Meaning of the Names of the First Presidency & Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Meaning of the Names of the First Presidency & Quorum of the Twelve Apostles November 3, 2019

In the Old Testament, especially, the meaning of people’s names held great significance. Two of my favorites, Maher-shalal-hash-baz and  Shear-jashub  meant “To speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey” and “The remnant shall return.”  The names recorded pointed to the Lord or warned against a path away from Him.

Names are still carefully selected, sometimes for their meaning or for their sound or for their familial connection or just feeling like that’s the child’s name.  In the Hawaiian culture, the Hawaiian name is carefully selected, often by a grandmother or other family member with a strong connection to the Hawaiian language and culture.  Like Isaiah’s sons’ names, Hawaiian names are often formed by words in a phrase or sentence.  They’re beautiful names and inspired my renewed fascination with modern names.

Meaning of Names of Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

I searched for the meaning of the first, middle (where applicable), and last name of the 15 prophets, seers, and revelators as a curiosity. I basically googled each name and searched for consensus and variance on the name’s meaning. I could not find any meanings or origins for several names.

Russell M. Nelson

Russell: “redhead, little ruddy one, red-skinned, red-haired” of French origin of the Old Norse word for “red.”

Marion: “sea of bitterness” or “sea of sorrow,” “rebellion, wished-for child.” In Hebrew, the name is a variant of the name Miriam and later Mary.

Nelson: an English name meaning “son of Neil.” Neil comes from the Gaelic name Niall which means “champion and warrior” or “cloud and passionate.”

Dallin H. Oaks

Dallin: “from the valley” from English origin or “little blind one” based on an Irish-Gaelic legend of a man who went blind from studying and whose blindness was healed by reading a religious poem.

Harris: “son of Harris” and “home-ruler” in English, “grace” in Bosnian, and “lion or guardian” in Arabic.

Oaks: “lives by the oak(s)” from English origin. Oak trees symbolize

Henry B. Eyring

Henry: “home ruler” of Germanic origin.

Bennion: derived from the Celtic name Enion meaning “anvil” or “stability and fortitude.”

Eyring: unknown meaning.

M. Russell Ballard

Melvin: from two Old English words meaning “council, meeting” and “friend, protector,” thus “council protector.”

Russell: “redhead, little ruddy one, red-skinned, red-haired” of French origin of the Old Norse word for “red.”

Ballard: from a Middle English “ball” which meant “white spot” and could mean “bald head.”

Wyclif translated 2 Kings 2:23  as “Stye up, ballard,” and Coverdale translated the same passage as “Come up here thou balde head.”

Jeffrey R. Holland

Jeffrey: “peace bringer” or “pledge of peace” from the German and English. In French, it means “divine peace” or “God’s peace.”

Roy: “red” or “ruddy” in Gaelic and “king” in French.

Holland: “wooded land.”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Dieter: “warrior of people” in German and “people ruler” in English.

Friedrich: “peaceful ruler” from the German words meaning “peace” and “power.”

Uchtdorf: unknown. “Dorf” means a village in German.

David A. Bednar

David: “beloved” in Hebrew.

Allan: “stone, harmony, noble” and “handsome” from Celtic origins.

Bednar: Czech word for “cooper.” A cooper makes wooden vessels held together with metal or wooden hoops.

Quentin L. Cook

Quentin: “queen’s manor or estate” in Old English and French. In Latin, it’s “born fifth.”

LaMar: “of the sea” or “the pool” in French and “the liquid gold” or “the glow of the diamond” in Arabic and “the sun” in Pashto.

Cook: “man who sold cooked meats, keeper of an eating house, a cook” from Old English and Latin.

D. Todd Christopherson

David: “beloved” in Hebrew.

Todd: “a fox, having red hair, a wily or clever person” from Middle English.

Christopherson: “son of Christoffer” in Danish and Norwegian, “Bearer of Christ” in Greek.

Neil L. Andersen

Neil: Comes from the Gaelic name Niall which means “champion and warrior” or “cloud and passionate.”

Linden: “linden tree hill.”  A linden is a hearty tree that can live for centuries.

Andersen: “son of Anders” as a Danish-Norwegian patronymic surname.  Anders means “strong and manly.”

Ronald A. Rasband

Ronald: means “powerful” and “rules with counsel” from Old Norse.

Anderson: “son of Anders” as a Danish-Norwegian patronymic surname.  Anders means “strong and manly.”

Rasband: meaning unknown.

Gary E. Stevenson

Gary: “spear of battle,” “hard or bold spear,” or “spear carrier” from Old English.

Evan: Welsh form of John which means “Jehovah is gracious or gracious gift of Jehovah.” In Gaelic, it means “young warrior.” In Scottish, it’s “right-handed.” And in the Greek, it means “messenger and good man.”

Stevenson: patronymic name meaning “son of Stephen.” In the Greek, Stephen means “crown” or “that which surrounds.”

Dale G. Renlund

Dale: In Old English, “lives in the valley.” In Gaelic, it’s “assembly” or “gathering.”

Gunnar: “brave and bold warrior,” “fighter” from Old Norse.

Renland: meaning unknown.

Gerrit W. Gong

Gerrit: “brave with the spear” from Dutch.

Walter: “ruler of the army” or “ruler of people” or “powerful ruler” from Old German.

Gong: There are several versions of the name Gong in Chinese characters so I’m not completely sure which represents Elder Gong’s surname. I found a couple of meanings of “Gong” listed as “bow,” and two characters representing one surname defined as “dragon” and “common, shared, altogether.”

Ulisses Soares

Ulisses: “wounded in the thigh” from Latin and from the Greek, “to be wroth against, full of anger, wrathful.”

Soares: Portuguese patronymic name meaning “son of Soeiro.” Also occupational name meaning “keeper of pigs or shepherd of pigs,”  “son of the South army,” or “one that has red hair.”

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