Gathering of Israel
President Russell M. Nelson, president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has frequently emphasized the need for Church members to further the gathering of Israel. The gathering of Israel hearkens back to the Old Testament, which contains prophecies declaring that no matter how far the tribes of Israel are scattered throughout the world, God will gather them together again (see Deuteronomy 30:2–5). This gathering, as revealed in the Book of Mormon and through modern prophets, has already begun. Israel is gathered as people discover their lineage and are adopted into a tribe of Israel, and Church members contribute to the gathering through missionary and temple work.
In the early years of the Church, the gathering of Israel was both a spiritual and physical imperative. After the organization of the Church in 1830, the Lord called the prophet Joseph Smith to “bring to pass the gathering of [the] elect” and told him that the elect should “be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land” (Doctrine and Covenants 29:7–8). The Saints first gathered in Kirtland, Ohio, and Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were given the keys of the gathering of Israel by Moses in the Kirtland Temple. But the young church faced great persecution, and the Saints were forced out every time they gathered in a new city.
Following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, the Saints traveled west, hoping to finding somewhere to gather Israel and live without persecution. For many years, new members from Europe and the United States flocked to the American West to join with the Saints and build temples. But in the late 1880s, Church leadership began to encourage converts to stay in their countries of origin (see The Gathering of Israel). In the contemporary era, temples have been built around the world, allowing members of the Church to gain the blessings of temple covenants and help gather Israel both beyond the veil and in their individual communities.
“The gathering of Israel is the most important work taking place on earth today,” said President Russell M. Nelson. “One crucial element of this gathering is preparing a people who are able, ready, and worthy to receive the Lord when He comes again, a people who have already chosen Jesus Christ over this fallen world, a people who rejoice in their agency to live the higher, holier laws of Jesus Christ” (Overcome the World and Find Rest, October 2022). As you read the speeches in this collection, you will be prepared to participate in the ongoing gathering of Israel and inspired with ways you can serve.