The president of the Mormon church declared Sunday that referring to the church by anything other than its full name is a “victory for Satan.”
Russell M. Nelson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, made the claim as part of the church’s recent push for church leaders, members, and the media to stop referring to the church as the “Mormon church” or the “LDS church.” Nelson, who spoke before the church’s twice annual conference, said that the church’s name “is not negotiable.” (RELATED: Mormon Church Supports Medical Marijuana For Utah)
“When the Savior clearly states what the name of his church should be, and even precedes his declaration with, ‘Thus shall my church be called,’ he is serious,” Nelson said, according to The Associated Press. “And if we allow nicknames to be used and adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, he is offended.”
Nelson clarified that his edict is not a change of the church’s name, “It is the command of the Lord.”
He asserted that any time someone refers to the church by a shortened name, even “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” it is “a major victory for Satan,” because to do so is to “discard the savior’s name.”
“We are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us — even his Atonement,” when referring to the church by a shortened name, Nelson said according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
Nelson’s reiteration of his August edict came after Friday’s announcement that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir had changed its name to Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square to accommodate the edict.
The term “Mormon” is derived from the church’s holy book, The Book of Mormon, which they believe is composed of the writings of a prophet named Mormon. While members of the church believe that the church’s full name was divinely revealed to Joseph Smith in 1838, they regarded the name “Mormon” as applied to the church and its members as an “unofficial but inoffensive nickname for members.”
Given how ingrained the use of the term “Mormon Church” is in modern vernacular, Nelson urged church members to be patient and to gently correct others who use the nickname.
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