See the original post here. Because I changed from one blog to another, below is the comment I did not want to lose.
First Comment – firstname.lastname@example.org
Contrary to the assumptions of both Mormons and their critics alike, the LDS opposition towards the symbol was a very late development in Mormon history. The aversion started at the grass-roots level around the turn of the 20th century, and became institutionalized in the 1950s by President David O. McKay, on grounds that the cross was a “Catholic” tradition. Prior to this development, many prominent Latter-day Saints (including Church authorities) embraced and promoted the symbol of the cross. In 1916, in fact, the Church had petitioned the Salt Lake City Council to erect a cross monument on Ensign Peak, in honor of the Mormon pioneers and the gospel they brought with them. It was also fairly common for LDS to display the cross in funeral floral arrangements.
As alluded to in McKay’s statement, it turns out that the historical basis for the development of the LDS cross aversion was fundamentally a wave of anti-Catholicism that hit the state of Utah particularly hard at the turn of the 20th (and again in the mid-20th) century. The LDS Church has since done well to rid itself of anti-Catholic folk-doctrines; however, the LDS opposition to the cross still remains.
Michael G. Reed
Michael Reed is a grad student at CSU Sacramento. He received a BA in Humanities/Religious Studies, and is soon graduating with an MA in Liberal Arts. He has written a thesis on “The Development of the LDS Church’s Attitude Toward the Cross” (Spring 2009). The thesis will soon be available via inter-library loan, and on microfilm at CSUS (See a recent Salt Lake Tribune story on the thesis: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_12256269).