Annotated Book of Mormon
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2 Nephi Chapter 3

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Book of Mormon Annotations

Chapter 3

 

1 And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my last-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness of mine afflictions; yea, in the days of my greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee.

 

2 And may the Lord consecrate also unto thee this land, which is a most precious land, for thine inheritance and the inheritance of thy seed with thy brethren, for thy security forever, if it so be that ye shall keep the commandments of the Holy One of Israel.

 

3 And now, Joseph, my last-born, whom I have brought out of the wilderness of mine afflictions, may the Lord bless thee forever, for thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.

 

4 For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.

1 Ne 5:14 and 2 Ne 3:4 declare Lehi is a descendant of Joseph, and Alma 10:3 specifies that he descended from Manasseh. It is also claimed that Ishmael was of the Tribe of Ephraim. “The Prophet Joseph informed us … that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim” (Apostle Erastus Snow, Journal of Discourses, 23:184). And, “we know that Ishmael, who was the other founder of the colony, was a descendant of Ephraim. This we learn from the Prophet Joseph Smith” (Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 3, 197). This presents a couple of challenges.

Priestly rights and responsibilities in the House of Israel were almost exclusively the responsibility of Levites. “Before Moses died, the Melchizedek Priesthood and the higher law of the gospel were withdrawn from the Israelites because of their disobedience . . . The lesser priesthood was called the Aaronic Priesthood, after Aaron, but is sometimes referred to as the Levitical Priesthood because all those who possessed it in ancient times belonged to the tribe of Levi” (Levitical Priesthood).

 

However, FairMormon says, “The Old Testament records numerous non-Levitical offerings. Gideon and Samuel were Ephraimites; Saul was a Benjamite; David and Solomon were of Judah” (FairMormon article ). This issue seems complicated, and there is at least some reason to think there is a good defense for non-Levites offering sacrifice.

The other challenge is that since millions of descendants of Lehi and Ishmael are reported to have lived and died in pre-Columbian Americas, we would expect significant DNA evidence to support the claim. Yet, there is no such evidence. This is why many of the verses claiming lineage from the House of Israel are annotated to highlight this issue.

5 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.

 

6 For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.

 

7 Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

The Book of Mormon Student Manual for Religion 121-122 copyrighted 2009 explains on page 56 that this choice seer who “shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins” is Joseph Smith. It also says, “There are millions of descendants of the Book of Mormon people who recognize Joseph Smith as the prophet of the Restoration.” Yet no one currently knows who the descendants of the Book of Mormon people are.

8 And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

 

9 And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

2 Ne 3:9-10

In spite of how difficult it is to engrave on metal plates, the author finds it necessary to repeat himself, adding no additional information.

“I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates” (Jacob 4:1).

10 And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.

Annotation for 2 Ne 3:9-10 above

11 But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.

 

12 Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.

 

13 And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

 

14 And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;

“That seer” was Joseph Smith, Jr., yet the last group that sought to destroy him was not confounded.

15 And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.

It’s amazing how specific certain prophecies in the Book of Mormon were for things up to about 1830 CE. Prophecy in the Book of Mormon for events after 1830 CE doesn’t seem to be so specific though.

16 Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.

 

17 And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.

 

18 And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.

 

19 And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.

 

20 And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.

 

21 Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.

 

22 And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.

 

23 Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.

 

24 And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.

 

25 And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken. Remember the words of thy dying father. Amen.

 

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