Viewed as a name, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” may seem long and unwieldy, but viewed as a descriptive overview of the Church, the same nine words are remarkably terse and descriptive. As the full name suggests, we believe that this is indeed the authentic, in-tact church originally organized by Christ in the meridian of time, restored again in these “latter days” with the exact organization and teachings of His “Church of former days.”
Essentially, the Church is a third category of Christians. One category, Catholics, believe that the church started by Christ has continued to this day. The second category, Protestants, believe there was an apostasy and falling away, necessitating a reformation. The third category, our church, believes that once Jesus’ church fell (and fell away) it could not be reformed by men, only restored by God.
The nickname “Mormon” was originally a term of derision, given to us by our detractors during a time of persecution. Thus, if we had a choice, we would probably prefer not to be called by the “M word” but by our true name, or if a shorter nickname is necessary, “Latter-day Christians” would be both more accurate and more politically correct. However, since the nickname is now so established and widely used, our main goal is now to define “Mormonism” more accurately to the newly-curious world.