SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced new style guidelines for referring to the Church, asking people to avoid using terms such as “LDS Church” and “Mormon Church.”
On first reference, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” is preferred, according to the Church’s Newsroom site. “The Church,” “Church of Jesus Christ” and the “restored Church of Jesus Christ” are acceptable as abbreviated names.
“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” President Russell M. Nelson said in a statement Thursday. “We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so.”
Members of the Church should be referred to as "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" or "Latter-day Saints,” not “Mormons,” according to Newsroom.
Sheri Dew, Deseret Management Corporation executive vice president, told KSL Newsradio’s Jeff Caplan on Thursday that the change is a more “seismic” shift in the Church’s policy, rather than a reinforcement of a previous guideline.
“Surely if we want anybody else to get the name of the Church right, we better start by getting the name of the Church right — and some of the problems with some of the nicknames that we have all used and fallen into is that they cut out the name of Jesus Christ,” Dew said.
The commonly-used term "Mormon" refers to the ancient prophet who was the narrator of much of the Book of Mormon. Another nickname, "LDS," is an abbreviation of "Latter-day Saint."
Deseret News opinion editor Boyd Matheson said the issue has been on President Nelson's mind since at least April 1990, when he gave an address urging people to "note carefully the language of the Lord."
"I think this is a sharpening of the focus," Matheson said. "This is the Church of Jesus Christ, and everyone — starting with members — need to recognize that."
Dew said President Nelson’s statement included some "strong" phrasing about the Church's name. That should be a sign for Church members to "listen up," she said.
She also said she was "fully expecting" that Church members "will be hearing more about" the Church's preferred terms.
"I’m guessing that part of that will be absolutely directed toward members of the Church, saying, ‘Surely we can start by calling ourselves the right name and by recognizing who it is that we follow, that being the Savior.'"
The full updated guidelines are available on Newsroom.
Contributing: Xoel Cardenas, Yvette Cruz