The Lord Just Called His Entire Church To Repentance.
One role of a prophet is to cry repentance, and that is what the prophet has just done. What am I talking about? How we as members of the Church, and even the Church itself, have not followed the counsel in D&C 115:4. “Thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” See, the Lord did not say, “This is what you should name the Church, but it’s ok to call yourselves ‘Mormon’”. He simply gave the name for His Church. The Lord is calling the entire church to repentance. President Russell M. Nelson, the man who we sustain as a prophet released the following:
The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months. (Bold added).
They also released guidelines (see here) that ask us to not to refer to the Church as the LDS Church, the Mormon Church, or as Mormonism. Also, that we do not refer to ourselves as Mormons, but rather, Latter-day Saints. Notice, the prophet said we have a work before us, meaning the whole church. This is a call by the prophet for everyone to repent; or in His words, “bring ourselves in harmony with His will.”
So… Will We Listen?
Immediately as a blogger, my mind started racing through the ramifications of what this would mean. I have countless articles that reference LDS or Mormon. I use those titles all the time to reach millions of people every year… But the Lord has spoken! So I decided I would no longer use those terms.
But questions remain: Should I go back and edit all the prior posts? Or just use the correct name moving forward? Half of the Facebook pages and groups that I am part of or follow have the word LDS or Mormon in them. What should they do? (An important to note: for some larger pages Facebook does not allow name changes as easily; so be patient).
Before I went to bed on the 16th I had already seen pages and groups changing their names to align with the Lord’s command, issued through the prophet. I am part of a group of Influencers (Big Bloggers, You Tubers, Vloggers, and Musicians.) that work with the church all the time. So I asked them what they were planning on doing. Some people were confirming immediately, some are seeking further guidance before acting, which is what I will do in regards to editing my old posts. Both of those stances I agree with, but there is another group of members who have shocked me. They are murmuring, attacking, saying this will just blow over. These comments and thoughts are not unique to the influencers but many members have the same feelings. I want to address five of these arguments.
1st. “This thing happens every couple decades, it will blow over.”
Probably the most common excuse I have heard from members who do not wish to follow the prophet is that this will blow over if we don’t obey. Here is the deal: They are right. The Lord has a history of revoking commandments due to the unfaithfulness of His saints. One example is the Israelites in the time of Moses. They refused to live the higher law, so God took it away and gave them the lower law. So yes, if we refuse to obey this command there is a good chance it won’t stick, but it won’t be because it was not the will of the Lord, but rather because His Saints have forsaken their covenants to hearken unto the counsel of God.
On August 18th at a devotional in Montréal Elder Neil L. Andersen offered this insight: “The president has spoken, the Lord has spoken to the president,” he said, “and this is going to be an extended, multi-year effort — but this will not be something that will be attempted and then pulled back from.”
2nd. “But others will keep using Mormon and Mormonism!”
This is another very common excuse, but since when is our keeping of the commandments conditional upon the world also keeping them? The world has always disobeyed the prophets (by and large) so why would it shock us if they do it again? Why should that change the way we chose to act? We are under covenant to obey the Lord and follow His Prophet regardless of what the world does or says.
President Nelson has also stated at the August 18th devotional: “It’s disingenuous for us to believe that we’re frustrated because others don’t call us by the right name when we don’t call us by the right name ourselves”
3rd. “But the Church used the terms ‘Mormon’ for ‘Mormon.org’, ‘Meet the Mormons’, ‘I’m A Mormon’ etc etc etc”
Yes, yes they did. But they also produced thousands of talks, documents, manuals, and lessons about Home Teaching. Did we reject the call to a more excellent way when Home Teaching was discontinued and we were called to more fully live our covenants and minister instead?
Here is the deal: the Church is a living and growing organization. As the prophet continues to lead and guide us, everything except for the unchangeable doctrines are on the table. So if you think this change is hard, you better buckle up because more is coming that will surely test even the elect.
4th. “But we need to continue to use it for missionary work!”
At first glance this may look like a somewhat ‘noble’ thought, but who’s Kingdom are we trying to build? Do we seriously think that we can disobey the Lord to build His Kingdom? That thought makes reason stare! In our minds, we might think the best way to share the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ online is to use the terms LDS and Mormon, but I would argue that keeping our covenants and following the prophet is actually the best way.
5th. “But SEO, Google, and Anti!”
I have heard countless members murmur about this command by the Lord with the retort “But SEO (Search engine optimization), Google, and the Anti!” I have to wonder where this train of thought leads. Are they inferring that Jesus forgot to calculate SEO before He inspired the prophet? Or maybe it is inferring that President Nelson has gone rogue? Surely none of these are the intent and meaning behind their words, but they are the only logical ends of the murmuring train of thought. Yes, we don’t understand how SEO, Google and combating anti messages online will be effectively done with this change. But quite frankly, I am sure many of the Israelites had some worries while Moses led them straight into a “dead end” known as the Red Sea. Yet they followed.
But Will We Listen?
The great question about the call to use the proper name for the Church and its members is simple: Whose side will we be on? God and His prophet, or another? Will we decide we know better and walk by our own light? Or will we decide that the Lord truly knows how to best lead His Church? And remember that the Lord gives us commandments for our own good. I listened to President Nelson’s 1990 talk (below) and gained a witness that this is the will of the Lord and that He is calling us to repentance for He has blessings in store for us that we haven’t been able to claim yet. So let us repent and follow the prophet and proudly declare to the world: Yes, I am a Saint, a Latter-day Saint! A follower of Jesus Christ in the last days! A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!”
And if you have a hesitancy to call yourself a Saint rather than a Mormon listen to President Nelsons talk and it will remove all doubt that this is the will of the Lord.