Sunday, April 16, 2017

President Gordon B. Hinckley on the miracle of the Savior's Resurrection

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
“Then dawned the first day of the week, the Sabbath of the Lord as we have come to know it. To those who came to the tomb, heavy with sorrow, the attending angel declared, ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead?’ (Luke 24:5).
“‘He is not here: … he is risen, as he said’ (Matt. 28:6).
“Here was the greatest miracle of human history. Earlier He had told them, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life’ (John 11:25). But they had not understood. Now they knew. He had died in misery and pain and loneliness. Now, on the third day, He arose in power and beauty and life, the firstfruits of all who slept, the assurance for men of all ages that ‘as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Cor. 15:22).
“On Calvary He was the dying Jesus. From the tomb He emerged the Living Christ. The cross had been the bitter fruit of Judas’s betrayal, the summary of Peter’s denial. The empty tomb now became the testimony of His divinity, the assurance of eternal life, the answer to Job’s unanswered question: ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ (Job 14:14). …
“And so, 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).
“As His followers, we cannot do a mean or shoddy or ungracious thing without tarnishing His image. Nor can we do a good and gracious and generous act without burnishing more brightly the symbol of Him whose name we have taken upon ourselves. And so our lives must become a meaningful expression, the symbol of our declaration of our testimony of the Living Christ, the Eternal Son of the Living God.”
- Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Symbol of Our Faith,” Ensign, Apr. 2005 4–6
Click here to read the full article

In this message, President Hinckley shared the experience of being asked why the Church of Jesus Christ doesn't use the cross as a symbol like other Christian churches. He explained that while the Savior's voluntary giving up of His life is a crucial part of the Atonement in our theology, the other aspects of His sacrifice and particularly the Resurrection provide so much power and understanding. It was "the greatest miracle of human history."


President Hinckley's main point is that there is no symbol that can adequately represent the depth of our love and appreciation for what took place on the cross and in the tomb. Instead, the best representation is the lives of his followers. Their actions, deeds, and Christlike charity become the symbol of the Living Christ.


1 comment:

  1. The traditional LDS rejection of the symbol of the cross was a rather late development. It emerged around the turn of the 20th Century, and wasn't institutionalized until 1957. Prior to this time, many LDS (including Church authorities) embraced and promoted the symbol. For example, in 1916, the Presiding Bishop of the Church, Charles W. Nibley, petitioned in behalf of the First Presidency to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak, in behalf of the Utah Pioneers, who were quickly dying off. The basis of the no-cross-protocol was anticatholicism. If you are interested in my research on this topic (which originated as my MA thesis), I invite you to see my book, "Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo." If you are in Utah, BYU, USU, and the Church Library have my book. And of course, the book is available on Amazon, sold by FAIR, and other local Utah Bookstores. I believe Confetti and Benchmark bookstores have it... but I'd call to confirm that this is the case. Otherwise, you can listen to one of my many podcast interviews, or read newspaper articles that covered my work from the SL Tribune, Deseret News, Ogden Standard Examiner, and the Herald Journal. There are also blogposts and and Mormon Studies journal reviews about my book. There is also a youtube video available, under my book's title. Best regards, Mike Reed.

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