Don’t let the nicknames of the “Mormon Church” or “Mormons” or “Mormonism” confuse you. For all that we use those terms here (because we know these nicknames are used often…and we know the name of the church seems long!), we also believe that name is extremely significant. Sacred, even. As M. Russell Ballard recently taught in the October 2011 General Conference of the church, we believe that
The Lord Jesus Christ knew how important it was to clearly name His Church in these latter days. In the 115th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, He Himself named the Church: “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (verse 4).
Elder Ballard’s talk explains how each part of this name is significant, and because of that, rather than being a long name, it’s actually a “descriptive overview of what the Church is…wonderfully brief, candid, and straightforward. How could any description be more direct and clear and yet expressed in such few words?”
“The” — We believe this Church is the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
“Church of Jesus Christ” – we believe Jesus Christ is the head of this church
“of Latter-day” expands on our belief regarding the restoration — that the church of Jesus Christ existed anciently, but then there was a falling away, necessitating the bringing back, or restoration, of truths, authority, ordinances necessary as part of the Savior’s church
“Saints” — saints in ancient times were simply members of Jesus’ church, disciples of Jesus, people trying to follow Him and testify of Him
Jesus Christ really is the center of all we do. We pray in His name, perform ordinances by His authority, remember Him and His atoning sacrifice in our ordinances, preach of Him, testify of Him. The Book of Mormon is another testament or witness of Him. It helps us understand all the more why the Savior is so essential in our lives and in God’s plan.
So in all of this “Mormon Moment” media attention, please remember what we really are about by remembering the Church’s full name. We are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.