President Nelson discusses reaction to preferred name for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY — The leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke further about recently updated style guidelines regarding how to refer to the faith.

During a recent trip to several cities in Canada, President Russell M. Nelson spoke about last week’s guidelines discouraging the use of terms like “Mormon” or “LDS” in most instances.

According to Mormonnewsroom.org, President Nelson said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction to the announcement.

“We know that it’s going to be a challenge to undo tradition of more than a hundred years,” Nelson said Saturday in Montreal. “The Lord has told us what His Church shall be called. So, we’re not changing names, we’re correcting a name.”

Nelson also spoke more about the reason for the shift away from “Mormon” as a shorthand reference to the religion.

“We have to be careful to protect the name ‘Mormon.'” Nelson said. “The media will think that we are tossing it out. We aren’t. We just want to be accurate. Mormon was a man. He was a prophet. He was a writer, a record keeper. We honor him and treasure the book that bears his name. We’re talking about the name of the Church.”

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said they are committed to this effort to reinforce their correct name.

“There is such unity in the First Presidency and the Twelve on this subject,” he said. “The president has spoken; the Lord has spoken to the president. And this is going to be an extended, multi‑year effort, but this will not be something that will be attempted and then pulled back on.”

This is not the first time the issue of the name has been addressed by leaders of the faith.

M. Russell Ballard gave a talk titled “The Importance of a Name” in 2011 regarding the preferred way to refer to the faith.

Russell M. Nelson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, gave a talk titled “Thus Shall My Church Be Called” in 1990. 

Despite those efforts, the faith also embraced the “Mormon” moniker at various points in their history, creating the website mormon.org, producing a movie titled “Meet the Mormons”, and creating a series of videos centered around the phrase “I’m a Mormon.”