Whats in a Name ?

Brothers and Sisters….

For sometime I have been thinking about the courtesy we extend to one another in church settings. Church media depicting the early days of the restoration, show members calling each other brother and sister in relation to Christian names. In the hymn book also, “Praise to the man” uses the expression, Brother Joseph

We all understand the use of brother and sister as a title, is to remind us that we are literally children of our Heavenly Father. Spiritual brothers and sisters. It seems that at some point in time, we have moved from Christian names to Surnames. So Brother Joseph would be Brother Smith. Think about your own experience last Sunday.

I do wonder if this change has made our church interactions overly formal. Brother Dan suggests respect and familiarity, where as Brother Jones suggests a little more distance?

There are times in church service that we have titles other than brother or sister. Full time missionaries, Bishops, Stake Presidencies, Auxiliary and Priesthood Presidents, Area and General Authorities for example. This engenders respect for the calling. My Mission President once suggested missionaries “sacrificed” their Christian name, as an outward sign of an inward desire to give all to God and be consecrated servants of Him. (I’m not sure that has any doctrinal background) I’m not suggesting we should change this. 

We do many things differently in the established church, than was done in the pioneer church of days gone by. Perhaps we could bring some extra inclusiveness and love to our Sunday meetings, by returning to the idea of using Christian names as the pioneers on the plains did?

Try calling one of your fellow members brother or sister, followed by their Christian name not their Surname. See how they react and how you feel.

I’m interested to know how you get on….

One comment

  1. I prefer to be called Sister Deb except in formal settings. You see, I love my first name. It fits me perfectly. It is a part of me and I think it will be for ever and ever. When I was born my mother had another name chosen out for me. When I was born she looked at me and said, “You are not a Melanie, you are are a Deborah. Eventually it became Debrah which I like even more because my parents worked together to create the spelling. It is a cherished part of me. It is me, my identity. I married and I have a husband whom I dearly love. I gladly took on his name, yet it is not a reflection of my heritage. It is a symbol of our marriage. I would prefer little children call me Sister Roundy out of respect and men do the same, but my sisters are my sisters and I prefer to be Sister Deb to my sisters and friends.


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