figment of someone's fevered bigotry, not a LDS teaching. To the extent that it was ever taught by individuals in the church (I'm almost 50, and although my parents taught me that the Roman Catholic Church was the Church of The Devil (false doctrine by the way. Any belief system that pulls people, or tends to pull them, away from the true Kingdom of God and his true Gospel, is a part of this "church"), I've never heard this extrapolated to the cross until this thread, which indicates to me, as with some other supposed church "doctrines" I've seen bandied about with morally self righteous ferver, that the idea is most likely a highly provincial folk concept that passed through some elements if the the church, in some regions, in the past, and then disappeared).


But the folk concept hasn't disappeared entirely, if the cross taboo still remains. Seems to me that the Church still has some more pruning to do. Do you agree?





This entire argument has one very serious weakness, and that is that is assumes Christians must have wanted to wear crosses, use them in artwork and sculpture, and depict it upon gravestones and tombs, but couldn't because of persecution and a need to be inconspicuous as to worship and open display of religious belief.


Nope. Another factor exists: Christians had reservations about depicting sacred images, for fear that they would commit the sin of Idolatry.

If modern Christians did such and such, ancient Christians must have been doing such and such as well (this argument would open up horrendous problems for one making it, however, in other areas).


I never made this argument.

The problem here is a kind of reverse of the "absence of evidence is evidence of absence" argument. In this case, we have an implicit claim that absence of evidence is positive evidence based in a theoretically pertinent mediating circumstance. If it weren't for the persecution of Christians by the Roman empire (a plausible assumption) they would have been wearing crosses and using them iconically just as modern Protestants and Catholics do.


See above.

However, its just as plausible to think that early Christians wouldn't have worn as a symbol the horrendous implement used to crucify their Lord,


I have found no evidence to support this popular LDS assertion. If you have any, please do share. Your reductio absurdem, that the cross symbolizes a mere instrument of torture, is not consistent with their reverence for the manifestation of the cross. Nor is it consistent with early Christian literary imagery.

and this is especially true given the clear implication that the Atonement itself was undergone in the Garden of Gethsemane, an occurrence that would be difficult to symbolize in physical form.


Who says that symbols of the atonement must be all-encompassing? This is a silly assumption for you to make, given the symbolic presence of the NAILS (that crucified Jesus) in the LDS temple ceremony.

Also...
"Clear implication that the atonement itself was undergone in the Garden"? Where???

I agree that it would have been difficult for Christians to come up with a material image to remind them of the Garden of Gethsemane. Literary imagery, on the other hand, wouldn't have been so difficult. Nor would it have been difficult for Christians to look for the manifestation of the Garden of Gethsemane. The absence of such imagery in Early Christian literature, therefore, seems to undermine your rationale.

Futher, its also the case that the use of the cross as physical adornment or as an iconic symbol used in art or as funerary symbolism doesn't show up prior to the great Christian persecutions any more than it shows up during them, and its largely absent from the 3rd century, well after Constantine had put an end to such persecution. Whence the cross then? It begins showing up as an item of personal adornment in the 4th century, and thereafter, it proliferates gradually, in art and other venues. The crucifix appears much later. In other words, the cross as a physical symbol, used iconically and as a personal symbol for individual Christians only becomes prevalent well after the time of the Apostles and well into the eras of substantial Hellenization and paganization the church underwent during the second, third, and fourth centuries.


And your point? You are ignoring the most significant factor that I presented, #3.
The reasons Christians were reluctant to display the cross were:
1) To avoid persecution. They often worshipped inconspicuously.
2) It wasn't an effective missionary tool, being that they were ridiculed over the fact that Jesus died.
3) (and perhaps most significantly) Many Christians believed it a sin to materially depict a religious image.

Do you remember the Iconoclastic actions of Jerome that I cited? Jerome reports that he visited a Christian church, where he saw a veil that had a depiction of Jesus or a disciple on it, and that upon seeing it, he tore it down and replaced it with a plain veil. This occasion shows that even after the Milvian Bridge, there remained disagreement among some Christians over God’s second commandment:

"Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ's church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort--opposed as they are to our religion--shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge." (Jerome's Letter, 51:9)

The wearing of the cross, like the use of sprinkling in baptism, is a post Nicean accretion.


Your assumption that only one mode of baptism existed in Christianity prior to Constantine is naïve. Have you read the Didache?

This argument has nothing, it should be said, to do with the literary or metaphoric use of the cross in the New Testament as a symbol of the culmination of his mission on earth, in which it played an important if terrible role. No one is claiming that it has no symbolic value to ancient Christians. It certainly did. What the historical record tells us, however, is that its use as a personal symbol of Christian fellowship, and later, as a charm, ward, or amulet somehow channeling divine power (and hence the cross's power over the vampire), is a very late invention and one, indeed, derived not from apostolic teaching or tradition but, as with so many other modifications, from the general Pagan world around the post apostolic church.

It should also be pointed out again, that the fish symbol was used as late as the early 1st century as a Christian symbol, and has been found on some Christians gravestones or tomb inscriptions. Did the Romans not understand that this was a Christian symbol, and would its use in the late 1st century not have drawn the same unwanted attention as if they had used the cross on the same tombs or gravestones?


Like the cross, the fish was a symbol embraced by pagans too... but Christians weren't mocked for their teaching that Jesus was a fisher of men, as they were mocked about Jesus dieing a criminal's death (consider the Alexamenos Graffito, for example). And had you done some research on the Christian history of the fish symbol, you would have learned that the fish was in fact used as a kind of CRYPTIC PASSWORD TO AVOID PERSECUTION. So no... the fish wouldn't have "drawn the same unwanted attention."

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