LDS view of passion

Hi there

I keep trying to post this thread but can never word it properly. Here’s my third attempt

I attended all the triduum services and since have engaged in a bit of discussion with a very good LDS friend of mine.

We were discussing the events of Good Friday in particular - he said to me that it seemed that Catholics are very much focused on the ‘misery’ and on the death of Jesus. All this was said very sincerely and he certainly wasn’t being flippant or taking the mickey.

So, I told him the reason we have a real focus on Our Lord’s passion is that by His Passion we’re redeemed of our sins. I quoted the beautiful reading from Isaiah ‘By his wounds we are healed’

This is where the discussion got interesting. My friend said that he believed that Jesus atoned for our sins in the garden where he bled from every pore. He said that the crucifixion was a common method of execution in those days and that was all it was. This was why he found it hard to understand why christians use a cross as a symbol of our faith - when it was the implement that caused Jesus’ death.

I found this really interesting but I had some trouble defending the Catholic position. Can anyone provide me with any resources to continue our discussion.

Also would any LDS out there like to comment - is this the teaching of your faith.

Maybe we can also keep it on topic and not have the post removed http://forum.catholic.com/images/smilies/wink.gif

Look forward to hearing your views

Peace,

Vince

If all Jesus had to do was bleed to atone for our sins, then it would have been unjust for the Father to make him have to die such a cruel death.

Also, realize that in Mormon theology, there are some sins that can only be atoned for by the shedding of blood. They see this as the reason why atonement came in the Garden. Incidently, this is also why one of the methods of execution in Utah, to this day, is the firing squad. How much blood is shed in the electric chair?

[quote=Windmill]If all Jesus had to do was bleed to atone for our sins, then it would have been unjust for the Father to make him have to die such a cruel death.

Also, realize that in Mormon theology, there are some sins that can only be atoned for by the shedding of blood. They see this as the reason why atonement came in the Garden. Incidently, this is also why one of the methods of execution in Utah, to this day, is the firing squad. How much blood is shed in the electric chair?
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Paul said he “preached Christ Crucified”, not “Christ bleeding in the Garden of Gethsemone”.

I’m usually not that flippant in my responses, but I think just a cursory reading of Scripture will indicate the value and importance placed on His execution.

[quote=VincentO]Hi there

I keep trying to post this thread but can never word it properly. Here’s my third attempt

I attended all the triduum services and since have engaged in a bit of discussion with a very good LDS friend of mine.

We were discussing the events of Good Friday in particular - he said to me that it seemed that Catholics are very much focused on the ‘misery’ and on the death of Jesus. All this was said very sincerely and he certainly wasn’t being flippant or taking the mickey.

So, I told him the reason we have a real focus on Our Lord’s passion is that by His Passion we’re redeemed of our sins. I quoted the beautiful reading from Isaiah ‘By his wounds we are healed’

This is where the discussion got interesting. My friend said that he believed that Jesus atoned for our sins in the garden where he bled from every pore. He said that the crucifixion was a common method of execution in those days and that was all it was. This was why he found it hard to understand why christians use a cross as a symbol of our faith - when it was the implement that caused Jesus’ death.

I found this really interesting but I had some trouble defending the Catholic position. Can anyone provide me with any resources to continue our discussion.

Also would any LDS out there like to comment - is this the teaching of your faith.

Maybe we can also keep it on topic and not have the post removed http://forum.catholic.com/images/smilies/wink.gif

Look forward to hearing your views

Peace,

Vince
[/quote]

Being crucified was reserved for the worst of the worst, the lowest of the low. It was considered the most ignominious death possible. Using the cross as a symbol has incredible significance because of that. Christ died in the most shameful, disgraceful way possible.

The earliest Christians used this symbol because it showed that Christ brought the greatest possible glory from this most shameful of deaths. The LDS view is simply ignorant of the historical relevance of crucifixion. It was not simply a common execution method. It was far worse. And the fact that Christ brought glory out of that most shameful type of death is, and was absolutely incredible. I believe he chose crucifixion for this exact reason.

Think of it, using as your standard the image of your crucified God, whom you believed was resurrected in glory, showed your absolute belief in the defeat of death. It demonstrated your fearlessness in the face of it. And many of the early Christians proved their fearlessness by the manner in which they faced every possible method of execution.

[quote=Ghosty]Paul said he “preached Christ Crucified”, not “Christ bleeding in the Garden of Gethsemone”.

I’m usually not that flippant in my responses, but I think just a cursory reading of Scripture will indicate the value and importance placed on His execution.
[/quote]

Thanks for the reply. I sometimes find it hard to defend just by saying ‘take a look at the scripture, doesn’t it say this??’ when confronted with someone who seems so much better educated in their faith than I am.

It’s obvious to me from the content of all the accounts of the passion how important it is and I truly feel the inportance of it in my heart.

However, it’s still difficult to get this into words and explain it to someone who sees it differently.

Vince

However, it’s still difficult to get this into words and explain it to someone who sees it differently.

I agree, and the LDS is a particularily tough nut to crack in this regard. If it were up to me, I’d just not even try. The CoLDS twists so much of Scripture, and does so much verbal gymnastics that they might as well be reading a different book. I can tell you from experience that they will not see the truth through reasoned argument, because they fundamentally reject reason when it comes to Scripture.

Nice people, though not much fun at parties, and not espescially deep in their history or reading of Scripture. You’ll have a very tough time working with him on this, though God bless your for trying! You’re a better man than I :slight_smile:

As for discussion resources, it would be helpful to explore some of the things that have been taught on the atonement by mormon leaders. I think it is a mistake for a mormon to say that the atonement only happened with the Agony in Gethsemene. I will provide two quotes to this effect and perhaps you can ask what your friend’s understanding of them is. The first is from Robert Millet, a dean of the religion department at BYU and a veteran of interfaith dialogue. The second from Bruce R. McConkie, an outspoken leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of recent past.

  1. Why are there no crosses in LDS churches? Is it true that the Latter-day Saints do not believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins?

Latter-day Saints believe the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be the central act of all history, just as Christians around the world do. According to LDS teachings, Jesus’ suffering in the garden was not just the awful anticipation of the cross. Instead, the atoning sacrifice was performed in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. That is, the suffering that began in Gethsemane was completed on Golgotha the next day. Thus for LDS people the acceptance of the Atonement is not symbolized by the cross, whether on or in buildings, on religious vestments, or on church literature. In addition, Gordon B. Hinckley, fourteenth president of the Church, observed that “the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ.” He noted further that “the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship.”

Mormon Faith: Understanding Restored Christianity by Robert L. Millet p.168

Where and under what circumstances was the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God made? Was it on the Cross of Calvary or in the Garden of Gethsemane? It is to the Cross of Christ that most Christians look when centering their attention upon the infinite and eternal atonement. And certainly the sacrifice of our Lord was completed when he was lifted up by men; also, that part of his life and suffering is more dramatic and, perhaps, more soul stirring. But in reality the pain and suffering, the triumph and grandeur, of the atonement took place primarily in Gethsemane.

It was there Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world on conditions of repentance. It was there he suffered beyond human power to endure. It was there he sweat great drops of blood from every pore. It was there his anguish was so great he fain would have let the bitter cup pass. It was there he made the final choice to follow the will of the Father. It was there that an angel from heaven came to strengthen him in his greatest trial. Many have been crucified and the torment and pain is extreme. But only one, and he the Man who had God as his Father, has bowed beneath the burden of grief and sorrow that lay upon him in that awful night, that night in which he descended below all things as he prepared himself to rise above them all.

Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, vol. 1 by Bruce R. McConkie p.774

Hope that helps,
fool

As a practicing Mormon for 37 years I have always believed that Christ’s Atoning Sacrifice began in the Garden of Gethsemane and ended on the Cross of Calvary. Many of the hymns we sing each Sunday when we prepare to partake of the Sacrament refer to Christ’s suffering on the cross. I saw the movie “The Passion of the Christ” and it stirred my soul. I can’t speak for all Mormons but this has been my experience.

We were told in our ward not to watch the passion. Unfortunately for my bishop me and my beloved husbie had gone out and watched it before we recieved this injunction. It is my belief that most mormons believe that the atonement began in gethsamane and ended on the cross. They do not like to go over the graphic details and instead like to focus on the triumphant risen Lord. I think it is all important and by glossing over the time on the cross they are missing some of the most poignant chapters of Jesus life. No moment can be more definative of a man than the moments before he leaves this word. Jesus is amazing, he forgives and pleads for the men who are doing this, makes sure his mother will be cared for. And died with scriptures on his lips. I am awe struck and humbled by him. I would not remove these moments from common thought because they are beautiful. I have left the l.d.s. religion and am begining RCIA so already my catholic beliefs may be invadeing :slight_smile:

Vincent, here’s something for you to share with your friend about the Catholic “focus” :wink:

St. Andrew (Bishop) of Crete; ca. A.D. 660-740:

“So great and outstanding a possession is the cross that he who wins it has won a treasure. Rightly could I call this treasure the fairest of all fair things and the costliest. . .

“Had there been no cross, Christ could not have been crucified. Had there been no cross, life itself could not have been nailed to the tree. And if life had not been nailed to it, there would be no streams of immortality pouring from Christ’s side, blood and water for the world’s cleansing. The legal bond of our sin would not be canceled, we should not have obtained our freedom, we should not have enjoyed the fruit of the tree of life and the gates of paradise would not stand open. Had there been no cross, death would not have been trodden underfoot, nor hell despoiled.

“Therefore, the cross is something wonderfully great and honorable. It is great because through the cross the many noble acts of Christ found their consummation – very many indeed, for both his miracles and his sufferings were fully rewarded with victory. The cross is honorable because it is both the sign of God’s suffering and the trophy of his victory. It stands for his suffering because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it also is his trophy because on it he freely suffered unto death. But it also his trophy because it was the means by which the devil was wounded and death conquered; the barred gates of hell were smashed, and the cross became the one common salvation of the whole world.

“The cross is called Christ’s glory; it is saluted as his triumph. We recognize it as the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: ‘Now is the Son of Man, glorified, and in him God is glorified, and God will glorify him at once.’ And again: ‘Father, glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world came to be.’ And once more: ‘Father, glorify your name. Then a voice came from heaven: I have glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Here he speaks of the glory that would accrue to him through the cross. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: ‘When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself.’ Now you can see that the cross is Christ’s glory and triumph.”

Also, this site gives some beautiful considerations by St. Methodius:

catholicfirst.com/thefaith/churchfathers/volume06/methodius11.cfm

[quote=mormon fool]As for discussion resources, it would be helpful to explore some of the things that have been taught on the atonement by mormon leaders. I think it is a mistake for a mormon to say that the atonement only happened with the Agony in Gethsemene.
[/quote]

Thanks for your reply mormonfool.

Your quotes certainly make it clearer but I guess what they do imply is that the cross was only the completion of the atonement, which primarily happened in Gethsemane.

I can understand why you’d see the cross as the final step as Jesus had to die for God’s will to be accomplished but it still seems a little strange to me.

My understanding and belief is that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, overriding all the previous animal sacrifices that were made in the temple for sin. Surely if this is the case (I don’t know if you hold this belief) then it is the case that his death is the most important thing? You can’t have a sacrifice without death.

It also seems to me that the journey Jesus took and the humiliation he endured is another form of his suffering for us. Do you have any views on this?

I will try to raise this with my friend but it will be a while before I see him again and it’s not the sort of discussion I want to have on the telephone!

Thanks for your input,

Vince

[quote=VincentO]Thanks for your reply mormonfool.

{. . .}
My understanding and belief is that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, overriding all the previous animal sacrifices that were made in the temple for sin. Surely if this is the case (I don’t know if you hold this belief) then it is the case that his death is the most important thing? You can’t have a sacrifice without death.

It also seems to me that the journey Jesus took and the humiliation he endured is another form of his suffering for us. Do you have any views on this?

[/quote]

Thanks for inviting me and my fellow LDS to participate.

I like what you say about forms of suffering and I affirm the context in which you bring it up. I think Christ went through a comprehensive range of suffering, all of it necesary to overcome sin and death. I agree that it is Christ’s death and the physical nature of the suffering that is stressed in the Old and New Testaments and animal sacrifices.

Still Gethsemene as the “primary” site of the atonement makes a lot of sense to me. I might characterize Gethsemene suffering as more “spiritual” in nature compared to the “physical” forrms leading up to and on the cross. Let me introduce the modern scripture that is the genesis of the unique mormon thought on the matter. The background is that a man named Martin Harris had just commited a very grevious sin and was suffering a lot of emotional anguish.

15 Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
16 For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
17 But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
18 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—
19 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
20 Wherefore, I command you again to repent, lest I humble you with my almighty power; and that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.

If I understand this revelation right, punishment for sins requires intense and eternal suffering. Mulitply this times every sin ever commited by every person. The scope of the atonement had to cover for everybody’s sins and resultant punishment. So it is both the amount of suffering needed and type of suffering needed that suggest Gethsemene as a significant stage in the atonement.

The Latter-day Saint understanding tends to enhance my appreciation for the Saviour’s sacrifice rather than detract from it. It also provides strong motivation for me to repent!

later,
fool

Just having a brief catch-up here and what sprung into my mind was Jesus saying a man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. (although for some reason I can’t find the actual quote)

He seemed to be talking about his own death.

And as an aside, I was also trying to find the quote about Jesus “bleeding from every pore” in the garden of Gethsemane.

My Bible (New Jerusalem Bible) says this: "In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.’ (Luke 22:44)

The KJ version says this: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground”

I can’t find any reference to Jesus **actually **sweating blood in Gethsemane. Both of these quotes say that it was like he was sweating blood.

Just an observation as to the nature of the suffering - but I did notice your earlier quote from Bruce R McConkie mentioned that Jesus did actually bleed.

It could be that I have missed a further reference to this in scripture as i’ve only looked over the four accounts of the Passion.

Peace,

Vince

Good catch, I almost pointed this in my last post that the mormon belief is actual sweating blood, whereas the Luke account is open to less of a literal reading. Too bad some of those who could have reported the event more fully failed to stay awake!

later,
fool

[quote=mormon fool]I agree that it is Christ’s death and the physical nature of the suffering that is stressed in the Old and New Testaments and animal sacrifices.
[/quote]

And just in case anyone is wondering, I consider most scriptural references to the cross, the atonement, the sacrifice for sin, etc. as inclusive of both events.

I think the death on the cross happened in the public view in dramatic fashion, and was a very visible sign of the Saviour’s ministry. The Agony in Gethsemene, on the other hand, happened behind the scenes. This explains to me, why scriptural treatment is somewhat more limited for the latter.

-fool

I pointed out in another post that our Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley wrote a special message for Easter where he defined the view of the LDS Church. Asked why do you not use the cross as a symbol of your religion. He answered "No member of this Church must ever forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer, who gave His life that all men might live___the agony of Gethsemane, the bitter mockery of His trial, the vicious crown of thorns tearing at His flesh, the blood cry of the mob before Pilate, the lonely burden of His heavy walk along the way to Calvary, the terrifying pain as great nails pierced His hands and feet, the fevered torture of His body as He hung that tragic day, the Son of God crying out, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do”(Luke 23:34)
This was the cross, the instrument of His torture, the terrible device designed to destroy the Man of Peace, the evil recompense for His miraculous work of healing the sick, of causing the blind to see, of raising the dead. 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, a vicarious sacrifice for each of us."
BJ
This is the Easter message to the LDS members from the Prophet of our church. I hope it helps add to clarification of our belief in the Atonement.

[quote=Jodi]We were told in our ward not to watch the passion. Unfortunately for my bishop me and my beloved husbie had gone out and watched it before we recieved this injunction.
[/quote]

I REALLY don’t get this. My LDS friends wouldn’t go see it either. Their reason? Simply that it was a rated R movie, and they weren’t supposed to support movies that glorified violence, etc. I understand the not watching rated R movies, HOWEVER, if there was ONLY ONE rated R movie to see EVER, it would The Passion!!!

I have been hearing for several months that The Passion was either a)coming to theatres in PG-13 or b)coming to video in PG-13. I checked the movie theatres and the stores quite often hoping to find it. Never did, which made my heart sink. I would have LOVED to have found it and been able to give it to them for Easter! Come to find out…it came to select theatres in PG-13 and apparantly was a miserable flop. I sure hope it still comes out on video in PG-13.

[quote=VincentO]You can’t have a sacrifice without death.
[/quote]

You also can’t have the ressurection without the cross. They are inseparable! Without the cross, their is no ressurection!

[quote=VincentO]Just having a brief catch-up here and what sprung into my mind was Jesus saying a man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. (although for some reason I can’t find the actual quote)
[/quote]

JOHN 15:13!

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