A few weeks ago, when President Russell M. Nelson announced the policy update about how we use the name of the Church, I must confess, I was a little frustrated.
No more “Mormon”? Not even “LDS”? Alas! So many punchy Twitter handles ruined. If it was really that important for us to use the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, why did it have to be such a mouthful?
I was doubtful we could even implement such a change. How could we suddenly shrug off the name we’d been known by for almost two centuries? Or reverse so many decades of branding? And should we even want to?
Still, I recognized that the nicknames we’d been using skipped over the most important part of the Church’s name: Jesus Christ. So I understood why this issue would be important to President Nelson. Despite my initial misgivings, I decided to try my best to follow his instruction. I just couldn’t help but wonder if all the fuss was really worth it.
Then, at general conference, President Nelson explained the new policy:
“It is not a name change.
“It is not rebranding.
“It is not cosmetic.
“It is not a whim.
“And it is not inconsequential.
“Instead, it is a correction. It is the command of the Lord.”1
When I heard those words, I was struck by the confirmation of the Spirit. I finally understood that the correction went far beyond policy or preference. It wasn’t important to just President Nelson; it was important to the Lord. It really was His command.
Suddenly, those punchy Twitter handles no longer mattered. Cleverness, convenience, branding—none of them mattered. What mattered was the Savior and how I treated both His name and the name of His Church, which He Himself had chosen.
For the first time in a long time, I considered the true significance of the words Jesus Christ. They aren’t just some extra syllables in the Church’s name. They are the name of our Savior. And His name has power. It is the name we invoke to pray, to bless, to testify, to sanctify. It is “the only name . . . whereby salvation shall come” (Moses 6:52). It is the name we are commanded to take upon ourselves. The name we strive to live by.
As I listened to the prophet testify of Jesus Christ, something began to swell inside me. It was His name, growing bigger and bigger until it filled me up with light. I found myself repeating a simple kind of prayer in my heart: “I love Him. I love Him. I love Him.”
I thought about what it really means to take upon myself Jesus Christ’s name. If I had His name pinned on my chest for all the world to see, how would I act? How would I want to represent myself, and Him, to the people around me? In that moment, I decided to renew my efforts to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, to live and love as He would, so I could bear His name worthily.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
I hope that when the world looks on me, they will see through my outward actions that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. And I pray that when the Lord looks on my heart, He’ll see His name emblazoned there, clear and bright.