After listening/reading the clip, please note the titles used to talk about my friend, Jesus. I’m not picking on Elder Ashton. There were only 7 individuals who used the name of “Jesus” throughout the 34 or so talks included in the November 2018 Ensign. And, most of the references referred to a story, testimony or scripture Jesus is included. For example: “”I am come” Jesus declared”; “Jesus is the Christ”; and, “Jesus saith unto him, ‘Rise, take up thy bed and walk'”. Terms like Savior, God, Redeemer, Him, Jesus Christ, Lord, Christ, and Jesus of Nazareth are used extensively. I believe “Jesus” could be substituted for almost every title and it would strengthen our personal relationship with Jesus.
Many Latter-day Saints who leave the church fail to take Jesus with them. They become agnostic or even skeptical that God even exists. I’ve pondered why. First, the LDS do not trust the Bible, entirely. Second, they’ve been told in so many different ways, you cannot trust the Christian community for truth or answers…the LDS Church is the only true church; and, third, they do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
I know this sounds strange, since they are coming out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. but I’ve interviewed over 300 former Mormons who, universally, say they did not have a real, biblical understanding and relationship with Jesus when they were LDS.
Just consider that if a Methodist leaves to become a Baptist or a non-denominational becomes an Episcopal or any other transition in Christianity, they take Jesus with them. They know Jesus. They believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
I would ask the reader at this point to say out loud: “I love Jesus”. Doesn’t that sound more personal, loving and as a greeting to a friend rather than saying ‘ Savior, Lord, Jesus Christ, or Redeemer”. I believe we keep Jesus at arm’s length when we use titles.
The first time this lack of focus on Jesus occurred to me while I was reading the Christmas message of the First Presidency in the December 2017 Ensign by Pres. Uchtdorf “Seeking Christ at Christmas”. In that entire article about finding Christ at Christmas, he did not use the term “Jesus” one time. (To his credit, Pres. Uchtdorf used “Jesus” 3 of the 11 or so times “Jesus” was used during the October 2018 conference.)
As I think back about the lack of a personal relationship I had with Jesus, I think about the small role Jesus plays in the temple ceremony. Also, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie telling the LDS not to worship or pray to Jesus. Of doctrinal concern is the belief that Jesus is just my older brother and just happened to come along first. Lastly, the formal wording of “thee”, “thy” and “thou” is not something I would say to a friend.
John 15:15 “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Conclusion: I believe Latter-day Saints would draw closer to Jesus as a friend if they used Jesus’ name instead of titles. Even in the name of the LDS church, “Jesus Christ” is at the end of a prepositional phrase.
Review Summary Paragraph: We fail to have a personal relationship with Jesus when we use titles instead of His name.