Mormons: Don't call us Mormons
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "will step up efforts to discourage use of the term Mormon Church and instead emphasize the name Jesus Christ in references to the church," The New York Times reported yesterday. Instead of using "Mormon" as shorthand, the new shorter way to refer to the church should be "the Church of Jesus Christ." Really. "We haven't adopted a new name of the church," says Dallin H. Oaks, one of the church's highest officials. "We have adopted a shorthand reference to the church that we think is more accurate." Still, the church won't change names like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Mormon Trail and the Book of Mormon. Times reporter Gustav Niebuhr also talked to Jan Shipps, a non-Mormon expert on the church from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Shipps, who recently wrote an article for Beliefnet on why Mormons are discouraging use of the term, summarized the efforts as representing "the desire of Latter-day Saints—and not just the leadership—to be understood as a Christian tradition." Meanwhile, Mormons are gearing up for massive evangelistic efforts next year when the Winter Olympics comes to Salt Lake City. Brigham Young University will even shut its doors so students and faculty can volunteer and evangelize. Meanwhile, however, some controversy is brewing over the limits the church is putting on alcohol consumption.

Other Mormon-related news:

  • Religious rift rattles University of Utah | The anti-Mormon controversy has enduring history (The Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah)
  • Mormons won't take federal funds | "I am in favor of complete separation of church and state, and while we appreciate the offer of federal funding, we like to do ours on our own. Once the government is involved, regulations follow," Gordon Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, tells Larry King (USA Today)

More news:


Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives opens today:

  • Bush's call to church groups attracts the untraditional | As President Bush's new Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives officially opens for business, leaders of some of the nation's religious groups long considered to be on the fringe—including Scientologists and Hare Krishnas—already are preparing proposals for the grants. (The New York Times)
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  • Churches get seatbelt grant | Two Memphis churches have been awarded a $12,000 federal grant to promote seatbelt use among blacks in a pilot project that could lead to similar grants on a national scale (Associated Press)

The new cardinals:

Vicious vicar gets off easy:

Other stories on Christians and lawsuits:

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Australia's Catholics ordered to reinstate priest:

  • Vatican steps in to allow back priest in sex case | Rome overrules Australian bishops by ordering the reinstatement to pastoral duties of a priest whose conviction for molesting a former altar boy was overturned on appeal. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Rome's decree weakens church leaders | A Vatican ruling undermines the courage of Australian bishops in confronting clerical sexual abuse (Chris McGillion, The Sydney Morning Herald)

Are Russia's new tax codes a sign of the end?

Pop culture:

  • Faith through the eyes of TheSimpsons | Author of recent Christianity Today cover story publishing book on show's depiction of religion (New York Times News Service/Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
  • Earlier: Saint Flanders | He's the evangelical next door on The Simpsons, and that's okily dokily among many believers. (Christianity Today, Jan. 26, 2001)
  • A backlash against indecency | That the continued adventures of Hannibal Lecter can sell so many tickets speaks volumes about the grossed-out state of popular culture today. But tomorrow could be different because social trend lines have a way of zigzagging, even reversing. (James P. Pinkerton, The Boston Globe)

Episcopalians reach out:

Other stories of interest:

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