“They shall bring thy sons in their arms,” the Lord promised Isaiah, “and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.” (Isa. 49:22.) Nephi, in recording this prophecy, explained to his people: “It meaneth us in the days to come.” (1 Ne. 22:6.) For the general membership of the Church, it also “meaneth us,” for the gentiles are the people who shall bring them in their arms, especially those of us who either are literal descendants of Ephraim or have been adopted at baptism into Jacob’s house.
In the pages that follow we will read about some Church programs that are operating to bless our Lamanite brothers and sisters in fulfillment of the prophecy that “kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers.” (1 Ne. 21:23.) Some of these programs were specifically designed to meet the spiritual, educational, and economic needs of Lamanite members in areas where twentieth-century technology is a comparative newcomer. Others are general Church programs with specific application to Lamanite areas.
But all of these specialized programs are simply branches rooted in the great foundation of the Church—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For example, it is the regular Church program that does the following (as it does for each of us):
Teaches them that our Father in heaven lives! that they can communicate with him in prayer and receive personal help throughout their lives.
Informs them who they are—special heirs to special covenants and blessings.
Provides them with the priceless opportunity to exercise faith and repentance, to be baptized and receive the enlightening gift of the Holy Ghost, and to become candidates for eternal exaltation through the temple ordinances.
Blesses their worthy men with the priesthood, giving them a profound brotherhood while helping them to bless their wives and children with their priesthood power.
Blesses their women with the Relief Society so that they may experience choice sisterly companionship, and receive a broadly based educational program that can wonderfully bless their homes.
Affords through branches and wards a community of unified Church members wherein each member may be fortified, taught, and strengthened, both spiritually and materially.
Provides countless and unmeasurable opportunities for growth, fulfillment, joy, and progression through a great variety of assignments and callings.
It is from the gospel and its regular programs that the specialized programs originate. Through these specialized programs, Lehi’s descendants are able to partake more fully of the gospel’s nourishment.