The Newsroom

Journalists Mostly Getting “Mormon” Usage Right

The majority of news outlets covering the trial and sentencing of polygamist Warren Jeffs have been very clear to point out that neither Jeffs nor his church are connected to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We appreciate their efforts and remind those unfamiliar with the issue to review previous material on the Newsroom site for clarification.

As former Church president Gordon B. Hinckley said in 1998 on this matter:

"I wish to state categorically that this Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing polygamy. They are not members of this Church. Most of them have never been members. They are in violation of the civil law. They know they are in violation of the law. They are subject to its penalties. The Church, of course, has no jurisdiction whatever in this matter."

We have also seen some confusion over use of the term “Mormon.”  The fact is, when people hear the word “Mormon,” they think of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Mormon pioneers, and Mormon missionaries—all associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  To identify polygamist groups or individuals like Jeffs as “Mormon” confuses people and leaves the impression that there is a connection between these small groups and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We hope this distinction will always be made clear.

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.

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This blog is managed and written by staff of the Public Affairs Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide journalists, bloggers, and the public with additional context and information regarding public issues involving the Church. For official news releases and statements from the Church, please also visit the home page.