Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Research on Mormon naming practices

A recently-published article on discusses unique Mormon naming practices:

The byline reads:

Names are a way every culture identifies itself, and Mormon culture is no different. Jennifer Mansfield, a graduate student of folklore, has even identified six different "types" of Mormon names - as well as the reasons for (and effects of) such names.

The researcher interviewed for this article just happens to be my little sister, who happens to have a very proud big brother.


Kimbooly said...

Cool that Jenny was interviewed.

And my only comment is, just like any other identifying practice, the desire to be "unique" simply classifies you with the group with whom you want to be unique. The goth kids consider their style "unique," the preppy kids may thing they've found a way to display themselves uniquely, and so on and so forth.

The next issue is that when someone does try to go "unique," and really does so (like the first mormons who thought to mix names, or do creative spellings of more standard names), if it goes viral (like is has!), then it's really no longer unique.

The last comment I'll make is about names like Celestial, Chastity, etc. Those types of names can go either way. They could inspire the person to embody their name, or they could cause the person to want to rebel against it. I would be very, very cautious, especially with a name like Chastity. But I wouldn't want my child to buck against faith, hope, or charity either, so I probably wouldn't name my kid that type of name.

That said, I know a Hope, and I know a Chastity, as well as a handful of other such named people, and their names did not end up making them want to rebel, as far as I'm aware. Chastity in particular is so kind and good (she's my cousin-in-law). : )

Jenny said...

Thanks for the shout out, Ben.

You make excellent points, Kim. I remember a quote, I have no idea from where, that says something like, "always remember you're unique...just like everyone else." The quote is meant to be funny, but it's also completely true.