Note: Over the years I have observed that some ideas cycle back into current conversation. Over the past few weeks I have both read and heard this specific idea coming around again. Here are my thoughts from a few years back.
“That guy is so..I don’t know how to say it… he is soooo Mormon.”
“She’s kind of a Molly Mormon.”
“I just don’t want to look too Mormon.”
You’ve heard it. I’ve heard it. It bugs me.
First off, this is not merely a diatribe protecting the sanctity of my online name, it is much broader than that. Here is why:
1) Mormon was awesome, and I’m not just talking about his arms. He is easily one of the most important men in the history of the world. He was faithful. When he was 10 years old he was tasked by a prophet to take care of the records we know and love as the Book of Mormon. It was named after him. When he was 15, the Savior himself paid him a visit. (link) Imagine a world with no Mormon, and you have a world with no Book of Mormon. That single fact means he deserves our praise and respect.
2) Using the term “Mormon” to describe ourselves has been sanctioned by modern prophets. Just last April, Elder M. Russell Ballard said the following:
“The term Mormon can be appropriately used in some contexts to refer to members of the Church, such as Mormon pioneers, or to institutions, such as the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Church members are widely known as Mormons, and in interactions with those not of our faith, we may fittingly refer to ourselves as Mormons, provided we couple this with the full name of the Church.” (link)
So here are my questions:
• Why would I ever use the term “Mormon” to diminish, or denigrate another member of the Church?
• Why would I draw a distinction between being a “Latter-day Saint” vs. being a “Mormon,” unless it was an attempt to make one appear superior than the other.
• Why would I assume that my view of LDS/Mormon “culture” is more correct than everyone else’s, to the point where I can call myself “LDS,” but relegate those I disagree with to the lowly title of “Mormon?”
• Why would I try and subdivide the Church? (Subdivided Mormonism)
• Why would I presume that anyone using the term Mormon or LDS somehow reflects a different level of commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
Yet it happens all around us.
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yes, I’m a Mormon, and I gladly wear that title.
I wish I were more like Mormon.
Originally published 9/14/2014