There has been some discussion on social media about some church officer, having the title of “apostle”, declaring himself a “special witness of the name of Christ”. People were outraged, whether it was feigned or real, at the thought of somebody not only declaring himself to be an apostle, but calling himself a “special witness of the name of Christ”, rather than a “special witness of Christ”, as if this were something new, and a demotion in calling.
The man is correct. He was called to a church office, originally held by twelve men, who were called as “traveling councilors” and called to become “apostles”. They were to become “special witnesses of the Name of Christ” – special because this calling differs from all others in the church, and of the name of Christ, because this, too, is a special designation and the topic of this post.
My goal in posting this was to educate people about this calling by calling upon the scriptures to do so. To illustrate the low level of knowledge in the church, by presenting this information, I was accused of “gaslighting” by somebody who didn’t have the grounding to tell the difference. This, in itself, is sad.
My purpose is this is not to judge the man, whether he is in fact a true apostle, or not. My purpose is to explain and defend the designation “the Name of Christ”. It does not belong in the gutter of unbelief. It deserves the highest honor, recognition, and worship of which we are capable.
This designation has not changed since this revelation was given in 1835:
D&C 107:23 The twelve traveling councilors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world–thus differing from other officers in the church in the duties of their calling.
The Lord never designates the “twelve traveling councilors” AS “Apostles”, but they are called TO BE “Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ”. They never rose up to fulfill this calling because they never followed Oliver Cowdery’s (who was an Apostle) charge to seek their ordination at the hand of the Lord.
If you understand the full meaning of the word “Name” in Hebrew. It is more than just a label. It DESCRIBES the nature, mission, office, calling, and role of a person, among other things.
The Name of Christ is not the same as the name “Christ”.
It is a Name above all other names. It is the only name under which we may be saved. It is the Name by which we may ask and receive. It is the Name by which we gather so that the Lord may be in our midst.
It is the Name which we witness that we are willing to take upon ourselves. But the Name is actually placed upon us by the Lord, himself. A true Apostle is a witness that he has actually stood in the Presence of Christ and received that Name from the Lord.
How do I know this? To receive this Witness and to take upon me this Name was the desire of my heart, and in response, the Lord sought me out and found me
D&C 18:27 Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.
D&C 18:28 And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.
D&C 18:37 And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;
D&C 18:38 And by their desires and their works you shall know them.
Here are a few scriptures illustrating the purpose and nature of that Name:
2 Nephi 31:13 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism–yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.
2 Nephi 32:9 But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul.
2 Nephi 33:12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.
Enos 1:15 Wherefore, I knowing that the Lord God was able to preserve our records, I cried unto him continually, for he had said unto me: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it.
Mosiah 3:17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
Mosiah 5:8 And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
Mosiah 5:9 And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
Mosiah 5:10 And now it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall not take upon him the name of Christ must be called by some other name; therefore, he findeth himself on the left hand of God.
Alma 5:38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd.
3 Nephi 27:5 Have they not read the scriptures, which say ye must take upon you the name of Christ, which is my name? For by this name shall ye be called at the last day;
Mormon 8:38 O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never dies–because of the praise of the world?
Mormon 9:21 Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.
D&C 46:31 And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit;
Book of Commandments 15:23 Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness, and as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
Book of Commandments 24:30 Behold whosoever humbleth himself before God and desireth to be baptized, and comes forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto the church, that they have truly repented of all their sins and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him unto the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, then shall they be received unto baptism into the church of Christ.
To be a witness of the Name of Christ is not only to testify of the reality of Christ, having seen Him and having receive authority from Him, but is to be a living example of Christ in every way.
Speaking to the 12 disciples to the Nephites, the Lord said:
3 Nephi 27:27 And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.