3 Nephi 11: 24-25

“And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:  Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

Christ prescribes the exact words to be used in the ordinance. However, the instruction we use today is slightly different in wording, but identical in meaning: Instead of: “Having authority given me of Jesus Christ” we say instead: “Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 20: 73.) 

After giving these disciples “power to baptize” Christ’s instructions require them to say they have “authority” (in 3 Nephi) or today, hold a “commission” (in D&C 20). Is there a difference between “authority” to baptize and the “power” to baptize?
Why does the authorization come from Jesus Christ, but the ordinance get performed “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost?” The power to do the ordinance comes from the Son, but the ordinance is in the name of each member of the Godhead. Why?
Though they are one, the names show they occupy different roles and hold different responsibilities. (As to following and being sanctified by different laws and receiving different kingdoms, see D&C 88: 21-26.) We are in the fallen world where the primary means God communicates with man is through the Holy Ghost. (D&C 14: 8.) When, however, a person rises up through the merits of Jesus Christ to receive Him as a minister, they are living in a Terrestrial law and inherit Terrestrial blessings. (D&C 76: 77.) When He has finished His preparations with the person, and can bring them to the Father, the person is brought to a point where the Father can accept and acknowledge them as a son. (See D&C 76: 54-59, 92.) They are then begotten of the Father. (Psalms 2: 7.) Through each of these steps, does baptism matter? Does one receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost without baptism? Do they come to Christ without baptism? Do they inherit what the Father has without baptism? Is baptism critical to the association with each member of the Godhead?

The point at which the person’s journey is completed, and they may enter into the rest of the Lord is when the Lord declares by His own voice that the man’s offering has been accepted and they are sealed up to eternal life. I’ve explained this on the blog as to Joseph Smith. I’ve explained it for Enos and others in Beloved Enos. The Gospel is the same now, as always before. Therefore, no matter how you will receive blessings of the Lord in the afterlife, it will be through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and by the ordinances instituted for claiming blessings. These were established as law to govern man’s conduct here even before the world was. (D&C 130: 20-21.)

Note also the person cannot receive the ordinance without also having their name stated. Why do you suppose it is necessary to first call out the name of the person before they receive an ordinance? Why would the Lord’s instruction require a person to be “called” first? Though they are submitting to the ordinance voluntarily, why call their name?

Does it matter if the full legal name is used? We do that in the church, of course. But does it matter? If the Lord called Joseph by name at the time of the First Vision (and He did, see JSH 1: 17), what name do you suppose was called? Was it “Joseph Smith, Jr.”? Or was it “Joseph”? Or was it that name used by his most intimate friend at the time?

Whenever a name is given by an angel in an appearance to parents, the name is always the first name, or the name their friends would call them. (See, e.g., Luke 1: 13; Luke 1: 31.) Similarly, when the Lord calls a man’s name, He uses his first, given name. (See 1 Samuel 3: 4; Exodus 3: 4.) The Lord does not use formal names, but uses intimate names when addressing His servants.
We call the person to be baptized by name. Our practice is to use the full, legal name.

16 thoughts on “3 Nephi 11: 24-25

  1. Denver said: “When, however, a person rises up through the merits of Jesus Christ to receive Him as a minister, they are living in a Terrestrial law and inherit Terrestrial blessings…(etc.)”

    Is this, I wonder, why we are instructed to consecrate ourselves to (in this order) 1. the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2. the building up of the Kingdom of God on earth, and 3. the establishment of Zion? I always looked at this as all-inclusive, but perhaps that isn’t the case. Rather, it’s a progression. I seem to have been stuck on number one for a long time.


  2. We do the same with the brethren. It’s as if once you omit someone’s initial, you have committed a cardinal sin. Titles, initials, full names–it all feels very stuffy to me. I have the plague of being a bishop at the moment (or our ward does I should say) and occasionally people will “slip” and call me by my first name. They apologize of course. I frankly appreciate the “slips” and enjoy and prefer the intimacy of being so called. I don’t recall everyone calling Joseph, President Joseph Smith Jr. It was usually just, Joseph or bother Joseph. Imagine referring to President Monson as Brother Thomas. Kiss your calling goodbye if you keep that up! Jesus was not President Jesus H. Christ (not meaning to be sacrilegious – but it just sounds wrong. Also sounds like a Bill Cosby segment), He was usually called, Jesus. Of course, when He is given a title, it’s one that actually means something — Wonderful, Counselor, Prince of Peace, Master. And even then, Jesus deserves the titles! – We don’t. Maybe what Denver is getting at here, in part, is that God is not one who wishes to salute us, nor should we wish to salute Him. Do we approach Him in prayer with unnecessary titles that detract from the true idea of Abba (Daddy)? Will we be obsessed with making sure we say His name correctly should we be so blessed to see Him? My guess is that the more we can establish an informal relationship with God and Christ, the better chance we have of being “called up” and anointed by Him. I love the parable where Jesus describes what kind of father He is in the Prodigal Son.

    “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.”

    Thank God it’s not a handshake like some fathers give their sons or like we do in the church. It’s a holy embrace.

  3. Anonymous 4:45 (and to all the other anonymouses out there that post insightful, fairly brief and to the point comments)
    Thank you and Great Post. And since this post is about names, I would like to offer a suggestion. While I understand that some would prefer to remain unknown for personal reasons.. I would encourage others to come and let us get to know you.. at least with a name. We are all brothers and sisters and I for one would like to get to know some of my long lost brothers and sisters who have found their way onto this blog. I would be great to differentiate the anonymouses from the anonymouses and or have a way of some contact.

  4. One of the things I immediately found especially endearing as a missionary in Brazil was that the members would generally greet & refer to each other as Brother/Sister or Bishop/President & then the individuals first name. The only person known by Title Surname were the missionaries and mission president. And the general authorities & officers of the Church.

  5. Bishop Anonymous @4:45. LOL, your comments cracked me up, but I hear what you are saying. Perhaps part of the difference between Brother Joseph; and President Monson, is that we ALWAYS tend to address older brothers and sisters by a respectful term of some kind we were taught that from youth, and all of the prophets since Brigham, who was also addressed as Brother, have been “old guys.” Joseph was what, 21, when the church was established? And he was probably mostly surrounded by older people than himself.

    Your point about Jesus H. Christ was funny; and I have wondered since I joined the church about the weird Mormon preoccupation with initials, but I just decided that it was so we could keep Joseph Smith, Joseph F. Smith, and Joseph Fielding Smith straight. That was my guess, anyway.

    David, I may be anonymous, but I AM a distinguished anonymous:-).

  6. David,

    I feel the same way you do. Several weeks ago I decided to change my screen name from my initials DKD to my first name Donald. It would be nice to call others by their first names. I do get confused with all the anons…..btw, I still remember our nice telephone conversation several months back. Always good to read your comments and thoughts.


  7. I’m sure the Lord is laughing loudly at this discussion. Just as He no doubt does at white shirts, suits and ties, and clean shaven faces.

    Rules, rules rules. He is not the stuffy formal man you think He is…

  8. Anons,

    I heartily agree with David! We would loves a way to identify you. Others have suggested this also.

    I go by lc. Are initials adequate?

  9. So baptism is required for all as a sign that their knee has bowed and tongue confess that Jesus the the Christ and all (excluding sons of perdition) will be redeemed to a kingdom of glory. I love how I now see the connection with the names used in baptism. This is also in line with D&C 138:58-59 “The dead who repent will be redeemed, through obedience to the ordinances of the house of God, and after they have paid the penalty of their transgression, and are washed clean, shall receive a reward according to their works, for they are heir of salvation.

    It makes sense that baptism is an eternal ordinance for all. But how is eternal marriage linked with the terrestrial and telestial kingdoms? It to use the name of the three members of the Godhead.

  10. Denver, feel free to expound on some of your questions you ask. So what about the mortal given ordinance of Baptism… is it absolutely required? Or does it point us to actually being baptised spiritually? Did Mahommed have it before his ascension? Joseph Jr wasn’t baptized before his first vision/visit…

  11. I think I rather like the title of Bishop Anonymous ;). Do you see what an institutionalized hypocrite I’ve become? Jk. Thanks for the thoughtful remarks. I am not a regular commenter but read Denver’s blogs daily. I guess I am still at that point where I am soaking it all in and don’t feel like I have a lot to say yet. I am grateful for some of the powerful insights shared here and truly hope I can be less of an empty vessel soon. Good to meet you all.


    Bishop Anon

  12. John C,

    You are picking up on what I was when I read this blog and am wondering if I am indeed comprehending this correctly.

    Whereas we have been taught traditionally that baptism was required only for entrance into the celestial kingdom…that it is an ordinance only pertinent to that degree of glory…is the reality being conveyed here that baptism is actually required of all degrees…telestial, terrestial and celestial?

    I was taught this by a family member several years ago using numerous scriptures in the D&C and BofM, but was also cautioned I could never teach such as it flew in the face of what was accepted, and must keep it pretty much to myself. (It counters what several of the brethren taught, but I’m too tired to look up who and where.)

    Also, this would really make sense if the inference I am picking up on is that this mortal probation we are undergoing is in reality a telestial kingdom…not just representative of the telestial as we tend to think of it…but a literal telestial kingdom as we think of it after judgement.

    Someone has inquired several times in their comments as to if there are multiple baptisms. I can see that the baptism I have undergone is preparatory to enjoying the companionship of the Holy Ghost. So, is there a baptism that is associated with entering into Christ’s presence (terrestial) and then another for the Father’s (celestial)? Or is it the washing and anointing associated with those experiences that serve as the “baptism” for them. Or does the intial baptism I had cover all three degrees?

    Thoughts from anyone that thinks they know about any of this would be great.

  13. Karen, what you’re saying seems to make sense to me. Remember, there is a “Baptism of the Holy Ghost” as well. If there is a baptism of water and a baptism of the Holy Ghost, there is probably another one as well, which I’m not sure about.

  14. I think Denver is showing us that we do telestial baptisms and are led by the HG to the 2nd comforter. In reality, the church’s job is to get souls to the veil, and the individual is left on their own to progress there after. Hence exaltatin is a personal venture. When a rebaptism was commanded by the Lord, I think it’s really a sign and witness showing heaven and earth that they have accomplished something more, admin and teachers from the Terrestial world. The angels and the Lord who serve in this capacity will prepare individuals for the 3rd comforter. I think DS is right, the church is a telestial administrator. My continued study and prayer confirmed this. Terrestial angels serve the next level of mortals. Gods serve the celestial mortals. Joseph is right, the “saints” weren’t “getting it”… it is a lot harder than most think to become Celestial, and many will end up with a lesser glory that what they thought was coming. We have a lot of work to do! Where ever the eagles (angels) are, there is the carcass of friends I want to commune with!

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