Sunday, March 30, 2008

McConkie on the Gathering of Israel Being in Own Lands

Since the 1940s there has been a movement among LDS Church leaders to discourage people from leaving their countries and settling in the United States. Most of this stems from the lost of priesthood leadership in these countries. Spencer W. Kimball as well as others have made it an emphasis. Bruce R. McConkie spoke of it throughout the 1970s and 1980s. An interesting thing that occurred in the 1980s was that hundreds of Samoans moved to Jackson County Missouri area in hopes that the second coming was near. Here are a couple examples of Elder McConkie's talks when he accompanied President Kimball on a series of worldwide regional and area conferences.

Bruce R. McConkie in the 1974 Priesthood Leadership Session of the Stockholm Area Conference said: "In our day we are called to accept the gospel, to join with the saints of God, and to remain in the nation of our natural inheritance. In our day we are called to build up the kingdom at the ends of the earth, so that the revelation shall be fulfilled which says that when the Lord comes he will find “the Church of the Lamb of God … upon all the face of the earth....” (1 Ne. 14:12.) In that day the number of the saints will be “few” as compared to the forces of evil, but they will nonetheless be established “among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.” (1 Ne. 14:11.)

And you may rest assured that when these Saints are well established, as they will be, in all parts of the earth, they will be organized into stakes of Zion. These stakes will then be the gathering places for the righteous in the various nations.

Remember it was the Lord who put us here. He sent us from his presence to be Germans and Japanese, to be Koreans and Turks, to be Russians and Brazilians. He is the one who scattered Israel and decreed that “the covenant people of the Lord” would be “upon all the face of the earth” at the day of his Second Coming. (1 Ne. 14:14.) He knows the probationary experiences we need while here in mortality. He knows who he needs to labor in all the various parts of his vineyard. What a blessed privilege it is for us to have the call that is ours and to labor in the field of our present assignment!"

In the 1974 Mexico, City Area Conference Elder McConkie said: "“Now I call your attention to the facts, set forth in these scriptures, that the gathering of Israel consists of joining the true Church, of coming to a knowledge of the true God and of his saving truths, and of worshiping him in the congregations of the Saints in all nations and among all peoples. Please note that these revealed words speak of the folds of the Lord, of Israel being gathered to the lands of their inheritance, of Israel being established in all their lands of promise, and of there being congregations of the covenant people of the Lord in every nation, speaking every tongue, and among every people when the Lord comes again.”

Even Ezra Taft Benson in the late 1970s and early 1980s spoke about gathering being to wherever a stake of Zion exists. I am sure that despite these pleadings that there has been a terrible drain of priesthood from countries such as Mexico. I lived on the border of Mexico in Calexico which is a sister city of Mexicali, Mexico. We had many former bishops and stake presidents throughout the southern region of California, as well as in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas who had served in such callings when only in their 20s. I wonder if it is still a persistent occurrence today?

1 comment:

MormonZero said...

While serving a mission in Ecuador we had one of those large area conferences via satellite and President Uchtdorf (not too sure on the spelling here) spoke on this very issue. He told the Ecuadorians a story about his youth and the destruction of Germany and his family's inclination to migrate elsewhere. However, with the counsel of church leaders his family decided to stay. He then went on to discuss the need for people to stay in their own lands to help the church grow. It makes a lot of sense to me then and makes sense to me know. He also explained it in the context of not just helping the church grow but helping Ecuador be a better place.

However, I can't help to have a lot of empathy for the Ecuadorians. The bitter truth is that you nor your children can ever really become wealthy without selling out to the corrupt politics. In the U.S. you can get better healthcare, jobs, homes, education, and plus in many areas there are more Mormons (if you happen to be a mormon ecudaorian). As a youth I dreamed of what fantastic job I might have as professional athlete or businessman or lawyer or whatever. Many of the kids I talked to in Ecuador dreamed of living in the United States or Europe.