Mormon Tabernacle Choir changing its name but not its tune

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints performs during the annual church conference in Salt Lake City on April 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(RNS) — The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a singing phenomenon for more than 150 years, is changing its name.

The choir announced Friday (Oct. 5) that it is following the request of its sponsor, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The religious body, popularly known as the Mormons, asked in August that its full name be used instead of the long-known abbreviated moniker.

Thus, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will now be called “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.”

“The Choir’s new name preserves the heritage of the Choir’s home in the Tabernacle and its location on Temple Square, a place of reverence and worship,” the choir announced.

Less than two months ago, President Russell M. Nelson of the LDS church said, “The Lord has impressed upon my mind the importance of the name He has revealed for His Church.”

Mormons believe the original name was given to founder Joseph Smith in a divine revelation in 1838. The choir was founded in 1847.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City is the location of a vast complex of headquarters for the worldwide church with 16 million members. It includes Salt Lake Temple, which is used by Mormons for special ordinances, including marriages they believe last for eternity. It also is the site of the 2,900-seat Salt Lake Tabernacle, which hosts religious and community events, including rehearsals of the famous choir that uses the space to record its music.

“A new name for the Tabernacle Choir will represent a change after so many years,” stated choir president Ron Jarrett. “But we have always been a forward-looking people, and we are focused on what is not changing: the world-class musicianship, the inspiring arrangements and programming, and our weekly ‘Music and the Spoken Word’ broadcast.”

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.


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  • When the old church name is not considered good, that’s because the old religious product has an image as not good. Remember in 2003 when Phillip Morris tobacco company changed its name to Altria Group. Same story, church version.

  • Almost every Sunday morning around the world during the Music and the Spoken World broadcast it’s at Temple Square. In the shadow of the everlasting hills!

  • Yes, though not as clunky as the full name of the LDS Church. It shortens to “the Tabernacle Choir” easily enough.

  • Intriguing? Using a mythical angel to give credence to a business cult fronting as a religion is a felony con.

  • If all the previous Mormon “prophets” had it wrong to call the choir after the common nickname of the Church, isn’t Nelson outing them all as “fallen prophets?” Bet Nelson will be as quickly forgotten in “Mormondom” after he’s gone as Nikita Khrushchev was in Russia after botching the Cuban Missile Crisis against JFK in 1962. Nelson is a good reason retire Mormon “apostles” when they get too senile to become the next “prophet.”

  • -> “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.”

    Sounds like a housing subdivision or a shopping center with a Starbucks.

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