|Anyone else dissatisfied with this explanation as to why Mormons don't use the Cross as a symbol of our faith:|
True to the Faith, Cross, 45–46
"Because the Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith."
I raise this issue because of one of the criticisms I heard used by some Mormons about Mel Gibson's The Passion: "We all know the Atonement really took place in Gethsemane, so we don't need to focus on all this flogging and crucifixion stuff".
This bothered me for a number of reasons, and I find the explanation given by "True to the Faith" disingenous. This is why:
1. If the Atonement was fulfilled in Gethsemane, why could Jesus only say, "it is finished", whilst on the cross?
2. Go through the LDS hymnbook. The vast majority of sacrament hymns, when referring to the Atonement, do so in the context of the crucifixion. So we do remember his death.
3. The Book of Mormon, surely our best source for the doctrine of the Atonement, often uses crucifixion imagery when speaking of Jesus' sacrifice. Gethsemane is not mentioned once.
4. In the Temple, we twice use a symbol of the crucifixion as a "symbol of our faith".
5. The sacrament bespeaks the crucifixion, and unambigously so in the case of the bread.
I think we don't use the Cross not because of the tidy reason given above, but for a much simpler reason: the Cross is not only a symbol of Jesus' death (which we do commemorate contrary to our claims) but of the Christian Church. Despite our belief in Jesus, we are not members of the Christian historical tradition, for which the Cross is the pre-eminent symbol. For a Christian, the Cross symbolises the love of God, but it has also been the symbol of countless horrors, including anti-Semitism, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Ku Klux Klan etc. These are the horrors of the Apostasy and we rightly disassociate ourselves from them.
So this is our reason for not using the Cross: we want to be seen as different to other Christians. It's a valid reason. We are different. But I think we could be more honest. Also, we should be careful not to despise the Cross, nor disdain those Mormons who choose to wear one as an expression of their love for Jesus.