The Book of Mormon teaches us that the restoration of the gospel in the latter days would be given to the Gentiles. As we read, after many generations, ‘then shall the fulness of the gospel of the Messiah come unto the Gentiles and from the gentiles unto the remnant of our seed.’ (1 Nephi 15:13)
Shortly after the arrival of Christ among the Nephites following his resurrection, He reinforced the idea that the restoration would occur through us Gentiles. Speaking of those who will write the book, He said:
“…that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.” (3 Nephi 16:4)
Let me suggest here that being a ‘believing Gentile’ isn’t so bad, at least to start. Continuing on in this same chapter 16 we read in verse 6:
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.
Here we read that we, Gentiles, at the time of the restoration, would be blessed because of our faith in Christ. This testimony would be given by the witness of the Holy Ghost. Who else but the membership of the restored church could this apply to?
Following in verse 7 we read:
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.
We, in the latter days, as Gentiles, will be given the fulness of the gospel. The truth will be given to us. This again reinforces the idea that the restoration occurred among the Gentiles and that those who joined the early restored church were Gentiles.
Of course, if you have ‘believing Gentiles.’ There would logically be ‘unbelieving Gentiles’ and we find them described in 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;
Those who played a large role in the scattering of the house of Israel here in what was to become the United States were also Gentiles. The inference here is that at least a portion of the native American tribes were the house of Israel and that the influx of Gentiles into this land caused severe distress on the natives.
So, in these several verses in chapter 16 of 3 Nephi, we have both believing Gentiles and unbelieving Gentiles. But after talking of these two groups within the Gentiles, the Lord, in the next verses, talks of the Gentiles which includes both the believing and unbelieving of the Gentiles.
10 And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: 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.
11 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.
We find here the prophecy that the Gentiles, collectively, will sin against the gospel of Jesus Christ and will reject the fulness of the gospel. I believe that this again applies to the collective Gentiles, both believing and unbelieving. The Lord states here that, not if, but when we reject the gospel. It is not a conditional prophecy – it is a clear warning that the restoration of the gospel in these latter day to the Gentiles will not simply carry forward to the establishment of Zion. We, Gentiles, will reject the fulness of the gospel.
What does it mean to reject the fulness of the gospel? I have, in past posts, attempted to convey my belief that a key part of the restored gospel is the clear understanding of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. I believe that the church collectively today has, indeed, rejected the necessity of this second baptism. We hear from General Authorities that this event is an imperceptible change over a long period of living a Christ-like life. The redefinition of this critical ordinance of the gospel is the same as the rejection of the same.
Continuing in these verses, we find that the Gentiles, both believing and unbelieving, will also exhibit the following traits:
- Lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations
- Filled with all manner of lyings, deceits, hypocrisy, murder, priestcrafts, whoredoms, secret abominations
These acts are attributed to all Gentiles. Do we, in the church and in the nation, have a problem with pride? I think the answer is an emphatic ‘yes.’ Are we, in the church and in the nation, party to the other evils listed here such as deceit and hypocrisy, murder and whoredoms? I fear that this is true also.
Because of the rejection of the gospel and the evils that have invaded our society, we will have the fulness of the gospel taken from us. I believe that this could be recognized as the loss of the fruits that go with the fulness of the gospel. We no longer have the miracles found among us that once graced the members. Does this possibly mean that the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost will not be available to us as individuals? If my earlier premise regarding the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is correct, removing the fulness of the gospel could indeed result in this blessing no longer being available to us as a Gentile participant of the restoration.
All is not lost, however, as the Lord has provided a way to reclaim this sacred opportunity. As we note earlier in verse 11, the Lord will bring the gospel to His people of the house of Israel. In verse 13, He then offers us Gentiles an opportunity:
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.
For us to once again have blessings of the fulness of the gospel, we must repent and return to Him. I believe this applies to us, as Gentiles, who once rejected the gospel. How can one ‘repent and return’ to somewhere he/she has never been? No, we must return to our former condition before we rejected the fulness. If we do so, we can be numbered among those of the house of Israel who will have the fulness of the gospel.
The Lord continues in this chapter with this warning:
15 But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.
As I read this, one question that can be asked is: Who does the Lord characterize as the salt and savor? We read this in D&C 101:
39 When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;
40 They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
I read this to mean that the salt and savor, according to the Lord, are those who are part of the everlasting covenant – another clear indication that the Lord is speaking of those who are members of His restored church. If we do not repent and return, we will be as the salt that has lost its savor and will be trodden down. Once that fulness of the gospel is taken from us and given to the house of Israel, our only course of action will be to repent and return whereby we can be numbered with the house of Israel.
This idea is reinforced in chapter 21 of 3 Nephi:
6 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;
It is imperative that each of us weigh these words of scripture in our hearts and in our minds. What is it that the Lord would have me do with these words? Should I ignore them and blindly claim our right as a child of Ephraim? Or should I humbly seek the wisdom and knowledge needed to understand how these verses of scripture apply to me and what I must do to be acceptable of the Lord?
What think ye?