The Genius of Mormonism: Israel is Back, Baby! (POLL incl.)

Hawkgrrrl Mormon 40 Comments

One of the attractive components to Mormon theology was the notion that Mormons were a chosen people, and both figuratively and literally part of the House of Israel.  The Book of Mormon also offered the idea that Israel was all over the earth throughout time in various times and places and that they are always the chosen people.  Mormon youth (and adults) who receive a Patriarchal Blessing are personally informed of their own lineage as a member of the House of Israel.  So, how does this compare to other religions’ views of Israel and Judaism?

http://www.revelations.org.za/images/map_captivity_routes.gifChristian sects have a Jewish problem.  Christ was a Jew who either fulfilled or rejected the faith in which he was raised.  Christianity shed basic tenets of Judaism including circumcision, dietary restrictions, the authority of the rabbis, and rituals that became impractical as the religion gained non-Jewish converts.  Early Christians invested in highlighting any Old Testament scripture that could plausibly be considered Messianic to bolster their claim that Jesus was divine.  Many early Christians sought to discredit the Jews to make it clear that despite their common roots, it was the parent religion that was in error, not its offspring.  A negative cycle of Jewish antagonism ensued which resulted in some of the worst atrocities of humanity, including the Inquisition and the Holocaust.

From its inception, Mormonism re-invented the relationship of Christianity to its Hebrew roots.  The Book of Mormon purports to be written by Hebraic people who openly worshiped Jesus Christ and knew directly about him, hundreds of years before his birth.  In proposing a pre-Christ Christology, Mormonism created an alternate Jewish history with a very recognizable and familiar Jesus Christ in the role of Messiah.  Even Isaiah is quoted at length to further solidify the notion that Isaiah was specifically talking about Jesus.

From the very beginning, Mormons have viewed themselves as an actual part of the House of Israel.  This belief in being part of “the chosen people” gives Mormons today and early Mormons a sense of purpose.  Some of the “Israel-centric” beliefs of Mormonism:

  • Gathering.  We believe in the literal gathering of Israel.  Many Christian sects also believe in this, and it certainly prompted the creation of the state of Israel.  Nevertheless, a unique component to the beliefs of early Mormonism was that there would be a “new” Jerusalem in the United States.
  • Lost Tribes.  The LDS have a belief that each member of the church is literally descended from (or adopted into) one of the Lost 10 Tribes.  As revealed through Patriarchal Blessings, most hail from the tribe of Ephraim, although commonly, native Americans and Polynesians tend to be assigned to Mannaseh, while those of actual Jewish descent have tribe assignments that reflect that.  (Incidentally, the Church of God in Christ, a black Pentacostal church formed in 1907 also has unique beliefs about the lost tribes, believing that England is Ephraim and the U.S. is the tribe of Mannaseh.)
  • Utah’s geography.  When Saints arrived in Utah, the fact that there was a northbound freshwater lake flowing into a salt water lake was yet another sign that this was the right gathering place for the heirs of Israel, one with the same geography as the holy land.
  • Wandering.  The House of Israel wandered for 40 years before inheriting their promised land, which was frankly a barren wasteland.  Sound familiar?  Early Mormons considered their westward trek to be another test of the House of Israel, wandering by faith toward an unknown destination, and finally arriving in their arid home.  Yet pioneer stories are retold in Mormonism much as stories of Moses and the Israelites were told within Judaism.

http://www.azece.com/images/derby%20celtic%20cross%200807%20lg.jpgWhen apostasy struck in Kirtland (over the bank failure and economic crisis of 1837), elders were sent under Heber C. Kimball’s leadership to England to preach.  Within 8 months, there were two thousand converts to Mormonism, many of whom are ancestors of current members of the church.  Most of these new converts (through Patriarchal Blessings) were assigned to the tribe of Ephraim.  Is the claim that the British descend from the tribe of Ephraim credible?  Interestingly, the idea that the Celts were descended from the Hebrews (tribe of Ephraim) has many non-LDS and LDS proponents.  This idea became popular in England, especially during the Victorian age; critics considered it an attempt to justify colonialism.  The catalyst for its popularity was a book written in 1871 by Edward Hine.

A few reasons Celts are believed to descend from the tribe of Ephraim:

  • similarities between Druidism and Phoenician religious worship combined with early Hebrew worship, see here.
  • similaries in Celtic names and Hebrew names, see here.
  • cultural similarities, see here.

And, a quick poll to see what tribe you were assigned personally.  (My guess is we’ll be over 95% Ephraim):

[poll id=”43″]

So, what do you think?  Does the church’s view of the House of Israel strengthen our position and give the people a sense of purpose lacking in some other sects (but present in some other non-LDS sects as well)?  Was it an ingenious concept unique to Mormonism?

And do you believe in the accuracy of lineage as assigned in Patriarchal Blessings?  Why or why not?  Do you think that Celts are of Hebrew descent?

Discuss.

Comments

comments

Comments 40

  1. I think it was an element of genius. I remember hearing Richard Bushman talk about the way Joseph Smith connected with multiple historical narratives in generating his prophetic identity. I think that he offers us the same opportunity, that he opens the way for us to connect with a religious histories outside of our own (for me the protestant/catholic heritage), perhaps, and this provides meaning and a plan. It was not unique, but perhaps the breadth of religious narratives that Joseph encouraged the saints to align was unique.

    On the issue on patriarchal blessings, I believe that it represents an assignment rather than foreordination for most people. However, what i am unclear with is how people become linked with other tribes, because the roles they will play are so obscure. It is easy to ordain young men to ephraim because you want them to go on missions.

  2. Certainly, Joseph much easily “embraced” the Jewish roots of Christianity mainly because the main authors of the “hate the Jews, they killed Jesus” were all over in Europe and the Near East. I think the American Christians had a much easier time with that idea that there was a important and unbreakable link between the Jews and Christianity, especially as it applied to last days theology. Excepting the white, mainly Southern Christians, who seemed to hate everyone not WASP (minority these days), Christians look to the formation of Israel and such as a part of the last days. While Orthodox Jews look at the formation of Israel in a completely opposite way. It was God who was supposed to do that, not man. So, the State of Israel is, in many ways, to them, illegitimate.

    but, Joseph, using his prophetic mantle made the link a much more important part of the LDS Church than other Christian Churches. In other words, the gathering of the House of Israel is integrated into LDS Doctrine, whereas in the many other (but not all) Christian denominations, it is merely a “means to an end.” literally.

    As to the Patriarchal Blessings, I am not sure I fully understand why “lineage” declaration is so important. We will be re-united with our whole families in the next life and it seems to me that you “get what you get.” I was declared to be from the tribe of Ephraim, but the words “adopted” are not used. The Patriarch and I did not discuss the fact that I am from a Jewish background until after my blessing. My wife and I were very curious what lineage I would be declared from, so we mentioned it afterwards.

    Interestingly, my family traditions indicates Levite blood from my mother’s side and possibly Kohanim (High Priests) blood from my father’s side. Trouble is, I am on the wrong side of both those patriarchal inheritances!

    Great Post, Hawk!

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    Jeff – that’s interesting about your PB indicating Ephraim. I wonder if it would have differed had the P known of your lineal descent. A good friend of mine is a Jewish convert, and he was assigned to the tribe of Benjamin. I have heard of another assigned as Levi (IIRC).

    I found the Ephraim/Celtic connection to be interesting. There are a lot of plausible connections between Baal worship (combined with elements of Judaism) and Druidism: the significance of groves in worship, bulls being central to the rites, the presences of the word “Bel” (or Baal) in most Celtic languages. I suppose a key question is whether this was something prominently known in England at the time of the Mormon conversions. I couldn’t find good evidence that it was (it seemed a somewhat obscure theory prior to the Victorian era), but who knows? The unicorn in the coat of arms is said to represent the tribe of Ephraim. That would indicate the theory was at least culturally known several hundred years prior to the conversions, but it’s hard to say whether that indicates common knowledge.

  4. I think a concept of “chosen-ness” definitely helps create a cohesive group with a lot of “team spirit”, and therefore has benefited the LDS Church.

    However, I’m not sure this idea originated with Joseph Smith. If I recall correctly, the concept of chosen-ness and identification with Israelite heritage was amongst various Protestant reform movements as well. For example, I believe identification with Israel was a concept embraced by the Campbellite movement which sought to restore Christianity to its original apostolic roots.

  5. Joseph Smith and Heber C. Kimball both stated (pre-Victorian times) that England was full of the blood of Ephraim, with Kimball adding that that was the reason missionaries were so succesful in that country.

    “There are thousands of good people in England…for Ephraim dwells largely in those parts” Joseph Smith

    “Brigham Young spoke of the “sons of Ephraim” whom he identified with Britain when he told the Saints, “They are the Anglo-Saxon race” (Journal of Discourses, 10:188).

    Both of these quotes and others are reprinted in a Recent Ensign article (Admin can hyperlink, I don’t know how) http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=d891615b01a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

    I just finished reading an book titled “Great Britain and America in Prophecy” published by the Worldwide Church of God, which makes the same claim using Old Testement scriptures for backing. I found it pretty convincing.

  6. Here’s a brief excerpt from a book entitled “Joshua and the Promised Land” which explains the Puritans’ and Founding Fathers’ identification with Israel. Note the use of the term “peculiar people” below:

    “We shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us…,” the Puritan John Winthrop wrote. The Puritans who disembarked in Massachusetts in 1620 believed they were establishing the New Israel. Indeed, the whole colonial enterprise was believed to have been guided by God. “God hath opened this passage unto us,” Alexander Whitaker preached from Virginia in 1613, “and led us by the hand unto this work.”

    Promised Land imagery figured prominently in shaping English colonial thought. The pilgrims identified themselves with the ancient Hebrews. They viewed the New World as the New Canaan. They were God’s chosen people headed for the Promised Land. Other colonists believed they, too, had been divinely called. The settlers in Virginia were, John Rolf said, “a peculiar people, marked and chosen by the finger of God.”

    This self-image of being God’s Chosen People called to establish the New Israel became an integral theme in America’s self-interpretation. During the revolutionary period, it emerged with new force. “We cannot but acknowledge that God hath graciously patronized our cause and taken us under his special care, as he did his ancient covenant people,” Samuel Langdon preached at Concord, New Hampshire in 1788. George Washington was the “American Joshua,” and “Never was the possession of arms used with more glory, or in a better cause, since the days of Joshua, the son of Nun,” Ezra Stiles urged in Connecticut in 1783. In 1776, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson wanted Promised Land images for the new nation’s Great Seal. Franklin proposed Moses dividing the Red (Reed) Sea with Pharaoh’s army being overwhelmed by the closing waters. Jefferson urged a representation of the Israelites being led in the wilderness by the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day. Later, in his second inaugural address (1805), Jefferson again recalled the Promised Land. “I shall need…the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessities and comforts of life.”1

    Joshua and the Promised Land
    by Roy H. May, Jr.

    So in answer to the question posed at the end of this post: “Was it . . . unique to Mormonism?”, I’d have to say “no”.

  7. Good quotes, Andrew. You could swap out those names and put Joseph Smith and it would sound pretty much the same as what he was saying. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Do you suppose the only folks who didn’t think that they were establishing the “New Israel” and were the new chosen people were Catholics and prehaps Anglicans?

  8. However, the problem with chosen-ness which I am sure will be highlighted is the themm/us split that comes with those who are chosen versus those who are not. In this case I think what is interesting in how I interpret Joseph view of this is that the chosen make possible the choosing of everyone else. I believe that being designated as Israel meant that you were supposed to serve and love the rest of God’s children.

    re 5: These statements I would attribute to genealogy rather than prophetic declaration. Although the idea of British people being ehpraim was probably present I think these statements merely are an attempt to ascribe a blood tie rather than one of adoption for their own acceptance of the gospel.

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    “Do you suppose the only folks who didn’t think that they were establishing the “New Israel” and were the new chosen people were Catholics and prehaps Anglicans?” Yes, I think so.

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    Anyone else seeing that unsurprising poll result? Also, I noticed that there have been 45 who’ve taken the poll, but only 5 of us have left comments.

  11. OK Hawk, I’ll bite. I can’t say I really see the whole point of the tribal assignments in PBs. Adoption into the house of Israel occurs at baptism, no? Isn’t that sufficient? And then again, does that really matter, even? The gospel was made available to the Gentiles through Peter.

    I think all this business of tribes was another effort by JS to create a distinct ethnic identity for the Mormons. By 1844, Mormons had special scriptures, special blessings, a gathering place/promised land, special covenantal clothing, distinct social customs (polygamy) that set them apart from non-Mormons, and they had blessings that associated them spiritually to one of the 12 (13) tribes of Israel. All of these bound the members of the church together into families, with bonds not easily broken. And the ethnic distinction only becamse stronger: after 40 years in the desert with BY, the Mormons had their own ways of speaking, a new (although failed) alphabet, a distinct educational program, and a network of cooperative colonies where people part of the group could receive special benefits, services, and protections from others within the group. This was more than a church, and tribal assignment seems to me to be one more way of ethnographically tying members of the church to the religous/ethnic superstructure.

    And its not like the tribes or their namesakes were great role models for us, either. Some of those other tribes had not-so-great blessings pronounced upon their heads by Israel before his death (and one is missing a blessing entirely, no?) Additionally, Ephraim and Manasseh weren’t any more righteous or worthy of admiration than Issachar or Zebulun or Reuben in the centuries following the settlement of Canaan. Widespread polytheism (idol worship, or in other words apostasy from the LORD’s way) plagued all houses of Israel, including Judah. ALL of the tribes of Israel ended up being carried off, and it was only through the LORD’s promise to David that a remnant from Judah was promised to be able to return again to Canaan.

    Has anyone felt they have had increased insight/ability related to their tribal identity? I’m one of the 98% who are Ephraimite, but I don’t think that it made me a better missionary.

    In all likelihood, I usually ascribe tribal assignment to the wishful, imaginative thinking of Joseph Smith, who saw Abraham’s story in some funeral rites on papyri, or who proclaimed two continents’ native populations to have all descended from Israel.

  12. I wasn’t assigned to any of those options. The patriarch said my lineage was mixed, but that I was of Joseph. I’ve always wondered what that was supposed to mean, but it’s different at least so I’m glad for it.

  13. “Many Christian sects also believe in this, and it certainly prompted the creation of the state of Israel. ”

    Eh? What? Are you saying that what prompted the creation of Israel was Christian sects who believed in Zionism?

  14. As a direct descendant of Pocahontas I thought I might have a shot at Menasheh. Nope. Ephraim. But my patriarch was probably inspired to know ahead of time how the DNA thing was going to play out, right? 🙂

  15. The whole business of British Israelism was discussed in Armand Mauss’ book “All Abraham’s Children”. It gave the British Empire a license to spread civilization and create an empire because the anglo saxon race was ordained by God. It began in the late 1700s by the writings of some clergy and caught on from there. The exteme is the Christian identity movement with neo nazis and on the other end are those who believe there’s a lineal connection to the tribes of Israel. I think Joseph Smith figured that it was easy to make people feel special if he could convince them they were chosen.

  16. I’ve never been particularly crazy about the idea of being descended from the 12 tribes. 10 of them tried to kill Joseph, and I wouldn’t call them good role models. I never understood why they were “chosen.” It certainly was not due to their righteousness.

  17. It’s hard to understand why they were chosen. Why were the children of Abraham given so much favor? What was so bad about being an Edomite, a Canaanite, a Moabite or a Samaritan? It seems totally unfair.

    What is “genius” about the Mormon concept of Israel is that it takes the concept of being chosen and extends it to everyone ever born. Now those who were born and died without hearing of Israel and without an earthly opportunity to enter and keep the gospel covenant can be linked/sealed along with the entire human race. It restores fairness to the rules of the test of mortality.

    Just as Joseph forgave his 10 brothers and did all in his power to serve them in spite of any offenses they committed, we have the privilege of serving in the three fold mission of the church “the rest of God’s children” as mentioned in #8.

    I agree that it doesn’t really matter what tribe we come from. It seems that is the point of including the story of Ruth in the Old Testament in relationship to the lineage of Jesus Christ. Ruth WAS a Moabite.

    I have a friend of Jewish descent living in the greater SLC area who wearies of zealous (or maybe just very friendly) LDS individual telling her that “we are just like you.” Her responses to them are rather blunt.

  18. re 18: I agree. I even think our doctrine shows that it does not really matters to us because we can’t tell if we are adopted or not.

    It seems that the 12 tribes thing was maybe supposed to be superseded in Christ’s message that we are all children of god ‘jew and gentile’. In fact if it were that important we might expect some discussion of what tribes gentiles would be in the Jerusalem council; but we only have the circumcision thing. However for whatever reason it was not dropped in the restoration. Maybe it is a less-painful idea than the curse of cain which people brought with them into the church; so it has persisted. Even though it is mentioned in the book of revelation I believe this is more symbolic of large numbers of covenant people rather than actually having separate tribes doing different work.

  19. #18,

    “It’s hard to understand why they were chosen.”

    Could it be that they were chosen because they wrote down that they were chosen?

    Or, does God in fact, choose everyone, it is us who do not chose Him?

    Or, is it that Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men,……
    D&C 121:34 – 35)

    Or, because they would not honor the One True God?

  20. I am not a Mormon. I am a Christian, but not a good one by any means. A couple of days ago, two Mormons came to my house. I mainly was trying to get them to go away. Since then I have been burdened to tell them the true message. I prayed that they would come back by my house, so I could tell them, but so far they have not come. I have been trying to get in contact with a Mormon so I could tell them. My prayer is that others may not be decieved. I don’t exactly know what Mormons believe. The people that came to my door said that the Book of Mormon was a continuation of the Bible. Lie. In Revelation 22:18-19, which is the true and inspired word of God, it says this: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Obviously the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon are not the in the same book. You are being decieved! My prayer is that your life is miserable until you realize that you are decieving yourself and others. You really don’t believe in the one true God. Answer these questions: Are you a sinner? Do you believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God? Do you understand that God sent his only son to die on a cross so that if you accept him, you can spend eternity with him? Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins? How do you know He has forgiven you? No one does anything to gain salvation. “Works are not part of our salvation but a result of them”(CARM). Romans 4:5 – “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Since no one does anything to gain salvation, how can it be taken away? It can’t. But that doesn’t mean go out and not do anything for God. I would like to have something to put at the feet of Jesus when I enter heaven. I have a challenge for the people who believe in the Book of Mormon instead of the Holy Bible which God wrote. If you don’t believe ALL of the Bible which includes Revelation 22:18-19- if you don’t believe now, you can believe at the Great White Throne.

  21. Hawk (#10) – I suspect that the 61 votes but 5 commentors is an indication merely of the number of lurkers on the site 🙂

    My PB placed me as “literal Ephraim,” with indication in the actual blessing that I have Jewish ancestry. Which is interesting to me, since I am unaware of such from my geneology. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, however. My DH has Mannaseh, the only of his family to have that tribe. I know of lots of folks who have completely different tribes from their parents/siblings. I have no idea what any of it means, but I personally have never taken it to be a true “physical” designation.

  22. Kristi:

    “My prayer is that your life is miserable until you realize that you are decieving yourself and others”

    I was wondering why I wasn’t feeling one with the universe lately. Thanks.

  23. I’ll second that. I’m definitely miserable.

    Kristi, there are a lot better arguments against Mormonism, should you desire. Feel free to email me if you would like to know some of them. The one from Revelation you used just isn’t going to work very well. shenpawarrior@gmail.com

    My best,

    Adam

  24. Kristi, I’m glad you’ve followed your conscience. Perhaps time will grant you some perspective. In the meantime, bless your heart, and I wish you happiness.

  25. “Many Christian sects also believe in this, and it certainly prompted the creation of the state of Israel. ”

    Eh? What? Are you saying that what prompted the creation of Israel was Christian sects who believed in Zionism?

  26. CWC – sorry, been traveling. What I was saying is that American support was fundamental to the success of the creation of Israel (a democracy in the mid-east of all places). This was partly prompted (IMO) by a Christian belief in Zionism. The country was almost entirely Christian in 1948. It was one of the reasons Americans were so excited about Israel (other reasons existed as well). Do you disagree?

  27. “This was partly prompted (IMO) by a Christian belief in Zionism.”

    I think it needs to be a little more clear. Christians generally favored the creation and sustaining of the State of Israel because they believe it fulfills a prophecy of the last days scenario. It’s not that they love Jews that much so much as they want the second coming of Jesus to happen. They believe Israel must be there to accomplish that end.

  28. re 22: Or, maybe the poll results reflect a foreordained propensity of the tribe of ephraim to participate in the bloggernacle. But that was not in my patriarchal blessing so I could not be certain.

  29. Hawk- sorry, didn’t mean to sound confrontational- it’s just always so hard to tell when jumping into a new blog if one is stepping on toes, not observing conventionetc…
    But yes, I disagree. Yes, the country was primarily Christian but I think Zionist or dispensation Christian is a huge stretch. Saying it “prompted” the creation of Israel seems insuppourtable, I can’t think of any mainstream historian who doesn’t chalk U.S. and British support up to political or financial motivation. It also seems to confuse pre-1948 Christians with modern “progressive dispensationalists” which is a fairly recent (mid 80’s) movement among evangelicals. This isn’t a huge area of interest for me – so if it isn’t for you either no worries about following up, I mainly wanted to understand if I was inderstanding you clearly. I was. I think we just disagree.

  30. The State of Israel was created primarily as reparations for the Holocaust and so the British could make their haste exit from the scene, which was becoming increasingly hard to manage. Think French: Vietnam.

  31. cwc – my basis for the statement is actually a little odd. One of my childhood storybooks talked about the creation of Israel as a fulfillment of Zionism but from an American Christian perspective. The book was from mid-1950s (IIRC). It was a hand-me-down. I had some other very strange and interesting (very dated) books as a child – some science books that theorized that the moon was in fact made from a calcium-rich substance (essentially “green cheese” but rewritten in technospeak). I think this did wonders for my creativity, but put my scientific nature a little at a disadvantage.

  32. Wow, Hawk. #33 just answered so many questions for me, but raised even more. Very interesting insight into your early developement. Heh!

  33. I have just concluded a pretty extensive study of the Old Testament with a particular emphasis on the promises to Israel in the latter days. The concepts of adoption into the House of Israel of Gentiles that were righteous were not nineteenth century inventions by Joseph, but a correlation to the prophecies outlined in the Old Testament, speicifiaclly Isaiah. Remember that Edom, Tyre, Egypt, Ammon, and Moab were considered cousins tot he Hebrews and in a real sense, Gentiles. They would be promised the gospel during the times of the gentiles following Christ’s death and resurrection. Those time during the restoration would then be fulfilled, the gentile era would end, and the House of Israel would re restored. There is little distinction between a Gentile and an Ephraimite by 600 BC, thus we are both Gentiles and of the House of Israel (if you take the British thing at face value). The blessings of watchmen were promised to Ephraim in Jeremiah in the last days, so it is not an arbitrary assignment. The process follows thus:

    1. Apostasy by Israel, the northern tribes
    2. Scattering of the norther tribes
    3. Apostasy of Judah, house of David
    4. Scattering of Judah
    5. Gospel then goes to the Gentile nations
    6. Gentiles apostatize
    7. Gospel is restored to the Gentiles (house of Ephraim)
    8. Fullness of the Gentiles ends when Jerusalem is in possession once again by Judah.
    9. Gospel begins going to the House of Israel, Lamanites, Jews, and the other 10 tribes.
    10. Gospel taken from the Gentiles (the gentile Babylonish culture of Ephraim is lost).
    11. Gospel taken to the lost tribes who gather to America at the New Jerusalem, righteous of the Gentiles are fully grafted in.
    12. Gospel restored to the Jews at the Mount of Olives
    13. 10 Tribes return to Jerusalem
    14. Gospel preached to the heathen nations (Japeth descendant nations)

    This is all literally out of Isaiah. Joseph was following this template. Forgive me for not waxing cultural and being mroe doctrinal, but the distinguishing characteristic is needed.

  34. Chosenness! Right. A brilliant piece from “God on Trial” about choseneness. Incidentally my father who as in Patton’s infantry during WWII brought back one of those nazi belt buckles mentioned in this piece

  35. How can there be a “literal gathering of Israel” unless those who are of Israel are identified? Patriarchal blessings is one way. Yet, why would there even be tribes if there was not some genetic differences between the tribes? 3 Nephi 16:7-13 and other scriptures predict a latter-day SHIFT– the Lord will turn against the Gentiles and bring again all the former blessings to his ancient covenant people Israel. Has this happened yet? Joseph Smith clearly taught the church he set up was indentified with the Gentiles and the fullness of the times of the Gentiles. But at some point the times of the Gentiles will be over. Are we to that time yet?

    Richard

  36. Please consider this: the third “measure of meal” (mentioned in Matthew 13:33 and in Luke 13:21) is the Book of Mormon. The implications of that situation will cause many changes in all three religions.

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