The Law of Gathering

7 And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;

8 Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.

9 For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth;  (D&C 29:7-9)

For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.  (D&C 64:24)

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints... (D&C 84:4)

After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north. (D&C 110:11)

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the ten tribes; that Zion will be established upon the western continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth a thousand years; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory. (10th Article of Faith, 1835 version)

62 And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

63 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;

64 And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest. (Moses 7:62-64)

It [gathering] is a principle I esteem to be of the greatest importance to those who are looking for salvation in this generation, or in these, that may be called, ‘the latter times.’ All that the prophets have written, from the days of righteous Abel, down to the last man that has left any testimony on record for our consideration, in speaking of the salvation of Israel in the last days, goes directly to show that it consists in the work of the gathering. (Prophet Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 83)

In speaking of the gathering, we mean to be understood as speaking of it according to scripture, the gathering of the elect of the Lord out of every nation on earth. (Prophet Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 93)

It is also the concurrent testimony of all the prophets, that this gathering together of all the saints, must take place before the Lord comes to take vengeance upon the ungodly. (Prophet Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 183)

…and if we are not sanctified and gathered into the places God has appointed, with all our former professions and our great love for the Bible, we must fall; we cannot stand; we cannot be saved; for God will gather out His Saints from the Gentiles, and then comes desolation and destruction, and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered. (Prophet Joseph Smith, DHC 2:52)

The greatest temporal and spiritual blessings which always flow from faithfulness and concerted effort, never attended individual exertion or enterprise.  The history of all past ages abundantly attests this fact.  In addition to all temporal blessings, there is no other way for the Saints to be saved in these last days, [than by the gathering] as the concurrent testimony of all the holy Prophets clearly proves, for it is written—”They shall come from the east, and be gathered from the west; the north shall give up, and the south shall keep not back.”  “The sons of God shall be gathered from far, and His daughters from the ends of the earth.”

It is also the concurrent testimony of all the Prophets, that this gathering together of all the Saints, must take place before the Lord comes to “take vengeance upon the ungodly,” and “to be glorified and admired by all those who obey the Gospel.”  (Joseph Smith, DHC, 4:272)

There will be here and there a Stake [of Zion] for the gathering of the Saints.  Some may have cried peace, but the Saints and the world will have little peace from henceforth.  Let this not hinder us from going to the Stakes; for God has told us to flee, not dallying, or we shall be scattered, one here, and another there.  There your children shall be blessed, and you in the midst of friends where you may be blessed.  The Gospel net gathers of every kind.  I prophesy, that that man who tarries after he has an opportunity of going, will be afflicted by the devil.  Wars are at hand; we must not delay; but are not required to sacrifice.  We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object.  When wars come, we shall have to flee to Zion.  The cry is to make haste.  The last revelation says, Ye shall not have time to have gone over the earth, until these things come.  It will come as did the cholera, war, fires, and earthquakes; one pestilence after another, until the Ancient of Days comes, then judgment will be given to the Saints.  (Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 160)

It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles; and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did everything to gather the people, and they would not be gathered, and He therefore poured out curses upon them. (Prophet Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 308)

Some Elders tell us that they have taught the gathering according to the Scriptures.  But it is not sufficient to teach the principle from the Scriptures alone; for if there was no other guide, the people would be left in doubt as to whether they should gather to Jerusalem, Africa, America, or elsewhere.  It is right to teach the gathering according to the Scriptures, although some predictions of the Prophets are obscure; but we are not left to them alone.  We know and all the Saints ought to know that God has appointed a place and time of gathering and has raised up a Prophet to bring it about, of which we are witnesses.

Our message is that we are witnesses of the fulfillment of the predictions of the Prophets.

We have not to lay down a long, round about [system] of arguments and calculations.  The specific time and place are pointed out, the stakes are driven, the foundations of the city and temple are laid, and a people already gathered.  We therefore know where to go; and to reject the revelations of God, which have pointed out these things to us, only brings condemnation.  If this is not the case, then our faith is vain, and our works and hopes are vain also.

We worship a God who can inspire His servants to tell the people what to do.  We have already got the opinions of men enough concerning the coming of Jesus Christ; but we need the voice of a Prophet in such a case and we have it.  I am willing to risk my all upon it:  and if the Elders understand the principle of gathering, and teach it correctly, the people will have the correct spirit of the gathering.  (Parley P. Pratt, September 9, 1843, DHC 6:11)

If I lay down the Book of Mormon, I shall have to deny that Joseph is a prophet; and if I lay down the doctrine and cease to preach the gathering of Israel and the building up of Zion, I must lay down the Bible; and consequently, I might as well go home as undertake to preach without these three items. (Brigham Young. August 29, 1852, JD 6:279)

The Gospel is calculated to divide this wickedness from those who embrace it, and then it will divide those who embrace it from those who reject it.  Christ and Belial cannot be made friends, neither can the Church of Christ and the worshippers of Belial unite together.  They cannot amalgamate.  Consequently, those who receive the Gospel with all their hearts, after believing the testimony of God’s servants, will divide themselves from those who do not receive it.  (Brigham Young, July 24, 1853, JD 1:235)

Among the first principles that were revealed to the children of men in the last days was the gathering; the first revelations that were given to the Church were to command them to gather and send Elders to seek out a place for the gathering of the saints. (George A. Smith, March 18, 1855, JD 2:214)

This people can only gain strength upon the principle of fleeing to a country where the wicked will not live, and where they can gain strength enough to walk by themselves, and to go where they please. This is one of the truths of heaven.  (Brigham Young, February 17, 1856, JD 3:210)

I have heard brother Brigham preach it here time and time again, and other men, that a scattering spirit was not the spirit of God; and I know it is not.  (Heber C. Kimball, April 19, 1857, JD 4:362)

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:1-4)

The Latter-day Saints are called to separate themselves from the wicked—to assemble together and associate with each other; and this is one of the greatest blessing bestowed upon methat I may not be obliged to mingle with the ungodly.  (Brigham Young, June 3, 1860, JD 8:277)

Remember that it is one of the chief duties of the Saints to gather Israel, in building up the kingdom of God; and everything we do should conspire to this end(Daniel H. Wells, September 16, 1860, JD 9:81)

…the testimony of God’s servants has sounded like the voice of a trumpet from nation to nation, and from people to people, warning the honest and meek of the earth to flee from Babylon to the chambers in the mountains for safety until the indignation shall be past. (Brigham Young, August 31, 1862, JD 9:365)

Some may ask the question why may we not seal and give Endowments abroad?  Because it would destroy the object of the gathering.  The people should be gathered at headquarters where they can be taught in the things of the Kingdom of God and be under the direction of the Priesthood. (Brigham Young, as recorded in the Diary of Wilford Woodruff, December 26, 1866)

To this same principle the Prophets Isaiah and Micah bear testimony, saying, that in the last days all nations shall go up to the house (or Temple) of the Lord, in order to be taught in His ways, and to walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, &c. Now it is evident that the people of all nations in the last days would be utterly usable to learn the ways of the Lord to perfection, in any other place except in a holy Temple erected among the mountains. For if the oracles, and most holy ordinances, and the keys or the mysteries, could be had elsewhere, or in any and every place, the people would never take the pains to resort to one house amid the mountains in order to learn of His ways, and to walk in His paths.  (Parley P. Pratt, April 6, 1853, Journal of Discourses, 2:43)

We as a people are commanded to leave our places of abode in the countries where we received the gospel, and are required to gather together. (Brigham Young, February 10, 1867, JD 11:321)

We have come out of, and traveled from Babylon, according to the command of God, that we may become a people directly opposite to everything existing in Babylon. This was the proclamation made to us; and the object of the proclamation was that we might be emancipated completely from the things of the world, that we might be prepared to dwell with God eternally in the heavens. Now, think of the distance there is between us and the people of Babylon to-day. The distance we have traveled is scarcely perceptible to some; and on some points we are so near that we can reach and shake hands with them, we have made so little progress. Yet there is nothing truer than this, that before we are prepared to dwell in the presence of God we must be directly opposite to them in almost every respect. Morality is taught and moral truths are enforced among them; but aside from the theory, everything is rotten and corrupt from the base to the topmost stone. God has said so, and we have had some little experience in it ourselves; and so far as we have gone we can say that such is the case. Society has to be differently organized under the rule of the Church of God. We have already made a great stride in this respect. The one great institution which God has revealed has done more to emancipate us, and create a difference between us and the world than anything I can conceive of; that is the order of marriage. It creates a complete distinctness between us and the people of the world. We can see how much we are progressing in this direction, and they who are living their religion are making rapid progress. There was a necessity for the revelation of this principle in order that the people of God might be entirely distinct from the people of Babylon. As long as we lived under those old institutions which are so full of rottenness and corruption, we were liable all the time to become assimilated to the world. (George Q. Cannon, 3 March 1867, JD 11:335-336)

Whence comes our gathering? Because we are introduced into a Gospel of gathering, because we are living in a gathering dispensation, because that is one of the dispensations that existed in former days, and has been restored in the latter days wherever this Gospel is preached, that spirit accompanies itYou cannot prevent it.  Go and preach to the people, baptize them, lay hands upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and the first thing that exists among the people is the feeling to go to Zion. (John Taylor, July 19, 1877, JD 19:82)

How can Zion be built up, unless the Saints gather and build it up? And how can Babylon fall, so long as the Saints stay and hold it up?  (Millennial Star Editorial, 32: 233)

If we throw overboard the principle of the gathering, we cast away one of the most important principles connected with the work of God and salvation of humanity. (Millennial Star 33:210, 326)

Before the great day of the Lord shall come, and the day of righteousness and peace dawn upon this fair creation, two potent cleansing processes shall be in active operation. The first of these is a preparation of a choice people, purified by an application to their lives, as individuals and a community, of the principles of the gospel of peace. Such a body will evolve from those called Latter-day Saints, who as a Church possess the fullness and power of the pure plan of salvation. Out of this community at present in the merely incipient stages of development and from the remnant of the whole house of Israel, will emanate the nucleus or foundation from which will spring the righteous millennial population of our globe. (George Q. Cannon, Millennial Star, 42:585)

The doctrine of the gathering of the people of God, including Israel, is one so clearly predicted by the inspired writers, that it seems almost superfluous to refer to the numerous passages relating to it. (Orson Pratt’s Works, p. 9)

Conflicting Statements From More Recent Times:

The time of the gathering is past. We now live in the time of scattering. We want to scatter our people over the face of the earth that we might leaven the whole lump. (John W. Widtsoe, Truth Magazine., Sept. 1952, p. 103)

The policy of the Church is not to entice or encourage people to leave their native land; but to remain faithful and true in their allegiance to their governments, and to be good citizens. (Joseph F. Smith, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:165)

Our building of foreign temples is to encourage the saints to stay in their own countries. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret News, Oct. 17, 1936, Church Section)

Many of the saints, who come here, could be far more useful in assisting to strengthen and build up the church in their native lands, that by making sacrifices to come to Zion where their expectations may not be realized. With cordial good wishes we are,

Sincerely your brethren, Heber J Grant, A.W. Ivins, C.W. Nibley


(Messages of the First Presidency, Clark, 5:269)