When I was a young man – oh just about 13 years old – I started going to our ward choir. I already knew music from years of band and choir in elementary school, so it seemed like a good thing to do. As I consider my spiritual journey through life I didn’t quite have what we would call a testimony at that time. I had already had a few sacred experiences, but I would not have been able to say with any real conviction at that time that I knew that the Church was true or that Jesus is the Christ. But for my 13 year old self all of that was about to change.
The first hymn (I deliberately call it a hymn, though you won’t find it in any hymn book I have ever seen) we rehearsed was titled No Other Name. I can still hear the soft sweet melody proclaiming those words over and over throughout the course of the song, swelling ever fuller from start to end as many such songs do until the choir’s words are a firm declarative statement of Christ’s divinity. What is just as memorable to me about that experience is the spiritual confirmation to my heart and mind that what I was singing was true – there is no other name which can bring salvation to mankind except the name of Jesus Christ. As I consider my spiritual journey I look to this experience as the inception of my testimony and conviction of the Savior Jesus Christ and His reality and role as Savior and Redeemer.
Years later I began studying the Book of Mormon earnestly – I knew I needed to know what it contained if I was ever going to be an effective missionary. As I did I came across a passage which has since become one of my favorites in the Book of Mormon (and in all of scripture) because of the simple truth it proclaims – and because of its link to that hymn and my memories of singing it and gaining my personal witness that Jesus is the Christ:
“And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3:17)
This passage – a quote from the sermon given by King Benjamin at the end of his life – was not new to me. I recognized them immediately as the exact words which we sang in that hymn and which helped bear witness to my soul that Jesus Christ is the Lord Omnipotent and our Savior and Redeemer.
I used to have an idea that somehow the authors of the Book of Mormon were independent writers with no influence on each other, but after years of studying this book I’ve come to realize that isn’t true. When you read King Benjamin’s address and compare it back to the words of Nephi it is clear that Nephi’s wish (and the desires of the Lord) regarding the small plates came to pass, for the doctrines taught by Nephi have clear threads throughout King Benjamin’s sermon and in the case of this verse it is almost a direct quotation from Nephi’s words:
“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” (2 Nephi 31:21)
Unlike any other book on earth the Book of Mormon is quite clear and direct regarding Jesus Christ and these passages teach that the path to salvation is pretty cut and dry. There is no room to escape or wiggle around the qualifications as many in our society would have you believe. There is no other way to salvation except in and through the name of Jesus Christ. Not Buddha. Not Krishna. Not Allah. Not Freud. Not Plato. Not Aristotle. Not Calvin. Not Luther. Not anyone else who has ever roamed the earth or has any ounce of fame in it. Only Jesus Christ.
Nephi said it this way on another occasion:
“And now, my brethren, I have spoken plainly that ye cannot err. And as the Lord God liveth that brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt, and gave unto Moses power that he should heal the nations after they had been bitten by the poisonous serpents, if they would cast their eyes unto the serpent which he did raise up before them, and also gave him power that he should smite the rock and the water should come forth; yea, behold I say unto you, that as these things are true, and as the Lord God liveth, there is none other name given under heaven save it be this Jesus Christ, of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.” (2 Nephi 25:20)
There is no other name.