This blog post covers our Stake's Priesthood and Relief Society lesson this week. This lesson is on Russell M. Ballard's talk, "Following up" from the April 2014 General Conference. I'm only discussing the first portion of his talk though, about about using the full name of the church. For this first portion of his talk, Elder Ballard references his talk from October 2011 "The Importance of a name." I recommend reading this talk as well, for a better understanding of the subject.
Ok, I admit it. I'm bad at this principle. (The name of my blog reflects this.) I've rarely had to explain what a Mormon is. Sometimes I don't have to explain what LDS, or what a Latter-day Saint is. And my mouth is mostly too lazy to say, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" in it's entirety. (Honestly, the epitome of laziness is being too lazy to say 9 more syllables.) Then, I'm too intimidated to explain what being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints means, so I just let people think of me as a Jell-o loving, casserole eating, funeral potato consuming, polygamy practicing, mass producing Mormon, hoping that my example is enough to break their stereotypes.
Is my example enough? HA!
BECAUSE I SAID SO
In Far West Missouri in 1838 Jesus Christ revealed to Joseph Smith: "For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." (D&C 115:4) While "Because I said so" is not a reason most adults will accept, this is pretty much the truth of the matter. Jesus wants his church to be called by his name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It shows reverence and respect to our Savior when we do as he asks, even in the smallest things, like saying extra syllables.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME
Ponder a question for me: Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints still the same church if it is called The Mormon Church? Defensively, you say "yeah, or course! A rose by any other name is still a rose." Let's look at this though. Like any other commandment, the Lord has wisdom in his actions.
WHO'S GONNA SAVE YOU?
The Lord reveals something to us in Doctrine and Covenants 76. D&C 76 was given to us from a vision Joseph Smith witnessed in 1832. This scripture reveals to us the nature of the eternal Kingdoms of God, namely the Celestial, Terrestial, and Telestal glories. I want to bring to your attention one portion of the chapter in particular. As you read this, ponder the name (or name of the church) by which you refer to yourself.
"And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.So, whose name you call yourself by? Who is your savior? Is your savior Mormon, or Jesus Christ? Which Kingdom are you shooting for?
And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one.
And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;
For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.
These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;
But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant." (D&C 76:96-101)
LABELING YOUR MOTIVATIONS
There are also psychological reasons to call ourselves by the name of Christ. Look at yourself. What do you do for work? What are your hobbies? Who are you?
The label of "who you are" is a powerful motivator in your decision making process. As a church member there are certain things you do, and don't do. There is a certain set of basic beliefs that you follow. When you label yourself as a member of Christ's church you have expectations, not just from others, but from yourself. You strive more to live the expectations.
Calling yourself a Mormon is one of the most informal ways to refer to your sacred church membership. Does that informality reflect, not only who you are, but the way you practice your religion? Are your sacred obligations met informally, without reverence, or respect? Does your lazy mouth denote a lazy devotion? Reflect on that a bit, do some introspection, and ask yourself those hard questions. Then ask what you should do about it.
AN IMPERFECT PEOPLE
None of us is perfect, but there are little things we can do to help us along. They may seem trivial to us, but there are reasons God asks them of us. One of those things is saying a few more syllables when you refer to the church, and your membership in it. Its not hard, it just takes practice and discipline.