Table of Contents
Unlike many other Christian denominations, the Mormon Church, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, is one of vivid symbolism.
The LDS church is actively invested in using various Christian figures, symbols, and even everyday items as expressions of meaning. This is often done with a top-down approach, with most such symbols coming directly from the church’s leadership.
However, what exactly are those symbols, and how do they differ from other well-known Christian symbols? Let’s go over some of the most famous examples below.
The 10 Most Famous Mormon Symbols
Many of the popular LDS symbols are popular in other Christian denominations as well. However, regardless of this, the LDS church recognizes many of these symbols as uniquely theirs. Just like most other denominations, the LDS too views itself as the “one true Christian faith”.
1. Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the most popular Mormon symbol by far. Paintings and icons of him can be seen in every Mormon Church and home. Many of those are renditions of Carl Bloch’s famous paintings of the life of Jesus. Thorvaldsen’s Christus statue is also a symbol beloved by Mormons.
2. The Beehive
The beehive has been a common Mormon symbol since 1851. It’s also the official emblem of the state of Utah where the LDS Church is particularly prominent. The symbolism behind the beehive is that of industry and hard work. It’s also especially symbolic because of Ether 2:3 in the Book of Mormon where deseret is translated into honeybee.
3. The Iron Rod
The Iron Rod, as described in 1 Nephi 15:24 of the Book of Mormon, is a symbol of the word of God. The concept behind it is that just as people hold on to an iron rod, so they should hold on to the word of God. The rod was also formerly used as a “teaching tool” so to speak, but today it’s a symbol of persistence, faith, and devotion.
4. Angel Moroni
According to Mormon beliefs, Moroni was the angel who appears to Joseph Smith on several occasions as a messenger sent from God. Initially found only atop temples, the Angel Moroni is depicted as a robed man with a trumpet at his lips, symbolizing the spread going of the church gospel. This depiction is one of the most easily recognizable symbols of Mormonism.
5. Choose the Right shield
The CTR shield is often worn on Mormon rings and its message is exactly what it sounds like – a call for all LDS Church members to always choose the right path. It’s called a shield because the CTR letters are often written stylishly in a crest.
6. Tabernacle Organ
The famous organ of the Tabernacle temple in Salt Lake City is widely recognized as an LDS symbol. It’s been on the cover of the 1985 hymn book of the LDS Church and has been printed into countless books and images ever since. Music is a big part of worship in the LDS church and the Tabernacle organ symbolizes that.
7. The Tree of Life
The Mormon Tree of Life is a part of the same scripture story as the Iron Rod. It represents the love of God with its fruits and is often portrayed in Mormon artwork together with another popular tree – the Family Tree.
8. Laurel Wreaths
Popular symbol across many Christian denominations, the laurel wreath is also very prominent in Mormonism. There, it’s a part of most depictions of a victor’s crown. It’s also an integral part of the Young Woman medallion. The Young Woman organization of the LDS Church includes 16–17-year-old girls who are often called Laurels.
9. The Sunstone
Originally a part of the Nauvoo Temple in Kirtland, Ohio, the Sunstone has since become a symbol of that early part of the church’s history. It symbolizes the growing light of the LDS faith and the progress the church has made since the early 19th century.
10. Golden Plates
The famous Golden Plates contained the text that was later translated into the Book of Mormon are an important symbol of the church. It’s a cornerstone symbol of the LDS Church as, without the plates, it too wouldn’t have existed. A symbol of learning and the word of God, the Golden Plates symbolizes the importance of the word over the physical riches on which it is written.
Even though it is still a fairly new church, the LDS Church boasts many fascinating symbols that are integral to its history. Much of that history also coincides with that of the American pioneers and settlers. In that way, the symbols of Mormonism are not only Christian but inherently American as well.