Saturday, April 3, 2010
How the times they are a-changing.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, long before the 1838 adoption of this official title to identify itself, had been called the "Mormon Church" for years by both its members and its detractors from upstate New York to Ohio, Illinois and Missouri. At times embraced as a badge of honor and rejected as a mocking epithet, the term came into popularity from its earliest days when people recognized its unique claims about the alleged visitations of an angel by that same name. This became more the case when Joseph Smith authored and had published a so-called translation of supposedly sacred texts that came to be known as the "Book of Mormon." Ever since late 1800's, the LDS Church has grudgingly sought to educate the "Gentiles" outside of it that they consider themselves to be "Latter Day Saints" and not Mormons. Even while accepting it among their own social circles as part of their identity, the church officially disdains the title still, especially when the church came under greater attention then before in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic games. An official statement makes no bones about this. In their elitist attempt to distinguish themselves as "The Restoration" unlike any other, the LDS Church's attempt to distance themselves from their popular identity as the "Mormon Church" has been a largely useless attempt to focus their public image on a seemingly innocuous if not long and cumbersome corporate title.
With new attention focused on LDS fundamentalist groups scattered across the Western United States, whose emphasis on patriarchal priesthoods that indulge in wholesale sectarian polygamy claim to practice the purest form of Mormonism, the LDS Church's historical twists and turns have become impossible for them to shake. So, it would seem, with the coming of the LDS Church's annual assembly this year, the leadership has now concluded that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The adoption and usage of the term "Mormon" now appears to be flourishing like never before. This will have enormous implications for those wanting to be discerning when it comes to the claims of the Mormon revelation and its supposed authority. Throughout Salt Lake City, it's now cool to be called "Mormon" once more. Click this link for a story on this strange issue, which as it usually goes, is indeed stranger than before.