Discouraging the use of ‘Mormon’ and ‘LDS,’ church refocuses on official name

Sign on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building on Brigham Road, St. George, Aug. 16, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also widely known inside Utah and beyond as the “Mormons” or “LDS Church,” released a statement Thursday asking that the popular nicknames no longer be used by the public and media.

Church President Russell M. Nelson released the following statement:

The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.

Church websites and material will be changed in the coming months to reflect Nelson’s direction, according to the statement.

The faith’s presidents are considered prophets who lead the church through revelations from God. The 93-year-old Nelson ascended to church president in January when the previous president died.

Read more: Russell M. Nelson, LDS Church’s 17th president, announces new Mormon leadership

The full name was given by revelation from God to founder Joseph Smith in 1838, according to the faith’s beliefs. The term Mormon refers to a key scripture in the faith, “The Book of Mormon” that is used alongside the Bible within the religion.

The church also issued new guidelines for how it wishes the media refers to the church and its members:

  • In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
  • When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged. The “restored Church of Jesus Christ” is also accurate and encouraged.
  • While the term “Mormon Church” has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use. Thus, please avoid using the abbreviation “LDS” or the nickname “Mormon” as substitutes for the name of the Church, as in “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church,” or “Church of the Latter-day Saints.”
  • When referring to Church members, the terms “members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” or “Latter-day Saints” are preferred. We ask that the term “Mormons” not be used.
  • “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon or when used as an adjective in such historical expressions as “Mormon Trail.”
  • The term “Mormonism” is inaccurate and should not be used. When describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term “the restored gospel of Jesus Christ” is accurate and preferred.
  • When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, it should be stated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not affiliated with polygamous groups.

For decades both “Mormon” and “LDS” have been used by church members or others when referring to the church. This has sometimes led to a misunderstanding as to what the church’s official name actually is.

File photo: Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, announces the end of the home teaching and visiting teaching programs during general conference in Salt Lake City, Sunday, April 1, 2018 | Screenshot courtesy of LDS Church general conference broadcast, St. George News

In the past, focus has been placed on the church’s official name over the term “Mormon” in order to emphasize the name of Jesus Christ. However, the term has persisted in the case of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and various informational and social media campaigns previously launched by the church.

Rebranding a business or large institution is a difficult task that usually costs millions of dollars and often takes generations to take hold, David Margulies, president of a Dallas public relations firm, told the Associated Press.

The term “Mormon” is engrained in American culture and has a lot of good equity that the faith would be losing by shifting away from using it, he said. He predicts confusion among people who won’t realize the full name is the same religion as Mormons, and said there’s a “very slim” chance the name change will catch on.

“It’s a recognized, large religion. Mitt Romney is a Mormon,” Margulies said. “It’s well established so if you’re going to change it you need a reason for changing it that makes sense … Changing the name sounds like you’re covering something up.”

Since the church made the announcement Thursday afternoon, there have been various reactions from church members and others over the news posted across the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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29 Comments

  • Chris August 16, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    This is an obvious attempt to convince a skeptical public that the church is really Christian. “Mormon” and “LDS” are too ingrained in the public lexicon to be replaced anytime soon.

  • Steve August 16, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Tabernacle Choir” – Are you kidding me? Seriously?

  • Real Life August 16, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Or my favorite, Moes.

    • Striker4 August 17, 2018 at 10:51 am

      Still chewing them Tide pods eh ?

      • Real Life August 17, 2018 at 12:08 pm

        Hey welcome back to Earth! Ok, you can go back now.

  • Redbud August 16, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Even the church’s own website is lds.org, not the full name of the church. I’m sorry, but the name is just way too long, and it’s never going to “stick.” I wonder what would happen if I changed my full name from 3 words to 9 words long, and started demanding that everyone call me by my full name from now on?

    • Carpe Diem August 17, 2018 at 8:36 am

      You would be famous like Omaroosa ManEater-DingBat-GallBladderItch

  • DRT August 16, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    You can call a cow a pig, but it’s still a cow.
    I have to wonder if some butt hurt Mormons are going to stage demonstrations, and try to sue all the people who continue to call them Mormons or LDS. This is the type of garbage that keeps me away from “church.”
    All the serious problems in the world and LDS leaders waste time and money on this. It would be laughable, if it was not for the good faithful people who will buy into it.

  • comments August 16, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Next on the agenda: bring back polygamy and raise the tithe to 20%.

    😉

  • Corey August 16, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    So is this the preferred pronoun of the church now? I sure hope that any other reference that we’ve been using for decades wont be confused with “hate speech” when we slip!

  • sheepobserver August 17, 2018 at 6:16 am

    If you’re not comfortable using the name change god suggested to your leader…..

    are you disobeying your god if you don’t accept his suggestion,

    or are you implying you don’t believe your leader heard it from god?

    Religion is hard.

  • Nobody August 17, 2018 at 6:32 am

    It’s really entertaining by now….how can anybody including their own kind take these clowns (Mormon leaders) serious anymore? This is their most pressing issue? Probably more mind games though. Everything they do has motive and you can bet it’s not in favor of the average Joe….Organized religion….gotta love it! 😉😆

  • Nobody August 17, 2018 at 6:36 am

    I know it’s really inmature, but….Mormon, Mormon, Mormon, LDS, Mormon, LDS….and my favorite:
    MO-MO’s

  • PogoStik August 17, 2018 at 8:10 am

    It’s not so much what they want to be called, it’s what normal people call them anyways.

  • Carpe Diem August 17, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Some ten or 15 years ago they did the same thing, insisting that the acronym in reference be “COJCOLDS” which at least, the Utah papers abided by for a time.
    I still use the acronym as a joke. Now they are making it a bigger joke. Does no prophet see the problems? Maybe LDS is too close to FLDS. HA! But yeah, there is stands.

  • Carpe Diem August 17, 2018 at 8:35 am

    No more True Blue Mo’s…

  • comments August 17, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I really don’t understand why they don’t just call it The Church of Joseph Smith of Latter-day Saints and just cut out all the Jesus stuff altogether. It seems like a ploy to try and fool the public into thinking us Mormons are a Christian religion. Well, we really are not. Joseph Smith is basically ‘the Jesus’ of the LDS religion. Us Mormons don’t even like to refer to Jesus as Jesus. We’re taught to call good ol’ Jesus ‘THE SAVIOR!’. I’ve been a mormon basically my entire life and I don’t buy into my churches BS nor that of any other BS religion. It’s all about $$$, folks–all these silly hocus pocus religions.

    • comments August 17, 2018 at 9:15 am

      *my church’s BS

    • PogoStik August 17, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      I’ve often thought that too, Comments. What does Jesus have to do with Mormonism anyways. And why isn’t BYU called JSU? After Navoo they kind of left him laying there while the rest moved on.

      • comments August 17, 2018 at 6:58 pm

        Not sure why there’s no JSU. No doubt ol’ Brigham was a ruthless, power hungry sort of individual. I’ve heard it said that Smith’s brother was set to take the throne after his death, but Brigham and his cohorts conspired to have Smith’s brother murdered in order to send Brigham to the throne. I believe the historical record has that brother’s death as a poisoning. Mormon history is quite dark like that. It’s the history they don’t teach in sunday school, LOL. The mormonism didn’t deter anyone from behaving badly back then, and it still doesn’t to this day. I’m getting off track here. I really don’t know where Jesus fits into the whole thing. The mormons view Jesus as a son of “Heavenly Father” and not as an incarnation of God himself. They definitely do their own thing with the Jesus fable as compared to christian religions. They’re all goofy as far as I’m concerned, but the mormons have their own flavor of goofiness. The hallmark of momonism is that “you get to become a God yourself if you were a good mormon”. You get to become equal to “Heavenly Father”, at least if you’re a man. The women get to be spirit wives or some kind of nonsense. It’s all very cultish and quacky wacky. The christian religions don’t have anyone becoming a God equal to “the God”. Mormonism offends a lot of christians in that respect. It’s all insanity, really.

        • comments August 17, 2018 at 7:01 pm

          I guess the word is ‘polytheistic’. Christian religions are montheistic.

        • Rob83 August 17, 2018 at 9:48 pm

          Yes Comments! Exactly what drives me nuts too, thanks for pointing this out. We’ve got to help all these good people out of this cult. All Christians make up the “true church” and we need to unite not divide one another. Mormon religion is referred to as a “Mega-church” the Bible warns us about, not to be deceived by these Mega-churches. What gave it away? There churches being built right next to one another or only a few blocks from one another. Everyone, please look into this and do your research, find your Savior for real this time, please.

          • comments August 18, 2018 at 11:21 am

            I dunno, Rob. I don’t believe LDS mormons are really any worse than other flavors of religious folks/nutters. It’s just easier to be hard on them since I’m a member myself, and our area is fully and completely dominated and controlled by the LDS church. The mega churches, and the ‘hellfire and damnation’ churches of the bible belt may be worse. Haven’t lived in those areas enough to really know, but they seem to be complete nutters/loons, at least as much so as hardcore LDS’ers.

  • Mike P August 17, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    The Lord has impressed upon my mind. yeah sure. Glad I don’t believe this stuff

  • Utahguns August 17, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    1 Timothy 2:5 ……
    For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
    …….Not Joseph Smith, not Jim Jones, not David Koresh, not Marshall Applewhite and not L. Ron Hubbard.

    • Utahguns August 17, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      Forgot the parentheses ….

      1 Timothy 2:5 ……
      “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

  • Anejo August 17, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Is he speaking as a man? Or as the prophet? 😀

  • An actual Independent August 17, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Good grief! Not sure we can believe it anyway. I tried to look it up on http://www.thechurchofjesuschristoflatterdaysaints.org—but I couldn’t find it.

  • Carpe Diem August 17, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    Does the moniker come with a a high chair with a better view?

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