I would like to propose a little self-administered quiz. Here we go:

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From the title page of the Book of Mormon we read: “Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile.” So we have three groups identified as targeted recipients of the Book of Mormon:

  1. Remnant of the House of Israel, or the Lamanites
  2. Jews
  3. Gentiles

Now for the question: To which one of these three groups do you belong?

[please proceed when you have completed the test]

If you are a native American, a Pacific Islander or other similar lineage, there is a traditional answer; that being number one. But what if you are a white of European descent? The only two options left for you are Jew or Gentile. Perhaps a couple of scriptures may help to point you in a direction of an answer.

First, from 2 Nephi 33 verse 8:

“I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.”

Also, in 2 Nephi, chapter 15, first in verse 17 and again in verse 20, Nephi seems to be comfortable interchanging two groups, Jews and ‘house of Israel.’:

“for the very cause that he shall be rejected of the Jews, or of the house of Israel.”

In the context of the Book of Mormon, a Jew represents those that were of the house of Israel who lived in the area around Jerusalem.

So, I would suggest that you out there of European descent don’t qualify as Jews.

The only answer left is… guess what????? Yes, Gentile.

The members of the LDS Church, who have long pointed at the world and said, ‘eeww Gads, Gentiles’ are actually pointing at their own brothers????? Could Mormons actually be Gentiles according to the Book of Mormon?

My answer is an emphatic yes. Fortunately, I am not alone. In the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith stated the following:

“Now these words, O Lord, we have spoken before thee, concerning the revelations and commandments which thou hast given unto us, who are identified with the Gentiles.” D&C 109:60

So what does being identified with the Gentiles mean? I suggest it means we are part of that group.

Prefer something of a little later vintage? How about Boyd K. Packer’s statement in a 2007 speech at BYU?

Wherefore, O ye Gentiles [and the term gentile in that place in the Book of Mormon refers to us in our generation], it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you. . . . ” Ether 8:23

 

Boyd K. Packer, devotional address was delivered on January 16, 2007

This certainly begs the question, how do you tell when the use of the term ‘Gentile’ in the latter day scriptures refers to us as members of His church? I would suggest that throughout the Book of Mormon, we are identified with the Gentiles. We are part of that group. We, therefore, should be paying close attention to the messages and warnings contained in these scriptures that were delivered by way of the Gentile because the messages and warnings are to US! I will elaborate further on this topic in the next post.

Going back to the title page of the Book of Mormon, we find that this record was ‘to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile.’ Since the Book of Mormon contains the ‘fulness of the Gospel,’ it is only appropriate that Nephi would assert that ‘the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles, and from the gentiles unto the remnant of our seed.’ So, it is through the Gentiles that the remnant of the house of Israel is to receive the Book of Mormon. We, Gentiles, are the recipients of the Book of Mormon, just as the title page suggests and it is our responsibility to take the fulness of the Gospel, as contained in the Book of Mormon to the remnant of the house of Israel. That I will leave to further explore also in another post.

Assuming that you have even read this far, I would suspect that a significant majority of you are muttering something about the patriarchal blessings, the tribe of Ephraim and Joseph Smith being a descendent of Joseph of Egypt.

So how can Joseph Smith (and the rest of us) be both of the tribe of Ephraim and a Gentile? Actually, we should expect that we could carry both titles given the blessing Ephraim received at the hands of his grandfather, Isaac, as found in Genesis 48:

“And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel’s right hand, and brought them near unto him.

And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day.

The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.

And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head.

And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.”

Here is where a little Hebrew comes in handy. The blessing of Ephraim states that ‘his seed shall become a multitude of nations (male hagoyim).’ If you have a Strong’s concordance, you will find that ‘goy’ is translated just as easily as Gentiles rather than nations.’ So, Isaac’s blessing is a prophecy that Ephraim will produce a multitude of Gentiles, or a fulness of nations, or even the fulness of the Gentiles. So, we can be both a descendent of Ephraim AND a Gentile. The point I want to make here is that it is entirely credible that the Gentiles described in the Book of Mormon are us. Yes, Gentiles-R-Us.

Perhaps one of the most demonstrative of the scriptures that point to Gentiles being composed of both believing and unbelieving is found in 3 Nephi, chapter 16.

First, let’s read verses 6 and 7:

“And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father.

Behold, because of their belief in me, saith the Father, and because of the unbelief of you, O house of Israel, in the latter day shall the truth come unto the Gentiles, that the fulness of these things shall be made known unto them.”

Here we have Gentiles who have received a witness of Christ and the Father ‘in and of the Holy Ghost.’ Who else could that be? The unbelief of the house of Israel also leads God to give the fulness of the gospel to the Gentiles. Again, who else could this refer to? We, indeed, claim to have the testimony of the truthfulness of these things ‘in and through the Holy Ghost.’ We, positively, claim to have the fulness of the gospel. We, as gentiles, have received these things.

Believers who have received a witness by the Holy Ghost can still be considered Gentiles, but not all Gentiles are believers as we read in the verse 8:

“But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving of the Gentiles—for notwithstanding they have come forth upon the face of this land, and have scattered my people who are of the house of Israel; and my people who are of the house of Israel have been cast out from among them, and have been trodden under feet by them;”

So, here we clearly see that there are unbelieving Gentiles as well as believing Gentiles. In these verses, Christ identified both the believing and unbelieving of the Gentiles.

In summary, The restoration and the delivery of the Book of Mormon occurred to the Gentiles. We, being identified with the Gentiles, are the recipients of the fulness of the gospel.

What think ye?


9 Responses to “Gentiles-R-Us Part 1”

  • NEPT:

    Thanks for the post Spek, there were some hidden treasures of knowledge in a few of those verses you shared.

    I would add that other scriptures also came forth from the Gentiles, namely, the JST. Unfortunately, it seemed to be a low priority for the early saints when it came time to fund its publishing (and on the back burner, if on the stove at all, for most LDS nowadays, too). And despite the importance of the JST to the salvation of the church, as stated by JS, HS, SR, and others, it has become a relic consulted all too infrequently. I mention this because there are some fascinating verses pertaining to the Gentiles of the last days that were omitted in the KJV. I would like to reproduce just one of them here (JST, Matthew 21:35-56 and KJV, Matthew 21: 33-46). Note that the final part of the JST is italicized, which denotes the part that was omitted from the KJV:

    35 Behold, there was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine-press in it; and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.

    36 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.

    37 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.

    38 Again, he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did unto them likewise.

    39 But last of all, he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.

    40 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.

    41 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.

    42 And Jesus said unto them, When the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?

    43 They say unto him, He will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let out the vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

    44 Jesus said unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner; this is the Lord’s doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

    45 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

    46 For whosoever shall fall on this stone, shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

    47 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

    48 And they said among themselves, Shall this man think that he alone can spoil this great kingdom? And they were angry with him

    49 But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they learned that the multitude took him for a prophet.

    50 And now his disciples came to him, and Jesus said unto them, Marvel ye at the words of the parable which I spake unto them?

    51 Verily, I say unto you, I am the stone, and those wicked ones reject me.

    52 I am the head of the corner. These Jews shall fall upon me, and shall be broken.

    53 And the kingdom of God shall be taken from them, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof; (meaning the Gentiles.)

    54 Wherefore, on whomsoever this stone shall fall, it shall grind him to powder.

    55 And when the Lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, he will destroy those miserable, wicked men, and will let again his vineyard unto other husbandmen, even in the last days, who shall render him the fruits in their seasons.

    56 And then understood they the parable which he spake unto them, that the Gentiles should be destroyed also, when the Lord should descend out of heaven to reign in his vineyard, which is the earth and the inhabitants thereof.

    If we take verses 55-56 literally, the Lord will take his vineyard back from the Gentiles who would serve as stewards (those who brought forth the Book of Mormon and other scriptures) after the Jews rejected Christ, and lease his vineyard out AGAIN to others. The fact that “the Gentiles should be destroyed also” is quite disruptive to my peace of mind! (See also 3 Nephi 21:14 in context). But rendering these scriptures thus, I am acutely aware of the “messages and warnings contained in these scriptures that were delivered by way of the Gentile because the messages and warnings are to US” (Spek, verbatim). Moreover, the descriptions left by Book of Mormon prophets of the dilapidated state of the Gentiles’ vineyard become more personal.

    Fortunately, Nephi leaves us the promise that “as many of the Gentiles as will repent are the covenant people of the Lord;” (2 Nephi 30:2, as well as an extremely many more verses exclaiming the same).

    With that, I look forward to your next post Spek.

    NEPT

    • Edin:

      You know, I always thhougt it would make much more sense for a investigator to read the Doctrine and Covenants and pray about its truthfulness.Better yet, it would make much more sense for an investigator to read the Doctrine and Covenants and compare it to God’s Word found in the Bible. But alas, thats not how the LDS go about converting people. They insert a distrust of the Bible into the minds of the investigators, tell them to read the BoM which mirrors much of the Bible so that it comes off rather Christian (only one God, etc.) and pray about its truth. Once they feel all warm and cozy and excited about the possibility of the restored truth of Christ’s Gospel, and get baptized, its smooth sailing from there to get them to believe anything else.The LDS church plays on the logic that many people probably have about the Bible. And that is Man, that book is so old and has been translated many times, there just HAS to be some plain and precious truths removed from it. This is when they deny the power of God in keeping his word clear for his people.I must admit. The tale of Joseph Smith is a fascinating one. However, rarely is much of his history mentioned. Even my wife who was born and raised LDS, didn’t have any idea about Joseph Smith’s polygamy.So tell me my LDS friends, shouldn’t people be reading about what the church really believes and praying about that? Instead of reading some fascinating stories in the Book of Mormon that hold very little doctrine as to what the LDS church really believes? That is an honest question. I don’t doubt that people will still accept the LDS gospel, but I would argue that not as many would if they dug into the history of the LDS church and the doctrines it has now, and has held years ago.

  • Nept,
    I believe you are right on the mark. This first post was intended to establish that we ARE the Gentiles as discussed in the latter-day scriptures. The next post would focus on the ‘implications’ of this idea. Both the scriptures you discussed need to be included in that second part of the discussion.

    What is most bothersome to me is that people may have the tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If what the scriptures are telling us is true, what am I left with? I think the answer is the right and privilege to seek God directly and leave out the ‘middleman.’

    Spek

  • TruthSeekerToo:

    “I think the answer is the right and privilege to seek God directly and leave out the ‘middleman.’ ”

    I love this line! This should be the goal of all of us.

    PS I hate your spam question! I always forget about it and hit submit thus losing my entire comment.

  • TruthSeekerToo,
    Thanks for the comment. So many scriptures, in my mind, support that idea.

    “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

    “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

    Christ stated in 3 Nephi 12: “after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost;”

    The disciples may have been given the authority to baptize, but the baptism of fire comes from none other than Jesus Christ.

    It is our task to seek Him, to know Him and to be sanctified by Him.

    By the way, given the amount of spam that has been generated on the site, I turned off the botkiller. Sorry that it was a nuisance.

  • Derek P. Moore:

    I thought all white Mormons knew they were Gentiles. I guess it’s those of you in Utah who are so confused by the word “Gentile”.

    But the fulness of the gospel is to be brought forth BY the Gentiles in the last days, and if Mormonism is that fulness, then Mormons are those Gentiles… So for Mormons to be so confused about who they are is confusing to me.

    Much like Semite comes from Shem, Gentile comes from Japheth. Those descended from Japheth are Gentiles. And most of the powerful Gentile families actually descend from Magog (e.g., the Smiths do).

    White Europeans have Semitic blood in there somewhere, and there are white European males that possess Semitic Y chromosomes; but for the most part, white Europeans are characterized by their Japhetic/Gentile inheritance.

  • NEPT:

    Hmmm….since I’m not confused by “Gentile”, nor about who I am, and since I live about 2000 miles from Utah, then I guess the only thing I’m confused about is the mess that appears after the bold type which reads “Derek P. Moore Says:”

    C’mon Derek, let go of the bitterness and and least TRY to play nice. Maybe then you wouldn’t be one step behind of the discussion.

  • Forest Simmons:

    I just came across your blog. It’s nice to see someone else realizes that we Gringo members of the church are among the Gentiles.

    I recently participated an exchange on this topic in the comments of a Radical Mormon blog post. I think you might find it interesting:

    http://theradicalmormon.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/keep-israels-nuclear-weapons-a-secret-and-get-everyone-scared-about-irans-nuclear-program/#comments

  • Forest,
    Thanks for your comments. I did read through the Radical Mormon blog and agree with most of your commentary. I would suggest that ‘we Gringo members of the church’ are the same Gentiles that received the fulness of the gospel in 2 Nephi 15:13. I also believe that we are the same Gentiles that ‘reject the fulness of the Gentiles in 3rd Nephi 16:10. It took me a long time to come to an understanding of the ‘fulness of the gospel’ how we were to come to reject it.

    I agree with you that those Gentiles (us) who repent will assist in the building of New Jerusalem. Something to look forward to… if I live long enough.

    I would point you to another website http://www.fulness.com for some concise scriptural discussion on these topics. Look forward to hearing more of your perspective.

    Spek

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