Friday, October 31, 2014

The Word (Part 2) - The Name of God

This is part two of a long chapter called "The Word." Read Part 1 Here. Part 3 Here

The Name of God

After reading the stories above, you may wonder, as Kimberly did, how simple words and sounds can have such a powerful effect. St. John gives us a powerful clue:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12–13, emphasis added)
As a writer, I notice the structure of language, and in the passage above the third clause seems redundant. If a person receives Christ, doesn’t that mean the person believes on His name? It is my experience that God is not redundant, and seeming redundancies often indicate multiple layers of meaning if the reader will search them out.
The word name is associated with, and inseparably linked with, the Word, or sound current. Every book of scripture admonishes God’s people hundreds of times[15] to call upon, praise, glorify, and believe on “the name of the Lord,” “Jesus’s name,” “God’s name,” “His holy name,” and so forth. Why wouldn’t these ancient writers just tell us to call on the Lord, receive the Lord, or praise Him? John adds that power was given to them that believed on His name. It would seem from this scripture and hundreds more that the names of God are an important key in worshiping Him and becoming like Him (i.e., the children of God and born of God).[16]
Jesus also sets the example by repeatedly exalting His Father’s name. In fact, Jesus states in in 3 Nephi 9:15 that His life is for that purpose: “I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.”
Another common pleading of the ancients is that we should each retain His name written in our hearts. As you will read in the “Mind-Body-Spirit” chapter, heart may also be symbolic of the subconscious mind as well as the central point of transformation, where body and spirit exchange information.
To have such writing in our inward parts, or to take upon us the name of Christ––which members of the LDS church covenant to do every Sunday when participating in the ordinance of the sacrament––requires some serious technology. Paramhansa Yogananda says, “When the mere mention of His name sets the soul afire with love for God, it will start the devotee on his way to liberation.”[17] What kind of technology can set our souls afire with devotion and write on our hearts? The Shabd Guru.
The mantras from the Shabd Guru are filled with the names of God or a string of His names, as well as attributes and praises to those attributes. As described above, science has shown how these mantras have powerful psychological and physiological effects that change a person’s brain, as well as one’s subconscious mind, body, and spiritual organs. Yet science can’t explain why. But scripture can. There is power in the name: “honor, power and glory be rendered to his holy name, both now and ever” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:36). From the very beginning, humans have praised the name of God: “And Adam and Eve blessed the name of God, and they made all things known unto their sons and their daughters” (Moses 5:12).
It is evident from the scriptural record that God has many names. I once started what was to be an exhaustive list of all the names of God I could find. I still find new ones. It seems that God has no limit to His names or His power, as His name and His power are linked.
The ancients understood this truth, and they knew how to call on and praise which name for what purpose. For example, the mantra for prosperity calls on/praises the generating aspect of God (see page xxx). The mantra for healing calls on the all-powerful aspects of God (see page xxx). Other mantras use names that represent other attributes, such as Liberator, Sustainer, and Infinite (see pages xxx).
We can learn much about this concept by studying the names of deity used by modern-day LDS prophets in special prayers, such as temple dedicatory prayers. Below are three examples:
From the Provo, Utah, Temple Dedication, 1972

O God, the Eternal Father, the Creator of heaven and earth and all things that in them are; thou Man of Holiness who hast created us thy children in thine own image and likeness and endowed us with power and agency to follow thee; thou who knowest all things and hast all power, all might, and all dominion; thou who created the universe and ruleth with justice and equity and mercy over all the works of thy hands, hallowed be thy great and holy name!

We come before thee in the name of thine Only Begotten Son, even the Son of Man, in whose sacred name thou hast ordained that we shall have access to thee, the Lord.[18]

From the Ogden, Utah, Temple Dedication, 1972

Our Father who art in heaven, even the God of our fathers, who keepeth covenants and showest mercy; thou Almighty Elohim who liveth and reigneth, from everlasting to everlasting; thou Man of Holiness and Man of Counsel who hast created us in thine own image and likeness and commanded us to worship thee in spirit and in truth; thou who knoweth all things and hast all power, all might, and all dominion—hallowed be thy great and holy name!

We come before thee in the name of thine Only Begotten Son, even him through whom salvation cometh; him whom thou hast appointed to be our Advocate with thee. [19]

From the Bountiful, Utah, Temple Dedication, 1995

O God, our Eternal Father, Thou great Elohim, Creator of the heavens, the earth, and all things thereon. . . . We pray to Thee, our Father, in the name of Thy Beloved Son, Thine Only Begotten, even our Redeemer and our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Lord.[20]

The above examples praise several of God’s names and call upon many of His attributes, which are also considered names for our purposes. Each prayer also mentions the name of the Savior, in whose name we are taught to always pray to the Lord (see 3 Nephi 18:21).
There is power in using the Lord’s names in the appropriate ways, and there is condemnation in using the names inappropriately (think of the third commandment). It is in the name of Christ that we baptize, that we cast out devils, and that we can work miracles such as commanding the weather and commanding mountains and trees.[21] It is through faith in His name that we may be glorified. Glorified![22] And it is through Him, and His name that we can have a fulness of joy: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name. Ask and ye shall receive that your joy may be full” (John 16:24).

Vain Repetitions 

Sometimes people ask me if mantras qualify as vain repetitions. I consider mantras to be the opposite. In the scriptures, vain repetitions are associated with “much speaking” (Matthew 6:7) and “multiplying many words” (3 Nephi 19:24). Another key to vain repetitions is vanity. Mantras are simple, basic sounds and phrases, and they will do little for your vanity. In fact, many people will think you are crazy. Yogi Bhajan says, “We repeat and repeat so it becomes part of us, we become part of it. We who practice this are not insane. We look insane to those who are insane. Please understand that.” [23]

[15]More than three hundred variations can be found in the LDS canon.
[16] Power is associated with the ordinances of the temple, which you can read more about in the “Temple and the Body” chapter.
[17] Yogananda, The Yoga of Jesus, 29.
[18] Provo Temple Dedicatory Prayer,” accessed March 14, 2014,
[19] “Ogden Temple Dedicatory Prayer,” accessed March 14, 2014,
[20] “News of the Church: Bountiful Utah Temple Dedicated,” accessed March 14, 2014,
[21] See Mark 16:17. See also Doctrine and Covenants 45:8.
[22] Doctrine and Covenants 3:20.
[23] Yogi Bhajan, PhD and Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, PhD, The Master’s Touch: On Being a Sacred Teacher for the New Age (Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 1997), 207.

1 comment:

  1. The entire year the visiting teaching lessons have been on the different names and roles of Jesus Christ. I didn't get it. I thought it was redundant. Our leaders get it and are trying to help us understand. What a testimony builder of the mindfulness of our leaders. Hopefully I will be a better visiting teacher sharing this with my sisters instead of dismissing it as repetitive and unimportant. Thanks for opening my eyes.