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Mormon No More: Faithful Reflect On Churchs Move To Scrap A Moniker

What is Truth?

For the Latter-day Saints faithful, a shift away from a longtime name has meant lighthearted screw-ups, logistical complications and reflections on identity.

A statue of the angel Moroni sits atop the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City. Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have said that adherents should no longer call themselves Mormons or even use the shorthand L.D.S.Credit…Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

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By Elizabeth Dias

After finally getting her twin babies to fall asleep in Rexburg, Idaho, Kristine Anderson described herself as a stereotypical, Mormon stay-at-home mom.

Then she sighed loudly, annoyed that a lifetime habit had slipped out.

Ugh, she said. I just said the word Mormon again. I apologize.

Last August, leaders of her faith announced a game-changing divine revelation. Russell M. Nelson, the churchs president, said that God had impressed upon my mind the importance of the name he has revealed for his church. Church members should no longer call themselves Mormons, or even use the shorthand L.D.S., the church announced.

The word Mormon has been with the church from the beginning. It comes from the Book of Mormon, the churchs signature text , which adherents believe was recorded on gold plates by the prophet Mormon and his son, Moroni.

Relationship With Mainstream Christianity

Mormonism categorizes itself within , and nearly all Mormons self-identify as . For some who define Christianity within the doctrines of , and , the , and , Mormonism’s differences place it outside the umbrella of Christianity.

Since its beginnings, the faith has proclaimed itself to be Christ’s Church with its original authority, structure and power maintaining that existing denominations believed in incorrect doctrines and were not acknowledged by God as his church and kingdom. Though the religion quickly gained a large following of Christian seekers, in the 1830s, many American Christians came to view the church’s early doctrines and practices as politically and culturally , as well as doctrinally heretical, abominable, and condemnable. This discord led to a series of sometimes-deadly conflicts between Mormons and others who saw themselves as orthodox Christians. Although such violence declined during the twentieth century, the religion’s unique doctrinal views and practices still generate criticism, sometimes vehemently so. This gives rise to efforts by Mormons and opposing types of Christians to proselytize each other.

Mormons believe in Jesus Christ as the literal and , as a conclusion of a , and subsequent . However, Latter-day Saints reject the ecumenical creeds and the definition of the . Mormons hold the view that the prophesied both the from the teachings of Christ and his apostles as well as the of all things prior to the second coming of Christ.

In The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , the largest Latter Day Saint denomination, priesthood holders meet at their ward or branch. Those who do not hold the priesthood are still invited and encouraged to attend with the elders quorum. However, priesthood duties can only be performed by those who are ordained.

Receiving the Melchizedek priesthood is considered to be a saving ordinance of the gospel in the LDS Church. A candidate for this ordination is interviewed and often counseled to study the 84th, 107th, and 121st sections of the Doctrine and Covenants to begin to understand the oath and covenant of the priesthood, the covenant a person makes with God when he receives the Melchizedek priesthood. The candidate is also usually asked to stand in a gathering of the members of the church to be publicly accepted as being worthy of ordination.

Shortly after the establishment of the church, the ordination of blacks to the priesthood was prohibited following a revelation received by then-church presidentSpencer W. Kimball, the prohibition was lifted in 1978.

Table notes

  • ^A leadership calling includes the responsibility of holding the “keys” to preside over and direct a jurisdiction, ordinance, or activity of the work of the priesthood.
  • ^Holders of the priesthood are also organized into quorums. The quorums are a brotherhood where members of the quorum assist each other, teach one another, and delegate particular responsibilities to individuals or committees.
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    Ldsorg Changed To Churchofjesuschristorg

    News release from the Church Newsroom Changes to Emphasize the Correct Name of the Church of Jesus Christ

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the name of the Church Latter-day Saints believe came by revelation from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself . Jesus Christ directed us to call the Church by His name because it is His Church, filled with His power, President Russell M. Nelson has said.

    The Church is now making changes to many of its communication channels to reflect the faiths full name and better convey commitment to follow Jesus Christ. More than getting the name right as an institution, the invitation to use the full name of the Church is an opportunity for Latter-day Saints to refocus their lives on the living Christ.

    Every day we should ask ourselves, How can we better live as Jesus Christ taught and lived? President Nelson said. This mindset will help fill our lives, our homes, our neighborhoods, and our churches with more of Christs light and power.

    The changes the Church is making apply to many aspects of Church communications. Four areas are of note for Latter-day Saints and the general public:

    Websites: The Churchs official website will become ChurchofJesusChrist.org. This change is effective today, March 5, 2019, when the domain name ChurchofJesusChrist.org begins pointing to the LDS.org home page. In the coming months, the ChurchofJesusChrist.org domain name will replace what were the following:

    • MormonNewsroom.org

    A History Of The Name Of The Church

    I, Nephi

    Latter-day Saint scripture and history show that getting the Churchs name right has been an evolving process from the faiths earliest days. In the Book of Mormon, for example, Christs disciples could not agree on what to call the Church. Christs answer was to take upon you the name of Christ. In 1830 the Church was organized as the Church of Christ. The Church adopted a resolution in 1834 to change the name to the Church of the Latter Day Saints to distinguish it from other Christian denominations of the time. Then in 1838, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed to Joseph Smith that the name of the Church is to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Over the years, the Church standardized the spelling and hyphenation of its name, making it The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is used today.

    Since the first year of the Churchs founding, critics and others have sought to call the Church and its followers by other names names Latter-day Saints used out of convenience at first but then came to embrace themselves. Its hard work to undo nearly 189 years of history, culture and practice. But with God the impossible is possible. As President Nelson made clear in August 2018, we have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with will. Church leaders understand that this is a complex, multifaceted effort.

    Additional Resources

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    Mission Of The Church

    The mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help all of Gods children come to Jesus Christ3 through learning about His gospel, making and keeping promises with God , and practicing Christlike love and service.4

    Members of the Church believe in helping individuals and families fulfill the commandments to love God and to love your neighbor.5 Members do so by living the gospel of Jesus Christ,6 caring for those in need,7 inviting all to receive the gospel,8 and uniting families through family history and temple work.9

    The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter

    MormonismChurch of Christ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    Official logo since 2020 featuring the Christus statue
    Classification
    • Restored Church of Jesus Christ
    Official website .org

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian church that considers itself to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in the United States in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16.8 million members and 54,539 full-time volunteer missionaries. The church is the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.7 million US members as of 2021. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the early 19th-century period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

    The church has been criticized throughout its history. Modern criticisms include disputed claims, treatment of minorities, and financial controversies. The churchs practice of polygamy was also controversial until officially rescinded in 1890.

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    Restorationism And Prophetic Leadership

    The LDS Church teaches that, subsequent to the death of Jesus and his original apostles, his church, along with the authority to act in Jesus Christ’s name and the church’s attendant spiritual gifts, were lost, due to a combination of external persecutions and internal heresies. The restorationas represented by the church began by Joseph Smithrefers to a return of the authentic priesthood power, spiritual gifts, ordinances, living prophets and revelation of the primitive Church of Christ. This restoration is associated with a number of events which are understood to have been necessary to re-establish the early Christian church found in the New Testament, and to prepare the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus. In particular, Latter-day Saints believe that angels appeared to Joseph Smith and a limited number of his associates, and bestowed various priesthood authorities on them.

    Tithing And Other Donations

    Being an Agent to Act

    Church members are expected to donate one-tenth of their income to support the operations of the church, including construction of temples, meetinghouses, and other buildings, and other church uses. Members are also encouraged to abstain from food and drink on the first Sunday of each month for at least two consecutive meals. They donate at least the cost of the two skipped meals as a fast offering, which the church uses to assist the poor and needy and expand its humanitarian efforts.

    All able LDS young men are expected to serve a two-year, full-time proselytizing mission. Missionaries do not choose where they serve or the language in which they will proselytize, and are expected to fund their missions themselves or with the aid of their families. Prospective male missionaries must be at least 18 years old and no older than 25, not yet married, have completed secondary school, and meet certain criteria for physical fitness and spiritual worthiness. Missionary service is not compulsory, nor is it required for young men to retain their church membership.

    Unmarried women 19 years and older may also serve as missionaries, generally for a term of 18 months. However, the LDS Church emphasizes that women are not under the same expectation to serve as male members are, and may serve solely as a personal decision. There is no maximum age for missionary service for women.

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    Life In Nauvoo Illinois

    Many American newspapers criticized Missouri for the Haun’s Mill massacre and the state’s expulsion of the Latter Day Saints. Illinois accepted Mormon refugees who gathered along the banks of the Mississippi River, where Smith purchased high-priced, swampy woodland in the hamlet of . Smith also attempted to portray the Latter Day Saints as an oppressed minority, and unsuccessfully petitioned the for help in obtaining reparations. During the summer of 1839, while Latter Day Saints in suffered from a epidemic, Smith sent Brigham Young and other apostles to missions in Europe, where they made numerous converts, many of them poor factory workers.

    Smith also attracted a few wealthy and influential converts, including , the . Bennett used his connections in the Illinois legislature to obtain an unusually liberal charter for the new city, which Smith renamed . The charter granted the city virtual autonomy, authorized a university, and granted Nauvoo powerwhich allowed Smith to fend off extradition to . Though Mormon authorities controlled Nauvoo’s civil government, the city promised an unusually liberal guarantee of . The charter also authorized the , an autonomous militia whose actions were limited only by state and federal constitutions. “” Smith and “” Bennett became its commanders, thereby controlling by far the largest body of armed men in Illinois. Smith made Bennett of the church, and Bennett was elected Nauvoo’s first mayor.

    Activity Rates And Disaffiliation

    The LDS Church does not release official statistics on church activity, but it is likely that only approximately 40 percent of its recorded membership in the United States and 30 percent worldwide regularly attend weekly Sunday worship services. A statistical analysis of the 2014 Pew Religious Landscape Survey assessed that “about one-third of those with a Latter-day Saint background” outright “left the Church”, identifying as disaffiliated. Activity rates vary with age, and disengagement occurs most frequently between age 16 and 25. Young single adults are more likely to become inactive than their married counterparts, and overall, women tend to be more active than men.

    Church humanitarian aid includes organizing food security, clean water, mobility, and healthcare initiatives, operating thrift stores, maintaining a service project website, and directly funding or partnering with other organizations. The value of all donations from the church in 2021 was $906 million.

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    Restoration Of The Church Of Jesus Christ

    While Jesus Christ was on the earth, He established His Church. Following His death and the deaths of His Apostles, some of the precious truths He taught and His sacred authority were lost for a time.11 This time period is known as the Great Apostasy.

    In the spring of 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith prayed to God with great concern for the salvation of his own soul and to know which church he should join. God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph12 and began to prepare him to bring back the precious truths and the sacred authority that had been lost from the Church Jesus Christ formed while on the earth. Under the Lords direction, Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830.

    Through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated an ancient record written by prophets who lived on the American continents and taught and testified of Jesus Christ.13 This ancient record is called the Book of Mormon and stands alongside the Bible as another testament that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind.

    Criticism Of Joseph Smith

    sharegoodness #thechurchofjesuschristoflatterdaysaints # ...

    In the 1830s, the church was criticized for Smith’s handling of a banking failure in Kirtland, Ohio. After the Mormons migrated west, there was fear and suspicion about the LDS Church’s political and military power in Missouri, culminating in the 1838 Mormon War and the Mormon Extermination Order by Governor Lilburn Boggs. In the 1840s, criticism of the church included its theocratic aspirations in Nauvoo, Illinois. Criticism of the practice of plural marriage and other doctrines taught by Smith were published in the Nauvoo Expositor. Opposition led to a series of events culminating in the death of Smith and his brother while jailed in 1844.

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    Cosmology And Plan Of Salvation

    The Mormon cosmology and plan of salvation include the doctrines of a pre-mortal life, an earthly mortal existence, three degrees of heaven, and exaltation.

    According to these doctrines, every human spirit is a spiritual child of a Heavenly Father, and each has the potential to continue to learn, grow, and progress in the eternities, eventually achieving eternal life, which is to become one with God in the same way that Jesus Christ is one with the Father, thus allowing the children of God to become divine beings that is, gods themselves. This view on the doctrine of theosis is also referred to as becoming a “joint-heir with Christ”. The process by which this is accomplished is called exaltation, a doctrine which includes the reunification of the mortal family after the resurrection and the ability to have spirit children in the afterlife and inherit a portion of God’s kingdom. To obtain this state of godhood, the church teaches that one must have faith in Jesus Christ, repent of his or her sins, strive to keep the commandments faithfully, and participate in a sequence of ceremonial covenants called ordinances, which include baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the endowment, and celestial marriage.

    Comparison With Other Denominations

    In the theology, and unlike some other Christian denominations, the Melchizedek priesthood is thought to be held by common mortals and not solely by either pre-Aaronic priests such as Melchizedek, or Jesus alone, as most protestants interpret the Epistle to the Hebrews. Smith taught that this priesthood was on the earth since Adam received it and conferred it upon his sons Abel and Seth, and it was conferred successively upon the early biblical patriarchs. Through it Enoch led his people to become so righteous and obedient that they qualified to be translated as the City of Enoch. Noah held this priesthood, as did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It remained on earth until the time of Moses, who received it “under the hand of his father-in-law, Jethro” and it would have been given to the Israelites if they had been worthy of it and had not “hardened their hearts”, however righteous Nephites held the priesthood called after the order of the Son of God because of “their exceeding faith”.

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