The word "Mormon" is outside, says the president of the church in Utah. But the right expression for what one can call faith and its followers is a bite.
President Russell M. Nelson insisted in a statement on Thursday that Mormons and non-Mormons alike express the phrase "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
Mr. Nelson, 93, said that the political change in a revelation from God came to him and that members of the church must work to adapt their mother tongue. "The Lord has imprinted on me the importance of the name he revealed for his church," he said in a statement.
The only exceptions listed are the Book of Mormon, the Church's sacred text, and historical names such as the Mormon Trail, a state-approved way church members moved from Illinois to Utah in the mid-19th century.
The abrupt shift was largely left unresolved by the Church, whose spokesperson refused to explain the reasons for the new policy, but church leaders promoted the idea for decades. In 1990, Mr. Nelson urged the use of the formal name of the church, as communicated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1838 according to religious doctrine.
"Sometimes a nickname is used instead of the real name," Mr. Nelson, then an underling, said in a speech at a church conference. "But a nickname can offend either the name or the parents who gave the name."
Some church members are well aware that outsiders such as academics and journalists are unlikely to comply with the directive. (For the time being, the Times style guide continues to allow "Mormon.")
"I do not think it will prevent our friends outside the church from calling us nicknames," said Richard E. Bennett, a professor of church history at the Brigham Young University. "But surely we will make greater efforts among the members of the Church to follow the instructions."
The political change is a catch for Dr. med. Bennett's own academic career: His biography lists him as an expert in the 19th century Mormon story. On Friday morning Dr. Bennett through his designs to bring his language up to date.
The Church recognizes that people need more precise terminology and suggests that they use, among other things, the "Restored Church of Jesus Christ"
Matthew Bowman, the author of a book entitled "The Mormon People", said, suggesting that politics could be an attempt to emphasize the church's distinctive attitude to Christianity. Dr. Bowman said the term "restored" refers to the idea that the original Christian religion is outdated and only Mormons practice true Christianity.
The term Mormon was first used by people from outside as a pejorative term in the 19th century. Bowman. But members of the church soon began to adopt the name, and it became widespread in the 20th century.
More than a decade ago, prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, church leadership made a similar impact on people using their full name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the effort was a bankruptcy.
Rocky Anderson, the mayor of Salt Lake City at the time, found the awkward language impossible to maintain. "It was so embarrassing," said Mr. Anderson, who grew up in the church, but no longer considers himself a member. "It almost seemed like a parody that had to be followed."
The new policy could challenge celebrity church members to discuss their belief in the wider public, where the new directive is unlikely to be followed Mormon Tabernacle Choir, for example, must consider adding a few words to his name. And Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon, could make a choice if he advocates representing Utah in the Senate. (A spokeswoman for Mr. Romney declined to comment.)
Doug Andersen, a church spokesman, said church leaders planned to address the issues of practicality, but there was "no timeline" for this. He declined to discuss the decision in more detail.
Dr. Bowman, the historian of Mormonism, rejected the idea that the church distances itself from the word because of the popular musical "The Book of Mormon" which satirised the faith. The use of this term doubled, furthermore a series of advertisements with the Title "I am a Mormon" published, which aimed to counteract the stereotypes about faith through personal stories.
Historians have a different reason for the shift. With this change in politics, the Church may wish to connect with the wider Christian world by referring to Jesus Christ in her name, said Dr. Bennett, the professor at Brigham Young University.
"There are many who do not do that. I think the church is Christian, it could be some kind of cult or something." Bennett. "It focuses on our earnest faith in Christ and His mission."
"This is central to the emphasis on Mormon Christianity," he said before examining his language. "If I can say that."