Early Mandate of Joseph Smith to the Gentiles

Joseph Smith was told by and angel, “…to remember that it (the restoration of the Gospel) was the work of the Lord to fulfill certain promises previously made to a branch of the house of Israel of the tribe of Joseph, and when it would be brought forth, it must be done expressly with an eye single to the glory of God and the welfare and restoration of the house of Israel.” Letter of Oliver Cowdery, No. 7; page 29.  The fulfillment of the covenants were “To prepare the way for the second advent of the Messiah when he comes in the glory of the Father with the Holy Angels.”

In the divine process of selection, God chose Israel to be a special people.  Moses speaks of this selection, saying:

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God; The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.  The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people; But because He would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharoah King of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:6-8

The relationship between God and Israel is described in vivid terms by Jeremiah:

Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you; and I will take you one of a city and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” Jeremiah 3:14

When Joseph Smith received the gold plates, he was told they were brought forth: “…to show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great thing the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever–And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ…” Preface to the Book of Mormon.

An angel told Joseph Smith that the aborigines of this land were the literal descendants of Abraham.

Nephi also declared:

“And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.” 1 Nephi 22:8

The covenants of God to Israel will be remembered by God when the Gentiles shall sin against his gospel:

“At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.  And then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them.  And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel. But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel.  And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father.” 3 Nephi 16:10-14

This land was given to Joseph’s seed, and will be returned to them.

“And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you.” 3 Nephi 15:13

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me that I should give unto this people this land for their inheritance.” 3 Nephi 16:16

“But if they (the Gentiles) 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; 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.  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.  And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.” 3 Nephi 21:22-25


Mandate of the Early LDS Church: Recover the Remnant

From Ronald W. Walker’s discourse, “Seeking the Remnant.” (View PDF here)

“Orson and Parley P. Pratt, early pamphleteers and apostles, continued the theme. The former held that the “western world, including both North and South America,” would ultimately pass to the righteous…”remnant,” while his brother argued for a literal reading of the Book of Mormon text. The prophecies contained therein, he held, were “plain, simple, definite, literal, positive and very express” and Jesus’ prophetic words of American upheaval must be fulfilled to the letter. “This destruction” I included “an utter overthrow, and desolation of all our Cities, Forts, and Strong holds, an entire annihilation of our race, except such as embrace the Covenant and are numbered with Israel.”

“With these and similar expressions serving as their guide and the Book of Mormon as their handbook, early Church members had no confusion about their imperative. They understood the need of taking the Restoration message to the Native American people, who in turn would play their pivotal role by purifying the land prior to helping to build the New Jerusalem. What was at issue was a major biblical prophetic watershed: turning from the “times of the gentiles” to the new and final era of the chosen people of Jacob.” (Luke 21:24; D&C 45:25-30).