After 150 years, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be no more.
This week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that the world-renowned choir will be going by a different name that helps it better align with the church, which is moving away from the word “Mormon” in its name. As KUTV reported, church President Russell M. Nelson announced the change in a statement and acknowledged that it may be difficult for many people to move beyond the famous name.
“We know that it’s going to be a challenge to undo tradition of more than a hundred years,” he said. “We don’t have all the answers, all we know is that the Lord has said ‘thus shall my church be called, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ and that’s enough for me….So, we’re not changing names, we’re correcting a name.”
While other church leaders have tried to move away from the name Mormon and use the full name as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, religious expert Patrick Mason said changing the name of the choir will now “[put] teeth into the announcement.”
“It appears that this will be the first in a series of changes that the church makes to comply with President Nelson’s wishes,” the professor of religion and chair of Mormon studies at Claremont Graduate University in California told Fox News.
The church has always moved away from using the shorthand “LDS” in reference to the organization.
The soon-to-be-former Mormon Tabernacle Choir will now be known as The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square, making reference to the choir’s home.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir was founded in August 1847, just a month after Mormon pioneers settled in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. The choir has 360 members and uses an organ consisting of 11,623 pipes.
The choir has performed in 28 different countries, including at the American Bicentennial in Washington, D.C., in 1976. It has also performed for 10 U.S. presidents and its performances have reached more than 100 million views on YouTube.
Ron Jarrett, the choir’s president, said they have always been a “forward-looking people” and will embrace the change.
“The name may change, but everything that people know and love about the Choir will not only be the same but will get better and better,” he said.
While the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is changing its name, the famed choir’s website still needs some catching up. The site is still listed as www.mormontabernaclechoir.org.