No, Changing the Name of the Church Did NOT Signal The Lord’s Rejection of It

There is a small, but growing idea that the Lord rejected His Church over a semantic when the name of the Church went from the “Church of Christ” to “Church of the Latter-day Saints”. Some (not to receive free advertising here) even go so far as to say Joseph Smith was wrong for being “influenced” to “remove” Christ’s name from the Church.

These critics of the Prophet of the Restoration, and successors, claim “gotchya!” because of a legal name change that had ZERO impact on the day to day references of the Church being Christ’s.

In fact, there are references to Church of Christ after May 3, 1834. Also references to Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints before April 1838. And shows that they immediately starting using the new name, after it was revealed to Joseph: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

One false claim being made, “no one continued to use ‘Church of Christ’ after the 1834 change.”

Even after the Church was named the “Church of the Latter Day Saints” in 1834, they continued to call it the Church of Christ. And even as early as Dec 1834 they referred to it as “the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints”.

The Lord Himself puts His name in the name of the Church when it was changed to “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in April 1838 and they immediately began using that name, although it wasn’t uncommon from 1834 to 1838 to refer to the church as either the “the Church of Christ” or “the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints”.

The evidence can be found via publications that were printed in those days, such as “The Messenger & Advocate” and “The Elders Journal”.

Below we include a chart for you to reference how the names were used interchangeably, and that the Lord has NEVER said He rejected His Church:

DateClaims / EvidenceSourceNotes
1834 Jun“Sidney Rigdon “Faith of the Church,” E&MS 2 (Jun 1834) FAITH OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THESE LAST DAYS.”
[Has many references to “Church of Christ”.]
“Sidney Rigdon “Faith of the Church,” E&MS 2 (Jun 1834)
1834 Jul(continued for multiple months, 1834 and 1835 (Messenger & Advocate)):
“Sidney Rigdon “Faith of the Church,” E&MS 2 (Jul 1834). FAITH OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN THESE LAST DAYS. NO. V”
1834 and 1835 (Messenger & Advocate)
1834 Dec“…sketch of some of the revelations to the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, might answer as hands to point to the light-house of the skies..”Messenger & Advocate, Liberty, Mo. Christmas, 1834
1835 Mar 28“To the church of Christ in the land of Zion, in addition to the church laws…”D&C 107 – March 28th 1835
1835 May“…and all the spiritual gifts which were in the church, in the days of the Savior and Apostles, were necessary for the church of Christ now; and that there never was nor never would be a true church on the earth, in a state of mortality without them.”Messenger & Advocate, May 18, 1835
1835 May 19“The book of Mormon, the rise of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose history you are now touching in your communications to me, the book of commandments, &c. are such prominent matters of fact…”Messenger & Advocate, Kirtland, May 19, 1835
1835 Jun“Such has been the case in all ages which have preceded us, and such is the case as regards the men who have been instruments in the rise and progress of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints.”Messenger & Advocate, Kirtland, June, 1835
1835 Jul“It affords us no small consolation to witness the slow but steady increase of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints..”Messenger & Advocate, July, 1835
1835 Aug“According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: therefore we believe, that all marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose..”Messenger & Advocate, August, 1835
1835 Aug“All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife..”Messenger & Advocate, August, 1835 (General Assembly of the Church, 17 Aug 1835)
1835 Sep“In fact, it may, in one sense, be called the foundation, or starting point of the church of Christ, or church of latter day saints.”Messenger & Advocate, September, 1835
1836 Feb 24“The several quorums met in the House of the Lord, to conclude the business concerning the ordination of official members in the church of Christ, of the Latter Day Saints, also to ordain the following members to the office of Elders in said Church.”Kirtland Elders Quorum Record, Feb 24, 1836
1836 Mar“..I know that the Bible, book of Mormon and book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, contain the revealed will of heaven.”Messenger & Advocate, March 1836
1836 Jun“..I would advise those who make, as well as those who publish falsehoods against the church of Christ, to beware, lest in endeavoring to injure an innocent society,..”Messenger & Advocate, June 1836
1837 Feb“..and am I not justified in saying, that there never was a day when it became more necessary for a people to “walk by faith, not by sight,” than for the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints at the present time.”Messenger & Advocate, February 1837
1837 Nov“..as every member of the body or church of christ, is a priest of the most high God.”Elders Journal (Joseph Smith, Jr, Editor), November, 1837
1837 Nov“…we are led to conclude that perfection is not attainable in this world, hence gifts may yet be enjoyed by the church of Christ.”Elders Journal, November, 1837
1838 Mar 9“…soon after which this dissenting band, openly, and publicly, renounced the church of Christ, of Latter Day Saints, and claimed themselves to be the old standard; called themselves the church of Christ, excluded that of Saints, and set at naught Br. Joseph, and the whole church, denounced them as heretics.”Elders Journal, March 9th, 1838
1838 Mar 9“How blind and infatuated are the minds of men, when once turned from righteousness to wickedness. They did not understand, that by taking upon them the name of Latter Day Saints, did not do away that of the church of Christ. —Neither did they consider, that the ancient church was the church of Christ, and that they were Saints.”Elders Journal, March 9th, 1838
1838 Mar 10“Very Respectfully we have the honor to be, DAVID WHITMER, W. W. PHELPS, JOHN WHITMER; Presidents of the church of Christ in Mo.”Elders Journal, Far West, March 10,1838
1838 Mar 10“Attest: Oliver Cowdery, Clerk of the High Council of the church of Christ in Missouri.”Elders Journal, Far West, March 10,1838
1838 Mar 10“it was decided that William W. Phelps and John Whitmer be no longer members of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, and be given over to the buffetings of Satan, until they learn to blaspheme no more against the authorities of God, nor fleece the flock of Christ.”Elders Journal, Far West, March 10,1838
1838 Apr 26“He saw the church of Christ make ready to ascend on high, and when they were ready, Zion from above hove in sight, accompanied by the Lord and all the holy prophets…”Elders Journal, April 26, 1838
1838 Apr 26“One of the principal objects then of our coming together, is to obtain the advantages of education; and in order to do this, compact society is absolutely necessary: it cannot be obtained without it, at most only by the few, to the exclusion of the many; which is a principle, at war with the principles of the church of Christ; for the principle of the church is, that what one has, all have; and equal privileges must be granted to all, or else it is not the church of Christ.”Elders Journal, Far West, April 26th, A. D. 1838
1838 MayP.S. Since Br. Joseph came to this place, we have been favored with a lengthy revelation, in which many important items are shown forth. First, that the church shall hereafter be called “the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints.”THOMAS B. MARSH. Far West, May, 1838
1838 Jun 28“A conference meeting of Elders, and members, of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, was held in this place, this day, for the purpose of organizing this stake of Zion, called Adam-ondi-ahmen.”Elders Journal, June, 28 1838
1838 JulyELDERS’ JOURNAL OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS’. VOL. 1 No. 3ELDERS’ JOURNAL OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS’. VOL. 1 No. 3] FAR WEST, MISSOURI JULY 1838https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/elders-journal-july-1838/1
1838 Aug“There was a cause why the gifts were in the church of Christ; he placed them there; he commissioned men to teach repentance and remission of sins in his name, and to baptize those that believed.”Elders Journal, Far West, Missouri, August, 1838https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/elders-journal-august-1838/1

 

4 thoughts on “No, Changing the Name of the Church Did NOT Signal The Lord’s Rejection of It”

  1. The church has already done much more and much worse to be rejected. It is still under condemnation for treating the Book of Mormon lightly.

    1. Being under condemnation, as the scriptures teach, is far different that what is being claimed by those that want you to believe about a superficial temporary name change

  2. I’m so happy to see you guys putting out articles still. My FIL – an author on this site/force behind Defending Idaho – introduced me to this website. Your various articles and recommended reading list have been enlightening. Works such as “Understanding Adam-God Teachings”, “Dynasty of the Holy Grail”, books relating to principles of liberty and the Constitution, and articles diving into “hidden” doctrine/Church history are inspiring. Thank you for doing what you do. Please keep it up!

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