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Promises Repeated and an Invitation to Repent



Mormon 1-6 doesn't seem to be crammed with promises to covenant Israel like the end of 3 Nephi was. I thought it was interesting that so many of the promises I did find seemed to be repetitions of promises previously made. It seemed like emphasis that these promises will be fulfilled.


First, a brief summary, then some application to me.


Momon 3

  1. If Israel repents, comes unto Christ, is baptized and builds up again his church, she shall be spared. (This promise was specifically made to the declining Nephites, but I think it applies generally).

  2. The 12 tribes will be judged by the Twelve Apostles of Jesus

  3. The Lehites will be judged by the twelve Lehite disciples.

  4. All will stand before the judgement-seat of Christ and be judged according to their works

  5. The Book of Mormon will provide the Jews with additional witnesses of Jesus' messiahship.

Mormon 5

  1. The Book of Mormon will come forth according to the wisdom and commandment of the Lord.

  2. It will go to the unbelieving Jews, persuading them that Jesus is the Christ and Son of God

  3. Jews and all the house of Israel will be restored to the land of their inheritance, to fulfill the covenant and bring about the great and eternal purposes of the Father

  4. The Lehites will more fully believe the gospel, which goes to them from the Gentiles

  5. After the Lehites are driven and scattered by the Gentiles, the Lord will remember his covenant with Abraham and all the house of Israel

  6. The Lord will remember the prayers of the righteous in Israel's behalf

  7. If the Gentiles don't repent, the remnant of Jacob will go forth among them as a lion, tearing them in pieces with none to deliver.


Mormon 6

  1. All will resurrected with incorruptible bodies, to be judged

  2. The Father will do with all according to his justice and mercy

The verse that hit me with power as I read was Mormon 5:10, where Mormon addressed himself to "the Gentiles who have care for the house of Israel, that realize and know from whence their blessings come."


I want that phrase to describe me.


The message that keeps impressing upon me is that we are under a clear and insistent directive from the Lord to repent of a culture that has "counted [the Lehites] as naught among [us]" (Mormon 5:9). And when I say clear and insistent, I'm referring to language like, "O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways? 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? 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 5:22-24).


I have a bunch of thoughts going on.


First of all, I know that I am no less precious to the Lord than are the descendants of the Lehites. To Him, all flesh is one. We are all His and He loves us equally. So, I am not an afterthought in His designs for the Book of Mormon. He designed its coming forth as much on my behalf as on the behalf of my First Nations neighbours.


That said, I think that I am something of an afterthought to Lehi, Nephi, Enos, Mormon and Moroni. I think their prayers and their intentions in writing were primarily focused on the eventual restoration of their posterity and their brethren's. Just like my children and family tend to be dominant concerns in my faith and prayers.


So, I love how the Lord has designed things so that the promises He made to the Lehite patriarchs were to be fulfilled by way of the Gentiles. Thus, I and my people get a share in all the blessings for which they fasted and mightily prayed. I think that's what Mormon means when he writes about the Gentiles realizing and knowing from whence our blessings come.


It also means that I owe it to the Lehite patriarchs (as well as to my Heavenly Father) to "have a care" for their descendants. I need to be on board for their being restored to their lands of promise. I'm not exactly sure what that means. I am pretty sure that it's complicated, and also that it could and should be a lot simpler than it looks.


The way I read the scriptures, the historic injustices to the descendants of the Lehites do not need to be rectified in a way that's unjust to the Gentiles. The Lord's desire is that we become one and that we inherit the land together. But there's a bunch of repenting that we, the Gentiles, need to do in order for that to be possible. Of course there's a bunch of repenting that the descendants of the Lehites need to do as well. The Lord is clear about that. But I don't see any evidence that the Lord is willing to let the Gentiles wait on repenting until after the Lehites. Especially when we're supposed to repent of counting them "as naught" among us.


If we resist the invitation to repent...the Lord is still going to do His work among the Lehites. They will still inherit this land, but the manner is not going to be pleasant for those of us who persist in discounting them.


A week ago, I was talking with friends about the urgency I'm feeling to heal the divide with our First Nations neighbours. I talked about learning that the Book of Mormon seems to be written primarily to the Lehites, that the task of building up the New Jerusalem seems to be theirs, and that our assigned role seems to be that of messenger and assistant. I gave my opinion that if our attitudes of superiority prevent us from performing our role, then we "are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men" (D&C 103:10).


A wise friend listened to me speak and then raised an additional issue. If I want to help heal the divide, perhaps I should be willing to learn from my First Nations neighbours, and not just focus on what I want to share with them.


Wow! Approaching my neighbours with a desire to learn from them would be a good initial step in humility. It's a good way to repent of counting them "as naught."










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ronburnham
ronburnham
Nov 02, 2020

No, God will do as He has promised in His references to lineage and real estate, but lineage is a natural form of establishing identity. Our divine identity is that we are really all children of God and heirs to His estate, should we put Him first. Racial identity will become irrelevant and all of the existing tensions and pride attached to racial identity will be gone. As Paul explained, there is neither Jew or Greek in Christ. At some point, as we embrace our Father, we will truly recognize our indigenous neighbours as our real family. That is when conflict and it’s effects will truly cease. The Levite’s managed that state for a few hundred years before “ites” began…

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Anne Kassel
Anne Kassel
Nov 02, 2020

I’m not sure I understand. Are you saying that the promises made with regard to the descendants of the Lehites (blossoming as a rose, returning to an understanding of their identity and coming to pray to the Father in the name of Christ, building up the New Jerusalem with the assistance of the Gentiles, etc) don’t have specific application to those who are literal descendants of Lehi? Or are you agreeing that all who repent, enter into covenant with God, and let Him prevail will enjoy the land together without fear of being disinherited?

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ronburnham
ronburnham
Nov 02, 2020

President Nelson’s recently revealed insight on the word Israel to mean “Let God prevail“ provides an entirely new take on the promises you have pondered. Suddenly the promises no longer have a focus on birthright by way of links to an earthly ancestor, but are extended to any and all of whatever earthly lineage to all of the blessings of earth or of heaven. There is no longer a need for any people to depend on earthly bloodlines for His blessings.

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megacorrigan
megacorrigan
Nov 02, 2020

I love that about learning from our neighbours instead of just focusing on what we want to share with them. That is so true in all walks of life. Thank you for sharing it.

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