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Dear Gramps,

I have been wondering.  Assuming I have a son in the future, would it be disrespectful or immoral to name my child Elohim after our Heavenly Father as a first or middle name? Or to name him Jehovah?  Many thanks.






You’re probably wondering this because we know that in some cultures it is common to give children religious names such as “Jesus.”  Even in the US our population is replete with a multitude of Biblical names.  Your name is a prime example.  As you probably know, it means “God is my strength.”  So what would be wrong with naming someone “Elohim” or “Jehovah?”  Two reasons.

FIRST:  While it is common for some cultures to name their children “Jesus,” it is not really done in the English speaking world.  Because of that cultural difference, it has a different impact on how that name is perceived.  Imagine the practical issues of calling for your child in the halls at church or having someone address him or mention him during a meeting.

SECOND: There is a difference between the names of Deity and the names of other scriptural figures.  We have no commandment restricting the use of other names.  But we have very clear instruction to not use the name of the Lord in vain.  Even the Melchizedek priesthood was so named as to avoid the repetition of the name of Deity.

The Hebrew name “Yehoshua” (meaning “Yaweh is help/Salvation” or sometimes simply translated as “Savior”) was a common one among the Jews of that age as well as today.  The English version can be rendered either as “Joshua” or “Jesus.”  Truly, the Savior was aptly named during His earth life.  While naming your son “Joshua” would have no cultural backlash, naming him “Jesus” certainly would.

FINALLY, the biggest issue with the two names in the original question (“Elohim” and “Jehovah”) is that they have never been a common name for any mortal.  These two names specifically have always been associated with the Lord and no others.  It simply isn’t appropriate to use these names for mortals.  So, with these two names in particular, it is not merely a cultural issue.  This really is a gospel issue.  Would you be making light of His name by naming your children so?  It may be so.  And if so, it would be taking His name in vain.

May you have a healthy child.  And may the Lord bless you and him in growing in wisdom, stature, and favor with both God and man.

And if you can’t think of any other options you prefer for your son, may I suggest “Clay?”





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