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DEVOTIONAL: Specifying faith in Jesus Christ

Elder James R. Rasband, General Authority Seventy, emphasized the importance of the careful use of our vocabulary as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“To whatever extent, our vocabulary affects our thinking,” Elder Rasband said. “Surely using the name of the Savior is an effective way to remind us of our decision to take His name upon us and our covenant to always remember Him.”

Erin Kunz, a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies, said the devotional allows her to relax and feel the Spirit.

“Since I do sing in the choir, it adds a little deeper meaning to my heart,” Kunz said. “I’d heard of Elder Rasband before; it was really funny how he started off his talk saying, yes, he’s related to the Elder Rasband. It was just nice to listen to his spirit, listen to him talk and give us direction on what we need to do in our lives.”

Recalling an experience when he attended a training held for volunteers at a correctional institution in Utah, he noted the power that came as multiple volunteers stood and stated the full name of the Church.

Using quotes from President Russell M. Nelson, he highlighted why members should focus their attention on referring to the Church by its correct name. He invited students to continue to heed the Prophet’s invitation as they strive to correct misconceptions held by others of different faiths.

“The project is not to eagerly call out mistaken usage in social media posts; nor is the project to signal our own virtue because we know and use the correct verbiage,” Elder Rasband said. “Instead, the Prophet’s urging to use the correct name of the Church is an invitation to center ourselves and our faith more fully in Jesus Christ, and, by our example, joyfully invite others to do the same.”

He explained this extends to other aspects of “church vocabulary” as well. This can sometimes include words used to refer to the Atonement or to missionary terms.

“Our gospel language sometimes develops patterns that can inadvertently distract or distance us from the Savior and the real source of power,” Elder Rasband said. “In focusing on the language we use, I want to be clear that my goal is not to make anyone ‘an offender for a word.’ The idea is not to create a list of words and phrases that will allow us to ‘snare’ others in a verbal misstep.”

Elder Rasband invited students to consider the vocabulary they use as a way to more fully follow the Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Consciously striving to adjust my vocabulary has been a reminder that the Savior must be at the center of my worship, that it is He unto whom I must be converted,” he said.

Keegan Hokanson, a freshman majoring in general studies, felt the devotional helped him to see how he could focus more on Christ.

“The thing that stands out to me the most is that in one way or another we need to bring it back to the Savior,” Hokanson said. “Especially this, regarding our language and how we use it. It doesn’t necessarily matter what’s said as long as it references to the Savior. That’s what makes the difference.”

Elder Rasband’s full devotional remarks can be found on the devotional webpage along with information about future speakers.

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