The Doctrine of Christ- Part Four

Up to this point in this series we have discussed the fact that the Book of Mormon provides a clear and precise bullet point listing of what the “Doctrine of Christ” is, which is not provided in the New Testament. This demonstrates that the significance of the Book of Mormon is much greater than simply providing a second witness of Christ.

In this fourth part of the series we are going to change directions a little bit and note how the baptismal protocol for Gentiles differs slightly but significantly from the protocol for the House of Israel. We will do this by analyzing an amazing controversy that took between Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. We will also use passages from the New Testament to show that Joseph Smith was completely inspired to do what he did.

Gentiles vs. House of Israel

One of the most foundational and important revelations of the LDS restoration movement is section 20 of the current LDS Doctrine and Covenants. It was known as the “Articles and Covenants” of the church because it provides the protocol for managing the affairs of the church including the different priesthood functions and how to administer the ordinances of salvation.

In conjunction with other revelations brought forth by the prophet Joseph Smith, it reiterates the “Doctrine of Christ” as does the Book of Mormon. Section 20, along with section 42 which was known as the “Law of the Church” was copied numerous times by hand and sent with early LDS missionaries as a teaching and proselytizing tool.

I have pointed out in previous blog posts that Oliver Cowdery had received a personal revelation from the Lord on how he was to build up the church. He received it one year before he and Joseph penned Section 20.  It is not surprising that the two revelations had similar content in them. Much of the content in both revelations is derived from the Book of Mormon. 

Unlike the majority of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants which are given word for word in the words of Christ, Section 20 and a few other notable revelations read more like they were written by inspired men, similar to how most of the passages read in the New Testament and Book of Mormon. Section 20 and the revelation to Oliver Cowdery were both inspired by the Holy Ghost while drawing upon the precepts found in the Book of Mormon.

I Command you in the name of God!

One of the controversial and revealing events that happened in the very early part of the restoration movement had to do with Section 20. It had to do with a short doctrinal insert into the revelation made by Joseph, after Joseph and Oliver had written it. Oliver Cowdery discovered the inclusion before the revelation was published and he came unglued.

He sent a letter to Joseph commanding him in the name of God to erase the words he had inserted. He implied that the insertion represented “priest craft”. A brief account of the event as recorded in Joseph Smith’s history is provided below:

 “Whilst thus (and otherwise at intervals) employed in the work appointed me, by my Heavenly Father; I received a letter from Oliver Cowdery—the contents of which, gave me both sorrow and uneasiness…. He wrote to inform me, that he had discovered an error in one of the commandments” The revelation in question was no less than the Church’s Articles and Covenants and the allegedly erroneous passage described the requirements for baptism. What Cowdery found objectionable were the words “and truly manifest by their works that they have received the Spirit unto the remission of their sins.” As Joseph remembered the letter, Oliver wrote “I command you in the name of God to erase those words, that no priestcraft be amongst us.”[1]

Here is the entire passage in D&C 20:37 with the above mentioned insertion in caps:

37 And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism—All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, AND TRULY MANIFEST BY THEIR WORKS THAT THEY HAVE RECEIVD OF THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST UNTO THE REMISSION OF THEIR SINS, shall be received by baptism into his church.

Joseph was quite offended by the rebuke and the implication of priest craft. He responded to Oliver in a letter asking-

“by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter, or erase, to add or diminish to or from a revelation or commandment from Almighty God.”

Joseph followed up his letter with a visit to Oliver and the Whitmers who had sided with Oliver on the issue. The following is Joseph’s summation about the labor and perseverance that it took to persuade them that his insertion was accurate-

“It was not without both labor and perseverance that I could prevail with any of them to reason calmly on the subject. However, Christian Whitmer at length became convinced that the sentence was reasonable, and according to Scripture; and finally, with his assistance, I succeeded in bringing, not only the Whitmer family, but also Oliver Cowdery to acknowledge that they had been in error, and that the sentence in dispute was in accordance with the rest of the commandment”[2]

According to Joseph’s account, he was finally able to win Cowdery and the Whitmers over to the modified protocol.

Curiously, he does not share how he won Oliver and the Cowdery’s over.

He provides no scriptural support for the insertion in his brief summary of what happened.

Did he expect future generations to simply go on faith that he knew what he was doing?

Did he expect future generations to search the scriptures to determine for themselves that Joseph was inspired in what he did?

One way that we know that Joseph was in the right is that in a later revelation the Lord sided with Joseph and admonished Oliver to not command Joseph since Joseph held the keys of the mysteries:

And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church; For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead. ( D&C 28:6&7)

It would appear as if the change that Joseph Smith made had to do with some the mysteries of the gospel that were not commonly understood at the time.

As I have studied the history of the church over the years, I have found that most of the time I come across something difficult to explain pertaining to the history of the LDS restoration movement, there are fascinating answers to be found by doggedly searching out the issue.

Often there is an interesting explanation behind it that enlightens and amplifies and provides another witness of the veracity of the LDS restoration movement and the divine calling of Joseph Smith.

This controversy between Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith concerning an apparent change in the baptismal protocol is no exception. I believe I have arrived at a reasonable explanation of this issue that sheds light on several things.

The Book of Mormon Supports Cowdery’s Contention

Before I share what I have found in solving this doctrinal dilemma I want to acknowledge why I think it was not unreasonable for Oliver Cowdery to be concerned.

It is not difficult to see why Oliver was initially incensed at the insertion that Joseph Smith had made because in virtually all of the related passages in the Book of Mormon we are informed that the remission of sins takes place AFTER water baptism is performed. The declaration that baptismal candidates should experience and declare having had a remission of sins BEFORE baptism does sound novel when viewed through the eyes of the Book of Mormon! Note a typical passage from the Book of Mormon:

For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.[3]

As previously noted in this post, Oliver had previously written down a revelation on how to build up the Church of Christ based on content from the Book of Mormon. This revelation began- “”A commandment from God unto Oliver how he should build up his church[4]

Oliver later received a revelation from God through Joseph Smith, confirming that the revelation he had previously written down about how he was to build up the church, was true-

 Now, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:

 Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.

 And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;

 4 For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.

 Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.

Oliver had successfully written down a revelation from the Lord by the power of the Holy Ghost on how  he (Oliver Cowdery) should build up the Church.

Obviously, he had studied the baptismal protocol from the Book of Mormon. Therefore, he saw an apparent dilemma when he compared what the Book of Mormon teaches to the protocol Joseph had modified in Section 20:37.

I am going to suggest a few things that may provide additional context in resolving this dilemma.

First, it is important to understand that the reason Oliver got his own independent revelation on how to build up the church had to do with the fact that he would be preaching the gospel to the House of Israel at a future time, during the marvelous work and a wonder in the 3rd watch. Yet Section 20 was given to Joseph and Oliver pertaining to the protocol to be used at that time, by those of the restored Gentile Church.

Modern revelation makes clear the fact that Oliver will be preaching the gospel during the marvelous work and a wonder[5]. In that setting, it makes sense that Oliver will be following the protocol in the Book of Mormon, while the joint revelation to Joseph and Oliver that would be canonized in the Book of Commandments was directed to the Gentile Church of the restoration.

I am going to suggest that the Gentile protocol differs somewhat from the protocol in the Book of Mormon for the House of Israel for valid reasons.

The Gentiles Need to be Adopted back into God’s Family

The point I want to make regarding the apparent discrepancy in baptismal protocol to the gentiles in modern revelation compared to the one given to the House of Israel in the Book of Mormon, is that the Gentiles have a different status and calling before God than the rest of the House of Israel.

Paul: The Apostle to the Gentiles

To better understand the distinction between the Gentiles and the House of Israel, it is interesting to observe that Paul, who referred to himself as the apostle of the Gentiles[6], is the apostle that revealed and discoursed upon the “law of adoption” and the doctrine of predestination in his epistles to the believing Gentiles.

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace… Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”[7]

Those principles pertaining to predestination and the law of adoption only show up in Paul’s epistles to the Gentiles. It is beyond the scope of this series to delve at lenghth into those tenets. I simply make note to show that the Gentiles were in a different status than their brethren of the House of Israel.

Although having an Israelite heritage, Paul was a Roman citizen that identified himself with the converted Gentiles. His writings show that he classed himself among the believing gentiles to which he was called by God to preach.

The above passages seem to emphasize the fact that his gentile converts “first trusted” in the gospel messages and after they “believed” they were “sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise”. The implication therein is that they were cleansed from sin PRIOR to the ordinance of baptism.

My interpretation of the above passages is supported by one of the most compelling and instructive conversion stories in the New Testament. It is the story of a Gentile named Cornelius who was visited by an angel and instructed to have his men send for a Man named Peter and ask him what he should do.

While hearing the gospel preached by Peter, Cornelius and his friends and family were overcome by the spirit and they received the “gift of the Holy Spirit” after believing and PRIOR to being baptized:

44 ¶While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

The conversion of Cornelius and his household in which the gift of the Holy Ghost was received prior to baptism is clearly contrary to the order provided in the 2nd chapter of Acts and the Book of Mormon, both of which are addressing the baptismal protocol for the House of Israel in general.

In the second chapter of Acts, the Judean members of the Church received the gift of the Holy Ghost after having been baptized by water.

Other Jews who witnessed the event were instructed by Peter to first be baptized by water for the remission of sins, prior to receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost:

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

 37 ¶Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

 41 ¶Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

As you can see, the New Testament differentiates the baptismal protocol between Jews and Gentiles and it provides supporting evidence for the doctrinal accuracy of the insertion that Joseph made in the baptismal protocol in section 20.

It is not unlikely that Joseph Smith used the conversion of Cornelius to convince Oliver and the Whitmers that members of the Gentile church could indeed receive a remission of sins prior to baptism. The conversion story of Cornelius is so powerful and instructive and faith promoting that I am providing the entire chapter below:

1 There was a certain man in Cæsarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,

 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.

 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

 7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;

 8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

 9 ¶On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:

 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

 12 Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

 17 Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made inquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,

 18 And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.

 19 ¶While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.

 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.

 21 Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?

 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.

 23 Then called he them in, and lodged them. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

 24 And the morrow after they entered into Cæsarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.

 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him.

 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.

 27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.

 28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

 29 Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

 30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,

 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

 32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.

 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

 34 ¶Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judæa, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;

 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

 44 ¶While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?

 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Joseph’s refusal to back down to Oliver Cowery when commanded to erase the insertion from the baptismal protocol was inspired and justified. It is totally congruent with the Gentile protocol as contained in the Bible.

Clearly, God knew what he was doing through Joseph Smith and scriptures support the fact that the believing Gentiles can be cleansed and receive the Spirit prior to being baptized.

“..he was lost, and is found!”

I would suggest that the parable of the prodigal son had reference to the two kingdoms of Israel led by the tribes of Judah and Ephraim and that the lost son represented the Ephraimite Gentiles who became mingled among the Gentile nations and thus, the “prodigal son” of the two kingdoms of the house of Israel.

The symbolism of how the Father went out to meet the returning son and to place on him the ring and the robe BEFORE the son made it back into the fathers kingdom may well be symbolic of how Gentiles are allowed to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost and a remission of sins PRIOR to being baptized into the body of Christ.

8 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The believing gentiles represented the portion of the Kingdom of Israel who had been “cast away” out of God’s sight during Old Testament times[8].

As the “outcasts of Israel” they differed from the “dispersed of Judah”. The dispersed of Judah maintained their tribal identify and bloodline and eventually gathered back to the Old World Jerusalem where the Jews as a nation would reject and crucify Christ.

The believing Gentiles are the remnants of the Kingdom of Israel that had been assimilated into the heathen nations. Because of this, they had lost their tribal identity as well as having mingled their blood with other nations.

Paul explains that the believing of the Gentiles that have accepted the gospel are among the “elect” of God who had been predestinated to be adopted back into the house of Israel after having been cast out among the nations.

I would suggest that this may well be the reason God was revealing a slight but very significant change in the baptismal protocol for the Gentile church.

Gentiles must have the Old Blood Purged

With this in mind, let us visit an interesting observation made by Joseph Smith about how the manifestation of the Holy Ghost acts upon a Gentile compared to how it acts upon the literal seed of Abraham:

“This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body; for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham.[9] 

I believe the above observation by Joseph Smith shows a significant distinction between the Jew and Gentile. It may be a very important key to understanding why Gentiles need to first be cleansed and converted by the Spirit before being baptized while those of the literal seed may receive their remission of sins after the physical act of baptism.

The Ephraimite-Gentiles Have Been Hidden from the World

As pointed out in previous posts, the kingdom of Israel that David reigned over eventually split into two kingdoms; the Kingdom of Judah and the Ephraimite Kingdom of Israel. Shortly after the division took place, the Kingdom of Judah became dispersed but maintained their tribal identity and bloodline. They would later re-inhabit the Old World Jerusalem.

However the Ephraimite Gentiles became mixed among the nations.

Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.[10]

Much of the content of the Book of Hosea addresses the apostate condition of both Judah and Ephraim, both anciently and in the latter days, and how they go whoring after idols. In chapter 5 the Lord makes the following declaration;

“I will go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early”[11]

The above passage is referring to how the Lord returned to his place and how revelation to the church dried up after the Gentile offended God by rejecting the fulness. It informs us that the believing gentiles as a group will once again seek the face of God “in their affliction”. The above declaration is quite hopeful. It foretells that the time will come when Ephraim will return from their apostate condition and seek the face of God.

The Book of Mormon prophetically documents that fact that the time would finally come when the Ephraimite Gentiles would repent:

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. Although it is probably commonly assumed by many latter day saints that the repentance of Ephraim took place during Joseph Smith’s ministry, there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that is not the case. [12]

In a question and answer period conducted in March of March of 1838 after the gentile church had rejected the fullness, Joseph Smith prophesied about the future return and repentance of the gentiles who would be in a scattered condition. He revealed that these remnants are those that held the right to priesthood and that they would return to the power they had lost :

7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?

 8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.

 9 What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?

 10 We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th,

 7th, and 8th verses. The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.

Early during Joseph Smith’s ministry the Lord invited the saints to respond during the short time that the Lord would be “near”, implying that he would not always be near. In Section 88 the Lord provides a parable about twelve kingdoms and how each kingdom would have joy in basking in the countenance of the Lord for a specific period of time. The parable follows up with this declaration:

“I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—“[13]

It is interesting to compare the above admonition to the following one found in the 55th chapter of Isaiah which was prophesying about the future ministry of Joseph Smith.

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near..”

The Book of Hosea spends much of its narrative speaking of the apostasy of Ephraim in both ancient time and modern times however it assures us that Epraim would eventually repent at the appointed time and seek the Lord early. It informs us that the Lord will heal Ephraim of their backsliding and they shall no longer worship idols:

“I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him… Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?”[14]

The Ephraimite Gentiles Have a Leadership Role

Ancient scripture notes that the Ephraimite Gentiles have a leadership role in nurturing and gathering the other remnants of Israel.

“Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders”. [15]

Modern revelation is consistent with this theme addressing the role of Ephraim in the following three sections:

  • Section 64
  • Section 113
  • Section 133.

The Book of Commandments was the canon if scripture given to the Ephriamite Gentile church while the Doctrine and Covenants was canonized with both Jew and Gentile in mind as trajectory and demographic of the church was changing.

Section 113 had not been given by the time that the Book of Commandments to the Ephraimite Gentiles was published.

Amazingly, even though Section 64 and Section 133 had been received long before the 1833 Book of Commandments was published, the narratives about the role of Ephraim were not published in it.

Section 133 was omitted altogether from the Book of Commandments even though it was received within days of section one which was published as the preface of the Book of Commandments. The Lord would later reveal that it was to be the appendix of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Although Section 64 was part of the Book of Commandments, the last several verses containing information about the role of Ephraim was mysteriously missing. It is not clear why it was not included in the Book of Commandments.

It appears likely that the Lord was keeping the leadership role of Ephraim hidden until after the Ephraimite-Gentile church became condemned and the demographics changed with the second major wave of missionary work going to the House of Israel across the great waters.

When the Doctrine and Covenants was published in 1835, it did contain the content regarding Ephraim from section 64 and 133.

Notice how section 64 reveals that only those of Ephraim will not be cut off from the land of Zion when the appointed time for the redemption of Zion takes place:

And the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land. For, verily I say that the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim, wherefore they shall be plucked out. Doctrine and Covenants 64:35-6

Notice however, that Section 133 provides a broader context showing that after the non-Epraimite portion of the tribes composed of Judah and the lost ten tribes finally come forth during the second harvest, they will receive their blessings by the hand of the Epraimites: 

And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. 27 And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. 28 Their enemies shall become a prey unto them,

  29 And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land. 30 And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.

 31 And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.

 32 And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.

33 And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.

  34 Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows.

  35 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

This reveals that the first gathering and redemption has to do exclusively with Ephraim who is given the greater blessing from the Lord. Eprhaim will then gather their brethren to receive their blessing during the afternoon of the first resurrection.

This is the reason Ephraim is not mentioned as one of the 12 tribes that make up the 144,000 as documented in the chapter 7 of the Book of Revelation. It is because the entire 144,000 were of mixed lineage. All of them were of Ephraim as well as one of the other tribes. The 144,000 will minister to and gather the other remnants of Israel who will come forth in the second harvest.

According to the patriarchal blessing of Joseph Smith given by Oliver Cowdery in September of 1835, Joseph Smith was from the “House of Ephraim[16] and yet few if any other sources reveal that Joseph Smith was an Ephriamite. The role of Ephraim was a closely guarded secret during the early part of the restoration movement.

Truly Ephraim is of the rightful priesthood lineage and yet he hath been mixed among the nations and his identity has been hidden from the world. Joseph Smith was informed that he and his fellows were of the rightful literal lineage but had been hidden from the world:

8 Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers— 9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—  Doctrine and Covenants 86:9

The deeper one delves into the holy word of God the more dynamic and inspired Joseph’s ministry becomes. The Doctrine of Christ is true. The baptismal protocol to the Gentiles as contained in Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants is true.

After the Gentiles rejected the fulness by the end of 1835, the dispensation of the Gospel of Abraham was secretly ushered in and the knowledge of the gospel was taken across the great waters to the House of Israel. This transitionary period saw the restoration of the ancient kingdom of Israel with descendants of the Kingdom of Judah taking over the leadership roles of the apostate modern church. This fulfilled the prophecy of Christ in 3rd Nephi 16 when he said the Gentiles would not have power over them:

And I will show unto thee, O house of Israel, that the Gentiles shall not have power over you; but I will remember my covenant unto you, O house of Israel, and ye shall come unto the knowledge of the fulness of my gospel.

Nevertheless, the times of the Gentiles is about to come in again and Ephraim shall be restored to his rightful position. The day will come when Judah will no longer vex Ephraim and Ephraim will no longer envy those of Judah that currently sit in the seat of Moses, making themselves judges over the people when in fact the only authority they have been given is to minister and preach about the fullness of the Gospel.

“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, saying, The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.

All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, they will make you observe and do; for they are ministers of the law, and they make themselves your judges. But do not ye after their works; for they say, and do not.”[17]

Those who think it is the responsibility of Ephraim to humbly submit to the Jewish leaders that currently rule the modern apostate church simply because they have some priesthood keys or commission, would do well to compare the JST of Matthew 23 as shown above, to the King James Version.

The Inspired Version also warns about the danger of following the priesthood leaders who have been placed over us as our guides once they become transgressors. Doing so will only result in going to hell with them:

Seek unto my Father, and it shall be done in that very moment what ye shall ask, if ye ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive.

And if thine eye which seeth for thee, him that is appointed to watch over thee to show thee light, become a transgressor and offend thee, pluck him out.

It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God, with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

48 For it is better that thyself should be saved, than to be cast into hell with thy brother, where their worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:45-48


[1] Cited in Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989–1992), 1:319-20.

[2] History of the Church, 1:105

[3] 2nd Nephi 31:17 See also 3 Nephi 1:23, 12:2 30:2, Moroni 8:25 Nevertheless, there are place in the Book of Mormon and the Bible that speak of people getting the Holy Ghost and/or a remission of sins prior to Baptism.

[4] The revelation to Oliver is contained in “Unpublished Revelations” by Collier or you can view it on line at the Joseph Smith Papers Project

[5] Oliver’s future calling during the Marvelous Work is clarified in Section 18

[6] Romans 11:13 “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office”  See also Acts 13:46 “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

[7] Ephesians 1:5-13

[8] Hosea 9:17 My God will cast them away because they did not hearken unto him and they shall be wanderers among the nations

[9] TPJS pg 149

[10] Hosea 7:8

[11] Hosea 5:15

[12] Ether 4:6-7

[13] D&C 88:62

[14] Hosea 13:4-8

[15] Isaiah 49:22 see also 1 nephi 21:22, 22:6, 8, 2 Nephi 6:6


[17] JST Matthew 23:1-3

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