Early Latter-day Saints regarded the gathering of scattered Israel as
one of the chief purposes of the Restoration. The gathering was part of
the Saints' vision for the coming of Christ's millennial kingdom and the
renewal of the earth (A of F 10). In looking
forward to the gathering, the Saints expressed faith that God was at work
to fulfill the promises made in scripture.
The promise of the gathering is a promise of comfort for mourners and
homecoming for exiles (D&C 101:13-14).
This promise offers hope to all who have suffered loss or displacement
or who feel alienated from family or faith community. The gathering also
refers to God's ongoing effort to bring together all things in heaven
and on earth—to forge union among all created beings through union
with God (D&C 27:13). Like a hen gathering
her chicks or a shepherd gathering his flock, Christ desires to draw to
himself all who will come (D&C 29:1-2; 1
To be gathered means to become God's people through covenant relationship
(D&C 42:9). As people
of covenant, we are commanded to gather "out of Babylon"
by rejecting cultural values and practices inconsistent with the gospel
of love (D&C 133:7, 14). Being a gathered
community makes us a diverse community, composed of people from many backgrounds
who have learned to live in peace (D&C 45:69).
Latter-day Saints no longer literally gather in the sense of migrating
to one place. But we are still responsible to carry out the aim of the
literal gathering— the building
up of Zion—wherever we happen to live.
|Joseph F. Smith: This
is the dispensation of the fulness of time in which all things are
to be accomplished; in which God has set forth His hand to gather
His people, to consummate His purposes in the earth, and to fulfil
the predictions of the prophets concerning His designs in the earth.
(Burbank, CA and Woodland Hills, UT: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992)
B. H. Roberts: The
time has come for the restoration of the gospel; for the reestablishment
of his church; for the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness
of times in which he has promised to gather together in one all
things in Christ, "both which are in heaven, and which are
on earth." A reign of peace, a reign of righteousness is about
to be inaugurated—the Millennium which the scriptures promised—long
looked for by earth's troubled children— despaired of—given
up—is about to be realized!
|New Witnesses for God.
(Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909), 1:219-220
Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark,
and David O. McKay: We say unto you that in the darkest
hours of these days of dread, tumult, and woe, the Lord is near
to us, that He mourns over the iniquities and the sorrows of His
children, that He would lead us into paths of peace if we would
but follow Him. . . . He stands today ready as always to gather
us in, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings . .
|Messages of the First
Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 6:171
Bruce R. McConkie:
Many things have already been restored, and many things are yet
to be restored. Israel has been gathered in part, but in many respects
the greatest part of the gathering of Israel is ahead. The foundations
of Zion have been laid, but the promised City of Holiness has yet
to be built. We have done some of the things destined to be accomplished
in this dispensation; we are now engaged in doing the very things
reserved for our time; and there are many things ahead to be done
by our children and grandchildren and by all those who shall build
on the foundation we are now laying.
|“Come: Let Israel
Build Zion,” Ensign, May 1977, 115