Sunday, May 23, 2021

Elder Gong on Father Lehi's Children

 In the Saturday Morning Session of the 191st Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held in Salt Lake City on April 3, 2021, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles made this important observation: "We rejoice that God loves His children in our different backgrounds and circumstances, in every nation, kindred and tongue with room for all in his inn. Over the past 40 years, church members have become increasingly international. Since 1998, more church members lived outside than inside the United States and Canada. By 2025, we anticipate as many church members may live in Latin America as in the United States and Canada. The gathering of Father Lehi's faithful descendants is fulfilling prophecy."

Elder Gong Speaking in April 2021 General Conference

Elder Gong is clearly saying that Father Lehi's faithful descendants are in Latin America. But what prophecy is being fulfilled when large numbers of Latin Americans join the Church? Actually, there are several.

1 Nephi 10:13, 14. Lehi's posterity in the Americas is part of the scattering of Israel. After the scattering, the Gentiles will receive the fulness of the Gospel, and then the remnants of the house of Israel, including Lehi's posterity, will be gathered. 

1 Nephi 15:13-20. After the Gentiles scatter the Lamanites, the Gentiles will share the Gospel with the Lamanites via the Book of Mormon. The Lamanites will accept the Book of Mormon, come to know their true identity as members of the house of Israel, be grafted into the true olive tree by joining the Church, and never be confounded or scattered again.

1 Nephi 19:16. The Nephites perceived themselves as inhabiting an isle of the sea 2 Nephi 10:20. The Lord promised to remember the isles of the sea and gather them with the rest of the house of Israel.

1 Nephi 22:7-12. After the rest of the house of Israel has been scattered and confounded, a mighty nation (Spain - see the article "Mighty Nation = Spain) will scatter the Lamanites. After the Lamanites are scattered, the marvelous Book of Mormon will come forth from the Gentiles to the Lamanites. The Lamanites will accept the Book of Mormon, come out of obscurity and darkness into the light of the Gospel, and be gathered to the lands of their inheritance alongside the rest of the house of Israel.

2 Nephi 10:8. The house of Israel will be gathered from the isles of the sea and from the four parts of the earth and multiple Gentile nations will participate in this gathering.

3 Nephi 16:12. The posterity of Lehi, part of the house of Israel, will come to a knowledge of the fulness of Christ's gospel. This implies an understanding of temple ordinances.

Temples of the Most High, Prevalent throughout the Americas

3 Nephi 20:13. The remnants of the house of Israel, scattered abroad, will be gathered from the four quarters of the earth and brought to the knowledge of Jesus Christ their redeemer.

3 Nephi 20:18. The Lord will gather the house of Israel together abundantly, in large numbers.

  • The Lord will establish Zion among Lehi's descendants. This means stakes will be organized. Stakes in Latin American countries as of May 2021: Brazil 277, Mexico 222, Peru 112, Argentina 78, Chile 74, Guatemala 51, Ecuador 42, Venezuela 34, Bolivia 33, Honduras 31, Colombia 30, El Salvador 22, Dominican Republic 21, Uruguay 18, Nicaragua 14, Paraguay 11, Costa Rica 10, Panama 7, Puerto Rico 5.
  • The Book of Mormon will be made known to the Gentiles who will realize that native Americans are a remnant of the house of Israel.
  • The Gentiles will then take the Book of Mormon to Lehi's descendants.
  • The Gentiles will be established in the Americas and set up as a free people before the Book of Mormon comes forth. Note how precisely this prophecy was fulfilled: 
    • 1776-1783 US independence
    • 1809-1825 Bolivia independence
    • 1810-1818 Argentina independence (included Paraguay)
    • 1810-1819 Colombia independence (included Panama)
    • 1810-1821 Mexico independence
    • 1810-1821 Central America (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala) independence
    • 1810-1823 Venezuela independence
    • 1811-1826 Peru independence
    • 1811-1828 Uruguay independence
    • 1812-1826 Chile independence
    • 1822-1825 Brazil independence
    • 1830 Book of Mormon published
    • Canada is a different animal. It became increasingly independent in 1848, 1867, and 1931. Newfoundland and Labrador joined with Canada in 1949. The Canadian constitution became effective in 1982, although Queen Elizabeth II remains head of state.
  • The Gentiles will be numbered among the house of Israel. This means members receive patriarchal blessings. It could also refer to the huge mestizo population in Latin America where most people have some native American and some European ancestry.
3 Nephi 21:23. The Gentiles will assist Lehi's posterity, a remnant of the house of Israel, in building the city New Jerusalem. If New Jerusalem were to be built today, using the same general contractors (Layton, Okland, Jacobsen) who build many Latter-day Saint temples, a high percentage of the workforce would be Hispanic immigrants. See The Center for Construction Research and Training, Chart Book (6th Edition): Labor Force Characteristics - Hispanic Workers in Construction.

Ether 13:8 Lehi's posterity, a remnant of the house of Joseph, will be built upon the Americas which is the land of their inheritance. They will build the New Jerusalem and no more be confounded. Witness the growing political power of Hispanics throughout the hemisphere. This brings to mind statements of the early latter-day prophets that Zion in the New World is all of North and South America.
  • "The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the Prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord shall be, and that it should be in the center of the land. When Elders shall take up and examine the old prophecies in the Bible, they shall see it." Joseph Smith, April Conference 1844. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 362. See the blog article "Biblical Passages Referencing the Book of Mormon."
  • "What is Zion? ... What land is it? It is the land that the Lord gave to Jacob, who bequeathed it to his son Joseph and his posterity, and they inhabit it, and that land is North and South America." Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 2:258.
  • "Tell the people that North and South America are the land of Zion." Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:72.
  • "This land, North and South America, is the land of Zion; it is a choice land - the land that was given by promise from old father Jacob to his grandson and his descendants, the land on which the Zion of God should be established in the latter days." Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 15:279.
For President Nelson's thoughts on this subject, see the blog article "President Nelson in Guatemala."

For President Hinckley's thoughts on this subject, see the blog articles "Father Lehi in the Mexico City Temple" and "Lehite Temples."