We said good-bye to these beloved missionaries on March 2nd--Front: Elders Brown & Peay, with Pres. & Sis. Eaton, and Elder Gardner; Back: Elders Curtis, Cook, Nebeker, Maxwell, Anderson, and Taylor (missing Sister Moore who had to leave early to catch her flight).
In Alma 23 we read about the Lamanites who were converted by some extraordinary missionary efforts. In verses 16-17 we read about their decision to take on a new name—Anti Nephi Lehis—to distinguish themselves from their brethren the Lamanites. That got me thinking about opportunities we have to take on new names.
New names can help us make changes, to think of ourselves differently. When I married President Eaton, I took upon me his name, signifying the formation of our new family and our commitment to one another. At baptism we each took upon ourselves the name of Christ, repenting of our sins and seeking to follow him. We received a new name when we accepted a mission call. It seems to me to be sort of an extension of our baptism, but now we are a recognized representative of Jesus Christ and all that we do, say, and even wear should reflect that. That new name sets us apart and helps us live a higher standard.
In D&C 130:11 we read about the need to receive a new name to enter the kingdom of God: “And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.” I feel there is more to it than simply receiving the name. I think it is in allowing ordinances to change our nature and overcome Satan that we truly receive new names in a spiritual sense. In Revelation 3:12 we read, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
My goal is to be with each of you in the kingdom of God one day, to go no more out. I’m grateful for the new names that I have received that are stepping stones to that destination. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.