Mormon Scripture – The Articles of Faith/Part 26

By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2004
The tenth LDS article of faith is about the gathering of Israel, the restoration of the Ten Tribes and the building of Zion or the New Jerusalem in America. But how do the events foretold here match history? Marvin Cowan explains.

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The tenth LDS Article of Faith is about the gathering of Israel, the restoration of the Ten Tribes, the building of Zion or the New Jerusalem in America, Christ’s earthly reign, the earth’s renewal and paradisiacal glory. LDS Apostle James Talmage said all Israelites including spiritual Israel (Mormons) are to be gathered to Zion, but the Jews (Judah) will be gathered to Jerusalem (Articles of Faith, p. 337). Joseph Smith said the Lord spoke to him in 1831 saying,

Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations…Go ye forth unto the land of Zion… The righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy (Doctrine and Covenants [D. & C.] 133:7 & 9; 45:71).

In 1851, LDS Apostle Orson Pratt wrote:

Joseph Smith… professes to have received, through revelation and commandments from God, a dispensation for the gathering of the Saints from all nations. Now the doctrine of the gathering of the Saints in the last days must either be false or true; if false, then J. Smith must be an imposter. It matters not how correct he may have been in all other points of his system, if this one point—the doctrine of the gathering be false, he must be a deceiver. Why? Because he professes to have received this doctrine by direct revelation and commandment (Divine Authority, p. 5).

But LDS leaders now tell foreign converts to the LDS Church to remain in their own lands (Ensign, March 2000, page 79). What would Orson Pratt say about that?

In 1856 Brigham Young said,

Here (Utah) is the gathering place, and here we will gather and stay until God says, “Go somewhere else.” If that is back to Jackson County, do not be scared, for as the Lord lives this people will go back and build a great temple there (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, p. 278).

Lorenzo Snow, the fifth LDS Prophet, also said,

Many of you will be living in Jackson County and there you will be assisting in building the temple; and if you will not have seen the Lord Jesus at that time you may expect Him very soon, to see Him, to eat and drink with Him, to shake hands with Him and to invite Him to your houses as He was invited when He was here before (Latter-Day Prophets Speak by Daniel H. Ludlow, p. 254; also see Deseret News, June 15, 1901).

The LDS Apostles and Prophets mentioned above taught what they did because Joseph Smith claimed he received a commandment from the Lord in 1831 to gather the LDS in Jackson County, Missouri. But Mormons still haven’t gathered in Missouri and all of the people living 172 years ago in 1831 died long ago! Yet, this “revelation” of Smith’s is still in Mormon scripture. When the Lord returns He won’t just shake hands with people and eat and visit them in their houses in Missouri like Lorenzo Snow said. He will take believers with Him to live eternally in His Father’s house (John 14:1-3; I Thess. 4:13-18).

LDS Apostle, James Talmage said when Christ comes,

With Him too, will come Enoch and his band of the pure in heart (the City of Enoch); and a union will be effected with the kingdom of God, or that part of the kingdom of heaven previously established as the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) on earth; and the kingdom on earth will be one with that in heaven…the thousand years (millennium) immediately following the establishment of the kingdom are to be specially characterized, and so be different from both proceeding and succeeding time. The gathering of Israel and establishment of an earthly Zion (in Jackson County, Missouri) are to be effected preparatory to His (Christ’s) coming. His advent is to be marked by a destruction of the wicked, and by the inauguration of an era of peace (Articles of Faith, p. 367-369).

Brigham Young also said,

In the Millennium, when the Kingdom of God is established on the earth in power, glory and perfection, and the reign of wickedness that has so long prevailed is subdued, the Saints of God will have the privilege of building their temples, and of entering into them…and they will officiate (be baptized, married etc. by proxy) for their dead…If we ask who will stand at the head of the resurrection in this last dispensation, the answer is—Joseph Smith, Junior, the Prophet of God. He is the man who will be resurrected and receive the keys of the resurrection, and he will seal this authority upon others, and they will hunt up their friends and resurrect them when they shall have been officiated for, and bring them up. And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then man will be sealed to man until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of Priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene. This will be the work of the Latter-day Saints in the Millennium (Discourses of Brigham Young, p.116).

But Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). Jesus never gave the “keys of the resurrection” to Joseph Smith or anyone else. John 1:4 declares, “In Him (Jesus) was life” and Jesus declared in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Since Jesus is the source of life, no one else can restore life to those who died.

This Article of Faith ends with the earth being renewed and receiving its paradisiacal glory “when the Father and Son make this planet their habitation” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 531). The Pearl of Great Price says in Abraham 3:3 that God now dwells near Kolob, the greatest govern­ing planet of all. But, Doctrine and Covenants 78:62 says people who die and go to the Celestial Kingdom “will dwell in the presence of God and His Christ forever and ever.” Unless Celestial Kingdom, Kolob and the renewed earth are the same place, God has a serious problem be­cause Mormonism teaches that God has a tangible body like ours that can only be in one place at a time (Mormon Doctrine, p. 319).

For those who want to understand more about the LDS view of the future compared to the Biblical view, we recommend the last chapter of my book Mormon Claims Answered. Next article we will discuss the eleventh LDS Article of Faith.

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