Why are we called Mormons?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the official name of the Mormon Church. Sometimes it is referred to as the LDS church or just LDS, short for “Latter-day Saint.” Many Mormons prefer to be called as LDS because it better communicates our relationship with God and our church. The nickname Mormon came about because we believe in The Book of Mormon, a book of scripture that serves as a companion to the Bible and serves as another testament of Jesus Christ. It is called “The Book of Mormon” because Mormon was the prophet who compiled and abridged multiple collections of scripture from the ancient Americas into what is now known as The Book of Mormon.

I believe it is important to know the real name of our church because it points out something very important that sometimes people don’t realize – we are Christians. We are followers of Christ and believe him to be our Savior. We believe in the Bible and the Book of Mormon because they teach of Christ. There is a verse in the Book of Mormon that states it quite clearly. Alma 46:15:

“And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were    true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians     as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.”

Though we are commonly called Mormons or LDS, we are most importantly Christians. Our church, our books of scripture, our teachings and our lives are all centered on Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

7 thoughts on “Why are we called Mormons?

  1. Pingback: I love being a mother | Next Door Mormon

  2. C.S.

    Lindsey, you seem like an honest and intelligent young woman. I’ve felt good about many of the LDS teachings, but the doctrine of polygamy concerns me. I’ve found the following information from primary sources…please let me know if any of it is inaccurate, much thanks.

    Polygamy Timeline:
    1831 — Joseph Smith receives plural marriage revelation, though it remains unrecorded.
    Between 1833 – 1835 — Joseph marries Fanny Alger.
    1835 — In the 1835 version of the D&C, Section 101:4 , it declares, “Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband.”
    1838 — Oliver Cowdery is excommunicated, at least in part, for accusing Joseph Smith of adultery with Fanny Alger.
    1841 — Joseph begins taking plural wives in earnest.
    1842 — Joseph attempts to take Sidney Rigdon’s daughter to wife, and she refuses. Though a member of the 1st Presidency, Rigdon never accepted the teaching of plural marriage.
    1842 — Church-owned Times and Seasons denies the practice of polygamy, declaring: “We declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.”
    1844 — By the end of his life, Joseph had married between 30 and 50 women.
    Between 8 and 11 of these women were married to other living men at the time of their sealings to Joseph. Examples include: Mary Elizabeth Rollins, Zina Diantha Huntington, and Fanny Young (Brigham Young’s sister).
    1844 — In the History of the Church Vol. 6, Joseph Smith denies practicing polygamy. “What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one.”
    June 7, 1844 — William Law, 2nd counselor in the 1st presidency, leaves the church over polygamy and Joseph’s denial of it. Soon thereafter, he publishes the 1st and only edition of the Nauvoo Expositor, which claims 1st-hand testimony from several sources that Joseph was practicing polygamy, counter to his public denials.
    June 11, 1844 — Joseph orders the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press
    June 25, 1844 — Joseph’s ordered destruction of the printing press catalyzed events that ultimately resulted in his being jailed for treason.
    June 27, 1844 — Joseph and Hyrum martyred
    1845 — Times and Seasons again denies the practice of polygamy
    1851 — Brigham Young acknowledges polygamy in a meeting of the Utah Legislature
    1852 — Brigham Young, for the first time, publicly acknowledges the practice of polygamy
    1852 – 1890 — The U.S. Federal Government heavily pressures LDS Church to cease polygamy
    1866 — Brigham Young declares that, ” The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessing offered unto them, and they refused to accept them. ”
    1890 — Wilford Woodruff announces revelation postponing the practice of polygamy
    1890 – 1904 — Polygamous marriages continue
    1904 — LDS Church releases a “Second Manifesto”, after charges were confirmed that polygamous marriages continued despite the 1890 revelation/announcement.

    1. Lindsey

      C.S., thanks for your comment and question. I don’t know that I can give you the answer that you are looking for (I’m not sure exactly what you are looking for) but you asked me personally so I’ll give my personal answer. I am not a historian by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I am highly skeptical of what I read about history in any sector. I am more of a scientific, black-or-white, cold-hard-facts type of person. I think history has too much room for manipulation and speculation–things I don’t particularly like. (I know history is important and there are tons of people who love it–probably others that write for this blog but it’s just not my cup of tea).

      I have done some research on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but nothing extensive. Like I said, history has never interested me. Your question of if things are true or not is not a question for me. That is for a historian, though I do feel like compiling a list of events and quotations, with no background or context provided, does not constitute historical evidence.

      So now on to my personal experience with the subject of polygamy. Like many people in the church I have had questions about polygamy. It’s a hard thing to accept, it was for me. While I was struggling with questions of what actually happened, why things happened, etc I had a hard time finding peace and finding answers from God. It finally dawned on me that I was asking the wrong questions. Instead of praying to know the whys and whats I prayed to know IF God did indeed establish polygamy to be in practice during those early years of the church. I felt an overwhelming feeling that he did. I do not understand why and I do not know the specifics of everything that happened. I doubt I will ever know all that actually happened (one reason why I get frustrated with history). I do however know that God did establish polygamy to be in practice then and that He also took away the command for polygamy. I don’t believe that people were or are perfect and I am sure that things were not perfect then. I do not base my beliefs on actions of individuals in the church. This is God’s church, my testimony is in His teachings, no manipulation of history will change that.

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