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Posted 05 Aug 2001   For week ended August 03, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Aug01

By Kent Larsen

New AP Stylebook Still Recommends 'Mormon Church'

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The Associated Press has released the 2001 edition of its stylebook, the guide for word usage followed by a majority of US newspapers, and while the book did make changes in its entry on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it still allows using "Mormon Church" in place of the church's official name. The Church made an issue of the use of its name this past February when Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an interview on the subject to the New York Times.

The new entry in the AP stylebook indicates that "Mormon church," "LDS church" and "the Latter-day Saints" are all acceptable uses, but indicates that the official name is preferred in the first reference in "a story dealing primarily with church activities." It also says that church members can be referred to as either "Latter-day Saints" or as "Mormons."

But the entry differs from the previous edition, which only suggested the term "Mormon church" in addition to the Church's official name. The previous entry also does not suggest a term for church members.

For many years the LDS Church has sought for journalists, LDS Church members and the public to refer to the Church by its official name instead of the familiar term "Mormon Church." In February, the New York Times printed an interview with Elder Oaks as the Church stepped-up efforts to get newspapers to change their policies. The Church also asked that the Church not be called the LDS Church, suggesting instead that "Church of Jesus Christ" be used.

However, most media disagreed with the Church. A Salt Lake Tribune report two weeks later indicated that the Associated Press had found the Church's arguments unpersuasive. Norm Goldstein, editor of the AP Stylebook then told the Tribune that the Associated Press would stick with "Mormon" because of clarity, "We've looked at it, and then decided that since they are still generally known as Mormons, we would stay with 'Mormon Church' and then use the full name of the church on second reference." Contacted today by Mormon News, Goldstein indicated that his logic has not changed.

Other media have also not complied with the Church's wishes, but most Utah media have stopped using the term "Mormon Church." The Salt Lake Tribune decided in March to use the term "LDS Church" on second reference, rather than the more common "Mormon Church" and instead of the Church-suggested term "Church of Jesus Christ." The Church-owned Deseret News's recent articles follow a similar policy.

Mormon News follows the same policy, referring to the Church by its official name near the beginning of an article, and using 'LDS Church' in subsequent references. The website and e-mail list's experimentation with using "Church of Jesus Christ" seemed to cause confusion among readers and drew negative reactions from some readers.


AP Notice of new stylebook publication

See also:

Media Find LDS Name Request Unpersuasive

LDS Church Wants to be Called 'Church of Jesus Christ'


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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information