The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was once known almost as an ethnic group.
In the past three-plus years, since President Russell M. Nelson took the helm of the 16.6 million-member global faith, elements of that identity have been stripped away.
Statues of the Angel Moroni, a figure from the faith’s signature scripture, the Book of Mormon, are rarely being added to the tops of new temples. The “live” endowment temple ritual, created as a kind of religious theater, has been replaced by a film. Class names for Young Women, including Beehive, Mia Maid and Laurels, have been scrapped. Long-standing outdoor pageants have ended. Nelson has declared that even using the name Mormon is a “major victory for Satan” and has generally prohibited its usage.
What’s happening to the Utah-based faith? Is it in danger of losing its identity?
Liz Layton Johnson, a Latter-day Saint blogger who lives in Saudi Arabia with her family, discusses those questions and more for a church she describes as “in flux” as it strives to chart a unifying, yet distinctive, future.
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