This article may surprise you. It’s not at all what you’d expect from an ex-Mormon’s perspective, and I hope it helps you also reconsider your faith as I recently did.
I was born and raised Mormon. For over four decades it’s largely been how I identified myself, but recent developments in the leadership of the church have made me not only question my status as a Mormon, but actually reject it outright.
I know what you’re thinking. “What could possibly cause this? A lack of faith? Struggles with sin?” Actually it’s neither, in fact quite the opposite. So why did I choose to become an ex-Mormon after so many years of proudly standing as one? It’s simple. Because the prophet told me to! And in fact, millions of others in the church have also willfully become ex-Mormons for the same reason.
(I told you you’d be surprised!)
As you likely heard, our dear prophet, President Russel M. Nelson has revealed a revelation he recently received regarding the name of the church:
“The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various Church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so. Additional information about this important matter will be made available in the coming months.”
And what was this that the Lord impressed on his mind? Among other things, the following:
“When referring to Church members, the terms “members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” or “Latter-day Saints” are preferred. We ask that the term “Mormons” not be used.”
If you believe that Russell Nelson is a prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ as I do, you must also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ himself wants us to stop referring to ourselves as Mormons. We are now to instead see and refer to ourselves and each other as “Latter-day Saints” or “members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
For the first time in history, we have had to ask ourselves whether we have enough faith in a living prophet to choose to become ex-Mormons. The irony is nearing oh-my-heck proportions.
But humor aside, the reality is that some of us have struggled to accept this seemingly minor, yet decidedly significant admonition. It takes faith to stand against the persecutions of the world, the political pressures of the present, and the temptations of the adversary, and likewise it would appear that for some it also takes tremendous faith to accept a simple adjustment to our everyday vocabulary. The prophet is aware of this and acknowledges it in advising us that “We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will.” For some of us, this will require work, and that work will require faith, and that is really what this is about; faith.
There has been much speculation about the origins, meaning, and coming consequences of this revelation. Is it to remind us that we are living in the final stages of the latter days as they draw ever nearer? Is it due to the unfortunate reality that the world has tarnished the sacred term of the prophet Mormon’s name? Or could it be simply be another means of the Lord testing and proving the faith of His disciples? At this point we don’t know much other than the most important point: that a man who communes with Jehovah, who holds His priesthood, who possesses all the keys to receive revelation for the church, and who we have collectively sustained as prophet, seer, and revelator has told us this is the Lord’s will.
The Lord has once again given us a moment to exercise our agency…to draw nearer to him or serve a different master. Even a simple word we commonly use can have eternal consequences.
To my fellow now ex-Mormons I say:
May we all thank God for a prophet…and for modern day revelation…and may we happily change the way we refer to ourselves, to show ourselves, each other, the world, and most importantly, the Lord that no matter what he asks us to call it that we are unwaveringly his disciples.