United Brethren has retired.

"Mormons" are doing nothing for Gulf Coast

So says this press-release from the Church anyway. The "Latter-day Saints" are doing good work though.

True story: when we first got to know some good friends of ours, we found out that Tom and I both shared a passion for mountain biking. In Baltimore, one of the best biking trails starts right next to the LDS (sic) chapel. Many bikers share the car park at the weekend. Tom mentioned this, saying that I should "park near the Latter-day Saints' church."

"I know," I replied. "That's where I go to church."

He looked at me funny. "Wait. I thought you were a Mormon."

Professor Decoo has said it before, I've said it before, and I'll say it again (and if you don't like the beat of my drum on this one, well, I like my drum, and I'm going to beat it all the way to a Sacrament meeting in Africa): you cannot shy away from "Mormon." That's how we're known. Mention "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," of course, but "Latter-day Saint," and "LDS" in particular are wasted labels.

(To be fair, there is one, tiny mention of "Mormon" in the release, but it's hidden near the bottom and most people won't read it.)

My home Stake in England is participating in the new "Helping Hands" programme, an attempt to do community work and raise the profile of the Church. Good idea. Except last I heard, the official T-shirts have "LDS" on them. No mention of "Mormons."

No-one has any idea what "LDS" is. Apparently they are really good people. Who knows what "Mormons" do. Aren't they just some weird polygamous cult?

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Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 17, 2005 6:39 PM) 

Having served my mission in England, you are exactly right....especially there. Here in the US it's not so bad, but in England you're right.

The problem is how do we raise awareness of the church in England....under the right name and still keep the "Mormon" moniker?

Most people in the US don't know that the Church of England is even in the United States, let alone it has a different name here. Same problem, different country. 

Posted by don


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 17, 2005 7:59 PM) 

I'm completely with you on this one, Ronan. I see the attempt to make the brand switch from "Mormon" the "LDS" was a misguided and failed marketing decision. I would be thrilled if we gave up on LDS entirely and stuck with our true brand. We are Mormons! That is something to be proud of as far as I am concerned.

(Having said that, we do have a URL called LDSblogs.org... Oh well, you take what you can get... As long as we keep the word Mormon prominently displayed I think we are ok.) 

Posted by Geoff J


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 17, 2005 10:07 PM) 

I agree with your comments from a marketing perspective. On the other hand, often I don't find the church's PR efforts to be among my leading concerns in life. And I think there's a great potential benefit from the church phasing out the use of the word Mormon: a neutral term for the broader culture and community of our tradition. Of course, as long as the church stomps on uses of the term "Mormon" for anything other than the church, that potential benefit is purely hypothetical... 

Posted by RoastedTomatoes


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 18, 2005 12:32 AM) 

RT, I lose loads of sleep over this. Check out the time stamp. As for phasing out "Mormon," that's just crazy. It would be like Coca-Cola saying:

"Hey, 'Coke' has a negative connotation so let's stop people from saying it. We'll push 'Coca-Cola,' or failing, that start calling it CCSD (Coca Cola Soft Drink)."

Bad idea.

Geoff, mormonblogs.org?

Don, good point, but the Episcopalian Church is slightly  different from the C of E. And I think LDS is a poor label in the US too. After all, my buddy is an educated American from Ohio and knew nothing about any LDS-Mormon connection.

Of course, LDS probably works in Utah... 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 18, 2005 12:21 PM) 

If you don't correct/inform folks that they are one and the same when opportunities arise, then the misperceptions will continue.  

Posted by lyle


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (September 19, 2005 5:16 AM) 

The current vogue for many members of the Church of most persuasions in describing themselves as Mormon, is one I hope continues. It has a certain resonance and depth to it that I find appealing. Away with "Latter-day Saint" and onwards with "Mormon"! 

Posted by Jonathan M.


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