Gathering is in fulfillment of prophecy

The gathering of the saints to Kirtland, Ohio, was a small part of the great process of gathering scattered Israel that was foretold by ancient prophets. (See Deut. 30:1-5; Jer. 50:4-5; 1 Ne. 10:12-14.)

Shortly after the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to earth, the gathering of the saints began in Kirtland, Ohio. This gathering, which has moved beyond Kirtland and is occurring throughout the world as members are baptized, was and is in fulfillment of prophecy.Speaking at an area conference in Mexico City, Elder Bruce R. McConkie, then of the First Council of the Seventy, compared the past gathering of Zion with the present. In the Sept. 2, 1972, Church News is this report:

"We are now in a new era of Church growth and development. In the early days of this dispensation, in the very nature of things, if the saints were to survive as a people, they had to assemble together in chosen places. Otherwise, they would have been lost among the masses of men and overcome by the world.

"But now, in large measure, we are past that stage of our history. . . . We are becoming a world church - not an American church, not a Mexican church, but a church for all mankind, for the honest and upright in every nation.

"The place of gathering for the Mexican saints is in Mexico; the place of gathering for the Guatemalan saints is in Guatemala; the place of gathering for the Brazilian saints is in Brazil; and so it goes throughout the length and breadth of the whole earth. . . . Every nation is the gathering place for its own people."

Elder McConkie said that with the new worldwide stature of the Church "comes a responsibility we have never had before, a responsibility to be worthy of our high position in the world, and to strengthen the Church in all the nations where it shall be established."

He further said: "As you know, the Lord chose Joseph Smith to be the instrument in His hands of restoring the fulness of His everlasting gospel and of making its truths and blessings available to all men in this day.

"This promised gathering of the Lord's chosen people was the hope and prayer of all the prophets of Israel. Of it they spoke, and wrote, and prophesied.

"Even after the Lord Jesus had completed His earthly ministry, the ancient apostles asked, `Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom of Israel?'

"He answered that this glorious eventuality was not for their day; that it was not for them to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power' (Acts 1:6-8); and that the gathering of Israel was, thus, to await the great day of the restoration.

"This gathering has commenced and shall continue until the righteous are assembled into the congregations of the saints in all the nations of the earth."

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