Service to others, which precedes being “chosen” by God.1 In 3 Nephi 5, Christ calls Nephi by name. Being called by name by the Son of God is important! When God calls someone by name, they are not merely being addressed. In the instant the Lord calls out their name, they are “called.” That is, the Lord will never speak one’s name to them unless He calls them to a work. When the Lord spoke to Nephi, the Lord both called Nephi’s name and called the bearer of that name to do a work. Nephi knew it. The crowd knew it. All present would have understood that Nephi just became the chief prophet of those present. Nephi knew what he had to do — for the servant who had been called to stand above his peers needed to descend below them. Pride is unthinkable when in the presence of such a meek and humble figure as our Lord. It is required that the balance be restored. Nephi, who had been made to rise, had to choose, on his own, to descend and abase himself.2 Note that a person cannot receive an ordinance without also having their name stated. “Why do you suppose it is necessary to first call out the name of the person before they receive an ordinance? Why would the Lord’s instruction require a person to be ‘called’ first? Though they are submitting to the ordinance voluntarily, why call their name? Does it matter if the full legal name is used? That is done in some churches, of course. But does it matter? If the Lord called Joseph by name at the time of the First Vision (and He did, see JSH 2:4), what name do you suppose was called? Was it ‘Joseph Smith, Jr.?’ Or was it ‘Joseph?’ Or was it that name used by his most intimate friend at the time? Whenever a name is given by an angel in an appearance to parents, the name is always the first name, or the name their friends would call them. (See, e.g., Luke 1:3; Luke 1:5.) Similarly, when the Lord calls a man’s name, He uses his first, given name. (See 1 Samuel 3:8; Exodus 2:3.) The Lord does not use formal names, but uses intimate names when addressing His servants.”3
1 Preserving the Restoration, 159.
2 “3 Nephi 11,” Sept. 22, 2010, blog post.
3 “3 Nephi 11:24–25,” Sept. 24, 2010, blog post.