I was reading recently about the people of Alma and their experience of taking the baptismal covenant with God and I came across this verse:

And now it came to pass that all this was done in Mormon, yea, by the waters of Mormon, in the forest that was near the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, the forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever. (Mosiah (18:30)

This tells of the principle that when we make great positive changes in our lives, the place that is associated with that change becomes more precious and beautiful to us. (I can remember the place where I first received my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and the place where I learned about the healing power of the atonement.)

Mormon has a special reason for rhapsodizing about these environs of Mormon. It is the place he was named after. We only find this out much, much later in 3 Nephi though.

And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the land of Mormon, the land in which Alma did establish the church among the people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression. (3 Nephi 5:12)

I think there is something special in that. Mormon was named after a place of conversion, and we might even say it was a place of restoration (though in the personal sense, not in the dispensational sense).

Since Mormon points out the place of Mormon was where the church was established by priesthood authority among the people after their transgression, it becomes a model or type of conversion after having partaken of the fall of Adam.

And how interesting that the book Mormon wrote carries the memory of that place onward. And then, consider the nickname our church carries – Mormon. Even our nickname references back to conversion and being born again.

So when people ever ask us why we are called Mormons if we claim to be Christians, we can tell them:

1) The name “Mormon” was a nickname given to us by others because we believe in the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible.

2) The Book of Mormon is named after the prophet-historian who wrote and compiled it many years ago.

3) That prophet-historian was named after a place where priesthood authority established the church of Christ among a people who had transgressed the commandments. At that place called Mormon, many people came to know Christ, who would redeem them.

4) At bottom, the name “Mormon” is about coming to a place where one is converted to Christ.

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