In a rush to catch a flight back home after a work trip to Chicago, Illinois, USA, I requested a rideshare service. My driver, Tracee, found out I was visiting from Utah, USA, and asked how Utah’s culture differs from Chicago’s. In an effort to describe the unique characteristics that define Utah in my mind, I almost used the word Mormon to describe the religious majority that lives there.
Before I could respond, I remembered President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to use the full name of Christ’s restored Church.1 When I first heard that counsel from President Nelson, I’d thought, “The world practically speaks in abbreviations. How are we expected to say such a long name when people ask about our religion?”
However, I had determined I would follow the prophet by doing my best to use the full name of the Church.
With this in mind, I said: “Well, I’m not sure if you’re familiar, but a large percentage of the state is made up of members of the church I belong to, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors to Utah are often shocked when they learn that many Utahns go to church every week, many restaurants are closed on Sundays, and ice cream shops seem to be far busier than bars.”
Tracee was delighted to meet a fellow Christian. She shared the story of how she became a Christian and even cried as she described sacred spiritual experiences she’d had.
When she asked what I thought of the state of the world today, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” naturally came up as I commented on how far the world was straying from what’s really important. I mentioned that God knew these wicked times would come, so over 20 years ago, He directed His prophet to warn us through this special document.2
As I paraphrased the family proclamation, Tracee said: “Stop describing it. I want to hear it.” I read a few paragraphs using the Gospel Library app and offered to text her a link to the full document to read later. She gladly accepted, saying that everything went right along with what she already believed.
At one point, I mentioned that I’d visited my brother’s family in Chicago. Tracee asked if he and his wife were members of the Church as well. “Yes!” I said. “They go to a new church building downtown.” She immediately wanted to know where it was.
By the time we made it to the airport, Tracee and I had exchanged many shared beliefs and the Spirit in the car felt tangible. She thanked me for being the best ride of the day and praised me for having a heart to serve God.
When I used the full name of the Church—which contains Christ’s name—Tracee knew that I was a follower of Jesus Christ. We were able to connect through our shared beliefs about God, Jesus Christ, and the need to uphold strong values in a weakening world. I was even able to share some of the Church’s unique doctrine by referencing the restored Church and teaching briefly about living prophets and apostles. Using the full name of the Church helped me remember that, in the end, we are all children of God.
I know that Heavenly Father is furthering His work on the earth by helping us build bridges of shared beliefs rather than walls of differences with those of other faiths. As I have followed President Nelson’s counsel to use the full name of the Church, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to invite others to come unto Christ and receive the blessings of His restored gospel.
When we act on the invitations we receive from living prophets and apostles, we invite the Holy Ghost to operate more fully in our lives. I know that miracles big and small come through accepting the counsel to use the name that Christ declared for His Church (see Doctrine and Covenants 115:4).