Some members of the church consider this name to be derogatory, and the church has issued an official statement requesting that the term not be used in reference to the church. It is still used to refer to individuals within the church, however.
Sometimes the term is also used to refer to a follower of any one of the various groups descended from Joseph Smith; see Mormons.
According to the theology of the church, Mormon was an ancient prophet, who lived in the Americas circa 400 A.D. Faced with the destruction of his people, the Nephites, by a rival tribe known as the Lamanites, Mormon compiled a history of his people on plates of gold. This history, which was an abridgement of more extensive records, was passed on to Mormon's son, Moroni, who buried them in order to prevent them from being destroyed by the Lamanites. Latter-day Saints believe the plates were later given to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni and translated into English by divine assistance. This translation is published as The Book of Mormon.