We are not ‘Mormon’

by Chelsea Craven

A family sitting in the park

In October 2018 President Russell M Nelson, in a General Conference address, told us about the Church’s resolve to remove the use of ‘Mormon’ in reference to the Lord’s Church and its members.

I am very grateful for this directive and strive to do all I can to make sure everyone knows I am not a ‘Mormon’ and nor is it the name of the Church I attend. I worship and follow Jesus Christ.

About a year later, I was awkwardly trying to find a topic to study for my dissertation. My degree is in journalism, and I knew that the matter of faith isn’t a popular choice in journalism. As I struggled with my project, I decided to include in my preliminary thesis some things that certain UK media enterprises did in covering stories about the Church and its members. Eventually my whole dissertation ended up being a small analysis of the use of ‘Mormon’ by the Guardian and the Daily Mail in online media.

My research and results were fascinating. I learned that these organisations were just throwing the word ‘Mormon’ around hoping the audiences would be able to make sense of what they meant and hoping it would provide a popular effect. However, I thought the audience were likely to be more confused by its use than the journalists.

There are at least three prominent and very different churches in America that are recognised as ‘Mormon’. One of them openly practices polygamy and uses the word ‘Mormons’ for their members. The confused journalists I was interviewing at the time, said that all these people, including me, were ‘Mormons’ according to their understanding, and the understanding of their audiences; this was in late 2019 and early 2020.

It didn’t take too long to realise how important it is for UK members of the Church to do their best to ensure the correct use of the name of the Church. I’ve not yet perfected my dissertation enough for me to feel comfortable in publishing it. However, the impact the project had on me was profound, and I did get a good grade. I’m proud of it. I will share it eventually with those who are interested.

There is a special spirit that comes into our hearts when we firmly ensure correct use of the name of the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in our hearts, minds, and conversations. My understanding and faith that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church and guides the policies, teachings, and operations of the Church, has grown. I have felt so much closer to the Saviour because of it.