Who Are We?
~ Who Are the Latter-day Saints? ~
! Hoorah, Hurrah, Harrah for Israel** !
prepared by Don R. Hender
Perhaps mostly to the default perceptions and
declarations of those who are anti-Mormon, the world has very little
understanding as to exactly who we as the Latter-day Saints are. Even we
most frequently will only go as far to introduce ourselves as members of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But that only presents us
as just another Christian church and religion. And the enemies of the
'Mormon Church' make quick work of that to the gullible and ignorant who will
believe anything 'bad' which is stated about someone or some group with
whom they are unacquainted with and know virtually nothing about. Thus I would
like to take a different approach and that is to state up front and foremost
just who we as Latter-day Saints are.
The short of it is that we hold to the fact that we represent those who are a
remnant of Ephraim, the House of Israel and also those who are his companions.
Or as it might be said in the book of Ezekiel, 'We are of the seed of Joseph,
particularly of Ephraim and further all of the gathered house of Israel associated
with Ephraim as Israel and all such of his companions who have joined themselves
to them to become one with Israel. (Ezekiel 37:16) And in addition to
the purpose of bringing about the 'Restoration of Jesus Christ's Church',
we have been gathered and brought forth for the purpose of the fulfilling of
the Covenant of Abraham unto the blessing of all the nations of the earth
as to the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to the covenant of God which God
made unto father Abraham, which was of those ancient promised blessings of the
father from the beginning, even that Everlasting Covenant of the Plan of Salvation.
We are the only orgainized religion which has come forth by the power of God
to enable all of God's children, past, present and future to receive of the
blessings of God through and by way of the Gospel principles and ordinances
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto the bring to pass the immortality and
eternal life of man. And unto this end has the Church been established that
by and through the work of the Lord's temples all his children may be blessed
with the blessings of heaven.
Where other religions preach 'elitism', salvation for the few, that is them
and theirs and none others; we teach and provide a means and way whereby all who ever
have, do or will live to receive and obtain the blessings of God as promised
to the fathers including Abraham with whom God has so covenanted that through
his seed, including Jesus Christ, the world might be saved.
And though we will not accomplish all this prior to the Second Coming, we
are laying the foundational preparations for Christ's Second Coming both in
providing him a people and church of his own where unto he might come and
begin his thousand year reign as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
And we exclude no one, but say to everyone, 'Come and join with us and learn of
and follow the ways of the Lord.'
How Are We Doing This?
As not to overwhelm, let a brief statement of what is being done surfice.
It is now scholarly recognized that the early Christian church established
by Jesus and his apostles practiced such as baptism for the dead (1
Corinthians 15:29). Jesus
taught that, 'Except a man be born of the water and of the spirit, he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' (Jesus to Nicodemus John 3) To this
end such initial saving ordinances in behalf of the dead have been and are
being performed in the LDS temples for our dead ancestors. Thus by such
gospel priesthood ordinances being performed for the dead are the dead
enabled to obtain these blessing according to their own agency of acceptance
and compliance to living the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then they also may
be judged according to men in the flesh at that great and last judgment day.
Wait says someone, you mean to tell me that everyone who ever has lived will
at some time receive the blessing of baptism vicariously performed by a
living person in their behalf? How can that be possible for all who have lived
since Adam? Just what does one think members of Jesus Christ Church will be
doing for that 1000 year Millennial day? Will they merely be playing harps
and singing praises to God? NOT. They will do that but they will also be
doing the Lord's work and the Lord's temples will be in operation endlessly
over that course of time until that work is done that the words of Christ
might be fulfilled to the benefit and blessing of all the children of God.
Now back to being of Joseph and Ephraim, that is being of Ephraim as Israel
and his companions. It is through Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph that the
blessing of the fathers have remained, that is the covenant blessing of God
the Father that
salvation and exaltation would be provided through Jesus Christ our Savior
(D&C 27:10). Those covenant blessings through Christ were promised to God's
children before the foundation of the world. Then through such as Adam,
Enoch, and Noah, and then through such as Abraham, Issac, Jacob and Joseph
has those covenants and blessing been carried forward to the blessing of
every nation, kindred, tongue and people. And thence by the birthright
responsibility has it fallen upon the sons of Joseph by the adoption and
blessing of Jacob upon the heads of Ephraim and Manasseh, Ephraim being the
primary recipient, and upon whom the responsiblity has fallen to fulfill the
covenant of Abraham to the blessing of every nation, kindred, tongue and
people. (see Genesis 48 and JST Genesis 48)
This is a very candid and forth coming explanation of just who the Latter-day
Saints are of the Church of Jesus Christ. We not only seek our own blessing
and reward in the Heavenly Kingdom of God, but we by covenant obligation are
also fulfilling the covenant of Abraham to the end of providing the blessings
of God to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. A substantial number of
the scattered remnant of Ephraim has been so gathered to even the fulness of
the blessings being open to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. The
kingdom has been cut out and is rolling forth and during that time and
duration of the Lord's Second Coming and Millennial reign it will fill the
earth to the blessing of all of mankind. That they may have the
opportunity to the blessings of heaven pending their own exercise of personal
agency and acceptance.
Hurrah for Israel! That is who we are, of Joseph the son of Jacob, which is
of Ephraim as Israel and his companions of the latter day. Beyond seeking
the blessings of God in our own behalf, we further seek them to be upon all
of mankind, that is all of God's children. As agents of God, our intent is
to serve Him in his cause and purpose of bringing to pass the immortality
and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39).
** ISRAEL: Israel means to 'prevail with God' or 'one who has prevailed
with/in God'. It was the name given to Jacob after his 'wrestle' with the Lord wherein
he did prevail in obatianing the covenant blessings of the Lord. And thus all who have
descended from Jacob has become know as the house of Israel. But that in itself it a
limiting view of what it really means to be of 'Israel', that is to have prevailed in
God. And where as the children of Israel are viewed as being the children of God or God's
people, the concept of 'God's People' and those who have 'Prevailed in the Lord' goes
all the way back to Adam and his children. Though the 'word' may not have been 'israel'
in the Adamic language, the meaning and the concept was the same. That is there always
has been those who are named and called as those People of God who have Prevailed in the
Lord. Thus from the ends of the earth, from Adam to and through the final judgment there
has been 'Israel', a people who has prevailed in the Lord. And though a times their numbers
may have been few, such as in the days of Noah, they have always been and have always
prevailed. Thus ALL who come unto Christ and Christ's Church and Kingdom
are of Israel. They are all Israel and His Companions. 'Hurrah for Israel!'
rev. 2 October 2015