Remnant, part III

To understand our own history and prophecies, we have to look at the events taking place during the time of the revelations. The composition of people and geography were dynamic, and changing. They were anything but static. So when you look at events at a specific moment in time, you have to look at the composition of the land and people to understand what was occurring.  If you miss it by a decade, you miss what was revealed.

From the beginning of the United States the Indians were a political problem in need of a solution for both State and Federal government. Various conflicts and battles resulted in temporary solutions. By the time we reach the end of the 1820’s, a more general solution was needed. Andrew Jackson came to office with a plan to deal with the problem.

Andrew Jackson wanted the Indians removed from the eastern portion of the United States, from Maine to Florida and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.  He wanted them all relocated. Congress responded and passed the Indian Relocation Act of 1830, forcibly removing all Native Americans to the area owned by the United States and acquired from France in the Louisiana Purchase. The land used for the relocation was just beyond the western border of Missouri. In fact, the border town of Independence was located immediately adjacent to, and in the center of the relocated Indian tribes. You couldn’t get any closer, and you couldn’t be any more in the center than in Independence, Missouri.
Joseph Smith, expressing that “one of the most important points in the faith of the Church of the Latter-day Saints . . . is the gathering of Israel (of whom the Lamanites constitute a part)” seemed pleased that the American government was assisting in a gathering of the Lamanites, anticipating that it would facilitate their reception of the gospel. He even included in his history a positive statement expressing President Jackson’s views on the Native Americans (History of the Church 2:357–60).

By 1831, after the relocation was well underway, the closest a white man could get to the Indians was Independence, Missouri. When you left Independence heading west, you would encounter the line dividing the land and establishing the territory the Federal Government exercised control over for the benefit of the tribes located there. It was for this reason the revelation given in 1831 refers to the “line running directly between Jew and Gentile.” (D&C 57: 4.)  The “Jew” being the American Indian tribes located across the border, and the “gentile” being the Americans, including the LDS missionaries at the time. 

In 1830 the first missionary to the “Lamanites” was called. Oliver Cowdery was told, among other things, the following: “And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment. And now, behold, I say unto you that it is not revealed, and no man knoweth where the city Zion shall be built, but it shall be given hereafter. Behold, I say unto you that it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.” (D&C 28: 8-9.)

Later the same month, Peter Whitmer was told to join Oliver in this first mission to the Lamanites. That revelation states: “Behold, I say unto you, Peter, that you shall take your journey with your brother Oliver; for the time has come that it is expedient in me that you shall open your mouth to declare my gospel; therefore, fear not, but give heed unto the words and advice of your brother, which he shall give you.  And be you afflicted in all his afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance; for I have given unto him power to build up my church among the Lamanites;” (D&C 30: 5-6).  Both Oliver and Peter Whitmer were assigned to find these Lamanites, preach the Gospel, and at some point a place where the city of Zion would be built would be revealed. So the Lamanite conversion and revealing of the city of Zion were to happen together. The remnant being required for Zion to be built.
You will recall we discussed earlier how the gentiles will only “assist” in building the city. The remnant will do most of the work. (3 Nephi 21: 23, discussed already.) So this mission was to locate the relevant group, and also locate the relevant spot where the remnant would construct the city of Zion.
In addition to Oliver and Peter, Parley Pratt and Ziba Peterson were called to serve this same mission. They went to Indians in New York, passed through Kirtland, and wound up in Independence at the end of the journey some time later. The Kirtland detour resulted in a large conversion, including Sidney Rigdon. Kirtland was the largest LDS congregation.
Well, the asides are interesting, but the point is that the search for Lamanites began in New York, and moved along until its end in a location center of the relocated tribes. It is immediately next to the boundary separating the Indians and whites, or in the language of revelation, “the Jews and gentiles.”
By the following year, Joseph came to visit the area. With the large relocated group of Lamanite nations across the border, and Independence the site from which all of them could be reached, Joseph received this revelation in July, 1831: “Hearken, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints.  Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion.  And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse.  Wherefore, it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints, and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile;  And also every tract bordering by the prairies, inasmuch as my disciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold, this is wisdom, that they may obtain it for an everlasting inheritance.” (D&C 57: 1-5.)
At that moment in time we had everything in one convenient place. A land to build Zion, the remnant next door, central location, approval from God, and the permission to proceed with establishing a temple.

People, places, opportunities and events would all change between the early 1830’s and the mid 1840’s.  Dramatically. And so we will follow a few of those events and the accompanying revelations which reflect the dynamic changes among both the Saints and the Lamanites.

11 thoughts on “Remnant, part III

  1. What a fascinating look at church history. It is taking on a whole new light for me, and I can hardly wait to see what is next. I have such a love for the lamanite people, and I am hopeful you have some insight of what can be done to help them come unto Christ. Their present situation for so many (brought about by their final relocations to the reservations, and the destruction of their people and taking of their lands) is such a devastating plight. For many they live in such poverty and destitution with all dignity stripped with continued government handouts and a forced way of life. Even for those who make it off the reservations it is difficult at best to overcome those effects. I for one, am anticipating that day when the prophecies you have reviewed with us come to pass, and they are able to return to the Lord and be His people once again. I also pray that this Gentile will be worthy to be among their associates.

  2. I started to write these comments yesterday after reading the first two posts regarding the remnant, then this morning I see there is a third post which covered some of what I had written so I’ll modify my comments so as not to repeat what Denver has written about the Lamanites in Missouri and the quotes from the D&C.
    The internal evidences from the Book of Mormon regarding “this land” as well as the “land of liberty” (1N 13:30; 1N 22:7; 2N 1:7-11; 2N 10:10-11, 19; ), and the idea of these people being a “free people” (3N 21:4, Ether 2:12) disavow all other possibilities than America as being the promised land of Lehi and Nephi. (And as an aside, since they were sent into the Promised Land to replace the prior inhabitants (Jacob 5:43-44), it is further evidence that the Jaradites were also living somewhere between the Atlantic and Pacific, and between the Canadian and Mexican borders.)
    It’s astonishing that so many of our scholars can simply ignore the internal evidences of the scriptures and turn elsewhere to find the provenance of the land of the Nephites, and try to place them in a location which belonged to another people.
    My favorite personal evidence from within the Book of Mormon is a wonderful chiastic structure found in 3rd Nephi 20:43 – 3N 21:10, where the central feature is the Savior speaking of the Remnant, the Gentiles and of this land of freedom.


  3. 3Nep 20:43 – 3Nep 21:10. The central feature of the structure is 3N 21:4 which is spot on regarding Denver’s discussion of the remnant.

    A 43 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 44 As many were astonished at thee—his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men—
    B 45 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him, for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
    C 46 Verily, verily, I say unto you, all these things shall surely come, even as the Father hath commanded me. Then shall this covenant which the Father hath covenanted with his people be fulfilled; and then shall Jerusalem be inhabited again with my people, and it shall be the land of their inheritance.
    D 1 And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place—that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion; 2 And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign—for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father,
    E shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people
    F who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them;
    G 3 Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you;
    H 4 For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people
    G by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto
    F a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;
    E 5 Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity; 6 For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;
    D 7 And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things—it shall be a sign unto them,
    C that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.
    B 8 And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. 9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
    A 10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.


  4. Additional volumes supporting a North American provenance for the Book of Mormon:

    Christ in North America by Delbert Curtis.
    The Lost Lands of the Book of Mormon by Phyllis Olive
    The Lost Tribes of the Book of Mormon by Phyllis Olive
    This Land by Wayne May (4 volumes)
    Return to Cumorah by Duane Aston
    The Other Side of Cumorah by Duane Aston

    And some valuable volumes regarding ancient peoples coming to North America would include:

    In Plain Sight: Old World Records in Ancient America by Gloria Farley
    America BC – Ancient Settlers in the New World by Barry Fell
    Saga America by Barry Fell
    Before Columbus by Cyrus Gordon

  5. I don’t think anyone argues that the promises made about “this land” in the last days are referring to America; and Denver has well pointed out that the remnant will be found in America, which this post and his next posts will discuss. Denver has been very careful not to get into a discussion of where the Book of Mormon story took place other than quoting Moroni that is was somewhere on this continent (North and Central America). The promises are for America (which is on this continent), but that does not settle where the stories of the B of M took place. No place on this continent fits our current cultural thinking (we visualize the world as a globe from space that we conveniently zoom into locations i.e google world) of where Mormon used his cultural/military/localized thinking to describe the book of Mormon map. Every theory I have read for where B of M story took place has its several major short comings (Meldrum and Sorenson included). We become prideful when we insist that someone has the only right way to think about it even though I would really like to know where the lands were and think it is an important subject. I’m totally interested right now in following where Denver is taking us to see who the promised remnant are or might be.

  6. I read a paper that stated that Oliver and his missionary group missed getting to St Louis in time to meet and teach a group of four Northwestern Indians who had traveled to St Louis, being sent by the Lord there to find the white man’s book of heaven which they said was not the Bible. The paper did not give a reference for this story. Has anyone else heard of this story and if it is credible or not? If this story is true, I wonder how this missed opportunity has affected the whole restoration movement among the remnant.

  7. I was particularly interested in both of the A sections of Jeff’s chiasmus concerning the “servant.

    “A 43 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently; he shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 44 As many were astonished at thee—his visage was so marred, more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men— ”

    This part certainly sounds like it is referring to the Savior, yet he is the one speaking.

    “A 10 But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”

    This one says he will not be “hurt” which both Jesus and Joseph Smith were.

    And both passages would make you think it may be somewhat yet future. Any thoughts?

  8. Avraham Gileadi has many insights, but he still seems to be married to the scholar’s tools of intellectualism and his interpretations may suffer on these points from time to time. He is less so than other scholars, so he still seems to be a good source for some prophetic insight.

    Just a point to remember, in my opinion.

  9. Jesus was marred, but Father healed Him via resurrection, showing to the wicked that they really cannot thwart the work of God. Joseph was marred, but I think he’ll be back in a resurrected status to finish putting Zion where it belongs.

    Work of the Father is bringing to pass the exaltation or “godification” of man/woman. So my question is: how do we obtain a fulness from the Father in our day… in a day when the chuch has rejected so much, when zion is hardly the talk of the saints, where truth is not sought for properly?

    The nation tried to prevent us from living all of the gospel Joseph re-established. Now it feels the church rejects the choice or free agency to teach and live it in our day (and has done nothing to petition the saints and the government to go back to the familiat building part of things). Isn’t mormonism all about recieving and living all the truth we can according to Joseph and so many other great leaders? Doesn’t true happiness come from obeying all the words and commandments given us by God in our own books… books which we will be judged by?

Comments are closed.