President Russell M. Nelson stood before a worldwide congregation Oct. 7, 2018, and spoke of being “compelled to discuss with you a matter of great importance” — the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The name of the church is not negotiable,” said President Nelson. "When the Savior clearly states what the name of His church should be … He is serious. And if we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, he is offended.”
The conference address was proceeded six weeks earlier by an Aug. 16 statement by President Nelson:
“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,” he wrote. “We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.”
In conjunction with the statement, the Church released an updated Newsroom style guide.
On Tuesday, March 5, the First Presidency announced changes to the names of LDS.org, Mormon.org and other Church communication channels.
As a result:
- LDS.org became ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
- Mormon.org changed to ComeUntoChrist.org.
- Church social media accounts now emphasize the name of the Savior’s Church.
“Jesus Christ is at the center of his church and we will be blessed as we strive to make Him the center of our lives,” wrote the First Presidency in a letter titled, “Using the correct name of the Church.”
Church websites, social media accounts, mobile apps, and email domains were all impacted by the changes.
“This is a complex effort in numerous global languages and much work remains,” wrote the First Presidency in the letter. “We encourage all to be patient and courteous as we work together to use and share the proper name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world.”
Over time, many church communication channels in English will become part of ChurchofJesusChrist.org. In coming months, Church websites and social media accounts in other languages will be adjusted following a similar pattern, according to the letter.
The Church’s name came from the Lord Jesus Christ in revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 115:4: “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
In his address last October, President Nelson directed members to call the church by the name of Jesus Christ “because it is His Church, filled with His power.”
“I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s church, he whose church this is will pour down his power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen,” said President Nelson.
President Nelson has long championed the use of the Church’s divinely given name.
More than 28 years ago, then-Elder Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles delivered a general conference address entitled “Thus Shall My Church Be Called.”
Elder Nelson said to “note carefully” the language of the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 115:4:
“He did not say, 'Thus shall my church be named.' He said, 'Thus shall my church be called.' Years ago, its members were cautioned by the Brethren who wrote: 'We feel that some may be misled by the too frequent use of the term ‘Mormon Church.’ Before any other name is considered to be a legitimate substitute, the thoughtful person might reverently consider the feelings of the Heavenly Parent who bestowed that name.”
Elder Nelson then examined the key words in the name of the Church — saints, Latter-day, Jesus Christ and the church— offering insights into their sacred significance.
Members of Christ’s Church are “privileged to participate” in its divine destiny, he concluded. “May we so honor Him who declared, ‘Thus shall my church be called … The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ ”
One of President Nelson’s prophetic predecessors, President George Albert Smith, spoke in his 1948 October General Conference of the divine significance of the name of the restored Church of Jesus Christ:
“Brethren and sisters, when you go away from here, you may be associating with various denominations of the world, but remember that there is only one church in all the world that by divine command bears the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
As a result of President Nelson’s correcting the name of the church, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir made immediate changes to “to better align” with the new directive. They announced a new name — The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square — on Oct. 5, 2018.
“We are at the forefront of the church as far as brand recognition, so I knew that we would have the opportunity to change our name,” Choir president Ron Jarrett told the Church News. “It is an opportunity to follow the prophet. It is an opportunity to move the choir forward. It is an opportunity to be where we should be.”
The Church News also updated its name and online presence, shifting from LDSChurchNews.com to theChurchNews.com.
Following is the updated style guide regarding to name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
The official name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The full name was given by revelation from God to Joseph Smith in 1838.
- In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
- When a shortened reference is needed, the terms "the church" or the "church of Jesus Christ" are encouraged. The "restored Church of Jesus Christ" is also accurate and encouraged.
- While the term "Mormon Church" has long been publicly applied to the church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the church discourages its use. Thus, please avoid using the abbreviation "LDS" or the nickname "Mormon" as substitutes for the name of the church, as in "Mormon Church," "LDS Church," or "Church of the Latter-day Saints."
- When referring to Church members, the terms "members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" or "Latter-day Saints" are preferred. We ask that the term "Mormons" not be used.
- "Mormon" is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon or when used as an adjective in such historical expressions as "Mormon Trail."
- The term "Mormonism" is inaccurate and should not be used. When describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the term "the restored gospel of Jesus Christ" is accurate and preferred.
- When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, it should be stated that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not affiliated with polygamous groups.