A friend sent me an article recently about Michael Reed’s research into the role of the cross historically in Latter-day Saint life. I actually heard Mr. Reed present this at a seminar a couple of years ago. The current attitude toward the cross can be seen in one of my former neighbors. When my family hosted a kid’s Bible club in our yard a few years ago, a very active LDS couple on our street down allowed their children to attend, but they told us that the kids would not be allowed to do the first day’s craft project, which involved making a leather cross necklace. While this response to the cross seems very common today, Reed’s study shows that Latter-day Saints have not always been so negative toward the cross.
Here’s the article: http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_12256269
I think this topic is an interesting illustration of how the values of a people group can change in one direction or another over time, and how even religious values must be understood against the backdrop of the larger cultural setting (in this case the attitude of prominent church leaders toward Catholicism). It’s a reminder to people in ministry that we can’t assume that past beliefs of people we are trying to share God’s good news with always continue to be held in the present, nor that our response to those beliefs should always be the same as it was in the past.