Why Latter-Day Saints is often called 'Mormon' | Worship

By Bishop Eric Jacobsen, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints | Mar 26, 2014

Many people know us as “Mormons.” However, the official name of our church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I thought some of you might like a brief explanation of why we are often called Mormons.

In the Old Testament we read: “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants, the prophets,” (Amos 3:7).

The Bible teaches us that throughout history God has chosen special representatives, known as prophets, who lead and direct His people.

Prophets bear witness of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Abraham, Moses and Isaiah are a few examples of prophets who have left us with a written record of the revelations of God to his people.

Another ancient prophet, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem in the year 600 BC. Lehi, his wife Sariah and their family loved and worshiped God.

Just before Jerusalem’s destruction, God commanded Lehi and his family to flee and travel into the wilderness. They were obedient to God’s command and journeyed as far as they could until they reached water.

God then directed Lehi’s family to build a ship and cross the ocean. They again obediently followed God’s instructions and landed on the American continent.

Lehi, like other ancient prophets, kept a record of the inspiring events of their family’s journey.

Lehi, and the prophets that succeeded him, knew of the Messiah’s coming and looked forward to Christ’s birth, ministry, atonement and resurrection.

They taught and wrote these gospel principles with great clarity and power, and prophesied that Jesus would also visit his people in the Americas.

Just before His crucifixion and death, Jesus said, “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd,” (see John 10:14-16).

The Book of Mormon’s most compelling account is of Jesus Christ’s personal ministry in the Americas after his resurrection. His visit with these people lasted three days.

He taught them His gospel. He showed them the nail prints in His hands and feet and invited them to have faith in Him.

About 400 years after Christ’s visit to the Americas, another prophet named Mormon compiled the many writings and history of these people. Mormon condensed these records into one volume and engraved them onto gold plates.

Just before Mormon died, he gave these gold plates to his son, Moroni. Moroni eventually buried the plates in about 421 AD near upstate New York.

Centuries later, in 1823, Moroni appeared to a 17-year-old boy named Joseph Smith. Moroni led Joseph to the place these plates were buried.

A few years later, Joseph translated the plates by the grace and power of God. The record was then published and called the “Book of Mormon,” in honor of Moroni’s father who compiled the sacred volume.

Since then, more than 150 million copies have been printed in 82 languages, influencing countless lives.

On the cover of the Book of Mormon you will find the words: “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.”

Together with the Bible, one can gain an even greater appreciation and understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the love that God has for all of his children.

Since the Book of Mormon was published shortly before our church was officially organized, we quickly became known as “Mormons.”

Also, calling us “Mormons” is much easier than calling us “members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” So the name has stuck.

To learn more about the Book of Mormon and to request your own free copy, you can visit www.mormon.org.

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