I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

My church has even put out a formal request to the media about how and when to use specific references to the Church.

The official name of the Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This full name was given by revelation from God to Joseph Smith in 1838.—

While the term “Mormon Church” has long been publicly applied to the Church as a nickname, it is not an authorized title, and the Church discourages its use.

When writing about the Church, please follow these guidelines:

  • In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church” or “the Church of the Latter-day Saints.”
  • When a shortened reference is needed, the terms “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are encouraged.
  • When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable.
  • “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.”
  • The term “Mormonism” is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms “Mormons,” “Mormon fundamentalist,” “Mormon dissidents,” etc. are incorrect. The Associated Press Stylebook notes: “The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other … churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”

Okay. *yawn* Are we all on the same page?

Good.

Nine times out of ten I call myself a Mormon. Or LDS. Five times out of ten Mormon is spelled wrong by the general public (Morman, which let’s face it, I have enough man in my life.) and three times out of ten when I use the term LDS, a joke is made about LSD. It’s also really close to FLDS (the polygamists, I cover that one here.) and the RLDS (also a completely different religion.) so for most people I keep it to the simple two syllable term, Mormon.

You’re not going to offend me if you call me a Mormon. If you precede it with four letter words ending in “ing” my feelings may bruise slightly. As long as you’re not trying to be hateful? Call me whatever you want. Same goes for most people I know who share the same beliefs as me, as long as you’re not being a jerk? We can take a joke and you can call us whatever is most convenient (which most of the time is Mormon.)

Now I can’t speak for other groups in the world. Everyone is going to take name calling differently. I have made the grave mistake of deeply offending someone by using the term “Jew.” It was not in a hateful or anti-Semitic way, however taken out of context I can easily see where I went wrong. At the same time I see other people using the term “Jew.” Even Rabbi Shmuley, (who’s totally on twitter HI RABBI SHMULEY!) used the term “Jew” in one of his tweets.

rabbi shmuley's tweet

*sigh*

Is it one of those things where only those who are “in” are allowed to use the vernacular? *deep breath*

I hope you can understand why I’m frustrated. We’ve become so set as a society to take anything as an offense that we react before we think a lot of times.

Sometimes it’s easier to refer to someone as “the Jewish one” or “the gay one” or “the heavier one” or “the black one” or “the one in a wheelchair.”  It’s not because we’re all  Anti-Semites, homophobes, vain, racist or have something against handicapped people sometimes it’s just easier to point someone out with an obvious difference. You all know you have that one Aunt you refer to as “The Crazy One.” Every family has one.  I remember at BlogHer last year trying to tiptoe around the fact that Heather B. was black. So what? She is! And she refers to herself as such on her blog.

But is okay as a white person to call another person black because I’m not? Because I don’t understand what it means to be black? Should I keep to the more politically correct term of “African American?” Is it even okay for me to refer to myself as a white person? Because deep down (okay, my nose) is a Greek person, and under that (my pale skin) is an Irish person.

Honestly I don’t like it when white (caucasian) people refer to themselves as “crackers.” It makes me uncomfortable, much as I would imagine the N term makes black (African American) people feel. (See? I can’t even utter the N word. But you know what I’m talking about.)

Why is race and religion and physical appearance such a big deal? Our president is black, I’d make friends with a Baptist just as quick as I’d make a friend with a fellow Mormon and frankly this whole Prop 8 mess? I speak for myself (MYSELF) when I say that I’ve seen more same sex couples take their unions more seriously than a lot of “traditional” couples. (I’m looking at you Britney Spears.)

We all have value, and short of those derfwads floating around the world who live to hurt people by calling them names like a six year old bully, most of us aren’t out to hurt anyone else.

So if I use the word “Jew” and eat bacon in front of a Jewish person it’s not because I’m a jerk or Anti-Semite. While I’ll do my best to keep my pork consumption to myself I won’t always remember. It’s not my lifestyle.

Just as if you cuss up a storm and drink three glasses of wine in front of me, it’s not because you’re a jerk trying to hurt or offend me, it’s what YOU are used to. (Or your name is Tanis.)

And if somewhere along the lines I offend you or you offend me? I’ll be sure to tell you like a grownup. Just as I’d expect you to do the same. Because the likelyhood that I meant to hurt you? Is smaller than a fish’s eyeball.

Comments

  1. that should be “Casey will HANDLE a misused…”

    SciFi Dads last blog post.."You play by yourself a lot."

  2. I loved this. Love love love.

    I spend a lot of time trying not to be offensive and I always encounter people who complain about “walking on eggshells” for other people and what misery that is. Why is that such a bad thing? Perhaps it’s just me, but I’d rather walk on eggshells in a non-extreme way, than offend someone with my carelessness. I don’t think it takes that much effort to consider what someone might be offended by and then use a different word. My biggest peeve right now is over the word retarded. I just can’t stand it.

    My husband is Jewish and when I met him, I didn’t know what to call him. It takes time and practice. And really, there’s only one or two times when using the word “Jew” is really offensive (or I’m just naive, which is totally possible).

    Also, some people, like varangianguard and other such jerks will always need to find something wrong with something said about religion. I don’t know about you, but I’m just glad he/she isn’t a part of mine. (DUDE pray for her, NOTHING irritates people like that more than saying you’re going to pray for them. Seriously).

    Overflowing Brains last blog post..The out-laws come for a visit.

  3. I think this is extremly well written but you do ask “Why is race and religion and physical appearance such a big deal?” and I’ll answer that all these things have been and can be used to oppress and hurt people. As a Pole the term Polack hurts because it’s almost always used in a derogatory way (a little history – it wasn’t always this way, until the late 19th century it was a common and non-offensive way to to describe a Polish person). But if someone used the term around me today I would probably have a knee-jerk reaction and call that person out for being an ass.

    The point is words can be just as loaded as fists when it comes to hurting someone. And IMO when you use a term like Jew or Mormon (or Christian or Muslim…) to desribe a person as a whole and not in discussing their religious practice you are using it in a derogatory way (intentional or not).

  4. I think the only time using the word “Jew” is offensive is when you are calling someone who is NOT Jewish one, i.e., “don’t be such a Jew!” or, like, my uncle’s friend who uses the phrase “he Jew’ed him down”

    you call call me a Jew, Casey. I mean, like, Metalia, I AM one ;)

    alis last blog post..do I even want to know?

  5. I wouldnt get offended if someone called me a “Jew” it would be the context and tone of the sentence that would determine my feelings.

    As for eating bacon in front of a Jewish person who keeps kosher- it totally wouldnt bother me!
    A few months ago I went to dinner with Heather S and she was going to order the pork, but asked me first if it was ok. I laughed- bec of course it was- I mean, I’m not the one eating it!

    Mayas last blog post..Just a Typical Wednesday Night

  6. Just Shireen says:

    Love, love, loved this.

  7. Heather B. says:

    Yes. I am black. Cat’s out of the bag. I feel better now.

    What bothers me about the whole being PC thing is the constant loopholes. For example: I don’t use the N word. I don’t like it and I don’t like others using it. Yet there are people who get offended over the use of ‘retard’ or ‘retarded’ but these are the same people going around using these terms or something similar because they’re ‘allowed’ to based on family members with physical or mental handicaps. That makes me annoyed. Very annoyed. My general rule is that if you don’t want people using a word because then you shouldn’t use it either. Period.

    Heather B.s last blog post..D.C.

  8. Why, in this day and age, do we assume people are out to hurt us? We need to get back to the good ol’ days of “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”.
    My best friend is black…and I can call her what ever I want. Usually, I choose “My taller, tanner, twin…” but honestly, she knows I love her unconditionally so if I say something stupid, it’s just words.
    While there are people out there that choose to use their words to hurt others, I wish we could get to a place in society that would allow us to not assume that’s what everyone is doing.

  9. Indytina says:

    Brilliant post, Casey. I have some online friends who are members of your faith and we have a lot of fun talking about everything under the sun. I’m glad you have adopted Indy as your town and hope you are here representing us for a long long time. I’ve had to work very hard to get away from the prejudices that I was raised with. Not easy. And I do cringe when my dad says something inappropriate around my son, which is pretty often. Ugh.
    I think we all have to learn our way through life. Hopefully we will all be more tolerant at the end.

  10. girl, i’m half black/half white and have no idea what to even call MYSELF. so yeah, i feel ya…totally

    biddys last blog post..sneak preview

  11. Great post, Casey. I never know what to call people either. I’m never trying to offend, but sometimes you need a descriptor to refer to a person and then I struggle. Correcting my 9 year old to call “Indians” Native Americans made me wonder if we’re spending too much time on the whole thing as she assured me the Native Americans called themselves Indians.

    Jamies last blog post..Tried it Tuesday

  12. It’s not what you’re called, but what you answer to that matters.

    Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twigs last blog post..Wordless Wednesday: Mommy’s Been Spotted

  13. Great post and so true.

    Chriss last blog post..Does it really get easier?

  14. Great post. (Longtime lurker here.) I’m a member of the Christian Church (currently attending a Baptist church, but I don’t affiliate myself with any denomination) and it’s interesting to note that before we became “Christians” we simply referred to ourselves (in the book of Acts) as members of “the Way.” Who cares what the term is as long as it’s respectful?

    Also, our president is only 1/4 black. He’s also half white and 1/4 arab… most people don’t even know that about him. So, truly, you could call him any of those three races and be accurate.

    Again, what’s in a title?

    Anna Graces last blog post..Happy Memorial Day

  15. and this my darling, Casey. is why I love you.

    BTW – you totally made friend with a Baptist :-) A Southern One at that.. ooooooooooo (although not the crazy southern kind) (well.. I’m crazy, but.. nevermind)
    <3 you

    rachel-asouthernfairytales last blog post..Electric Picnic Tables?

  16. I heart you. This post is awesome.

    Jens last blog post..so how about a real blog post already? geez.

  17. Excellent post !! **BRAVO** If the whole world (or at least 75% of it) had your attitude, things would be so much better!

    There’s only two names I can’t stand to be called…..one starts with a C and sounds like punt, and one starts with an F and sounds like cat!

    BTW – I tagged you for a me-me at my blog…sorry !

    Kims last blog post..Crazy 8′s !

  18. no one made a comment about you calling people “rednecks” in the indy 500 post?

    lame :D

    let’s just all play nice.

    Yos last blog post..polly ticks

  19. I think the problem with our society is, people take themselves way too seriously.

    I am mixed race and Christian, which seems to present a lot of opportunity for name calling. I don’t feel I can relate to all people who share these traits and therefore I do nto get offended in the least when people use them to identify me or someone else.

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.

    In fact, I envy the people who get all worked up over name calling because it means they have a lot of free time on their hands and I’d fer sure love me some more free time.

    Good for you for clearing the air.

    P.S. I have a TON of LDS friends and I always call them “Mormon” due to force of habit and none of them care. I love them and I love their church (hellooooooo Enrichment Activities!) so they give me the benefit of the doubt. Whatever happened to the benefit of the doubt? :)

  20. Great points, thanks!

    Cute~Ellas last blog post..WTF Wednesday with a few words.

  21. Speaking of fish eyeballs, once my dad had gone fishing and was back home cleaning the fish. He took his knife and popped the eyeball out and HANDED IT TO ME. Now THAT was offensive. :)

    Karlys last blog post..Answer me. Do it.

  22. I think it all just comes down to intention. If the intention in using a word like “retarded” or “Jew” is to demean the person or suggest that they are less of a person, then it’s simply wrong. Although you have to pay attention to social ettique, which is a living, breathing thing. As Tannis adovocates, “retarded” is really no longer a descriptive term (like Jew), but is usually a put-down. PC linguisitic debates aside, Casey’s right–it’s a matter of acting like adults. You don’t like a word used/joke made, you speak up, politely. It’s the best we can do.

    Must Be Motherhoods last blog post..Grace in Small Things: 14 of 365*

  23. Oy!

    (Am I allowed to say that when I’m not Jewish?)

    IF peoeple are clearly well-intentioned it is silly to take offense at the words they use, especially when words can and do become loaded so quickly.

    Great post!

  24. American-American says:

    I don’t get the whole “African American” thing (unless of course you are ACTUALLY from Africa). Am I “Swedish-American” because my Great Great Great Grandparents came from Sweden? No. I am American first and foremost. I happen to be white, but what does that have to do with anything, other than my need for some sunless tanning lotion? Why is it offensive to say someone is black? I hate politically correct bullcrap. Can’t we all just be friends?

  25. “Just as if you cuss up a storm and drink three glasses of wine in front of me, it’s not because you’re a jerk trying to hurt or offend me, it’s what YOU are used to. (Or your name is Tanis.)”

    Totally. Cracked (not cracker). Me. Up!

    BTW, look for a blog post soon about Ben’s Touch Smart.

    Bennies last blog post..Attitude Adjustment

  26. Is it still ok to use “Lewinsky” as a verb? Cause we use it ALL the time.

    I heart you and if I call you Big Love, it’s just because my love for you is so great it needs an adjective.

    Anissa@Hope4Peytons last blog post..Parenting FAIL: The Conversation Edition

  27. Yo! you can call me a Jew whenever you want. Just don’t call me a f-ing yid, K? a regular Yid is also OK with me, but may not fly with others…

    What did the person who was offended by the term Jew prefer as a title? I’m curious!

    Rabbi’s Wifes last blog post..Chicken Cholent

  28. Two things. One, I went to a Mormon (that’s what my friend called it!) party on Monday night. Most fun party EVER.

    Two. I teach special education. So for the people who are saying, “I don’t understand why people are so sensitive about ‘retard,’” it’s because it’s the prejudice where the person can’t defend himself/herself. And for the person who said that they don’t understand why people are sensitive but then use it because they “know someone,” I can only speak for myself, but I only use the term “mental retardation” in reference to my students’ cognitive abilities (because some of them fall in that range, which is defined as an IQ of 50 or below). I do not say they are retarded or handicapped. (I also don’t say they have special abilities or whatever – I try to just be honest. I say they have disabilities, either cognitive/social or physical.)

    Anyway.

    Third? (So I lied.) Is it worth driving to Indy to go to the special waxing place? Bikini waxing makes me nervous!

  29. First of all I am a long time lurker, de-lurking to say awesome post Casey!!
    Second: Redneck Mommy and Kim (the special Education teacher) I big puffy heart both of you too! You both took the words out of my mouth about the defense of use of the word “retard”.

    The problem is that “retarded/retard” has been parlayed into a euphemism for “stupid” or “jerk”, “ignorant”, or insert your put down here. I am the mom of a son who has Cerebral Palsy and a developmental disability. He is not stupid. Think before you speak. If you mean stupid–say stupid (not retard or retarded). People who have disabilities are people first and they deserve the same consideration that you would show to any person of any race, religion or nationality.

    Again, Casey, thank you for starting the discussion in such an eloquent way.

    Kathy Ks last blog post..Do Over

  30. I think about this a lot. I mean, why do black people — or African-Americans — call each other the N word, but end it with an “a” instead of “er”? I don’t like the N word at all, no matter how you spell it. Why is it okay for some Hispanics to use the N word, and a few select white people?

    The word used to have such negative, demeaning connotations. I don’t feel that it should be used at all.

    Just like I feel that people shouldn’t use the word “emo.” Just because I’m depressed and wear a lot of black doesn’t make me an attention whore.

    And I’m done now. Probably.

    Elizabeth Kaylenes last blog post..The Sunfire

  31. I grew up in Brooklyn. The only way you could attempt to offend me is if you said your Pizza and Bagels were better – you see, never gonna happen.

    Swiggys last blog post..Happy Birthday, Monkey!

  32. Racial tensions are always very visible. Since childhood we develop our outlook and character. Then we just live, we are those who we are ))

    Alyssas last blog post..The Mini Tummy Tuck Procedure

  33. Bossy is never offended: she will even answer to Boozy as long as it comes with free wine.

    BOSSYs last blog post..Sweat This.

  34. Clearly he Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (seriously? they expect us to write that out?) has branding issues.

    My brother is a Mormon. We call him a Mormon.

    We have lots of Jewish friends. We call them Jews.

    We have some black friends. We call them black. I don’t say nigger (except here on your blog, of course), but that might be the one word I am simply not comfortable using.

    OK, spic, dago, wop, and slant-eye don’t roll off the tongue, either.

    Labels are hard. Words mean different things to different people. Some people take words very seriously. I love words. I believe most don’t value our language enough while at the same time giving certain words more power than they deserve. Why is “****” obscene but “frack” is not? They mean the same thing. Someone decided what was obscene. And it changes over time.

    So I say use the word that seems most appropriate to you at the time. Someone will probably be offended at some point. We move on.

    Nice post. Well said, you.

    badassdadblogs last blog post..tuesday and everything after

  35. Been a while since I caught one of your Mormon rants.. :)

    And because today is your lucky day I’m sharing a hilarious mormon cartoon blog:

    9thWardCartoons.com oh my gosh scroll down to the Mo-dar one, or type in Twilight in the search… HI-larious… :)

  36. I am “the crazy aunt”, and I take offence to that term.

    :)

    Kriss last blog post..Let the Cash Drainage Begin

  37. jenabunny says:

    So, can we still refer to people as “the really tall guy” or “the woman with all the red hair?” How far are we as a human race going to take this?

  38. nice to be recognized as good people even though i’m agnostic. 15-17% of people in the us claim to be agnostic/athiest & many people still think we are valueless satan worshippers because we don’t necessarily believe. what works for me doesn’t work for you & vice versa, but i still like you and think you’re funny as all get out

    mommymaes last blog post..new music monday xx

  39. I just fell in love with you and your blog. OH MY GOODNESS, AMEN!

    I cannot tell you how much it aggravates me that there are “correct” terms for everything, and moreover, I can’t keep them all straight! And different people under the same community have different preferences and…ARGH.

    I’ll tell you what, though. I won’t be offended if you use the word Jew. I won’t even be offended if you add a four letter word and an -ing before it, as long as you’re making one helluva joke.

  40. Great post…well said, a lot of things I was thinking of today after watching Dr. Phil…gag me. Love you…standing ovation!

    Kimmies last blog post..The One I Like to Call: The $30 -Coke- Slurpee

  41. WhyMommy says:

    Very thoughtful!

    (the term handicapped, though … not so much.)

    A funny: I just came back from a conference that I’ve attended the last two years. Last year I was almost bald, having just finished chemo, with just a fine fuzz of hair growing up. This year, a few women remarked on how cute my hair was — and then professed shock when hearing that I was a year out of chemo — they told me they thought the buzz cut was “a lifestyle choice!” Hilarious. I think the world is making progress in taking people as PEOPLE, and I applaud that.

    Nice post!

  42. The word that really, seriously, offends me is “retarded” or “retard”. Mostly because I have a kid with learning disabilities and a motor coordination disorder, and he was called that MANY times by classmates (still is). The ironic thing is that he is often smarter than the name callers are.

    It really is ignorance, because while I know the word “retarded” was used to describe people who are mentally handicapped at one point, this word now means “stupid”. It’s directed at kids who are blind, autistic, deaf, learning disabled, or physically disabled and while these kids have disabilities, many of them are wildly smart. They struggle enough to make it through daily life and show a determination and courage that most of us could only hope to live up to one day.

    One the other end of the spectrum, even though someone might be mentally challenged, they deserve to at least be treated with dignity and compassion. I’m sure everyone would expect that if it were THEIR child/mother/brother/sister/ etc

    It can happen to any of us, at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a head injury.

    Scattered Moms last blog post..Win a Power Shot Camera!

  43. I have the thought that it all goes back to “What would Jesus Do?” Would Jesus call someone a “retard” or “fat” or “stupid”? As I have been guilty in my life of these words escaping my lips, I have worked on it in my adulthood especially with having a child. All the of the words that we all each other are labels and or judgements. The hard thing about the judgements especially is that it once they are shared, those that have heard them have a prejudgement in their mind which can result in them not going to something as simple as a resturaunt, because someone said it was discusting or someone deciding to not talk to another person because they were told they were mean, ugly, nasty, etc. It is ok that we have our own opinions, that’s what makes the world go round; however we need to own them as such and allow others to have their opinions as well without telling them it is wrong, bad, or trying to change it. It is ok that we get offended by certain names, if someone hasn’t been educated then let them know of an alternative, if it gets to the point that they continue to say that same thing and you value that you aren’t called that enough, then alternative steps can be taken. For example, I have placed a child for adoption. It is like nails on a chalkboard for people to say given up or gave away or anything besides placed. When I hear it I cringe and then before I totally go off on them, I have to remind myself that they may not know other terms and they may not know that it personally offends me. I can make a decision to share with them that it offends me or let it go. If I let it go then I have to remind myself the next time they use that term that I can’t blow up on them because again I didn’t do anything to inform them. I also find it disrespectful if you have been redirected by one to use a different term and you continue to use it in front of them. I may be a birth mom , I may be a single mom, I may be a divorcee, I may be LDS, I may be whatever label is attached to me but At the end of the day I am Carly.

    Joe@irrationalDad- that calls people “fat”, “retarded”, etc. remember that you don’t have all the facts. You don’t know how or why those people are in those situations. What your consider overweight, I may think is just fine, or what you consider mentally challenged, I may think they are just fine as well. You are judging others according to your own expectations. Collect the facts, have your judgements, own them as such.

    I also agree with the comment about being color blind. That was well said.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] to me by someone whom I respect in my church. I think it’s funny. But with the recent “namecalling” debate what do you think? Is it okay because I’m the one telling it and am basically [...]

  2. [...] all this PC/religion/namecalling garbage a new kind of debate has aroused [...]