The Importance of a Name

For the first time in my life I have had an opportunity to attend Oct 2011 General Conference in Salt Lake.  One of the talks that I found quite memorable was from M. Russell Ballard, “The Importance of a Name.”  He recalls the message given by past talks in May 2011 conference and past letter’s from the First Presidency addressing members and encouraging them to teach the world that the Church is known by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He emphasizes that the full name of the church is important for all to know and he literally breaks down the words and the meanings and their significance and why.  Although “Mormon” is used by our detractors in the days of persecution and has become an acceptable nickname and may be used by members when it is appropriate for brevity or practical reasons, as members we should give emphasis to the full and correct name of the Church itself and avoid and discourage the term “Mormon Church.”

Elder Ballard has shared his response to the question if he belongs to the Mormon Church.  He responds with, “I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ.  Because we believe in the Book of Mormon, which is named after an ancient American prophet-leader and is another testament of Jesus Christ, we are sometimes called Mormons.”  He mentions how it is well received and has opened up dialogue to explain the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel in these latter days.

I have had several people, relatives and friends, ask if our family celebrates Christmas or Easter.  Inside my head I am rolling my eyes, but then I realize their lack of knowledge when I explain that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I need to help them connect the dots with Mormons and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Maybe this will help me utilize missionary skills to teach and to share our doctrine with those who inquire.



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