New Names

by: Guy Templeton

August 23, 2013
Karol Józef Wojtyła chose the name Pope John Paul II

Karol Józef Wojtyła chose the name Pope John Paul II

In the Bible, people change names.  Two examples are:  Abram became Abraham, Jacob became Israel.

In the Catholic Church, a pope picks his new name:  Josef Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, Karol Józef Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II.

In the Mormon Church, we are given a new name in the temple, but it is not our choice.  Would you like the option to pick your new name like the Catholic Church does, or do you like the temple procedure?

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11 Responses to New Names

  1. Jenn on August 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    Oh, a thousand times over, I’d love to have an input into the name! The fact that the church only has 31 names per gender at a given time… and the female names in the bible to choose from are VERY limited. I’m SO glad I wasn’t given a name like Huldah.
    But something like Abish (one of 2 named females unique to the BoM)- that would be cool.

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  2. hawkgrrrl on August 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    I’m not sure the new name idea in the LDS church is similar. In other faiths, it’s about choosing an actual name you will be known by, not just a password.

    There is a question about the naming procedures for babies, though. Parents often name their babies based on the names they think will ensure their child’s success. Some cultures (with high infant mortality) don’t name them at birth. And of course in Dances with Wolves they got a name based on their personality or observed behaviors. I suppose all names have some kind of story associated with them that allows the child to reflect on his or her identity either in contrast to the name or in conjunction with the name.

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  3. Jeff Spector on August 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    I was always curious about people that name their children after themselves. What’s up with that? in the Jewish tradition, you always name the child to honor a deceased family member, not oneself. Never done. Or not supposed to be.

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  4. Hedgehog on August 23, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Like hawkgrrrl I regard more as a password, certainly not a name I’d use otherwise.

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  5. Mary Bliss on August 23, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    I seem to recall that Abram and Jacob and Sarai were told what their new names were.
    I rather like the idea of a name being given as a gift and as an expression of God recognizing my starting a new level or stage of life.
    If I choose the name, it’s me expressing me. If the name is given to me, it is an symbolic expression of the giver.
    And in a religious context I prefer the latter.

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  6. Roger on August 24, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Names can mean a lot. I always found it interesting that Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky were names chosen by their bearers in adult life.

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  7. Annika on August 24, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    I like the idea of choosing your own name. I spend a lot of time looking at names and their meanings, and I think it would be wonderful to choose a name for myself that represented qualities I would like to have.

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  8. Michael on August 25, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    For those commenters who may not be familiar with Catholic practice, all active Catholics go through the “new name” biblical tradition during the sacrament (ordinance) of Confirmation when they choose a name which comes to be known as their “confirmation” name. This usually happens in their early or later teen years. The name becomes part of one’s full name during their life. Many Catholic youth are urged to study the lives of the Saints and choose the name of a person who inspires them.

    The choosing of a new name for those who dedicate their lives to Christ as priests or nuns is similar but not the same as a confirmation name.

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  9. MH on August 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I don’t know how special a new name can be when it is assigned by what day of the month it is. Oh today is Aug 25, so your new name is “Paul” or “Mary” or whatever. I have a hard time feeling inspiration is involved when efficiency is the goal. I doubt anybody gets the name “Jehosophat” or “Ezekiel” or “Bertha” or “Delilah” or “Jezebel”.

    I think choosing your name would involve more inspiration than having it handed to you because of what day it is.

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  10. hawkgrrrl on August 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Catholicism has the benefit of basically getting two birthdays: your birthday and your saint’s day. So that part is pretty cool!

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  11. Last Lemming on August 26, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    The Church’s current practice allows forgotten names to be recovered. (This happened to my mother-in-law). Picking your own name would make that much more difficult.

    And let’s not forget that there are three names associated with the temple ceremony and the order in which they are encountered is not a coincidence. I think one would be well advised to focus on the third one rather than the first.

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