“I Very Much Doubt Whether Another Gentile Ever Joins the Church”
June 23, 2013 2 Comments
The 25th anniversary of the organization of the little “Church of Christ” in 1830 New York saw the apostles who succeeded Joseph Smith building a new territory out of the wilderness of the west. A general conference convened on April 6th 1855 with Brigham Young presiding. The small tabernacle was overcrowded leaving thousands outdoors and a new Bowery was under construction, anticipated to hold 12,000.
One of the interesting developments of the meeting, aside from fascinating organizational matters, was the calling of new missionaries. But there was a difference: these newly called missionaries were headed out to seek the Jews around the world, not those pesky Gentiles. Fifty-three men were voted to take these new assignments to different parts of the world. One leader stated that the goal was to see the Jews return to the Holy Land and the House of Israel redeemed. As one might expect, Orson Hyde stood and related a portion of his own mission to the Holy Land and expressed his conviction that the Spirit of the Lord would rest down upon this mission to the House of Israel.
Several speakers suggested that the Gentiles had had their chance and it was now the time of the Jews, a trope that pervaded Scripture and was now seen as coming to pass. In closing the conference, Brigham stated that Joseph Smith, who was a pure Ephraimite himself, had as his “first mission” the gathering of the literal descendants of ancient Jacob. The frustration with the Mormon journey in the United States showed through his concluding remarks: “I very much doubt whether another Gentile ever joins the Church.”
We’ve come a long way, baby.
The conference statistics for the territory are interesting in this light:
“First Presidency 3
High Priests 715
“Besides the usual ratio of persons not yet ordained to the ministry missionaries sent from Utah Territory, to different parts of North America Europe, Asia, and the Islands of the Sea 331
During the last six months there have been born alive in U.T. 965
There have also been Baptized in the Territory for the first time 475
Excommunicated in the territory 86”