Were you waiting for this talk? "The Correct Name of the Church" by President Russell M. Nelson was the one I was waiting for. I knew after the earlier announcement in the weeks prior that this would definitely be a topic come General Conference. It’s going to be interesting to see all the name changes take place over the next couple of months. Please be patient with me as well as I go through and make any necessary changes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recommends the following for this talk:
“Jesus Christ has commanded that the Church be called after His name. You can help members increase their desire to follow this direction by inviting them to search President Nelson’s message, looking for reasons why ‘the name of the Church is not negotiable.’ Then, invite them to search the end of President Nelson’s message for the promises he said will come as we work to “restore the correct name of the Lord’s Church.” What can we do to help in this effort?”
Questions to Ponder
Why do you think it confusing to call our church by nicknames? What negative effects might that have? How can nicknames be misleading to those who do not know our doctrine?
What was your first reaction to the prophet asking us to use the correct name of the Church? Has it changed since then? What are you doing to follow the prophet’s counsel?
In what ways might the nicknames of the Church be a major victory for Satan?
What are some things we can do to avoid using nicknames for the Church? What have you already started doing differently?
What are some things you are doing to always remember the Savior and make him your central focus?
Even though making this correction to the name of the Church seems unwise from a worldly point of view, what are some of the benefits you can see?
How can we courteously and patiently correct errors in the use of the Church’s name with each other and those not of our faith?
What blessings have you seen in your life as you strive to follow the prophet?
Have you received any blessings from calling the Church by it’s full correct name?
How do you feel when you say the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
These are my ideas. My hope is reading my thoughts will be a springboard to finding the right plans for your class.
Think of a time when you were asked if you were Mormon or LDS. How did you respond? What are some polite responses we can use? You can read or role play the examples President Nelson gave in his talk as well (My daughter’s favorite: “Are you Mormon” “No, he died a long time ago. I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”). You could even ask your class to pair up and take turns role playing how you could courteously and patiently correct the name of the Church. After giving a few minutes to role play, discuss what they noticed as they did so. Did anyone have a great way to correct in a courteous way?
Have class members ponder their own name for a few minutes. Then ask why their name is special to them. Were you named after someone? How do you feel when someone calls you by the wrong name or nickname you don’t like? How do you think the Savior feel when we do not call his church by the correct name?
Read and discuss the following scriptures about the correct name of the Church: D&C 115:3-5, 3 Nephi 27:7-8. You could have one half of the room read one scripture while the other half reads the next scripture then discuss them together.
Sing and discuss the children’s song, “The Church of Jesus Christ” (Children’s Songbook pg. 77). What are some of the blessings that come from knowing which church we belong to? What are some of the blessings you can see by making it a habit to use the full name of the Church of Jesus Christ?
Bring an object such as a ball or something else colorful. Show the object to the class and tell them how much you love your ball. Ask them about the color and size of the ball. If you have small red ball, they will answer small and red, tell them you love your ball so much because it is a big purple ball (or something opposite of the object you have). Ask them again don’t you love my big purple ball? here you confused by my description of the ball? Discuss how not using the correct name of the Church could be misleading or confusing.
The more we practice saying the full name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the easier it becomes. Try saying it at least once a day so that when it comes up in conversation, we don’t fall back into bad habits. You can hang up one of my free signs to remind yourself every day. What other things can you do to get back into the right habit when it comes to the name of the Church?
Discuss what other things we may need to change besides the verbal usage of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For example, we may have bought art or shirts that we should no longer use. When we use hashtags on social media, we should make sure we are use the correct terms. You may want to brainstorm some hashtags to use together (and send me your ideas- I need more!). Should we also change the words we use when searching for things online?
Review the clear guidelines about the the correct names for the Church and its members. “In the first reference, the full name of the Church is preferred: ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.’ When a shortened [second] reference is needed, the terms ‘the Church’ or the ‘Church of Jesus Christ’ are encouraged. The ‘restored Church of Jesus Christ’ is also accurate and encouraged.” See the rest of the Style Guide in relation to the name of the Church.
Bring in the famous quote from William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” “What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet.” Why is this incorrect? In what ways do names really have an effect on us and who we are?
Discuss some of the name changes you have seen take place already because of this reminder and the one correction President Nelson made a few weeks prior. For example, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is now simply The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.