Publication: “Perspectives on Latter-day Saint Names and Naming” (Routledge, 2023)

A new edited volume on names and naming in the Mormon church was published by Routledge on 29 March 2023. The volume, titled Perspectives on Latter-day Saint Names and Naming and edited by Dallin D. Oaks, Paul Baltes, and Kent Minson, “approaches cultural, historical, and doctrinal dimensions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through a fresh lens that explores how these dimensions intersect with names and naming.”

Included in the edited volume is a chapter by ANS past president Cleveland Evans, titled “Contemporary Latter-day Saint Naming”. Evans is interviewed about the project in a Deseret News article, saying “I have been interested in given names since I was myself a child, and have previously done research on how African American names and Hispanic names differ from those of non-Hispanic whites, as well as some work on how naming patterns differ across social class in the United States.” Read more about the project over at Deseret News on Yahoo.

Evans is also interviewed by BYU News, where he speaks about the project and his primary research question: “Are Latter-day Saint children’s names really distinctive?” In his response, Evans says “The kernel of truth in the idea that Latter-day Saint parents favor unusual names is that while the huge majority of Utah parents use the same names as the rest of the country, enough favor unusual names that people will remember it. As a psychologist, I know that vivid and striking things will often distort people’s memories so that we think unusual examples are more common than they are.” Read more over at BYU News.

The book is available now from Routledge.