Take Upon the Name of the Son

O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of the Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his spirit to be with them. Amen. (D&C 20:77)

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints made a covenant at baptism, which is renewed every week when they partake of the sacrament. Part of that covenant is to take upon themselves the name of Christ. The meaning and understanding of this promise might vary among the saints, but in general this involves representing Christ and His church by being an example of one who believes Christ and follows His teachings.

This taking on the name of Christ is a full time responsibility. 24-7. It is something we will all be held accountable for.

I remember a time many years ago, when there was much talk in the sports media about professional athletes being role models for the youth. A basketball player from my generation, Charles Barkley, said many things in attempts to avoid the responsibility of being a role model. Whenever I heard him say these things, I wondered how he could justify this. If someone looked to him as a role model, then he was a role model, whether he wanted to be or not.

But Sir Charles had more of an ‘out’ from being a role model than we do. We make a covenant every week to take upon us the name of Christ. Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount said:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 5:14-16)

We are instructed to light our candles and let them shine from on top of a candlestick. In a way, participating on a blog can be one method of doing this. We create an LDS based blog and publish stuff to the whole world. Who knows who might be reading? It could be anybody. Like it or not we are representing Christ and his church in doing this. What is it that we illuminate with our lighted candles?

Some may point out that our blogs are not official church web sites. Many blogs provide a link to the official web site for the church. Part of the reason for this is convenience – it is a handy link. In another way many might be using this link to reinforce the idea that their blog is NOT official. I even have a type of disclaimer in the heading of my solo blog that states that my blog contains unofficial opinion and speculation. But a self-written disclaimer does not take away the responsibilities associated with the covenants I have made. Official-schmofficial. I have taken upon me the name of Christ.

A blog that takes itself too seriously can rub people the wrong way sometimes. But what of an LDS based blog that does not take upon itself the name of Christ so to speak, with all of the responsibilities which go with it? Like it or not, you represent something very important. Not the blog itself, but all those who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ though covenant.

For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence. (Alma 12:14)

Have a nice day.

To lighten things up, let me add, er, a poem. Yeah, that’s it. A poem from my favorite source. This one is called Limelight.

Living on a lighted stage
Approaches the unreal
For those who think and feel
In touch with some reality
Beyond the gilded cage
Cast in this unlikely role
Ill-equipped to act
With insufficient tact
One must put up barriers
To keep oneself intact
Living in the limelight
The universal dream
For those who wish to seem
Those who wish to be
Must put aside the alienation
Get on with the fascination
The real relation
The underlying theme
Living in a fish eye lens
Caught in the camera eye
I have no heart to lie
I can’t pretend a stranger
Is a long-awaited friend
All the world’s indeed a stage
And we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another’s audience
Outside the gilded cage
-Neal Peart

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15 Responses to “Take Upon the Name of the Son”


  1. 1 Eric Nielson November 27, 2006 at 3:26 pm

    Lil help on formatting? On things like ‘poems’ how can I get rid of the double-space we get when we hit the return key?

  2. 2 Connor Boyack November 27, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    Just ask your friendly resident computer nerd.. err.. guru! :)

    To insert a single line break (for “poems” and such) hold down shift and then hit enter – it’ll knock you down a single line, rather than two.

    In a way, participating on a blog can be one method of doing this.

    Very much so. In fact, it’s a great way! That’s why I praise the mission of the More Good Foundation which encourages members to start blogging to help spread the gospel.

    I like how you mention that such covenants are a 24/7 endeavor. It’s not just for a few hours on Sunday – we are to live the gospel and be emissaries of Christ always. That, I think, is a heavy–but highly rewarding–responsibility.

  3. 3 Naiah Earhart November 27, 2006 at 7:12 pm

    Er, yeah, a poem… Ok, so, like your poem happens to be my fave of that uh, group of, uh, writers’ works. Yes, I’ve progressed far enough to have a favorite!

    We are, each of us, an example of ‘what Latter-day Saint is’ to all those around us–all the time. Humans are social creatures, and for those who have not accepted the gospel themselves, when someone says “Mormon” or “LDS” or whatever to them, they will unavoidably think of you, how you act, how you speak, etc.

    Our covenant to take upon us the name of Christ does not end with our example to others. In our private moments, our most secret and personal thoughts, even there are we expected to be Christ-like (or at least striving to become so…)

    I keep harping on it, but the atonement is more than sin forgiveness, it is a oneness in purpose and heart with Christ that cannot help but change us. Powerful stuff.

  4. 4 C Jones November 27, 2006 at 7:54 pm

    Classic! Basketball, “poems”, and a laser-like ability to get right to the heart of the issue:

    “But a self-written disclaimer does not take away the responsibilities associated with the covenants I have made. Official-schmofficial. I have taken upon me the name of Christ.”

  5. 5 BrianJ November 27, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    Eric: well written. I expect that you’d expand your point to cover comments made on blogs, as well?

  6. 6 Eric Nielson November 27, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    Connor

    Once again you are so the man! Hearing from you that blogging is a great way to hold up your candlestick helps motivate me to keep going with this. LDS blogging is not just kids stuff in my opinion. We are testifying in our own way. We best be careful.

    Naiah

    I can’t slip anything by you can I?

    I hope you can enlighten me more on your thoughts on the atonement.

    CJones

    Yes, all my favorites made it into this one :). Glad you liked it.

    BrianJ

    Thank you so much! I wish Mrs. Smith (a high school english teacher that told me my writing was juvenile) could see your comment!

    Yes, I would add comments to this accountability as well. The important thing is that I believe the Lord will too.

    Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.

  7. 7 Michelle November 28, 2006 at 2:04 am

    Eric, this is great. Thanks for sharing this. I hope soon to have a second to share an insight I had recently about this concept that really knocked my socks off! :)

    I think there is much good that can be done on the internet. We need good done here, because so many people are here!

  8. 8 Matt Witten November 29, 2006 at 11:30 am

    Eric you may be interested in this Farms article, which goes into the purpose of taking upon the name of the son.

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/pdf.php?filename=MTAwNDYzNjA5OC0yLTIucGRm&type=amJtcw==

    In short, in OT times, a name change signified change of ownership. We taken upon us Christ’s name and thus we belong to him and he is enabled to redeem us as his property.

  9. 10 Michelle November 29, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    Matt and Eric,
    It also signified power. My OT expert friend told me that when a king would conquer a land, he received a new name that symbolized or represented the power he gained. The thought I had the other day was that we covenant to take upon us the power of Christ’s atonement, power and mercy to enable us to then be witnesses of Him. It’s always felt like such a heavy responsibility and burden when I have thought about taking upon me His name only in the sense of always being on my best behavior. It totally makes everything different for me to consider that I am covenanting to not try to go at it alone and take upon me all that HE has to give to make me His and make me more like Him.

    Anyway, don’t know if that makes sense.

    I also really like what Elder Oaks said: (This is really long so I apologize in advance for that but it was all soooo good and really profound, IMO).

    It is significant that when we partake of the sacrament we do not witness that we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We witness that we are willing to do so. (See D&C 20:77.) The fact that we only witness to our willingness suggests that something else must happen before we actually take that sacred name upon us in the most important sense.

    What future event or events could this covenant contemplate? The scriptures suggest two sacred possibilities, one concerning the authority of God, especially as exercised in the temples, and the other—closely related—concerning exaltation in the celestial kingdom.

    The name of God is sacred. The Lord’s Prayer begins with the words, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.” (Matt. 6:9.) From Sinai came the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” (Ex. 20:7, Deut. 5:11.) Latter-day revelation equates this with using the name of God without authority. “Let all men beware how they take my name in their lips,” the Lord declares in a modern revelation, for “many there be who … use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority.” (D&C 63:61–62.)

    Consistent with these references, many scriptures that refer to “the name of Jesus Christ” are obviously references to the authority of the Savior. This was surely the meaning conveyed when the seventy reported to Jesus that “even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” (Luke 10:17.) The Doctrine and Covenants employs this same meaning when it describes the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation as “they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.” (D&C 18:27.) The Twelve are later designated as “special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world,” and as those who “officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church.” (D&C 107:23, 33.)

    By way of further illustration, the Old Testament contains scores of references to the name of the Lord in a context where it clearly means the authority of the Lord. Most of these references have to do with the temple.

    When the children of Israel were still on the other side of the Jordan, the Lord told them that when they entered the promised land there should be a place where the Lord their God would “cause his name to dwell.” (Deut. 12:11; see also Deut. 14:23–24; Deut. 16:6.) Time after time in succeeding revelations, the Lord and his servants referred to the future temple as a house for “the name” of the Lord God of Israel. (See 1 Kgs. 3:2; 1 Kgs. 5:5; 1 Kgs. 8:16–20, 29, 44, 48; 1 Chr. 22:8–10, 19; 1 Chr. 29:16; 2 Chr. 2:4; 2 Chr. 6:5–10, 20, 34, 38.) After the temple was dedicated, the Lord appeared to Solomon and told him that He had hallowed the temple “to put my name there for ever.” (1 Kgs. 9:3; 2 Chr. 7:16.)

    Similarly, in modern revelations the Lord refers to temples as houses built “unto my holy name.” (D&C 124:39; D&C 105:33; D&C 109:2–5.) In the inspired dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith asked the Lord for a blessing upon “thy people upon whom thy name shall be put in this house.” (D&C 109:26.)

    All of these references to ancient and modern temples as houses for “the name” of the Lord obviously involve something far more significant than a mere inscription of his sacred name on the structure. The scriptures speak of the Lord’s putting his name in a temple because he gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house. That is the meaning of the Prophet’s reference to the Lord’s putting his name upon his people in that holy house. (See D&C 109:26.)

    Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us.

    Another future event we may anticipate when we witness our willingness to take that sacred name upon us concerns our relationship to our Savior and the incomprehensible blessings available to those who will be called by his name at the last day.

    King Benjamin told his people, “There shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3:17; see also 2 Ne. 31:21.) Peter proclaimed “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” to the leaders of the Jews, declaring that “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:10, 12; see also D&C 18:21.)

    The scriptures proclaim that the Savior’s atoning sacrifice was for those who “believe on his name.” Alma taught that Jesus Christ, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, would come “to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.” (Alma 5:48; Alma 9:27; Alma 11:40; Hel. 14:2.) In the words of King Benjamin, “Whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.” (Mosiah 5:9.)

    Thus, those who exercise faith in the sacred name of Jesus Christ and repent of their sins and enter into his covenant and keep his commandments (see Mosiah 5:8) can lay claim on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who do so will be called by his name at the last day.

    When the Savior taught the Nephites following his resurrection, he referred to the scriptural statement that “ye must take upon you the name of Christ.” He explained, “For by this name shall ye be called at the last day; And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.” (3 Ne. 27:5–6.) That same teaching is repeated in a modern revelation, which adds the caution that “if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.” (D&C 18:25; see also Alma 5:38.)

    The Book of Mormon explains the significance of being called by the name of Jesus Christ. When the Savior showed his spirit body to the brother of Jared, he introduced himself as the Father and the Son, declaring that through his redeeming sacrifice all mankind who believed on his name should have life eternal through him, “and they shall become my sons and my daughters.” (Ether 3:14.) Abinadi said of those who believed in the Lord and looked to him for a remission of their sins “that these are his seed, or they are heirs of the kingdom of God.” (Mosiah 15:11.) He continued this explanation as follows:

    “For these are they whose sins he has borne; these are they for whom he has died, to redeem them from their transgressions. And now, are they not his seed?” (Mosiah 15:12.)

    Speaking through the prophet Alma, the Lord explained the significance of this relationship: “For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me they shall come forth, and shall have a place eternally at my right hand.” (Mosiah 26:24.)

    In these great scriptures from the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who are qualified by faith and repentance and compliance with the laws and ordinances of the gospel will have their sins borne by the Lord Jesus Christ. In spiritual and figurative terms they will become the sons and daughters of Christ, heirs to his kingdom. These are they who will be called by his name in the last day.

    According to this meaning, when we witness our willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ, we are signifying our commitment to do all that we can to achieve eternal life in the kingdom of our Father. We are expressing our candidacy—our determination to strive for—exaltation in the celestial kingdom.

    Those who are found worthy to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ at the last day are described in the great revelations recorded in the ninety-third and seventy-sixth sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. Here the Savior revealed to Joseph Smith that in due time, if we keep the commandments of God, we can receive the “fulness” of the Father. (D&C 93:19–20.) Here the Savior bears record that “all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the [Father], and are the church of the Firstborn.” (D&C 93:22.) “They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things. … Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods” who “shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.” (D&C 76:55, 58, 62.) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3; see also D&C 88:4–5.) This is the ultimate significance of taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ.

    Dallin H. Oaks, “Taking upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, May 1985, 80

  10. 11 Eric Nielson November 29, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    That is a great LONG quote Michelle!

    I don’t think we have any disagreement here. We do need to be on our best behavior always, and we have great help available to us for doing just that. Right?

  11. 12 Michelle November 29, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    Yup. :)

    I’m totally laughing at how looooooong that ended up being in the blockquote. Sorry about that. But you have to admit that it IS a good one, eh? :)

  12. 13 Matt Witten November 30, 2006 at 11:24 am

    My OT expert friend told me that when a king would conquer a land, he received a new name that symbolized or represented the power he gained.

    I’d be interested in seeing a source on this if you can cajole one out of your friend. It sounds very interesting.

  13. 14 Naiah Earhart November 30, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    I just got a comment on my blog from my non-LDS sister-in-law, Anne, and she mentions this idea of representing our church and our culture all the time:

    People need to remember that they are ambassadors of not only their country, but their ethnicity and culture and religion and everything else – others will form impressions because that’s one primary way humans gain knowledge – through observation. Whether we like it or not, that’s the reality.

    I just thought I’d copy that over here. Sort of a real-world anecdotal proof.

  14. 15 Eric Nielson December 1, 2006 at 5:54 am

    Thanks Naiah. We never know who is following what we say and do.


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