7 And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
I’ve been thinking today about what it means to share someone’s name.
In the movie Quiz Show, the main character, Charles Van Doran, attempts to minimize the damage caused by a large-scale fraud he has been part of. Speaking to his father, an English professor, Charles quotes Shakespeare: “‘An ill-favored thing, sir, but mine own.'” he says. “It was mine.” His father immediately replies, “Your name is mine.” In other words, you can’t keep me out of this. I’m your father, and your last name connects you to me. I share in your triumphs. I share in your disasters. We are connected, and the name we share symbolizes that relationship.
One of King Benjamin’s purposes in gathering his people was to give them a name which would deepen their relationship with God (Mosiah 1:11-12). As he explained to them, he wanted them to take upon themselves the name of Jesus Christ (Mosiah 3:8-9, 17). As Benjamin points out in the passage above, his people did this in two ways:
- They were spiritually reborn by humbling themselves and pleading for mercy. Their hearts were changed, and they experienced joy and peace of conscience (Mosiah 4:1-3). Because the Savior, through His Atonement, made this conversion possible, they have become His spiritual sons and daughters. “This day he hath spiritually begotten you,” King Benjamin tells them.
- As a result of this change, and in order to make it last, the people were willing to enter a covenant to obey God for the rest of their lives (Mosiah 5:2-5). This public statement of belief made them the children of Christ in another way: they now represented Him to the world. Just as Charles Van Doran’s behavior reflected on his father, the behavior of King Benjamin’s people would now reflect on their Savior, because they had been willing to declare to the world that they were His disciples.
When we take upon ourselves the name of Christ, we become accountable for the effect our actions have upon Him. Elder Mervyn B. Arnold said, “Someday each one of us will have to account to our Savior, Jesus Christ, for what we have done with His name” (“What Have You Done with My Name?” General Conference, October 2010).
Today, I will remember that I carry the Savior’s name because I have declared myself to be His disciple. I will remember that, because of the relationship I have with Him, my actions affect Him personally. I will strive to behave in a way that is worthy of His name.