The Church Leaves the Term Mormon, But Can’t Leave it Alone

The president of the Mormon church, LDS church, or as he wants it to be called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints had made a stand about the term Mormon. After years of the church learning to embrace the nickname and fund ad campaigns promoting members of the church as Mormons, President Nelson revisits his own pet peeve and calls on Mormons members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to stop using the term. He goes so far as to say that using the term Mormon, is a major victory for Satan!

If we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, He is offended.

What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the “LDS Church,” the “Mormon Church,” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. 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.

President Russell M Nelson, Mormon Prophet
The Correct Name of the Church, October 2018

This was when he was brand new to the position too, less than 1 year since Thomas S Monson had passed. As a brand new church leader in late 2018 his prophetic message was to undo what his predecessors had worked so hard to accomplish, namely embracing the Mormon moniker and owning the story. Was he not around during those times? Does he not remember? Does he not think the members, the media, and the whole world remembers the whole “I’m a Mormon” campaign? He does remember, and he took a stand as a “Junior” apostle at the time but was put in his place by the leadership of the day. The tables have now turned and President Nelson is working to undo what was done that he likely opposed. Since then he’s changed the official domains and website of the church, the name of the choir, and more.

We can literally hear the church leaders argue their personal interpretations in this video that pits Gordon B Hinckley against Russell M Nelson discussing what to call the church:

Now Who Can Say Mormon?

The official church abandoning the term Mormon has opened the door for counter-culture and the ex-Mormon community to own the term. The media, the rest of the world, and even many members do not honor the old man’s wishes to refer to the church only as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or as his requested shortening, the Restored Church (which also removes the Lord’s name). What sense would there be in an objective news source referring to the church as “The Only True and Living Church”? It doesn’t work like that. They continue to use the term Mormon. The only difference now is, the church can’t.

So, anyone that searches Google for anything Mormon related, will find dangerous, uncorrelated, and uncontrolled information from outside the church organization. Information discussing the church’s messy history and other troubling issues. This goes for members too. It has likely been a catalyst for the waves of members leaving the religion. The information age is upon us. Hinckley and Monson both understood that to have any control over the information, the church needed to accept the name the world has collectively accepted to call it so they could have some input into what the narrative is. Nelson continues to disagree with wisdom here and feels it’s better to avoid offending the Lord by using a nickname for the church.

There are many worldly arguments against restoring the correct name of the Church. Because of the digital world in which we live and with search engine optimization that helps all of us find information we need almost instantly—including information about the Lord’s Church—critics say that a correction at this point is unwise. Others feel that because we are known so widely as “Mormons” and as the “Mormon Church,” we should make the best of it.

President Russell M Nelson, Mormon Prophet
The Correct Name of the Church, October 2018

But, Nelson knows better apparently, and even mentioned these “others” who wanted to “make the best of it”. He further states his reasons for disliking the term. It’s because people used the terms in the early days of the church as cruel and abusive terms. Do his followers realize he’s throwing his two direct predecessors under the bus?

In the early days of the restored Church, terms such as Mormon Church and Mormons were often used as epithets—as cruel terms, abusive terms—designed to obliterate God’s hand in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days.

President Russell M Nelson, Mormon Prophet
The Correct Name of the Church, October 2018

The terms in question here are Mormon Church and Mormons and even Mormonites. Ouch! But also: sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Today these are hardly such epithets, so what’s the big deal? Were these terms really created to obliterate God’s hand in restoring the church? Language changes over time, does the Lord’s mouthpiece not understand this concept? He must have some trauma bottled up from days when he was bullied for being Mormon and now he’s taking his stand.

The Mormon Church Still Uses Mormon

The media and the rest of the world are not following his request to stop calling the church Mormon. Members of the church are hardly following the request. Is the church itself following the request? Not quite. Looks at the frequently asked questions on the official church website! It’s littered with instances referring to the members of the church as Mormons. Good job Mormons.

If the intent was to abandon the term Mormon, that was a pipe dream!

Think for a moment about the people who worked in different capacities within church HQ’s marketing machine when President Nelson announced this change. A few were taken by surprise and had to completely abandon projects which were well into the final production stages… projects whose budgets were into the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The largest impact this name change has had on the world, at least from my professional opinion, is giving up the narrative surrounding Mormon to the critics, sites like The church spent untold millions in some of the most effective marketing campaigns the church has ever done… those campaigns remain a masterclass example on how to positively represent an organization in a critical marketplace. This move by President Nelson did more to damage the church’s image than any critic could have hoped to have done by themselves.

Russell M Nelson says that when we use nicknames for the church, it is a “major victory for Satan.” Here is the church using that term on its own website. Of course, there is old content that may not have been updated yet, but it’s been 5 years now! The church should be making an effort to avoid this “major victory for Satan”. Again, both of Nelson’s predecessors embraced the term Mormon often. Is the current prophet teaching truth or falsehoods regarding the use of the Mormon moniker? If true, do we disavow Hinckley and Monson or how do you reconcile those contradictions? We must conclude that for decades there have been church-sponsored major victories for Satan!

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