I’m well aware that I haven’t shared an introduction yet, or a post about my journey into plural marriage. There’s been a lot of discussion lately over the proper use of the term “Mormon” in describing adherents to the religious tenets taught originally by Joseph Smith. As it’s been a topic of interest lately, I’ve decided to delay my introduction for another week and put in my two cents concerning this topic.
The family tree of “Mormonism” is actually pretty large.
Even the branch of the tree that is considered Mormon Fundamentalism is pretty large. For decades now there has been debate over who is entitled to use the term “Mormon” in reference to themselves. I can recall an interview some years ago when the president of the LDS church at the time, Gordon B. Hinckley said in an interview that there was no such thing as a Mormon Fundamentalist. He said that it was a contradiction to use the two words together. He was very careful to draw a clear distinction between Mormons and those who have chosen to continue to accept plural marriage as a doctrine.
During the past weekend, in the general conference of the LDS church, the current president, Russell M. Nelson, stated in uncategorical terms that the name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that members should no longer refer to themselves as Mormons. This followed a press release and a release of a new style guide detailing what members of the church should call themselves and how they should refer to the church.
Last Sunday, President Nelson went even farther and stated that it was offensive to Jesus when nicknames were used to refer to members of the LDS church and that it was a win for Satan every time it happens. I prefer to believe that “in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things and obey not his commandments” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:21), but I’m no longer a member of the LDS church and have no say in what they call themselves. What I am curious to see, however, is if the membership and leadership of the church will move beyond the quarrel over who can claim the title of “Mormon” or if, like a child with their toys, they won’t want to play with it but won’t want anyone else to either.
Time will tell. As for me and my house
We are happy to claim the title along with the “fundamentalist” caveat, though I guess we’ll have to discuss whether we are Mormon Fundamentalists or Fundamentalist Mormons. Either way, we know that an accurate description of our current beliefs will include “non-denominational.” We’ll have to figure out the rest as we go. We’re also happy to inform anyone that asks that as Mormons, we are firm believers in the fullness of Jesus Christ’s restored gospel, even the portions that the LDS church feels are no longer consequential. We have absolute faith in Christ as our Savior. Our people have been Mormons for almost two centuries now and He hasn’t seemed to be any more offended by that than He has been about Melchizedek’s name being used as the “nickname” for His priesthood.
Here’s a news article that I found had some interesting points to make and some enjoyable discussion from Mormon Fundamentalist’s point of view of the name changes the LDS church is making. I’ll share it here for your reading enjoyment:
In closing, I’m going to share the lyrics to an old Mormon pioneer folk song (supposedly one well-liked by Brigham Young) that sums up a lot of my feelings about the future of our path.
“I will sing of the Mormons, the people of the Lord since first the prophet Joseph prayed for light. And the way they’ve been guided by Jesus’s holy word and saved by the power of his might.”
“Each time that the wicked have sought to overthrow and to bring the work of God to naught, the way has been opened for the saints to escape; a ram in the thicket has been caught.”
“Though the grasshoppers, crickets, and mobbers all combined have sought to crush our noble cause, the more we are hated, the more we are maligned, the more the work of Jesus grows.”
“Tis the song, the sigh of the Mormons, hard times, hard times have long oppressed us sore. Many days they have lingered around our cabin door, but now we’ve brighter days in store.”*
I hope you all have a blessed week!
*PS: There’s supposedly another version of this song entitled “Ditches, ditches, ditches break no more.” Anyone familiar with the Mormon colonization of the western US will be familiar with the amazing network of irrigation systems they pioneered and which also required herculean amounts of work to maintain. I’ve heard it said that Mormons are the only people that can get water to flow uphill. I certainly believe it.