The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued its move away from the monikers “Mormon” and “LDS” on Tuesday by introducing its new web address.
Mormon.org, intended for outsiders, will be incorporated eventually into the new domain as well, stated a news release, but merging it with the member-focused ChurchofJesusChrist.org will take more time.
The faith plans to unify all these websites into a new, more cohesive and personalized experience under the ChurchofJesusChrist.org domain, the release added. Until that time, Mormon.org is now ComeuntoChrist.org.
Last year, church President Russell M. Nelson urged members, media, scholars and the public at large to cease using “Mormon” and “LDS” as shortened nicknames for the faith and its members.
Using those nicknames, Nelson said during October’s General Conference, is a “major victory for Satan.”
Emphasizing the full name of the church, said the 94-year-old Latter-day Saint leader, increases the focus on Jesus not only in media portrayals but in members’ minds and hearts.
“Every day we should ask ourselves, ‘How can we better live as Jesus Christ taught and lived?’” Nelson said in a news release. “This mindset will help fill our lives, our homes, our neighborhoods, and our churches with more of Christ’s light and power.”
The church also has adjusted several social media accounts. A new Facebook group has been dubbed “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Inspiration and News." The faith’s Twitter account will continue to be called “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” with the username of @ChurchNewsroom.
Some church mobile apps are getting new monikers as well. For instance, LDS Music is now “Sacred Music.”
The name shift is a “complex effort in numerous global languages and much work remains,” wrote the faith’s governing First Presidency in a letter Tuesday to Latter-day Saint leaders throughout the world. “We encourage all to be patient and courteous as we work together to use and share the proper name of the church.”
Nelson launched this latest name push in August, stating that God had "impressed upon my mind the importance of the name he has revealed for his church,”
He acknowledged from the start that it will take time to fully implement. “It’s going to be a challenge to undo tradition of more than a hundred years,” he told a congregation of Latter-day Saints in Montreal last summer. " ... It’s not Mormon’s church. It’s not Moses’ church. It’s the Church of Jesus Christ.”
Mormon was an ancient prophet in the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, which retains its proper historic title.
This effort is not a name change, not rebranding, not cosmetic, not a whim and not inconsequential, Nelson explained in the fall conference. “It is the command of the Lord.”
The church’s name “is not negotiable,” said the man members consider a “prophet, seer and revelator” who took the reins of the 16 million-member faith in January 2018. “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. And if we allow nicknames to be used and adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, he is offended.”
Latter-day Saint authorities attempted a similar name campaign just before Salt Lake City hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics. That drive ended about a decade later. In fact, the church then embraced the term “Mormon,” launching its “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign and releasing a “Meet the Mormons” movie.
Nelson, a former heart surgeon, has the full backing of the top church leaders in this naming drive.
“There is such unity in the [governing] First Presidency and the Twelve [apostles] on this subject. The president has spoken; the Lord has spoken to the president,” apostle Neil L. Andersen said last summer. “And this is going to be an extended, multiyear effort, but this will not be something that will be attempted and then pulled back on.”