It looks like members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be soon saying farewell to their various nicknames. That seems to be the intent of the bold new announcement from President Russell M. Nelson.
Announcement from President Nelson
Here’s what President Nelson says, as published by Mormon Newsroom today:
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.
This isn’t the first time general authorities have emphasized the importance of the actual name of the Church, but the Church’s official style guide is taking things to a new level. Here are a few points of interest from the guide that highlight how far-reaching this revelation will be:
- “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.”
Possible future changes
Eliminating the ever-so-concise terms “Mormon,” “Mormonism,” and even “LDS,” could pose some unique challenges for the Church. For example, will the Church’s main website, lds.org, change its name? What about mormon.org? Each of those websites also has their own social media platforms. Mormon Channel exists on plenty of platforms as well. Those might be getting a makeover, too. Even this website, MormonHUB.com (though not an official website of the Church), could be subject to change as per the prophet’s counsel. The longer you think about it, the more you realize just how often we use these terms online but also in our everyday speech. It will undoubtedly be interesting to see the changes, both public and personal, unfold in the coming months.
This announcement comes as the latest of many stunning announcements from President Nelson this year.