Have you ever wondered why nearly all the Church leaders are referred to with a middle initial? That wasn’t always the norm, and LDS Living has written an article explaining the practice.
When the Church was organized in 1830, middle names were just starting to catch on in the USA. Many of the early Church leaders didn’t have middle names, including Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow. In fact, that that time, many of the Saints addressed their leaders more casually by their first name, such as, “Brother Joseph” and “Brother Brigham.”
With time, Latter-day Saints began shifting to using last names. In some cases, using middle initials came in handy to differentiate leaders like Joseph Smith Jr., Joseph Smith Sr., Joseph F. Smith, and Joseph Fielding Smith.
Today, middle initials are used as a sign of respect. Since 1914, all members of the Quorum of the Twelve have used a middle initial if they had a middle name.
- Learn more in the article “When and why did we start using middle initials in Church leaders’ names?“
- Take this quiz from LDS Living: What do the Apostles’ and First Presidency’s initials stand for?