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
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
Media Find LDS Name Request Unpersuasive
LDS Church Wants to be Called 'Church of Jesus Christ'