“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
— 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 KJV
One of the earliest memories I have of my grandpa is him teaching me a jingle that went like this:
I’m a Mormon
He’s a Mormon
She’s a Mormon
We’re all Mormons
Wouldn’t you like to be a Mormon too?
Be a Mormon
Read The Book of Mormon
I grew up listening to The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and in 2014 when the movie “Meet the Mormons” came out, I was thrilled. To me, the nickname Mormon evoked a sense of pride. It was synonymous with virtue and godliness. The Mormon church was the proverbial city on a hill.
Former LDS prophet, Thomas S. Monson unabashedly used the term Mormon in a poem he shared in his General Conference talk “Dare to Stand Alone.”
Dare to be a Mormon;
Dare to stand alone.
Dare to have a purpose firm;
Dare to make it known.(Thomas S. Monson, “Dare to Stand Alone”, October 2011 General Conference)
Gordon B. Hinkley, another LDS prophet, defended the nickname when he quoted a friend as saying,
“Look, if there is any name that is totally honorable in its derivation, it is the name Mormon.” He went on to say,
“Anyone who comes to know the man Mormon, through the reading and pondering of his words, anyone who reads this precious trove of history which was assembled and preserved in large measure by him, will come to know that Mormon is not a word of disrepute, but that it represents the greatest good—that good which is of God.”(Gordon B. Hinkley, “Mormon Should Mean ‘More Good’”, October 1990 General Conference)
I even used the “M-word” in my book, “A Biblical Defense of Mormonism.” I didn’t just like the name because of what it represented: the priesthood, new scripture, and temples. I loved it because it was honest. If I told someone I was Mormon, they knew exactly what I believed.
I knew the nickname Mormon wasn’t official. It was important to acknowledge Christ in the name of our church to prove we were His followers. But the term Mormon differentiated us from other Christians.
Why would I want to be associated with them anyway? We had the restored gospel. We had eternal marriage and living prophets and apostles.
If an organization that was the byproduct of the great apostasy could bear the title Christian, then that designation wasn’t good enough.
Things took a drastic turn in 2018 when President Nelson spoke out against and disavowed the word Mormon. He said:
“What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the ‘LDS Church,’ the ‘Mormon Church,’ or the ‘Church of the Latter-day Saints,’ the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement.”(President Russell M. Nelson, “The Correct Name of the Church”, October 2018 General Conference)
The church immediately rebranded and the name Mormon went down the sinkhole. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir changed its name to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.
Websites like Mormon.org and LDS.org were updated to comeuntochrist.org and churchofjesuschrist.org. The longstanding symbol of the church changed from Moroni holding a trumpet to the Christus statue.
When referring to Latter-day Saints as Mormons online, I’m frequently asked what that is, like they’ve never heard that word in their lives. Not long ago, I might have been called “ex-Mormon” or “anti-Mormon”. Now I guess I’m an antichrist, which is weird since I absolutely love Jesus. Actually, let’s get to the heart of the matter. It’s not so much that things are weird, but that this whole metamorphosis reeks of dishonesty.
Let me explain. Before when I said I was Mormon, all the cards were on the table. Yes, there were negative perceptions that went along with that, but it provided a starting place. There was nothing stopping me from explaining that I believed in Christ and then talking over any questions people had. It was honest, and it differentiated me from apostate Christianity.
With the erasure of the name Mormon, no cards go on the table. This is understandable since negative associations with Mormonism exist. But things are actually a lot worse than that. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints isn’t just clearing the table, they’re putting out Protestant cards when they define themselves.
For example, let’s look at the new website domains, starting with churchofjesuschrist.org. Do you realize that all Christians think they form Christ’s church? Then there’s comeuntochrist.org. Again, coming to Christ is the goal of all Christians everywhere. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that the church is anything but a typical Protestant denomination.
Another example is the change from “home teaching” to “ministering”, which is a very Protestant word. What was so wrong with Home and Visiting Teaching that a name change was necessary? As an outsider looking in, the game plan is obvious. By putting down Protestant cards, the LDS church is able to trick unsuspecting victims into dropping their guard so they can manipulate them into joining the church with greater ease.
This should be alarming since it’s the same way the devil operates. According to 2 Nephi 26:22 he leads people with flaxen cords before binding them with strong cords forever. Chapter 31 of the Gospel Principles manual has this to say about honesty:
“When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.”(https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-31-honesty?lang=eng)
My friends, truth doesn’t operate from the shadows. If you begin a theological discussion and feel the need to hide your views, withhold sensitive information, or mimic someone’s beliefs and engage in spiritual guerrilla warfare, then you need to reconsider whether your religion is true.
Although I’m no longer LDS, I think discarding the name Mormon was a mistake. According to President Nelson if you don’t emphasize Christ you disregard the atonement. But there’s another side to the coin.
When your website, logo, and language change to match Protestantism, the most important thing is the absence of revelation and priesthood authority. When you hide or delay what differentiates you from other Christians, you subtly disregard everything Joseph Smith did for you, including the restoration.
To my LDS readers I ask, do you worship a God of confusion? Did everyone who embraced the word Mormon, including Gordon B. Hinkley and Thomas S. Monson disregard the atonement? Were your former prophets deceived into handing victory over to Satan? Certainly, that position is untenable, but so is the alternative. President Nelson has transformed the church into a pseudo-Protestant look-alike and embraced the great apostasy.
If this is where continuing revelation leads, then count me out. I already belong to a real Protestant church and have no need for a knockoff brand. The LDS church is either a restoration of original Christianity, in which case having it stoop to the level of apostate churches is a sin against God, or it’s a parasite that feeds off Christian culture and language.
Which do you think it is?