The Vexing of Ephraim- Part Two

 

Spiritual Genetics

It is important to understand that when I speak of Ephraim and Judah in this series, one must pay close attention to context. Sometimes I am speaking in broad terms, referring to the two fragmented kingdoms of Israel after the Kingdom that David and Solomon reigned over had been split into to separate divisions. They were known as the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel.

Other times the prophetic narrative that I am addressing may be more focused on the specific promises associated with Ephraim and Judah and their respective posterities having to do with the rights of lineal priesthood.

In some cases, I may take the liberty of inserting “Ephraim” and “Judah” into scriptural passages and paraphrases, in an effort to help the reader avoid getting side-tracked by differing and sometimes confusing terminology that basically means the same thing. This series will be difficult to understand for those that are not familiar with my previous posts and the secret history of Mormonism series.

The Danger in Making Categorical Judgments

As we continue in part two of this series I want to caution the reader about making simplistic, categorical, black and white assumptions and judgments about who is an Ephraimite and who is from Judah in the latter day church. This is difficult because our focus is on the prophetic narrative having to do with Judah vexing Ephraim and Ephraim’s envy of Judah and how it relates to the friction taking place in the church at this time. We need to avoid labeling specific personalities among contemporary latter day saints. Doing so is a messy business.

As messy as making these types of judgments is, I am going to violate my own counsel and pin these labels on some of the high profile leaders during Joseph’s ministry when remnants from Ephraim were being united with remnants from Judah. I am going to do this in an attempt to illustrate how and why the trajectory of the church was taking place. I will attempt to demonstrate how the higher law of the fullness of the gospel having to do with New Testament Christianity and the New Covenant was being replaced with a lesser ancient covenant that had been given in the Old Testament. I will be drilling down into the implications of why the secret ushering in of the “gospel of Abraham” in 1836, was so significant.

Even through there was a defined and identifiable commission to take the gospel to the ancient inhabitants of the kingdom of Judah after it had been taken to Ephraim, some of these remnants of the kingdom of Judah were already in America and finding their way into the church according to the divine providence of God. They were actually being positioned to take over the leadership of the church after it became condemned.

Conversely, the missionary effort that grew out of the transference of the keys of the gathering in section 110 and, Joseph’s declaration that “something new must be done for the salvation of the church”, and the limited commission given to the Twelve Apostles in 118, was not limited to gathering descendants of the ancient kingdom of Judah.

Joseph Smith explicitly told the missionaries that they had been commissioned to gather both the “dispersed of Judah” AND the “outcasts of Israel”. Hence, Ephraimite/gentiles were still being gathered and united into the restored kingdom of Israel along with those of Judah, despite the fact that the fullness of the gospel had been rejected by rebellious Ephraim.

Changing Demographics in the Quorum of the Twelve

The quorum of the Twelve Apostles went through a huge transition in a very short period of time. I would suggest that in 1835, the original quorum of the Twelve apostles was populated by both Judah (Jews) and Ephraimites (gentiles).

The first, short lived part of the ministry of the Twelve Apostle was focused on taking the gospel to the gentiles in America. After the Gentile nation of America rejected the fullness, the quorum of the Twelve were commissioned to take the gospel to the remnants of the House of Israel on the other side of the great waters.

In my opinion, members of the original quorum of the Twelve like Thomas Marsh, David Patten and John Boynton were poster children for what a  Gentile/Ephraimite is, while Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball had “Judah” stamped across their foreheads.

By the time the preaching of the gospel to the gentiles in America had officially come to an end and the commission to take the knowledge of the gospel to the House of Israel across the great waters was given in section 118, most if not all of the gentile members of the quorum of the twelve had been spun out of the quorum. (interestingly, they had been given unconditional third watch promises that they would return to complete their ministries when the fulness returns)

Replacements of these Ephramite-Gentile apostles who “had fallen”, like John Taylor, Williard Richards and Wilford Woodruff, appear to have been from the ancient kingdom of Judah.

Understanding this provides much broader context to the succession crisis that would eventually take place in Nauvoo after the martyrdom. It explains why the existing Ephraimite leaders such as Rigdon, Marks, and Law were focused on trying to reform the condemned church, root out polygamy and get back to the simple restored gospel found in New Testament Christianity.

Conversely, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and many of their apostolic brethren had become deeply entrenched in ancient ritual and also in what they considered to be the ancient Abrahamic order of polygamy and the ancient patriarchal, Old Testament worldview. For those of us that are committed to understanding and living the fullness of the Gospel and the law of Zion, the transition of power to the Twelve following the martyrdom is a horror story. However, if we take a few steps back to see the forest instead of a few trees, we can see that it was necessary for a leadership transition to take place since the fullness of the Gospel would not come in again for another four generations. Indeed, Christ’s prophecy in 3 Nephi 16 had foretold that the gentiles would not have power over the House of Israel after they become united with the church:

 “the Gentiles shall not have power over you..

Remarkably, the succession crisis resulted in a transferal of leadership authority from Ephraim to Judah, creating a resurgence of envy and a vexing between the two tribal families that would carry on into future generations within the condemned church.  

Contemporary Context

The purpose of this series is to provide historic and prophetic context to the friction currently taking place in the modern, corporate LDS church. Again, caution must be taken in the judgments being made toward contemporary personalities.

One cannot categorically assume that everyone being spun out of the modern church are of Ephraim and their fellows or that every one of the leaders passing judgment on them are of Judah and their fellows.

It is not that simple.

There certainly are some from Judah that become critical and leave or get kicked out. Additionally, it is not unheard of for an Ephraimite to be called to leadership positions in the church and passing judgments on others, (although an Epraimite making it into the highest quorums of the church is highly unlikely in my opinion. Initiation into the highest quorums requires a blind loyalty to the arm of flesh that few Epraimites are capable of demonstrating.)

The Mingling of Tribal Seed

Another incredible dynamic that makes it very difficult to draw lines in the sand as to what a person’s tribal lineage is, has to do with the mixing of the tribal gene pool as eloquently pontificated by Brigham Young himself.

After acknowledging that the disobedient and rebellious Ephraimite-gentiles had, as a nation been cut off, he noted that the gospel was still being taken to everyone in the hope of converting what he refers to as the blood of Jacob. He also noted that descendants of the same parents could represent completely different tribes of Israel and indeed, some of the children may not even have the blood of Israel:

Though the Gentiles are cut off, do not suppose that we are not going to preach the Gospel among the Gentile nations, for they are mingled with the house of Israel, and when we send to the nations we do not seek for the Gentiles, because they are disobedient and rebellious.

We want the blood of Jacob, and that of his father Isaac and Abraham, which runs in the veins of the people. There is a particle of it here, and another there, blessing the nations as predicted.

Take a family of ten children, for instance, and you may find nine of them purely of the Gentile stock, and one son or one daughter in that family who is purely of the Blood of Ephraim. It was in the veins of the father or mother, and was reproduced in the son or daughter, while all the rest of the family are Gentiles.
(JD 2:269)

In previous posts we have covered the fact that Brigham Young has a view of gentiles that is not consistent with what the Book of Mormon reveals. Nevertheless, Brigham Young’s acknowledgement that the gentiles had been “cut off” is consistent with the prophecy of Parley Pratt that the servants of the Lord would be called out of the midst of America and sent to take the message of the gospel to foreign nations:

In July, 1836, while lodging at the house of brother Joseph Fielding, the voice of the Lord came unto me in a dream, saying: “Parley!” And I answered: “Here am I;” for I was in a vision of the Spirit and knew that it was the Lord who spake unto me. And he said: “When did I ever reveal anything unto you in a dream and it failed to come to pass?” And I answered: “Never, Lord.” “Well, then,” He continued, “go unto the people and cry unto them with a mighty voice that they repent, lest I smite them with a curse… there shall be a famine in the land; and not only a famine for bread, but a famine for the Word of the Lord; for I will call my servants out from their midst and send them to the nations afar off.”

One of the commonly understood events during Joseph life that has been covered up in future generations is that fact that the gentiles in America had been cut off because of their rejection of the fulness of the gospel, resulting in a famine in the land of hearing the word of the Lord. Clearly, revelation dried up and the heavens became sealed. That is easily demonstrated by opening up the D&C and seeing how revelation began to dry up after the fulness was rejected in December of 1834 and had completely dried up a few years prior to the martyrdom .

During the last four generations, there has been a mixing of bloodlines. I would suggest that bloodlines from both ancient kingdoms may be found within the same family because of intermarriages between the two blood lines.

The Twelve Apostles Become the Tribal Rulers

Little did anyone know that the Lord was positioning the quorum of the Twelve, which was primarily from the kingdom of Judah at the time of the succession crisis in Nauvoo, to wrest the leadership of the church away from the existing Ephraimite leaders.

It is interesting that despite the admonition and declarations of the Lord and his servant, Joseph Smith, to the twelve, that their commission was limited to missionary work in the mission field, they would become the ruling class in the church within a matter of years.

The Quorum of the Twelve had been expressly told during the Kirtland era that the authority of their calling and commission did not allow them to preside or officiate in organized stakes of Zion

 The “twelve apostles have no right to go into Zion or any of its stakes where there is a regular high council established, to regulate any matter pertaining thereto”[1]

Nevertheless, Joseph would begin putting the apostles in leadership positions within the established church during the Far West and Nauvoo eras. For instance, Joseph released David Whitmer and his associates from the presidency of the church in Far West and installed Brigham Young and others in their stead.

Was this contrary to their calling as apostles?

Not necessarily.

Those paying attention to the secret history of Mormonism that is not commonly understood, realized that there probably was no such thing as an organized stake by the time the saints migrated to Far West. Once the saints defiled the Kirtland temple and were forced to flee from Kirtland and Jackson County, the fulness of the Gospel was being withdrawn from the gentiles in America and there were no properly organized stakes of Zion anymore, making the entire world the mission field. Hence, technically, the Twelve were simply beginning to preside over the condemned church in the mission field during the Far West and Nauvoo eras.

One way to characterize the succession crisis that took place shortly after the martyrdom of Joseph Smith is that the saints were rejecting the leadership of an Ephraimite prophet in favor of a Jewish Kingship.

Initially, the saints were offered what seemed to have the makings of a benevolent dictatorship directed by Brigham Young and his brethren of the Twelve. Within a matter of years, the centralization of power would take place as a new “first presidency” would be installed and a kingly rule set in place.

Choosing a King instead of a Prophet

In view of the horrific roller coaster ride that the saints had experienced under the leadership of Joseph Smith, with the ominous revelations that he had brought forth following the failure to live the law of Zion and the name change of the church, and the persecution that followed, one can empathize with the desire of the saints to have a very practical, pragmatic leadership council at the helm, instead of an apocalyptic prophet spewing out dark prophesies.

A big part of Sidney Rigdon’s campaign for leadership was built upon the premise that he was still receiving revelation similar in nature to the vision he and Joseph had experienced when section 76 was received.

The bottom line is that the succession crisis presented a repeat of what had happened in ancient Israel when the people chose to be ruled by kings rather than prophets.

Getting back to the foundational passage of this post, it is apparent that both Ephraim and Judah both inherently and by right of patriarchal ordination, consider themselves to have been endowed with the right to preside among their fellow tribesman and church members.

For this reason alone, there was bound to be contention, competition, envy and vexing between the two tribes any time they are united together. One of the remarkable things that Joseph Smith accomplished is the reuniting together of the two ancient kingdoms previously led by Judah and Ephraim, into the latter day kingdom of Israel.

Common and Differentiating Personality traits

At this point, I am going to suggest some general personality traits of both tribes, noting that they share some of the same traits in common while also have some differentiating traits.

Those of Judah in the modern church take pride in following the designated prophet, seer and revelator with unquestioned loyalty, no questions asked. They rigidly know that God will not allow the “church” to be led astray.

They rely heavily on the interpretation of scripture from the hierarchy and their designated scholars. They are extremely rigid and pharisaical in their effort to live the “letter of the law” and a gospel of works. They love ritual. They resent those who cannot blindly obey and that are not good followers.  They are arrogant, prideful and unteachable.

Ephraim, on the other hand, takes pride in their own ability to receive “personal revelation”. They place a greater value on it than on the inspiration coming from those that preside over the tribe when their personal revelations contradict those of the established hierarchy.

They question ritual that is not expressly contained in the scriptural definitions of what the fullness of the gospel is. They are always questioning human priesthood authority and the decisions of those that preside. They love the simplicity of Biblical Christianity and feel they are saved by grace through faith.

They don’t like to be told what to do and do not make good followers. They focus on the “Spirit of the law” rather than the “letter of the law” and they distain those that mindlessly do what they are told by those in authority. They, like those of Judah, are arrogant prideful and unteachable.

Prophecy informs us that the day will come when the Gentiles (Ephraim) will repent and become clean before the Lord by exercising the same kind of faith as the brother of Jared.

For the Lord said unto me: They shall not go forth unto the Gentiles until the day that they shall repent of their iniquity, and become clean before the Lord. And in that day that they shall exercise faith in me, saith the Lord, even as the brother of Jared did, that they may become sanctified in me, then will I manifest unto them the things which the brother of Jared saw, even to the unfolding unto them all my revelations, saith Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of the heavens and of the earth, and all things that in them are. Ether 4:6-7

It also informs us that Judah will also become clean after their pain.

And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord, to dwell in his presence day and night, forever and ever. D&C 133:35

It is interesting to note that many of the converts flowing into Nauvoo from over the great waters, were from the ancient kingdom of Judah. They were generally poor and uneducated and yet, within just a few generations, many of those family lines became educated and very successful in both the business world and the church.

Many of the high profile Mormon families of today that have amassed fortunes in business and have aspired to high positions in the church, are from pioneer stock descending from the converts from the kingdom of Judah that converted to the church and migrated to America across the great waters as a result of the missionary mandate given in section 118..

It is actually quite shocking to realize that the prominence of most of the Ephraimite founding fathers of Mormonism such as the Cowdery and Whitmer and Johnson and Joseph Smith Jr.  families, as well as so many of the early gentile leaders that left the church during and shortly after the Kirtland era, is negligible compared to to the prominence of many of the converts that came into the church after 1838.

The following prophecy by Joseph Smith to the Nauvoo Legion may provide information relative to this topic:

“You shall be called the first Elders of the Church and your mission will be to the nations of the earth. You will gather many people into the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, which will be the center for the gathering of our people, and you will be faithful because you have been true. There will be many that come in under your ministry, but because of their much learning they will seek for high positions and seek to raise themselves in eminence above you. But you soldiers of the Nauvoo Legion will walk in low places unnoticed; and you will know all that transpires in their midst. And those that are your friends will be my friend and this I will promise to you my brethren of the Legion, that I will come again to lead you forth. But now I will go to prepare a place for you so that where I am you shall be with me.”

Joseph seems to be prophesying that those in the Nauvoo Legion, would bring converts into the church from the nations of the earth, many of which would eventually rise above them because of their much learning and their intentionally seeking of high position.

The remarkable thing about this prophetic narrative pertaining to the vexing and envying that takes place between Ephraim and Judah is that it is congruent with and provides clarity to, the two separate and distinct gatherings mentioned in section 133 and the two separate and distinct redemptions mentioned in Ether 13.

In part three of this series we will discuss the astonishing realization that Ephraim and Judah will be gathered to two distinctly different geographical locations during the events of the end times when the Lord’s servants return during the third watch and that they will be redeemed according to two different and distinct gospel covenants.

Again, I must caution again making black and white assumptions. We know from some passages of scriptures that there will be some from Judah that are among the elect of God. I am simply addressing a general prophetic theme.

In the mean time, try to abstain from vexing or envying anyone. It  is bad form. Just keep watching.

 

Click here for part three

The Vexing of Ephraim- Part Three

 

 

 

[1] Minutes of a Grand High Council, 2 May 1835, in Patriarchal Blessing Book, p. 2, LDS Church Archives

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