Why Don’t Mormons Wear Crosses?

Mormons are often asked why they don’t wear crosses since they consider themselves Christian. Mormons don’t find it offensive that other Christians use crosses as a symbol, but they choose not to use it as their own symbol. Crosses aren’t found on Mormon church buildings and Mormons do not wear them.

Mormons believe that Jesus Christ died for us. However, what makes His death particularly important is what happened after He died. Nearly everyone who has lived on the earth has died, but Jesus was the first to be resurrected. His resurrection made it possible for all of us to be resurrected.

Mormons know Jesus Christ still lives and so they focus on the Living Christ. It is His continued existence today and His impact on our eternal lives that changes everything. Throughout Mormon chapels and temples, you will see many pictures of Jesus Christ, both in mortality and after His resurrection. Although there are, of course, pictures of Him on the cross, they are largely used by teachers when teaching of the death of Jesus Christ.

“President Hinckley further explained, “On Calvary he was the dying Jesus. From the tomb he emerged the living Christ. … Because our Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of his death as the symbol of our faith. But what shall we use? No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when he said, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments’ (John 14:15)” (pp. 6, 7).

Even though we do not believe in using the cross as a symbol in our Church, we do not criticize others for wearing or using the cross in their religions. We should understand that the cross is significant and sacred to them. In fact, the 11th article of faith says, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

We focus on the great atonement of our Savior, his sacrifice for us that makes eternal life possible. We think of his life and sacrifice every Sunday during the sacrament. Our testimonies become the precious things that we bear, along with our obedience, to show we are true followers of Christ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, The Symbol of Christ, New Era, April 1990).

President Hinckley, who was then the Mormon prophet, followed this comment with an explanation of the importance of the cross in Christian life, because it is, without question, important to our eternal story.

“This was the cross on which he hung and died on Golgotha’s lonely summit. We cannot forget that. We must never forget it, for here our Savior, our Redeemer, the Son of God, gave himself as a vicarious sacrifice for each of us. He who had spoken of everlasting life, he who had raised Lazarus from the grave, now had died as surely as all men before him had died.”

Mormons are taught to study the life of Jesus Christ and to model their own lives on His. The living Christ provides a model and reminds us that God loves us and has eternal plans for us—plans that do not end with death. When we try to comprehend the entire importance of Jesus Christ’s impact on our lives, we cannot focus on any single moment. His work on our behalf began before we were born and will continue on throughout eternity and each of those moments matters to us completely.

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