Last week, the Mormon church officially ended calling itself “Mormon” and its worshippers “Mormons.” It’s official name has always been “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” So, the church’s 93-year old president, Russell M. Nelson announced that “Mormon,” Mormonism,” and “L.D.S.” are no longer acceptable identifications.
According to church doctrine, its founder, Joseph Smith, gave the church this name, “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” in 1838. President Nelson has has a campaign going since 1990 to abolish the name Mormon and return to the church’s original name. But he has not been successful in doing so, perhaps until now. What really did it was that Mr. Nelson claims God told him to make this change. You can’t argue with such subjectivism unless you claim that God told you that the Mormon church should not abolish the name Mormon!Will this change really stick? I doubt it. President Nelson offered no suggestions about how to otherwise identify Mormons with any reasonable label besides “member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,” which is a mouthful I doubt few non-members, especially from the media, will chew on.
The ironical part of all this is that the church says its “Book of Mormon” is equally inspired by God as the Bible is. Will the church change the name of its own Book of Mormon to “the Book of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints”?