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Future Developments in New Emphasis in Church's Name


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In a recent interview Pres Ballard said “Are we there yet?” (referring to the new emphasis of using the proper name of church). “No. Is there a lot more work to do? Yes. And we’re taking those steps. And I think as time rolls out, and people see the other steps that we’re working on, they’re going to be very, very pleased. Certainly the membership the church will be."

What do you think could be big future steps that haven't been done yet? Besides the monumental task of changing the logos on all Mormon Messages videos from the past and finishing the names change of social media and website references. Any thoughts?

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It isn't clear at all what more can be done than to get many members to use the complete, formal name of the Church, and abbreviations of that.  That seems to have taken place already, even on this board.  Putting the name of Jesus Christ front and center may have a powerful effect over time, though I am not sure how one would measure that.The real question is whether such top-down instructions also bring with them an emphasis on the hierarchical nature of the LDS Church.  One Mormon* scholar, Prof Rick Phillips of Northern Florida Univ, thinks that a move in the opposite direction would be more beneficial for Church growth -- that is a move toward congregationalism.  See his “‘De facto Congregationalism’ and Mormon Missionary Outreach: An Ethnographic Case Study,” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 47/4 (2008):628–643,  online at https://www.academia.edu/9832099/De_facto_Congregationalism_and_Mormon_Missionary_Outreach_An_Ethnographic_Case_Study?email_work_card=view-paper ,


A number of theorists in the sociology of religion hold that denominations in the United States have remained vital by decentralizing power, and shifting control from central hierarchies to individual congregations: a strategy dubbed “de facto congregationalism.” However, changes in the polity of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS, or Mormon, Church) contravene this trend. Unlike most denominations, Mormonism—a vital faith by all accounts—has centralized its authority and standardized its programs in recent decades. This article investigates whether the logic of de facto congregationalism applies to Mormonism. From a case study of missionary outreach in an LDS congregation, I investigate how mandates from the church’s central headquarters are interpreted and implemented at the grassroots level. My findings show that the church’s centralized polity may hinder the functioning of Mormon congregations outside traditional strongholds in Utah and the Intermountain West—a finding consistent with the logic of de facto congregationalism.

629, . . . I show how Mormonism’s missionary outreach program—imposed by church headquarters in Salt Lake City—affects the operation of a ward far removed from Utah’s Mormon enclaves. I find that a churchwide mandate for membership growth thwarts local leaders’ attempts to socialize new converts and maintain a cohesive religious community.This suggests that aspects of Mormonism’s centralized polity inhibit religious vitality in wards outside Utah and the Intermountain West— a finding consistent with de facto congregationalism. I use this finding to suggest ways that social scientists can refine conceptualizations of both “de facto congregationalism”and “religious vitality” in subsequent research. 

* I use the term "Mormon" because Phillips is no longer a believer in the LDS Church of his youth, yet has spent his career studying the LDS Church.  It would be silly to term him a "Latter-day Saint," yet he is an integral part of Mormon culture.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

* I use the term "Mormon" because Phillips is no longer a believer in the LDS Church of his youth, yet has spent his career studying the LDS Church.  It would be silly to term him a "Latter-day Saint," yet he is an integral part of Mormon culture.

I think this is appropriate. I consider myself "Mormon" in terms of culture and background, and it's still a major part of my existing community. I figure I get to keep it if I want! 

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