Mormon Tabernacle Choir Changes Name to Remove 'Mormon'

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and conference goers sing at the first session of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' 185th Annual General Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah April 4, 2015. |

The renowned musical ensemble the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has announced that they're changing their name in response to an order from the head of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The choir announced Friday that they'll now be known as "The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square," in response to a statement issued by the LDS Church in August regarding the discontinuing of the use of the term "Mormon."

Ron Jarrett, president of the famed music organization, said in a statement on Friday that the new appellation "will represent a change after so many years."

"But we have always been a forward-looking people, and we are focused on what is not changing: the world-class musicianship, the inspiring arrangements and programming, and our weekly Music and the Spoken Word broadcast continuing a tradition begun 90 years ago," said Jarrett.

"The name may change, but everything that people know and love about the choir will not only be the same but will get better and better."

In August, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' President Russell M. Nelson announced that they would no longer use shortened names like "Mormon" and "LDS Church" to identify themselves.

"The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His church, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," stated Nelson.

"We have work before us to bring ourselves in harmony with His will. In recent weeks, various church leaders and departments have initiated the necessary steps to do so."

On first reference, the guidelines state, the official church name is "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." And if a shortened reference is needed after that, the new guidelines say, "the terms 'the Church' or the 'Church of Jesus Christ' are encouraged. The 'restored Church of Jesus Christ' is also accurate and encouraged."

This announced name change had garnered many questions on implementation, especially since many correctly believed entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir were going to be affected.

In response to the news, Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, argued that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' name change announcement holds a theological significance evangelicals should be aware of.

In an August episode of his podcast, Mohler explained that by making the name change the LDS Church president was making "a truth claim."

Mohler argued that by demanding that they be called by their full name and not a shorter term like "Mormons," the LDS Church is reaffirming their belief that "all other Christian churches are not real churches."

"The official teaching of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons, is that their church is the restoration of the true Church, which had disappeared on Earth between the time of the disciples, properly the Apostles, all the way until Joseph Smith in the United States in the 19th century," said Mohler.

"Notice the definite article, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In that name, there is a clear claim to identity with Jesus Christ, but a clear claim of discontinuity and absolute distance from the church from the time of the Apostles until Joseph Smith."

Mohler added that "there is far more than the question of nomenclature when the president of the Mormon church says that Mormons shall no longer be known as Mormons."

"That's not just a name, it's a claim. It's a truth claim and evangelical Christians had better understand it clearly," concluded Mohler.

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