Top Menu

Why Look to “the Stick of Joseph” as a Standard – Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Called After the Land of Mormon

We learn about the remnant of Manasseh God led to Joseph’s land from an abridged set of records known as the Book of Mormon.[1]  The Lord called a man named Mormon to prepare this unique book from sacred records kept over the course of many generations by a righteous branch of Manasseh’s remnant.[2]  According to His wisdom and plan, the Lord then caused Mormon’s abridgment to be manifested in these latter days by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof.[3]

Mormon was a lineal descendant of Lehi and his son Nephi, the two men he featured as the opening authors of his abridgement.[4]  These men lived nearly a thousand years (a pre-flood lifetime) before him.  And like them, Mormon had been called to minister the word of the Lord to their people so they might exercise faith in the promised Messiah, whom they confessed was Jesus Christ.[5]

III Nephi 2:96,97,102And behold, I am called Mormon, being called after the Land of Mormon—the land in the which Alma did establish the church among this people, yea, the first church which was established among them after their transgression.  Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people, that they might have everlasting life … I am Mormon and a pure descendant of Lehi …

Mosiah 9:66,67 Yea, the Place of Mormon, the Waters of Mormon, the Forest of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer!  Yea, and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to His praise forever!

Mormon 1:1,6 And now I, Mormon, make a record of the things which I have both seen and heard, and call it the book of Mormon … And I, Mormon, being a descendant of Nephi—and my father’s name was Mormon…

At least two of Mormon’s statements in these quotes serve to highlight a connection his abridgement has with the land or place called Mormon and an enduring covenant that was made there.[6]  These statements are: 1) his father’s name was Mormon, and 2) he was named after the land called Mormon, not specifically after his father.  It is my understanding that this father-son pair having the name Mormon evidences a pattern found in our Lord’s teachings, that of saying “verily, verily” to emphasize the veracity and importance of a truth.[7]

In fine, these two connections noted by Mormon involving his name accentuate the combined importance of the land or place of Mormon and the covenant his forebearers made in the waters thereof.  Specifically, they point to the blessing God holds in store for everyone who repents and enters the same covenant that was made in the waters of Mormon, which is the very covenant the Lord has restored in these latter days with the advent of Mormon’s abridgement.[8]

Not only do the name connections highlighted in the previous paragraph amplify the link between Mormon’s abridgement and the land of Mormon, but they also link the land of Mormon to Joseph’s land and the promises God made to Joseph in Moses’ prophetic blessing cited at the beginning of the introduction to this study.  These relationships are discussed further in the next few chapters.  Before taking up those discussions directly, however, it will be helpful to highlight here some additional observations about Mormon’s abridgment.

For his abridgment, Mormon drew upon the writings of wise men called and chosen by the Lord to declare His words to their people as children of Israel.[9]  Their prophetic writings are especially important to our Lord’s ancient covenant people today because they reveal why and how the Lord placed this righteous branch of the house of Israel in Joseph’s land.[10]  With the restoration of this record to Joseph’s posterity in 1830, the Lord is now in the process of completing the yet unfulfilled covenant promises He made to Joseph and to his forefathers.[11]

II Nephi 2:6-9And great were the covenants of the Lord which He made unto Joseph.  Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day; And he obtained a promise of the Lord that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel—not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord—that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days in the Spirit of power unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.

I Nephi 4:28,29Wherefore, our father [Lehi] hath not spoken of our seed alone, but also of all the house of Israel, pointing to the covenant which should be fulfilled in the latter days, which covenant the Lord made to our father Abraham, saying: In thy Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

II Nephi 12:73,74And it shall come to pass that My people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and My word also shall be gathered in one.  And I will show unto them that fight against My word, and against My people, which are of the house of Israel, that I Am God and that I covenanted with Abraham, that I would remember his seed forever.

With God’s covenant promises in mind, recall again how Moses testified in his blessing of Joseph that Joseph and his posterity would inherit a precious land, one that was endowed with many precious things.[12]  Should we not expect then for this precious covenant land to yield precious things unto the Lord, like a bountiful harvest of His plain and precious words and a set of plain and precious records revealing and confirming His covenant promises to Joseph?  I, for one, believe we should.  For, should not the good fruit of His Spirit spring forth unto the Lord from a faithful remnant of Joseph in the land promised to him?[13]

Recall also how Joseph was taken out of Israel’s camp for a season prior to feeding his father’s family during a famine.  As Pharaoh’s vizier (a type of prime minister), he was led and empowered by the Lord God of Israel to store up a rich supply of grain in Egypt.[14]  Could not God likewise separate a righteous remnant of Joseph’s descendants, those of his true sons, from the rest of Israel for many seasons to restore and feed them all yet again, this time spiritually through a rich store of God’s living and abiding words—His heavenly manna, the bread of heaven by which all mankind must live?[15]  This study answers yes to these questions.

Through the Book of Mormon, we have received more than just a sacred history of a people to whom Mormon and the authors before him were called to serve.[16]  As prophesied by these and other prophets of old, the Lord is now holding this book in His hand with the Bible as one stick for manifesting Himself to all nations by His Spirit of power.[17]  Our Lord’s purposes in revealing Himself as the Word of God through the words of this book are to regather the house of Israel to their covenant lands in keeping with His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to Joseph.[18]

Isaiah 11:11-13And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.  The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

Jeremiah 31:10,11Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.  For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

Ezekiel 37:21-23And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.[19] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.

Amos 5:15 – Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.

Zechariah 10:6 And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them again to place them; for I have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.

Prophecies in the Book of Mormon parallel prophecies like these from the Bible.  Here are a few.

II Nephi 5:36-41And behold, according to the words of the prophet, the Messiah will set Himself [as the Word] again the second time to recover them; Wherefore, He will manifest Himself unto them in power and great glory, unto the destruction of their enemies, when that day cometh when they shall believe in Him; And none will He destroy that believeth in Him.  And they that believe not in Him shall be destroyed—both by fire and by tempest, and by earthquakes and by bloodsheds, and by pestilence and by famine.  And they shall know that the Lord is God, the Holy One of Israel…

II Nephi 11:38-40And as the Lord God liveth, There is none other name given under heaven, save it be this Jesus Christ of which I have spoken, whereby man can be saved.  Wherefore, for this cause hath the Lord God promised unto me that these things which I write shall be kept and preserved and handed down unto my seed from generation to generation: that the promise may be fulfilled unto Joseph that his seed should never perish as long as the earth should stand.

II Nephi 12:42,43… I [the Lord] shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember My covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set My hand again the second time to recover My people which are of the house of Israel, and also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed, and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of My mouth unto your seed.

Jacob 4:3And in the day that He shall set His hand again the second time to recover His people is the day, yea, even the last time, that the servants of the Lord shall go forth in His power to nourish and prune His vineyard; And after that the end soon cometh.

Ether 6:8-10Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built up upon this land, And it shall be a land of their inheritance; And they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; And they shall no more be confounded until the end come when the earth shall pass away; And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old, save the old have passed away and all things have become new.  And then cometh the New Jerusalem; And blessed are they which dwell therein, For it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they which are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph which were of the house of Israel.

In summary, with Mormon’s abridgement firmly in hand with the Bible, the Lord God of Israel is now actively reassembling a remnant of His ancient covenant people to their covenant lands.[20]  All birthright promises of the everlasting covenant the Lord made with Abraham (according to his faith) and his fathers before him and his posterity after him (according to their faith) will soon be realized.[21]

By these covenant promises we can see how the coming forth of the records preserved in the Book of Mormon is an authentic and lawful move of the Holy Spirit of the living God of Israel.  This unique movement of God was spoken of by His holy prophets of old[22] and, as will be discussed in the next chapter, it is especially significant because it honors the birthright of Israel that was bestowed upon Joseph and his two eldest sons.[23]

[1] Alma 8:3 with I Nephi 1:164-171 & I Nephi 3:183-192; see also Mosiah 1:22-24 & Alma 17:56 with I Nephi 5:18-21

[2] Words of Mormon 1:4-13 with I Nephi 2:99, I Nephi 5:224 & Alma 17:31-49; See “Introduction” in the RCE.

[3] Book of Mormon Title Page with Mormon 1:1, I Nephi 1:164-171, I Nephi 3:183-192 & Alma 8:3


[5] I Nephi 1:7-25, I Nephi 3:1-28 with I Nephi 3:126,127 & I Nephi 2:42-92; II Nephi 1:122-128 & II Nephi 15:1-18 with Book of Mormon Title Page, Words of Mormon 1:1-17, III Nephi 2:102, Mormon 1:1-6 & 4:17 & Moroni 7:1-53

[6] Mosiah 9:28-68 with Mosiah 11:114-207

[7] cf. John 3:3,5,11 & John 5:24,25 with Mormon 1:1,6

[8] D&C 20:1a-1d with D&C 83:7a-7e & D&C 83:8a-8c; cf. Mosiah 9:28-68 with Alma 3:3-108 & Alma 5:24-29

[9] Words of Mormon 1:1-27 with I Nephi 1:8-27, I Nephi 3:44,45, I Nephi 3:184-209, II Nephi 5:1-7, II Nephi 11:39-59, etc. and with Alma 9:63-73 & III Nephi 13:1-10; (cf. I Nephi 1:17 with Words of Mormon 1:1-27; see also

[10] II Nephi 6:1-4, II Nephi 6:103-106 & II Nephi 7:1-4 with Book of Mormon Title Page & Ether 6:1-13

[11] cf. Book of Mormon Title Page, I Nephi 4:14-29, I Nephi 5:132-152, I Nephi 6:7-56, I Nephi 7:4-70, II Nephi 2:4-40, II Nephi 11:158-160, II Nephi 12:71-78, Jacob 3:4-6, Helaman 3:44-62, III Nephi 9:60-106, Mormon 2:48-54 with Genesis 12:1-3 & Genesis 15:1-7; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34 & Hebrews 8:1-13 with Jeremiah 31:9,10 & Jeremiah 31:35-40; cf. Romans 11:1-36 with Romans 12:1-3

[12] Deuteronomy 33:13-17 with I Nephi 5:129; note: Moses spoke the word precious five times, the number of grace, over Joseph’s land!

[13] I Nephi 3:183-205, II Nephi 1:18-26 & II Nephi 14:4 with Isaiah 29:1-24 & John 15:1-8; cf. D&C 17:2a-2g with D&C 2:6a-e & D&C 3:8a-12

[14] Genesis 50:15-21 with Genesis 45:4-28

[15] Alma 21:54-60, Mormon 3:24-33 & III Nephi 7:18-29 with Genesis 50:15-21 & Exodus 16:4-35; cf. Deuteronomy 8:3 with John 6:26-63

[16] cf. II Nephi 11:80-160 & Moroni 10:1-7 with Isaiah 29:1-24, Jeremiah 31:9-34, Ezekiel 37:19 & Joel 2:23-32; cf. D&C 26:2a,2b & D&C 2:4a-6e with D&C 17:2c-2g

[17] cf. BoM Title Page & Mormon 2:39-54 with Isaiah 11:10,11, Isaiah 29:9-24, Jeremiah 31:9-12 & Ezekiel 37:15-28; cf.  III Nephi 9:54-57 & 10:2-25 with I Nephi 4:16-29, II Nephi 5:36-41, II Nephi 11:78-160, II Nephi 12:74-99, III Nephi 9:93-95, etc.; cf. I Nephi 1:54 with Deuteronomy 33:13-17

[18] Romans 11:1-36 with John 1:1-18 & Hebrews 1:1-4

[19] cf. D&C 108:5c-g with Ezekiel 37:21-23

[20] Isaiah 11:10-13 & Hebrews 8:8-12 with Psalm 77:20 & Isaiah 63:12; cf. Ezekiel 37:15-23 with II Nephi 2:4-24

[21] Galatians 3:16 & Colossians 1:15-18 with John 8:56 & Hebrews 11:8-19; cf. Genesis 9:1-17 with Genesis 6:9

[22] Alma 21:54-60 & Ether 6:1-13 with II Nephi 2:1-50; cf. John 3:14-17 with Helaman 3:46-48; cf. Isaiah 29:9-24 with Joel 2:12-32

[23] I Chronicles 5:1,2 with Genesis 48:1-22