What's in a Name: Why You Shouldn't Call Your Friends "Mormons" Anymore

In October 2018, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints reaffirmed the official name of the organization in its semi-annual address during General Conference.

I was sitting on the couch listening to the Worldwide General Conference, when the Prophet Russell M. Nelson strongly reaffirmed the correct use of the Church’s name—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As a life-long member of the church, this topic wasn’t new to me, but I was curious as to why, of all things, the Prophet chose to share this message.

I know the Church’s name can be a bit of a mouthful, even as a member, so I have never been too bothered by the use of shorter terms when my non-faith friends referred to my religion as “Mormonism” or “The LDS Church.” In the past, I’ve commonly used these same terms when talking with people about my religion because they are shorter, easier and well-known.

 

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In months passed I’ve reflected on why the name is so important. I think the Webster Dictionary’s definition shines some light on this subject: a name is “a word or phrase that constitutes the distinctive designation of a person or thing.” Names hold power and show possession, so, to use the wrong name changes the possession, in this case, of a church.

For example, the term “Mormon” leads many people to the incorrect belief that it is Mormon’s church—a scriptural character in the religion’s history.  

President Nelson further explained the following in his October address, “Jesus Christ directed us to call the Church by His name because it is His Church, filled with His power.”

In the Church’s religious text, the Doctrine and Covenants—a collection of revelations received at the beginning of the Church’s restoration—chapter 115 verse 4 reads: “Thus shall [The Lord’s] church be called in the last days, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

Most importantly, Christ is the center of the religion itself. Christ’s life—the teachings, sufferings, atoning of sins, and resurrection—are essential to the religion’s beliefs. To take out Christ’s name is to disregard its fundamental beliefs altogether.

To reinforce the importance of this topic, the Church has renamed its website—formerly lds.org—to thechurchofjesuschrist.org. The Church is also encouraging people worldwide to refrain from previously used nicknames and terms and instead use the full, correct name when possible.