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Book of Mormon/Stick of Ephraim/Erastus Snow statement
Erastus Snow statement regarding the "Stick of Ephraim
From a speech delivered in May 6, 1882 recorded in Erastus Snow, Journal of Discourses 23:184-185.
- The first important labor of this ministry is to go abroad and preach the Gospel to the nations. The Gospel of the kingdom must be preached to all people and nations and tongues before the end can come; and by the preaching of the word and the administering of the ordinances of the Gospel, is Israel sought out from among the nations among which they are scattered, especially the seed of Ephraim unto whom the first promises appertain, the promise of the keys of the Priesthood. For it must be remembered that of all the seed of Abraham whom the Lord chose to bear the keys pertaining to this holy order of Priesthood, the seed of Ephraim, the son of Joseph, were the first and chief. While the tribe of Levi, unto which Moses and Aaron belonged, was specially charged with the administration of affairs of the lesser Priesthood under the law, yet Ephraim, the peculiar and chosen son of Joseph, was the one whom the Lord had named by his own mouth and through the Prophets, to inherit the keys of presidency of this High Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. In this also we see the fulfillment of the covenants and promises of God; not that Joseph by birthright inherited this blessing, for Reuben was the first-born among the twelve sons of Jacob; but we are told in Chronicles, the 7th chapter, that Reuben forfeited this birthright by his adultery, and that God took it from him and conferred it upon the sons of Joseph; and of the sons of Joseph he chose Ephraim as the chief; and while the Patriarch Jacob, as we read in the 49th chapter of Genesis, adopted into his own family two of the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, yet he placed Ephraim the younger foremost, and blessed him with the chief blessing, saying, that Manasseh shall be great, but Ephraim shall be greater than he; he shall become a multitude in the midst of the earth. Another Scripture also says concerning scattered Israel, that Ephraim has mixed himself among the people; and speaking of the gathering of Israel in the latter-day dispensation, the Prophet Jeremiah has said that God would gather Israel and lead them as a shepherd does his flock, and says he, I am Father to Israel, but Ephraim is my first-born. Now, if Ephraim has been scattered and has mixed himself with the people until their identity is lost among the nations, how are they going to be recognized and receive the promised blessings—how is it that Ephraim shall be the first-born of the Lord in the great gathering of the latter-days? If we turn back to the blessing which Moses gave to the twelve tribes of Israel, as found in Deuteronomy, we shall there see that in blessing the tribe of Joseph, he especially charged them with the duty of gathering the people from the ends of the earth. Said he, Joseph's horns are like the horns of unicorns, which shall push the people together from the ends of the earth, and they are the thousands of Manasseh and ten thousands of Ephraim; showing that it shall be the ten thousands of Ephraim and thousands of Manasseh who shall be in the foremost ranks of bearing the Gospel message to the ends of the earth, and gathering Israel from the four quarters of the world in the last days. Whoever has read the Book of Mormon carefully will have learned that the remnants of the house of Joseph dwelt upon the American continent; and that Lehi learned by searching the records of his fathers that were written upon the plates of brass, that he was of the lineage of Manasseh. The Prophet Joseph informed us that the record of Lehi, was contained on the 116 pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgement is given us in the first Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi's family, and Lehi's sons married Ishmael's daughters, thus fulfilling the words of Jacob upon Ephraim and Manasseh in the 48th chapter of Genesis, which says: "And let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the land." Thus these descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim grew together upon this American continent, with a sprinkling from the house of Judah, from Mulek descended, who left Jerusalem eleven years after Lehi, and founded the colony afterwards known as Zarahemla and found by Mosiah—thus making a combination, an intermixture of Ephraim and Manasseh with the remnants of Judah, and for aught we know, the remnants of some other tribes that might have accompanied Mulek. And such have grown up on the American continent. But we are not informed that the Prophet Joseph and the first Elders of this Church who were called and chosen of God to bear the Priesthood and lay the foundation of this work, were descended from any portion of those remnants that peopled America anciently, and whose history is given us in the Book of Mormon. Yet we find in the Doctrine and Covenants the declaration concerning the first Elders of this Church, that they were of the house of Ephraim; and another passage referring to the wicked and rebellious, says, they shall be cut off from among the people, for the rebellious are not of the seed of Ephraim. And there is a passage in the Book of Mormon which is a part of the prophecy of Joseph written on the plates of brass and quoted by Lehi, concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith, who, it says, was to be raised up in the latter days to translate the records of the Nephites, and whose name should be Joseph, and who should be a descendant of that Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and also that that should be the name of his father.