“What have you done with my name?” It’s a simple question, really.
The story is told that when President George Albert Smith was ill, he had a dream where his deceased grandfather George A. Smith appeared to him and asked “I would like to know what you have done with my name.” Everything he had ever done passed before him as though it was a picture on a screen. President Smith responded to his namesake, “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.” This was a meaningful experience as he relates it.
Incredibly, I will get a similar opportunity because I too bear the name of my great-grandfather. He has always been a beacon to me because even as a young boy I realized that I he was my namesake. I think that is pretty special and has provided an instant connection for me with my great grandpa. Though I never met him, there is a picture of great grandpa with my dad sitting on a Model T. My dad is the boy sitting on the hood of the car. This picture kind of helps me realize how closely we are connected—not divided by multiple generations and separate continents like we sometimes think of when we discuss our ancestors.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time I have been in a similar situation, and it is likely not the first time for you either. When I was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I wore the name of Jesus Christ on my lapel in the form of a name tag every day for two years. I stood as a representative of Jesus Christ in homes, on the street, while riding the bus or train, and with each and every contact that I made. Millions around us experience similar scenarios every day. How could that be?
This condition plays out for many of us every day though we may not have expected such a situation or realized its impact until now. Millions of members of the Church all across the world have taken upon them the name of Jesus Christ through baptism, and they renew that covenant every week by partaking of the sacrament. That important and frequently-renewed covenant in part states that we are “willing to take upon them the name of thy Son.” The full sacrament prayers can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 20, verses 77 and 79.
What does it really mean to take upon us the name of the Son of God? To make Him our namesake?
I think it means much the same as it did for President George Albert Smith when he responded “I have never done anything with your name of which you need be ashamed.”
I would like to be able to say that to Him as well. That is my hope.
And if I fail to live up to my covenants as I would like, the Savior has provided the gift of repentance so that we all can be forgiven and approach our Father in Heaven and be reunited with Him.
Thus we sing praises to Him the whole year through.
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.