Mormons and Evangelicals, Can we rally around the Cross?

Recently I bought a couple of cool Ethiopian Orthodox cross in a flea market in Helsinki. I started wearing it. I have been reading the New Testament with my two daughters (8 years and 10 years) and I recently read The Last Temptation of Christ and the cross has been sort of a symbol for my renewed interest in what it means for me to be a Christian, so I have been wearing it nearly all the time for the last couple of weeks.

My wife questioned whether it was appropriate for me to wear it or use it as a symbol considering the prevailing Mormon position on the cross, i.e. we don’t use it as a symbol of Christ at all. I did some cursory research and found the standard justifications for not using the cross (i.e. that its a symbol of the torture and death of Christ by romans rather than the atonement and resurrection and that it is not an original primitive Christian symbol) but I could not find the origin of the tradition. I checked the handbook of instructions for priesthood leaders and found no reference to the cross. I am pretty sure that a prohibition against crosses is not in the Scriptures so it makes me wonder whether the prohibition might be hurtful to the cause.

So I have a bunch of questions.

For Evangelicals: What would your reaction be to Mormons using the cross as a symbol, would it make you all more likely to sympathize with Mormons as followers of Christ? (or would it be seen as more craftiness to dupe people into believing we are really Christians.)

For Mormons: is there any harm in allowing or even embracing the use of the cross? Is it “selling out” to gain acceptance from more worldly (less inspired) churches? Is a feeling of stronger brotherhood with other believers in Christ a good thing or a hindrance to the work of the restoration and the “gathering of the elect.”? Is there anything really doctrinally unacceptable with the cross, if so, where is the revelation that tells us this?

I am not sure of my own view yet so it would be interesting to hear from all who have anything to say.

(Forgive me if this was discussed previously I could not find any previous post on this with a search of the blog, but I might have missed it)

Why Am I The Only Evangelical Here?

Off-site, Kullervo pointed out to me that I’m the only regular Evangelical that comments on this blog. There ARE other Evangelicals here, (Gene, Poem, Kullervo(kindof) & Katy(kindof), and some others), but they are all post-Mormons. I’m the only Evangelical here who has never been a Mormon.

Occasionally I hear from LDS that they don’t understand why Evangelicals hate Mormonism so much by putting together such a HUGE concerted effort against it. Evangelicals fund giant anti-Mormon campaigns and do whatever they can to harass Mormons. It makes me chuckle because it’s simply not true.

For the most part, Mormonism is barely on the radar of most Evangelicals. They know it exist and that there’s something wrong with it, but that’s about it. They think the same things most of America thinks about Mormonism: “are they still polygamist?”, “what’s with the weird, cultic underwear?” “Utah, right?” Evangelicals know very little about Mormonism, their care and concern about it matches their knowledge. When people find out I know a thing or two about Mormonism, I get tons of questions because the LDS church is mostly a mystery to them.

There are some Evangelicals who are quite involved in anti-Mormonism (some would say I’m one of them). There are some Evangelicals that fund anti-Mormon campaigns (some of them well funded). But it is not something Evangelicals across the board are involved in with either time or money. The Barna Group estimated that there are perhaps 32.5 million Evangelicals in America. I would estimate that there are probably only about 10,000 Evangelicals (no evidence to support this number other than my experience) outside of Utah actively involved in anti-Mormonism in any form (this blog included). I have no idea what Evangelical culture is like inside of Utah, but I’m guessing that the overwhelming majority are doing their best to “make-nice” with Mormonism.




It may surprise many LDS but I have a great distaste for General Conference protesters. I think what they do is despicable. They show no respect for LDS members and they show know respect for Christ who they claim to be representing. Holding a sign and shouting is THE LOWEST form of dialouge. It speaks poorly of those who do it no matter what their message. It does little to move any conversation forward. There are anonymous readers of this blog who I know spend considerable time participating in these sorts of activities. I think they are wrong to do so. There is little fruit than can be born out of this sort of thing. If you really want to save Mormons, do the real work of getting to know some of them on a personal level. This is just a cheap shortcut. My guess is that many of these individuals don’t bother to develop relationships with other people is because they have ZERO relational skills (as demonstrated by their actions).

There are three reasons I dislike these actions.
1) They misrepresent Christians and classical-Christianity to Mormons. Christianity is offense enough on its own. We don’t need to be mocking and degrading that which other people find sacred. The base motivation of holding signs and yelling at Mormons passing by is basically an attempt to ruin there day and their event. I doubt those who participate have ever been motivated by anyone acting in the same manner to them.
2) It reinforces to Mormons that they are a persecuted people. If they are persecuted, that means that they must be right concerning all of their doctrines and practices. It also communicates to Mormons that this is what they can expect from all other non-Mormon Christians.
3) It’s an expression of mistaking the beast for the dragon. If you really think that the Mormon church is the tool of Satan, you need to keep in mind that Mormons are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy. Mormons are the deceived and lost. Why would you heap insults on the lost? Is your own righteousness and orthodoxy so weak that you need to have yourself compared to someone else?

The only group that angers me more is the church that runs They are disgusting. God hates sin, not sinners.

Joseph Smith Ordered the Destruction of the Garments

Tidejwe is a faithful member of the LDS church. He wrote an interesting blog on a time in LDS history in which Joseph Smith ordered the church members to stop wearing their garments and to destroy them. I had never heard this story before and thought it was really interesting. You should check it out. Some of the lessons he pulls out of this incident are pretty humorous.