By Michelle Holt
Names are not just a temporal identifier but are also keys to coming closer to deity, said Marsha Broadway, a juvenile literature librarian at the Harold B. Lee Library at Tuesday”s (May 30, 2006) Devotional.
“Are our relationships with Heavenly Father, his son, and the Holy Ghost so distant that we only rarely hear our names?” Broadway said. “If we carefully consider when names are spiritually called we become more conscious of our eternal family relationships and the spiritual counsel that we receive.”
Some of the different ways the Lord uses names to call people are for command or counsel, caution or warning, comfort or succor, and covenant or blessing or curse, Broadway said.
Eight years ago, Broadway was coming home from Cedar City. Her cruise control was set at the speed limit as she was driving in the far left lane while a car pulling a trailer was in front of her. She felt she needed to change lanes and pass this vehicle, but it wasn”t until she heard the spirit call her by name that she audibly replied, “OK” and passed the trailer at a fast 90 miles an hour, she said.
After passing the trailer, she looked in her rear-view mirror and watched the trailer crash into the median. Broadway said she was grateful to have heard the voice of the Lord call her by name and warn her, resulting in being saved from an awful accident.
Recognizing and learning one”s name as an infant is one of the first connections that children make with language. Making this connection is powerful and meaningful as names have deep spiritual symbolism, Broadway said.
As a librarian, she encourages parents to read to their children because of research that attests to better academic achievement and literacy skills. She said she often quotes Moses 6:6 to persuade Latter-day Saint parents to do this: “And by them they were taught to read and write, having a language that was pure and undefiled.”
Because many names then and now have such rich symbolism, she imagines Adam and Eve teaching their children not only their names, but also the meaning behind them and the names of their God, she said.
“No doubt, our Heavenly Father stressed literacy as a means of ensuring that all of his children could know and understand his law and his plan,” Broadway said.
Learning to open our heart and ears to the Lord is half of what one must do to prepare to hear him calling his children by name. One must also ask and ponder in preparation of the spiritual communication that the scriptures show us follows after one is called by name, Broadway said.
“Priesthood ordinances and blessings call the individual by name and are done in the name of Christ,” she said. “Evidence of the importance of one”s name is demonstrated by the first ordinance that many of us receive, a name and a blessing.”