Play The Mormon Baby Name Game!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Let the fun begin! The Mormon Baby Name Game is now available. The possibilities of this thing are endless. Please feel free to score your own name, children's names, friend's names, future baby names, etc. to see if we can collectively come up with the perfect Mormon baby name. If any of you expectant couples out there have been debating between several possible baby names, please let us know if the Baby Name Game helps you resolve your disagreement and restore harmony to your home. Conversely, feel free to comment on some of the....ummmm....weirder names you have come across with their associated scores. Who knows, maybe we can also determine the all-time worst name as well.

Please pass this test along to friends, family, etc. and get them involved as well. The more the merrier. I would like to see if we can get at least 100 names and scores submitted and then have a head-to-head March Madness-style showdown to crown the best and worst Mormon names ever invented. Based on the comments thus far, I cannot wait to see how this turns out.

If you are understandably uncomfortable posting full names in your comments, just post the last initial. For example, I could post that my name of Dennis Andrew S. scored a total of 67 points. I scored the maximum on all tests except for the following:

-Mean Jay Test: 3 points because of the "Dennis the Menace" insults.
-Helaman Chapter 5 Test: 3 points since Andrew, Peter's brother, was an Apostle, but few people think of the New Testament linkage they hear the name.
-I'm Changing My Name to Salem Test: 3 pts. because Andrew was the 28th most popular name in 1974.
-Back Porch Shout Test: 3 pts. for a two syllable name.
-Moe's Tavern Test: 3 pts. because any first name with my last name can sound like a prank call.
-Letter Hog Test: Angie, Andrew, Anthony, Amy......

Also, version 1.3 of the Manifesto was updated on 3/13 to include the "Moe's Tavern" test (thanks, T-Boar). I also dropped the "Hero" test due to lack of interest and relevance. (It was like Maude Flanders - it contributed little and will be remembered in death more than it was in life). If you need more detail about each of the tests described below, please scroll down to the Baby Naming Manifesto Version: 1.3 post. You will also notice that some of the tests have higher amounts of points assigned to them than others. This was done based upon your comments as to which rules were the most important in the naming process.

Good luck, have fun, and keep the comments coming! Without further ado, the Mormon Baby Name Game:

The "Here Comes Pat!" Test:
Give boy name to boys and girl names to girls:
10 pts. - No mistaking the baby's gender (Nathan, Robert, Rebekah, Elizabeth).
5 pts. - Some ambiguity, but the name is predominantly associated with one of the genders (Courtney, Shannon, Jerry).
0 pts. - Interchangeable between boys and girls (Pat, Chris, Taylor, Cameron, Jamie).

The "Queen Lili'uokalani" Test: Do your child a favor and make the name easy to spell. Especially if the name is somewhat common, do not alter the spelling just to be "original":
10 pts. - Common name, common spelling (Samuel, Tyler, Grace, Faith).
5 pts. - Most people should be able to spell and pronounce the name. If the name is hard to spell, it is not our fault (Sara vs. Sarah, Erik vs. Eric).
0 pts. - We took a perfectly common name, replaced common letters with "cute" letters, and our child will change the name the day they turn 18 (Nykkol vs. Nicole, Jaysun vs. Jason)

The "Mean Jay" Test:
Think like the meanest kid in school and ask yourself, "How could I make my kid cry by using his/her name?"
10 pts. - Almost impossible to logically make fun of the name (this should be a very rare score because mean kids can be very, very evil).
5 pts. - I could see how the name could be twisted to be made fun of, but our child should not grow up hating us because of it. (Earl can easily be called "girl", "squirrel", "hurl", etc.)
0 pts. - Bullies won't even have to try (Melvin will get constant wedgies, for example).

The "Helaman Chapter 5" Test: Give your child a name to live up to, and she just might do it!
7 pts. - The name is prevalent in the scriptures or in church history (Leah, Rachel, David, Joseph).
3 pts. - Minor scriptural name and/or church history reference. At minimum, the name does not have a negative connotation associated with it.
0 pts. - We are praying the child does not live up to the namesake (Jezebel, Osama, Paris, Cain, Madonna).

The "I'm Changing My Name to Salem" Test:
Avoid names that are so popular that your child will share a name with half of his/her kindergarten class. Click here for the list of most popular names (you can even change the year as needed):
7 pts. - The name is ranked #75 or higher.
3 pts. - Ranked between #21-74.
0 pts. - It is currently in the top-20.

The "Logistical Nightmare" Test: Avoid making up names that mean nothing, but sounds "pretty" when said:
7 pts. - Traditional, recognizable names (Daniel, Samantha).
3 pts. - Sounds like a name, but has no real roots (Tristan, Jalynn, Dania, Briley).
0 pts. - That's a name? (Zephyr, Temptress, Efren, Traxler, Lyric).

The "Back Porch Shout" Test: If you yell the child's name from the back porch or in a crowded mall, how well does the name carry:
7 pts. - The name can be clearly distinguished amidst a cacophony of sound - usually three syllables (Jennnn-iffffff-errrrrr! Zaaaakkkk-aaaaaa-REEEEE!"
3 pts. - The name carries well, but could get drowned out - usually two syllables (Maaa-thew! Haaaa-naah!)
0 pts. - The name will get confused with all of the other noises out there - usually one syllable (John! Anne!)

The "Moe's Tavern" Test: Avoid giving your child a first and last name that make an embarrassing combination (e.g. Amanda Huggenkiss) or a repetitive first and last name (e.g. John Johnson).
5 pts. - No embarrassing first name/last name linkage.
3 pts. - With a little creativity, the combination could sound funny.
0 pts. - We have always loved the name Stormy Weathers and we are sticking to it!

The "I Got An F In Geography" Test: If the name is found on a map, don't put it on the birth certificate.
5 pts. - No city, state, country, peninsula, or fjord shares a name with your child.
3 pts. - A little cross over with the name of a place, but the baby is not being specifically named after the city/state.
0 pts. - The baby is blatantly named after an important location.

The "La-Utah" Test: Do not put the Utah-inspired "La-" before the baby's name.
5 pts. - Does not start with "La-" (Mitch, Sadie).
3 pts. - The name starts with "La-", but not in the corny Utah style (Larry, Lauren).
0 pts. - We took a perfectly normal name and slapped "La-" at the beginning (LaVern, LaDell, LaSarah, LaBrandon).

The "Ghosts From the Past" Test: The child's name cannot be the same as a former boyfriend, girlfriend, or high school nerd.
5 pts. - The name carries no baggage with it.
0 pts. - The name brings back bad memories for one of the parents.

The "Wayne-Ray-Lee" Test:
Approximately 63% of all male inmates have Wayne, Ray, or Lee in their name somewhere. Avoiding the name could mean preventing a visit to Juvie in 14 years:
5 pts. - Free of all such "perp" names.
3 pts. - The first and middle names bleed over to include one of the names (Kyle Erik, Ezra Yusuf).
0 pts. - We are naming our son after grandpa Wayne, even if he is not granted parole to attend the blessing.

The "B.A.D. Initials" Test: Every time your child beats the high score on a video game or gets a new set of scriptures, his initials need to be entered into the system or embossed on the outside cover in gold leaf. Don't embarrass the lad with lame initials:
5 pts. - The initials do not spell or mean anything, especially something that could be made fun of (M.J.A., C.R.W.)
3 pts. - With a little creativity, the initials could potentially be embarrassing (D.F.S. = Doofus, W.D.O. = Weirdo).
0 pts. - Really bad initials. (L.S.R. = Loser, J.R.K. = Jerk, D.U.D., B.U.T., etc.)

The "Letter Hog" Test:
When you have seven children and all of the names start with the same letter, you are going to paint yourself into a corner.
5 pts. - We are proudly not letter hogs and this child's name will start with a different letter than all other siblings.
3 pts. - We are letter hogs, but we are using a common letter that offers a lot of flexibility (R,S,T, all vowels, etc.)
0 pts. - We are letter hogs, and we are officially running out of additional names with the letter we selected (Zachary and Zoe were good names, but what's next? Zeniff? 'Zabella?

31 comments

Just to get the comments started, I scored Donny Osmond's name (Donald Clark, to be exact) and he came up at 63 pts. Got nailed on the "Mean Jay" test (Donald Duck, Ronald McDonald, etc.) and "Salem" test (Donald was the 15th most popular name in 1957). Also lost 5 points for the "Pat" test due to the potential Don vs. Dawn misunderstanding. Hey, I beat Donnie at 67 vs. 63 points!

-NMH

10:25 PM
Jami said...

OK. I came up with the worst name ever, trying to get every point possible and it turns out that we're making NICE names. Sigh. I'll have to work on that.

In the meantime:
LaVernal Almah Young=0 pts

6:44 AM
One Correction said...

I hate to tell you, but Tristan (alternate spelling Tristen) as a boys name is actually traditional. It dates back centuries (originating around the 12th century) with the Tristan & Isolde Myth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_and_isolde) which influenced the Arthurian legend.

Sorry to rain on your parade, but you seem so thorough, I wanted to help.

8:43 AM
andrea said...

Looks like we have come up with a dang good name for baby #3. Caroline Rose came up with a score of 79 points. Woo hoo!

9:28 AM
Sandy said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 9:42 AM
Sandy said...

Sorry - just had to delete a half-finished comment that I posted too soon.

My kids names scored 77, 82 86. I have a few strikes against me - my oldest has a name from church history that is usually a boy's name (although it would be a pretty pansy boy's name, in my opinion), the second has a name that was popular in the 80s - but not anymore - but isn't mentioned in the scriptures anywhere. The third scored well on all tests except that its the 3rd most popular for his year. But I can spell it, yell it and don't see it on a map - and they all start with different letters - so I'm doing okay!

I haven't come up with a perfect score yet -- and if I did, I have a feeling I wouldn't want to name my child that.

My vote for 0 points: Twin boys named Hurricane (pronounced "Hurrkin", like the people who live there say it) and LaVerkynn, maybe with a little sister named Tooele.

9:53 AM
Emily said...

My name scores a respectable 77. Thank goodness for normal parents!

My vote for 0 points is Circle Kay anything. I've met 2 of them in my lifetime. They have my utmost sympathy.

11:27 AM
Gretchen said...

My two kids:

Claire Eliza S. = 86 pts
Scott Marshall S. = 85 pts

We rock! I suppose there is some subjectivity in the scoring that could lead to dispute...

Just for kicks my and my husbands' names got 82 and 80, respectively.

The name we've come up with should the need arise for another little girl got 82 pts.

BOO-YAH!

11:36 AM
Erika said...

My name got a 71.

11:43 AM
Marta said...

I scored a 58
I definitely didn't score well on the "Mean Jay" test, because growing up this is what I heard most often.
MARTA-FARTA....lovely.
I'm 26 years old...and I still hear it. Some people just can't resist.

1:34 PM
Bartimaeus said...
This comment has been removed by the author. 1:49 PM
acte gratuit said...

Hi NMH,
I just put you on my blog side-bar list titled: Total Strangers with Great Blogs. Hope you don't mind. I thought men needed a little more representation on my sight.
Great writing! Keep up the good work!

1:51 PM
dave said...

I totally disagree with the Helaman Chapter 5 test. You should read Freakonomics which points out that what you name a person in no way influences what they accomplish in life.

4:48 PM
Megan said...

Thomas Spencer H. = 80
Katherine H. = 77
Daniel Eugene H. = 75

However, I think I may have been a little generous... :)

8:39 PM
Megan said...

I had to go back and do more... especially as I thought of my Grandpa: LaVerl Leonard S. who wouldn't pass the Moe's Tavern test. In school they called him "Lovergirl Squeezer". Anyway here's the results:
LaVerl Leonard S.: 59
Margaret Pearl S.: 77
Spencer Eugene H.: 84
Megan H.: 71

8:59 PM

Thanks for all of the comments thus far. Just a few thoughts:

**LaVernal Almah Young - classic!

**Despite "One Correction's" studious research, I still think Tristan is a name with no true significance. When I hear the name I think of a couple where the wife liked the name "Troy" (a real name) and the husband liked Christian (another real name) and neither would bend so they settled on "Tristan". It just sounds made up to me.

**Gretchen, great names, but did you dock Claire any points for her initials - C.E.S? You should have because it means "Church Educational System" (read: Seminary) and I hope I'm wrong about this, but she just may rebel against seminary just to spite her initials. Again, I hope I'm wrong, but keep an eye on her just in case.

**Thank heaven for Marta and LeVerl, the only two real names that have scored lower than mine. I think LaVerl actually should get bonus points for the "Lovergirl Squeezer" nickname stemming from his initials. Sounds more like a compliment to me.

12:26 PM
Shelby said...

Shelby Ann-74
Noah Dean-83
Caleb Smith-87
Samuel Andrew-83

4:59 PM
Amy said...

Amy Anne S. - 68
David Chris H. - 76
Jack David H. - 64

I kinda feel bad that my child got a worse score than me or my husband.

Now that I'm expecting baby #2, I will be hunting for that perfect 100 point name!

5:12 PM

Amy - Thanks for the comment. It's always great to hear from my little sister. Instead of giving Jack the middle name of David, did you ever consider going with Daniel? Talk about the ultimate irony in a name for a Word of Wisdom obeying LDS child - Jack Daniel.

Megan - Holy cow! Thomas Spencer? The only possible way that name could become more prophet-friendly is if the last name beginning with "H" is "Hunter". It looks right now like Spencer and Gretchen's kids may be having a showdown for the best LDS name sometime in the near future.

-NMH

5:48 PM
Anonymous said...

This is T-Boar and C-Mamma

Whoa daddy! We've come up with the wing dinger (oh wait, that doesn't pass the mean Jay test). We have the perfect 100 point name. Nothing like scoring ourselves to perfection! (Actually, the contest only has a possible 93 points if you add them all up...what up with your math Drew? We are self ascribing 7 additional points for finding that flaw). The perfect Mormon name is.....

TRUMAN J. SMITH

The only one you might try to dock us on is the "Helaman 5" test, but, remember Truman Madsen (church history Joseph Smith guru) and Harry Truman (to quote Harry Truman "I love the Mormons"...and aren't old president and prophets the same?)
You might also try to dock us on the "Backporch yell" since it is only two syllables...but, when you are in trouble, you call the middle name too! That is why it is a one syllable middle initial (Trruuuuu-maaaaannn-JAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!) (And if you try to say that it doesn't meet the "Mean Jay" test because people would call him "tru-Wo-man",then he'll beat the crap out of you).

So, there it is. The perfect mormon name for the perfect mormon boy who will probably never be born to us :-)

6:51 PM
Anonymous said...

OK, even though our last name starts with a "La" it's a French thing, not a Utah thing. Feel free to deduct points off of the kids' scores if you want to.

ENL=89
JAL=86
NFL=74
LCL=76 (Poor guy lives next to a town with his name and he rhymes with stinkin'.)
VEL=77
CGL=89

Not too shabby!

(I was thinking. If these are going to be real names won't that be just a bit TMI in a March Madness event. Full names of kiddos on the internet?)

11:10 AM
Jami said...

Oops, that last one was me.
Jami La. :)

11:11 AM
Heather O. said...

I knew a Tristan, and although she is a girl, her parents did not make it up. They did think it was pretty for a girl, though, which means they don't get full points.

My kids scored 77 and 82. Good times.

4:34 PM

You should check out the Duggar family: www.duggarfamily.com. They have 17 kids and they're ALL J names! WIth that many kids, they had to get a little creative- I wonder how they'd score...

7:55 AM
The Meesh said...

Well, I'm mostly looking for sympathy here as I look to the future naming of my children. I'd like to go traditional and name my kids after those who have gone before, but seriously, I don't have a lot to work with. Just take a look at my grandparents names:

Wanda
LaRue
Maude
Herman

Ya, those names aren't coming around in the popularity pool for another gazillion years...

I have considered naming a daughter after myself: Michelle (pronounced Meeshell, as it is French). And even though it's only two syllables, trust me on this -- I grew up on a farm and could hear my name being screetched loud and clear across the fields.

10:42 AM
The Riehle's said...

Our kids got:
SJR 81
KMR 74
PKR 75

my husband and I got 77 and 73 respectively.

6:06 PM

-Heather: Thanks for backing me up, in effect, on the name Tristan. The only time I had heard it before is from an ESPN.com Fantasy Football expert, so I was unaware that it is also used as a girl name. Just one more example of why it doesn't pass the test.

-T-Boar & C-Momma: Great comment. Truman J. Smith is almost the perfect name, but the Mean Jay's out there would definitely call him "True-Woman". Also, I can also see kids singing the song from So I Married and Ax Murder and replacing "woman" with "Truman". Tru-man, True-Man, Truuuuuuuuu-Maaaaann.

-Jackie: Thanks for the link to the Duggart family and their 17 "J" names. They are a perfect example of the Letter Hog test. Had they gone with "S", "A", or another safe letter, they never would have had to make up names like, "Jinger" and "Joy-Anna".

-Meesh: I'm sure you love your grandparents, but Mean Jay would have a field day with their names. A Fish Called Wanda. Maude Flanders. Pee-Wee Herman....

-Riehle: I hope you deducted your child with the initials "PKR" on the BAD Initials test. When he or she is living in Vegas as a 22-year-old professional poker player, you will only have yourselves to blame....

9:49 PM
Shepherd Family said...

My children:
Kennedie Jean S. 64
Tyson James S. 75
Baylie Kathryn 66

My first born HAD to have a president's name because it kind of because a tradition in my husband's family and since his name is Clinton..we had to do it.
She got the worst of it because it can also be a boys name, we spelled it different to make it more feminine, and we are letter hogs, because we decided that all our girls had to end in IE (after me..Sherrie), and all our boys had to end in ON (after my husband Clinton)

But I love this name test! It's AWESOME!

5:32 PM
mama jo said...

this was such a funny post...really makes me laugh...my name is jolyn and was once asked if i was from the "south" and why my parents named me this name...it was in an interview..i just said,i was from utah..go figure....so i heartily agree with the name thing...

10:05 AM
Nelson said...

Okay, can some please figure my score for me please. My name is Nelson and my initals are NKP. I thought I was being objective when I scored my name but I read some of these posts and most of these people aren't objective because they like their kids names so much they don't score them the way they should. About half of the names on here I could easily deduct another 10 points from.

BTW, I know two Tristan's, one is a boy and the other a girl.

10:57 AM
Suzie said...

My husband found this name test, and I find it so great! The name he and I have picked out for our oldest is Isaac Karl K, which I scored at 89. I thought I was being stingy with points, but you never know. My name is Susan Judith which I gave 88 points, and my husband is Jacob Karl, which we gave 87. Either our families were good at this name thing, or we're just really generous with the points.

We got a little worried when we first looked up Jacob's name. Jacob is the #1 name for 2007....good thing he was born in the 80s, huh? And Susan wasn't even on the chart for my year of birth! YAY! Also was unsure about the "Mean Jay" test on mine. Parents named me "Susan" and I didn't go by "Suzie" until I was 15. I had a friend point out once that it rhymed with "floozy", but it didn't stick, nor came up ever again, so I'm not sure if that counts.....

8:47 PM