Fundamentalist Mormons

A recent news story referred to fugitive Warren Jeffs as a “fundamentalist Mormon” and “leader of a polygamist breakaway Mormon sect.”

Polygamist groups in Utah, Arizona or Texas have nothing whatsoever to do with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To refer to them as “Mormon” is inaccurate.

Mormon is a common name for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church discontinued polygamy more than a century ago. No members of the Church today can enter into polygamy without being excommunicated.

When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, terms such as those given in the first paragraph above 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."

More information on polygamy in Church history

Polygamous Mormons, Associated Press, 1 March 2005

Style Guide Note:When reporting about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, please use the complete name of the Church in the first reference. For more information on the use of the name of the Church, go to our online Style Guide.