Sunday, October 12, 2014

The "M" word

I have to admit I get annoyed whenever I see Mormons become defensive over the use of the word "Mormon". You see comments pop up like "That's not the name of the Church!" "Why don't you do your research!" or "It's just a nickname btw!" Getting the name of the Church wrong or referring to its members incorrectly means everything that uninformed individual said is incorrect and probably anti-Mormon. Never mind that latter-day saints do in fact refer to the Church as the "Mormon Church" and don't colloquially refer to members of the Church as saints. They only very rarely refer to members as saints and when they do it's typically heard in the expression "the early saints" which is kind of weird considering that those "early" folks were pretty sure they were all latter-day and shit.

Members of the LDS Church call themselves Mormons, I promise. We can say "Mormon" but everyone else had better mind the "M" word! But I have to admit that as an active member I definitely thought it was a smart move when the LDS Church started insisting more and more that people use its official name. (Although I also thought it would have made more sense had they  emphasized that they had wanted to be called the Church of Jesus Christ, not the LDS Church, but whatever.)

Who cares? What's the big deal? All groups have insider-outsider language, right?

Probably, yes. What I found (and still find) disturbing, however, is the way in which Mormons look for tiny mistakes in the things outsiders say in order to dismiss their arguments while going to great lengths to dismiss or ignore mistakes and inconsistencies made by their leaders. The tradition goes all the way back to Joseph Smith (but I don't believe Tom's had the same kind of slip ups as Gordon).

Jesus warned against this scenario (if you're into Jesus).

Why is this OK? Why do the prophets get a free pass on bad information while everyone else gets hosed for simple and often superficial mistakes?

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