A Sign Of Peace?

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Debra Coe (c) all rights reserved

In recent years, some symbols have become popular among the youth. Unfortunately many are not as innocent as they appear. For example, the peace sign that is "back by popular demand," sounds innocent enough, after all who would be against peace? But the peace sign (originally the Cross of Nero) actually symbolizes a different idea of what will bring peace than what many realize. It represents an upside down, broken cross -- symbolizing the defeat of Christianity. President Benson had this to say: "Have we, as Moroni warned, 'polluted the holy church of God'? . . .Do any of us wear or display the broken cross, anti-Christ sign, that is the adversary's symbol of the so-called peace movement?" (God, Family, Country, Ezra Taft Benson, page 229. Also CR October 1970)

It is not surprising that this is what it represents when you know the history of Nero. He was the emperor of Rome from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D., during which he murdered both his mother and his wife. Although his reign was short, it was most memorable. His most notable achievement was the rebuilding of Rome after a great fire that either leveled or devastated ten of the fourteen city regions. It burned for nine days and "raged beyond the memory or example of former ages" according to historian Edward Gibbons. Rumors, based on fact, quickly spread that Nero himself had ordered the fire so that he could rebuild Rome as a glory and honor to himself. Many historians believe there is more than ample evidence that this was true. As a result of these rumors, Nero needed some factious "criminals" to blame the fire on so as to take the blame off of himself. He chose a despised new sect called Christians for this blame. He put forth the idea that Christians were an evil force whose destruction would bring a peace to the land. According to Tacitus, "Some were nailed on crosses, others sewn up in the skins of wild beasts, and exposed to the fury of dogs; others again, smeared over with combustible materials, were used as torches to illuminate the darkness of the night." Thus began the Roman persecution of the Christians.

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Last modified: November 15, 1999