So we have a question about holy symbols for characters with Vow of Poverty, since officially holy symbols violate the vow (which is absurd in all kinds of ways but this isn’t “merely” RAW, Wizards of the Coast doubled-down and confirmed this to be the case). An answer suggests that choosing a deity whose holy symbol is a weapon could be a way around the limitation, since the vow allows a single, non-magical, simple weapon.
The example given is St. Cuthbert, who has a club as one of his holy symbols. A club is a simple weapon, so a character with Vow of Poverty can unambiguously own one. However, a comment on that answer states that Living Greyhawk Gazetteer indicates that this is a symbol of a club, not an actual, usable club. Living Greyhawk Gazetteer is a dubious choice of primary source on this subject, but as far as I can tell, no other source addresses this question. Every other source, that I can find, that talks about St. Cuthbert’s symbol only says the symbol is a club, but does not delve into whether that is an icon of a club, or that you can literally use a club as a holy symbol.
The same comment notes that some of the Egyptian and Norse deities in Deities & Demigods have holy symbols that are weapons. Deities & Demigods does indeed have several of such symbols (though none are simple weapons), complete with illustrations of the symbol:
Oriris with “Symbol: Crook and flail”
Frey with “Symbol: Ice-blue greatsword”
Sif with “Symbol: Upraised sword”
Surtur with “Symbol: Flaming sword”
Thor with “Symbol: Hammer”
Thrym with “Symbol: White double-bladed axe”
Tyr with “Symbol: Sword”
Uller with “Symbol: Longbow”
(These illustrations are all from Wizards of the Coast’s official Deities & Demigods Art Gallery.)
Some of these look like they could be an illustration of an actual weapon, but several are clearly stylized icons of weapons, similar to what Living Greyhawk Gazetteer claims about St. Cuthbert’s club. I cannot find anything in the text of Deities & Demigods, or anywhere else, that says worshipers of any of these deities are able to substitute the corresponding weapon for the separate holy symbol item that they would ordinarily need for some divine spells and class features. For that matter, only two—Frey and Uller—actually name a specific, statted weapon under D&D 3.5e rules and have a symbol that depicts that weapon (D&D 3.5e does have a flail as a statted weapon, but Osiris’s symbol appears to be the agricultural implement, not the weapon). As far as I can tell—in absence of anything that says otherwise—all of these refer to an icon that depicts a weapon, not an actual usable weapon, and clerics require the holy symbol depicting the icon, not an actual weapon, to perform their magics.
This could matter a fair bit, because holy symbols often require holding them up and brandishing them at your enemies—for most symbols, that means that hand isn’t holding a weapon. Even though these weapons are not simple and so do not help the character with Vow of Poverty, the simple fact that they allow a character to hold a holy symbol and a weapon in the same hand (because the holy symbol is the weapon) is quite an advantage. I would expect an advantage like that to be mentioned in the text. Dungeonscape includes a 50-gp modification (sanctified) to a shield or armor to make that item count as a holy symbol, which more suggestion that this sort of thing isn’t just free.
So what I want to know is, can clerics of any deity (these or others), use an actual weapon matching the one depicted on the deity’s symbol in lieu of the actual holy symbol item that is usually required for certain spells and class features? Actually, what I specifically want to know is, does any source come out and say exactly that explicitly? It’s OK if the weapon has to be in a particular form, or color (e.g. Frey’s ice-blue greatsword), or whatever, but please note this (since I will want to consider whether such requirements would prevent its use by a character with Vow of Poverty; after all, beggars can’t be choosers).
To be clear, I only want quotations from Wizards of the Coast sources. I am not interested in what you think makes sense, or is fair, or would allow at your table, or what you think they meant. Any Wizards of the Coast published or licensed product, or web article on their own website, for D&D 3.5e is acceptable, but absolutely nothing else is.