Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Why the Term "Mormons"?

We are often called "Mormons", a nickname based on our use of the Book of Mormon. Mormon was the name of a New World prophet and general who edited the gold plates with the sacred record now called the Book of Mormon. He died around 400 A.D. He is shown below as the wounded general with his son, Moroni, in this painting by Arnold Friberg. Some suspect that neither of these men were really quite this buff. Click to enlarge Feel free to use this image--and you can hotlink to it since it's from the LDS.org server and they don't mind for this image.

This image is from the MormonChurchDoctrine.org server. You can use it or even hotlink to it, as I have. Be sure to use the term "Mormon" with it. I'd like to see this become more prominent in Google's search results for Mormon. Click to enlarge.



Though "Mormon" was first used as a term of derision by our enemies, the name stuck and we've been using it ourselves for many years. However, some LDS people prefer to be called "Latter-day Saints" rather than Mormons, and many may be disappointed when people call the Church "the Mormon Church." Since there are some folks out there who spend a lot of time trying to tell people we don't even believe in Jesus Christ, changing the name of our Church to the nickname of "Mormon" plays into their hands. So remember that it's the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, never the Mormon Church, but personally I don't mind if you call us "Mormons" as long as you're at least trying to be polite.

18 comments:

Bookslinger said...

And I hope everyone always spells "MORMON" correctly.

I hate it when they leave out the 2nd "m".

Anonymous said...

Bookslinger you forgot my biggest peeve the ones who spell it "Morman". Calling me a moron doesn't bother me it shows a lack of maturity and a plethora of ignorance on the part of the person using the joke. The "Morman"ers specifically use it to denote that it is man made rather than from God. They are generally the types who know enough to convince the "Moron"ers that they shouldn't even bother figuring out even the most basic of our beliefs, and remain content only mocking.

Bookslinger said...

Eh. I have nothing against the Morman spelling. Jeff uses it in his blog name.

I like to think Morman just means "more MAN". IE, real men believe in God, Jesus, the prophets and apostles, etc.

openminded said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
openminded said...

Then what of a "more MAN" woman?

Hahaha, just kidding. A few friends of mine would ask me about this "Morman" person I know, and it's turned into one of my peeves too. To me, it's like a person using the wrong they're/there/their.

(by the way, I'm going under openminded right now rather than "id". OpenID throws an error every time I try to post)

Creek said...

It's interesting that Moroni is shown wearing a horned helmet that most people associate with Viking culture.

Anonymous said...

People know we believe in Jesus Christ. We just believe in a different Jesus.

Catholics, Protestants, and many other Churchs believe in one God. We have multiple Gods. Therefore our Jesus has a different genealogy.

Bookslinger said...

"More MAN" can be generic, like "mankind".

Bookslinger said...

A "Morman" woman might be someone who wants MORE in her MAN, or who wants a MAN who is MORE (than the average non-Morman man).

And if "real men love Jesus", then a Morman who is "More Man" would be more like such a real man.

chococatania said...

I agree with you and don't mind the nickname Mormon. I've found that people are already familiar with it. I also think that it is interesting that the Church uses Mormon (dot org) as their missionary website.

Whether or not people like it, we're known as being Mormons. It may not be such a bad thing. :)

openminded said...

Ha, new term of the week.

You know what might be an interesting article?

The origin of the term "anti-Mormon". I kinda wonder how long it took for the LDS to pick it up, it's somewhat like the early Christian church using the term heretic. Maybe there's an interesting story behind it (or maybe just a folklore kind of story).

catholic defender said...

Hi Jeff

Just an observation. My wife is mormon, but will often introduce her faith as LDS. When she does that most people have no idea what she's talking about. She then has to go back and say tell them she's Mormon. Everyone seems to understand her then. The name recognition probably goes back to the old TV commercials you folks had in the late 70's and early 80's wherein they all ended saying they were produce by the "Church of Jesus Christ...The Mormons." I'm probably dating myself to note that I remember those commercials, but the impact they had was people know who mormons are, they don't know who Latter Day Saints are.

The other thing I might point out, is the word "Saint" has a very different meaning to those of us who are not LDS. Being Catholic, when I use the term Saint, I'm speaking about a specific person such as St. Jude, patron saint of desperate causes. Or I am using the term to talk generally about certain people, i.e. the Communion of Saints. Many of the mainstream christian, non-catholic faiths have this understanding of the term. Having that understanding, likely causes some confusion in those faiths that only have the stereotypical understanding of Mormons. When you say Latter Day Saints, you may not be talking about the same thing to non-LDS. Like I said, just an observation.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

I don't mind people calling us Mormons as much anymore. It can be a great way to lead people to the Book of Mormon, therefore relating it to the gospel.

I actually dislike the "LDS" or "Latter Day Saint" label that we love to give ourself. The whole phrase seems a bit boastful to me, as many people understand "Saints" far differently than we do.

The best label may simply be to call yourself a "member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sometimes known as Mormons".

Anonymous said...

We are often called "Mormons," I don't mind if you call us "Mormons," etc.

Sheesh. It's almost as if Mormons themselves have not been calling themselves Mormons for the last, oh, 180 years.

This whole thing is about PR. It is faintly distasteful and doomed to fail. It's rather as if Jews, as a response to antisemitism, started insisting they no longer be called Jews and be called the People of the Book instead.

Anonymous said...

P.S. I absolute love the painting. My favorite Friberg of all. A little campy, defiantly weird, and obsessed with masculinity: quintessentially Mormon!

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is about PR. Yeah, like not calling us morons, baby-eaters, or zombies is about PR. Who likes bad and misleading PR?

Anonymous said...

"We just believe in a different Jesus." We? Nice try, anti.

catholic defender said...

Hi Anonymous of 8/13,

It isn't really an anti-mormon position to say you believe in a different Jesus. That's more of a matter of perspective and semantics. If one is of a Trinitarian belief, which most mainstream christian faiths are, then the view point of Jesus is different than that of the mormon belief of a separate and distinct being. For Trinitarians, Jesus is one with God, for Mormons he is separate from God. For both, he is still the Son of God, but the viewpoint is different. So it isn't completely incorrect to say that you believe in a different Jesus; its really just a different point of view.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender