What’s in a name? I start with this simple question because the answer is both surprising and significant. Nephi explained it this way:


“Behold, my sons, … I have given unto you the names of our first parents who came out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I have done that when you remember your names ye may remember them; and when ye remember them ye may remember their works; and when ye remember their works ye may know how that it is said, and also written, that they were good.

“‘Therefore, my sons, I would that ye should do that which is good, that it may be said of you, and also written, even as it has been said and written of them.”



Along these lines, when I was a small, I remember hearing a story that has always impressed me told about President George Albert Smith:


When President Smith was young, his deceased grandfather George A. Smith appeared to him in a dream and asked, “I would like to know what you have done with my name.” He saw his entire life pass through his mind. Then President Smith responded, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.”


Strangely, I also yearn for the chance to honestly say these words to my namesake. Because of my knowledge and admiration for my family of bygone days, when I have faced challenges in my life, I definitely took more time to see how my predecessors handled similar situations. Their experiences have helped illuminate my life and given meaning to my experiences. How grateful I am that they left their words and stories for me to ponder and apply to my own life.


My son and daughter-in-law recently announced that they are expecting. This is wonderful news, and we couldn’t be happier. The family congratulated the new parents-to-be and excitedly asked about details. Of course, Nephi’s admonition has particular emphasis as they welcome this small miracle into their family.


I have been reading recently in 3 Nephi. This is definitely one of my favorite books of scripture in all of sacred writ for many reasons. The Savior shows such compassion for the people in the Americas. He heals their sick and afflicted, blesses them, and speaks words that cannot be written. I try to imagine what it would have been like to be there. Then, in chapter 23 the Savior makes some comments that perhaps I never have really appreciated until now, because I don’t think I understood their importance previously.




He asks to examine their records and then comments that he commanded Samuel the Lamanite to testify of Him following His resurrection when many saints arose from the dead and appeared unto others. He asks “Was it not so?”


His disciples answer Him yes, then Jesus asks ‘why is it you have not written these things’? When Nephi remembers that these experiences had not been written, he then made sure they were documented as the Lord commanded. That was an epiphany for me that we have these wonderful experiences in life not just for ourselves but also that we may testify to others of the good the Lord has done through His resurrection and the reality of Him in our lives. That is our responsibility and blessing.




We all do that in our own way. I testify through pen and ink, or perhaps more accurately computer and pixels on a monitor. You may testify though your life and example. Others have artistic gifts through which they witness of God. Still others use music, song, or voice. Sometimes I am blown away at the turn of a phrase in the speeches of the brethren.


As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced with the courage of our convictions. Thomas S Monson


To read more articles by Walter Penning, click here.

It’s like a beautiful symphony that takes your breath away. The notes and melody continue with us long after the instruments have been placed back in their cases and the artists have returned to their homes. If you have never had the chance to sit at the feet of the conductor in a hall during the climax of a symphony orchestra, you may not know what I am articulating. An analogy comes to mind that you will all understand. Think of the last time you went high into the mountains and saw the sun rise at the break of day on a clear morning with blue sky and billowing clouds. The rays of the sun shoot in every direction and the majesty cannot be expressed in a description or even a picture. It’s beyond words. This happens in the mountains, on the seashore, in waving fields of wheat, or in countless other places and situations.  Then why not also in our lives? For me, it happens at the symphony when the base drums vibrate our seats and the notes from the instruments fill our hearts with passion and our ears with music. It’s nigh indescribable.


The Savior Jesus Christ created all things to enable us to feel a culmination of joy and reach our ultimate potential. It’s no wonder to me that He desires we document our journey and testify of him.


Compose your appreciation in whatever medium you prefer. Start today.





About Walter Penning
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.

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