It’s old news that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been trying to scrub the M-word (Mormon) from public use.
The idea being that if it’s pushed long enough, eventually the rest of the world will grow accustomed to us being recognized as something other than Mormons.
Fat chance. The public has its own idea about how things like that work. No matter how much lipstick you put on a moose, it’s still a moose. My guess is we’ll still be Mormons a hundred years from now.
This brings us to an important point: When might the church get around to the biggest rebrand of all — finding a new title for its signature scripture, the Book of Mormon?
Seems ironic to try to erase the very title that made us Mormons in the first place. We could change the title to “The Book of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” but that’s long and not very catchy. Also, the spine would need to be wider to get that all in, and the book itself — like all religious texts — is 10 times longer than it needs to be to get the important stuff across.
Not that anyone asked, but thinking up titles for books is something I’ve done. Ten times in fact. Actually, it was Pat Bagley who thought up the title for our first collaboration: “Sunday of the Living Dead.” The next one was my choice: “Pat & Kirby Go to Hell.”
If we’re going to change the title of the BOM, it has to be catchy. “The Book of Joseph Smith” is a bad idea. While it makes sense since we received it through him, it wouldn’t really stand out on a shelf.
Since the BOM is purported to be “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” set in the ancient Americas, maybe “A Tale of Two Continents” would work.
“The Golden Plates” (paperback edition) is short and to the point, but too many people might mistake it for a read on royal place settings.
The “Book of Moron” would appeal to those who think God talk is bunk, but by that definition “The Babble” seems an equally fitting substitute for the Bible. Seriously, have you ever read that thing all the way through?
My first choice would be “The Book of Murder,” since that’s essentially the way the BOM starts. Allow me to paraphrase: “It was a dark and stormy night when someone hacked the head off a helpless drunk, stole his stuff and kidnapped his servant.”
Sounds bloody but then most religious books are.
Given that eliminating the word “Mormon” from the Book of Mormon has yet to — and might never — happen, perhaps considerable thought/revelation is still being given/received to such a major jump.
Could it be possible that in addition to the title, the rebranded BOM would feature more female characters than the original? The current one mentions only a handful of women by name. My guess is that even a newly titled volume wouldn’t include more female characters or influence to the book, in which case “The Book of More Men” might be a perfect fit.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.