President Ballard and Elder Gong Share Why Using the Full Name of the Church Matters

Contributed By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News editor

  • 16 August 2019

A meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Owasso, Oklahoma.

“This is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. He is our best friend. And what a wonderful thing to be able to repeat His name and praise His name to all mankind.” —President M. Russell Ballard

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continue to use the proper and inspired name of the Church, the world will use it also, said President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“Our message will be centered more and more around the Savior and His ministry and what He means not just to the members of the Church but also what the Lord Jesus Christ means to the world,” said President Ballard.

One year after President Russell M. Nelson issued an August 16, 2018, statement emphasizing the importance of the revealed name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Ballard and Elder Gerrit W. Gong, also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of this course correction during an interview with Boyd Matheson on KSL Radio.

It is not a name change, and it is not rebranding, they emphasized.

“The name of the Church was revealed by the Lord Himself,” explained Elder Gong. “This is about us recognizing the role of Jesus Christ in our lives.”

Looking at what has been accomplished in the past year, President Ballard added, “We’re well on our way. Are we there yet? No. Is there a lot more work to do? Yes.”

But, he said, the day will come when “the whole world will start to see us as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

After he became President of the Church, President Nelson asked the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to develop a comprehensive plan to correct the use of the name of the Church, President Ballard and Elder Gong said. Under the direction of President Ballard, that plan began with Church leaders, employees, and members correcting their use of the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“It’s not a small thing,” Elder Gong said.

Signage bearing the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints designates the meeting place of the Union Station Ward in New York City.

He stated that to date:

  • 33,000 email addresses have been updated.
  • 300 web-based applications have been added to the new domain name.
  • 95 percent of the outward-facing references have been updated.
  • 800 domain names have been acquired in the United States and other international settings.

“These are just illustrative of the fact that if we would do our homework first and change ourselves, then we could legitimately ask others to follow our example,” said Elder Gong.

President Ballard said that as a result, the Church will continue to improve its messaging to the world.

“As this goes forward, it will become more and more evident in our literature, in our messaging, in anything where the Church is connected that we are The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” President Ballard said. “It is part of the message of the ongoing Restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Elder M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is interviewed in his office in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

That doesn’t mean “that we’re not going to hold onto and maintain the word Mormon,” said President Ballard. “That is our word. The Book of Mormon is very critical. It is another testament and witness that Jesus is the Christ. So we will maintain and treasure the word Mormon, but we will be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, not as the Mormon Church.”

Many people “were surprised by what a big job this really is,” added President Ballard.

“I think we have to tip our hats, for example, to the telephone operators here at Church headquarters. You call now and they answer ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ Why we haven’t been doing that forever, I don’t know. But it’s being done now.”

Elder Gong said it has been said that “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been disguised as the Mormon Church.”

“I think this effort is focused on bringing it out of disguise and bringing it out of obscurity, making it clear that the Lord Himself has revealed the name for His Church and leads the Church through His modern leaders.”

Those who are seeking truth—but don’t know where to find what they seek—will see a “beacon of light” in the name of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, said Elder Gong.

“The future is very bright,” said Elder Gong. “And it’s bright because there is all goodness and all hope and all charity in the name of the Savior and the blessings He promises.”

Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles answers questions during an interview in the North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.

President Ballard said he does not know of any other organization the size of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that does more to reach out into the world and help the poor, the hungry, and those that are in distress.

“Our objective is that the world will come to know that we are the Church of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth in these latter days. That’s what we hope. And we hope that the world knows that we have a great outreach to all of our Heavenly Father’s children. . . .

“This is the Church of Jesus Christ. He is our Savior. He is our Redeemer. He is our best friend. And what a wonderful thing to be able to repeat His name and praise His name to all mankind.”