Nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. Part 1.
The scriptures have many references to various combinations and forms of "nations, kindreds, tongues and people."
From Isaiah 66: 18-20 :
18 For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.
19 And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles.
20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord.
There's a "gathering in" from various nations there in verse 18. And a "sending out" to various nations in verse 19. And another "gathering in" in verse 20.
I love the phrase "nations, kindreds, tongues and people." It appears a bunch of times in the Book of Mormon. And I'm sure it makes fans of diversity all giddy too.
In 1 Nephi 5:18, the plates of brass will go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people. In Alma 37:1-4, the plates handed down among the Nephites (small and large plates of Nephi, plus the plates of brass), will go forth unto nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
A scriptural prophecy doesn't have to be fulfilled all in one fell swoop. Fulfillment can come in steps. Missionaries haven't gone to every country and every language, but more and more having been gone to over the years. The Bible and Book of Mormon haven't been translated into every language yet, but work continues in that direction.
The Book of Mormon is in 106 printed languages now, plus English Braille, Spanish Braille, and American Sign Language.
The total number languages in which at least something from the Church has been translated is 159.
Now... let's start connecting the dots.
Is the Book of Mormon going out from the Church here in the US to other nations, kindreds, tongues and people? Yes. We're sending out missionaries to almost every country in the world now, with very few exceptions.
Is there a "gathering in" going on now? Yes, saints are not "gathered to" Utah anymore, but the Brethren say that saints are "gathered to" the "Stakes of Zion" wherever they are when they join the church.
Is there any other "gathering" going on? Yes! Millions of immigrants (and not just illegal immigrants) are "gathering" to the US right now! Are any of them "the elect"? It's a good bet that some of them, at least a percentage, are.
One of the scariest, but also coolest things going on is the "Visa Lottery". That page states: "The Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available 50,000 diversity visas (DV) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States."
So in effect, in the name of "diversity", Congress has created a program that is helping the Lord "gather in" people from nations that weren't sending very many immigrants to the US.
Question: Why does the Lord want people to immigrate to the US? Answer: Because we aren't sending enough missionaries out there to those countries! The need for missionaries in "every nation" is HUGE, and we can't (or just plain aren't) filling that need. Too many young men are not going on missions. Therefore, the Lord is bringing those people to us, you and me, here in the United States, so they can receive the gospel from us, their new neighbors, friends, co-workers, etc.
That is not to say that all immigrants are golden investigators. That's not how the Lord works. He likes to "hide" his miracles among mundane everday occurances. And just like in all times past, the "elect" are always sprinkled among a much larger group. And it's likely that He can't bring in the "elect" without bringing in a lot of "non-elect" with them. Though it's not up to us to judge who is and who is not the elect. Well, in a way, but only after the fact, as when the Lord said "My sheep hear my voice."
Another point is that He doesn't have to bring in all the golden investigators anyway, just a few. Those who join the church here, or even just investigate, will transmit that information back to their relatives and friends back in their home country who will hopefully seek out missionaries over there. That will make the (relatively) few missionaries that we send overseas more effective. What missionary wouldn't want to hear: "Hey, my brother in America told me to look you guys up. Tell me what you believe. And what's that blue book all about?"