Why still use the shorthand, “Mormon”?

A commenter asks,

“Why don’t you guys start calling us latter-day Saints instead of Mormons? oh wait, it’s because you don’t respect us.”

Most of the time it’s just easier to use two syllables. It’s not out of disrespect.

There are also plenty who still don’t mind being called Mormons. This was culturally acceptable only years ago, and it is still ingrained. The abrupt change is ecclesiastical, not entirely cultural.

We talk to Latter-day Saints (I don’t mind using the title in the right context) regularly. It’s actually rare to hear objections over the shorthand “Mormon.”

Compare the insistence on using false pronouns. It’s not kind to insist that people violate their conscience; we’d rather not dignify a misnomer. We don’t believe you are of the Church. We don’t believe you are saints. We don’t believe you are true members of the Church of Jesus Christ, properly speaking.

So we have to evaluate whether we’re using a term as a neutral title, or if it functions as a spiritually significant descriptor. When a term begins to function more as the latter, we reach for other designations.

Imagine if we insisted that you called us “members of the holy (c)atholic Church of Jesus Christ, the communion of saints, who alone truly have the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, one body, and one Spirit,” and then were offended when you opted instead for “evangelical” or “baptist” or “born agains.”

Finally, the material we present isn’t exclusively relevant to members of the mainstream LDS Church. It’s relevant to a whole number of sects of Mormonism, or the larger Latter-day Saint movement, some of whom we interact with on a regular basis.

If it offends you in the midst of a conversation, we can settle on another brief term. But it’s better that we discuss matters of substance than that we get offended by the innocent use of shorthand.

Grace and peace.

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