at the beginning of the semester, jarom and I dropped our religion class. we didn’t like the teacher or the way he had set up the requirements. this meant that we needed to attend institute in order to keep our ecclesiastical endorsements.
we’ve really meant to go every week since then. my stake meets on wednesday nights, his on thursdays. if wednesday didn’t work out for whatever reason, we’d say, oh, we’ll just go tomorrow. and of course “tomorrow” we forgot, or were too tired, too busy, etc. but this week it was written in my planner in very large lettess that we had to go.
wednesday night, though, I just wasn’t feeling up to it. so I promised jarom that we’d make it on thursday. we made sure to be back from class and shopping in plenty of time to go…except we never had bothered to find out where it was. no one answered the phone at his house. finally we braced ourselves, drove to his house to get the address, and headed to the church by my house.
when we got into the chapel, there was a healthy-sized crowd. we took our seat in one of the back pews; a woman came over and handed us a half-sheet paper. “while you wait, how about taking a quiz?” it read. I figured it was a personality/getting-to-know-you sort of thing, but in fact it was about the reading material for the week. not too bad so far, I thought. could be a lot worse.
the lesson covered d&c 111-116. the teacher started talking about the name of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. she told us that before she had children, she read in the Book of Mormon about prophets naming their children Nephi and Lehi so they could have the Nephi and Lehi of yore as exemplars. it was such a good idea she wanted to do the same – name her children after people she wanted to have them emulate. therefore her first son is named samuel…not after samuel the lamanite or samuel from the old testament, but samuel smith, the first missionary of the church.
sound ok so far?
“samuel smith never went by sam,” the teacher told us, “so I decided my son would never go by sam either. I don’t like nicknames. parents give you a name because that’s what they want you to be called. it’s important.” she went on to say that whenever anyone calls her son sam, she clarifies, he goes by samuel. her daughter amelia – named after her great-grandmother, so it’s a very important name – once told her second-grade teacher to call her amy, because she didn’t like the name amelia. when the mother (our teacher) found out, she called the teacher to explain that her daughter was to be called amelia. nicknames are offensive.
so we’re thinking this lady is just a little bit anal, when she finally ties this back in to the lesson.
“I think of how I feel when people call my children by something other than the name I gave them, and I think that’s how Heavenly Father feels when we change the name of His church. it is not the mormon or lds church; it is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. saying something else is saying that we don’t care what he thinks should be the name of the church, that we don’t care about Christ’s name and His church.”
a girl raised her hand and said, “this may be overstating it a little, but I think when we take Christ’s name out of His church, like saying the lds church, it’s denying the restoration.”
the teacher wholeheartedly agreed.
and so, we’ll be attending my stake’s institute next week.