Difference between revisions of "Mormon Beliefs: Crucifixion"
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Revision as of 20:27, 21 October 2012
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes mistakenly called the "Mormon Church," has basically the same doctrine regarding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as Christian orthodoxy and the Protestant religions. Mormons believe that Christ died for our sins. Having been born of an earthly mother, Mary He had the ability to die, but being God, He had the ability to lay down His life and take it up again. Thus, He became the first-fruits of the resurrection and guaranteed resurrection for both the righteous and the wicked. In dying on the cross, Christ atoned for our sins. According to Mormon belief, if we have faith in Him and repent, we will not have to suffer — He has already paid the price for us.
- “I lay down my life,” the Lord said, “that I might take it again.
- “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:17–18).
Mormon belief holds that Christ's atonement began in the Garden of Gethsemane and ended with His death on the cross. In Gethsemane Christ took upon Him all the sins, sorrows, and torments of all of humanity and suffered the wrath of God for their sins:
- "Before the Crucifixion and afterward, many men have willingly given their lives in selfless acts of heroism. But none faced what Christ endured. Upon Him was the burden of all human transgression, all human guilt. And hanging in the balance was the Atonement. Through His willing act, mercy and justice could be reconciled, eternal law sustained, and that mediation achieved without which mortal man could not be redeemed.
- "He by choice accepted the penalty in behalf of all mankind for the sum total of all wickedness and depravity; for brutality, immorality, perversion, and corruption; for addiction; for the killings and torture and terror—for all of it that ever had been or all that ever would be enacted upon this earth. In so choosing He faced the awesome power of the evil one, who was not confined to flesh nor subject to mortal pain. That was Gethsemane!
- "How the Atonement was wrought we do not know. No mortal watched as evil turned away and hid in shame before the Light of that pure being. All wickedness could not quench that Light. When what was done was done, the ransom had been paid. Both death and hell forsook their claim on all who would repent. Men at last were free. Then every soul who ever lived could choose to touch that Light and be redeemed.
- "By this infinite sacrifice, “through [this] Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel” (Articles of Faith 1:3).
- "While the New Testament tells us that Christ was in agony—His soul being “exceedingly sorrowful unto death” while in Gethsemane (Mark 14:34; see also Luke 22:44), latter-day scripture describes the intensity, depth, and scope of His suffering. For instance, we learn that Christ suffered the “pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children” in order that “the resurrection might pass upon all men” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 9:21–22). We learn He suffered “even more than man can suffer,” even to bleed from every pore as a result of His anguish for the sins of mankind (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:7; see also Doctrine and Covenants 19:18; Luke 22:44). Finally, in one of the most sublime statements regarding Christ’s willing and obedient nature concerning the agonizing Atonement, the Savior revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men (Doctrine and Covenants 19:18–19) see also Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–17; Doctrine and Covenants 18:11). 
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon
Hundreds of years before the Savior’s coming, the children of Lehi (the first Book of Mormon prophet, about 600 B.C.) knew how the Lord would die. This is one way that the Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ. This witness strengthens Mormon belief in the Savior.
- "And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record. And I, Nephi [son of Lehi], saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world. And after he was slain I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together to fight against the apostles of the Lamb; for thus were the twelve called by the angel of the Lord" (1 Nephi 11:32-34).
- "And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel" (1 Nephi 19:10).
- "And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me" (2 Nephi 6:9).
- "But because of priestcrafts (preaching to get gain) and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified" (2 Nephi 10:5).
The Book of Mormon prophets prophesied of great destruction in the Americas upon the crucifixion and death of Christ. These occurred as foretold — tempests and earthquakes, whole cities fallen into the sea or buried in the earth. The more wicked of the people were destroyed, and the resurrected Christ visited and taught the more righteous remnant:
- "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto them saying: Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole dearth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come" (3 Nephi 11:13-15).
Why is There No Crucifix in Mormon Chapels?
Mormons do not use the crucifix in their worship, either in their chapels, meetinghouses, or temples. However, Mormon artists have painted and sculpted the scene. Mormons worship the Living Christ and rejoice in His plan of happiness for us. Like other Christians, the Mormon belief is that His is the only name through which we can be saved. The LDS Church enlists no icons in worship, but the symbolism of the Bible and those used by Christ Himself to teach His children.