Because of his faithfulness and integrity, Joseph received greater blessings than the progenitors of Jacob and was rewarded with the land of Zion. His brothers, with malicious intent, separated him and cast him out from among them. The Lord, in rewarding him, separated him from his brothers — the other tribes of Israel — and gave him an inheritance in a land that is choice above all other lands, which, we have learned from the Book of Mormon and modem revelation, is America.
“It is essential in this dispensation that Ephraim stand in his place at the head, exercising the birthright in Israel which was given to him by direct revelation. Therefore, Ephraim must be gathered first to prepare the way, through the gospel and the priesthood, for the rest of the tribes of Israel when the time comes for them to be gathered to Zion. The great majority of those who have come into the Church are Ephraimites. It is the exception to find one of any other tribe, unless it is of Manasseh.
“It is Ephraim, today, who holds the priesthood. It is with Ephraim that the Lord has made covenant and has revealed the fulness of the everlasting gospel. It is Ephraim who is building temples and performing the ordinances in them for both the living and for the dead. When the ‘lost tribes’ come—and it will be a most wonderful sight and a marvelous thing when they do come to Zion—in fulfilment of the promises made through Isaiah and Jeremiah, they will have to receive the crowning blessings from their brother Ephraim, the ‘firstborn’ in Israel” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:252–53).