What’s In a Name?
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the announcement that was made encouraging members and the media to use the proper name of The Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, instead of the common nickname Mormon Church or LDS Church. (It’s Not Mormon’s Church) Since that time, I have tried to use the proper name of the church when talking to people I meet, but I have to admit that I am still guilty of using the “Mormon Church” because it is easier to say it and people know the name. After general conference last weekend, I now understand the importance of using the full name and not shortening it. President Nelson explained why it is important:
“What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname? When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the “LDS Church,” the “Mormon Church,” or the “Church of the Latter-day Saints,” the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement.
“After all He had endured—and after all He had done for humankind—I realize with profound regret that we have unwittingly acquiesced in the Lord’s restored Church being called by other names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ!
“When we omit His name from His Church, we are inadvertently removing Him as the central focus of our lives. names, each of which expunges the sacred name of Jesus Christ (emphasis added)” (The Correct Name of the Church).
I had never thought of it this way that we are removing the name of the Savior from His Church when we shorten the name or use a nickname. This was a wake-up call for me, I am serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I represent the Lord and His Church. If I really am his representative, how can I eliminate his name when I speak of His Church?
This past week while standing in a checkout line at a grocery store a woman behind me looked at my name tag and said: “I love Jesus, I wish I had a badge like that”. When I asked if she knew much about our church she took another look at the badge and admitted she did not know anything. When I said: “you might know us as the Mormon Church” and she said is that the same church? When I said yes, she was surprised. This is what President Nelson is talking about; the world know the Mormon Church and they know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they don’t know it is the same church.
I had another experience while on a bike ride with a group here in Fishers, Indiana. One of the riders is a minister for a local Christian Church and we were talking about how the church has changed the name of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. Ron, the minister, asked why. I told him that we are trying to get away from the name Mormon Church and use the real name as directed by the Lord. I told him that we are trying to help people understand that we are Christians and that Christ is central to our worship and is the head of our church. Ron did not respond but at least he knows how I feel and that we want the world to know we believe in Jesus Christ.
President Nelson concluded his talk with these words:
“My dear brothers and sisters, I promise you that if we will do our best to restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church, He whose Church this is will pour down His power and blessings upon the heads of the Latter-day Saints,17 the likes of which we have never seen. We will have the knowledge and power of God to help us take the blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.
“So, what’s in a name? When it comes to the name of the Lord’s Church, the answer is “Everything!” Jesus Christ directed us to call the Church by His name because it is His Church, filled with His power.” (The Correct Name of the Church)
I am interested in the blessings that President Nelson promised so I will do all I can to use His name and the full name of His Church when speaking to those I come in contact with. I am proud to be His representative and bear witness that he lives and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His Church here on the earth.
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