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romans8

Discovering the teachings on the plates

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I had a question regarding 1 Nephi 5:10-19

As Lehi was growing up, did his lineage remain a mystery to him and he only discovered it 
with Laban's brass plates?  Was a family's lineage only kept in one record in one place in 
all of Israel and this record was kept private to the citizens?

Matteo

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16 And thus my father, Lehi, did discover the genealogy of his fathers. And Laban also was a descendant of Joseph, wherefore he and his fathers had kept the records.

When you start doing genealogy you really only know your immediate family, maybe some great-grandparents from stories.  But you have to go into written records to dig up the past.  

Some families are just way better at keeping records.  Especially if they are prominent and have legal documents.

Laban obviously came from a more prominent family that had prepared a genealogy tree.

When Lehi studied Laban’s tree he realized that Laban and his family had common relatives - thus were related.  

My mother is a genealogy hound she loves to inform the family whenever she finds new prominent relatives.

My recommendation is to start doing your own genealogy.  It will quickly come into focus.

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Members of Israelite tribes frequently intermarried with members of other tribes; but Israelites seemed to have continued to refer to themselves as being “of a” particular tribe.  It may be that Lehi had been raised to consider himself as a member of a different tribe (Levi, for example, which would explain why Lehi and Nephi felt justified engaging in sacerdotal duties like sacrifice and temple-building); but on working out the bloodlines he discovered that he was also a descendant of Joseph and thus an eligible heir to the blessings pronounced upon Joseph’s seed.

By way of analogy, for those who subscribe to LDS theology:  my patriarchal blessing identifies me as of the tribe of Ephraim.  My wife’s similarly identifies her as of Ephraim.  So naturally when our oldest daughter got her blessing, she was pronounced to be of the lineage of . . . Manasseh.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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As Lehi was growing up, did his lineage remain a mystery to him and he only discovered it with Laban's brass plates?

No, of course not. Jews are very particular about their genealogy, just because Lehi didn't have tangible proof until he saw the plates doesn't mean he didn't know which tribe he came from.

A couple of interesting quotations about this:

Lehi’s ancestors (from the tribe of Manasseh) were likely refugees who had fled from the Northern Kingdom during or prior to the destruction of Israel by the Assyrians. As refugees they may not have been able to bring records with them, even if they had once had them. They may have had a general knowledge of their northern ancestry through oral tradition, but may have been unable to prove this or know it in full detail running all the way back Joseph, about ten centuries earlier. After Lehi and his sons obtained the plates of brass, they had proof of what they had previously only believed from oral tradition, hence Lehi then “knew that he was a descendant of Joseph” through Manasseh and could prove his important status as such (1 Nephi 6:2; Alma 10:3).

https://bookofmormoncentral.org/qa/why-would-lehi-not-know-his-own-genealogy

“We have now to notice the ridiculous statement that Lehi did not know ‘the genealogy of his fathers’ till he had the plates from Laban. That is, he actually did not know what tribe he was of, although he was a married man with a grown up family. Now to fully understand the nonsense of this, we must bear in mind that every head of a family, except the tribe of Levi, had an estate given to him by Joshua, which land could not be sold. If there had been nothing else therefore to tell him, the very possession of this estate was public proof, as plain as the sun at noon day, of the tribe to which he belonged; besides which we know there was nothing about which a Jew was more particular than his genealogy, which was kept in public registers, down to the time of Christ. If Lehi and his children did not know they were descendants of Joseph, we must also assume that when he married, his wife’s family did not know the tribe of their new relative, and that in their intercourse with other Jews, they had never heard of it. Why it is just as impossible as for a man who is walking every day to be ignorant that he has the use of his legs.” Anonymous, A Few Plain Words about Mormonism (Bristol: Steam Press, 1852), 6–7.

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On 6/26/2021 at 10:33 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

Members of Israelite tribes frequently intermarried with members of other tribes; but Israelites seemed to have continued to refer to themselves as being “of a” particular tribe.  It may be that Lehi had been raised to consider himself as a member of a different tribe (Levi, for example, which would explain why Lehi and Nephi felt justified engaging in sacerdotal duties like sacrifice and temple-building); but on working out the bloodlines he discovered that he was also a descendant of Joseph and thus an eligible heir to the blessings pronounced upon Joseph’s seed.

By way of analogy, for those who subscribe to LDS theology:  my patriarchal blessing identifies me as of the tribe of Ephraim.  My wife’s similarly identifies her as of Ephraim.  So naturally when our oldest daughter got her blessing, she was pronounced to be of the lineage of . . . Manasseh.

I found this on the church web site.

President Joseph Fielding Smith emphatically stated: “The great majority of those who become
members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph.”
(Improvement Era, Oct. 1923, p. 1149.)

Is a great majority  80% or more?

If you and your wife are from Ephraim, how could your daughter be of Manasseh or Levi or
some other tribe?
 

 

Edited by romans8

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On 7/10/2021 at 8:12 AM, romans8 said:

If you and your wife are from Ephraim, how could your daughter be of Manasseh?

How do parents with Brown eyes... produce a blue eyed child?  It was at one time a mystery.

It happens and science has figured out how.  But science has had no reason to target religious lineages, and the Lord has not revealed the how.

 

Personally... My father was Ephraim, my mother was Manasseh.

All my siblings and myself are Ephraim.

My wife is Ephraim

My oldest son is Manasseh. My two middle kids are Ephraim.

To use the eye color example above it appears that Manasseh is a recessive trait in my line.  But we do not know what brings it out

 

Edited by estradling75

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36 minutes ago, romans8 said:

I found this on the church web site.

President Joseph Fielding Smith emphatically stated: “The great majority of those who become
members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph.”
(Improvement Era, Oct. 1923, p. 1149.)

Is a great majority  80% or more?

If you and your wife are from Ephraim, how could your daughter be of Manasseh or Levi or
some other tribe?
 

 

Romans, bud, I love you; but your perseverating on this indicates that you have completely missed the point of my post’s first paragraph.  

Let me try to rephrase my point.

Descendancy is not exclusive.  The fact that one is literally descended from a person who lived thousands of years ago through one line, does not mean that one is precluded from also being descended from that ancestor’s sibling through another line.  In the House of Israel, tribal membership was primarily an indicator of subcultural identity, covenant obligations, and specific sets of inherited blessings.  If Lehi had grown up considering himself (say) a Levite, then looking at an actual family tree that confirmed he also had Josephite ancestry would have been meaningful to him in light of Jacob’s deathbed blessing upon Joseph and his posterity.

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59 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Descendancy is not exclusive.  The fact that one is literally descended from a person who lived thousands of years ago through one line, does not mean that one is precluded from also being descended from that ancestor’s sibling through another line.

The question is silly. "I'm a descendant of Joe Blow, born 1713 in England, so therefore I'm clearly NOT a descendant of Fred Roe, born 1715 in Wales!"

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On 6/26/2021 at 9:17 AM, romans8 said:

I had a question regarding 1 Nephi 5:10-19

As Lehi was growing up, did his lineage remain a mystery to him and he only discovered it 
with Laban's brass plates?  Was a family's lineage only kept in one record in one place in 
all of Israel and this record was kept private to the citizens?

Matteo

Who knows -- the plates certainly confirmed what he did not know, or what he suspected, or what he might have been taught word of mouth, or corrected any misunderstanding.

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On 7/10/2021 at 10:12 AM, romans8 said:

I found this on the church web site.

President Joseph Fielding Smith emphatically stated: “The great majority of those who become
members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph.”
(Improvement Era, Oct. 1923, p. 1149.)

Is a great majority  80% or more?

If you and your wife are from Ephraim, how could your daughter be of Manasseh or Levi or
some other tribe?
 

 

At the time, given where the Church was growing, that was probably the case. Literal and adoption are two different things, but both are valid and the Lord has His purposes for organizing His children either way.

PS according to the Book of Mormon, the Lord has great blessings in store for the Gentiles as well, so don't be perplexed! :)

 

Edited by CV75

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A person's lineage is only partly biologically based. The other part has to do with a person's mission in this life and perhaps into the next. Since we are genetically descended from many people it is very possible to be descended from multiple tribes of Israel. When this is the case our official lineage as stated in our patriarchal blessing is based on what role God wants us to fill. This will determine which of the tribes we are officially a part of. Of course there is still much we don't yet know about what our tribal lineage entails. Make that question #862 when I die. 😉

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On 7/10/2021 at 10:54 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

If Lehi had grown up considering himself (say) a Levite, then looking at an actual family tree that confirmed he also had Josephite ancestry would have been meaningful to him in light of Jacob’s deathbed blessing upon Joseph and his posterity.

I am familiar with that part but not totally clear on it.  What specific blessing (s) did Ephraim receive that
Manasseh did not?

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49 minutes ago, romans8 said:

I am familiar with that part but not totally clear on it.  What specific blessing (s) did Ephraim receive that
Manasseh did not?

For the Biblical account, see Genesis 48:1-20.  In LDS teaching Ephraim is seen as having more of a particularized leadership role in the latter-day gathering of Israel (see D&C 133:26-34).

But for Lehi, living 2600 years ago, he explains his own view of the significance of his Josephite ancestry in 2 Nephi, Chapter 3.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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On 7/24/2021 at 9:53 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

For the Biblical account, see Genesis 48:1-20.  In LDS teaching Ephraim is seen as having more of a particularized leadership role in the latter-day gathering of Israel (see D&C 133:26-34).

But for Lehi, living 2600 years ago, he explains his own view of the significance of his Josephite ancestry in 2 Nephi, Chapter 3.

I read those verses in Genesis 48 but it seems Manasseh kept the right of the firstborn
(of Joseph) even though Ephraim was said to become greater than Manasseh.  Regarding
Jacob's other children, another son held the right of firstborn in that instance.  As Israel
subsequently multiplied into the hundreds of thousands, there were many sons with this
right of firstborn.

From what I gather from 2 Nephi 3, Lehi (of Manasseh) is speaking to his youngest son
Joseph and he tells him that his seed would not be destroyed and from it would spring
another Joseph (also from the seed of Manasseh) who would bring about the restoration
(verses 3,23-24). The Introductory notes mention this as Joseph Smith.

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59 minutes ago, romans8 said:

[1] I read those verses in Genesis 48 but it seems Manasseh kept the right of the firstborn
(of Joseph) even though Ephraim was said to become greater than Manasseh.  Regarding
Jacob's other children, another son held the right of firstborn in that instance.  As Israel
subsequently multiplied into the hundreds of thousands, there were many sons with this
right of firstborn.

[2] From what I gather from 2 Nephi 3, Lehi (of Manasseh) is speaking to his youngest son
Joseph and he tells him that his seed would not be destroyed and from it would spring
another Joseph (also from the seed of Manasseh) who would bring about the restoration
(verses 3,23-24). The Introductory notes mention this as Joseph Smith.

1.  Reuben forfeited the birthright through his sin with Bilhah and the birthright passed to Joseph; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 is clear on this point (Joseph was the firstborn son of the next legitimate wife, sons of concubines not being eligible for the birthright).  Jacob then “set Ephraim before Manasseh”, as related in Genesis 48:20.

Although, of course, as the descendants of Israel multiplied being a member of the “birthright” tribe had less and less material benefit since the throne eventually went to Benjamin (via Saul) and then Judah (via David and his posterity).

2.  That’s certainly a part of the equation; but I think the more immediate impact to Lehi was that it might be he and his posterity who were the prophesied righteous branch of Israel, through the seed of Joseph, that would be remembered by the Lord and whose writings would be joined with those of Judah to bring the world to peace and a knowledge of the covenants of the Lord.

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On 7/31/2021 at 8:59 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

1.  Reuben forfeited the birthright through his sin with Bilhah and the birthright passed to Joseph; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 is clear on this point (Joseph was the firstborn son of the next legitimate wife, sons of concubines not being eligible for the birthright).  Jacob then “set Ephraim before Manasseh”, as related in Genesis 48:20.

Although, of course, as the descendants of Israel multiplied being a member of the “birthright” tribe had less and less material benefit since the throne eventually went to Benjamin (via Saul) and then Judah (via David and his posterity).

2.  That’s certainly a part of the equation; but I think the more immediate impact to Lehi was that it might be he and his posterity who were the prophesied righteous branch of Israel, through the seed of Joseph, that would be remembered by the Lord and whose writings would be joined with those of Judah to bring the world to peace and a knowledge of the covenants of the Lord.

There are a couple of things - first is that the first born was not the oldest but the most noble.  Sort of like first class meaning the best.

The second is the confusion over wives and concubines.  The difference anciently between a wife and concubine is that a wife came to the marriage with a dowry which rightfully belonged to her and must be returned if, for some reason, the marriage covenant was ended.  Thus it was the dowry the made the wife more powerful in the Middle Eastern Suzerain law of kingdoms.  But a concubine was a legal spouse and a son of a concubine could and often was eligible for the birthright of the Suzerain.  As a side note a wife was often a marriage of convenience that united two households (or kingdoms).  Thus a son of a wife was heir to the uniting of the family recourses.  If a Suzerain had multiple wives (dowries) then heirs could become somewhat dicey and result in war.  For this reason, some wives were for convivence only and the Suzerain was careful not to have an heir through certain wives.  There were political advantages under certain circumstances, for a Suzerain  to have his heir through a concubine.

And if you want to cause some problems of your own - explain to your wife about the difference between a wife and concubine and then next talk about her dowry of lack of dowry.

 

The Traveler

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On 7/31/2021 at 10:59 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

1.  Reuben forfeited the birthright through his sin with Bilhah and the birthright passed to Joseph; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 is clear on this point (Joseph was the firstborn son of the next legitimate wife, sons of concubines not being eligible for the birthright).  Jacob then “set Ephraim before Manasseh”, as related in Genesis 48:20.

Although, of course, as the descendants of Israel multiplied being a member of the “birthright” tribe had less and less material benefit since the throne eventually went to Benjamin (via Saul) and then Judah (via David and his posterity).

2.  That’s certainly a part of the equation; but I think the more immediate impact to Lehi was that it might be he and his posterity who were the prophesied righteous branch of Israel, through the seed of Joseph, that would be remembered by the Lord and whose writings would be joined with those of Judah to bring the world to peace and a knowledge of the covenants of the Lord.

In reference to #1, what privilege of Ephraim as the new birthright holder had he over Manasseh?

In reference to #2, what did the lineage of Ephraim contribute, as writings, to the Book of Mormon?

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52 minutes ago, romans8 said:

In reference to #1, what privilege of Ephraim as the new birthright holder had he over Manasseh?

In reference to #2, what did the lineage of Ephraim contribute, as writings, to the Book of Mormon?

1.  As it pertained to the individuals Ephraim and Manasseh, I presume it would have had to do primarily with inheritance.  As it pertained on their progeny—I mentioned above, as time went on the material benefit of being a member of the birthright.

2.  As authors—not much, as far as I know.  Again, the significance to Lehi isn’t that he is of the tribe of Ephraim; it’s that he is of the seed of Joseph.  But when it comes to the book being translated and published in our time—Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Ephraim.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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On 8/7/2021 at 11:23 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

Again, the significance to Lehi isn’t that he is of the tribe of Ephraim; it’s that he is of the seed of Joseph.  But when it comes to the book being translated and published in our time—Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Ephraim.

According to what I have read so far, Lehi is of the tribe of Manasseh.  2 Nephi 3:12-15 (with the 
introduction notes) is used to claim Joseph Smith would come in the same lineage (loins) of 
Lehi's youngest son (also of Manasseh). 

Unless Smith's lineage is claimed from his mother if she was of Ephraim?

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1 hour ago, romans8 said:

According to what I have read so far, Lehi is of the tribe of Manasseh.  2 Nephi 3:12-15 (with the 
introduction notes) is used to claim Joseph Smith would come in the same lineage (loins) of 
Lehi's youngest son (also of Manasseh). 

Unless Smith's lineage is claimed from his mother if she was of Ephraim?

The subjects/speakers here need to be carefully traced.  Yes, Lehi is speaking to his son Joseph here; but he claims he is directly quoting from older statements originating with the earlier Joseph, son of Jacob/Israel.  Verses 12-13 constitute God’s words to Joseph (son of Jacob); verses 14-15 (after a brief transitional phrase from Lehi) constitute Joseph (son of Jacob) editorializing about and expanding on those words.

The LDS Church, AFAIK, has never suggested that Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Manasseh or that he was descended from Joseph son of Lehi; the official teaching has always been that he was of Ephraim and of non-Lehite ancestry.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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On 8/15/2021 at 10:15 AM, Just_A_Guy said:

The LDS Church, AFAIK, has never suggested that Joseph Smith was of the tribe of Manasseh or that he was descended from Joseph son of Lehi; the official teaching has always been that he was of Ephraim and of non-Lehite ancestry.

The church needs to omit those Introductory notes and change this teaching that I found
online in one of its manuals.  Lehi is clearly talking about why the lineage of his youngest
son would not perish (verses 23-24).

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41 minutes ago, romans8 said:

The church needs to omit those Introductory notes and change this teaching that I found
online in one of its manuals.  Lehi is clearly talking about why the lineage of his youngest
son would not perish (verses 23-24).

Neither the manual nor the verses you cite say that the spokesman who Joseph of Egypt prophesied would come through his loins, would also be a descendant of Joseph-ben-Lehi.  They merely state that Joseph-ben-Lehi’s seed would repent through the words of a book of writings created by the aforementioned spokesman (cf vv 18-19), who would “rise up among” the seed of Joseph-ben-Lehi.

“Rise up among” can as easily refer to “come to the physical proximity to” as “be a literal descendant of”; in fact, if literal descendancy were the intent, Lehi could have explicitly said that the spokesman would come “through the loins” of Joseph-ben-Lehi (as he did when he wanted to convey that the spokesman would be a literal descendant of Joseph of Egypt).  But he didn’t.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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