The LDS Church has tried to monopolize terms, but they only have success fully within their own circle of influence. They have said in the past, “There is no such thing as a Mormon Fundamentalist,” (Gordon B. Hinckley, see article here) seeking to capitalize on the idea that the LDS Church is the sole successor to the Mormon faith.
But, Mormonism means accepting all truth:
“One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” Discourses of Joseph Smith, p. 199, Kindle Book, (Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 2009)
“It has been stated that this word [mormon] was derived from the Greek word mormo. This is not the case. There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of God, translated the Book of Mormon. Let the language of that book speak for itself. On the 523d page, of the fourth edition, it reads: And now behold we have written this record according to our knowledge in the characters which are called among us the Reformed Egyptian … none other people knoweth our language; therefore [God] hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.” … [The] Bible in its widest sense, means good; for the Savior says according to the gospel of John, “I am the good shepherd;” and it will not be beyond the common use of terms, to say that good is among the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction, mor, we have the word MOR-MON; which means, literally, more good.” (“Correspondence”, Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, Illinois), vol. 4, no. 13, p. 194] (May 15, 1843); quoted in Joseph Smith (Joseph Fielding Smith ed., 1938) Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book) pp. 299–300.)
The term does not belong to the LDS Church, but was coined, rather in derision, by opponents to Joseph Smith and the Lord’s congregations in those early days (see here). It is similar to how Christ’s followers got labelled in the early days as Christians (Acts 11:26).
We are not Fundamentalists, since that term typically associates with those who follow Brigham Young’s version of Mormonism, and who practice polygamy. We do not practice polygamy. The use of the word “fundamentalist” is problematic for them anyway, since the real fundamentals go back to Joseph Smith and his restoration of Christ’s words. Brigham Young is not far back enough to claim the fundamentals of the religion.
We are not Reorganized Mormons, since that implies just a shuffling of the chairs of power, and there is no attempt to reorganize any church.
“Uncorrelated Mormon” (see here) is too culture specific, and not well understood outside of the Mormon Corridor.
Therefore, to associate with the once derogatory terms, that take upon us the name of Christ, seems fitting: “Mormon Christians”. Christians who seek more good, or all truth.
The old argument from the Protestants that Mormons are not Christians has truth in it only for those who worship General Authorities. It never has been true for the humble followers of Christ who are Mormon. The Protestants argue that to believe Christ and the Father are two separate beings is the lynch-pin that disqualifies Mormons from being Christian. This is not true. Therefore, to say instead, “Christian Mormons”, seems to give credence to the false Protestant arguments, suggesting that a now disaffected Mormon has “seen the light” and perhaps now accepts Trinitarian views. It is their definition of Christian.
Rather, the term “Mormon Christian” seems to be more accurate, and allows for any Christian to become more devoted to Christ than they once were before, as they accept what Christ has restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith; and, the term maintains an accurate description of a convert to Mormonism who no longer associates with the LDS institution, but retains their testimony of the Restored Gospel and maintains active faith in the Lord and in what He is doing today. It describes just what kind of Christian someone is, as opposed to describing just what kind of Mormon someone is, either of which can be confusing on their own.
Using one term to distinguish a variation of the other concedes that there is possibly more than one way to define a Christian or a Mormon. It is better to allow for the possibility of considering there is more than one way to define a Mormon than it is to say there is more than one way to define a Christian. But even if both are true, there is benefit in keeping a purity of terms to avoid confusion, and “Christian” is the more important term, in our opinion. But, unfortunately, “Christian” is a term that has been around longer and has been taken in vain more frequently, with many different types of Christians.
There shouldn’t be more than one way to define either–in that Gordon B. Hinckley had a point–but not everyone knows what you mean if a definition to a term is unclear, no matter how disappointing it is that there is ambiguity in the first place. If you are truly a Christian, you should be able to point to Christ to define who you follow. If you are truly a Mormon, you should be able to point to the concept of following all truth to define your faith. Since the truth is in Christ anyway, both are appropriate; and in effect, synonymous. But, differentiation allows for clarity when facing ambiguities, and we prefer to emphasize a truly Christian identity rather than skip to it with one extra step through emphasizing our “Mormonism” as the base term. And in addition to that, we feel it is still good to remember the quest for all truth to differentiate what kind of Christians we are. That is why we like to say: “We are Mormon Christians.”