While LDS culture on many levels craves conformity, there is one avenue for Mormons to express individuality; the degree to which they are willing to assign last names as childrens’ first names. This phenomenon stems from the simple fact that Mormons have kids at a steady clip, and it would be frowned upon or seen as uncool in Mormon culture to have 5-7 Steves or Daves in the same ward. Thus, the last frontier was crossed, and they now live in wards with Madisons, Taylors, Reileys, Jacksons, Reeses, Morgans, Peytons, and Haydens populating the nursery and primary.
Because of sheer numbers, it should be noted that many Mormon families must not only adapt last names as first names, but also give an alternate spelling to a last name as a first name. Jackson is a completely acceptable last name as first name, but the coup de gras is an alternate spelling, such as Jaxson. In any ward where two Jacksons reside, the alternate spelling Jaxson is accepted as the more chic and thusly, more desirable version of the name. Many couples will adapt the alternate spelling before another Mormon couple is able to, essentially jumping straight to the “triple dog dare” skipping the single and double dares. Along the same lines, two alternate spelled last names as first names residing in the same ward would be the LDS equivalent to crossing the streams, and an unspoken agreement among Mormons would require one of the families to leave the ward boundaries immediately.
While one would assume that there were enough last names to be unique first names in the world, Mormons have taken this phenomenon one step further. It is completely acceptable in Mormon culture to invent your child’s first name if no satisfactory last names fit the bill. Literary works may also inspire names, and for this reason, interested Mormon name watchers should also note in the next 10-20 years an uptick in the following first names:
Renesmee, Edward, Harry, Hermione, Jacob, Bella, Orson, Arwyn, and Charlie.