The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Utah-based faith which has long been known as the Mormon church or (Latter Day Saints) LDS. Because of its eight-word name, both members and nonmembers of this church have used those abbreviations. For example, their choir is called the Mormon Tabenacle Choir; they have the LDS Business College; even the church's official websites uses the word "Mormon." An interesting point to note is that the church released a 2014 documentary film meant to raise awareness of the church titled "Meet the Mormons" and also started the "I'm a Mormon" campaign.
But the church's leader, President Russell M. Nelson, took a new stand and announced that he wants people to stop using abbreviations like "Mormon" and "LDS". “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,” Nelson said in a statement, as Washington Post reports. “We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will.” Added Nelson, who is believed by tradition to be a prophet: “In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so.”
The word "Mormon" was first used as a derogatory term in the 19th century by those who were not members of the church. But members of the church soon began to embrace the name and by the 20th century it was in widely used. Nowadays both members of the church and those who are not followers of the faith use the term “Mormon” or the abbreviation “LDS,” even outside of the United States this church is widely known as the Mormon church.
After the announcement by Mr. Nelson, the church updated it's style guide which now specifies that “Mormon Church,” “Mormons” and “Mormonism” are no longer acceptable. The only exceptions listed are for the Book of Mormon, the church’s sacred text, and historical names like the Mormon Trail, a government-recognized path that members of the church took from Illinois to Utah in the mid-19th century. According to New York Times, Dr. Benett, the professor at Brigham Young University, said that in making this policy change, the church may wish to associate itself with the wider Christian world by referring to Jesus Christ in its name. “There are many who don’t think the church is Christian, that it might be some sort of cult or something,” Dr. Bennett added. “It is putting front and center our earnest belief in Christ and his mission.”
Photo Credits: The Daily Utah Chronicle