There is power in a name.
When Jesus taught His twelve disciples how to baptize, He instructed them to call each individual by name as part of the baptism (3 Nephi 11:24). When He subsequently authorized His disciples to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, He laid His hands on each of them and called them by name (3 Nephi 18:36-38, Moroni 2:2).
When the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith in upstate New York in the spring of 1820, the first word spoken by Heavenly Father was “Joseph.” Three and a half years later, when the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, he also began his message calling Joseph by name (Joseph Smith—History 1:17, 33, 49).
Remembering a person’s name and using it properly is a sign of respect, as President Russell M. Nelson has reminded us:
We are all pleased when our names are pronounced and spelled correctly. Sometimes a nickname is used instead of the real name. But a nickname may offend either the one named or the parents who gave the name.“Thus Shall My Church Be Called,” General Conference, April 1990
President Nelson applies this principle in his own interactions with other people. The first time Elder Neil L. Andersen traveled with President Nelson on a church assignment, in June 1993, Elder Andersen was impressed by the love Elder Nelson demonstrated for the people they met: “On that Saturday we may have interviewed thirty to forty men. That evening and the next day before and after the meetings, he referred to each of them by name, and mostly by first name.” When Elder Andersen asked him how he was able to remember so many names, Elder Nelson responded, “Neil, why wouldn’t I remember them? I want to know them and keep them in my memory. It is really a matter of concentration. If you want to remember them, you will” (quoted in Sheri Dew, Insights from a Prophet’s Life, Deseret Book, 2019, p. 283).
Today, I will strive to remember names and use them correctly as a demonstration of respect and as a manifestation of my love for others.