Yesterday, I clicked through Google Reader to the Baby Name Wizard blog. Her newest post was titled, "Name Spotlight: Spencer," and I thought, "hmm, how interesting, I just barely wrote about the name Spencer, too."
Then I read the entry and realized it wasn't a coincidence - the Baby Name Wizard was blogging about my blog post. I guess nobody but a name-nerd Mormon would have a gut feeling about all those Spencers born in Utah in 1973, so I picked up on a name story that she wouldn't have noticed herself.
She goes on to tell the rest of the story about the name, explaining why (which I couldn't do) Spencer became popular in the rest of America for reasons other than it being the name of the Mormon prophet.
A question that still remains is why names like Harold (B. Lee), Ezra (Taft Benson), Howard (W. Hunter) and Gordon (B. Hinckley) have not sparked instant waves of namesakes, not even in Utah.
I can think of two possible reasons. First, the LDS population is more spread out these days than it was in 1973, so a Mormon naming trend might not show up so heavily in one state. Then again, I imagine the proportions in Utah have remained the same or increased, so maybe that isn't a reason after all.
The other reason is that the name game is more high-stakes these days. You can't just give your kids nice, normal names anymore, or so it seems. So parents have found other ways to give tribute - middle names, or perhaps corruptions or alternative interpretations of names of the prophets. I can think of at least one Mormon friend of mine who gave one of her kids the middle name Hinckley, after Gordon B. I do know another friend who named her son Ezra, but I don't know if it was after Ezra Taft Benson, and if it was, it certainly was well after his death, not in the first year of his time as president of the church.
Does anyone else have any ideas on why other Mormon prophets' names don't show up as trends in the Mormon community?