God’s Name is Dangerous to Hold in Your Lips

This is a post about what President Nelson’s counsel to use the church’s full name challenges us as church members to do.

However you feel about his declaration that using “Mormon” was a victory for Satan and an offense to God, there are lots of other places where that conversation has happened and is still happening. I don’t want to replicate that here. I want to focus on the core of his message: that the church’s formal name is important because it is connected to taking upon ourselves the name of Christ. President Nelson’s counsel to speak Jesus’s name more often may be both dangerous and rewarding, because God’s name is not to be taken lightly, and doing it will require us to either receive the spirit through repentance and faith in Christ and his grace, or condemn ourselves by using his name in vain.

Taking upon ourselves the name of Christ.

According to President Nelson’s conference message, the church’s formal name is not just important in a “because God said so” sense. He does make that argument, with his reference to D&C 115:4, but he then immediately follows it up with a more intersting and theologically substantial argument by connecting it back to 3 Nephi 27:7-8, which does not contain the name of the church at all (and does not even mention the term “saints”–either of Latter-days or of any other kind), but does speak emphatically about the need to be called in the name of Jesus. He then goes on to explain that “the most important thing” in nicknames such as LDS and Mormon or even Latter-day Saints “is the absence of the savior’s name.” President Nelson then connects this to the ordinance of the sacrament, where we weekly “make anew our sacred promise to our Heavenly Father than we are willing to take upon us the name of His Son, Jesus Christ.” While President Nelson doesn’t quote it, that relates directly back to the verses in 3 Nephi 27 that precede the verses he did quote: “Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day” (3 Nephi 27:5-6).

The point I’m making here is not necessarily that President Nelson’s reading of these verses is the only permissible one. The point is, however you feel about President Nelson’s application of this doctrine to conclude that nicknames that don’t include Jesus’s name are wrong, it is this doctrine–the importance of the name of Jesus in particular, and not just the importance of the church’s formal name–that is the theological core of his message. And even if you disagree with how he applies this doctrine to exclude specific nicknames, his message that the necessity of taking upon ourselves the name of Christ is in some sense literal, not just metaphorical, and applies to how we identify ourselves in our daily life, is worth contemplating.

In short, President Nelson is telling us that it is not enough to privately call yourself a disciple of Christ; if we are to be his disciples, we must stand as his witnesses by literally and publicly identifying ourselves by his name. “Taking the Savior’s name upon us,” he says, “includes declaring and witnessing to others–through our actions and our words–that Jesus is the Christ.”

“Let all men beware how they take my name in their lips”

But that message is not without risk.

At the end of an August 1831 revelation now canonized as section 63, the voice of the Lord addresses those who wanted to go out as missionaries to preach repentance and be witnesses of Christ. “Let them be ordained to this power,” he says (D&C 63:57), but then he gives this warning: “let all men beware how they take my name in their lips—” (D&C 63:61).

The reason for this warning? Because there are “many” people “who are under this condemnation, who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority” (D&C 63:62). The reference to “authority” here is interesting. At first blush, it looks like maybe he’s just saying that you have to be ordained or set apart by priesthood power. Basic 5th article of faith stuff. But I think there’s more to it than that. He’s already said “Let them be ordained” a few verses back, and he’s talking to those who, presumably, will already be ordained. In fact, he expressly says that he’s talking, not just to the world in general, but specifically to the church: “let the church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them; otherwise they shall be cut off” (D&C 63:63). So he’s addressing the church–those who have the priesthood already. But he’s giving them a warning to not speak his name without authority.

So if this authority is something other than priesthood authority, what is it? He answers that in the next verses: “Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation” (D&C 63:64). (When he says “that which cometh from above, he’s referring to himself: look back to verse 59, where he says “I am from above”). According to this revelation, God’s name is not to be spoken recklessly, but “with care” and when moved upon by the holy spirit. (A comparison with section 121:36 is almost inescapable.)

In other words, the name of Christ is not a magic spell. Saying his name does not give us any kind of spiritual power or benefit if we are saying it without doing the hard and serious spiritual work of repentance and relying on his grace to receive the spirit. In fact, saying his name without being moved upon by the spirit can actually condemn us. The more we draw near to him with our lips, the more we risk having a form of godliness, without the power, unless our hearts are also drawing near to him. But faith is never without risk.

President Eyring’s talk is worth looking at on this point. He followed up President Nelson’s talk by speaking extendedly on what we must do in order to qualify to take upon ourselves the name of Christ, culminating in a discussion of the need to develop faith, hope, and charity in order to take his name.

I do not believe that President Nelson wants us to draw near to our savior with our lips only. In this light, President Nelson’s counsel to use the name of Christ more necessarily must include a challenge to repent more, to exercise more faith in Jesus as the source of our righteousness, to pray more, to rely more on grace, and to become more holy. I see in this, like I see in the way the church announced the 60-minute sacrament meeting, an opportunity for a renewed emphasis on the core message of the restoration that really matters most: repentance and faith in a living Christ. I hope in the coming months we see more of that renewed emphasis.

I’ll be honest: I like the nickname Mormon. And even if I don’t use it to refer to my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or to my discipleship, I’ll always be a Mormon in the sense that I’m part of the Mormon movement and tradition that includes not just the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but also the other churches and people that accept the Book of Mormon and the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. If I’m honest, I still don’t understand how it would be offensive to God to use “Mormon” alongside Jesus’ name rather than as a wholesale replacement for it. But if we could have a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that focuses more in our day-to-day activities and week-to-week worship on taking more seriously the core teachings of the Book of Mormon about being Christians, about being born again and becoming the sons and daughters of Christ, about being changed by grace through faith in his name, in order to be able to build Zion, about “witnessing to others–through our actions” as well as our words, “that Jesus is the Christ,” I’d gladly trade using the nickname Mormon for that.

 

Comments

  1. Guess we will see if the name emphasis will really bring the gospel of Jesus Christ more into our lives and discourse. The recent actions and teachings of the new presidency seem to stress exclusion of those not worthy of the gospel. Your post was great and I will keep having hope that more talks and lessons will be on Christ and less on the multiple appendage doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    Since we’re making a big deal about the name these days, it occurs to me it might be enlightening to describe where the name comes from. The first name is Hebrew Yehoshua ( = English Joshua), meaning “Yahweh is Salvation.” Jesus’s actual name was Yeshua, a shortened form of that same name (and with the same meaning). The name gets transliterated into Greek as IEsous (Greek doesn’t have a y, so an initial i + a vowel approximates the y sound, the e is long [pronounced like a long a], Greek doesn’t have an sh so that gets reduced to just an s, and masculine names in Greek often end in -s, as in Achilles). In Latin that becomes Iesus (again with the e pronounced like a long a). In the Middle Ages the letter form j is developed and leads to pronunciation changes in different languages (in English, the j “fricated” or became harder, ultimately leading to our dzh pronunciation of the initial letter).

    There was no such thing as last names in his culture; in life he would have been referred to formally as Jesus son of Joseph. Christ is not a last name but a title, which comes from Hebrew ha-mashicach (the Anointed One), which gets transliterated into English as Messiah. That word gets translated (not transliterated) into Greek, which results in ho Christos (Greek for “the Anointed One”; cf. the product name Crisco in English). In English we drop the Greek ending -os to get the form Christ. The original use of the word “the” before “anointed one” is why we sometimes get English formations such as Talmage’s “Jesus the Christ.”

  3. Thank you, JKC, for working so hard to make sense of this, and to present it in a light that, frankly, I did not see while listening to that talk live. Your careful consideration of relevant scripture, linking one verse or phrase to another, especially appeals to me. Tossing off opinion is easy; thought and reason, even to something like your linking the two “from above” verses, is much harder, takes an open mind and real thought, and in the end carries a great deal of weight.

  4. This is something that hadn’t occurred to me. Thanks for this. In addition, D&C 107:2-4 comes to mind. Originally the Melchizedek Priesthood was called “the Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God.” However, “out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, . . .” One thing that stands out to me is that this action was taken by unanimous action of the 12 and the First Presidency. That causes me great caution in my feelings about this, which have been quite conflicted. I know it took them a long time to combine the HP and Elders’ Quorums. Conversations were extensive back in the late 1970s and they quoted from the time of John Taylor. It took them that long to all get on the same page. Not sure how long this was. Anyway, I will absolutely be thinking about this post going forward.

  5. Thanks, JKC. Great post!

  6. Billy Possum says:

    I’ve really enjoyed this reading, JKC – and particularly your connections between President Nelson’s talk and scripture (which, for some reason, I didn’t see quite as clearly the first, second, and third times I listened to him). Thanks!

  7. Helpful information. It gives me a better foundation for how not only should I identify myself, but how to qualify to take His name upon me.

  8. “But if we could have a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that focuses more in our day-to-day activities and week-to-week worship on taking more seriously the core teachings of the Book of Mormon about being Christians, about being born again and becoming the sons and daughters of Christ, about being changed by grace through faith in his name, in order to be able to build Zion, about “witnessing to others–through our actions” as well as our words, “that Jesus is the Christ,” I’d gladly trade using the nickname Mormon for that.”

    Thank you for this – it has helped me to be more positive about the emphasis on the name. I hope I can apply the concepts to my life.

  9. It’s too bad we can’t use Christians. I don’t mind using the full name of the church to call our church, but what to call ourselves that isn’t 19 syllables long? Members of the COJCOLDS is pretty long. We’ve got to find something to refer to ourselves that is shorter.

  10. Ryan Mullen says:

    JKC, love the post. This has done more for me to access Pres Nelson’s talk than anything I’ve read yet.

    jks, so we need a one word name that is unique to our church, yes? And per Pres Nelson, it needs to refer to Jesus. If only there were someones in the bloggernacle that could definitively rank our options: Jesusers, Christites, Yahwehists, …

  11. If this had been the talk we’d heard over the pulpit, I think the church would be better for it.

  12. Terry H, are you really sure that all the 12 were involved in this decision about the name of the Church and deliberated for ages about it? The way it first was presented to everyone sounded like another case of President Nelson waking up with his yellow notepad, having a brainwave and then just announcing it to the world without consulting them and then they and the LDS Newsroom had to scrabble about dealing with the consequences.

    I seriously doubt that most of the apostles approve at all of throwing Presidents Hinckley and Monson under the bus as tools of Satan and presenting the now policy in a way designed to give all the membership a guilt trip for their alleged ingratitude for the atonement and collaboration with giving Satan a win when all they were doing was supporting their prophet with the “I’m a Mormon” campaigns etc.

    I also doubt that most of them agree theologically with President Nelson’s claim in that talk that when we get the name right Jesus will be able to get over the terrible offence He has taken and start blessing the Church in ways we have literally never experienced in all of history before. He actually said that too! I can think of 100 more theologically sound reasons to invoke such spectacular blessings then the assumption that Jesus Christ is that pharisaically obsessed with words instead of actions.

    I love this article and its focus on the actions matching the words, but we simply cannot ignore what President Nelson actually said in that talk with all its implications and his irrational hyperbole. It was completely unnecessary to frame it as he did and was actually a classic example of spiritual abuse, taking revenge for his hurt feelings after his 1990 talk about the name of the Church was ignored for 28 years and suddenly telling people who have spent 28 years doing what we were told was acceptable spiritually has suddenly reversed and we should erase the memory of the last 30 years of our Church lives. There is a scripture about calling good bad, and President Hinckley urged us to see the word Mormon as meaning “More Good”… The talk seemed to be a whole lot more about his own hurt ego than Jesus being offended and revealed that he does not differentiate between them.

  13. Suomalainen says:

    Hear, hear. Wise words wisely spoken.

  14. Aussie Mormon says:

    Peter B, let us not forget what else President Hinckley said in that talk:

    “Six months ago in our conference Elder Russell M. Nelson delivered an excellent address on the correct name of the Church. He quoted the words of the Lord Himself: ‘Thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ He then went on to discourse on the various elements of that name. I commend to you a rereading of his talk.”

    and

    “We may not be able to change the nickname, but we can make it shine with added luster.”

    Pres. Hinckley’s talk to me seemed more about doing the best with what we had rather than saying it was all good and not to worry about it.

  15. Aussie Mormon says:

    As an addendum to my previous post, I’m not sure why Pres. Nelson would feel hurt when Pres. Hinckley was actively backing his talk.

  16. I’d rather not make this comment in the comments to JKC’s excellent article, but as I understand it, Aussie, President Hinckley’s talk was a rebuttal to Elder Nelson, and that comment was to allow Elder Nelson to save face. President Hinckley was good at putting a positive spin on things.

  17. I think there’s a bit of reaching going on here. I’ve re-read the Nelson and Hinckley talks from 1990 and I think it’s a stretch to suggest that the GBH talk was a rebuttal. And the idea that RMN’s most recent talk is about his own hurt ego… Really? He’s been holding a grudge for 28 years, but in the interim he managed to deliver a GC address in which he gushed all over GBH? https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1997/10/spiritual-capacity?lang=eng
    I mean at the time I found it a bit cringey, but it would seem to indicate he held no grudge towards GBH. I think you’re trying to engineer rebuttals and offences out of thin air.

  18. JKC, a thoughtful piece. Thank you.
    I understand you opening with President Nelson’s talk—any essayist wants to be current and that talk is the topic of the day. But at any other time I think you would be directly engaging with President Eyring’s talk, which to my ear is also Moroni 7 and 1 Corinthians 13. At least that’s where I would go.
    Also, I understand where you get warnings and danger. “Let all men beware.” This is the appropriate subject matter by which to invoke the second commandment.
    But when I read President Eyring and Moroni 7 and 1 Corinthians 13, I don’t come away with a feeling or message of fear and anxiety. Not even with a “work hard” message. What rings in my ears as I step away (to write this note) is “charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” (Moroni 7:45; see also 1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
    For my sermonizing, I would choose the pure love of Christ (which works in both directions, which is important), instead of the danger of names. And I’d probably end with what was for me the most moving line of President Eyring’s talk: “I think that she [his wife] will find, when she sees Him, that our Savior has put His name into her heart and that she has become like Him.” That’s what I would like to be.

  19. gomez, it says something good about you that you’re willing to believe the best of people.

    Thank you to BCC for taking the time to discuss the troubling aspects of conference. I’m worn down and distressed and don’t have the strength to work through it all alone so I appreciate that JKC put in the effort to wrestle with this talk and finally after several weeks to come up with something palatable. Not everyone has the strength to wrestle with the angel, so it’s good of JKC to take the place of Jacob and wrestle for us.

  20. Thanks. I very much appreciate JKC’s OP and many of the comments. Risking a threadjack, I quote: “In other words, the name of Christ is not a magic spell” and ask seriously what is the meaning of concluding a sac mtg talk, or a SS or PH or RS lesson “in the name of __________, Amen.”? and is that a comma or a period after His name?
    BTW, I mean “seriously” seriously and not sarcastically as is common in some circles.
    I really don’t have an idea what it means in those contexts. (I do have some idea what it means in concluding a prayer.) There’s a thoughtful BCC community out there, at least some of whom could address the question helpfully. I have sometimes been concerned that the phrase is treated as a “magic spell” meaning little or nothing more than “over and out,” in the sense only of “transmission over”. If/when that’s all it means, is it taking the Lord’s name in vain? or a failure to “beware how they take [His] name in their lips—”?

  21. Thanks for everyone for your kind and thoughtful comments.

    Kevin, thanks for the etymology. Always a good reminder. And it makes you think, the importance of the name of God can’t just be tied to the particular syllables our mouths make when we say it, because those syllables are different across time and culture, as you’ve shown. So it’s the meaning we ascribe to the name of God that’s really important.

    Ardis, thanks.

    Terry H, I actually think D&C 107:2-4 is not describing a commandment that we should avoid the too frequent repetition of the name of God, but rather is telling a story about how the ancient church exercised their agency to guard against taking his name in vain. The point, in context, is not so much to make a point about the name of God, but to show that the priesthood is really old and to connect it to Old Testament patriarchs and prophets. But I think the point about agency reveals a conundrum: we are commanded to do everything we do in the name of God, and at the same time we’re commanded not to take his name in vain. It’s up to us to wrestle with those two commandments and figure out how to keep them. Section 107 tells a story of one approach the church took. President Nelson is illustrating another approach.

    jks, why can’t we use Christian? I mean, I understand that it’s not specific to our denomination, but that doesn’t stop millions of other Christians who use it even though it’s not specific to their denomination.

    Aussie Mormon, Anon, and gomez: I don’t think it’s very productive to speculate about whether President Nelson has been nursing a grudge. I generally think it’s best to take people at their word. I don’t doubt that President Nelson’s expressions of love and respect toward President Hinckley were sincere. That doesn’t mean that they agreed on this. It is certainly possible for President Nelson to have chosen to defer to President Hinckley even though he disagreed with it, and then becoming convinced that he was right all along later, without nursing some kind of grudge or harboring bad feelings toward President Hinckley.

  22. “I generally think it’s best to take people at their word.”

    Some of us don’t know how to do that anymore, to be honest, since President Nelson said the November 5 policy was revelation. I’m serious. A lot of this really doesn’t make sense to a lot of people.

  23. Christian, I agree with you that ultimately, it is Moroni & Pres. Eyring that have the right idea: faith, hope, charity qualify us to speak in God’s name. See also D&C 4: “faith, hope, charity, and love, with and eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.” I was trying to keep the post short and focused on one point, but you’re right that we can’t just stop with fear and trembling and not make it through to love.

  24. And I’m not a random enemy of the Church. I am a temple-recommend-holding, tithing-paying member, have never listened to a Mormon Stories podcast in my life and don’t plan to start now, and have listened to most every session of general conference since they were first piped into stake centers decades ago.

    And I do sincerely appreciate your efforts to help all this make sense.

  25. JR, the modern practice of ending everything in the name of Christ was actually not that common in the early church. Sermons often ended without that. I can’t remember now who, but I think somebody has written about this. I think it’s an illustration of what I referred to in a comment above about the paradox of being commanded to do everything in the name of God (there are lots of scriptures you could quote) and being commanded to not take his name in vain, and different saints and different times coming out in different places on the continuum based on their wrestle to reconcile those seemingly competing principles.

  26. Anon, I understand. The policy doesn’t make sense to me either. I am choosing to believe that President Nelson is sincere when he says he thinks the policy was revelation. He might be wrong to think that it is. I might be wrong to think that it isn’t. But I don’t think he’s lying. Anyway I really do understand.

  27. JKC, thanks. One of the problems with understanding how to do “everything in the name of God” is understanding what doing anything “in the name of God” means. I have not yet found any real consideration of that question, except as to prayer. Perhaps I haven’t looked far enough.
    I have noticed that my sometimes failure or choice not to terminate a SS lesson “in the name of ________. Amen” has made some people uncomfortable. Those that spoke to me about it are uncomfortable because of the absence of a familiar ritual phrase like “over and out”, not because they have expressed any idea what it means to use or not use that phrase at the end of a SS lesson.
    Please let me know if you recall who has written where on the subject.

  28. Troy Cline says:

    The gospel of Jesus Christ will come more strongly into the church and the actions of its members when the church begins to understand and teach the true message of the gospel – salvation by faith and not by works. As Mormons become better acquainted with Paul’s messages to the Romans and the Ephesians, Mormon doctrine and emphasis will begin to approximate a true Christian faith. It’s that simple. The church can stress its full name, it can change the font size of the name Jesus Christ when writing its name, whatever. None of this makes up for the fact that, at its core, Mormon doctrine misses the essence of the Christian message.

  29. Troy, I’d add that it’s not just the message of Paul (though it is that) but it’s also the message of the Book of Mormon that we’re saved by grace through faith in Christ, and not by works. So maybe it depends on how to define “Mormon doctrine”–whether you’re looking primarily to canonized scripture or to sermons and secondary materials–but I’m inclined to say that “Mormon doctrine” is already emphatically a grace-based gospel, though Latter-day Saint teachings and practices often fall short of that.

  30. Thanks, JKC. Perhaps it’s past time for the Church to have serious discussions about prophetic fallibility or infallibility and the nature of revelation and how to handle the loss of youth from our congregations, but it is trying when words are creating real injury right now and so many people need healing.

    In the meantime, perhaps it’s best to let the harsh dissonance fade and concentrate instead on the messages of peace and repentance and service delivered by most of the speakers, notable among them the powerful messages delivered by women.

  31. Troy Cline says:

    JKC, you’re right, partially. The Book of Mormon does teach grace-based faith. At least it does a better job of doing so than modern Mormon teachings. It is also far more trinitarian than modern Mormonism so I’m not sure what to do with that either. However, there are verses in the Book of Mormon that emphasize a works-first salvation. The 3rd article of faith, which I think we all can agree are a statement of Mormon doctrine, states that obedience and the receiving of ordinances are required in order for the atonement to kick in. 2 Nephi 25:23 tells us that grace saves us “after all we can do.” Moroni 10 teaches that we must deny OURSELVES of all ungodliness and love him with ALL of our heart, mind, and strength before his grace is sufficient for us. So I would argue that, at best, The Book of Mormon doesn’t know what it wants to believe with relation to grace and works.

  32. Re faith vs works and the Book of Mormon, I find the same tension in the New Testament. It takes some interpretive work to get to Sola Fide, and I expect analogous interpretive work could reach either/any result with the Book of Mormon.

    I would agree with JKC that “Latter-day Saint teachings and practices often fall short.” But I do not have the same confidence about the direction of the fall. I know what I believe, but have lost track of orthodoxy.

  33. This probably isn’t the place for this conversation, which is pretty far from the OP. I’ll just say for full disclosure that I’m pretty firmly in the saved by grace through faith camp, but that my beliefs are also probably pretty different from any given modern recapitulation of sola fide.

  34. Herkermer says:

    I think we need to stop repeating the unfair assertion that President Nelson said using the term “Mormon” is a victory for Satan. What he actually said is that removing Jesus’ name from his church is a victory for Satan. He sees the former as contributing to the latter, but let’s not make a caricature of what he said and speak as if the caricature were reality.

  35. That’s a fair point, Herkermer. I thought it was at least heavily imported that he considered “Mormon,” to not just contribute to removing Jesus name, but to better asb example of removing it. But I take your point.

  36. J. Stapley says:

    Over a decade ago I started a study on invoking the name of the Lord at the end of our sermons, testimonies, and lessons (early results here). I’ve subsequently thrown that data away, and started over with the help of Cynthia’s ninja scripting skillz. I have categorized the data from the JoD and Semi-annual conference reports from 1898 to 2010. I haven’t gotten around to writing up the paper, but I have everything to do it. The basic trends from the above link hold up, though.

  37. J. Stapley says:

    …also, I really like the work you are doing JKC. Solid.

  38. Thanks, J. I think that post of yours must have been what I was thinking of.

  39. At the risk of violating my own advice to not turn this into a faith/ works debate, I should probably also say, Christian and Troy, that you also had to do some interpretive work to prooftext the verses Troy cites as advocating a works-based gospel. At least, these verses no more override the grace-based message of Abinadi, Alma, and others, than James overrides Paul. I don’t discount the importance of works as a sign of faith, as the natural result of grace, or as the duty of discipleship, but I don’t see works as the operative means of accessing grace. Though I acknowledge that trying to clearly separate one from the other is mostly an abstract theoretical exercise; in reality, where you find one you find the other. But to me, putting the emphasis on faith is important because it allows faith to work while if I were to put my trust in my obedience, my inevitable failure could only result in despair.

  40. Thanks, J., I’ll add your 2007 post to my looking at the “in the name of” questions.

  41. Treyeshua Tomeny says:

    I am a still wet Latter Day Saint. In my zeal to share the Gospel, every day, I have found using the “Latter Day Saint” label for myself to be more effective than “Mormon”. Latter Day Saint provokes sincere questions, Mormon invokes stereotypes, and the question, “how many wives do you have?”

    That said, there are aspects of Mormon that I love. I transliterate it as “more man” to my friends who live outside the Church as saints of God, explaining that since they are already living as saints, they can join the Church and receive the benefits, particularly the priesthood.

    I am big on names, evidence my Facebook name and the verse that explains it.

    I am also big on following the Prophet exactly, especially if we don’t exactly agree. For the big goal is Oneness, and Oneness happens when we follow One. The benefits of Oneness far exceed the slight sacrifice of our own opinion.

  42. Moroni 6:4 says:

    As Faithfull members of COJ-COLDS.
    We are now required to deny being a Mormon. If a non member asks you if your Mormon you must answer NO or your supporting Satan. The Prophet has spoken the thinking has been done get in line with the Lords will or face eternal consequences. I know you all will do the right thing & only use COJ-COLDS in all communication going forward.

  43. Aussie Mormon says:

    “We are now required to deny being a Mormon. If a non member asks you if your Mormon you must answer NO or your supporting Satan.”

    In regards to our response, President Nelson actually suggested replies that we could use.
    “If someone should ask, “Are you a Mormon?” you could reply, “If you are asking if I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, yes, I am!”
    If someone asks, “Are you a Latter-day Saint?” you might respond, “Yes, I am. I believe in Jesus Christ and am a member of His restored Church.””

    In regards to the supporting Satan part, we’ve been through that. What President Nelson actually said was “To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. “

  44. Aussie Mormon, I don’t think that was a serious comment. I’m inclined not to feed trolls.

  45. Aussie Mormon says:

    Unfortunately it was hard to tell until I saw his/her other post.

  46. A rhetorical question for the prophet’s 2nd wife – what is the difference between revelation and finally being unleashed to follow through with things one is concerned about?

  47. Chet, the relationship between agency and generation could be an interesting question, but this isn’t really the place for the conversation you seem to want to have.

  48. Fair enough

  49. Peter Bleakley says:

    I think Chet’s reference to what Wendy Nelson said is totally relevant to the topic of this article and thread. She has basically let the cat out of the bag that Russell Nelson HAS been sitting on some personal bees in his bonnet and grudges, that he felt his predecessor prophets were getting things wrong that he did not agree with and is now able to make us all dance to his particular tune uninhibited, which is nothing close to the usual conventions the prophets of our Church have tried to keep up of giving the impression that they are all generally in harmony and the major decisions are all from the same “mind and will” – God’s – not their personal opinions and obsessions. It is extraordinary and VERY revealing that she has said this publicly and not even realised its implications. She seems so used to the idea she keeps describing in her talks that her husband’s will and God’s are one and the same that she doesn’t even have to differentiate between them any more.

    The primary reason a lot of people are uncomfortable with President Nelson’s talk is because it was so obviously the product of a personal obsession and sour grapes after his 1990 talk about the name of the Church was ignored and the opposite done by Presidents Hinckley and Monson, and in his anger he blamed us ALL for offending Jesus, being ungrateful for the atonement and giving a win to Satan when at the time not a single one of us had those intentions at all – we were supporting our prophet Presidents who authorised and led the missionary and media campaigns to detoxify the ‘Mormon’ brand and encourage people to associate it with us as CHRISTIANS, which was the constant message of those efforts and adverts. The whole basis President Nelson gave for what happened in the last 28 years is a gross misrepresentation of what we actually did and why – it was VERY focused on our lives and beliefs as followers of Jesus Christ. But he has tried to reframe it as a disaster, anti-Jesus, ignoring the atonement, disrespectful, an “error” as he called it elsewhere, and by implication in this talk when he said ” And if we allow nicknames to be used or adopt or even sponsor those nicknames ourselves, He is offended.”

    The people who “sponsored” those names were President Gordon B Hinckley and President Thomas S Monson. He’s criticising them. And all of us who sustained them and joined in with our ‘I’m a Mormon” profiles and pass-along cards and sharing Mormon.org. We were not “unwittingly acquiescing” to their satanic plan – we knew knew exactly what we were doing and why and it was sensible and effective, but now we look like fools as we ask the world to ignore everything we have been telling them for decades about ourselves and reboot. There are many much kinder ways he could have made his point but he chose language and a demeanour while speaking that was judgemental, bitter, insensitive and not even accurate. Power without accountability is autocracy. Sometimes we Latter-Day Saints need to stop our endless cognitive dissonance and making excuses for bad behaviour and bad reasoning and just be honest about the actual things our Apostles actually say in their actual words with actual clear meanings instead of always being spin doctors trying to make it all seem nicer or different to what it is. If we don’t, the General Authorities continue to get the message that they don’t even have to bother making sense or being sensitive to people they are hurting with their words and inaccurate categorisations of whole groups of people. This General Conference included vicious attacks, particularly by Presidents Oaks and Nelson, on all of Boyd K Packer’s list of enemies: intellectuals, LGBTQ people, feminists and in this case all of us who supported the ‘I’m a Mormon’ efforts as instructed to. If we don’t call it out for what it is, and make clear to the leaders that this is unacceptable victim blaming and spiritually abusive and unrighteous dominion, we will continue to lose members of my family, my ward, my stake, and yours, who have devoted their lives to serving faithfully but cannot reconcile this lack of empathy with their values and what Jesus actually cares about and is REALLY offended by, which is a long long way removed from the pet peeves of President Nelson.

  50. Thanks Peter. I also ran across a pertinent entry at the Wheat and Tares blog.

  51. Peter Bleakley, You have articulated well and adamantly what a number of my friends express to me but will never hint at in their home wards and stakes because the likely negative ramifications for their lives and their families are vastly more significant than the likelihood that their speaking out, calling it out for what it is, will have any positive effect on anything. It is impossible for me guess how widespread this is. How would you suggest going about calling it out other than in a blog not read or taken seriously by most of those in positions of authority?

  52. Peter:

    From the OP: “However you feel about his declaration that using “Mormon” was a victory for Satan and an offense to God, there are lots of other places where that conversation has happened and is still happening. I don’t want to replicate that here.”

    I get that you think debating the merits of President Nelson’s claims is interesting. But that’s not what this post is about.

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