SALT LAKE CITY — “What’s in a name? Or in this case, a nickname?”
In the Sunday morning session of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 188th Semiannual General Conference, Church President Russell M. Nelson expounded on his August statement about the importance of using the Church’s full name, rather than using nicknames like “the Mormon church” or “the LDS church.”
“We have unwittingly acquiesced, in the Lord’s restored church, to being called by other names,” President Nelson said. “The most glaring omission is the absence of the Lord’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s church is a major victory for Satan.”
President Nelson characterized the directive as a “course correction,” emphasizing, “It is not a name change. It is not rebranding. It is not cosmetic. It is not a whim. And it is not inconsequential. Instead, it is a correction.”
President Nelson said the correction highlights “the importance of the name [Jesus Christ] decreed for his church.”
“Joseph Smith did not name the church restored through him. Neither did Mormon,” President Nelson said. “It was the Savior himself who said, ‘for thus shall my church be called in the last days, even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.'”
President Nelson said the response to his initial announcement has been “mixed” — while many members have been quick to change the church’s name on their blogs and social media accounts, others have critiqued it as inconsequential or as a poor branding strategy.
“If this were a discussion about branding a manmade organization, those arguments might prevail,” President Nelson said in response. “But in this crucial matter, we look to Him whose church this is and acknowledge that the Lord’s ways are not and never will be man’s ways. If we are patient and we do our part well, the Lord will lead us through this important task.”
President Nelson asked that members lead the charge in using the Church’s full name.
“It is disingenuous for us to be frustrated that most of the world calls the Church and its members by the wrong name if we do the same.”
He also offered a humorous suggestion for how to respond to the question, “Are you a Mormon?” President Nelson encouraged members to reply, “Are you asking me if I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Why yes, I am!”
Before closing his address, President Nelson promised “blessings the likes of which we’ve never seen” in this new chapter of the church’s history.
“So, what’s in a name? When it comes to the name of the Lord’s church, the answer is, everything.”