Nighthawk, no offense was given. That is how it was explained to me and I passed on. For me, I have never liked being called a Mormon, I don't know why, I just find it an insult, and a degrading one at that. I think that if we were to start calling ourselves what we are, then maybe it would sink in that we are Saints not only in name but in thought, in action, in all that we do.
Although, you can use any name: Mormon or Latter-Day Saint, I actually like to say I am "Christian". It helps everyone know to whom I worship. I also add the full name of the Church afterwards. However, if someone says, "Oh, you're a Mormon" it does not offend me in the least.
One of the reasons that I am pleased to refer to myself as a Mormon is that if it was good enough for my grandfather, it is good enough for me.
I don't remember, in any of the talks by Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, John Taylor, or Wilford Woodruff, them even hinting that the Saints shouldn't refer to themselves as Mormons. In fact, I remember MANY talks by all of them where they freely interchange references to the "Saints" and "Mormons".
My grandfather would always talk about a song he learned in Primary, in the very early 1900s. It was titled "I am a Mormon boy".
I see the dislike for the term "Mormon" to be going along with all the other attempts to hide much of our Nineteenth Century heritage - such as polygamy. If someone notices a Book of Mormon on my desk, they are likely to ask me if I am a Mormon, then ask about my beliefs. Likewise if I tell someone that I attended BYU or lived in Utah. I am rarely asked if I am a Latter-day Saint.
Finally, since I DO believe in the peculiar doctrines that define "Mormonism" and "Mormons", many of which are currently out of favor in the Church, I am pleased to be known as a Mormon.
|Someone described the differences like this, A Latter-Day Saint is someone who is keeping the Commandments to the best of their ability a true Saint (if you would), while Mormons are pretty much like Nicolations (see Revelation) they want to belong to the church, at the same time they like to live a worldly standard.|
|For me, I have never liked being called a Mormon, I don't know why, I just find it an insult, and a degrading one at that|
|Many of our people are disturbed by the practice of the media, and of many others, to disregard totally the true name of the Church and to use the nickname "the Mormon Church". |
Six months ago in our conference Elder Russell M. Nelson delivered an excellent address on the correct name of the Church. He quoted the words of the Lord Himself:
"Thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (D & C 115:4)
He then went on to discourse on the various elements of that name. I commend to you a rereading of his talk.
The Mormon church, of course, is a nickname. And nicknames have a way of becoming fixed. I think of the verse concerning a boy and his name:
Father calls me William,
Sister calls me Will,
Mother calls me Willie,
But the fellers call me Bill.
("Jest 'Fore Christmas")
I suppose that regardless of our efforts, we may never convert the world to general use of the full and correct name of the Church. Because of the shortness of the word Mormon and the ease with which it is spoken and written, they will continue to call us the Mormons, the Mormon church, and so forth.
They could do worse. More than fifty years ago, when I was a missionary in England, I said to one of my associates, "How can we get people, including our own members, to speak of the Church by its proper name?"
He replied, "You can't. The word Mormon is too deeply ingrained and too easy to say." He went on, "I've quit trying. While I'm thankful for the privilege of being a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of the Church which bears His name, I am not ashamed of the nickname Mormon."
"Look," he went on to say, "if there is any name that is totally honorable in its derivation, it is the name Mormon. And so, when someone asks me about it and what it means, I quietly say, 'Mormon means more good.' "
(The Prophet Joseph Smith first said this in 1843; see Times and Seasons, 4:194; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 299-300.)
His statement intrigued me: Mormon means "more good." I knew, of course, that "more good" was not a derivative of the word Mormon. I had studied both Latin and Greek, and I knew that English is derived in some measure from those two languages and that the words more good are not a cognate of the word Mormon. But his was a positive attitude based on an interesting perception. And, as we all know, our lives are guided in large measure by our perceptions. Ever since, when I have seen the word Mormon used in the media to describe us--in a newspaper or a magazine or book or whatever--there flashes into my mind his statement, which has become my motto: Mormon means "more good."
We may not be able to change the nickname, but we can make it shine with added luster.
Here in Utah, LDS or Latter-day Saint is used more often, I think, than in other places, both by Mormons and non-members. I've just called myself a Mormon, as I do quite often, so I guess I don't mind being called Mormon. For me, it's easier because it clarifies right away which Church I belong to. LDS or Latter-day Saint is sometimes met with confusion or a blank stare. Once someone asked, "Do you mean Mormon?" When I answered that I did they said, "Why didn't you say that in the first place?"
"Latter-day Saint" is the official designation for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (note the capitalization). "Mormon" is a nickname, first applied to members by their antagonists, rather like "Christian" in the I and II. It ("Mormon") has become, again like "Christian", more or less accepted.
I, however, dislike the name when applied to anyone other than the prophet Mormon because it implies that we worship a being with the name. We do not. We worship Jesus Christ and His Father--not Mormon, not Joseph Smith, not today's prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley.
The word "saint" usually calls to mind a person of a certain character. We Saints try to achieve those kinds of traits in our lives. It is a call to live the higher laws of the Savior, and I believe that it helps us focus in that direction.
The Bible, as I hinted earlier, does not unambiguously positively use the word "Christian" to refer to members of Christ's meridian church. In fact, it only uses the word thrice. In at least two of those instances, it is fairly clear that the term was derogatory: Paul before Agrippa, Peter's admonition to show the non-followers what being a "Christian" was really about. The third is simply a historical note recognizing the the Saints were first called "Christians" in Antioch. It does not say they called themselves "Christians" in any biblical passage.
The term "Christian" could easily have been a taunt. "Christ", as you know, means "anointed one", and is a political title equivalent to crown prince. By calling the early saint "Christians" their enemies could have been saying, "You are followers of the crown prince who couldn't even claim his kingdom." In other words, "the failed prince", rather like the Roman soldiers "crowning" Him, kneeling before Him, hailing Him, and giving Him a "scepter" (and then beating Him with it).
The terms regularly used in the Bible to describe those members are "saints", "brethren (brothers)", "disciples", "followers", etc. In the modern church (I.e., The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), we use the terms "saints", "brothers", "sisters", "members", etc. I will not say that we "follow the Bible" in this, since this arose from our modern scriptures. I will say that our practice is in line with biblical usage, quite unlike that of most modern Christian churches.
Mormon, while a great prophet and leader of his people, was a man. So, to call us "Mormons" is not a grave insult, but it does imply something quite at odds with our fundamental beliefs, e.g., that He, Jesus Christ, is the Creator and Savior of the world. It would be much as if people called Christians, "Paulines", since he, Paul, was such a great meridian Apostle and author of such a huge fraction of the New Testament.
Edited: Lehi on 23rd Apr, 2007 - 1:17am
Lehi, interesting information. Are you aware of the statement of Pres. Hinckley concerning the word "Mormon".
I know of a few members who think the same way you do but let's not forget that the word "Mormon" does not come from the Prophet itself but from a place. We do not know how the place got its name by the Prophet Mormon got it from it.
I personally rather Latter-Day Saint but I am not at all against the use of the word "Mormon", I can even think in Spanish and most people would refer themselves as "Mormones" since the term "Santo de los Ultimos Dias" (LDS) sounds extremely odd and may get people confused as to what exactly we are.
|Are you aware of the statement of Pres. Hinckley concerning the word "Mormon".|
|... let's not forget that the word "Mormon" [comes] from a place. We do not know how the place got its name ... .|
|I am not at all against the use of the word "Mormon", ... most [Spanish speaking] people would refer themselves as "Mormones" since the term "Santo de los Ultimos Dias" (LDS) sounds extremely odd and may get people confused as to what exactly we are.|