Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mormons: Can you please define "Jack Mormon" for me?
I've heard the term thrown around and was wondering what you consider a Jack Mormon to be. I once saw a doctor who told me he was one. —Gandalf™

The usage of this term has changed over time. Michael Quinn explains that it was "originally an LDS term of endearment" used during Joseph Smith's lifetime for "non-Mormon allies" (Origins of Power, p. 101). In other words, Jack-Mormons were not Mormons at all.

Leonard Arrington also wrote about this in the church's Ensign magazine (March 1974, p. 25). He says in Utah the meaning of this nickname changed completely to a negative description of Mormons who did not participate in church services or observe LDS standards of conduct, yet who were too friendly toward Mormonism to be called "apostate."

R Rosskopf, I don't know anything about this survey, but anecdotally I would agree that the vast majority of people who are "inactive" actually seem to believe and even defend the church when pressed. Is there a reference for the 90% figure?

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