“I Shall Give This People a Name”

D. Kelly Ogden, Andrew C. Skinner

The people of Christ can carry his name and never have that name blotted out, as long as they will continue blotting out their sins and staying clean.

“And Moreover I Shall Give This People a Name”

King Benjamin wanted to do away with the temporal, artificial nomenclature by which his people had distinguished themselves as being from Ephraim, Manasseh, or Judah, or the people of Nephi or Zarahemla or Mosiah, etc. He wanted to bring them together under one name, to bind them all together as the family of God, to take upon them the name of Christ (see commentary at Mosiah 5:7–12).

Likewise, the most important distinction that sets us apart from the world (and from our own temporal, artificial, geopolitical designations, such as North American, European, African, Asian, Latin American, etc.) is the name of Christ, which we take upon us when we enter his kingdom. Our ultimate objective is to take upon us the name and the nature of our God, to become as Christ is.

Thus all of us become identified by the groups we associate with and the names to which we connect ourselves. On one occasion, a returned sister missionary in one of Brother Ogden’s Book of Mormon classes showed him her engagement ring. He was happy for her, of course, but since an engagement is not unusual at Brigham Young University, he asked if the engagement involved anyone else he knew. She said shyly, “Well, you know that fellow who sits next to me in your class?” They had met in class two months before and begun dating. They were going to be married at the end of the semester.

Brother Ogden decided to find a fun way to announce the good news to the class. At the beginning of the next class period, he said, “Today we begin our study of King Benjamin’s discourse. The king gathered his people to advise them that his son would be their new king and to give them a new name.” Brother Ogden then explained that one of the young women in the class had decided to take on a new name. After the sister explained the circumstances of the engagement and after some good laughs about the whole situation, he told the students that a few days before she had whispered to him, “I love this class.” He added, “Now we all know why.”

Verse by Verse: The Book of Mormon: Vol. 1