To All Mormons: An Open Letter

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Recently members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world learned that President Nelson announced the building of twelve temples. That seemed like a very impressive list. But missing from that list is the temple yet to be built in Independence, Missouri. There in Jackson county sits an empty lot today waiting for Lamanites to build it, assisted by repentant Gentiles. In 1975, During General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball, giving his First Presidency message said:

“When I was a young man living among the Lamanites more than seventy years ago, the destruction of the Lamanites was a stark reality. It seemed impossible to me that this broken people could ever rise from the destruction and become a mighty people once more, as the Lord had promised. I remember reading the words of President Wilford Woodruff, spoken in a day when the Lamanites were literally the “vanishing Americans”:

“The Lamanites will blossom as the rose on the mountains. I am willing to say here that, though I believe this, when I see the power of the nation destroying them from the face of the earth, the fulfillment of that prophecy is perhaps harder for me to believe than any revelation of God that I ever read. It looks as though there would not be enough left to receive the Gospel.” (Journal of Discourses 15:282.)

For a thousand years after the closing of the Book of Mormon record, these people wandered in spiritual darkness and were scattered upon the American continents and the isles of the sea. They lost their written language, their high culture, and, worst of all, their knowledge of the living God and his work. Faith was replaced by fear, rich language by crippled dialects, and an understanding of God and his ways by idolatry, even human sacrifice. Since the coming of the white man to the Americas, they have been driven mercilessly, killed, and degraded…Someone said, “If my pen might have the gift of tears I would write a book and call it ‘The Indian,’ and I would make the whole world weep,” Only the most brazen soul could fail to weep when contemplating the fall of this people, and yet it was the decree of the Lord that the Lamanites should be preserved in the land, that this remnant of Joseph should again come into their promised inheritance.”–Our Paths Have Met Again

In 1963, while an apostle, Spencer W. Kimball said:

“I’ve known people who have been promised in their patriarchal blessings that they would live to see the temple built and some of them are dying and haven’t seen the temple built. Do you know why? In my estimation, the Lord’s time table is directed a good deal by us. We speed up the clock or we slow the hands down and we turn them back by our activities or our procrastinations. And do you know why I think people who are actually promised that they would live to see the temple built are dying before the completion of the temple? Because we haven’t converted the Indians in large enough numbers; never shall we go to Jackson County until we have converted and brought into this church great numbers of Lamanites. Now you just as well set that down as a basic fact.”–From a copy of the December 1963 talk obtained from President Kimball’s secretary as quoted in Book of Mormon Student Manual (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed., 1981), 427-28

I have spent a great deal of time studying and writing about the Lamanites of the last days, which resulted in two recent blog entries, which I hope everyone reads or will have read:

To The Lamanites
To The Lamanites, Part 2

Nephi and other Book of Mormon prophets concerned themselves with two distinct categories of people:

1: Jews
2: Gentiles

There is a subset of Jews, which dissented from the covenant people:

3: Lamanites

If you read the title page, it becomes clear. By the end of their civilization, Moroni acknowledges and writes concerning them in his title page:

“Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile…”

He knew that it would be a Gentile who brought forth their record:

“…Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile…”

The Hebrew word for repent is “teshuvah” which literally translated means to return. This is the fulcrum of the message of the prophets of the Book of Mormon. They are calling us to repentance. Ultimately those who will “return” and build the New Jerusalem are:

1: Lamanite remnant
2: Repentant Gentiles

The Book of Mormon did come by way of repentant Gentiles when Joseph Smith and the early saints ushered in the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were tasked to take the gospel to the Lamanites, which they attempted briefly, but instead they took the gospel to the rest of the Gentile world. To reiterate what Orson Pratt said, which I quoted in an earlier blog entry:

“We can pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, to convert these Indian tribes around us, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth, that they may fulfill the things contained in the Book of Mormon. And then when we do return, taking them with us, that they shall be instructed not only in relation to their fathers and the Gospel contained in the record of their fathers, but also in the arts and sciences. They will also be instructed to cultivate the earth, to build buildings as we do, instructed how to build Temples and in the various branches of industry practiced by us; and then, after having received this information and instruction, we shall have the privilege of helping them to build the New Jerusalem. The Lord says—“They,” the Gentiles, who believe in the Book of Mormon, “shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.”

Now, a great many, without reading these things, have flattered themselves that we are the ones who are going to do all this work. It is not so; we have got to be helpers, we have got to be those who cooperate with the remnants of Joseph in accomplishing this great work; for the Lord will have respect unto them, because they are of the blood of Israel, and the promises of their fathers extend to them, and they will have the privilege of building that city, according to the pattern that the Lord shall give…We have got to be sent forth as missionaries to all parts of this American continent. Not to the Gentiles, for their times will be fulfilled; but we must go to all those tribes that roam through the cold regions of the north—British America, to all the tribes that dwell in the Territories of the United States, also to all those who are scattered through Mexico, and Central and South America, and the object of our going will be to declare the principles of the Gospel unto them, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth…

These are some few things pertaining to the redemption of Zion. I would to the Lord that we were righteous enough to know a few more! There are a great many things that I would like to know about the redemption of Zion that I do not know, and I presume that you also would like to know them. But what the Lord has revealed is very plain when connected together; and when we reflect upon it, it is astonishing to us to think that in our day the Lord has decreed to perform such a great work in the midst of the earth. It will be astonishing to us when the time comes for the Lord to gather in, from every part of this great continent, these poor, miserable, degraded Lamanites, that his servants may have power over them in order to bring them to civilization. It looks impossible to us, but remember that that is the day of the Lord’s power, and that then will be fulfilled the saying in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the Spirit of the Lord shall be shed forth upon the hearts of those who are ordained to that power; that every man among these remnants of Joseph will hear the Gospel in his own tongue, by the power of the Holy Ghost shed forth upon those who are ordained unto this power. There is such a saying as that in the Book of Covenants, and when that day comes the Lord God will work mightily by signs, wonders and miracles in various ways that will have an influence over these remnants of Joseph to convert them and bring them to a knowledge of the truth, that the prayers of their ancient fathers, and of the Prophets and Elders who once dwelt on this American continent, may be fulfilled upon their heads.” –(source: http://jod.mrm.org/17/289)

We read about this succinctly in some of Moroni’s final words to us:

Ether 13:6 And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.
For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.

New Jerusalem will never be built until the Lamanites in the latter days have been gathered up to accomplish their duty. The world may become dotted with temples and yet if this temple in Independence, Missouri is not built up and the New Jerusalem established, the Lord will not come. The world will continue to languish in corruption and decay. As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, a corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit until all the fruit is equal. The master of the vineyard labors tirelessly that perhaps the tree might bring forth fruit equally. So if you have wondered, like I have, why the Lord delays His coming, it is not He who delays, it is we who delay it.

D&C 49:24 But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

The Lamanites cannot do it without the Gentiles. And the Gentiles will never do it without the Lamanites.

Moroni Timbimboo

Moroni Timbimboo, 1888-1975 “Service Is A Way of Life For First Indian Bishop,” Deseret News, March 28, 1970

 

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A Corrupt Tree

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3 Nephi 14:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.

Those were the words of our Savior Jesus Christ. In Zenos’ allegory in Jacob chapter 5, there is only one condition that exists whereby the vineyard becomes good, producing good fruit. And it occurs at the end as the Lord prunes away the corrupt branches “only this once.” (v. 69)

Jacob 5:73 And there began to be the natural fruit again in the vineyard; and the natural branches began to grow and thrive exceedingly; and the wild branches began to be plucked off and to be cast away; and they did keep the root and the top thereof equal, according to the strength thereof.
74 And thus they labored, with all diligence, according to the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard, even until the bad had been cast away out of the vineyard, and the Lord had preserved unto himself that the trees had become again the natural fruit; and they became like unto one body; and the fruits were equal; and the Lord of the vineyard had preserved unto himself the natural fruit, which was most precious unto him from the beginning.
75 And it came to pass that when the Lord of the vineyard saw that his fruit was good, and that his vineyard was no more corrupt, he called up his servants, and said unto them: Behold, for this last time have we nourished my vineyard; and thou beholdest that I have done according to my will; and I have preserved the natural fruit, that it is good, even like as it was in the beginning. And blessed art thou; for because ye have been diligent in laboring with me in my vineyard, and have kept my commandments, and have brought unto me again the natural fruit, that my vineyard is no more corrupted, and the bad is cast away, behold ye shall have joy with me because of the fruit of my vineyard.

It is not until ALL the Lord’s covenant people have become equal that the vineyard is no more corrupt. Until then, as we read throughout the entire allegory over and over again in chapter five that the Lord labors with some very few servants that…

4…that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.

11…that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof…

53 And this will I do that the tree may not perish, that, perhaps, I may preserve unto myself the roots thereof…

54…perhaps they may bring forth good fruit unto me…

59 And this I do that, perhaps, the roots thereof may take strength because of their goodness; and because of the change of the branches, that the good may overcome the evil…

60…that, perhaps, the trees of my vineyard may bring forth again good fruit; and that I may have joy again in the fruit of my vineyard, and, perhaps, that I may rejoice exceedingly…

The Master does not ever force the branches to grow or to bear good fruit. But He labors tirelessly with all His heart, might, mind, and strength to nourish us that perhaps He might preserve good fruit. He has never and will never force us to be good, or to do good. He will never force us to make ourselves equal in earthly things (D&C 78:5-6). That is up to us. The trees and branches are all going to be burned. What He wants is the good fruit. He wants those covenant people who do not enrich and exalt themselves as the lofty branches that have taken strength unto themselves and are good for nothing but to be cut down and cast into the fire. He wants those covenant people who can learn to have all things common among them (4 Nephi 1:3), where there are no rich and no poor. They are silently serving, doing good, anxiously engaged in a good cause, not needing to be commanded in all things, but of their own free will wasting and wearing out their lives in His service. His servants are few.

 

 

Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty

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I cannot emphasize to you how much the scriptures mean to me. I have read the Bible over and over again in my life. I spent two years studying the Book of Isaiah alone and how much he emphasized the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ to the Earth. Isaiah also wrote concerning a remnant who would tread down the Gentiles in the last days if the Gentiles do not repent. The prophets of the Book of Mormon loved the words of Isaiah, especially Nephi, from which he extensively quoted. From the Book of Mormon, we get four important commentaries on Isaiah. They are given by Nephi, Jacob, Abinadi and at length, the resurrected Jesus Christ when He visited the ancestors of this remnant at Bountiful. We can find Christ’s commentary in 3 Nephi chapters 20 through 23. In His commentary, as he taught the people at Bountiful, He declared:

3 Nephi 23:1 And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah.

In my own life, I have taken these words to heart and have searched Isaiah diligently, but not only that, I have searched deeper and deeper the entire Book of Mormon. In the span of the last thirty years of my life so far, I have read (and listened on audio) the Book of Mormon about 120 times. I have honestly lost count. Now I am not sharing this to brag or boast, but to emphasize just how much this book means to me.  Having said all of that, I want to share something else that I have come to believe in, and that is a project that an acquaintance of mine and a friend on Facebook has been tirelessly working on for several years. His name is Darin Southam:

 

I personally believe in being anxiously engaged in a good cause, which is something we have been admonished in scripture to do. I have done and am doing as much as I am able to help Darin, including signing up as an extra. I’m not being paid to do it or to endorse his project. I may or may not become a part of it on screen and that is okay with me. I am not seeking recognition of any kind. It is something I choose to do because I care about his efforts, which have become the efforts of many volunteers. And honestly, I would really, really love to see this on the big screen and I would love to be able to buy the full length film whenever it becomes available on DVD. I hope Darin’s video above resonates with you as it does me. Here is the link to check out to see lots of behind the scenes content and to contribute whatever you are able and to buy a copy of the teaser clip of the movie, which was funded as a kickstarter:

Own Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty on Blu-ray/DVD

reign

 

The actor who portrayed the Lamanite King Aaron, Ben Cross, has starred in many movies including the 2009 Star Trek, playing the Vulcan Sarek, shared his thoughts on participating in this role. I hope to see this project finished and to be able to watch the full length feature. Thank you for taking the time to read this today and to visit Darin’s website for more information. Please feel free to share on Facebook to help spread the word.

 

To the Lamanites, Part 2

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I had not planned on writing this entry, but today the Lord whispered to me words, which I remembered were somewhere in the Book of Mormon. After a brief search, I found the chapter in which the words that came to my mind were given.

Mormon 7:1 And now, behold, I would speak somewhat unto the remnant of this people who are spared, if it so be that God may give unto them my words, that they may know of the things of their fathers; yea, I speak unto you, ye remnant of the house of Israel; and these are the words which I speak:
Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel.
Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved.
Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you.
Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up.
And he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead, whereby man must be raised to stand before his judgment-seat.
And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.
Therefore repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus, and lay hold upon the gospel of Christ, which shall be set before you, not only in this record but also in the record which shall come unto the Gentiles from the Jews, which record shall come from the Gentiles unto you.
For behold, this is written for the intent that ye may believe that; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them.
10 And ye will also know that ye are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; therefore ye are numbered among the people of the first covenant; and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

The prophet/historian/record keeper, Mormon, interrupted his account of the wars in his day to address the remnant of those Lamanites who would survive. Even now at the end, Mormon is a portrait of charity, the pure love of Christ, with his effort to bless his enemies who are about to slay him and his kinsfolk. It is that pure love of Christ, which loves enemies, for as the Apostle Paul said, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And Mormon takes time to say, I want you Lamanites to KNOW who you are! You are people of the “first covenant.”

The first covenant is the covenant made by the Lord to Abraham in which Abraham’s seemingly infinite descendants would be forever blessed. In other words, God blessed Abraham to be a father of many peoples and nations and would protect them and give them lands for their inheritance so long as they kept their covenant. The second covenant was made to the people of Israel at Sinai, or what we have come to know as the Law of Moses, but that is not relevant to this entry. And through Jesus Christ came the New Covenant or as modern Christianity calls The New Testament in which Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice, made all things new:

Matthew 26:26  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

As we read above in Mormon chapter 7, fulfilling our part of the new covenant entails:

10…and if it so be that ye believe in Christ, and are baptized, first with water, then with fire and with the Holy Ghost, following the example of our Savior, according to that which he hath commanded us, it shall be well with you in the day of judgment. Amen.

Jesus Christ declared as much during His mortal ministry to Nicodemus:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot seethe kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

And thus are we made new creatures–children of God.

But are ALL Native Americans Lamanites? I don’t know. Lehi did say:

2 Nephi 1:5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.

Therefore not all who have been brought to this land (the Americas) by the hand of the Lord are Lehi’s seed. So how do we identify the Lamanites who have survived? Mormon described them and their circumstances in relation to the Gentiles:

Mormon 5:15 And also that the seed of this people may more fully believe his gospel, which shall go forth unto them from the Gentiles; for this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, beyond the description of that which ever hath been amongst us, yea, even that which hath been among the Lamanites, and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.
16 For behold, the Spirit of the Lord hath already ceased to strive with their fathers; and they are without Christ and God in the world; and they are driven about as chaff before the wind.
17 They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; yea, they were led even by God the Father.
18 But now, behold, they are led about by Satan, even as chaff is driven before the wind, or as a vessel is tossed about upon the waves, without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her; and even as she is, so are they.
19 And behold, the Lord hath reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land.
20 But behold, it shall come to pass that they shall be driven and scattered by the Gentiles; and after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant which he made unto Abraham and unto all the house of Israel.
21 And also the Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous, which have been put up unto him for them.
22 And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?
23 Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?
24 Therefore, repent ye, and humble yourselves before him, lest he shall come out in justice against you—lest a remnant of the seed of Jacob shall go forth among you as a lion, and tear you in pieces, and there is none to deliver.

Mormon was quoting Isaiah. Jesus Christ declared as much to the people at Bountiful as I mentioned in the previous entry:

3 Nephi 21:1 And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;
And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them;
Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you;
For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;
Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;
For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;
And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.
And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
11 Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.
12 And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
13 Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.
14 Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;
15 And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;
16 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;
17 Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;
18 And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.
19 And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.
20 For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;
21 And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
22 But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;
23 And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.
24 And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.
25 And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.

Or as Orson Pratt expounded, and to reiterate the previous entry:

“They will also be instructed to cultivate the earth, to build buildings as we do, instructed how to build Temples and in the various branches of industry practiced by us; and then, after having received this information and instruction, we shall have the privilege of helping them to build the New Jerusalem. The Lord says—“They,” the Gentiles, who believe in the Book of Mormon, “shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.”

Now, a great many, without reading these things, have flattered themselves that we are the ones who are going to do all this work. It is not so; we have got to be helpers, we have got to be those who cooperate with the remnants of Joseph in accomplishing this great work; for the Lord will have respect unto them, because they are of the blood of Israel…”

So far, I have provided scriptural citations referring to the Lamanite remnant as the remnant of Jacob, whereas Orson Pratt referred to them as the remnant of Joseph. The remnant of Joseph is referred to by Nephite prophets throughout the Book of Mormon, including Moroni as we read:

Ether 13:6 And that a New Jerusalem should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.
For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.

In the Book of Mormon, Lehi is identified as a descendant of Manasseh, son of Joseph who was a son of Jacob who was renamed Israel by the Lord:

Alma 10:3 And Aminadi was a descendant of Nephi, who was the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by the hands of his brethren.

There are prophecies yet unfulfilled and marvelous works yet future. I am now at a loss for words. I guess what I have written suffices.

 

 

To the Lamanites

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In the Book of Mormon, there was a small group of people whose ethnic/religious lineage was preserved throughout the span of the history of the account.

3 Nephi 5:20 I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi.

This means, that like his Jewish predecessors who were obedient to God’s law back in Jerusalem, his fathers going all the way back to Lehi, did not mix with lineages outside their own. Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was the son of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. In the title page, being on the last leaf of the gold plates upon which is an account written “by the hands of Mormon taken from the plates of Nephi,” we read that the record is an account of the people of Nephi (who was Lehi’s son), the covenant people of God, being blessed according to their obedience to God’s laws and also a record of the Lamanites, who were not obedient covenant people. The Lamanites consisted of all who were dissented from the people of Nephi. Or as Jacob described:

Jacob 1:13 Now the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites; nevertheless, they were called Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites.
14 But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings.   

With the exception of Zoram who was not a son of Lehi, and the children of Ishmael, all others were Lehi’s children. And all who dissented and sought to destroy Nephi and his covenant keeping posterity were called Lamanites by the Nephites. Continuing with the title page of the Book of Mormon, we read that it was primarily–or at least written first and foremost–for the Lamanites or as we read:

“Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile.”

Nephi and all his posterity considered themselves Jews:

2 Nephi 33:8 I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came…

We are reading their record from their own perspective. The final record keeper, Moroni, who was Mormon’s son, considered himself a Nephite, a pure descendant of Lehi who was Jewish. Therefore he distinguishes the Lamanites from the Jews who in his own time had dwindled in unbelief, or in other words, became extinct. Moroni also includes the Gentile, those outside the covenant made to his fathers. It is through the Gentiles that the record would come forth and so it did.

While there are undoubtedly a number of remnants of Israel scattered throughout the world, the Nephite prophets and record keepers knew that their words were intended for their brethren the Lamanites who would be preserved. Nephi indicates as much quoting his father Lehi:

2 Nephi 1:5 But, said he, notwithstanding our afflictions, we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord.

The same promise was made to Lehi’s grandson, Enos:

Enos 1:16 And I had faith, and I did cry unto God that he would preserve the records; and he covenanted with me that he would bring them forth unto the Lamanites in his own due time.
17 And I, Enos, knew it would be according to the covenant which he had made; wherefore my soul did rest.
18 And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.

And so Lehi blessed his posterity who would dissent from the covenant because of the wickedness of their parents:

2 Nephi 4:3 Wherefore, after my father had made an end of speaking concerning the prophecies of Joseph, he called the children of Laman, his sons, and his daughters, and said unto them: Behold, my sons, and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my firstborn, I would that ye should give ear unto my words.
4 For the Lord God hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; and inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.
5 But behold, my sons and my daughters, I cannot go down to my grave save I should leave a blessing upon you; for behold, I know that if ye are brought up in the way ye should go ye will not depart from it.
6 Wherefore, if ye are cursed, behold, I leave my blessing upon you, that the cursing may be taken from you and be answered upon the heads of your parents.
7 Wherefore, because of my blessing the Lord God will not suffer that ye shall perish; wherefore, he will be merciful unto you and unto your seed forever.
8 And it came to pass that after my father had made an end of speaking to the sons and daughters of Laman, he caused the sons and daughters of Lemuel to be brought before him.
9 And he spake unto them, saying: Behold, my sons and my daughters, who are the sons and the daughters of my second son; behold I leave unto you the same blessing which I left unto the sons and daughters of Laman; wherefore, thou shalt not utterly be destroyed; but in the end thy seed shall be blessed.

Lehi’s patriarchal blessing ensured that his posterity would not perish, but rather they would be preserved “forever.” And it is this posterity–the Lamanites–which is spoken about and it is they who are referred to throughout the record as the “remnant” or the “remnant of Joseph.” Jesus Christ addresses this remnant when He teaches the people at Bountiful in the flesh. And it is this remnant whom Moroni personally addresses in his final pages:

Moroni 10:1 Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites; and I would that they should know that more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ.
And I seal up these records, after I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you.
Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may knowthe truth of all things.
And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
And again, I exhort you, my brethren, that ye deny not the gifts of God, for they are many; and they come from the same God. And there are different ways that these gifts are administered; but it is the same God who worketh all in all; and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.
For behold, to one is given by the Spirit of God, that he may teach the word of wisdom;
10 And to another, that he may teach the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
11 And to another, exceedingly great faith; and to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
12 And again, to another, that he may work mighty miracles;
13 And again, to another, that he may prophesy concerning all things;
14 And again, to another, the beholding of angels and ministering spirits;
15 And again, to another, all kinds of tongues;
16 And again, to another, the interpretation of languages and of divers kinds of tongues.
17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.
18 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.
19 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.
20 Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.
21 And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.
22 And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.
23 And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.

After this, Moroni addresses everyone else:

24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief…

Of this remnant of Joseph, Orson Pratt had the following to say:

“We can pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, to convert these Indian tribes around us, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth, that they may fulfill the things contained in the Book of Mormon. And then when we do return, taking them with us, that they shall be instructed not only in relation to their fathers and the Gospel contained in the record of their fathers, but also in the arts and sciences. They will also be instructed to cultivate the earth, to build buildings as we do, instructed how to build Temples and in the various branches of industry practiced by us; and then, after having received this information and instruction, we shall have the privilege of helping them to build the New Jerusalem. The Lord says—“They,” the Gentiles, who believe in the Book of Mormon, “shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.”

Now, a great many, without reading these things, have flattered themselves that we are the ones who are going to do all this work. It is not so; we have got to be helpers, we have got to be those who cooperate with the remnants of Joseph in accomplishing this great work; for the Lord will have respect unto them, because they are of the blood of Israel, and the promises of their fathers extend to them, and they will have the privilege of building that city, according to the pattern that the Lord shall give…We have got to be sent forth as missionaries to all parts of this American continent. Not to the Gentiles, for their times will be fulfilled; but we must go to all those tribes that roam through the cold regions of the north—British America, to all the tribes that dwell in the Territories of the United States, also to all those who are scattered through Mexico, and Central and South America, and the object of our going will be to declare the principles of the Gospel unto them, and bring them to a knowledge of the truth…

These are some few things pertaining to the redemption of Zion. I would to the Lord that we were righteous enough to know a few more! There are a great many things that I would like to know about the redemption of Zion that I do not know, and I presume that you also would like to know them. But what the Lord has revealed is very plain when connected together; and when we reflect upon it, it is astonishing to us to think that in our day the Lord has decreed to perform such a great work in the midst of the earth. It will be astonishing to us when the time comes for the Lord to gather in, from every part of this great continent, these poor, miserable, degraded Lamanites, that his servants may have power over them in order to bring them to civilization. It looks impossible to us, but remember that that is the day of the Lord’s power, and that then will be fulfilled the saying in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the Spirit of the Lord shall be shed forth upon the hearts of those who are ordained to that power; that every man among these remnants of Joseph will hear the Gospel in his own tongue, by the power of the Holy Ghost shed forth upon those who are ordained unto this power. There is such a saying as that in the Book of Covenants, and when that day comes the Lord God will work mightily by signs, wonders and miracles in various ways that will have an influence over these remnants of Joseph to convert them and bring them to a knowledge of the truth, that the prayers of their ancient fathers, and of the Prophets and Elders who once dwelt on this American continent, may be fulfilled upon their heads.”  (source: http://jod.mrm.org/17/289)

In 3 Nephi 21, Jesus Christ declared as much during His visit to Bountiful. Finally, I wish to add:

D&C 49:24 But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.

A great many Native Americans (native to both continents and not necessarily the geographic U.S.) have suffered for centuries and continue to suffer today. I don’t know if there are any “pure” native or indigenous people anymore, as many have mixed and continue to mix today, intermarrying with people of other nations. As one who is, according to my DNA test results, part “native,” I look forward to participating in the fulfillment of prophecy and being part of they who shall blossom as the rose.

Marcs Ancestry