Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Importance of A Name

I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A few times I've blogged about whether Mormons are Christians and clarified that "Mormon" is actually a nickname. This is another of those posts.

Jesus Christ Himself named this Church, as recorded in the 115th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, "For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

In the most recent General Conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke about the importance of the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his talk, entitled, "The Importance of A Name," he said:

"I have thought a lot about why the Savior gave the nine-word name to His restored Church. It may seem long, but if we think of it as a descriptive overview of what the Church is, it suddenly becomes wonderfully brief, candid, and straightforward. How could any description be more direct and clear and yet expressed in such few words?

"Every word is clarifying and indispensable. The word The indicates the unique position of the restored Church among the religions of the world.

"The words Church of Jesus Christ declare that it is His Church. In the Book of Mormon, Jesus taught: 'And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man [like Mormon] then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel' (3 Nephi 27:8).

"Of Latter-day explains that it is the same Church as the Church that Jesus Christ established during His mortal ministry but restored in these latter days. We know there was a falling away, or an apostasy, necessitating the Restoration of His true and complete Church in our time.

"Saints means that its members follow Him and strive to do His will, keep His commandments, and prepare once again to live with Him and our Heavenly Father in the future. Saint simply refers to those who seek to make their lives holy by covenanting to follow Christ.

"The name the Savior has given to His Church tells us exactly who we are and what we believe. We believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and the Redeemer of the world. He atoned for all who would repent of their sins, and He broke the bands of death and provided the resurrection from the dead. We follow Jesus Christ. And as King Benjamin said to his people, so I reaffirm to all of us today: 'Ye should remember to retain [His] name written always in your hearts' (Mosiah 5:12)."

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am, and I know God's plan. I believe in the Savior Jesus Christ and I strive to follow His example. He atoned for my sins and shortcomings and I am forever grateful that He is patient with me and has given me the opportunity to repent and always try again.

I am a Mormon and I am a Christian.

Jeremy