President Nelson said, “When we omit His name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives.” The irony is that Joseph Smith used three different names for the church in the span of eight years. Why would Jesus instruct Smith in 1830 to call it the “Church of Christ”, then change it in 1834 to the “Church of Latter Day Saints” and, then change is once again in 1838? Was he carelessly removing Jesus as the central focus of LDS members lives? One possible reason it took Joseph eight years to settle on an official name is the fact that God wasn’t involved at all in the decision.
In my entire life I’ve never heard or read of anyone having the silly idea that the LDS worship the “ancient American prophet” Mormon. Most people aren’t that naïve.
In the Bible, Jesus never mentioned what the future church would be called. That’s because it was never intended to be a formal organization, a corporate institution. They were simply believers in Jesus Christ. Those believers were known by a, number of titles: like, “the Way”, “Christians”, “Nazarenes”, “Church of Christ”, “Church of God”, “Church of the Firstborn” “Church of the Thessalonians”, etc. The term “Church” comes from the Greek work “Ekklesia” which means “a called-out assembly or congregation.” It is a gathering of people “called-out” to follow Jesus. What it is NOT – nor ever has been is an institution that serves as the gatekeeper of salvation or eternal life. It’s all about a personal relationship each follower has with Jesus Christ.
Calling the Mormon Church “The Church” or the “Church of Jesus Christ” or “The Restored Church” would be an acknowledgement of Mormonism’s truth claims. Non-members will recognize that those are more than titles and people outside that faith should not give validation to those designations. It would be an admission that the “Great Apostasy” really occurred. Thus, the need for the Church to be “restored.” And, Christians certainly do not support that doctrinal position. Besides, how is it any better to call it the “The Church” or “The Restored Church” if the name of Jesus is still absent?
It is hard to break old habits and I believe the terms “Mormonism” and “Mormon” will be used by members and non-members till the end of time. President Nelson has taken what seems to be his personal, opinion and used his authority as CEO to persuade others that it is God who is making this “correction” of the Church’s name.