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Amen is one of the most common and misunderstood religious words. What does amen mean?
Amen translates from the Hebrew meaning “truly.” But amen also traces to the Hebrew verb aman, meaning “to confirm, to support, to uphold, to be faithful, to be firm.”
Amen Points to the Name of God
Amen takes on additional significance when we consider that the Hebrew aman parallels the word Ahman. According to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Ahman is the name of God the Father in Adam’s original language (D&C 78:20; 95:17).
Amen, aman and Ahman– Is there proof that these words are connected? Yes. It is fascinating to note that the Talmud links the word amen with “God, trustworthy king” (Tractate Shabbat 119b). In that context, the apostle John called Jesus “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation” (Revelation 3:14).
Amen–to Make an Oath
Little wonder, then, that we read of people invoking the word amen as if they were applying to the name of God to make a solemn oath.
“And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, Amen, with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6).
Amen–to Commit to Faithfulness
Furthermore, when Moses charged the people to live the laws of God, they invoked the word amen after each law to signify their solemn vow of faithfulness upon the penalty of suffering God’s curses for disobedience (Deuteronomy 27:14-26). Amen is a commitment to faithfulness.
Amen–to Praise God
Unfortunately, amen has lost its sacred meaning and is overused–almost like a period to a sentence. But in ancient times, amen was uttered carefully. For example, in the scriptures, we note that the people summoned the word amen to confirm or to “make more sure” their devotion to and worship of God.
“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD” (1 Chronicles 16:36).
“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalms 106:48).
Amen–to Add Our Testimony
Amen is used when we wish to add our testimony to a spoken truth. If we wish to add the weight of our witness to establish the truth, we do so “with this same prayer and covenant, or by saying Amen, in token of the same” (D&C 88:153). That is, we often use amen to mean “I testify of the same” or “so be it.”
Amen–to Make Covenants with God
Every covenant that we make with God ends with amen (see D&C 20:73, 77-79). Thus, amen is used to secure or seal covenants. Likewise, when we end our prayers with amen, we are not saying “the end;” rather, we are saying “I promise.”
But perhaps we are really saying more. In the context of all we have discussed about the various meanings, we seal our prayers with amen by saying, “I invoke the name of Jesus Christ to petition God the Father. I make an oath of faithfulness. I worship and praise God. I stand for and witness of the truth. I hereby make and renew covenants to obey God and keep His commandments.”
Thus is the beautiful and sacred word Amen!