General Conference Book Club - Week 18
Elder M. Russell Ballard
"The Importance of a Name"
Would you believe I didn't take any notes at all while listening to this talk originally? However, that doesn't mean it wasn't a good one, and I definitely took some notes while reading it again. Elder Ballard's main point was that we need to use the full, proper name of the church. After all, it was given to us by the Savior himself. As was quoted, "The use of the revealed name is increasingly important in our responsibility to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world." I'm still amazed that people have a hard time believing we're Christians. I guess that means we need to do a better job at following Elder Ballard's counsel.
Note: This isn't a new phenomenon. President George Albert Smith had the following to say nearly 100 years ago, in 1924: "I have found many in the world who have not known that we believe in the divine mission of our Lord, and I have been led to say upon more than one occasion that there are no people in the world who so well understand the divine mission of Jesus Christ, who so thoroughly believe him to have been the Son of God, who are so sanguine [confident] that at the present time he is enthroned in glory at the right hand of his Father, as the Latter-day Saints."
I also appreciated his comments that nicknames are okay. After all, many of us don't use the name on our birth certificate all of the time. It's a sign of love and friendship to be given a nickname, even if it starts as teasing. (The story of how Wayne's grandpa went from Wetzel to Judge is a great example.) It's okay to be known as Mormons. Mormon was a wonderful prophet and a great example to all of us. However, I also appreciated Elder Ballard's counsel that the church is not the "Mormon Church" because it's not Mormon's church, it's Christ's church. I think there's a great distinction we need to make there.
The full name may be 9 words long, but that's okay, and I liked that he pointed that out. Primary children love singing "I Belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and we should love saying the whole thing as well.
Finally, this was my favorite sentence of the talk - "Saint simply refers to those who seek to make their lives holy by covenanting to follow Christ." I need to remember to become a better saint by striving to be more holy each and every day, and that happens as I keep my covenants.