‘Mormons’ no more, local church leaders stress new language

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — This week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ramped up an ongoing campaign to phase out terms like “Mormons,” to refer to church members.

This week, the church announced websites, email, and social media accounts referencing “Mormons” and “LDS” are being phased out.

“If people are hearing us for the first time and we introduce ourselves as ‘Mormons’, they miss on the opportunity on the fact that we do worship Jesus Christ and that is the central figure, as far as our church is concerned,” Dennis Cato, the president of Latter Day Saints’ Stake in Independence said.

Cato said referring to the church and its members by the full name is a return to the faith’s very beginnings. The Latter Day Saints have a long connection to Jackson County, going back to church founder Joseph Smith’s revelations near present-day downtown Independence.

“What we’re trying to do now is, the direction needs to go back to the institutional name which has been, like I said, in existence since 1838,” Cato said. “And it’s good that we focus ourselves on Jesus Christ, particularly in the world we live in today.”

Some examples of the changes:

  • The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is now called The Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square.
  • Instead of calling members “Mormons” or “LDS Members”, church elders suggest “Latter Day Saints”.
  • For shorthand, rather than referring to the faith as “Mormonism”, the church suggests “The Church of Jesus Christ”.

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