“The Seed of This People More Fully Believe”

Monte S. Nyman

The seed of this people are the Native Americans or the Lamanites, as stated above. Another purpose of the Book of Mormon is to help them more fully believe the gospel (v. 15). They would be introduced to the gospel through the Bible (see 1 Nephi 13:38; Mormon 7:8–9 discussed below), but the Book of Mormon will give them the fullness of the gospel (see also JS–History 1:34; D&C 20:9; 27:5).

Mormon’s description of the latter-day Lamanites becoming dark and loathsome (Mormon 5:15) was also seen in vision and described by Nephi, son of Lehi (see 1 Nephi 12:23). Their unbelief and idolatry had driven out the Spirit of the Lord (Mormon 5:16). Mormon’s knowledge of the Godhead is shown by his reference to their now “being without Christ and God,” two members of the Godhead. The third member, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Holy Ghost, is mentioned in the same verse (see also v. 17 as evidence of Christ and God). The symbolisms of Christ as a shepherd, chaff driven before the wind, and a vessel tossed upon the waves without anchor (vv. 16–18) are reminiscent of biblical terms. While they are New Testament symbols that could have been learned from Christ’s three-day ministry among the Nephites, they also could have come from the plates of brass. The symbolism of Christ being the shepherd was taught by father Jacob. In blessing his son Joseph, he called the God of Jacob, “the shepherd, the stone of Israel” (Genesis 49:24). Modern revelation gives us the same designation (see D&C 50:44). The symbolism of Christ being the shepherd was also used by the Psalmist (see Psalm 23). Both Genesis and Psalms would have been written before 600 B.C., and therefore would have been on the plates of brass that included the records from the creation to the time of Jeremiah when Lehi left Jerusalem (see 1 Nephi 5:11–13). The wind and chaff symbolism could have been learned from the Psalms (see 1:4), or from the book of Hosea (see 13:3), again both would have been on the plates of brass. The anchor symbolism is found only in the New Testament (see Hebrews 6:19), but was used by the Jaredite prophet Ether (13:4), showing that this symbol existed in Old Testament times. The message is that the Nephites were without the leadership of the Lord, but worse than that, they were being led by Satan.

The blessings that were given to the Nephites, as descendants of Joseph (see 3 Nephi 15:12–13), were to be transferred to the Gentiles (Mormon 5:19), who would later be led by the Lord to the Americas (see 1 Nephi 13:11–16). This transfer was to give other descendants of Joseph, who had been scattered among the Gentiles the opportunity to be gathered and fulfill the covenant made to Abraham and all the house of Israel. The covenant was not to be fulfilled until after the Gentiles had driven and scattered the Lamanites (Mormon 5:20). An examination of the promises made in the covenant (see Abraham 2:8–11) shows that it was not completely fulfilled by Abraham’s descendants at any time in the history of the world. Furthermore, the Lord has declared that the covenant will be fulfilled by the Prophet Joseph Smith and his posterity.

57 For this anointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him.
58 And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph: In thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed. [D&C 124:57–58]

Therefore, the fulfillment of Abraham’s covenant is well on its way. When it is fulfilled, the prayers of the righteous for the fulfillment of the covenant will have been answered.

Book of Mormon Commentary: I Mormon Make a Record