1. I think a great illustration of this is the rainbow. Originally the sign of a covenant between God and man that he would no longer flood the earth, this symbol is instantly recognizable as the banner for the Gay pride movement. Another example is the pentagram which was an ancient Christian symbol that was morphed into a satanic symbol in the 1840’s by a heretical Catholic deacon. How many other examples can you think of where good symbols have changed to represent evil? Even back in the garden of Eden you can see where Satan uses the symbol of the serpent which can be argued as another symbol of Christ, i.e: Moses and the brazen serpent, etc. My perspective is that Satan does not have any symbols, except those he has stolen from the Lord. All symbols belong to the Lord and have a righteous place. Satan is nothing but a great imitator.

    As members of the church we believe that there are many people who are worshiping the Lord in ways that are incorrect and may even be an abomination to him (self-mutilation and such). Yet we also believe that he looks upon the heart and will judge us according to our righteous desires. So we are not so quick to judge our brethren and proclaim damnation where we see fit, we leave that up to the one, true Judge. I don’t believe that anyone will find salvation or damnation by ‘accident’.

  2. The swastika was a religious symbol in numerous cultures across the world long before the Nazis adopted it. It is still widely used in India (swastika comes from a Sanskrit word) but is now eschewed throughout the Western world. Symbols change in meaning over time. Words, which are symbols, change in meaning over time as well. That’s why criticizing the Church for using these symbols really is grasping at straws at best.

    As Steve said, Satan inspires people to take holy symbols and turn them into symbols of evil.

  3. Jared had a really good point with the swastika. The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. So it originally meant “To be good” and was a token of life and good luck! That symbol is instantly recognizable as something of pure evil, probably even more so than the pentagram! Sad when you consider the swastika symbol is thousands of years old and may even predate the Egyptian ankh!

    Understanding this perspective really supports Jared’s comment about how attacking the church because of our symbols is truly ‘grasping at straws’. When you understand that Joseph Smith was a ‘restorer’ I think we can appreciate how symbols that have been profaned through time by wicked men have been given their true meaning and perspective back.

  4. Taylor

    A few years back when we were living in Japan, a friend came to visit from the US and we all went to Kyoto together to see the gorgeous old temples there. The first time we showed her the local map of the area she about came unglued upon seeing all of the little “Nazi offices” all over the map.

    (Even in modern Japan, the swastika is still used quite regularly to indicate the location of a Buddhist temple on a map.)

  5. This is common among people who automatically assume the worst when someone fails to agree with them. The classic example is someone telling me that I’m not Christian. In my conversations with co-workers, they often attempt to tell me what I believe. It is absurd to argue with me that I really do not believe what I think I believe. Obviously all religions should be free to define themselves rather than being defined by their antagonists, whether it be on basic beliefs or symbolic structure.

    Thanks for the link.

  6. I like the comparison with language differences. “Language of symbols” is an usual and common and wide known phrase, and the Google finds more than 100 thousands instances of it easily. And any language in itself is expressed in writing by sets of different symbols we call letters or hieroglyphs. Short example:

    Letter (symbol) “A” will be heard as [a] in Russian and as [ei] in English. Symbol “P” means sound “R” in Russian and “P” in English. Same symbol can have either different phonation or meaning in different languages. And if somebody would tell me, that my use of symbol “P” as “R” (as in my native Ukrainian) is deadly wrong and devilish, I would rather don’t believe him/her.

    Interesting, that an absence of similar symbols (so familiar to us all) in old Egyptian or in modern Chinese doesn’t mean those people cannot speak at all. Right? 🙂

  7. Nicolas Anguiano

    I love this kind of sites where most of the posts don’t get old, because they are about truths.

    I’m more than 2 years late for commenting on this post, but I just happen to have found this site quite recently, so anyways….

    The best and sweetest example I’ve seen of how symbols change depending on how you look at them was when my little sister showed my dad the middle finger (like ..l.. ) Ans said “look daddy, a temple =D!”, and then she did it with her other hand and said “now, two temples =D!”…

    There, she taught me that symbols are essentially free of meaning. For some people showing the middle finger is a perfect way of coursing (most commonly used while driving), but for my LDS little sister its a symbol of our most sacred buildings. Just beautiful.

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