For many years The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has embraced their nickname “Mormon” for which they  are well known. However, on August 16th, 2018 church leader president Russell M. Nelson announced a new focus on the full name of the church in which he stated, “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 Nelson later stated “We’re not changing names. We’re correcting a name — that’s important to note.” 

This church has used the nickname in many different instances such as creating a campaign called I’m a Mormon in which church members shared their story, and a feature film called Meet the Mormons which shared the story of six church members.

Despite this announcement, the church explains that name will not be done away with completely. They explain there are still cases in which the name is still appropriate to use, such as historic sites or The Book of Mormon, one of the church’s book of scriptures from which the nickname originated. 

University of Calgary religious studies professor Irving Hexham explains that he has seen similar changes in other religions such as an offshoot of the 7th day Adventists that in recent years has moved back towards Christian beliefs, and he thinks that President Nelson’s announcement could have a similar impact.

“It could be a move towards more traditional Christianity,” he says.

Tyler Butler who teaches adult classes for this church explains that from what he has seen many church members are welcoming of this change.

“I think they recognize that there was just a small course correction, and a bit of a wording correction, and they love the idea that we are focusing more directly on Jesus Christ,” Butler says.

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Editor: Megan Atkins-Baker | matkins-baker@cjournal.ca