3 And they said unto him: Lord, we will that thou wouldst tell us the name whereby we shall call this church; for there are disputations among the people concerning this matter.
4 And the Lord said unto them: Verily, verily, I say unto you, why is it that the people should murmur and dispute because of this thing?
5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
6 And whoso taketh upon him my name, and endureth to the end, the same shall be saved at the last day.
7 Therefore, whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do it in my name; therefore ye shall call the church in my name; and ye shall call upon the Father in my name that he will bless the church for my sake.
8 And how be it my church save it be called in my name? For if a church be called in Moses’ name then it be Moses’ church; or if it be called in the name of a man then it be the church of a man; but if it be called in my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel.
(3 Nephi 27:3-8)
At the waters of Mormon, Alma taught the people that, by choosing to be baptized, they were promising “to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places…even until death” (Mosiah 18:9). After they were baptized and accepted this responsibility, he organized them into a church, which he called “the church of God, or the church of Christ.” Everyone who was subsequently baptized became part of the church (Mosiah 18:17).
In the passage above, we read about some instructions the Savior gave to the disciples he had chosen to lead His church. This interaction happened some time after the Savior’s original visit. On this occasion, He appeared to them as they were “united and gathered in mighty prayer and fasting” (3 Nephi 27:1).
The disciples were troubled because there was disagreement about what to call the church. They did not list the names which various people favored, but the Savior’s response suggests that some of the proposed names referred to mortal men. He reaffirmed that His church is different from a man-made organization. The name of His church must include His name in order to accurately describe what it is.
In His response, the Savior also connects the name of His church to the covenant we make to take upon ourselves His name. As President Russell M. Nelson has recently reminded us, using the correct name of the Church is closely connected with that covenant:
Taking the Savior’s name upon us includes declaring and witnessing to others—through our actions and our words—that Jesus is the Christ. Have we been so afraid to offend someone who called us “Mormons” that we have failed to defend the Savior Himself, to stand up for Him even in the name by which His Church is called?
If we as a people and as individuals are to have access to the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ—to cleanse and heal us, to strengthen and magnify us, and ultimately to exalt us—we must clearly acknowledge Him as the source of that power. We can begin by calling His Church by the name He decreed (“The Correct Name of the Church,” General Conference, August 2018).
Today, I will remember the importance of the name of the Church. I will remember that, by using the correct name of the Church—The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—I am testifying that it is a divine organization. I will also remember that calling His Church by its proper name is closely connected with my individual commitment to take upon myself His name. If I am to be cleansed and sanctified by His power, I must acknowledge Him as the source of that power.