Why is the Cross the Symbol of Christianity?

I love the symbol of the Cross!! But this isn’t how I have always felt. When I was Mormon I was often asked why we didn’t wear crosses or have crosses on our buildings. I always responded with what I had been taught: “We don’t focus on Christ’s death but on His life and the fact that he is still living.” In reality I was repulsed by crosses on churches or whenever I saw someone wearing a cross as jewelry. Now that I understand the true meaning of Christ’s Cross I am continually drawn back to its message—like a moth to a flame!

But what is the meaning of the Cross? Its message is seen as “foolishness” to many Latter-day Saints. Indeed, it is what divides Mormonism from Christianity! Today I share with you why the Cross is the symbol of my faith and pray that you will also make it yours.

My most treasured possession was won at the Cross—the forgiveness of all my sins! My entire debt of sin was canceled and taken away from me, in fact—my IOU’s were actually nailed to Christ’s Cross! (Colossians 2:13-15) When I first heard and understood this message of forgiveness, I gave my life to Jesus. As a Mormon I had been taught that even though Christ paid the debt for my sins, the debt hadn’t been canceled but merely re-financed. In fact, I still owed my debt to Jesus. For years I had tried to wash my own sins away by meeting the LDS requirements of repentance—and had failed miserably. Today, I cherish the meaning of the Cross because it boldly testifies that “where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin” (Hebrews 10:17-18).

Not only were my sins forgiven at the Cross, it was there that I was “perfected forever” through the offering of Christ’s body (Hebrews 10:10-14). This is amazing because I certainly didn’t deserve to be credited with righteousness. But through His death on the Cross, Christ reconciled me to God, presenting me “holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21-22).

How can these things possibly be true? Only through what my Savior accomplished! Even though Jesus was equal to God, He became a servant; He “humbled himself and became obedient” by dying on the Cross (Philippians 2:5-11). “For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame.” (Hebrews 12:2) Notice here that He despised the shame. Have you ever felt shame? Shame is a horrible feeling that I know all too well! I have felt much shame over the years for the sins that I committed. But I deserved my shame. The Holy Son of God never once sinned and yet He took upon Himself every sin ever committed. I can’t even begin to imagine the magnitude of shame that our Holy Savior felt when He did this at the Cross!

Taking upon Himself every sin meant that it was like Jesus Himself had actually committed these sins! This was His role as our Substitute, and it had to be done at the cross to save us. Forgiveness can only be granted through the shedding of one’s life-blood. And the Cross was the altar where Christ shed His. This is why Christians use the symbol of Christ’s death–the Cross, as the symbol of their faith.

Without the Cross, I was cursed to spend eternity in Hell with Satan. The Apostle Paul told the Galatians: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Because I could not do what was required, Christ came to do it for me. His very purpose for coming to earth was to be my substitute; and yours!! You were cursed because of your sins but Christ took your curse upon Himself. He actually became a curse!! Both for you and for me! As the final sacrifice “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree”. Notice that His substitution happened at the cross! It was at the Cross that every sin ever committed was paid for and forgiven! Now, “where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin”!!!!

The LDS church shuns the Cross, because it claims to focus on Christ’s life instead. In reality, Mormon prophets reject the message of the Cross because it’s foolishness to them!!! “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.”

As I mentioned, I am continually drawn back to the message of the cross—like a moth to a flame. Whenever I feel guilt over the sin that so easily entangles me—I run to the Cross! It is at the Cross that I can leave my guilt and be reminded that my sin has already been forgiven. Then immediately, I turn in gratitude and thankfulness to my Savior who died on that Cross—for me!!!

The cross is the center of our lives

The cross is the center of our lives

When I got married a few years ago my last name became “Detro”. One day I realized that the “T” in the center of Detro could be made into the symbol of the Cross. My husband and I love the symbolism that this created. Christ’s Cross is the symbol of our faith—the very center of our lives and our marriage! My husband surprised me one year with this beautiful anniversary gift that sits by our front door.

Click here for additional LDS and Bible references:

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Are You One Hundred Percent?

I was reading an article at MormonTimes.com about a talk given by the Young Women’s General President, Elaine Dalton. She issued a “challenge” to Young Women to study the Book of Mormon at least five minutes a day, say morning and nightly prayers and to smile. The article states:
“Elaine Dalton hopes she soon has young women approaching her with two thumbs up. That signifies they are ‘One-hundred Percent’ — one hundred percent in daily prayer, scripture study and what she says may be the most challenging, smiling”.

Two phrases in this article jump out at me. They are “challenge” and “One-hundred Percent”. They bring to mind one of my favorite scenes in the life of Jesus. It is the story about Simon the self righteous Pharisee and the woman who loved Jesus so much she washed His feet with her hair and tears (Luke 7:41). As a Pharisee Simon daily challenged himself to follow the teachings of his Church one hundred percent.

But Jesus used the example of the sinful woman to teach Simon a beautiful message: Someone who is forgiven much—-will love much! This Young Woman did not need to be challenged, because her focus was not on one hundred percent obedience; but rather on her one hundred percent forgiveness. Even through her tears you can see her smiling. Her tears were not ones of pain, guilt or stress; but tears of joy, thanksgiving and devoted love!

As a Mormon I was familiar with the concept of being challenged. I felt guilty reading Jesus’ words: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37). I desperately wanted to be worthy but I knew in my heart that I loved my children and husband more than I loved Jesus. Since I didn’t know how to love Jesus more, I challenged myself to worthiness by trying to keep the commandments. And the greatest challenge was putting on a smile over my pain.

It was 1994 when I learned what Jesus tried to teach Simon. That was when I heard the truth that one hundred percent of my sins were forgiven! Like a giddy young schoolgirl I fell in love with the man who took away all my guilt! The love of my life became my Savior Jesus! That was over 14 years ago and I still love Him more than life itself, more than my husband and my children. My love for Jesus transformed me from a person who needed to be challenged to follow God’s commands—to a person who is compelled to follow them by love. Now, I would be challenged to hide my smile!

Elaine Dalton issued the challenge to be “One Hundred Percent”. She said “Can you imagine the implications that this has, if a young woman is 100 percent for 10 years, for 15 years?”

I imagine that the Young Women will dutifully say their prayers every morning and night. They will read the Book of Mormon, checking the clock to see when they have accomplished their goal. But without the knowledge that they have been one hundred percent forgiven, will they be any closer to loving Jesus? Will they be any closer to being compelled by such love?

The desire of my heart is that every Mormon hears they are “One Hundred Percent” forgiven! Can you imagine the implications if every Mormon knew this? They wouldn’t need to be “challenged” to pray and read scripture! Since Jesus would be their very best friend they would willingly pray to Him and their Father in Heaven whenever they could. They would willingly read the Bible—God’s love letters, and pour over its pages for comfort and guidance. And, they certainly would not have to be “challenged” to smile. The joy that comes from knowing you are “One Hundred Percent” forgiven, brings a sincere smile that lasts through eternity!

Click on this link to listen to a short video clip of an ex-Mormon Young Woman who discovered the joy of obedience through love:

Standing Before God on Judgment Day

Today I was listening to a favorite song which stirred up some strong emotions regarding Judgment Day. It is a beautiful reminder of the before and after picture of my life. “Before” I knew I had been forgiven and “after” I received this forgiveness through faith.

Most of my life I dreaded Judgment Day. I believed there would be this huge movie screen which played scenes from each person’s life. It terrified me that every thought, emotion and action from my entire life would be displayed for all to see. I envisioned standing before God as Jesus called my name. As I stood before Him, Jesus would begin Judging my works as they were displayed on the screen. I knew that my eternal destination hung in the balance of my worthiness. I always imagined that Jesus would frown, shake His head and turn His back on me.

The following words from the song remind me of these years as a Mormon:
“I was dreaming about Heaven
Dreamed I was standing at the pearly gates
We were all there and I was so scared
Standing in the presence of One so great.
I felt so very unworthy I felt like running away.
I bowed my head and I turned to go.”

Year after year I felt impending doom whenever I thought of Judgment Day. I was tormented and racked with guilt and shame because I knew I was not worthy to spend eternity in Heavenly Father’s presence. What’s amazing is that these emotions are what finally forced me to seek a Savior. As soon as I sought Him I found He had been seeking me! The Holy Spirit brought me to faith! He bore witness to me that Jesus came to earth to bestow forgiveness on sinners just like me! Thus began my “after” years. On Judgment Day I will have no sins to be judged because all of my sins have been forgiven!

The ending words of the song so beautifully describe the “after” picture of my life:
“Dreamed I was standing at the pearly gates
When I heard someone say
“Father this one’s with me, part of the family.
One of the reasons I died on Calvary.
Father welcome him in, I paid the price for Him.
Father, oh Father this one’s with me.
When I looked up the gates were open wide
And in the distance I saw Jesus
Our eyes met and I began to cry”

Every time I hear this song I get teary—it is a powerful reminder of what Jesus did for me! Now, I can’t wait for Judgment Day because on that Day I get to run to Jesus and put my arms around Him in thankfulness! Do you know that Jesus did this for you too? Jesus died for every person who has ever lived. You are “one of the reasons” Jesus died on Calvary. He paid the entire price for you. The work of your forgiveness was completed over two thousand years ago. You have been forgiven for every sin you will ever commit! If you believe this, on Judgment Day you will hear Jesus say “this ones with me”!

But if you trust in false leaders who testify that the work of your forgiveness is not complete; that it hangs in the balance of your own works—you reject what Jesus did for you! On Judgment Day Jesus will say “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:23). Anyone who points to their own works as a reason they should be allowed to dwell with God will be sent to live eternally with Satan.

General Conference: To the Women of the Church from the Prophet

The Blessing of Pain

Everyone has felt pain. Pain is often a warning of something wrong and in this way can be a blessing. I have experienced both physical and emotional pain in my life. Once I had a pain in my side that finally got bad enough I went to see a Doctor. He detected and removed a cancerous kidney tumor. I had a similar situation a few years later when headaches led Doctors to find and remove a brain tumor. While this physical pain was not fun, its warning saved my life – twice. I could have chosen to ignore my pain, but I didn’t. If I had, I would have forfeited my life.

The same can often be said of emotional pain. As a Mormon I suffered the pain of failing to gain forgiveness through the process of repentance. I failed because I just couldn’t keep all of Heavenly Father’s commands all the time. When I repeated a sin, like gossiping or not forgiving someone, I lost what precious forgiveness I had already earned. The anguish from this pain was a warning which led me to seek help in finding a cure.

Are you a woman in pain who struggles with depression or anxiety? Were you sexually abused as a child and don’t know how to overcome the emotional trauma? Is your spouse addicted to pornography? Are your burdens heavy because you have been abandoned by your husband or have been widowed? Have you been left alone to raise your children? Do you often cry in your closet but wish you had someone to simply listen to you? Do you pretend you are fine but put a smile on your face whenever you are in front of others?

Put on a smile before others

Put on a smile before others

A few years ago in General Conference President Hinckley had a message for such hurting women: Now I speak to you single mothers whose burdens are so heavy because you have been abandoned or have been widowed. Yours is a terrible load. Bear it well. Seek the blessings of the Lord. Be grateful for any assistance that may come out of the quorums of the priesthood to help you in your home or with other matters. Pray silently in your closet, and let the tears flow if they must come. But put a smile on your face whenever you are before your children or others.

Hiding your pain is never the answer. If you had a daughter whose spouse died or who abandoned her, would you tell her to pray and cry in her closet but pretend to others that her burden was not heavy? How could anyone reach out to her if she hid her affliction from others? The most daunting aspect of these words is that according to Mormonism they are not merely President Hinckley’s opinion, they are the words of Heavenly Father – His latest revelation.

My pain of failing to earn forgiveness led me to discover Heavenly Father would never say these words! Instead He tells us to “bear one another’s burdens”; words which compels your Christian brothers and sisters to reach out to you in love (Galatians 6:2). God’s Words comfort, heal and speak of unconditional forgiveness. God showed His ultimate love for us by punishing His one and only Son to heal our disease of sin (John 3:16).

Are you in pain and tired of pretending? If so, I pray that pain drives you to seek the Savior who has borne your grief and carried your sorrows (Isaiah 53:4). May it drive you to a Christian Congregation of brothers and sisters who welcome the opportunity to share your burdens. Or, you could choose to hide your pain, alone in your closet. But if you do you may well forfeit your eternal life.

Additional Testimony:
Visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions:
– James 1:27
Give all your burdens to Heavenly Father & Jesus:
– Matthew 11:28
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Philippians 4:6-7
– Psalm 23:4
– Psalm 119:50
Additional LDS Words:

Found in TofPofC-Harold B. Lee, page 84:
“His prophet is upon the earth today, and if you want to know the last revelation that has come to this people, you get down the last conference report and read carefully especially what the First Presidency said. … You will have the best and the last word that has been given from our Heavenly Father.

Found in D&C Gospel Doctrine Teachers Manual, page 244:
“Emphasize that the members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are latter-day prophets, seers, and revelators. They continue to receive revelation to guide the Church. Their direction is “the will of the Lord, … the mind of the Lord, … the word of the Lord, … the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation”.

Link to President Hinckley’s Words:
General Conference, Ensign, November 2003, page 115
President Gordon B. Hinckley, To the Women of the Church