Though members of the Church have often sought to distance themselves from inappropriate nicknames and references in regards to their faith, this mission came into sharper focus as President Russell M. Nelson, prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, issued a statement concerning the name of the Church.
In the statement, President Nelson called for members and non-members alike to refrain from using the phrase “Mormon” and gave counsel on how to share the Church’s full name appropriately.
What he did not do, however, is give members the license to ridicule, berate, or judge others as they struggle to change their vernacular. In fact, quite the opposite. By truly embracing the name of the Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, we renew our commitment to a life of discipleship.
In all things, we should strive to emulate Jesus Christ. Taking upon ourselves the name of Christ is not only a declaration to the world of who we follow, but a symbol of inner devotion to our covenants. The phrase is repeated oft in our sacrament prayers. But do we truly understand what we are called to do?
In truth, it will not make much of a difference what we call ourselves if we do not internalize what it means to have Christ’s name written on our hearts.
Consider these three scriptures:
“Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.” – 2 Corinthians 3:3
“I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts, that ye are not found on the left hand of God, but that ye hear and know the voice by which ye shall be called, and also, the name by which he shall call you.” – Mosiah 5:12
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” – Matthew 15:8
How can we take the name of the Church, and subsequently the name of Jesus Christ, and have it written on our hearts? Here are three simple ideas you begin to implement today.
Learn of Christ
Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Is that what being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means to you? That you can come to know and follow Jesus Christ in a deep, personal, and sanctifying way.
If the answer is no, refocus yourself and your motives. Strive to learn of Christ in all you do, whether it is in a formal religious setting or during the small, every day moments of your life. We cannot truly represent Christ if we do not know him.
Point Everything to Christ
We have a lot of beautiful doctrines in the Church! We have an expanded set of scriptures and the current teachings of modern-day prophets. We worship not only in chapels, but in temples. Missionary service, callings, tithing…there is so much to talk about.
However, we can forget to talk about Christ. When we bear testimony of the Book of Mormon during Fast and Testimony meeting, do we talk about how this beautiful book of scripture has led us to Christ specifically. Do our lessons point us to Christ?
Do not get lost in the “given” that Christ is at the center of our faith. We should be uttering his name constantly in our meetings with reverence, respect, and joy. By doing so, we can ensure we are pointing everything back to Christ, for all things truly testify of him.
Do as Christ Would
We join with our other Christian brothers and sisters around the world in asking, “What would Jesus do?”
Do we react as he would? Do we post on social media as he would? Do we minister as he would?
We will not ever be perfect in following in his footsteps, but he can give us guidance on how to show charity, patience, and mercy to all while bearing record of his truth. However, he can only lead us if we have humbled our own hearts and sacrificed our will for his.
What does it mean to you to have Christ’s name written on your heart?