Sign in to follow this  
Third Hour

Is Everybody Still Calling Us Mormons?

Recommended Posts

Mormons no more. It’s been almost a year since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put out an official statement "regarding the name of the Church."  This was followed by a talk given by President Russell M. Nelson in general conference which made waves in and outside the Church. He called for a renewed emphasis in correctly using the full name of the Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Here are a few key quotes from his address: ...the name of the Church is not negotiable. When the Savior clearly states what the name of His Church should be and even precedes His declaration with, “Thus shall my church be called,” He is serious. And if we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, He is offended... ...To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement... ...When we omit His name from His Church,...

View the full article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I submitted a comment about this under the article itself, but I don't think it's going to be published, so I'll post my thoughts here instead.

Firstly I accept that few people here are going to agree with any criticism of Russell T. Nelson. To the LDS he is a prophet, and while he may not be *my* prophet, he is nevertheless the prophet of most people who come to this site. So please regard what I'm about to say in the spirit of "I don't understand X" rather than "I think X is wrong". If I do consider anything Pres. Nelson says to be wrong, I'll keep it to myself.

OK, with that in mind, I fully understand the idea that Church members should not self-identify as "Mormons". The Church is (at least as far as LDS are concerned) the genuine revival of the primitive Church of Jesus Christ, and saying "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is a kind of statement of faith. "Mormon" was simply one prophet of many, and the title-character of the Book of Mormon - itself just one of several standard works of scripture; it doesn't really convey anything about what the Church claims to be. That I understand.

What I don't understand is the idea that LDS should set about "regulating" the use of the words "Mormon" and "LDS" by unbelievers. For one thing, they simply do not have the ability to do this. Some non-LDS might stop saying "Mormon" as a courtesy to their LDS friends, but this would be a gratuitous gesture; nothing to do with what Church members "allowed". As for the majority of people, they wouldn't break the habit of saying "Mormon" even if they wanted to.

And worse still, those with an axe to grind against the Church are now going to say "Mormon" more than ever, as a way of aggravating members and sticking two fingers* at the idea that the Church can allow/disallow their use of a word. (After all, we do not choose our own nicknames. Nor to we have any forcible means of allowing/disallowing their use. Nicknames are given to us by other people, and if we don't like them the best we can do is ask - politely - that they not be used.)

All this is at a purely practical level, but there is also a more troubling spiritual aspect. As I said before, "The Church of Jesus Christ" is not an arbitrary name; it means something. And moreover it means something that the LDS (and only the LDS) accept. In calling the Church "The Church of Jesus Christ" are we not making a statement about what the Church really is? If a nonbeliever is forced to use the phrase (supposing such a thing possible), that phrase would be totally devoid of meaning - so why is it so important that he/she should use it? It is surely more (rather than less) profane on the lips of an unbeliever than "Mormon Church".

Since I like and respect the LDS - and particularly the people on this forum - I am happy to start saying "LDS" instead of "Mormon" (though I may say "Mormon" occasionally - old habits die hard). But I fail to understand what can be achieved by telling members not to "allow" the use of the word "Mormon" by unbelievers.

*Or one finger if you live in the USA.

Edited by Jamie123

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Jamie123 said:

I submitted a comment about this under the article itself, but I don't think it's going to be published, so I'll post my thoughts here instead.

Firstly I accept that few people here are going to agree with any criticism of Russell T. Nelson. To the LDS he is a prophet, and while he may not be *my* prophet, he is nevertheless the prophet of most people who come to this site. So please regard what I'm about to say in the spirit of "I don't understand X" rather than "I think X is wrong". If I do consider anything Pres. Nelson says to be wrong, I'll keep it to myself.

OK, with that in mind, I fully understand the idea that Church members should not self-identify as "Mormons". The Church is (at least as far as LDS are concerned) the genuine revival of the primitive Church of Jesus Christ, and saying "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" is a kind of statement of faith. "Mormon" was simply one prophet of many, and the title-character of the Book of Mormon - itself just one of several standard works of scripture; it doesn't really convey anything about what the Church claims to be. That I understand.

What I don't understand is the idea that LDS should set about "regulating" the use of the words "Mormon" and "LDS" by unbelievers. For one thing, they simply do not have the ability to do this. Some non-LDS might stop saying "Mormon" as a courtesy to their LDS friends, but this would be a gratuitous gesture; nothing to do with what Church members "allowed". As for the majority of people, they wouldn't break the habit of saying "Mormon" even if they wanted to.

And worse still, those with an axe to grind against the Church are now going to say "Mormon" more than ever, as a way of aggravating members and sticking two fingers* at the idea that the Church can allow/disallow their use of a word. (After all, we do not choose our own nicknames. Nor to we have any forcible means of allowing/disallowing their use. Nicknames are given to us by other people, and if we don't like them the best we can do is ask - politely - that they not be used.)

All this is at a purely practical level, but there is also a more troubling spiritual aspect. As I said before, "The Church of Jesus Christ" is not an arbitrary name; it means something. And moreover it means something that the LDS (and only the LDS) accept. In calling the Church "The Church of Jesus Christ" are we not making a statement about what the Church really is? If a nonbeliever is forced to use the phrase (supposing such a thing possible), that phrase would be totally devoid of meaning - so why is it so important that he/she should use it? It is surely more (rather than less) profane on the lips of an unbeliever than "Mormon Church".

Since I like and respect the LDS - and particularly the people on this forum - I am happy to start saying "LDS" instead of "Mormon" (though I may say "Mormon" occasionally - old habits die hard). But I fail to understand what can be achieved by telling members not to "allow" the use of the word "Mormon" by unbelievers.

*Or one finger if you live in the USA.

Your points about whether, by using the Church’s preferred name for itself, outsiders are tacitly making a statement about the Church that they disagree with, is well-taken; and I think Nelson has suggested that he doesn’t expect us to make a lot of progress as far as outsiders are concerned.

That being said, we live in a society where biological males can insist that others call them females (and vice versa); and where refusal to do so can get you physically assaulted, fired, sued, and even (in places) fined or deprived of your parental rights.  There is certainly some inconsistency in our asking outsiders to call us “Saints” while still expressing heartburn about having to provide services for gay weddings or what-have-you.  But, if we are going to have to bake everyone else’s cakes . . . it’s not wholly irrational to suggest that everyone else should have to bake ours, too.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Jamie123 said:

Firstly I accept that few people here are going to agree with any criticism of Russell T. Nelson. To the LDS he is a prophet, and while he may not be *my* prophet, he is nevertheless the prophet of most people who come to this site. So please regard what I'm about to say in the spirit of "I don't understand X" rather than "I think X is wrong". If I do consider anything Pres. Nelson says to be wrong, I'll keep it to myself.

I appreciate that and I don't think anyone here thinks you would be disrespectful about this subject, you've been here for a little while now.

The key to understanding this revelation, is that it's for members of the church, not neccessarily for the world at large. From President Nelson:

"The rest of the world may or may not follow our lead in calling us by the correct name. But it is disingenuous for us to be frustrated if most of the world calls the Church and its members by the wrong names if we do the same."

Sure it would be great if the world at large followed our lead and called us by our preferred name, but that wasn't the point the Lord was trying to make with us. He wants us (members of the church) to use the full name of the church and respect the reasons why Jesus Christ put his name in the name of the church. I watched the initial revelation and the explanation of it provided by President Nelson in Conference, and it was fairly clear to me that the Lord wanted us to take the name more seriously, and that this was not directed at the world, which will do what it wants. We were taking sacred things lightly, and allowing others to dictate how we refer to ourselves, and in the process inadvertently taking Christ's name in vain. Now we are trying to do better about that amongst ourselves, including sharing with others the proper way of addressing us. It would be silly to be offended at a non member refering to us as Mormons, and I'm not offended by that anymore than when I see a nonmember drinking coffee. This revelation was for the Latter-day Saints.

In addition, we aren't going to "force" anyone to do anything for several reasons.

1. We can't. We aren't exactly the most powerful organization on Earth. And, as an aside, even if we were we still wouldn't due to our beliefs in mankinds agency.

2. It isn't forcing people to do anything to ask them to refer to us by our proper name anymore than you would be forcing anyone to do anything, for example, if your name was John and you asked people to stop refering to you as Johhny bo Bonny boy. Polite people will try to honor our request, we will always forgive slips of the tongue, and people who don't like us will be jerks like they always have been and then it's on us not to be offended.

Edited by Midwest LDS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure which is worse...getting called Mormons or what happens to me.

"Hey chaplain, what church are you from?"

"This is a service for all Christians, but my church is Assemblies of God."

"What's that?"

Somebody else in the chapel answers, "Don't worry about it. It's Christians. Non-denominational or something."

At this point I am thinking that if I mention the word Pentecostal they will wonder what kind of obscure theological term I just employed. So . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2019 at 8:16 AM, Jamie123 said:

What I don't understand is the idea that LDS should set about "regulating" the use of the words "Mormon" and "LDS" by unbelievers.

This is a misapprehension. Latter-day Saints aren't setting themselves up as Usage Cops. Rather, the idea is that how we present ourselves is eventually how people perceive us.

Why is "Mormon" so ubiquitous? Because many generations ago, the Latter-day Saints adopted the word usage of their enemies, and wore "Mormonism" as a badge of honor. I do not blame them for doing this, but imagine if, for the last hundred years or more, we had called ourselves Latter-day Saints instead of Mormons. If we and our ancestors had been doing this, the term "Mormon" would be little used today. Instead, it's de rigeur. People literally don't even know that we believe in Christ, because, well, Mormon, y'know.

President Nelson is an intelligent man, and has no delusions about changing everyone's usage overnight (or, heaven forbid, policing their usage). His point is that if we start using correct terms today and keep it up, then two or three generations from now, others will have followed suit.

Edited by Vort

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Vort said:

This is a misapprehension. Latter-day Saints aren't setting themselves up as Usage Cops. Rather, the idea is that how we present ourselves is eventually how people perceive us.

Why is "Mormon" so ubiquitous? Because many generations ago, the Latter-day Saints adopted the word usage of their enemies, and wore "Mormonism" as a badge of honor. I do not blame them for doing this, but imagine if, for the last hundred years or more, we had called ourselves Latter-day Saints instead of Mormons. If we and our ancestors had been doing this, the term "Mormon" would be little used today. Instead, it's de rigeur. People literally don't even know that we believe in Christ, because, well, Mormon, y'know.

President Nelson is an intelligent man, and has no delusions about changing everyone's usage overnight (or, heaven forbid, policing their usage). His point is that if we start using correct terms today and keep it up, then two or three generations from now, others will have followed suit.

And what I think is more important... Is that we have covenanted to "Take upon ourselves the name of Christ"  Not to take upon ourselves the name of Mormon.  In many ways I see this as a call to repentance from the Prophet of God to the membership of the church.  And like always some will follow and heed the call... and some will not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/9/2019 at 10:52 PM, prisonchaplain said:

I'm not sure which is worse...getting called Mormons or what happens to me.

"Hey chaplain, what church are you from?"

"This is a service for all Christians, but my church is Assemblies of God."

"What's that?"

Somebody else in the chapel answers, "Don't worry about it. It's Christians. Non-denominational or something."

At this point I am thinking that if I mention the word Pentecostal they will wonder what kind of obscure theological term I just employed. So . . .

The name “Mormon” is available now if you wanna snag that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this