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Taking the Name of Christ
by Paul R. Warner
It is a doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that the only way to obtain salvation is to take the name of Jesus Christ upon oneself. This is categorically stated in several latter-day revelations. Although not specifically stated in the Bible, the concept is implied in Paul's declaration to "put on Christ" (Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:27); Peter's statement that Jesus Christ is the only name given "among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12; Ex. 15:2; 1 Sam. 2:1; Ps. 27:1); and the Lord's instruction to Moses to "put my name upon the children of Israel" (Num. 6:27; cf. Jer. 15:16). The taking of the name of Christ upon oneself in this dispensation begins with being baptized into his Church and keeping the commandments.
The Lord declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith that all persons desiring a place in the kingdom of the Father must take upon themselves the name of Christ (D&C 18:24-25, 27). Amulek, in the Book of Mormon, counseled the wayward Zoramites to "take upon you the name of Christ" (Alma 34:38). The resurrected Jesus promised, "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; cf. Mosiah 25:23; 26:18). Abraham was told by the Lord, "I will take thee, to put upon thee my name" (Abr. 1:18).
Sacred covenant making is associated with taking the name of Jesus upon oneself. King Benjamin said, "There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives" (Mosiah 5:8; cf. 18:8-12; Alma 46:15). The covenants of baptism (D&C 20:37; cf. 2 Ne. 31:13) and of the Lord's Supper (D&C 20:77; Moro. 4:3) require taking the name of Jesus Christ upon oneself. Bruce R. McConkie, a latter-day apostle, stated, "We have taken upon ourselves his name in the waters of baptism. We renew the covenant therein made when we partake of the Sacrament [Lord's Supper]. If we have been born again, we have become the sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ" (McConkie, p. 393).
Dallin H. Oaks, also an apostle, further explained that "we take upon us the name of Christ when we are baptized in his name, when we belong to his Church and profess our belief in him, and when we do the work of his kingdom. There are other meanings as well, deeper meanings that the more mature members of the Church should understand and ponder" (Oaks, p. 80). The "deeper meanings" are identified as inheriting the fulness of God's glory and obtaining exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom (Oaks, pp. 81-83).
McConkie, Bruce R. "Jesus Christ and Him Crucified." In BYU Devotional Speeches of the Year, pp. 391-405. Provo, Utah, 1976.
Oaks, Dallin H. "Taking Upon Us the Name of Jesus Christ," Ensign 15 (May 1985):80-83.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Jesus Christ, Taking the Name of, Upon Oneself
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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