Remnant, part I

When I started, I doubted a blog was an appropriate venue to address a topic like the “remnant” of the Book of Mormon. This is still an experiment.
If you’re new to this blog, you need to go back and start reading sometime in April. Then you’ll have the foundation for understanding this topic as we move forward.
Undoubtedly there will be those who don’t bother to read what has been written previously. They will make comments here about something that was thoroughly discussed in earlier posts. Just grin and bear it.  For the most part, I will be ignoring it.
I’ve tried to remain focused even when there have been questions good enough to answer. But to start answering even very good questions is to hijack the topic and run afield. There have been occasional asides, but that’s because of human weakness and the inability to resist temptation.
We are trying to fit our traditions about the remnant and their role into the framework of the Book of Mormon. From what we’ve seen so far, it should be clear that we, the Latter-day Saints, are identified as “gentiles” in the Book of Mormon. We are not ever identified as the “remnant.” As a result, the prophecies about the “remnant” are not prophecies about us. They are primarily descendants of the Lamanites, but have some mixed blood of Nephi as well. They are grouped by the Lord into several different clans, and remain identified as “Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites… the Lamanites, and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites.” (D&C 3: 17-18.) These are those who, though diminished in numbers, are still with us. They retain both a separate identity before the Lord and prophetic inheritance from previous covenants. They are not us and we are not them.
There are two great books which discuss two different views of where the Book of Mormon geography took place. One is by Sorenson, titled An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. The other is Prophecies and Promises by Meldrum and Porter.  Sorenson says Central America, Porter and Meldrum say North America.
It is not necessary to resolve the question of Book of Mormon geography in order to have a discussion of this topic. The place could be either Central or North America. The result of the last genocidal wars was that the fighting spread into the Finger Lakes region of New York, with Moroni ultimately placing the plates in the Hill Cumorah, where Joseph Smith recovered them.  Therefore, there were descendants of these people located in the North American area by the time the Book of Mormon record ends. Furthermore, during the time between 400 a.d., when the record ends, and the time of post-Revolutionary American in 1805, when Joseph Smith was born, there were many undocumented migrations of people we know nothing about other than what anthropology tells us, which is not much.
So when we get to Joseph Smith and his comments about the “descendants of the Book of Mormon” he is speaking at a time disconnected from the events in the Book of Mormon. I take Joseph’s comments at face value, and presume them to be correct. When Joseph talks about the ancestors of the American Indians being the Book of Mormon people, I accept that.
Also, I think it is better to let the words of prophecy speak for themselves and not impose our own beliefs or traditions on them. We tend to see in the words meanings that are harmonious with our own preconceptions. It is better to abandon those preconceptions and see if the words give us any better or different explanation of what is to happen.  That way we are not misinformed by the traditions of men, even if they come to us from very good men. 
I do not judge what others believe, explain or teach. They are entitled to their beliefs. But each of us are entitled to believe and take at face value the words of prophecy in scripture, even if they collide with some other notions. I think it better to abandon the ideas which collide with scripture than it is to wrestle the scriptures to conform with the ideas.  But you can do as you choose.  I really do claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience, and believe it my duty to allow all men the same privilege. I will let them worship how, where, or what they may. That’s not a hollow statement for me. I believe in complete freedom of conscience for you and for me. We are accountable to God only for what we believe. Until the COB correlates that out of the Articles of Faith by editing instead of by conduct, I will continue to believe in, and practice the principle of freedom of belief. [That is why so many comments critical of me appear in this blog and why relatively few of those praising me are allowed through.] 
So, with that brief introduction, we turn to the trail we’ve been on for some time. The remnant….

10 thoughts on “Remnant, part I

  1. Denver,

    I look forward to this discussion. I offer one observation, though. While the descendants of Lehi are a remnant, they are not the entire remnant of Israel spoken of in scripture. A few points where we can just let the scriptures speak:

    1. 1 Nephi 14: 1-2 indicates that all those from among the Gentiles (the word means “nations of the world” as used in the King James Bible) who “harden not their hearts” will be numbered among the seed of Lehi. He becomes our covenant father regardless of who our birth father might be.

    2. 1 Nephi 10: 14 speaks of the natural branches of the olive tree (Lehi’s descendants being one of the branches) are the remnants of the house of Isreal. Notice the plural remnants.

    3. 2 Nephi 21: 11 speaks of the remnant being gathered from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, etc. These are not the likely places where you will find only the remnant that are descendants of Lehi.

    When Nephi speaks of the remnant of Lehi’s seed he is applying the broader remnant prophecies of the Old Testament to his seed. Those prophecies apply equally to all those who hear the voice of the Holy One of Israel and enter into a covenant relationship with God.

  2. As a somewhat proud (unfortunately so and prophesied as such) GENTILE.. I am looking forward to reading about the true remnant in the coming weeks… I guess my non refundable one way plane ticket to Missouri will go unused.

    I think I speak for the majority who have read this blog of our expressed gratitude for the past couple of months of the online tutorials on how to read the Book of Mormon… especially the words of Nephi.

    Yes.. and now the remnant.. you have our ears. :)

  3. I’m quite excited! Thank you for sharing the testimony you have of Nephi and the words of our Savior. They have inspired me and I am left with a grateful heart which now ponders much.

  4. Denver said
    “I really do claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of my own conscience.”

    My wife talked to a sister at church today. Her and her family has all but stopped coming to church. She is gifted/sighted and must have said something that some one didn’t understand or thought was wrong. She no longer feels welcome, my wife assured her that she has at least one friend at church.

    I always thought the 11th Article of Faith was meant for outside the church, perhaps times have changed and it’s application is needed inside.

  5. What if the spirit tells you to worship God according to HIS WORD given to the early saints… which in our modern worldy church will be quick to ex you for…

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