Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lesson No. Twenty-Three
The Posterity of Joseph - A Light for the Gospel and Freedom
Our responsibility to defend freedom and spread the gospel – As he died Jacob blessed his sons and prophesied concerning their posterity. Joseph received an especially important blessing which Jacob concluded by prophesying concerning Joseph’s posterity in the latter days: “For thou shalt be a light unto my people, to deliver them in the days of their captivity, from bondage; and to bring salvation unto them, when they are altogether bowed down under sin” (JST Genesis 48:11).
The posterity of Joseph has a twofold responsibility to the house of Israel and to the world. The two significant responsibilities the posterity of Joseph has to the house of Israel and to the world are:
- “To deliver them in the days of their captivity, from bondage” – In the scriptures the words “captivity” and “bondage” are often used to refer to temporal captivity and physical bondage. Concerning the founding of our nation we are taught: “And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations” (1 Nephi 13:19, see also 13, 16). The colonists and founders who established this nation were from Europe and were of the posterity of Joseph.
- “And to bring salvation unto them when they are altogether bowed down under sin” - Joseph Smith and those who assisted in the restoration of the gospel were of the posterity of Joseph. From the beginning of this dispensation our Prophets and other senior leaders of the Church who administer the gospel worldwide are of the posterity of Joseph. From the founding days of the Church many members and missionaries, like our family, trace their heritage back to the colonizing and founding generations, and are of the posterity of Joseph.
The United States is the land of Joseph (See Ether 13:8) - At great sacrifice our nation has many times successfully defended the freedom of other people and nations. The only foreign soil we asked for in return is a few cemeteries where we can honor and bury our soldiers.
Our nation is the host nation for the restoration of the gospel. From here the gospel is taken and administered worldwide. It is fulfilling its responsibility as the land of Joseph.
Testimony – We are the latter day remnant of Joseph - The Nephites, also a remnant of Joseph, knew their responsibility to defend freedom and preach the gospel. Captain Moroni, when he rallied his people in defense of their freedom, said: “Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph” (Alma 46:23-24). The missionary work of sons of Mosiah among the Lamanites is an excellent example of a remnant of Joseph fulfilling their responsibility to preach the gospel. (See Alma 17-26)
Through our patriarchal blessings we know that we are the latter day posterity of Joseph, and therefore, we should understand our privilege and responsibility to defend freedom and spread the gospel to the world. The blessing given to Joseph concerning his posterity in the latter days has been and will continue to be fulfilled. If we are faithful we will be a part of it.