President Nelson Stresses Importance of Jesus Christ in Church Name: ‘It Is His Church’
Nearly two months after his brief statement about the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Russell M. Nelson spoke at length on the importance of the Church’s full name.
Speaking at the Sunday morning session of the October 2018 general conference, he quoted the 1838 scripture, given in the voice of Jesus Christ, that spells out the Church’s name: “For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
“For much of the world, the Lord’s Church is presently disguised as the ‘Mormon Church.’ But we as members of the Lord’s Church know who stands at its head: Jesus Christ Himself,” President Nelson said. “I realize with profound regret that we have unwittingly acquiesced in the Lord’s restored Church being called by other names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ!”
These nicknames include “LDS Church,” “Mormon Church” and “Church of the Latter-day Saints.” With each of these names, President Nelson said, “the most glaring omission is the absence of the Savior’s name. … When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us — even His Atonement.”
To those who consider it unwise or unrealistic to restore proper usage of the name of the Church, President Nelson responded that “if this were a discussion about branding a man-made organization, those arguments might prevail. But in this crucial matter, we look to Him whose Church this is and acknowledge that the Lord’s ways are not, and never will be, man’s ways.”
President Nelson said Latter-day Saints must take the long view and remember that God will help the Church succeed with this name correction.
“If we will be patient and do our part well, the Lord will lead us through this important task,” he said. “We will want to be courteous and patient in our efforts to correct these errors. Responsible media will be sympathetic in responding to our request.”
President Nelson said he recognizes that some people will continue to call the Church by other names. Even so, “it is disingenuous for us to be frustrated if most of the world calls the Church and its members by the wrong names if we do the same.”
This emphasis, President Nelson stressed, “is not a name change. It is not rebranding. It is not cosmetic. It is not a whim. And it is not inconsequential. Instead, it is a correction. It is the command of the Lord.”
He said the efforts of individual Latter-day Saints to use the correct Church name will yield significant fruit in days to come.
“If we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints, the likes of which we have never seen,”
President Nelson said. “We will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.”