I suppose I understand why President Nelson has placed such an emphasis on using the full name of the Church rather than the Mormon Church or even the LDS Church. But this creates some very awkward usage dilemmas. In many instances, there is just no convenient short term for either the Church or its members.
For me, in particular, I am uncomfortable calling myself a Saint, or even a Latter-day Saint. I know what the word saint means, and I don’t consider myself one. It’s something maybe to aspire to, but I am very uncomfortable calling myself a saint, capital or no capital.
Heck, I’m not even sure about the Latter-day part of it. The early Church members were convinced that the End was very near, even at the doors. They kept expecting the Second Coming at any minute. This apocalyptic mindset persisted into the early years of the twentieth century. My mom’s aunt, similar to many Church members, was promised in her patriarchal blessing in 1919 that “you shall obtain the special favor of the Lord and a double portion of his Holy Spirit shall be given you, and you shall have the privilege of witnessing building the New Jerusalem for the Saints of God.” Well, she died in 1987. It appears we’re now in the latter, latter, latter days, and it’s very uncertain how much longer they will last.
Even in my youth in the 1960s and ’70s we were taught that we were a special generation that came forth in the eleventh hour to prepare for the Second Coming. We were Saturday’s Warriors, by golly! Back then I was certain that the Lord would come by the year 2000. But here we are in 2023, and I fully expect to live another couple of decades and die before the great and dreadful day finally arrives.
But getting back to my dilemma—I really am uncomfortable referring to myself as a saint, or even a Saint. So what am I? Well, I’m a Mormon. And for over 60 years, that was just fine. The Church even had a big marketing campaign using the same terminology. But since President Nelson’s edict, the term Mormon has become a hiss and a byword. But why should we not use it when referring to ourselves? If we are to use the full name of the Church because not doing so would offend Jesus, and we are supposed to emphasize that it is his Church, then what do we call ourselves? Christians? No. That name is already taken. What about Latter-day Saints? That is part of the official name of the Church, but it doesn’t really draw attention to Jesus. So why not still call ourselves Mormons? It’s simple and straightforward, and most people know who the Mormons are, even if they don’t approve of us (see the recent Pew poll).
Well, it will be interesting to see if this name emphasis outlasts President Nelson. Time will tell. But in the meantime, I am going to go on calling myself a Mormon. It fits. I may not be a very good one, but it’s a name I’m proud to wear. So, like it or not, I’m a Mormon.
The name thing has damaged my connection to the church. How can I google and find things? I used to be able to go to LDS.org. And there was LDS Tools etc. Once they took the LDS out but didn't give us an alternative, I don't know what to type. How do I find conference on cable if I can't use LDS? Using a tv remote to enter individual letters is so tedious and having to type out general conference is ridiculous.ReplyDelete
When the church pushed to switch from Mormon to LDS I tried to that in the 90s, mostly at least around members. When they did the campaign I was on board with the name I called myself as a kid. But this is torture to not have a way to refer to ourselves! Or to know the app we pick is the right church.
President Nelson says we offend The Savior when we remove His name from His church. Do we also offend The Savior when we remove His name from His priesthood? We’ve been using a nickname for the priesthood since Biblical times. Why was it thought back then that the priesthood should be called after Melchizedek in order to avoid the frequent use of the name of Deity but now we are being told to use the name of Deity every time we mention the church?ReplyDelete
President Nelson managed to live long enough to win a silly grudge he harbored against Gordon Hinckley for thirty years. Good for him. By doing so, he made himself look petty and small. Truly, a pyrrhic victory.ReplyDelete
I can certainly see the point you are making and know it’s coming from a good heart, but you just also understand the reason behind president Nelson’s change. Anything that can encourage us to have a greater and clearer focus on Christ is a good thing. It’s about how we view things more than how others view us… although there is a little of that too since the overwhelming amount of people in the world still aren’t sure whether we believe in Christ as the messiah or not.ReplyDelete
Yes, it’s awkward and there really isn’t a good alternative to the ease of “we are Mormons”, but maybe that’s by intention? Just the conversation starter alone for anyone asking what religion I am as now I am to think a little more about how I deliver the message that I’m a follower of Christ like any other Protestant or Catholic or Lutheran yet that believes in incredible and miraculous continued revelation in both scripture and priesthood and prophetic lineage has been wonderful to me. I still always come back to “others have referred and still do refer to us as Mormons and that’s totally cool” but there really is something about the extra little explaining that helps us keep that focus on Christ in our lives and can help dispel some inaccuracies outside.
If any thing else, I have learned that following the prophet always is the right choice. So, yes, while you and these other 3 commenters make several great points on why it’s hard and awkward and can seem like nothing more than a whim of a choice by president Nelson that will fade in the future, I’m going to side with the prophet and most importantly, by direct relation the Lord on this choice just like I try to for all other choices in my life as I find that it always steers me in the right direction
Your comment would have made sense if Nelson had said what you suggest — that the focus should be more Christ centered. But calling it a major victory for Satan and suggesting Jesus is offended with the use of the word Mormon instead of the long name of the church changes the focus. It’s now hard for me to hear people awkwardly use longer descriptors for the church or it’s members, or sheepishly apologize for slipping and saying Mormon without thinking of Satan. I’m sure I’m not the only one. If the goal was to cause members to think more of Satan, mission accomplished.Delete
On the other hand, if the goal was be more Christ focused, maybe he could have just said that. When the prophet speaks, as you point out, people tend to listen and follow.
April 17 6:20 AM Anonymous: if the goal was be more Christ focused, maybe [President Nelson] could have just said that.Delete
President Nelson: When we omit His name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives.
How does saying "Latter-day Saint" put the focus on Christ? The logical thing to call ourselves is "LDS Christians." That actually has the word CHRIST in it :)ReplyDelete
I am a Mormon regardless of my recommend status, activity level or church leadership direction.ReplyDelete