Students strive to live up to Book of Mormon names

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Abish Reid didn’t like her name when she was young because she didn’t share a name with anyone else in her class. Now, she feels blessed to have it.

It is not uncommon in BYU’s culture to find people with Book of Mormon names — a phenomenon not often found outside of Utah.

Students like Reid with names from the Book of Mormon have often been defined by their names and have constant opportunities to share the gospel. Reid is one of three people named Abish on BYU campus, according to the BYU directory.

Abish Reid is named after a woman in the Book of Alma who openly shared her testimony. (Photo by Sarah Hill)
Abish Reid is named after a woman in the Book of Alma who openly shared her testimony. (Photo by Sarah Hill)

“A few years ago I was working at Sonic,” Reid said. “A lot of people would read my name tag and say it was a cool name, and then I tell them a little bit about it. It’s exciting that I can introduce people to the Church just by having the name I have.”

Reid said having the name Abish can also be intimidating.

“She (Abish) was a missionary,” Reid said. “She went through the city and brought people to the Church. Sometimes I feel I should always strive to bring people to the Church just 24/7. In the next life, if I am lucky enough to meet Abish, I have to make sure I did a good job.”

However, Abish isn’t the only Book of Mormon name on campus. According to the BYU Director, there are also five students named Moroni.

Moroni Lopez, a freshman from South Jordan, is one of them. He also feels blessed because of his name, which was his dad’s favorite person from The Book of Mormon.

Even though people sometimes mess up his name when he orders food, for example, Lopez said it has really helped him become who he wants to be and has also shaped his character.

“There’s the scripture in Alma 48 that says if everyone was like Moroni, the very foundations of hell would shake,” Lopez said. “I just think if I could grow up to be someone like that it would really be something special for me. I would really like to be someone like Captain Moroni. He sticks to his standards and fights for what he believes in.”

Ammon Gruwell, a junior from San Antonio, Texas, also looks to his namesake for the qualities he wants to develop.

“I know he was a great missionary and a great example of wisdom and knowledge and bravery,” Gruwell said. “He was very wise and was able to relate to people very well and inspire people.”

Gruwell said whenever people hear his name their first thought is that he must be really righteous.

“I guess you do feel a desire to live up to your name,” Gruwell said. “In the past, I’ve thought of going by my middle name, which is Bradley, but I feel that would be almost betraying my namesake.”

Similar to Reid, Nephi Gomez also said he likes his name because it gives him the opportunity to share the gospel. He said when he reads First and Second Nephi it feels a lot more personal.

“I work at a call center, and it’s usually people from out of state,” Gomez said. “I always have to say my name and go into the spiel of, ‘Have you heard of the LDS Church?’ It happens a lot. If they don’t mispronounce it, I know they’re Mormon.”

Gomez said he would definitely give his future children Book of Mormon names.

“I think I want to name one of my kids Moroni,” he said. “I really like my name. I want to do the same for someone else, and Moroni is awesome.”

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