During a pleasant but intense trip I once had in France, I was photographing a beautiful church in the Champagne region of France when I noticed an example of the inverted pentagram being used in an obviously Christian context. The church is the imposing Collégiale Notre-Dame de Vitry-le-François, a 17th century building that survived World War II, even though much of the surrounding town was destroyed. It is a beautiful and reverent building, filled with many images to remind people of Jesus Christ. One of those images--OK, two--are stars, inverted five-pointed starts, reminding us of the One the Bible calls the Morning Star (or "the bright and morning star" in Rev. 22:16). Yes, folks, we're talking inverted pentagrams, a Christian symbol that has very recently been hijacked by occultists.

Symbols can be used for good or bad purposes. The fact that pentagrams were used as pro-Christian symbols by earlier Christians and by Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Temple does not imply any connection to pagan or occult uses that were developed and published after Joseph Smith's time (ca. 1855 and beyond). For detailed information on this frequent objection raised by critics who should know better, see "Inverted Stars on LDS Temples" at FAIRMormon.org and the question on occult symbols at my LDSFAQ page on LDS Temples and Alleged Roots in Masonry.

By the way, France is such a wonderful nation. So many American stereotypes of France and the French are wrong, at least based on the people I've met. Warm, kind, hard-working, competent, temperate and family-oriented, many of them. And no stereotyping of French food, no verbal descriptions, can prepare you for just how good it is. What a marvelous country!
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