Any time the Book of Mormon text uses the suffix “-ite” or “-ites” or calls a group “the people of” (so-and-so), it means that that designated name is part of the surname of that person or persons.
Lehi had six sons, and their full names (given name plus surname) were:
Zoram and the family of Ishmael was also added to the group, making two more genealogical lines:
the sons of Ishmael
The descendants of these 8 genealogical lines were called*, as their surnames:
Laman-Lehi, or just Laman, known as Lamanites
Laman-Lemuel-Lehi, or just Laman-Lemuel, known as Lamanites and also as Lemuelites
Laman-Ishmael, known as Lamanites and also as Ishmaelites
Nephi-Lehi, known as Nephites and including both Sam’s (2 Ne. 4:11) and Nephi’s lines
Nephi-Jacob-Lehi, known as Nephites and also as Jacobites
Nephi-Joseph-Lehi, known as Nephites and also as Josephites
Nephi-Zoram, known as Nephites and also as Zoramites
Thus, the Jacobites, Josephites, and Zoramites were also called Nephites or the people of Nephi, because they actually had the name of Nephi as part of their surname. And the Lemuelites and Ishmaelites were also called Lamanites for the same reason.
This custom of incorporating the name of the person whose path you followed into your surname was done throughout the entire Book of Mormon history. Only when a name was incorporated into the surname does the text use -ite or “people of.” Thus, those who believed in the teachings of Nehor are never called Nehorites or “the people of” Nehor. It is merely stated that they were of the order of Nehor, or of the order of the Nehors. This is because the name Nehor was not part of their surname. On the other hand, the Amlicites/Amalekites had incorporated Amlici’s name into their surname. The Amalickiahites did the same thing with the name of Amalickiah, and so did the Zoramites with the name of Zoram, and the Ammonihahites with the name of Ammonihah, and the Amulonites with the name of Amulon. In like fashion, the people of Morianton had Morianton’s name in their surname, and the people of Zarahemla had Zarahemla in their surname. Likewise also the Jaredites or people of Jared, and also the people of Nephihah.
However, there is no mention of Mulekites in the Book of Mormon. And why is that? Because the people of Zarahemla had Zarahemla in their surname, not Mulek. We ignorant Gentiles, not understanding the use of -ites and “people of,” routinely and erroneously call Zarahemla’s people “Mulekites.”
Now, the city of Lehi-Nephi was called Lehi-Nephi because it was founded by two men (instead of the usual singular man): a guy named Lehi and his son Nephi. Another city, called Ani-Anti, was also founded by two men: a guy named Ani and another guy named Anti. The founders got the privilege of having their names incorporated into the surnames of their descendants, who were the people that occupied the land or city.
When the Lamanite converts wanted a name to distinguish themselves from the rest of the Lamanite population, they consulted with Aaron, and came up with Anti-Nephi-Lehi. This took the surname of the descendants of Nephi and Sam (Nephi-Lehi) and incorporated the name of the founder or the leader (or the king) of their group, whose name was Anti, into it. The new leader (the king’s son), was called after his father, Anti, and bore the new surname, Nephi-Lehi. All who followed the king’s son, then, took his name as their surname, being called Anti-Nephi-Lehies. This, of course, made the surrounding Lamanites quite upset, since this was a decidedly Nephite designation. These “Lamanites” had lost their “Lamanitish-ness,” yet they were still residing in Lamanite territory. They had not only given up Lamanite ways, but had given up the Laman-Lehi, Laman-Lemuel-Lehi and Laman-Ishmael designations (Alma 23:17)! To the surrounding Lamanites, this appeared to be a Nephite invasion under the guise of preaching a religion.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies, after they moved into Nephite territory, were called by the Nephites, Ammon-Nephi-Lehi, not Anti-Nephi-Lehi. This is why the text says they were called (by the Nephites), Ammonites, or the people of Ammon. The curse was lifted from these people (Alma 23:18), so their sons no longer had the dark skin and they fully identified as Nephites (Alma 53:16).
Dissenters from the Nephites always removed the name of Nephi from their surnames, replacing it with the name of a new man they followed. Zoram and the Zoramites (Alma 30:59 & 31:1-8) are a prime example of this. The removal of Nephi’s name from the surname was part of a curse put on Nephi’s enemies by God (Alma 3:17). Conversely, the addition of Nephi’s name to one’s surname allowed the Lord to bless that person as if he or she were Nephi’s people (Alma 3:17).
The information in this post may be important for a couple of reasons. First, anyone who wants to lay hold of the promises of the Lord to Nephi concerning those who are called by his name, need to do as the converted Lamanites did, and change their surname from whatever it currently is to one of the four Nephite designations: Nephi-Lehi, Nephi-Jacob-Lehi, Nephi-Joseph-Lehi or Nephi-Zoram. Or, at the very least, the name Nephi needs to be added to one’s surname, such as Nephi-Smith, Nephi-Cowdery, etc. Secondly, the appearance of the Josephite restorer may be a little easier to perceive if the man’s surname must be: Nephi-Joseph-Lehi.
Now, concerning that Josephite restorer, you will notice that Lehi said the following:
and his name shall be called after me
and it shall be after the name of his father (2 Ne. 3:15)
Now, the surname Nephi-Joseph-Lehi has both the names of Joseph and Lehi in it, so regardless of whether the above text is interpreted as Lehi quoting Joseph, or Lehi issuing his own prophecy, the surname fits, for Nephi-Joseph-Lehi is called both after Joseph and also after Lehi. One more thing—and I will use myself as an example—people are assigned two names: at least one given name and also a surname. My given name is the same name as the given name of my biological father. Our surnames are also the same. So, let’s say that my given name is Philip and so is his. If I were to change my last name to Nephi-Joseph-Lehi, then this prophecy might apply to me, for then my surname (Nephi-Joseph-Lehi) would be called after both Joseph and Lehi, fulfilling the first part of the prophecy, and the second part, which says,
and it [his name, meaning his surname] shall be after the name of his father (2 Ne. 3:15)
also is fulfilled because my (new) surname, Nephi-Joseph-Lehi, is now after the name of my father, for now my name is Philip Nephi-Joseph-Lehi, and Philip is the name of my father. A bit of clever word work, I admit, but it still makes the prophecy fit, which means that our usual interpretation of this passage, that it is always referring to a given name and not to a surname, may be incorrect. This is because in the Nephite tradition, being called after someone else could refer to either being given the same given name as that person (Helaman 5:6—Nephi & Lehi), or having that person’s given name incorporated into one’s surname (Helaman 5:6—Nephi Nephi-Lehi & Lehi Nephi-Lehi).
This opens up the possibility that the Josephite restorer may have any given name whatsoever, such as Richard, Harold, Stephen, etc. The only important thing is that his father also have the same given name and that his surname be Nephi-Joseph-Lehi, or, at the very least, Joseph-Lehi.
Now, having written all of this, everyone can now start the process of legally changing their surnames so that the prophecy of there being Nephites again in the land (2 Ne. 29:13) can begin to be fulfilled. 😉
[* Please see the Slight post correction and additional info section found in the second comment below.]