I was wondering if this has any real meaning anymore. So here are some of my thoughts and questions on the matter.
There are those, call them “Big Tent Mormon” who want the moniker to apply to anyone who has even a slight connection to Mormonism, whether they actual belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not. They, with their all-inclusive natures, do not want anyone to ‘feel” left out of the so-called Mormon culture, if they so choose to identify with it, either religiously, culturally or lampoonishly.
So the all-inclusive list would include: LDS Church members, past, present and future, any member of a branch from it including Community of Christ, The Only True and Living Church of LDS, Remnant Church, etc; All polygamous off-shoots of the LDS Church including the Warren Jeff’s FLDS and anyone else who may have had any family member or any possible connection with the LDS Church or any-off-shoot branches. Or anyone who wants to be identified as a Mormon, I guess.
All-in-all, I am not sure I care that much if these folks really do want to call themselves Mormon, though one must admit, as Teyve might say, there is no shame in being called a Mormon, there is no real honor either.
On the other hand, the term “Mormon,” which started out as a derogatory term for members of the Church, is now in vogue in Church circles. The LDS Church has had a love-hate relationship with “Mormon” for most of its history. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that Mormon literally means “more good” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Page 300) and President Hinckley said, “we may not be able to change the nickname, but we make it shine with added luster.” (“Mormon Should Mean “More Good,” Ensign, November 1990). There have been various attempts to jettison the nickname, but nowadays, the church has chosen to embrace it. They even have one of their websites named: Mormon.org.
Which brings me to my next point.
What will “Mormon” mean in the future.
“Oh, you’re a Mormon? I guess you don’t drink coffee or tea?”
“Well, actually, I do. I belong to the so and so group. We don’t follow the WoW.”
“But you guys used to practice polygamy?”
“Actually, we still do.”
“We believe in ‘Big Tent Mormonism’ because we are an off shoot of the original church founded by Joseph Smith, we’re entitled to call ourselves Mormons.”
So, in the future, being a Mormon will not mean anything in particular since all the different groups as well as former members do not adhere to the same set of principles.
It makes one wonder why this is happening now? With the LDS Church’s “I am a Mormon” campaign in full swing, is it merely a coincidence the “big tent” is being erected? There are many who would like nothing better than to subvert the Church’s efforts to normalize the members of the Church to others. Could it be an organized conspiracy? Not likely. But it is strange that this “movement” is occurring at the same time.
Or is being a Mormon now being equated to being a Jew, separated from the religious sense and applied to the cultural sense. I know many people, who identify as a Jew, in some sense, (I am one of them), but not at all in a religious sense.
So, is that so bad if it happens to Mormon as well?