Using ‘Mormon’ is sloppy, says Oxford Chaplain Andrew Teal to BYU
This article was first published under the title ChurchBeat Newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter every week in your inbox.
Using the word “Mormon” instead of the church’s full name to describe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is sloppy, an Oxford chaplain and scholar at Brigham Young University said Tuesday.
Reverend Andrew Teal first visited Utah three years ago during what he called the excitement over President Russell M. Nelson’s instructions on the use of the proper name of the church rather than what had been a long-standing and widely used nickname.
Initially, I thought, why use all those words when the singular Mormon could? But now I see how shoddy it would be and the wisdom of this revelation to President Nelson, ”said Reverend Teal, an expert on early Christian history and thought.
The Reverend is a visiting scholar at BYU’s Maxwell Institute this semester. He has studied the Church of Jesus Christ extensively over the past several years, reading all of the books of Latter-day Saints almost three times. His perspective as an outside scholar adds dimension to discussions of how scholars refer to the church.
Some have said they will continue to use Mormon because they feel it refers to a larger set of faith groups that have separated from the original body of faith over the past 191 years.
Using the term in this broader context would certainly make the use of “Mormon” sloppy to then specifically refer to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Reverend Teal made his comments during an address on the campus forum Tuesday at the Marriott Center. After noting that President Nelson had said that the church would “forgo its abbreviated description of Mormon,” he spent a few moments presenting a religious scholar’s perspective on different parts of the church’s full scriptural name. :
- “The Church, first of all ecclesia, has withdrawn from collusion and convention to overwhelming monotony in the life and being of God.
- “Then, by naming the Lord Jesus Christ, moving away from a cultural identity alone, not just funeral potatoes and green Jell-O, moving to a universal and eternal identity, that of belonging to the only name under Heaven conveying health and salvation.
- “Then, that we are in the last days, not the institutional continuity of chronological time, but Kairos, the possibility of moving everything to allow all souls to enter the realm.
- “And, finally, saints, with holiness in our hearts and holiness to the Lord. “
Of course, his remarks on Tuesday came weeks after another Latter-day Saint leader, Neil L. Andersen, described the church’s efforts to respond to President Nelson’s direction.
“Over a thousand products with the name ‘Mormon’ or ‘LDS’ have been renamed,” he said of the church’s own products. “Latter-day Saint faithful have adapted their websites, podcasts, and Twitter accounts. “
The church also updated its typography, which has now been adapted into more than 50 languages, a process that included acquiring new Internet domain names around the world.
“We (also) adopted a new symbol centered on Jesus Christ,” Elder Andersen said. “At the center of the symbol is a depiction of Thorvaldsen’s marble statue, the Christus. It depicts the living resurrected Lord reaching out to embrace all who will come to him. “
Finally, it should also be noted that Reverend Teal dedicated his forum address to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who is ironically in England on a church mission while his British friend gave the speech.
“I dedicate this forum address in gratitude to God for Jeffrey R. Holland, my beloved friend,” said Reverend Teal. “We love you, Brother Holland, for your commitment to building a beloved community, where growth in love and understanding is possible. “
My recent stories
Reverend Andrew Teal Tells BYU Students He Will Travel With Them (October 26)
National poll: Latter-day Saints maintained their social bonds better than others during pandemic (October 26)
Anglican priest to speak at BYU forum on Tuesday as part of his trip with Latter-day Saints (October 25)
Genesis Group for Dark Latter-day Saints Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Statements of Hope (October 23)
Church to host 50th anniversary celebration of Genesis, a group of Black Latter-day Saints (October 22)
What i read
President M. Russell Ballard and Elders Jeffrey R. Holland and Quentin L. Cook are in England, remembering their assignments there and dealing with other Church business, including a visit to Parliament Scottish.
The church has revealed where exactly the Ephraim Utah Temple will be built.
Christy and John Denney chatted with my colleague Trent Toone about the success of cooking food blogs on “The Girl Who Ate Everything” and life after the NFL.
BYU sports legend Glen Tuckett passed away on Tuesday. A Hall of Fame baseball coach, he was the longest-running athletic director with LaVell Edwards to make BYU football an Intermountain powerhouse with national respect. In addition, I considered him a friend and a mentor. He returned me a letter I sent him when I was a teenager with a note encouraging my nascent desire to become a journalist. Good luck to the Tuckett family.