Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Receiving a New Name

I have been pondering for a while now what exactly is the purpose of receiving a new name?

When a member of the Latter Day Saint Church receives their washing and anointing and their endowment in an LDS temple the person is given a new name.  This is held in strict confidence and revealed to no one (exception, when a woman marries she gives her new name to her spouse, however, she does not receive her spouse’s new name).  We are taught that this new name will be a “key” to passing the angels who stand as sentinels in order to enter the Celestial Kingdom.

I believed this to be true and believed that since this new name was of such great importance that it was prayerfully considered and chosen specifically for me.  I believed that for years.  However, as I served my Family History Mission I was privy to many confidential documents and discovered that the “new names” given in the temples are given to all candidates at all English speaking temples around the world on the same day.  I’ve felt a bit deceived at this discovery.  Let’s say 500 women received their washing/anointings and endowment on the same day that I did throughout different temples in North America.  Therefore, 500 women have the exact same “new name” as I do.

How does that make my new name meaningful to me?

If no one prayed specifically and personally for me, to have MY new name revealed in order to bestow it upon me then is it just symbolic of something I need to receive from God himself?
Finding out about the process of giving temple candidates “new names” has disturbed me so greatly that I have turned to the Lord in prayer and fasting in regards to this matter.  As I have done so I have begun hearing about others who have received their new names directly from the Lord. I am beginning to believe  that most of what we experience in the temple is symbolic of things we need to receive directly from God. 

As I have been studying this matter some questions have surfaced based on the following scriptures:

Revelation 2:17:
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Doctrine and Covenants 130: 11
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.

These scriptures seem to be telling us that receiving a new name is something that happen post-mortem and only if we inherit the Celestial Kingdom.  However, in the scriptures we have some examples of God changing a person’s name while in mortality.  A few examples of this: Abram renamed Abraham; Sarai renamed Sarah; Jacob renamed Israel; Solomon renamed Jedediah; and Simon renamed Peter.

It is significant when God changes a person’s name.  It can indicate that something new has happened or will happen to that person-a new relationship, a new character quality, or a new phase of life.  When we become born again, truly converted to Christ, we become “new creatures”.  It makes sense then that if we ask God to accept us as part of His family, as our Father, He will give us a new name if we ask Him to:

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I believe it is significant to receive a new name from God.  I believe it is God’s way of telling us how He sees us and who He wants us to become.  For instance Abram means “high father” while Abraham means “father of many”.  Sarai means “my princess” while Sarah means “mother of nations”.

 Does God give us a new name once we have spiritually become His sons and His daughters and we have asked Him for it?

Or, is this something we need to wait for once we have proven ourselves worthy and attained unto eternal life (inherited the Celestial Kingdom)?

Or, can it be both?  Once we have become born again, become new creatures in Christ, accept Him and desire to do His will and then ask Him for it, will He give us a new name, one which will reveal to us the kind of person God wants us to become?  AND, if we live faithful to every word that proceeds forth from the mouth of the Lord, receive eternal life and enter into Celestial Glory does God then give us a white stone with a new name written on it?  (perhaps a different new name than He gave to us while in mortality?). Could it be true that if we receive a new name directly from God that it will be used as a way to prove ourselves deserving as we pass the angels who stand as sentinels?

I have decided to believe that it is both based on the examples in scripture because I am choosing to believe that scriptures actually mean what they say! I believe that the new name I was given in the LDS temple was symbolic of my receiving my actual new name from the Lord himself.  Therefore, I have asked God and I have received.