Clyde J. Williams of Church Correlation and Review and assistant director of the education division, provided a deeper understanding of what it means to fully take on the name of Christ in his class, “Insights I missed the first 50 times through the Book of Mormon” during a Campus Education Week lecture.
Brother Williams started by explaining that when King Benjamin gathered his people, it was not only to give them counsel and appoint a new king, but also to give the people a new name. He wanted his people to take upon themselves the name of Christ. Brother Williams pointed out that there are many people who say they have taken on the name of Christ but don’t know what that means and what sort of responsibilities that brings.
Using King Benjamin’s address as the foundation, he said the first thing individuals must do to take upon the name of Christ is to serve God. Service is something that must be done selflessly and for the primary reason of loving God and wanting to help His children here on earth.
“Christ’s whole life was a service project,” he said. “He came to save us and His whole life was dedicated to us. If we are going to take on His name, we need to be devoted to serve.”
Brother Williams reminded the class that as humans living on earth, they are indebted to God because He has given them everything. They are also indebted to the Savior because of the Atonement. Noting that Christ is the only way to eternal salvation, he counseled the class to become more childlike in their manner — to be submissive, meek, humble, willing to submit to the Father. He quoted Mosiah 3:18, which admonishes “… believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.”
The next thing to happen to take on the name of Christ is to put off the natural man. He explained that each person has a spirit and a body and the key is that the individual has to make sure the body doesn’t overcome the spirit. That is when the natural man comes out and takes control.
Brother Williams said, “You have to let the spirit control the physical body — tell the body who’s in charge. When that happens we become saints and become more like Christ. … God will try to persuade us, convince us and help us, but He will not force us. We have to make that decision on our own.”
He further said, “No one was born to be any kind of person but to become like Christ. Whether we think we were born with any sort of passions or traits, we have to be willing to overcome the weaknesses of the flesh and become like Christ” (See Mosiah 3:19, Ether 12:27).
He said individuals must trust in God in order to fully take on the name of Christ. They must believe that He created all things, that man cannot comprehend all things, man must change and repent, and if they believe all things, they must act upon their belief and follow the commandments of the Lord (Mosiah 4:9).
Also, individuals must retain a remembrance of man’s nothingness and how they turn to the Savior for salvation for a remission of sins (Mosiah 4:11). If they retain that remission, they won’t go back to the sin and can more fully focus on engulfing their lives in the service of others (Mosiah 4:26).
Brother Williams explained that King Benjamin taught that people must love one another and live peaceably as well as teach their children to walk in the light of truth.
The final attribute individuals must have is to watch themselves in thought, words and deeds because thoughts turn into words, and words turn into action (Mosiah 4:30).