- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter One
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Two
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Three
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Four
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Five
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Six
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Seven
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Eight
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Nine
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Ten
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Eleven
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Twelve
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Thirteen
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Fourteen
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Fifteen
- The Literal Gathering of Israel, Chapter Sixteen
A Pure People
In a word the Lord gave us the basic reason for the gathering of His people: “For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness.” D&C 100:16 the gathered are to be “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, AN HOLY NATION, a peculiar people; that-, ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you cut of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past WERE NOT A PEOPLE but are now the people of God.” I Peter 2:9-10
Right now the people who will compose Zion are not a people, but soon will be “an holy nation.” The fact that Peter hoped to see a holy nation established in his day indicates that he expected, or at least hoped to see the Kingdom of God established in his day.
This is also indicated in the Book of Revelation “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she BEING WITH CHILD cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” Rev 12:1-2
The scriptures clearly tell us that the woman is the church, but what is the child? Most believe it is Christ, but we are told that the woman, that is the church, delivered the child, so Christ alone does not exactly correspond, but what does correspond exactly is Christ and the kingdom of God together. It is the church which is the stepping-stone to the kingdom and gives it birth. In the previous dispensations the church “cried” as it was about to give birth to the kingdom because there was great “pain” or persecution.
Each time this persecution was directed at the best of the saints and the kingdom was not delivered. Even in this dispensation, after the constitution of the kingdom was given by revelation, the church again “cried” because of the pain of delivery and gave up the labor for the moment. But the labor pains can only be held back so long and then the child must be delivered as written: “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a red of iron: and her child was caught up. unto God, and to his throne.” Verse 5. The time is at hand when there will be gathered out of the church a nucleus of people who will give birth to the kingdom of God which will rule all nations. But to successfully give birth to the kingdom there must be a people prepared who are sanctified. Joseph Smith said: “If we are not sanctified and gathered to the places ‘God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible WE MUST FALL.” DHC 2:52.
God gave a further qualification: “And no one can assist in this work except he shall be humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things, whatsoever shall be entrusted to his care.” D & C 12: 8
It only makes sense that for a people to0 be sanctified they must be gathered out and cleanse themselves in the righteousness of the saints for how can one swim in the dark ink of unholiness and remain unspotted himself? Church leaders today complain over and over about how wicked the world is today and its disastrous effect on the youth and they use every stretch of the imagination to devise programs to keep the saints unspotted, but to little avail for each succeeding generation becomes more entrenched in Babylon than the one before. The words of Alma still apply today: “And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to, follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, AND ‘BE, YE SEPARATE and touch not their unclean things.” Alma 5:57 Brigham Young, indicated the spiritual purpose of the gathering. He said: “neither forget to pray for the Holy Spirit to rest down upon them (the saints), and upon these who speak to them, that each and all may be directed to act at all times by that Spirit that is able to guide into all truth. This is certainly the object for which we are gathered out from the nations of the earth.” JD 2:335
George Q. Cannon said: “We ‘ should become a distinct people, a peculiar people, a people whom He could use according to his mind and will, and through whom he could accomplish his mighty, His marvelous, and His wondrous purposes. THIS IS THE OBJECT He has had in view in bringing us together, to SEPARATE US FROM BABYLON.” JD 25:300
This is further verified by George A. Smith: “A great many people have wondered why it was that it was necessary for the saints to gather together. The fact is, the human mind is so weak – so susceptible of false impressions, that while the people of God were scattered in the nations of the earth, to come in contact with all the corruptions, prejudices, and traditions of the world, IT WAS LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE HUMAN MIND TO RESIST THESE PRESSURES.” JD 6:161
We are also told: “The time has never been when the people of God dwelt in harmony, and in the bonds of fellowship, with the wicked and ungodly, AND IT NEVER WILL BE THE CASE as long as the earth revolves on its axis.” Millennial Star 36:171
“There is no Latter-Day Saint enjoying the light of the Spirit, but what realizes the difficulty of living in Babylon WITHOUT- PARTAKING IN SOME DEGREE UP HER SINS. As well think of handling pitch without being soiled, as to think of joining with the corrupt nations of modern Babylon without being contaminated by the abominations and wickedness that abound on every side.” Mill Star 47:251
Brigham Young observed: “You, no doubt, discover that you are very much inclined to mingle with and participate in the feelings and exercises of the society in which you are.” JD 7:267
Another wise statement: “How can Zion be built up, unless the saints gather and build it up? And how can Babylon fall, so long as the Saints STAY AND HOLD IT UP?” Mill Star 32:233
The references to this doctrine are numerous, but the point is so important that I will risk belaboring it. Wilford Woodruff said: “The question is often asked by sectarian ministers, why could you not live in New York, Liverpool, or London, as well as going to Zion? Because we should be in the midst of sin and wickedness and abomination, and it would be very difficult, while so situated, to keep from being polluted by the evils which reign upon the face of the earth.” JD 12:280
Brigham Young said: “We are gathered together to sanctify these bodies, to deal, act, transact and do everything we do in the love of God.” J.D. 11:288 He also said: “Do they keep the faith and stay in the midst of the wicked? No they do not.” J.D. 11:101
Then this observation was made: “If all Israel will not be sanctified by the law which their Moses FIRST OFFERS THEM, they will peradventure receive a LAW OF ORDINANCES administered to them, NOT ACCORDING TO THE POWER OF ENDLESS LIFE.” F.D. Richards J.D. 1:321
Taking these things in consideration what does it all mean? It means that if we omit the principle of the literal gathering we will be comparable to the Israelites who rejected the higher laws that Moses brought. We are clearly told that we cannot be a holy people while living in the world. Now, today the church is following the admonition of John A. Widtsoe: “The time of gathering is past. We now live in the time of scattering. We want to scatter our people over the face of the earth that we might leaven the whole lump.” Truth Sep 1952 pg 103 Mr. Widtsoe was merely reiterating the advice of Heber J. Grant who said: “Many of the saints, who come here, could be far more useful-in assisting to strengthen and build up the church in their native lands, than by making sacrifices to come to Zion.” Messages of the First Pres., Clark, 5:269
Joseph Fielding Smith said: “Our building of foreign temples is to encourage the saints to stay in their own countries.” Oct 17, 1936 Deseret News. Bruce McConkie said: “We are becoming a world church… every nation is the gathering place for its own people.” Church News Sep 2, 1972
It indeed sounds like the original concept of the gathering was lost as a new generation of Mormons took the helm. The early leaders understood well their responsibility “How could His children escape if they are SCATTERED OVER THE FACE OF THE EARTH? Foreseeing these dangers, the Lord instituted the gathering of his people from all lands, that they might ‘stand in holy places, and NOT BE MOVED” Mill Star 60:350
Here’s another interesting comment from the early brethren: “The subject and practice of gathering is a great stumbling block to many who make but a partial investigation of the gospel as revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith; for, they say, ‘Cannot God save me as well in my native land, as in the land of America? Why is it necessary for me to leave the lands of my fathers, and take my journey to the wilds of a distant continent? Nothing is impossible with God, and He can save me just as well in one place as another!” With these consoling reflections they quiet any feelings of uneasiness which may arise in their minds, caused by the signs of the times, or by the declarations of the servants of God. Doubtless the Lord could do many things which he never will, and there is one thing for certain HE NEVER INTENDS DOING – THAT IS, TO SAVE A MAN WHO WILL NOT STRIVE TO SAVE HIMSELF, by rendering obedience to the principles laid down in the Gospel. The doctrine of the gathering has been taught to a greater or lesser extent in every dispensation given to man.” Eli B. Kelsey, April 1850, Mill Star 39:212
The very fact that none of the Latter-Day Saints today are in a gathered state is in itself strong evidence that the church is out of order and contaminated with Babylon for even the leaders themselves are not gathered and therefore according to the words of the prophets they are not without spot. Furthermore, they have no inclination whatsoever to follow the admonition of Brigham Young: “Our business is to build up the Zion of God on the earth. Do you think you will do it and go hand in band with the wicked? No, never.” J.D. 12:231 Or how about the words of Heber C. Kimball: “You have heard brother Brigham preach it here time and time again, and other men, that A SCATTERING SPIRIT WAS NOT THE SPIRIT OF GOD; AND I KNOW IT IS NOT.” J.D. 4:362
Orson Spencer said: “If men have not the spirit of gathering they are blind and cannot see afar off, and are nigh unto burning. The gathering is one great test of faith, BY WHICH YOU WILL KNOW WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE.” Mill Star 9:310
How else will the Lord cause the great division between the righteous and the wicked except by the gathering for Nephi said: “For ‘the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, AND THE WICKED ‘WILL HE DESTROY; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.” II Nephi 30:10
Just as the five foolish virgins were too late a last ditch attempt to gather the people will be too late. A lot of people seem to think that if a future gathering is necessary then it can be done at the immediate call of the prophet, but the scriptures say: “Let the work of the gathering BE NOT IN HASTE.” D&C 58:56 Believe me if any gathering is in the mind of the authorities today it is not one of haste, but would turn to one in a calamity. We are told not to gather “in haste, lest there should be confusion, WHICH BRINGETH PESTILENCE’.” D&C 63:24 Those who wait for the last ditch attempt to gather to escape the calamities will suffer pestilence according to the scripture.
The leaders today should think as Orson Pratt did: “My view on the subject is this – TO GATHER AND STAY GATHERED, to be organized into the government of God.” J.D. 1:134 Because they have not stayed gathered, the saints have lost the Spirit to a large degree and they are not sanctified. Many would lose their lives in a calamity because they trust in the arm of flesh and seek not for the Spirit. Let us be like Nephi of old: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that CURSED IS HE that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.” II Nephi 4:34
If we accept the advice of any prophet, priest or king without seeking verification from the Holy Ghost then we are cursed. In this case would it not be better to pray and find out what the Lord says about the gathering of Israel? The early and the later authorities disagree on the matter. They cannot both be right, but the Spirit will always lead correctly. Do not the Latter-Day Saints today really have enough faith to receive an answer from God for themselves? Let us hope for the best.
It is ironical today to go to the Mormon Church and listen to the sermons there about the corruptions in the world, and how difficult it is to live in the world and how it is much harder to be righteous today than it was in years gone by. It seems as if the Latter-Day Saints do nothing but complain about the results of their breaking the commandment to gather Israel. It is like the Bank robber who complains of his jail sentence. Even though he has the punishment coming he still complains.
Mormons complain of the movies today, yet they still go to them. They complain of what comes over their television, but are the first to call their repairman. They complain about the magazines available to their youth. They complain about the pot and drugs available in the schools and the liberal teachers. They complain that their children’s friends are spaced out and leading their kids astray, but even though they complain of all of these things they seem to have no desire to live the law that will neutralize all of these evils.
John Taylor summed it up when he said that the purpose of the gathering was “that we might be taught to do the will of God, on earth as it is in the heavens, that we might be a pure people, a virtuous people, a holy people, FREE FROM THE VICES AND CORRUPTIONS OF THE WORLD, and that we might learn the laws of light, truth and intelligence from the fountain of all intelligence for we are told the glory of God is intelligence. THIS IS WHY WE BEEN GATHERED TOGETHER.” J.D. 24:198
Copyright 1979 by J J Dewey
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