As I was sitting in the temple, the other night, I saw a copy of The Book of Mormon on the table next to me. I picked it up and randomly began to read. I had opened to the book of Alma. Captain Moroni had just torn his coat and written upon it the famous Title of Liberty:
“…In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children…” Alma 46:12
As I continued to read, the next few verses stood out to me in a powerful way. After Moroni fashioned this Title of Liberty upon a pole, he:
“…Bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—
For thus were all the true believers of Christ, who belonged to the church of God, called by those who did not belong to the church.
And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come.” Alma 46:13-15
Those who belonged to the Church of Christ were scornfully given the nickname of Christians by the nonbelievers. Yet His followers embraced this name for they understood that they had covenanted to take upon themselves the name of Christ and all it entails when they were baptized.
As I thought about this, my mind turned to a familiar complaint among some of my young adult friends that the Church micromanages our lives. Why does the prophet care how many pairs of earrings we wear or what length our skirts are? Why can’t we drink coffee and tea, watch “R” rated movies, or become intimate with those we love before marriage? What does it matter what we say, watch, or think?
It matters because like those Nephites of old, we too have made covenants to take upon ourselves the name of Christ.
So what does it mean to take upon ourselves the name of Christ? It means that we seek to always remember Him. It means that we follow His commandments. It means that we act so that those who know us, but don’t know Christ, will want to know Him because they know us. We are His living, breathing representatives to the world. This means that we have to live a higher standard. This means that more is expected of us.
Yet no matter how much is asked of us in making and keeping this covenant we have made (to take upon ourselves the name of Christ), it is always worth it — for the Lord’s side of the Covenant is that we may always have His spirit to be with us. The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of the most precious gifts our Father in Heaven could give us in this earth life, next to the gift of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to enable us to return to Him and ultimately become like Him.
Those ancient Nephites understood this principle, and that is why they took this covenant upon themselves gladly. When we understand as they did, we too will be filled with gladness in taking upon ourselves the most beloved name of Christ.
This post was originally published in June 2008. Minor changes have been made.