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The Twelve Tribes of Israel Today


Because of the many bizarre and outlandish views that have been propagated about the "lost tribes" over the years, a disclaimer is necessary. "British Israel" and "American Israel" theories have been promulgated by some racist groups as "evidence" of the "superiority" of one race or people-group over another. Such theories are baseless. The genetic contribution of ancient Israel to Western European people-groups appears to be relatively minor, and such people-groups are referred to by the Lord as "Gentiles" – i.e. non-Israelites – in scripture. All of the twelve tribes have different attributes. No one tribe is better than another, and there are no grounds for labels of the supposed "superiority" or "inferiority" of any group. The scriptures teach that the lineage of dispersed Israelites can be found in all nations, and no nation or people-group has a monopoly on such ancestry. Additionally, the claims of some non-Western people groups to some Israelite ancestry are just as strong if not stronger than the evidence for the blood of Israel in the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

Lineage provides no advantage in our standing before God. Christ cited the Gentile centurion as having greater faith than that he had seen in all of Israel (Luke 7:1-10). He taught that miracles had been wrought among non-Israelites anciently because of the unbelief of the Children of Israel, and that the prophets of God had often been better accepted by non-Israelites than among their own people (Luke 4:24-27). He rejected the Pharisees, who believed that they were entitled to special blessings as children of Abraham, and noted that many would come "from the " and sit down in the kingdom of God, while many of the Israelites would be cast out. The Apostle Peter taught that "God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him" (Acts 10:34-35).

Where are the "Lost Tribes of Israel?"

It would be impossible to catalogue all the silly, fantastic, and speculative claims that have circulated regarding the location of the "Lost Tribes of Israel." Over the years, there has been conjecture about the "Lost Tribes" being hidden under the polar icecaps, in "secret cities" in Russia, in the center of the Earth, under the sea, and so forth.

From a brief review of the scriptures, it should be obvious that the descendants of the dispersed tribes of Israel are found among the nations and people-groups of our present world. The Lord stated of the Tribes of Israel: "I shall scatter them among the nations, and disperse them in the countries" (Ezekiel 12:15). The Book of Mormon teaches in the last days, the twelve tribes will be "gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth" (2 Nephi 10:8). The Book of Ezekiel alone notes seven times that Israel was dispersed "among the countries" or "through the countries." Jeremiah tells us that in the last days, the Lord will "gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely" (Jeremiah 32:37).


If the Church is worldwide, why haven’t the "Ten Tribes" been found?

The overwhelming preponderance of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been identified by patriarchal blessings as members of the tribes of Ephraim or Manasseh. These lineages are so common that many Latter-day Saints do not realize that Ephraim and Manasseh are in fact two of the "lost ten tribes." The "found tribes" of the Bible are the tribes of the Kingdom of Judah, i.e. Judah, Benjamin, and a portion of the tribe of Levi.

As the LDS Church now is an international church with adherents in over 140 nations, why have not far more descendants of tribes other than Ephraim and Manasseh been identified? The answer lies in highly exaggerated views of international LDS outreach. The majority of LDS members worldwide come from a handful of ethnic groups, while most other groups are unreached or under-reached. 85% of LDS members live in the Western Hemisphere, and another 10% live on island nations. Only 5% of LDS members live on the continental land mass of Europe, Asia, and Africa that is home to approximately 80% of the world’s population. Even this 5% is unevenly distributed, with the majority living of these living in just six nations -– Korea, Nigeria, Germany, South Africa, France, and Italy — and the city of Hong-Kong. Thousands of people-groups and languages of the world are almost completely unreached by the restored gospel, while many others have only token representation. Even in large nations like Russia and Ukraine there are, as yet, no stakes, and therefore no patriarchs. The only members in such nations with patriarchal blessings are expatriates who have lived or traveled abroad in areas where the Church is more established. Therefore, the only evidence of patriarchal blessing lineage comes from small numbers of expatriate and immigrant members. Nonetheless, these groups provide significant new data. While the lineages of Ephraim and Manasseh are dominant in most nations where the Church has been long established, some other culture groups have a preponderance of different lineages. This body of data will increase in coming years with the eventual establishment of stakes in additional nations and the expansion of outreach to as yet unreached people-groups. As new data is collected, the path of dispersion of each of the tribes of Israel will become better defined.

Figurative and Literal use of Lineage in Scripture

It should be noted that lineage is used in the scriptures both in figurative and literal ways. For example, in the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord states that "the rebellious are not of the blood of Ephraim" (D&C 64:36). Latter-day Saints believe in the "literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes" (Article of Faith 10) and that the declaration of lineage in patriarchal blessings reflects at least one component of genuine genetic ancestry, although Gentiles without Israelite ancestry can be "adopted" into a tribe.

There are some cases where parents are of one tribe and a child may be declared to be of a different tribal lineage. While the purpose of this paper is not to explore the genetics of the transmission of tribal lineage, it is sufficient to say some individuals may have some genetic influence from more than one tribe, although only one tribe is declared as primary in each patriarchal blessing. There may also be dominant and recessive traits associated with lineage. When mixed lineage is present, lineage of Ephraim and Manasseh frequently appear to be dominant. For example, most full-blooded Irish members are of the tribe of Dan, while the overwhelming preponderance of those of mixed Irish ancestry – Irish-American, Irish-Scottish, Irish-English, etc. – are of the tribe of Ephraim. This concept of dominant and recessive inheritance may explain at least in part why there are so many LDS members of the lineage of Ephraim and Manasseh.

History of the Tribes

The apocryphal second book of Esdras, regarded as genuine by many early Christians, gives the following account of the ten tribes:

‘"nd whereas thou sawest that he gathered another peaceable people unto him. These are the Ten Tribes which were carried away captives out of their own land in the time of Oseas, the king, whom Salmanaser, the king of the Assyrians, took captive and crossed them beyond the river; so were they brought into another land, but they took this council to themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen and go forth onto a further country, where never man dwelt, that they might keep the statutes, which they never kept in their own land. And they entered in at the narrow passages of the river Euphrates, for the most High then showed them signs and stayed the springs of the flood till they were passed over; for through the country there was great journey, even of a year and a half, and the same region is called Arsareth." (2 Esdras 13:39-45.)


Lands of the Dispersion: Afghanistan

‘And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard. And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit. And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant: Look hither; behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree. I have nourished it this long time, and it hath brought forth much fruit; therefore, gather it, and lay it up against the season, that I may preserve it unto mine own self.’ Jacob 5:21-23

Afghanistan has the world’s highest rate of displaced persons and one of the highest rates of infant and child mortality. Approximately 250,000 Afghan children have died from land mine injuries over the past decade, while another 250,000 die each year from preventable illnesses or hunger.

‘I originally hail from Afghanistan. My family has always maintained that they are the Beni Israel [children of Israel] – descendants of the prophets.’ saad_mohseni(at)hotmail.com

The following books contain some information about the House of Israel in Afghanistan and Pakistan:

Spain, James W. “The Way of the Pathans” Oxfor Univ. Press 1962 pp. 27-29

Carou, Sir Olaf, “The Pathans” St. Martin’s Press – New York 1958

(Carou is probably the most accurate)

– gvedington(at)uswest.net

Afghanistan: Tribe of Benjamin <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes2.html>

‘Straddling the boundaries between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir lives the world’s largest tribal grouping — the Pathans. All of the 15 million Pathans, who comprise some 60 tribes, claim descent from Kish, an ancestor of the Biblical King Saul. Many of them also claim to be children of the Lost Israelites. The Pathans perform circumcision of the eighth day, wear a fringed garment similar to the Jewish tzizit, light candles on Friday nights and observe food taboos similar to the laws of Kashrut.’

[Kashrut is derived from the word Kosher. King Saul was a Benjaminite.]

Lost Tribes: Afghanistan <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ns/1.html>

An excerpt from this site:

‘There I personally found an amazing sight. There are so many of a tribe with names that had Yusuf in the name as Yusufzai, Yusufuzi, Yusufzad, etc., who claimed origin from the Lost Tribes and I personally believe it. Yusuf means Joseph and Yusufzai means children of Joseph. The tribes of Joseph are the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh who are a part of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They also call themselves Bani-Israel meaning children of Israel. Their tradition is that they were carried away from their ancient homeland.’

‘Not only the Pathans, but also the Afghan Royal Family has a very well known tradition placing its origin in ancient Israel, they came from the Tribe of Benjamin. This tradition was first published in 1635 in a book called Mahsan-I-Afghani and has often been mentioned in the research literature. According to this tradition, King Saul had a son called Jeremiah who had a son called Afghana. Jeremiah died at about the time of King Saul’s death and Afghana was raised by King David and remained in the royal court during King Solomon’s reign. About 400 years later in the time of disorder of Israel, the Afghana family fled to a land called Gur which is in central Afghanistan. They settled and traded with the people of the area and in the year 662, with the arrival of Islam, the sons of Israel in Gur converted to the prophet with 7 representatives of the Afghan. The leader of the sons of Israel was Kish like the name of Saul’s father…So Afghan Royal Family has the tradition of ancient Israel – Benjamin Tribe of the Southern Kingdom of Judah.’

Pathans as descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel <http://moshiach.com/tribes/pakistan.html>

An excerpt from this site:

‘The people of Pathans now number 15 million people living mainly in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as in Persia and India. They have a tradition of being of the Lost Tribes and have Israeli customs. The Pathans have custom of circumcision on the 8th day. This is a known Jewish custom, and is the oldest Jewish tradition. I myself witnessed and was present at a very joyous circumcision ceremony on the 8th day after birth. Muslims have custom of circumcision but it is not on the 8th day, and usually at the age of 12. The Pathans have custom of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is considered a day of rest and they do not labor, cook or bake. The Pathans prepare 12 Hallot (traditional Jewish bread, Leviticus 24:5) in honor of the Sabbath as was done in the ancient temple. One of the significant indicators proving the Israeli origins of the Pathans is the lighting of the candle to honor the Sabbath. After lighting, the candle is covered usually by a large basket…And the symbol of (Star of David) is found in almost every Pathan house.’

This site discusses many other remarkable similarities between Pathan traditions, laws, and religious observances and Israelite traditions.

The Missing Tribes of Israel: Afghanistan <http://www.jewish-history.com/Occident/volume1/dec1843/tribes.html>

An 1808 article documenting the Israelite lineage of Afghans from a Jewish perspective.

Lands of the Dispersion: Argentina

Menorah Was Found in South America <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ecuador.html>

An excerpt from this site:

As for the Indians in South America and the Lost Tribes of Israel, there was an interesting article in a newspaper published in Israel (Maariv, Dec 31, 1974) as follows: In 1587, a Jesuit Nicholas Delttsu was sent to South America by the king of Spain to convert the Indians. In Argentina, he found a tribe with Hebrew names, Abraham, David, Moshe, etc.. When he asked them if they were circumcised, they answered, ‘Yes, just as our ancestors.’ In the same area were found knives of stone used for circumcision. Sharpened stone knives are cited in the Bible as used for circumcision. Of equal interest is the recent find of a tribe in Argentina related to the Incas of Peru. On a stone tablet were found 3 commandments – ‘Do not steal.’ ‘Do not lie.’ and ‘Do not murder.’ Scholars concluded that these commandments come from the Ten Commandments of Moses but existed hundreds of years before the Spaniards arrived. And in 1974 in the same area, round stones were found with Hebrew Menorah (candlestick with 7 arms of ancient Israel) on the stone, and on the side is written in Aramaic, Pascha (Passover). Aramaic is an ancient language which ancient Israelites used and this itself means very old. A few meters away was found a long stone in the shape of a brick with an engraving of a boat (the emblem of Zevulun is ship) with the word Tzipora (the same name as the wife of Moses and one of names of Israelites. The name of the ship?) written on it. Does this mean that they came here on boat? Scholars believe it is 3000 years old.’

Lands of the Dispersion: Armenia

‘When we were called to serve in the Russia Moscow Mission with a submission to Armenia, I was one day packing to go to the MTC, and in a quiet moment it was like a voice said to me, ‘Jack, you are going to teach the 10 tribes.’ I stood there chilled, and from that moment I knew that many Armenians would turn out to be of the 10 tribes lineage. One story we heard in Armenia from one of the candidates for Catholicos (Armenian Church Patriarch) was that there were masses of records stored in the private basement of the Armenian Church museum in Etchmiadzin.’ Jack Hughes, frontier(at)innercite.com

It is widely acknowledged by their own scholars that Armenians have a high proportion of Israelite blood. In Armenia Awakening: Sons of the Prophets (see Gathering of Israel Bulletin #6), Elder Jack Hughs writes:

An old Russian folk song titled ‘Abdul the Bul Bul Ameer’ begins with the line ‘The sons of the prophets were brave men, and bold, and quite unaccustomed to fear…’ The ballad tells of the battle between a Russian soldier and Abdul, a trans-caucasian Tartar renowned for his sword play. The duel ends in the death of both combatants, Abdul being tossed in the Black Sea one dark stormy night. It is a humorous tale, containing references to the descendants of the Prophets being in the area of the Black Sea, very near what is now known as Armenia.

Armenia, the oldest Christian nation in the world, is poised on the brink of a new age of enlightenment. Armenians are a people descended from Noah’s son Japeth, merging with Semitic tribes including the biblical covenant people through Shem, Abraham and the 12 tribes of Israel. Dr Nephi Kezerian, a noted genealogist, traces these ancestral streams in an appendix to his excellent book ‘Genealogy for Armenians.’ It is interesting to note how closely associated the Armenians were with the ‘Lost ten tribes of Israel’ for over 700 years.

Armenia’s Christianity dates to around AD32 when kings Agbar and Sanatruck were baptized by Jesus’ Apostle Bartholomew and Thaddeus. The Armenian Church today is called an Apostolic Christian church for that reason. Over the centuries the Armenian Church has had a friendly relationship with the Roman Catholic church, receiving gifts from the Popes such as crowns for the Catholicos (leaders of the Armenian church) and a small wooden relic believed to be part of Noah’s Ark. Armenian tradition says that in the 3rd century AD, Gregory, a Catholic missionary who Armenians call ‘the Illuminator,’ was shown in a vision by Jesus Christ the exact location to build his church. This spot is hallowed, covered by an altar in a church, and called Etchmiadzin, interpreted as ‘where the Only Son of God came down to earth.’ Armenia’s history is a long string of invasions by all the worlds known powers of that time. Persia in 519 BC, Alexander the Great in 334 BC, Romans 56 BC, divided between Persia and Byzantium 400 AD, Arabs 628 AD, and in 1050 AD successively by Turks, Mongols, and Tamberlane. The 16th century was a push-pull between Persia and Turkey. In 1826 Armenia became part of the Russian Empire, and in 1936 a Union Republic of the USSR. In 1915 Turkish Islamists massacred 1,500,000 Armenians, half of the population of this small country at that time, to take their land from them. In Yerevan, a needle shaped monument called the ‘Genocide Needle’ honors all those who lost their lives. Each year on April 24th, tens of thousands of Armenians march a long pathway to the needle and place garlands of flowers 3 or 4 feet deep around this memorial. Armenians still lay claim to the land Turkey stole from them which includes Mt. Ararat, an awesome 17000-foot mountain where Noah’s Ark landed.

In a recent announcement the country of Armenia is to have its own mission with President Sangster to preside. Our contacts still in Armenia via tell us via email that the church is flourishing there as the country’s leaders recognize the positive influence of the church among its people. In December of 1997 we were permitted to attend an excursion to the Freiburg Temple with 36 of our converts from Armenia – truly a missionary’s payday.

The Blood of Israel accounts for the overwhelming response of ethnic Armenians to the gospel in spite of other potentially unfavorable factors (heavy restrictions on proselyting by the government, strong national church, and no scriptures in Eastern Armenian). It is abundantly clear that while the receptivity of people in different nations involves many factors, including sociopolitical and economic factors, missionary work ethic, and the effectiveness of mission policy, it is undeniable that the presence and relative amount of the ‘Blood of Israel’ in the population exerts a profound effect on the long-term growth and strength of the church. There is also a considerable number of Church members of Armenian descent in the United States.

Christ in Armenia

Early Armenian Christian Traditions

Gevork Nazaryan, webmaster, armenianhighland.com

With respect to your inquiry on the appearance of Christ in Armenia in ancient times: there are two noteworthy and major historical accounts with this regard. First report is somewhat questionable (or has been questioned by some historians). It is dated to early First Century AD and according to the accounts of the Chroniclers of this time (both Armenian and Assyrian) such as Agathangelos and Phaustos Buzand – Christ and his Disciples were in Armenian (Northern) Mesopotamia, in the Armenian kingdom of Edessa in the court of king Abgar (not to be confused with non-related Islamic Akbar). It is during this time according to these accounts that Abgar after hearing our Christ and His mission for humanity converts to Christianity, thus becoming one of the first early Christians. This account has been questioned by a number of historians who say there is no subsequential historical facts to prove that Christ actually ventured into N. Syria – N. Mesopotamia regions. I too believe that there needs to be more research before this can be historically accepted to verify these accounts.

For example the fact that Christianity never got hold of in the Kingdom somewhat unexplained. This is in a sharp contrast to the conversion of King Tiridates (Arm. Trdat) conversion in 301 AD which is recorded and verified in Armenian, Syrian, Latin and Greek accounts and the biggest proof is of course the continuous and unbroken tradition of 1700 years of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church in Armenia Proper or Greater Armenia. We know that two of Christ’s Apostles – St. Thaddeus and St. Jude (St. Bartholomew) entered Armenia via the Armenian Atrpatakan in the south of Armenian Highland, proceeded with their preaching to Siunik (present day parts are in the Siunik Marz of Republic of Armenia) and Goltan (present day Azeri controlled Nakhichevan area) where they fell victims to initial anti-Christian stance of Arsacid (Arshakouni) dynasty. The Armenian Church prides itself on the Apostolic legacy and their martyrdom. But the roots of the Armenian Apostolic Church and its continual success as a religious institution (not counting the individual converted Christians from the First Century onward) date back to early Fourth Century AD. In 301 AD when St. Gregory the Illuminator became the first supreme Patriarch, the Catholicos, the spiritual leader of the Armenian Holy Apostolic Church, which he himself established. It is during this period in 303 AD when we have another major account of Christ’s appearance to St. Gregory the Illuminator.

According to both Agathangelos (late IVth Century) and Phaustos (early Vth), St. Gregory is undecided on where to built the new Seat of the Holy Apostolic Church. During his presence near the capital city of Valarshapat (Vagharshapat – in the l-gh transition) St. Gregory has a vision in which Christ descends on a hilltop and points to St. Gregory the sacred spot where the new Mother Church of St. Etchmiadzin or in another phonetic version Echmiatsin is to be built. The word Etchmiadzin in itself is derived from the two or more correctly three Armenian words – the Decent – Ech, Miadzin – of the Only Begotten One, hence the name and the current place of the Mother Church on the sacred hilltop – Etchmiadzin.

Now with respect to your second question on the Lost Tribes of Israel and in general the Hebrew presence/contact cultural exchange etc. Throughout the centuries especially during the times of early period there was tremendous contact between the peoples of Near East. There were people known as Hurrians who have given so much of their legacy to Armenians, Hebrews, Arameans, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Babylonians – in all almost all of the major peoples and civilizations that were on the horizon in the closing of Second Millennium BC and the start of the First Millennium BC. Many historians say that their original homeland was around lake Urmia-Zagros Mts. in Armenian Highland and parts of N. Mesopotamia. The ancient Armenoid Sumerians are also tied into this. In their epics of Gilgamesh amazingly they speak of the Great Flood and the Mountains of Arrata. This same account of the Great Deluge, Noah and the Arc landing on Mt. Ararat ‘in the mountains of Armenia’ is as I am sure you very well know is graphically described in the Old Testament. How can this happen? Well, for one thing we know that Abraham was from the ancient Sumerian city of Ur in Southern Mesopotamia. Was Abraham actually part of the Sumerian culture/folklore tradition or simply the Epic of Gilgamesh passed down to him orally or written by the local inhabitants… We do not know this exactly or I at least have not come across any conclusive work on the subject matter. Even today there is some common identity in physical features, cultural aspects, outlooks, approaches to life and cultural aspirations of both Armenian and Jewish peoples. This is of course true of some other Near Eastern peoples whose ancient roots go back to the times of the Mesopotamian Civilizations and the Fertile Crescent. I know for a fact that if you do get a chance to visit the History State Museum in the Republic Square in Yerevan you will enjoy the fine collection of ancient artifacts going back as far as Third Millennium BC. Also as you might already know in 2001 Armenia will be celebrating the 1700 year of adoption of Christianity as a state religion, thus the atmosphere next year will be very jubilant marked with various important events (such as for example the grand opening of the newly built Mother Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator in the heart of Yerevan to mark the historic anniversary) throughout the year.

I myself have majored in Near Eastern studies and my passion for the ‘People of the Book’ is one of utmost interest. Today the once thriving Armenian Jewish community has disappeared due to the fact that most of the Armenian Jews have migrated to Israel (one of them became member of Knesset) still the Armenian Jews (who have continual presence since the time of the second destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD) have managed to maintain the Jewish community that goes back to the depths of time.

I want to conclude with a quote from the Bible from the Book of Jeremiah. The Jewish call of overthrow of Babylon in the Sixth Century BC is clear. Armenians of the Land of Ararat as it was known, the Medes and others must united in overthrowing Babylonian – Assyrian domination on the many peoples of the Fertile Crescent.

Jeremiah: 51:27

‘Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz; appoint a captain against her, cause the horses to come as the rough caterpillars.

‘Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captain thereof, and all the rulers thereof, an all the land of his dominions.’

In 538 BC, King Tigran of Armenia contributed to the capture and overthrow of wicked Babylon with his Armenian army. Tigran was a firm friend of the Persian monarch Cyrus, who led the combined Medo-Persian army. The prophet Jeremiah made these summons about a century before the destruction of the Babylonian Empire.

I hope this was of some help in your inquiry on the subject matter.

With Kindest Regards,

Gevork Nazaryan

Lands of the Dispersion: Britain and Scotland

In the article ‘Tracing the Dispersion’ in the February 1994 issue of the Ensign, Terry Blodgett provides considerable linguistic, historical, and cultural evidence for the influx of a people of Hebrew origin into the territories of the Germanic peoples, particularly the British and the Scandinavians as well as the Germans, Swiss, and Austrians, shortly after the 10 Tribes had been carried away captive into Assyria. He also notes another Hebrew sound shift centuries later, corresponding to the influx of Aramaic-speaking Hebrews after the final dispersion of the Jews from Palestine. These linguistic and historical evidences correlate very well with the evidences from missionary work in our era.

The original descendants of the British Isles, both and in more recently settled territories (like Australia, and to a lesser extent South Africa, where the British are heavily mixed with the Dutch), have always had a high rate of receptivity to the gospel. There are many traditions that Joseph of Arimathaea preached the Gospel in the British Isles. The ancient (non-Catholic) Christian Church in Britain was originally much more pure in its teachings and practices than the Church of Rome until ‘converted’ by the Catholic ‘Saint’ Augustine, a murderer and whoremonger. Arthurian legends are strongly reminiscent of a Zionist society and of Messianic scripture (‘the once and future king,’ there will be ‘no peace on earth’ until he comes again) and may represent the an altered form of gospel teachings. Many striking similarities between the Arthurian legends and the Gospel have been remarked upon for years. While the legends have undoubtedly undergone considerable change over time and lost some of their original clarity, the striking parallels with the gospel which have been preserved are impossible not to remark upon. It is very likely that the Savior appeared to people in the British Isles after his resurrection.

Northern Ireland: 0.54% (5400 of 1 million – mainly Scots and English, relatively few pure Irish)

Australia: 0.52% (96,000 of 18.3 million)

Scotland: 0.50% (25,000 of 5 million)

England: 0.26% (133,000 of 52 million)

Wales: 0.24% (7100 of 3 million)

The actual rates are much higher than shown here, since many members emigrated to the US. Many North American members claim Scottish, English, or Welsh heritage. Patriarchal blessings typically document that the strong presence of the blood of Ephraim, son of Joseph in the British Isles. Again, great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea.

Church membership is much far higher among the English than among the Irish (0.06%). While there are many members with some Irish heritage, most of these individuals also have some English or Scottish heritage. It has also been noted in the United States, where 18-23% of individuals claim Irish ancestry, that pure Irish ancestry is surprisingly rare in the church (as are pure Greeks and to a lesser extent pure Italians). In all of these countries, many of those converted are actually foreigners. These data would lead one to believe that there is much less of the Blood of Israel among these groups.

In continental Europe, membership is led by Portugal (0.33%), Scandinavia (0.1%), and Switzerland (0.1%). The church in Portugal is relatively recent. While baptisms are high, activity is low and much remains to be seen. In the 19th century, conversions were very high in Scandinavia. Many lifelong church members in the U.S. have Scandinavian ancestry (how many LDS Sorensons, Andersons, and Christiansens do you know? The -son endings are Swedish and -sen is Danish). Spanish Fork is the largest community of Icelanders outside of Iceland. However, the LDS population in Scandinavia is only very slightly higher than it was 25 years ago due to the very low rate of baptisms and a small trickle of emigration. During this time period, LDS population has doubled, tripled, and even increased 10 fold or more in many other areas of the world. Lower baptism rates in Scandinavia and Germany over the past 50 years may reflect that the proportion of Israelite blood among those remaining may have decreased as many converts have immigrated to America. The situation also reflects current social and political factors.

‘Scotland’s most treasured document, the Declaration of Arbroath (also called the Scottish Declaration of Independence), was drawn up in 1320 A.D. In it, King Robert the Bruce (1306-1329)–recently popularized in the 1995 box-office hit movie, Braveheart–and his Scottish nobles solemnly appealed to Pope John XXII to persuade the King of England (Edward II) to allow the Scots to live in peace, unmolested by their English tormentors. The declaration states that the Scots ‘journeyed from Greater Scythia [present-day Ukraine] by way of the Pillars of Hercules [Gibraltar], and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain…. Thence they came [c. 250 B.C.], twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today’ (para. 2). Why did the Scots solemnly preserve, as an important milestone in their nation’s history, this reference to the crossing of the Red Sea?’


Many Britons believe that Joseph of Arimathea–the important rich man in Judea who buried Christ and had secretly been His disciple (Matt. 27:57; Mark 15:43; John 19:38)–once lived in what is now Glastonbury, England, using that village as his home base from which to preach the Gospel to many of the British people. ‘Joseph, Saint, Of Arimathea (fl. c. A.D. 30), a Jew who undertook the burial of Jesus and whom later legend connected with the Holy Grail of Glastonbury…. A mid-thirteenth century interpolation… by William of Malmesbury relates that Joseph went to Glastonbury in England as head of 12 missionaries sent thither by the Apostle Philip’ (‘Joseph, Saint,’ Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1970). Tradition maintains that Joseph’s oldest brother was the father of Mary, Jesus’ mother. If true, that would make him Christ’s great uncle. And a common saying in the English countryside is that ‘Joseph was a tin man.’ Tin mining was big in early Britain. In fact, the British Isles were known in ancient times as the Cassiterides (‘tin islands’). And, through Phoenician-established commerce links, the tin trade between Britain and the Eastern Mediterranean world was quite substantial. Thus, Joseph was probably involved in the tin trade between the British Isles and the Near East. In going to Glastonbury in Somerset, he may have been returning to a familiar place, where he could effectively preach the Gospel.

Related links:

The Early Celtic Church <http://www.whyprophets.com/> – Written by an LDS Church member in the United Kingdom, this provides interesting evidence about the Early Church in the British Isles.

The Lost Tribes in England and America <http://www.abcog.org/lost1.htm> – Written in 1881

Anglo-Israel: England of the Lost Ten Tribes <http://www.abcog.org/glover17.htm>

Lands of the Dispersion: Britains from Armenia; Picts from Scythia

By David Stewart

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, described by Brittania.com as ‘the ultimate timeline of British history from its beginnings,’ starts with these words:

The island Britain is 800 miles long, and 200 miles broad. And there are in the island five nations; English, Welsh (or British), Scottish, Pictish, and Latin. The first inhabitants were the Britons, who came from Armenia, and first peopled Britain southward. Then happened it, that the Picts came south from Scythia, with long ships, not many; and, landing first in the northern part of Ireland, they told the Scots that they must dwell there. But they would not give them leave; for the Scots told them that they could not all dwell there together; ‘But,’ said the Scots, ‘we can nevertheless give you advice. We know another island here to the east. There you may dwell, if you will; and whosoever withstandeth you, we will assist you, that you may gain it.’ Then went the Picts and entered this land northward. Southward the Britons possessed it, as we before said. And the Picts obtained wives of the Scots, on condition that they chose their kings always on the female side; which they have continued to do, so long since. And it happened, in the run of years, that some party of Scots went from Ireland into Britain, and acquired some portion of this land. Their leader was called Reoda, from whom they are named Dalreodi (or Dalreathians).

This chronicle is particularly interesting from the standpoint of the dispersion of the tribes of Israel. It is well-known that British and Scots have a large amount of Ephraimite blood. Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite of Scotch-English descent. Most of the early Church members were of Scottish, English, and Scandinavian descent. The blood of Ephraim was highly concentrated in these nations.

It is also widely believed that the Lost Tribes of Israel traveled through Armenia. Local Armenian traditions, some archaelogical evidence, and apocryphal scriptures all corroborate this. Church Patriarch Hyrum G. Smith, Assistant Church Historian Elder Andrew Jenson, and others have cited the passage from 2 Esdras about a group from the Ten Tribes traveling through the area of present-day Armenia in the exodus from their captors. In fact, after citing this passage, Elder Jenson states that ‘there are undoubtedly many things in Esdras that are just as reliable as things found in the scriptures that are called canonical.’

The Anglo-Saxon chronicle connects the two by stating that the Britons came from Armenia. This same reading occurs in all of the earliest copies of the Chronicle. The editors, supposing this to be erroneous, postulate in their footnote that ‘Armorica’ was intended. But I think that the original records here are faithful on this account, and there is no reason to disbelieve it. To the contrary, the proximity of ‘Armenia’ and ‘Scythia’ in the same paragraph makes the account fully credible as it is written.

The Chronicle is also interesting because it notes that the Picts — who, with the Scots, formed the Scottish nation — were Scythians. Scythians lived in the area north of the Black Sea at the time of the migration of the northern ten tribes. While Scythian ancestry and history is still controversial, it is generally agreed that much Scythian blood [in addition to other influences] is preserved in Ukrainians and Russians. If the Chronicle is accurate, it appears that the Scots are relatives of the Ukrainians and Russians. Not surprisingly, linguists have noted significant commonalities between Scottish Gaelic and the Russian language.

The account of the Scythian sailors — who left their homeland for reasons not indicated in the text — arriving in Scotland explains the maternal transmission of clan leadership. It is possible — if there was some early mixing of the Scythians with the Ten Tribes — that the Scythian sailors could have contributed to the high concentration of the Blood of Israel among the Scots.

Lands of the Dispersion: Central and South America

Nephi states that his father was a descendant of Joseph. Latter-day revelation has clarified that the Nephites and Lamanites are primarily descended from Joseph’s son Manassah, with some intermixing with the tribe of Judah (Mulekites). It is sufficiently clear that with the possible exception of the Eskimos, who may be of Siberian origin, the indigenous peoples of North and South America and of the Hawaiian and Polynesian Islands, are descendants of Lehi. Early church leaders taught that the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations were spread on a large scale on the whole of the American continents. Joseph Smith provides clear evidence or archeological finds, catacombs in the Midwest. Church history cites that Farmers around the Hill Cumorah for years found large numbers of arrow-heads in the area where the final battle between the Nephites and Lamanites was fought. Numerous prophets have made the descent of the indigenous peoples of Central and South America from Father Lehi very clear:

‘We are particularly mindful this day of the sons and daughters of Lehi. They have known so much of suffering and sorrow in their many generations. They have walked in darkness and servitude. Now Thou has touched them by the light of the everlasting gospel.’ (Gordon B. Hinckley, Lima Peru Temple Dedication, January 10, 1986)

‘We thank thee for the recorded record of our ancestors, the record of Lehi, Nephi and Jacob, of Alma and Mosiah, of Benjamin and Mormon and Moroni.’ (Gordon B. Hinckley, Guatemala City Temple Dedication, December 14, 1986)

‘Most have in their veins the blood of Father Lehi. Thou has kept Thine ancient promise.’ (Gordon B. Hinckley, Mexico City Temple Dedication, December 2, 1983)

‘We thank Thee, that tens of thousands of the descendants of Lehi, in this favored land, have come to a knowledge of the gospel.’ (Heber J. Grant, November 27, 1919)

Because of the Blood of Israel, Church growth is astronomical in nations like Chile and Guatemala that are primarily indigenous descendants of the Lamanites, and relatively slower (but still quite high) in nations like Argentina and Brazil with more European blood mixed with the native population.

High percent of indigenous peoples (Blood of Lehi)

Chile 2.6% (462,000 out of 14,170,000 people)

Uruguay 2.07% (69,000/3,335,000)

Honduras 1.49% (82,000/5,500,000)

Guatemala 1.43% (164,000/11,500,000)

El Salvador 1.31% (77,000/5,900,000)

Peru 1.29% (312,000/24,100,000)

Ecuador 1.26% (139,000/11,000,000)

Bolivia 1.25% (100,000/7,974,000)


Panama 1.19% (32,000/2,700,000)

Belize 1.06% (2300/216000)

Mexico 0.82% (783,000/94,924,000)

Costa Rica 0.81% (28,000/3,450,000)

Dominican Republic 0.77% (62,000/8,030,000)

Argentina 0.77% (268,000/34,800,000)

Paraguay 0.69% (37,000/5,400,000)

Puerto Rico(USA) 0.55% (21,000/3,800,000)

High percentage of European (and African – Brazil) blood, heavily intermixed with indigenous peoples

Brazil 0.40% (640,000/160,800,000)

Venezuela 0.37% (80,000/21,526,000)

Colombia 0.33% (122,000/36,500,000)

Christ in South America

3 Nephi 11-23

Quetzacoatl legend <http://users.sedona.net/~roadmarks/Roadmarks/Anthropology/Indian_Mex.html> – The tall bearded white god promised he would return.

Christian traditions of South America <http://www.nullensc.dircon.co.uk/jch/jch49.htm>

The non-LDS author discusses some indigenous South American religious traditions and writes, ‘these ancient traditions of Central America, so similar to ours, cannot really be explained if Jesus did not make post-resurrection appearances in these lands. We cannot, of course, explain these similarities between the Gospel and the traditions of these far-away countries.’

Lands of the Dispersion: Central Asia

I’m confident that much Blood of Israel will be found in Central Asia. Interestingly, many Bukharian Jews claim descent from the ‘lost tribes.’ The term ‘Bukharian Jews’ refers to Jews from a region of Uzbekistan west of Samarkand (Samarqand), but often the term is used to refer more widely to the Central Asian Jewish community. Compelling ties of the Pathans in Afghanistan to the tribes of Joseph and Benjamin have been known for years (see http://www.gatheringofisrael.com/12tribes.htm). The response to missionary work in Mongolia was remarkable, at least for the first few years. Evidence of the Blood of Israel will accumulate with regard to Kyrgyzstan in future years.

Jewish Khazar territory once extended to the Aral Sea and included part of Khazakhstan and Uzbekistan, although it does not appear to have reached further East.

Lands of the Dispersion: China

Chiang-Min of China

The Chiang-Min of China – http://moshiach.com/tribes/china.html <http://moshiach.com/tribes/china.html>

Chiang-Min China – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html#chiang’ <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html>

Lands of the Dispersion: Ecuador

The Lost Tribes of Israel who were in South America <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ecuador.html>

An excerpt from this site:

‘Manasseh heard a very remarkable thing from Montezinus that in 1642 when Montezinus was deep into the mountainous wilderness of Ecuador, he met with four Indians who greeted him with ‘Shema Israel’ which is the traditional creed of Israelites beginning with ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!’ (Deuteronomy 6:4). He claimed that he spoke with them in Hebrew and claimed they were from the Lost Tribe of Reuben and Levi. Through the conversation with Montezinus, Rabbi Manase Ben Israel was convinced that the American Indians were from several tribes of the Lost Tribes of Israel. He wrote on Dec. 23, 1649, in a letter to John Drury, the Puritan divine, ‘I think the Ten Tribes lived not only there in America, but also in other lands scattered everywhere, these never did come back to the second temple, and they keep to this day still the Jewish religion seeing that all the prophecies which speak of the bringing back into their native soil must be fulfilled.’

Lands of the Dispersion: Ethiopia

Beta-Israel: Ethiopia <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html>

An excerpt from this site:

‘In the latter part of the twelfth century, a legend appeared which persisted for several centuries and reached Egypt, Palestine and Europe. According to this legend, a Christian priest named Prester John ruled as monarch over a vast and wealthy Christian Empire. According to many traditions, Ethiopia was the land of the powerful Prester John’s kingdom, as well as the home of the ten lost tribes. Persistent rumor had it that these African Israelite kingdoms were at constant war with Prester John, and that their armies were advancing on Rome.

Who are these African-Jewish tribesmen so central to the Prester John legend? These are the Ethiopian Jews known both as Falashas, the Amharic word for landless, wandering Jews, and as Beta Israel, the house of Israel. In Ethiopia, they engaged primarily in agriculture, but were known also for their exquisite crafts and jewelry. Today, most of the Beta Israel live in the state of Israel. In the 1970’s and 80’s, the Israeli government airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, rescuing them from political and economic distress. According to one tradition, the Ethiopian Jews are the descendants of one of the ten tribes, as their religion is an ancient form of biblical Judaism. Their religious practices are prescribed by the Orit, the Torah translated into their Gez dialect. They possess none of the post-biblical laws. Over the centuries, the Beta Israel have been connected with the tribe of Dan. This association has eased the process of their return to the state of Israel in recent times.’

The Falashes of Ethiopia <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ethiopia.html>

An excerpt from this site:

‘In the 9th century CE, there was a man named Eldad ha-Dani who was a Jewish merchant and traveler and came and went to the Jewish communities of Babylonia, North Africa, and Spain. He left a record of his travels which constitute more legend than fact, but this stirred many people’s interest. Eldad claimed that he was a merchant and scholar from an independent Jewish state that was situated in East Africa. He declared categorically that his country was the home of the Lost Tribes of Asher, Gad, Naphtali, and Dan, and that he himself was from the Tribe of Dan. His name ha-Dani means the Tribe of Dan in Hebrew. Eldad mentions that in ‘Kush’ of East Africa which is today’s Ethiopia live a lot of descendants of the tribe of Dan and other tribes of Israel. It is interesting to note that still in the 20th century CE there live a Jewish group called Falashas of Ethiopia. Their skin is black and they call themselves ‘Beta Israel’ which means the House of Israel in Hebrew. They have been following the precepts of the Bible since ancient times in a loose fashion. The Falashas in Ethiopia speak Hebrew and keep the Sabbath. Tragically enough many of them were killed by a recent insurgence in Ethiopia, but the remnants emigrated to Israel. They were transported to Israel by the airplanes chartered by the government of Israel in 1983 and 1991. Over 90% of Beta Israel now live in Israel, accepted as Jews.’

Lands of the Dispersion: Georgia

Jewish History of Georgia <http://www.heritagefilms.com/GEORGIA.html> – ‘There is a tradition among the Jews of Georgia (the ‘Gurjim’) that they are descended from the Ten Tribes exiled by Shalmaneser, which they support by their claim that there are no kohanim (priestly families) among them…However, one historical tradition speaks of the first Jews coming to the country after the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar 586 B.C.E. ‘

Lands of the Dispersion: Japan

‘I am Japanese American with ancestry going back to Hiroshima, Japan. I am third generation in the USA. My patriarchal blessing does not give a lineage, only that I am adopted into the House of Abraham. What does this mean? At least two other patriarchs have told me to let the matter rest as is.’ (jeddoi@deseretonline.com)

The Japanese: Descendants of one of the Ten Lost Tribes? <http://www.jfgmc.org/jstar7.htm>

A Jewish visitor remarks on remarkable similarities between Japanese and Jewish culture and on historical evidences of Israelitish heritage in Japan.

The Lost Tribes: Japan – http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html>

Israelites Came To Ancient Japan <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ns/5.html>

Lands of the Dispersion: Kashmir

The Lost Tribes: Kashmir <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ns/4.html>

Israelite Names in Kashmir <http://www.tombofjesus.com/Kashmirnames.htm>

[The paragraphs below include a summary of the contents of the above webpages. I have not personally validated the information below from external sources, and cannot guarantee its accuracy. I continue to investigate these and other claims on an ongoing basis. -DS]

In Kashmir (in the northern part of India, east of Afghanistan and Pakistan and west of Nepal) live 5-7 million Kashmiris. Many place names are found in Kashmir which are virtually identical to those in ancient Israel, including Har Nevo, Beit Peor, Pisga, and Heshubon. Many people and villages also bear Israelite names (check out http://www.tombofjesus.com/Kashmirnames.htm — the list is really quite impressive). In the spring, the Kashmiris celebrate Pasca (the ancient name for the passover) and adjust the lunar calendar and solar calendar according to Hebrew tradition. Several books have reportedly been published on this. Udu, the language of Kashmir, includes many words identifiable as Hebrew. While most Kashmiris are Muslims, they are sympathetic towards Jews. The name Israel is very common among Kashmiris, although it is never used among Muslims. Kashmiris light a candle on the Sabbath, have sideburns, beards, and a design of the Shield of David. To this day, a group lives in the Yusmarg (Handwara) are on the border of Pakistan which calls itself B’nei Israel, which means ‘children of Israel.’ Many Kashmiris state that this is the ancient name for all of the Kashmir people.

Recognition of the Israelite background of Kashmiris is not new. The priest Kitro states that the Kashmiris are descendants of the ancient Israelites in his ‘General History of the Mughal Empire.’ Mostrat, a fifteenth century priest in the time of Vasco da Gama, stated: ‘all the inhabitants of this area who have been living here since ancient times can trace their ancestry, according to their race and customs, to the ancient Israelites. Their features, their general physical appearance, their clothing, their ways of conducting business, all show that they are similar to the ancient Israelites.’ El Bironi, a widely traveled twelth-century Arab historian, wrote: ‘In the past, permission to enter Kashmir was given only to Jews.’

Given the considerable evidence, most Kashmir researchers believe that many Kashmiris are descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel, who were carried into captivity in 722 BC. Mulla Nadiri, author of ‘History of Kashmir,’ and Mulla Ahmad, author of ‘Events of Kashmir,’ are Kashmir’s two primary historians. Both have convincingly documented that the Kashmiri people are descendants of ancient Israelites.

Traditions of the apostle Thomas preaching in India have been known for many years. There is also tradition in Kashmir that Christ survived the crucifixion and traveled to Kashmir, where he lived among the people. I believe that the tale of Christ surviving the crucifixion and ministering to the people in Kashmir is a legend based the Savior’s actual post-resurrection ministry to the Kashmiris. Christ taught to the Nephites that he would manifest himself unto other ‘lost sheep’ of the house of Israel, and it seems natural that he would have visited Israelites in ancient Kashmir. They undoubtedly would have recorded the account of Christ’s visitation, which would still survive somewhere, awaiting discovery and accurate (non-FARMS) translation. We (LDS) can also offer Kashmiris many things no other people on earth can.

Interestingly, DNA tests have conclusively linked India’s oldest Jewish community, the ‘Bene Israel’ — the Sons of Israel — of Alibag (western India, quite some distance south of Kashmir) to the priestly Levitical genetic markers found in Jewish communities of Kohanim around the world. DNA studies of Kashmiris have not yet been performed.

Lands of the Dispersion: Khazaria

Black Sea Archaeology <http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~norman/bsp/Cher/rsm01.1.html>

This is a fascinating page with abundant archaelogical and historical information. The article clearly documents the fact that known communities of diaspora Jews lived north of the Black Sea before and around the time of Christ. For example, a first-century Greek inscription found in Crimea states:

‘During the reign of Tiberius Julius Rescuporis dutiful friend of Caesar and of the Romans, in the 377th year the 12th of Peretiou, I Chreste, formerly wife of Drusus, release in the proseuche my slave Heraclan, as a free person once and for all according to my vow. He shall remain untouched and undisturbed by all my heirs. He may go where he wants and without undue pressure he has accepted the obligation to be a dedicated member of the proseuche. That this agreement is made by my heirs Heraclede and Helikoniad and with the joint guarantee held by the Jewish community (sunagoge ton Ioudaion)’

Khazaria.com <http://www.khazaria.com>

An excerpt from this site:

“Over a thousand years ago, the far east of Europe was ruled by Jewish kings who presided over numerous tribes, including their own tribe: the Turkic Khazars. After their conversion, the Khazar people used Jewish personal names, spoke and wrote in Hebrew, were circumcised, had synagogues and rabbis, studied the Torah and Talmud, and observed Hanukkah, Pesach, and the Sabbath. The Khazars were an advanced civilization with one of the most tolerant societies of the medieval period.

The Khazars <http://moshiach.com/tribes/ethiopia.html>

An excerpt from this site:

‘Eldad ha-Dani mentions also about Khazar kingdom which was located between Black Sea and Caspian Sea. He declares that several tribes from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel live in Khazar. In around 740 CE, the king and the people of Khazar all converted to Judaism. It was a national conversion and this is a well known history among the Jews. According to Eldad, in Khazar lived three tribes from the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. They were Reuben, Gad, and Half Manasseh. About 300 thousand of the people of Khazar were they. In the 9th century CE Joseph, the king of Khazar, wrote, ‘(the capital of Khazar consists of three towns and) in the second town live the Israelites (probably the Ten Lost Tribes), the descendants of Ishmael, Christians and the people who speak other languages.’ Thus, some of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel lived there.’

The Lost Ten Tribes of Israel <http://www.giveshare.org/israel/lost10tribes.html> – This page notes some interesting similarities between the Scythians and Hebrews. While there are a few interesting observations, most of the material is poorly substantiated.

Some interesting notes about the Khazars:

– Several sources remark that the names of the Khazar Jews are those of Old Testament exile times, rather than the Hellenicized/Romanized names prevalent in the Jewish diaspora communities.

– The Khazars reportedly did not accept the Talmud or later Jewish traditions, relying instead on the scriptures.

– The Khazar kingdom was generally known for being peaceful (with some exceptions).

– Khazaria was notable for its religious tolerance towards Muslims, Christians, and other religions.

– The Hungarian tradition of ‘dual leadership’ ? with the equivalent of both a kagan and a gyula (i.e. president and prime minister, in modern terms) ? came from Khazaria.

– To this day, the name for the Caspian sea in Persian and a variety of other Central Asian languages is the ‘Khazar Sea.’

Contrary to the beliefs of both Immanuel Velikovsky (Khazars=Lost Tribes) and Arthur Koestler (Ashkenazi Jews=Turkic Khazar proselytes), it is generally accepted today that (1) the great majority of the Khazars were ethnic Ugharic Turkic peoples, (2) not all of the Khazars converted to Judaism, although the conversion extended beyond the ruling class, #3) However, relatively little is known of the Jewish Khazar minority, and there is still considerable support for ideas of some of the lost tribes among the people of Khazaria.

Revisiting Samara:

On closer examination, I find that Samara in fact appears to be much older than the fifteenth century city cited in some sources. Immanuel Velikovsky notes:

‘On the middle flow of the Volga, a city with the name Samara exists and has existed since grey antiquity. It is situated a short distance downstream from the point where the Volga and the Kama join. Russian conquerors of the ninth century found this city in existence.’ Immanuel Velikovsky, ‘Beyond the Mountains of Darkness,’ online at http://www.crosswinds.net/~velikovsky/ce/baalbek/khazars.htm

(Velikovsky’s work is now in the public domain, so I quote liberally from it)

Was Samara ever a Khazar city?

Immanuel Velikovsky states, ‘the medieval Arab geographer Yakubi, basing himself on accounts of the ninth-century traveller Ibn Fadlan, speaks of the Khazars who dwelt in Samara’ (Yakubi, Kitab al-Buldan, 262 (in Bibl. Geogr. Arab, VII, ed. De Goeje).

Other sources, however, do not collaborate this. Kevin Brook and other authorities on Khazaria maintain that there is no evidence that Samara was ever a Khazar city.

[Samara, of course, is of interest because of long-standing claims that the name ‘Samara’ came from the Israelite ‘Samaria.’]

Velikovsky makes a convincing argument that the traditional location of the East Jordan resettlement areas of Hara, Habor, Halah, and the River of Gozan cannot be conclusively identified with their traditional locations in Greater Armenia. He notes:

‘The sentence in II Kings 17:6 is repeated almost verbatim in 18:11. In I Chronicles 5:26, …the Transjordan tribes? Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe Manasseh? [were exiled to Halah, and Habor and Hara,and to the river Gozan … It is generally agreed that the location of Halah (in Hebrew with two letters kheth, transcribed as h in scholarly texts), or Khalakh, is not given to identification. As to Gozan, the texts of II Kings 17:6 and 18:11 speak of Habor by the river Gozan; also I Chronicles 5:26 speaks of the river Gozan. In Isaiah 37:12 it can be understood as a region or a people of a region. The correct translation of the two passages in the Second Book of Kings is ‘to the confluence (habor) of the river Gozan.’ [Cf. Strong’s Concordance of the Bible, p. 36 where (Hebrew section) habor is translated from the root word meaning ‘to join.’] Biblical scholars who sought for the place of exile of, first, the two and a half tribes of Israel by Tiglath-Pileser and then of all the tribes of Israel by Sargon upon the fall of Samaria, decided that the river’s name was Habor and Gozan was the region. They have therefore identified Gozan with Guzana, modern Tell Halaf in northeastern Syria. But this interpretation is a violation of the texts. Looking for a river Habor, they thought to identify it with the tributary of the river Euphrates mentioned in Ezekiel 1:3 ‘the word of the Lord came…unto Ezekiel…in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar.’ However the spellings in Hebrew of Habor and Chebar are different, the river Khvor (Chebar) is not Habor, and the latter is not a river at all. Furthermore, the co-called river Chebar is actually an irrigation canal. [See Atlas of the Bible, (ed. by J. L. Gardener, 1981), p. 145; also consult W. Gesenius, Hebrew Lexicon (Brown, Driver, Briggs), p. 140, ‘Kebar’ ?’a river (or perhaps a canal) of Babylonia, not at present identified . . .’ ?LMG/WBS] ‘from Immanuel Velikovsky, ‘Beyond the Mountains of Darkness,’ online at http://www.crosswinds.net/~velikovsky/ce/baalbek/khazars.htm

Velikovsky continues in ‘Beyond the Mountains of Darkness:”A large river in the plain behind the crest of the Caucasus is the Don, and a still larger river?the largest in Europe?is the Volga. If the Assyrians did not make a halt on the plain that stretches immediately behind the Caucasus and moved along the great rivers without crossing them to conquer the great plain that lies open behind the narrow span where the rivers Don and Volga converge? Then the most probable place of exile might be reckoned to be at the middle Volga. The distance from Dur Sharrukin to this region on the Russian (Scythian) plain is in fact much less than the distance from Nineveh to Thebes in Egypt, a path taken by Assurbanipal several decades later. Under Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal, Assyrian armies repeatedly invaded ‘Patursi and Kusi’ ?Upper Egypt and Ethiopia (Sudan). But Assyrian occupation of Scythia is not a mere conjecture:

it is confirmed by archaeological evidence. ‘The earliest objects from Scythia that we can date,’rites a student of the region’s antiquities, ‘referred to the VIIth and VIth centuries B.C., are under overwhelming Assyrian influence. . .’ (Ellis H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks (Cambridge, 1913), p. 263.)’

Velikovsky’s ‘Gozan=Kazan’ theory is heavily discounted by most contemporary scholars. While Velikovsky’s assertion that the Biblical ‘Gozan’ is in fact the Russian city of Kazan on the northern Volga river is unsupported by any meangingful evidence, he raises some interesting questions. His assertion of Assyrian occupation of Scythia is interesting, although this will need to be examined further.

On the topic of Bukharian Jews, Velikovsky states:

‘In this context it is interesting to note that the Jews of Bukhara, the great trading city and metropolis of West Turkestan, (Turan) claim direct descent from the Ten Tribes. Some writers are even prepared to admit the possible veracity of this claim, though no one so far seems to have attempted to place the ‘cities of the Medes’ in this region. While the greater part of the Jewish community of Bukhara may well be descended from migrants from the time of the Babylonian Exile or the Diaspora of Roman times or even later, it is not excluded that the oldest group among them are remnants of those tribes dispatched by Sargon to the ‘cities of the Medes.”

I do not doubt that there is a large amount of the ‘Blood of Israel’ in Central Asia. However, Velikovsky himself admits that there is no evidence to suggest that the exile cities were located in this area. Migrations to this area probably came later.

Revisiting Eldad Ha-Dani:

On reviewing the other works of Eldad Ha-Dani (the Jewish traveler who claimed that the Transjordan tribes were found in Khazaria), I find that ? while he is widely cited ? I cannot consider him to be an accurate historian. It is unclear to me whether whether Ha-Dani ever actually visited Khazaria, and I find some of the other claims he makes to be conflicting.

Various medieval authors place the trans-Jordan tribes in a variety of locations, including Khazaria, Arabia, and Central Asia. However all of these authors give conflicting reports (like Ha-Dani) and I cannot consider any of them to be reliable. It is clear that there is some evidence for the Transjordan tribes in the territory of ancient Khazaria from both ancient and modern sources. Ha-Dani’s report appears to be most consistent with those data, and the tradition appears to predate him. However, additional evidence from other collaborative sources will be necessary.

I’m forwarding this informative reply from Gevork Nazaryan. -DS

From: Gevork Nazaryan

I knew of the fact that another name for the Armenian Kingdom was Ashkenaz given by both Armenians and Jews to the Armenian Kingdom. And I knew that the same name was given to the European Jewry respectively. I was always puzzled at that…For example in the Armenian accounts often the Ashkenaz were also put with the Scythians. The Scythians on the other hand at one time or another controlled vast areas of present day South-Western Russia. We also know that Scythians for a fact were in Armenia (I know for a fact that there are Scythian kurgans from Northern Armenia all the way to Yerevan). We also know that almost exact area of the Scythians was occupied by the Khazars. Armenians speak an Indo-European language, so did the Scythians. The Indo-European element is there but there is, just like in the case of Hebrews, so much more to the people.

Both Armenians and Jews share common lineage that can not be denied along with other non-related elements/influences… There is some mysterious connection to the Khazars. In Armenian hard L become gh or kh (just like the r sometimes). So Armenians call Lazar – Ghazar or Khazar (the last name Ghazarian or Khazarian is very common in Armenians today).

[Kazarian, Kazaryan, Khazarian, Khazaryan are all common Armenian surnames. -DS]

The amazing part is also throughout all of history of the Khazars there is not one chronicled attack on the Armenian lands of the powerful kingdom that was at odds with all of its neighbors except bordering…. Armenia. It is also true about Bagratids (who restored the Kingdom of Armenia in the IXth Century by liberating it from the Arabs) stating of their Jewish origins as recorded by the Father of Armenian History, Moses of Khorene. One of the most common names back then used exclusively by Bagratids was Smbat or Shambat. Also when the Persian Shah Shapur II attacked Armenia the Jewish leaders confronted the invasion and stated that they will support Armenians for the freedom of Armenia. Unfortunately the Persians overwhelmed Armenian forces and thousands upon thousands of Armenians and Jews were forcibly moved to populate vast empty lands of Iran. They were the ones who put an end to Arsacid Armenia. Now most of the Iranian Jews (as well as the Armenians) are direct descendants of these migrants. I have met some Iranian Jews that even amazingly to this day had the traditional Armenian -ian endings. I was surprised and when I asked how the last name came about in the family that person unfortunately did not know. He only told me that it (Yaghubian) was in the family for generations. At the same time it made me respect the tenacity of both peoples and the superhuman will to preserve their cultural identity for so long.

I think there must be more research done on the subject matter to learn about all of these connections. The amazing and interesting part is that Armenians just like the Jews in Armenia had also a number of rights and privileges in Israel/Palestine that no other peoples enjoyed. The Armenians have exclusive rights as a people in the Old Jerusalem to a separate quarter. The only people that have this right are as you know are the Jewish people. The other peoples have to settle for religious quarters (Muslim/Christian). Armenians have a number of exclusive rights on the Holy sites including the control of the St. James Cathedral in the Armenian Quarter. I think this common contact has been vise versa for centuries and the amazing thing is that this contact that is alive dates back to thousands and thousands of years to the times of dawn of recorded human history, when there were still people that gave both to Armenians and Jews yet they themselves died out and disappeared. Their identity is not known, often they are only classified as ‘Armenoid’ in their appearance, a type that once was the core of all of civilization of the Fertile Crescent. Were they Sumerians, the Hurrians or one of the lost tribes? I hope that there will be a a consequential effort and thorough research by a historian or better yet a team of historians to finally answer this question.

With Kindest Regards,Gevork Nazaryan

I’m forwarding this reply to my questions from a Conservative Jewish Rabbi at allexperts.com. I asked some Orthodox rabbis the same questions, but they said they didn’t know. According to some online sources I’ve found, many Jews believe that the Lost Tribes will never return. -David

Dear David, What a pleasure to have such a well-written and documented question(s)!! Unfortunately, I don’t have the documents you need and I don’t know even whether they exist. A great deal has been written and speculated about the ‘missing’ Ten Tribes. Although I would prefer to read more in real depth by academic scholarship, since you ask, I personally don’t believe that the Khazars, or the Kuzari, or any of the proposed groups are the ‘missing’ Ten Tribes. The Assyrians had a policy which they implemented effectively: exchange populations thoroughly among all the nations which are conquered to prevent anyone living in their own community and prevent any large clusters of conquered peoples to be together – thus effectively halting any hope on the part of exiles for an effective revolution. The tribes of the north disappeared from history – not at all unlike countless other nations and cultures about which we still don’t even know they existed. Best of luck in your research. I’d love to know about confirmed sources which exist. Best wishes Rabbi Dov

Lands of the Dispersion: Northern Europe

The British Isles

Children of the Mist: The Story of the Scottish Highlanders <http://hope-of-israel.org/i000066a.htm> –

The Early Celtic Church <http://www.whyprophets.com/> – Written by an LDS Church member in the United Kingdom, this provides interesting evidence about the Early Church in the British Isles.

The Lost Tribes in England and America <http://www.abcog.org/lost1.htm> – Written in 1881

Anglo-Israel: England of the Lost Ten Tribes <http://www.abcog.org/glover17.htm>

Biblical Archaeology Perspectives: Who are the lost ten tribes? <http://www.bibarch.com/Perspectives/1.2.htm> – This article points out some of the difficulties in tracing the Lost Ten Tribes as well as some scientific methods of establishing relatedness through molecular biology and gene studies.

The nineteenth-century Jewish Prime Minister of Great Britain — Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81) –stated: ‘It was the ‘sword of the Lord and of Gideon’ that won the boasted liberties of England; and the SCOTS upon their hillsides achieved their religious freedom chanting the same canticles that cheered the heart of Judah amid the glens.’ (Tancred, quoted in the magazine ‘Wake Up!’ Nov/Dec. 1992, p. 143).

Christ in Britain

whyprophets.com <http://www.whyprophets.com/> – This site includes an LDS member’s review of claims that Christ visited Britain.


Old Testament Roots of Norse Mythology <http://www.1335.com/normyth.html> – Evidences for Israelite contribution to Scandinavian culture


Ireland and Dan <http://people.montana.com/~mullally/baha/theirish.htm> associate part of the tribe of Dan with Ireland, and in particular with the Daanites. However, this site relies heavily on superficial name similarities of a single-syllable word and presents little supporting evidence.

The tribe of Dan and their connection <http://pages.prodigy.net/cmfawn/dan.html> – similar to the above.

Elder Andrew Jenson, Assistant Church Historian:

‘In England many hundreds have of late been added to our numbers; but so, even so, it must be, for ‘Ephraim he hath mixed himself among the people.’ And the Savior He hath said, ‘My sheep hear my voice;’ and also, ‘He that heareth you, heareth me.’ (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 4:8)

We are at the present time commencing investigations from the other end. We are looking very deep into genealogy. We have genealogical societies organized. Among others we have the Genealogical Society of Utah, of which a number of you perhaps are members. Genealogical societies are trying their best to hunt up all the information they can about our forefathers, and in a private way we are endeavoring to go back as far as we can to know from whence we sprang.

It is a source of great pride on the part of many Americans who live on this side of the Atlantic Ocean, to trace their ancestry back to some ship, commencing with the ‘Mayflower,’ that brought the Anglo-Saxons over to America. It is a source of pride, I say, for them to trace back their ancestry to that ship, or some other ship, that came over to this land bringing immigrants who laid the foundation of this great commonwealth. In tracing our genealogy we soon find ourselves on the other side of the water among the English people–not among the descendants of the old Britons, as a rule, but among the English people. And the question is then: Whence came the English people? We understand, of course, the close relationship between those on this side and those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean; and we are pleased to note that the two great Anglo-Saxon nations are the banner-bearers today of liberty and the equal rights of men. I take unusual interest in this proposition, because England is ruling her colonies with the same degree of liberality as that which governs the States of our own Union on this side of the Atlantic. This you can find out personally if you visit Australia, New Zealand, and other English colonies, as well as Canada, where the people are enjoying freedom and liberty, the same as we are in the United States of America. But whence came the Anglo-Saxons? Going back into English history, we read of the Danish and of the Norman conquests. But before that, we read about Horsa and Hengist, who came over the North Sea about 449 years after the birth of our Savior, and took possession of England. We need not look into the details of the history of the wars, though we naturally think of how the Vikings fought with the Picts of Scotland and afterwards subdued the Celts or Britons, and introduced what we call the English language in the British Isles.

In the northern part of Europe we find a strong race of people, known as the Germanic race. We also notice as a branch of the Germanic race the Scandinavians. The ancestors of the Germans, the Swedes, the Norwegians and the Danes subscribed to a universal mythology, and have to a certain extent a common history, and when we read their histories by different authors, all agree in stating that the first inhabitants of those northern countries migrated to the north from the central part of western Asia. This is especially true of those who dwelt in ancient Saxony–not the present Saxony, where Dresden and Leipzig are located, but the old Saxony which was a part of the present Hanover, Mechlenburg and Holstein, etc., and the Angles, who lived in a country a little further north known as Schleswig and Jutland. It is universally understood that the early inhabitants of the Scandinavian countries came from Asia. Take up any history that traces the Scandinavian and German peoples, and they will agree that tradition points to the fact that these early Scandinavian and Germanic races came from the very part of Asia where the Ten Tribes were lost.

This to me is a most interesting study. Referring again to the mythology of the Scandinavians and Germans, what do you find? A religion of good morals. I venture to say that if modern Christianity, corrupted as it is today, is a remnant of the true Christianity introduced by our Savior; if the Free Masonry of today is a remnant and corruption of the true signs and tokens of the Priesthood revealed in the days of Solomon, when the Temple of Solomon was built, then it is easy for us to understand and believe that the mythology of the north is simply a corruption of the true Jehovah worship, as Abraham knew it and taught it to his children. It is an easy thing to understand and believe this, because the mythology of the north is so godlike, chaste and morally pure, that it is almost heaven compared with the voluptuous worship which was known and practiced in the South. I refer particularly to the Latin and Greek mythologies, and those worships that were adopted by the people of the South or the lands bordering on the Mediterranean.

A great deal could be said in regard to this most interesting theme. We can approach the subject from the earliest dawn of history down the stream of time as far as we can reach; and then we can proceed the other way, going back from ourselves as far as we can, and we meet the proposition in Scandinavia and Northern Germany that the Anglo Saxons, the Germans and the Scandinavians are greatly, mixed up with the remnants of the House of Israel. We can scarcely come to any other conclusion. Then we naturally spring another question: Why have the Latter-day Saint missionaries met with much more success among the Anglo-Saxons and the German and Scandinavian races, than among any other races upon the face of the earth? The answer is: We are, in fulfillment of the predictions of the ancient Prophets, gathering Israel. Why do we have so much to say at the present time, and at this conference, about the second, third, fourth and fifth generations of Latter-day Saints? It is the most natural thing in the world. If we are of Israel, our genealogy must assume a shape like that, for the children of Israel, if not corrupted by environments, will naturally worship the God of their fathers. And we are of Israel; there is no doubt of it, and we will find that when our genealogy is revealed in detail, it will lead us back from America to England, from England to Scandinavia and Germany, and from there to the country lying between the Caspian and the Black Sea, that part of Asia where the Ten Tribes were lost. We can then easily trace it back to Palestine and Chaldea; we have the history completed from the Bible.

I rejoice that so many faithful men and women have believed and embraced the gospel as it has been preached by the Latter-day Saints during the last eighty years. I repeat, that when we have turned our attention to Latin or Oriental countries, we have met with but little success. If we have preached the gospel successfully in Australia, it is perhaps because the people there are mainly of English origin, and the same can be said of New Zealand, as to the white population. And if we speak of the Hawaiians and the Samoans and the Maoris, then they are simply another branch of the House of Israel, and that is undoubtedly the reason why we have met with success among them. Study the history of our missionary career ever since the Church was organized and I will venture to say that we hitherto have made very little progress among any people except those who come, as we claim, either pure or mixed from the House of Israel. We have not had success among the Latin or Oriental races, or among the Chinese or Japanese. There may be some of the blood of Israel among them, but so far we have discovered but a very little. Then I say, let us study this matter intelligently, when we endeavor to trace our genealogy and seek to complete the chain connecting us with Father Abraham. The subject is certainly a thing of immense interest to us.

I rejoice that the amalgamation of the Latter-day Saints of different nationalities takes place so beautifully and completely. People who have come from different climes soon become one strong and united community. The way we associate and affiliate, and the way we destroy all differences that naturally would and do exist in many other parts of the world between the Americans and the Germans and the Scandinavians, ought to be a lesson to all others. All differences seem to be passing away and disappearing in a single generation, and thus we are fast becoming ‘one nation upon the mountains of Ephraim.”

Lands of the Dispersion: Polynesia, Tonga, Samoa, Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands

An early Polynesian grammar published by a minister of another religion remarks on how the author was struck by the great similarities between the Polynesian and Hebrew languages. In the dedicatory prayer of the New Zealand Temple, President McKay made clear that the indigenous inhabitants of the region were descendants of Lehi:

‘We express gratitude that to these fertile Islands thou didst guide descendants of Father Lehi and hast enabled them to prosper.’ (David O. McKay, Aukland New Zealand Temple Dedication, April 20, 1958)

These people are descendants of Hagoth, who left the people of Nephi. Their story is told in the book of Alma:

And it came to pass that in the thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men, even to the amount of five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward. nd it came to pass that Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful, by the land Desolation, and launched it forth into the west sea, by the narrow neck which led into the land northward. And behold, there were many of the Nephites who did enter therein and did sail forth with much provisions, and also many women and children; and they took their course northward. And thus ended the thirty and seventh year. And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships. And the first ship did also return, and many more people did enter into it; and they also took much provisions, and set out again to the land northward. And it came to pass that they were never heard of more. And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea. And it came to pass that one other ship also did sail forth; and whither she did go we know not. And it came to pass that in this year there were many people who went forth into the land northward. And thus ended the thirty and eighth year. (Alma 63:4-9)

It is likely that many of these individuals were descendants of Joseph, the son of Lehi, whom Lehi blessed: ‘And now, Joseph, my last-born, whom I have brought out of the wilderness of mine afflictions, may the Lord bless thee forever, for thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.’ (2 Nephi 3:3-4)

The Polynesians – including the Samoans, Tongans, Hawaiians, New Zealanders, and others – are descendants of the Nephites and Josephites, with varying degrees of intermixing with other peoples. Among these island nations, we find the highest rates of church membership in the world, fulfilling the Lord’s special promise towards those upon ‘the isles of the sea’ (which includes North and South America as used by Jacob):

And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea. But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren. 2 Nephi 10:20-21

Tonga – 38% LDS (40,000 members of 106,000)

Western Samoa – 25% LDS (56,000 members out of 225,000)

American Samoa – 15% LDS (12,000 members out of 80,000)

In nations like New Zealand, where the descendants of Hagoth are heavily mixed with other groups, membership is relatively lower as a percentage of the overall population but is still high. The Philipinos share many characteristics of the Pacific Island people and they appear to be a mix of Nephites from the East with Asian people from the West.

New Zealand 2.53% (86,000/3,405,000)

French Polynesia 1.5% (15,000/1,000,000)

Fiji 1.20% (12,000/1,000,000)

Philippines 0.53% (389,000/74,000,000)

Christ in the Pacific Islands

Polynesian traditions of Lono <http://www.nullensc.dircon.co.uk/jch/jch49.htm>, the bearded, robed white God

Lands of the Dispersion: Ukraine

Carpatho-Rusyns, Lemkos, and Western ‘Ukrainians’

The Carpatho-Rusyn people (also called ‘Ruthenians’) are Eastern Slavs whose historic homelands included the mountainous lands in what is now South-Eastern Poland, Eastern Slovakia, and Western Ukraine. There are various distinct cultural groups of Carpatho-Rusyns, including Lemkos, Boykos, and Hutsuls, of whom the Lemkos are the most numerous. Some individuals identify the Carpatho-Rusyns as Ukrainians. While their culture and language share many common features, the Carpatho-Rusyns are in fact a distinct cultural and ethnic group with their own language and history distinct from Ukraine. Much like the Ephraimites of the bible, the Carpatho-Rusyns are mountain dwellers. Interestingly, they are the only mountain-dwellers of the Slavs, with the exception of some of the Slovenians, whose culture and history are heavily influenced by that of Austria and Italy. The Carpatho-Rusyns are some of the most independent and free-thinking of the Slavs. They resisted the Bolshevik takeover after the Russian Revolution, the Nazi invasion during World War II, and the subsequent oppression by the Polish Communists and the USSR. As a result, many were displaced from their homeland and emigrated to North America, especially Canada. The great majority of the 2 million ‘Ukrainians’ living in Canada are actually Western Ukrainians and Carpatho-Rusyns, from the traditional homelands of the Lemkos, Boykos, and Hutsuls. Many of these individuals have come into the true Church in Canada and in the United States.

‘The Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever. 2 Nephi 1:5-7’

The Church has also met with the greatest success among the Ukrainians of all of the Slavic nationalities of Eastern Europe. A temple has been announced for Ukraine, and two missions in Ukraine have brought approximately 8000 people into the Church (as of mid-1999) compared to 11000 members in 8 missions served by far more missionaries in all of Russia. A stake is being planned for Kiev, which will probably be the first stake in Eastern Europe.’

Related Links

Theories of the ‘Lost Ten Tribes’ abound. In such apocryphal stories, truth is frequently intermingled with error. Some stories of the lost tribes are better substantiated than others. The following links are offered because they provide interesting perspectives and evidences on the Lost Tribes of Israel. However, none of these links are endorsed by this site. Scripture, latter-day revelation and patriarchal blessings provide reliable information about the tribes of Israel, while other sources should be approached cautiously.

LDS Scriptural and General Authority Statements on the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel <http://www.gbwattorney.com/ten_trib.htm> – An excellent overview of compiled by an LDS member.

The East Jordan Tribes Today

1 Chronicles 5:26 notes the origins of the Captivity of the East Jordan tribes: ‘So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser…. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.’ These cities were in the vicinity of Armenia, and the East Jordan tribes were still in this area at the time of the writing

of 1 Chronicles 5.

The two and a half East Jordan tribes — who constituted the first wave of the Northern captivity — were deported separate from the other tribes. The captivity of the other tribes occurred later. Josephus notes of the second wave of the Northern Captivity: ‘The king of Assyria… besieged Samaria three years and quite demolished the government of the Israelites, and transplanted all the people into Media and Persia’ (Antiquities, Book 9, chapter 14, sec. 1)

The next documented historical reference of the East Jordan tribes of which I am aware comes from medieval traveler Eldad ha-Dani, who stated: ‘the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh lived among the people of Khazaria. About 300 thousand of the people of Khazar were they.’ While Eldad’s claims (whose name ha-Dani is commonly thought to signify descent from the tribe of Dan) need to be collaborated from other sources, his statement that twenty-five subject nations paid tribute to the Khazars correlates with Elchanen ben Joseph’s statements.

While Ha-Dani’s work requires further investigation — as several differing versions exist in the Hebrew literature — this evidence suggests that the East Jordan tribes may have remained largely separate from the other tribes, and that — 1800 years after Tiglath-Pileser’s resettlement — they lived in Khazar territory, which included parts of Southern Russia, Eastern Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia — not far from their scripturally-documented resettlement territories in Armenia! Many of the leading modern authorities on Khazaria — including Kevin Brook and others — conclude that evidence for some of the ‘lost tribes’ among the Khazars is strong, although they hesitate to make more definite statements upon the issue.

Interestingly, these traditions correlate remarkably well with evidence from modern LDS patriarchal blessings – a tremendous resource unavailable to Jewish or Gentile scholars. Some of these evidences are as follows:

‘I have a neighbor, Nara Sarkissian, who is from Yerevan, Armenia. She has told her conversion story several times at church and it is incredible. She was the first convert in Armenia. And she is also the first person from the tribe of Gad. Her daughter was baptized, her parents, her sister, her brother, her aunt and has been a great influence for good in her country. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.’ sjackson@n…

‘A man who worked for my father while we lived in Kiev is from the tribe of Gad.’ Connie M. Gashler

‘Several Ukrainian members have patriarchal blessings which designate a lineage other than Ephraim, i.e. Gad, Dan or Benjamin.’ Wilfred Voge

‘We have a son serving in the Edmonton Mission and just had some visitors from there. She…told us that it is very common in her area for people to be from another tribe such as Dan, Gad or others.’ Kelly R.

Interestingly, Edmonton, Canada has one of the largest LDS Ukrainian populations outside of Eastern Europe. In fact, the large Ukrainian population accounts for 10% of the total population of Canada, and a higher percentage in the Edmonton area. Thus, Ukrainians and to a lesser extent, Poles accounts for much of the ethnic variability in Edmonton compared to other areas settled mainly by those of Western European descent. Given that the blood of Gad is documented among Ukrainians, and the large number of LDS Church members of Ukrainian ethnic background in the Edmonton area, from the circumstantial evidence it appears highly likely that Ukrainian ethnic background accounts for the blood of Gad in Ukraine. However, I would like to look into this further. The blood of Dan has been recognized in a wider variety of areas, including Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Ireland, Spain, and possibly others.

I do not know whether the claim that Armenian member Nara Sarkissian is the first member of the tribe of Gad is accurate. However, all of the modern patriarchal blessings designating the lineage of Gad of which I am aware at this time are of individuals from the former territory of Khazaria! After the fall of the Khazar empire, some Khazars remained in southern Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia, while others migrated to Hungary and Romania. Gevork Nazaryan pointed out that even today, Khazarian, Kazarian, Kazaryan, Ghazaryan, etc. are surnames in Armenia. The Gadite blessing — ‘a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last’ — seems particularly appropriate for the territory of Armenia and the north Black Sea area, which have been sites of almost continual warfare and conquest from the time of the earliest historic records.

The fact that members of the tribe of Reuben have been found in Romania — known territory of the Khazar diaspora — correlates very well with Eldad ha-Dani’s account of the East Jordan tribes in Khazaria (650-1016 AD). The connection becomes even more convincing when when correlated with the remarkable observation that the only individuals of the tribe of Manasseh of clear non-Lehite origin which I am aware of to date are LDS members living in Russia (especially Southern Russia) and Ukraine– probably from the East Jordan ‘half-tribe.’

Besides the state of Israel, Khazaria is the only nation ever known to have adopted Judaism as the state religion. Interestingly, modern patriarchal blessings have identified members of the tribes of Manasseh and Gad on the precise area of the former kingdom of Khazaria in Ukraine and Southern Russia. The histories of the East Jordan tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh are not well known. At present, the data points I have available are few. Their records will eventually be uncovered: ‘And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.’ 2 Ne. 29: 13

The fact that, as of only a millenium ago, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh appear to have retained their separate identity in Khazaria is remarkable — especially in light of the fact that Khazaria is the only kingdom outside of the state of Israel which is widely acknowledged to have adopted Judaism as the state religion. It is possible that they may have been in an apostate state during the Khazar era, although much about the Khazars — and particularly about the East Jordan tribes, who appear to have retained a separate identity among the Turkic Khazar proselytes — remains to be discovered. Their earlier history since the time of Tiglath-Pileser is largely unknown.

The remarkable affinity of Armenians and Ukrainians, and to a lesser extent of Russians (particularly in Southern Russia) for the restored gospel has been of interest to many missionaries and mission presidents. This has frequently been cited as anecdotal evidence of the ‘blood of Israel.’ Armenians have had strong and well- acknowledged traditional and historical associations with the lost tribes of Israel (see ‘the Sons of the Prophets’ by Jack Hughes at http://www.egroups.com/message/gathering-of-israel/6 and comments by Gevork Nazaryan at http://gatheringofisrael.com/12tribes.htm).

While multiple ethnohistoric influences constitute modern Ukrainian ethnicity, a particularly interesting note is made in the Rus’ian Primary Chronicle. Kiev, the ‘mother of Rus’ian cities,’ was felt by old school historians to have been founded by the Rus. Yet the Rus’ian Primary Chronicle — a primary source of early Kievan history — attributes Kiev’s (Kyiv’s) founding to three brothers — Kiy, Shchek, and Khoriv — and describes Kiev as a Khazar tributary conquered by the Varangians (Rus) after the death of the brothers. Furthermore, the Laurentian, Suprasl, and Semeonovskaya editions of the Chronicle associate the three brothers with the Khazar empire (Julius Brutzkus, ‘The Khazar Origin of Ancient Kiev,’ p. 117, cited in ‘The Jews of Khazaria’ by Kevin Alan Brook, p. 34-35). Omeljan Pritsak even demonstrated that the Chronicle explicitly states at one point that the three brothers were ‘kin’ of the Khazars: ‘…and we [Kievans] are living here and pay tribute to their [Kiy, Shchek, and Khoriv] kin, the Khazars’ (Norman Golb and Omeljan Pritsak, Khazarian Hebrew Documents of the Tenth Century, Cornell University Press, p.55, as cited in ‘The Jews of Khazaria.’) Pritsak also suggested that Kiy, the primary founder of Kiev (Kyiv) can be identified as the Khazar vizier Kuya. Given the strong Khazar connection, it is possible that Kiev may have been founded by Israelites.

The Savior taught the Nephites: ‘But now I go unto the Father, and also to show myself unto the lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them’ (3 Nephi 17:4). Given the Lord’s promise that he would manifest himself unto the lost tribes, the significant evidence for continuity of the East Jordan tribes in this region — with identification of lineage supported by modern patriarchal blessings — it is likely that a society of righteous Israelites once existed in the territory of Armenia, Southern Russia, and/or Eastern Ukraine, and that Christ appeared to these people after His resurrection. Prophets among these people undoubtedly recorded the Lord’s words to them: ‘For behold, I shall speak unto the Jew and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it’ (2 Nephi 29:12).

The receipt of additional records is contingent upon us making full use of that which the Lord has already given us in the Book of Mormon: ‘And when they shall have received this, which is expedient that they should have first, to try their faith, and if it shall so be that they shall believe these things then shall the greater things be made manifest unto them. And if it so be that they will not believe these things, then shall the greater things be withheld from them, unto their condemnation. Behold, I was about to write them, all which were engraven upon the plates of Nephi, but the Lord forbade it, saying: I will try the faith of my people.’ (3 Nephi 26:8-11)

The Tribe of Asher Today


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‘Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.’ Genesis 48:20

‘And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoesshall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ Deuteronomy 33:24-25

‘I know of a sister [from Russia] who recently received her patriarchal blessing and was told she is from the tribe of Jasher.’ Tobias Bradford

‘My name is Victoria Ippolitova. I’m one of the first members of our Church in Perm, Yekaterinburg [Russia] mission. When I was in the United States two years ago I got my patriarchal blessing and was told that I am from the tribe of Yasher.’ Victoria Ippolitova

‘I have a friend who now lives in Ohio, formerly of California whose Patriarchal Blessing clearly tells him he is ‘in part of the tribe of Dan and in part of the tribe of Asher.’ He is a descendant of a Russian/Jewish family.’ sevargas(at)mediaone.net

‘I baptized a young man on my mission to San Diego (Chula Vista) who was told in his patriarchal blessing just before he left on his mission (while I was still on mine) that he is of the tribe of Asher and that he would be a

tool in bringing his tribe back from being lost. The patriarch told him after the blessing that he saw many things that he couldn’t put into words above what he was told in the blessing. [Surname: Adams]’ Karl Pearson

‘My brother, Matt Tarbet, is of the tribe of Asher.’ stockboy1(at)aol.com

‘I served my mission in Fresno California (Hmong Speaking) from 1995-97 and most Hmong church members (excluding one) that I knew with their patriarchal blessings were either from the tribes of Gad or Asher.’ josherick (at) yahoo.com

‘When I was an ordinance worker in the DC temple one of the cooks there was of Asher.and could she bake! The 2nd counselor told me she certainly was representative of her tribe!’ anonymous

‘There is a sister in our ward from Iran who is from the tribe of Asher.’ Anonymous

The Tribe of Benjamin Today


= son of the right hand

‘Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing he blessed them.’ Genesis 48:27-28

‘And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.’ Deuteronomy 33:12

‘One of my good friends from Kiev, Ukraine is of the tribe of Benjamin.’ Connie M. Gashler

‘While serving on Temple Square quite a few of us, Central/Eastern European missionaries got our patriarchal blessings, and all but one of us was from Ephraim. A Ukrainian sister was from the tribe of Benjamin. Also, most of the members, who are from Hungary and have their patriarchal blessings are from Ephraim, and a few from Judah.’ Ágnes Bogar from Hungary

‘I have recieved your e-mail in which you’re asking for lineage of Russian members. Well, I used to be a Russian member until I had moved to the United States permanently. My lineage is Benjamin, if it can be any help to you.’ Dmitry Shakov

‘[Sister Carpentier from Canada] is from the pure lineage of Benjamin.’ Debi Sparks

‘When I was at BYU in the late 70’s, my roommate was of the tribe of Benjamin. She was from Indiana. Her last name was Zickfoose.’ G.S. White

‘My patriarchal blessing declares me of the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Caucasian American who is of English/Scottish/Irish/Dutch ancestry. All of my 6 siblings’ patriarchal blessings, as well as my mother’s, declare them from the tribe of Ephraim.’ Anonymous

‘2 of our 5 children belong to the tribe of Benjamin, the rest to the tribe of Ephraim. One of their friends belongs to the tribe of Naphtali.’ Annie Kruyer, Canada.

‘My husband born in Jerusalem of Russian-born parents is of Benjamin.’ Anonymous

‘My patriarchal blessings says the following: ‘On earth, Melanie, you are of the seed of Abraham and the blood of Israel in your ancient heritage. And within the household of Israel you are of the lineage of Benjamin…’ My maiden name is Paquette but my real father was Benzel. His mother was from Lebanon and his father from Germany.’ Melanie Cooper

‘My college roomate was from the tribe of Benjamin. She was from Northern Montana. Her Last name was Gilleece.’ Jean Mickelson

‘I am from the tribe of Benjamin, I am also Mexican; I currently live in California. I am the oldest of six. I am only one with the patriarcal blessing, so I don’t know if any one else in my family is from this tribe yet. My parents are from Manasseh.’ pepo(at)mexico.com

I served my mission in Budapest Hungary. One gentleman I worked with there received his Patriarchal blessing and was declared of the tribe of Benjamin. Although he and his family had been in Hungary for numerous generations, he was of Jewish origin and his last name was Grosz; my guess was that he was from Russian or Ukrainian stock originally. clawrence(at)vlg.com

I am from the tribe of Benjamin, I am also Brazilian; I currently live in São Paulo state, Campinas city. I am only one with the patriarchal blessing, so I don’t know if any one else in my family is from this tribe yet. See you…Jean Carlo JMJeanmar(at)aol.com

The Tribe of Dan Today

Blessing and History

Dan = judge [Heb.]

‘Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.’ Genesis 48:16-17

‘Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.’ Deuteronomy 33:22

Dan’s territorial homeland was in the northernmost part of Israel, and the expression ‘from Dan to Beersheba’ was used to represent the entire breadth of Israel. In the Old Testament, Bashan was part of the territory of the half-tribe of Manasseh east of the Jordan River. The biblical Samson was a member of the tribe of Dan. Much controversy has arisen over the fact that the tribe of Dan is not listed among the twelve tribes in Revelations from which the 144,000 were sealed.

Brittanica.com locates the region of Bashan: ‘Country frequently cited in the Old Testament and later important in the Roman Empire; it is located in what is now Syria. Bashan was the northernmost of the three ancient divisions of eastern Palestine, and in the Old Testament it was proverbial for its rich pastures and thick forests.’ Many sources, claim that the prophesy about Dan being ‘a serpent by the way’ or ‘an adder in the path’ means that the tribe would leave tracks — like a serpent — along the path of its migration. ‘The Serpent’s Trail: The Mysterious Tribe of Dan’ (http://hope-of-israel.org/i000035a.htm) claims that ‘The tribe of Dan, more than any other of the ‘lost ten tribes of Israel,’ left its ‘signature’ wherever it migrated or journeyed.’

Some have postulated that Dan’s ‘leap from Bashan’ (Deuteronomy 33:22) means that the tribe of Dan left the captivity rapidly and dispersed widely. Modern patriarchal blessings do, in fact, appear to document a relatively wide dispersion of the Tribe of Dan.

Claims associating placenames with the tribe of Dan must be approached with some caution. The monosyllable ‘dan’ and consonant combination ‘dn’ are very common in many languages. More complex names have sometimes been reproduced in regard to totally unrelated peoples — for example, the Albanians of the Balkans and the Albanians of the Caucasus. In addition, Daniel, abbreviated to Dan, is an extremely common name of both Christians and Jews. On this basis alone, one ought to expect to encounter many false cognates of Dan. The name ‘Dan’ is far less specific for the respective tribe than a similarly short but far less common name like Gad.

Ireland (and Scotland & England)

‘One of my companions in southern Chile, Elder Jackson, was from the tribe of Dan. He was from South Carolina and I’m pretty sure he was of either Scottish of Irish descent.’ jrkrause(at)uswest.net

Many lost tribe theories cite the community which went by the name of ‘Danites’ in Ireland. Thomas Moore, an Irish historian, states that that one of the earliest resident peoples of Ireland–the Firbolgs–were dispossessed by the Tuatha de Danaan, ‘who after sojourning for some time in Greece… proceeded from thence to Denmark and Norway’ (History of Ireland, vol. 1, p. 59).

‘I know of a Norwegian who served his mission in Norway 30 years ago who was of the tribe of Dan.’ diannagu(at)glemmen.vgs.no

Geoffrey Keating, another Irish historian, states: ‘the Danaans were a people of great learning and wealth; they left Greece after a battle with the Assyrians and went to Ireland; and also to Danmark, and called it ‘DAN-mares,’ Dan’s country’ (History of Ireland, vol. 1, pp. 195-199).

One website notes, ‘If you then cross the English Channel to the British Isles, you will find many dozens of cities, towns or rivers containing the name ‘Dan’–for example in Scotland we notice Dundee, Dunraven, Aberdeen, Duncansby Head and the Don River. But it is in Ireland where such place names are most prominent: Dun Laoghaire, the Dunkellin River, Dundalk, Dans-Laugh, Dan-Sower, Dungarvan, Dundrum, Dunglow, Dingle Bay, Donegal Bay and Dunmore Head. (It is certainly no coincidence that the Irish Gaelic word Dun or Dunn means ‘Judge,’ just as Dan does in Hebrew!)’ (http://pages.prodigy.net/cmfawn/dan.html)

LDS patriarchal blessings correlate remarkably well with tradition and history:

‘I belong to the Dunstable Ward, Beds, England. I know of a Brother in the Ward who is Irish and of the Tribe of Dan and I remember talking about 30 years ago to Patriarch Darling, just before I had my Patriarchial Blessing, and being Irish I mentioned that I wondered if I might be of the Dan and the Patriarch said that the biggest majority of Irish people that he had given blessings to, were of Dan. As it turned out, I am of Ephraim.’ (marbry(at)ntlworld.com)

Other individuals with firsthand knowledge state:

‘We have a sister here (Thurso) of the tribe of Dan. It was the source of some amusement, because in one lesson we got off on a tangent, about how some crazy Protestant Fundamentalists think ‘The Antichrist’ is of the tribe of Dan. She is really a nice person – honest! The lady’s family has lived in Caithness (far north of Scotland – Picts, not Celts) for at least four generations. She was Relief Society president here wheh I moved up.’ Chris Tolworthy, United Kingdom

‘My mother is from the tribe of Dan. My mom’s maiden name is Wimmer. That name comes from Germany, but her ancestry is mainly of English origin.’ Keri Farnsworth

‘In the Northern Ireland Stake I think that most members are of Ephraim, being mostly of Scottish and English descent. Although I’m not 100% certain I also think that there are more members in the Northern Ireland Stake than in the Dublin Stake and the Cork district. I also know people in the Dublin Stake of Ephraim. My only point is that I feel that it is possible that the whole Island of Ireland contains as many members of the tribe of Ephraim ( who have received their Patriarchal Blessings ) as it does of the Tribe of Dan. The Belfast, Northern Ireland Stake was established over 25 years ago where as the Dublin Ireland Stake was established only within the last 10 years although there is also a district in the Cork area. I would find the exact details very interesting to see the ratio of Ephraim/Dan in the island of Ireland.’ Paul Hull, paulhull77(at)hotmail.com


The reported connection of the tribe of Dan to Denmark has already been mentioned. The Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica notes, ‘According to late Danish tradition… Jutland [the mainland of Denmark] was acquired by DAN, the… ancestor of the DANES’ from whom their name derives’ (‘Denmark,’ Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th ed., vol. 8, cited at http://pages.prodigy.net/cmfawn/dan.html). However, there appears to be very little if any support for Danites living in Denmark today from modern LDS patriarchal blessings, which appear to identify virtually all Danish members as descendants of Ephraim. If there were Danites in Denmark, it appears that most have since moved on other to other destinations like Ireland, as Irish historians Thomas Moore and Geoffrey Keating suggest.


‘Part of my mission was served in Finland and I remember two Finnish members telling me they were from the tribe of Dan. I hope this information is informative and useful.’ Rick Robinson


‘I am from the tribe of Dan. I live in Canada and my roots go all the way back to France in the 1600. I speak French & English and a convert of the Church, I joined September 3rd 1991.’ baril_groux(at)hotmail.com


One individual noted: ‘In 1991, my stake patriarch declared that I am a literal decendant of the tribe Dan. Most of my ancestors come from Germany and England. However, I have a great grandfather who is full blooded Greek. I assume that is where my Danite blood comes from. While serving as a missionary in Thailand, a certain General Authority told me that he felt I would one day serve as a mission president among my people’ in Greece. He said that after the 10 tribes were carried off, many Danites were sold as slaves in the area of Greece.’

The accounts of Moore and Keating (above) which mention Greece as an early point in the dispersion of the tribe of Dan correlate well with this reported General Authority statement. It is likely that Greece served as a temporary stopping point for many members of the tribe of Dan early in the dispersion, although some captive Danites undoubtedly became integrated with local Greeks. To this date there has been very little response to the gospel from ethnic Greeks. In fact, there are very few LDS members of pure Greek background — the vast great majority of LDS members of Greek descent have a mixed heritage. Today, foreigners — Russians, Ukrainians, Africans, and others — account for a significant portion of the few LDS

baptisms in Greece.

Ukraine and Russia

What of the common claims that the Dniestr, Dnieper (Dnipro), Danube (Dunaj), and Don rivers are all named after the tribe of Dan? It seems very curious that so many of the place names in Ukraine, Russia, and Moldova supposedly associated with the tribe of Dan would almost all be rivers. There appears to be a better explanation for these names. One Ukrainian scholar explains:

‘The Scythians and Greeks had different names for the rivers in Ukraine: Borysthenes for Dnipro, Istr for Dnister, Tanais etc. The names corresponded to Gods; there is for example a coin from Olbia with the hairy head of an old man, supposedly Borysthenes. The Scythian goddess Api (with snakes instead of feet) lived supposedly in Borysthenes, too. The names with DN root are probably from a later language, with DN meaning ‘water. Thus we have: Dnipro, Desna, Dunai, Don, Cinets, Dunayets, etc. What language does it come from? Early Slavonic? There are some words in slavic language that have this root: ‘dno’, for example (meaning the bottom of a river or a sea). In many Ukrainian songs ‘dunai’ is used as a generic ‘river.’ ‘Oj na richtsi, na dunayu,’ ‘dunai, dunai, dunai, dana,’ etc. But was it originally a Slavonic word, or inherited from some earlier people? There is also a river Dan in Scotland. So it might have been an early Indo-European root.’

It is evident that these names came into general use much later than the early migrations of the tribes are thought to have occurred. Certainly, with the roots ‘dno’ or ‘dunai’ being applied to bodies of water by early Eastern Slavic tribes, the names of the rivers north of the Black Sea can hardly come as a surprise. While an origin Danite origin for these names is not impossible, the names of the rivers Dunaj, Dnipro, Desna, Dniestr, Don, etc. can hardly be considered as serious evidence of connections to the tribe of Dan in the absence of any substantive or compelling data.

Nonetheless, members of the tribe of Dan have been found in Ukraine and Russia:

‘Several Ukrainian members have patriarchal blessings which designate a lineage other than Ephraim, i.e. Gad, Dan or Benjamin.’ Wilfred Voge

‘I have a friend who now lives in Ohio, formerly of California whose Patriarchal Blessing clearly tells him he is ‘in part of the tribe of Dan and in part of the tribe of Asher.’ He is a descendant of a Russian/Jewish family.’ Susan Vargas (email: sevargas(at)mediaone.net)

‘One of my brothers (now deceased) went on a mission to the area which now includes Manitoba, Canada. He became acquainted with several LDS couples, whose ancestors had all emigrated from the area of [the former Russian Empire] just north of the Black Sea [Ukraine]. They told him all of them were of the Tribe of Dan, according to their Blessings.’ Carol McKinney, mckinney(at)afnetinc.com

Waiting for the continuation? Be an LDS member-missionary today! 🙂

by David Stewart. Copyright 2000.

The Tribe of Ephraim Today

Tribes of Joseph

Joseph = increase, addition

‘Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.’ Genesis 48:22-26

‘And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.’ Deuteronomy 33:13-17

‘Great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea.’ 2 Nephi 10:21


= fruitful

Scattered among ‘all the nations of the earth,’ but particularly strong in the British Isles, Scandinavia, Japan, and some other areas.

‘While I was serving in Russia, my trainer was from the Ukraine, and he was from the tribe of Ephraim. At first, I thought that was odd, considering the quote about all the various tribes being in Eastern Europe. (I’m at work, otherwise I’d look it up!) Anyway, I came to the conclusion (and this is just my opinion) that the majority of the first members are going to be from the tribe of Ephraim. That’s because it is the ‘gathering’ tribe, so they are chosen to help assist us in the gathering of the other tribes in that area.’ Jared West

‘A Romanian sister who is currently serving a mission at Temple Square is from the tribe of Ephraim. She is one of the few Romanians who has received her patriarchial blessing at this point in time, and I do not know which tribes other members may be from. It does seem like many early members in Eastern Europe are from Ephraim, but that makes sense given their great missionary responsibility. This is a very interesting topic of discussion!’ Kim Woodbury

‘I had two Russian Companions on my mission in Saint Petersburg. One was from Rostov Na Donu and the other from Samara. Both had patriarchal blessings and were of the tribe of Ephraim. This makes sense since Ephraim is to gather the other tribes. I believe strongly that other tribes will later began to become prominent in the church

in Russia.’ George Ford

‘Adding to the discussion of partriarchal blessings and relevent tribes, I know an Uzbek, actually her ancestry is Tatar, who wasn’t from any tribe and was consequently adopted into Ephraim. This seems curious to me, but I only have one example. I would be interested to find a second source on any other Uzbek or Tatar lineage.’ Rick Robinson

‘My wife, a Japanese native who received her patriarchal blessing in the USA, is from Ephraim.’ Kyle Wright

‘Japanese members who have received their patriarchal blessings — what tribe are they from? Ephraim? Others?’ ‘I’ve heard all kinds of stories, but the most prevalant seem to be Joseph from both Ephraim and Manasseh.’ Stephen Escobedo

‘My PB says I am a descendant of Joseph. All the while I thought it was because of my mixed ancestry. Many of the members in my former ward were of the tribe of Manasseh.’ Yuko Takei

‘My wife’s blessing [she is native Japanese] mentions only Joseph, without going into whether it is Ephraim or Manasseh.’ Bill Lewis

‘I don’t know any LDS members in Korea not of the tribe of Ephraim or Manasseh.’ John Glass

I knew of a family in St. Petersburg, Russia that received their patriarchal blessings. They were all of the tribe of Ephraim.’ Lincoln Wright

‘I am from the tribe of Ephraim, I am also Brazilian; I currently live in São Paulo state, Campinas city. I am only one with the patriarcal blessing, so I don’t know if any one else in my family is from this tribe yet. My husband is from Manasseh tribe. See you… Edilaine BREdilaine(at)aol.com

‘I am adopted into the Ephraim tribe, but I do not know about other Turkish people’s tribes.’ Murat Cakir, murat (at) byu.edu

The Tribe of Gad Today

Gad = [good] fortune

‘Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.’ Genesis 48:19

‘Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.’Deuteronomy 33:20-21

‘I have a neighbor, Nara Sarkissian, who is from Yerevan, Armenia. She has told her conversion story several times at church and it is incredible. She was the first convert in Armenia. And she is also the first person from the tibe of Gad. Her daughter was baptized, her parents, her sister, her brother, her aunt and has been a great influence for good in her country. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.’ sjackson(at)nuskin.com

‘A man who worked for my father while we lived in Kiev is from the tribe of Gad.’ Connie M. Gashler

‘Several Ukrainian members have patriarchal blessings which designate a lineage other than Ephraim, i.e. Gad, Dan or Benjamin.’ Wilfred Voge

‘We have a son serving the Edmonton Mission and just had some visitors from there. The mother and one of her daughters are from the tribe of Naphtali and the rest of her family is from Ephraim. She also told us that is very common in her area for people to be from another tribe such as Dan, Gad or others.’ Kelly R.

[interestingly, Edmonton, Canada has one of the largest LDS Ukrainian populations outside of Eastern Europe. -DS]

‘I served my mission in Fresno California (Hmong Speaking) from 1995-97 and most Hmong church members (excluding one)that I knew with their patriarchal blessings were either from the tribes of Gad or Asher.’ Josherick (at) aol.com

‘My wife, who is from Sukhothai in north-central Thailand, is from the tribe of Gad.’ Br. Cahoon

The Tribe of Issachar Today

Issachar = reward; recompense

‘Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.’ Genesis 48: 14-15

‘And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.’ Deuteronomy 33:18-19

The Tribe of Judah Today

‘Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.’ Genesis 48:9-12

‘And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.’ Deuteronomy 33:7

‘The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence – these are the features of the Jewish tradition which makes me thank my lucky stars that I belong to it.’ (Albert Einstein)

The tribe of Judah has largely retained its separate identity. A number of individuals of Jewish descent have joined the LDS Church. Some of the more well-known of these individuals include composer and pianist Marvin Goldstein, LDS author Avraham Gileadi, musicians Igor and Vesna Gruppman, and others.

‘I belong to the Dunstable Ward, Beds, England…We have a Sister in the Ward who was an Ashkenazi Jew from Eastern Europe and it turned out that she is a Gentile and was adopted in [to the tribe of Ephraim]. Another Brother who is a Shephardic Jew is of the Tribe of Judah.’ (marbry(at)ntlworld.com)

The Tribe of Judah Today

Judah= praise of the Lord

‘Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.’ Genesis 48:9-12

‘And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.’ Deuteronomy 33:7

The tribe of Judah has largely retained its separate identity. A number of individuals of Jewish descent have joined the LDS Church. Some of the more well-known of these individuals include composer and pianist Marvin Goldstein, LDS author Avraham Gileadi, musicians Igor and Vesna Gruppman, and others.

‘I am a Jewish convert of 24 years. My patriarchial blessing says I am from the tribe of Judah. My Grandfather was a Rabbi as were his fathers back 3 generations. I have done the work for him in the Temple, as a result of being shown an unknown resource with his written papers and autobiography in it.’ toydoggie(at)earthlink.net

‘I have a friend in Nova Scotia, Canada who is from the tribe of Judah. He was not brought up to know he was Jewish until he had his patriarchal blessing.’ Janet Murray

‘I have a Samoan friend here in New Zealand who is from the tribe of Judah!’ marcus (at) giac.co.nz

‘I do recall a friend of mine, a very faithful (at that time) member of the church in Thailand who received his patriarchal blessing and was told he was of the tribe of Judah (I believe). He was surprised. This fellow was a scholar of LDS scripture/thought. At one time he was a councellor to the mission president in Thailand. When I knew him he was the Elder’s Q. president.’ Rob(at)DragonTravel.com

World Jewish Congress Factbook <http://www.virtualjerusalem.com/communities/wjcbook/>- Jewish Communities of the World

Heritagefilms.com <http://heritagefilms.com/> – Detailed country by country site of Jewish history in Eastern Europe

History of the Jews in Russia <http://www.heritagefilms.com/RUSSIA1.htm>

Jewish Synagogues of Eastern Europe <http://www.heritagefilms.com/Synagogues.htm> – photos

President Smith: During the last ten years the world has witnessed a remarkable change of spirit come over the Jewish race. We hear of Jewish aspirations for national existence; for the perpetuation of the Jewish customs [p.xxviii] and Jewish ideals. After saying so long, ‘May we celebrate the next Passover in Jerusalem,’ the thought at last seems to have occurred to some Jewish minds that if that expressed wish is ever realized, some practical steps must be taken looking to the actual achievement of that possibility-which has given rise among the Jews to what is called the ‘Zionite Movement.’ The keynotes of that movement are heard in the following utterances of some of the ‘leaders in explanation of it: ‘We want to resume the broken thread of our national existence; we want to show to the world the moral strength, the intellectual power of the Jewish people. We want a place where the race can be centralized.’

‘It is for these Jews [of Russia, Roumania and Galicia] that the name of their country [Palestine] spells ‘Hope.’ I should not be a man if I did not realize that for these persecuted Jews, Jerusalem spells reason, justice, manhood and integrity.’ ‘Jewish nationalism on a modern basis in Palestine, the old home of the people.’ ‘Palestine needs a people, Israel needs a country. Give the country without a people, to the people without a country.’ In a word, it is the purpose of ‘Zionism’ to redeem Palestine and give it back to Jewish control-create, in fact, a Jewish state in the land promised to their fathers.

Of course, for hundreds of years there has been talk of the Jews returning to Jerusalem, and from time to time societies have been formed to keep alive that hope, and keep the Jew’s face turned toward the chief city and land of his forefathers; but little was achieved by those societies, however, except to foster the hope of Israel’s return in the heart of a widely dispersed, persecuted and discouraged race, who have waited long for the realization of the promises made to their fathers. I say but ‘little’ was accomplished by the various Jewish societies existing before the Zionite movement began beyond fostering the hope of Israel based on the predictions of their prophets; but that ‘little’ was much. It was nourishing in secret and through ages of darkness that spark of fire which when touched with the breath of God should burst forth into a flame that not all the world could stay. They made possible this larger movement, now attracting the attention of the world, and known as the ‘Zionite Movement;’ which, in reality, is but the federation of all Jewish societies which have had for their purpose the realization of the hopes of scattered Israel.

‘Zionism’ is considered to have grown out of the persecution of the Jews during the last eighteen years in such European countries as Russia, France, Germany, and Roumania. It held its first general [p.xxix] conference in August, 1897, in Basle, Switzerland; and since then has continued to hold annual conferences that have steadily increased both in interest and the number of delegates representing various Jewish societies, until now it takes on the appearance of one of the world’s great movements. It is not so much a religious movement as a racial one: for prominent Jews of all shades of both political and religious opinions have participated in it under the statesmanlike leadership of Doctor Herzel of Austria. Not to persecution alone, however, is due this strange awakening desire on the part of the Jews to return to the city and the land of their fathers; but to the fact of the restoration of the keys of the gathering of Israel by Moses to the Prophet of the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Under the divine authority restored by Moses, Joseph Smith sent an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ to the land of Palestine to bless it and dedicate it once more to the Lord for the return of His people. This Apostle was Orson Hyde, and he performed his mission in 1840-2. In 1872 an Apostolic delegation consisting of the late Presidents George A. Smith and Lorenzo Snow were sent to Palestine. The purpose of their mission, in part, is thus stated in President Young’s letter of appointment to George A. Smith: ‘When you get to the land of Palestine, we wish you to dedicate and consecrate that land to the Lord, that it may be blessed with fruitfulness, preparatory to the return of the Jews, in fulfillment of prophecy and the accomplishment of the purposes of our heavenly Father.’

Acting, then, under the divine authority restored to earth by the Prophet Moses, this Apostolic delegation-as well as the Apostle first sent-from the summit of Mount Olivet blessed the land, and again dedicated it for the return of the Jews. It is not strange, therefore, to those who look upon such a movement as Zionism in connection with faith in God’s great latter-day work, to see this spirit now moving upon the minds of the Jewish people prompting their return to the land of their fathers. It is but the breath of God upon their souls turning their hearts to the promises made to the fathers. It is but the fulfillment in part of one of the many prophecies of the Book of Mormon relating to the gathering of Israel, viz: ‘It shall come to pass that the Lord God shall commence His work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of His people upon the earth.’ The spirit attendant upon the restoration of the keys of authority to gather Israel from the four quarters of the earth, and the exercise of that divine authority, though unrecognized as yet by the world, is the real cause of this movement Palestine-ward by the Jews.

‘Judah’s Remnant’

The Jews are preparing to return to the land that was given to them for their inheritance. Many of them have already returned. So ‘Judah’s remnant will receive their blessings in their promised Canaan.’ However a few of the Jews have come into the Church.

Hyrum Smith, Church Patriarch

The Tribe of Levi Today

Levi = associated with him [Heb.] ‘I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.’ Genesis 48:7

‘And of Levi he said, Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; Who said unto his father and to his mother, I have not seen him; neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children: for they have observed thy word, and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar. Bless, LORD, his substance, and accept the work of his hands: smite through the loins of them that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again.’ Deuteronomy 33:8-11

‘I would like to add a bit of information that I discovered while living in Moscow. After my mission to the Helsinki East mission (1989 to 1991) I moved back to Moscow and ran an import company. I continued to help in the missionary efforts and met a sister missionary serving in Moscow from Kyrgizistan. She had been baptized and had received her blessing. She related to me that she was from the tribe of Levi. She said that the blessing brought back the memories she had of her grandfather that used to say their family was decendant from priests and even her last name, not a common Kyrgiz name, had the connotation of ministering or officiating in holy things.’ Rick Robinson

‘I’m not an LDS member, but I am Jewish and am a Levite. At least that’s what our family was told at our synagogue growing up. The Kohains were different than the Levites (they had first rank, we had second everybody else was left over.)’ Les, email: leslaz(at)yahoo.com

‘Salut! My name is Renée Laflamme, from Québec city, Canada. I am a member of the Church for 19 years (6 march 1982). I am divorced. I had 3 children, and the 2 oldest received their patriarchal blessings, and they are from the tribe of Levi, and their family name is Lévis! Special! Their father do not realize what is missing…I was teaching the Book of Mormon seminary when my oldest daughter received her patriarchal blessing, and tears came to my eyes, because of the scripture 3 NEPHI 24:1,4. In her patriarchal blessing it said that she had blood of Levi! ask the patriarch how it could happen because I am from Ephraim, and he told me that could go back for many generations. And when my son learned about that, he was anxious to receive his own patriarcal blessing, and he was happy to learn that he was from the tribe of Levi too! Now my baby girl is 14 years old, and she is anxious to receive hers also! For me it is very special, I have a strong testimony of the gospel, the church, the prophet of God, and I know that Jesus Christ is living! The patriarch told me it was very rare, the people from the tribe of Levi, but I would like to know if there are some other people that are in the tribe of Levi and where they live? Can I correspond with them? Renée Laflamme, lacharmanter (at) hotmail.com

‘ I know a jewish guy in Turkey, his last name is Levi – he is from the Levi tribe.’ Murat Cakir, murat (at) byu.edu

The descendants of Aaron have preserved their identities well over the millenia. Even within the Jewish community, the modern genetics demonstrate that the genes of the Levitical priestly descendants, or Kohanim (Cohens), are (1) substantially different from those of the non-Levitical Jewish population and (2) significantly conserved among Kohanim in many nations, compared to the Jewish population as a whole. There is less conservation among non-Kohenite Levites. See ‘Russian Jewish Genetics’ at <http://www.khazaria.com/genetics/abstracts.html>.

Levites, of course, were found in both the Northern and Southern kingdoms and are thus found among both the Jews and the ‘Lost Tribes.’ There are many traditions of ‘lost tribe’ groups that have preserved traditions of the Levitical Priesthood, like the Chiang-Min in China (see http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html#chiang <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/israel/losttribes3.html> and<http://moshiach.com/tribes/china.html>)).

Did the ancient Khazars have a temple? In the Kuzari, the most famous historical document on the Khazars, Yehudah ha-Levi states:

‘Their chronicles also tell of their prosperity, how they beat their foes, conquered their lands, secured great treasures, how their army swelled to hundreds of thousands, how they loved their faith, and fostered such love for the Holy House that they erected a tabernacle in the shape of that built by Moses. They also honored and cherished the Israelites who lived among them.’

It’s clear that Levitical roles, including service in the Tabernacle, were important among the Khazars, Turkic converts to Judaism who lived in Southern Russia and Eastern Ukraine a millenium ago. The Kievan Letter, which appears to date back to the early tenth century when the Khazars ruled Kyiv (Kiev), lists several Levite and Kohen signers along with the names of other Khazar Jews. It’s a pity that the Jewish section of Polol in Kyiv, which dated back to Khazarian times, was burned down in 1124 — over a century before the Mongol invasion.

The Tribe of Manasseh Today


Found among the descendants of Lehi, including Mesoamericans of Central and South America and South Pacific Islanders [Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, New Zealand, etc.]. Also found in the Philippines and [to a lesser extent] in Japan, as well as some other areas of the world.

The Ten Tribes: Burma – http://moshiach.com/tribes/burma.html <http://moshiach.com/tribes/burma.html>

BneiMenashe.com <http://www.bneimenashe.com>

An summary of important points from this site:

The Menashe (Shinlung) tribe of 1-2 million people lives in the mountainous region on both sides of the India-Myanmar border. The Shinlung have intermarried with local Chinese and look like Chinese or Burmese, but the tribe recognizes their Israelite heritage. The Menashe tribe carries on the custom of animal sacrifice in the same way as the Ten Tribes of Israel. Their prayer and poetry frequently includes the word ‘Menashe,’ which is the name of their ancestor. The Shinlung call themselves ‘Beni Manashe,’ or ‘children of Menashe.’ When they pray, they say ‘Oh, God of Menashe,” from the name Manasseh, one of the ten lost tribes of Israel. According to their own history, they were exiled to Assyria in 722 BC with the other tribes of Israel. Assyria was later conquered by Babylon (607 BC), which was later conquered by Persia (457 BC), which in turn fell to the armies of Alexander the Great in 331 BC, when the people of Menashe were deported from Persia to Afghanistan and other regions.

LDS members of the tribe of Manasseh

‘My husband was born in Volgograd, Russia although his ancestors took the round-about way of settling there. His patriarchal blessing said that he is of the tribe of Manasseh. During (he thinks) Ekaterina’s reign, she sent his ancestors (Cossacks) to Ukraine to defend Russia’s borders in the south. During the Revolution and Civil War, part of his mother’s family left Hersson Oblast’ in the Ukraine and headed for China. Most made it to Kazakhstan and stayed there. The other part of her family also ended up in Kazakhstan but they originated from Altai in the Urals. (His parents met when his dad was serving in the army in Kazakhstan.) His mother’s maiden name is Skolevaya. His father’s family has been in the Volgograd/Voronezh area since his ancestors (also Cossacks) headed for the Don and Volga regions when the Mongols came to visit. Ivan III gave them lands in return for their service to him. Unfortunately, family history is especially difficult on his father’s side due to Andrei’s paternal grandmother’s parents being killed during the Civil War. The children were scattered and know next to nothing about their parents. They don’t even know their mother’s name.’ Angie Little Kremnev

‘My mission companion from Vyborg, Russia [near the Finnish border], is a member of the tribe of Manasseh.’ Lori Stewart

My own father is the only person in his family of 10 siblings and then also of his 4 children to be the only one from the tribe of Manasseh, and his lineage is English and Danish. He has no Lamanite blood in him.’ Kelly R.

‘My husband, Ken, who is a convert of many years, is from the Tribe of Manasseh. His ancestral lines, as far as I’ve been able to trace, are from England, Scotland, and Germany.’ Carol McKinney, mckinney(at)afnetinc.com

‘My mother is a Cherokee Indian woman and my father is Spanish / Puerto Rican are both of the tribe Ephriam as well as my oldest brother. My middle brother and I, however, are of the lineage of Manasseh. rcb256(at)bankrcb.net

We had a Chinese family stay with us for six months a year back. The father and mother were from a province south of Beijing. The mother received her PB in Calgary shortly after joining the church there, and the father joined here in Edmonton. Both are from the lineage of Manasseh. sbarnsle(at)cha.ab.ca

‘I am one of the Mongolians who served a mission. My name is Chimka (Chimeddulam) Hansen. Chimka is my nickname,but I was ‘Sister Chimka’ in my missioin. I served in Salt Lake Temple Square Mission from Dec,1997 till July 1999. I also served minimission there during the time of Christmas of 1999. I work at the MTC,Provo.Well, I just wanted to tell you my tribe from my patriarchal blessing. It is Manasseh. Most of my friends were from Ephraim.’ chimka_d (at) yahoo.com

My parents are converts, our family lineage goes back to England and Wales. Of 5 siblings, I am the only one from the tribe of Manasseh, which originally caused my father great consternation until it was explained to him. I’m blonde, but I do like ethnic food! amie2all(at)crosswinds.net

I am from the tribe of Manasseh. I am a descendant of Lehi. Even before I saw this site I have thought that Lehi could not have been the only survivor from the tribe of Manasseh. Therefore not all of the members of the tribe of Manasseh are descended from the Lamanites. Just a thought I have contemplated for a while.’ jordanzendejas(at)hotmail.com

My background. Born in Indonesia from mixed parentage (Indonesian, Chinese, European). My wife is European. I (a true true brownface) was told that I am from the tribe of Ephraim, but all my kids are from the tribe of Manasseh. Interesting fact is that I received my PB in an area where there were not so many like me, plus the fact that the Patriarch was a friend of my Mother in Law. My kids received their PB in an area where there were a lot of “brownies”. Each kids that was brown there was from Manasseh. Go figure. So I have put no value on lineage. It is not important what you are destined to do, but it is important that you do the best you can. I have heard comments from ‘diehard members’ that the Manasseh group are destined to become followers, while the Ephraim group is destined to become leaders. When I look at the kids of those that have made that statement (especially in Utah) , then all I can say is ‘Heaven help us.’ My children (5) were all ‘straight A Students,’ now have extreme high paying jobs and are all in leadership positions. All I told them was that since they were a ‘brownface’ and thus had to face the ever existing racial prejudice (even prevalent in the LDS Church Community), and also did not have the ‘looks’ required to compete, they only had their God given capability and brains to beat everybody else in this world. They have done that. Together, they ‘lead’ over 2000 co-workers. I came to this country with 60 dollars in my pocket and 2 suitcases with all my earthly belongings. I now have all the things I NEED (not all the things I want). Please remember that all your PB is, is a promise that God gave you IF you do the right things, and those promises then will come through that lineage. So last but not least, all that matters is that you must realize that you are a child of God, and thus can do all you need to do with his gifts that you received when you were born. You do not have to ask him again for the same stuff He already gave you in the beginning.’ Joey Anderson

[I certainly hope that no one feels that lineage from one tribe is at all superior to another. The Gospel is equal-opportunity. -DS]

‘I am a New Zealand Maori with Welsh and English ancestry from the tribe of Manasseh. My parents are both Maori/Welsh/English and from Ephraim and my oldest sister is Ephraim.’ marcus (at) giac.co.nz

‘I’m a member of the church from Madagascar and I am also interested in lineage. The Church is still young in my country, the first stake has been organized in september 2000. No patriarch have yet been ordained. Anyway, I think you may be interested in the fact that there are some malagasy members who have received their patriarchal blessing during a trip to another country, especially return missionnaries. Among those return missionnaries, as far as I know, they all belon either to the tribe of Ephraim, or to the tribe of Manasse. I have myself had the opportunity during my studies to spend a year in France and received my patriarchal blessing. I belong to the tribe of Manasse. I don’t know if you have clues about Madagascar, (see on a map). Geographically, Madagascar is apart from Africa but it belongs to almost african organization. Anyway, historicaly and culturaly, Madagascar is a strange mixture of Polynesians, Asians, African and Arabs. Its population consists of somewhat 18 different ethnical ‘tribes’ according to their customs, culture, lineage and physical appearance. Some minorities claim to belong to a tribe of Israel but there seem to be no serious document to prove it. I hope you are interested by those informations.’ Ifanomezana Rasolondraibe ifanorasolo(at) hotmail.com

The Tribe of Naphtali Today

Naphtali = wrestlings

‘Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.’ Genesis 48:21

‘And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.’ Deuteronomy 33:23

‘Myself I am the tribe of Naphtali, Giver of the kind words, and I come from the Southern Part of Tanzania, Nyakyusa Tribe/Ethinic Group. I know a guy from Kenya from a Kikuyu Tribe who also is of Naphtali. My fiancee, she is from the Manasseh tribe and she is from Tanzania. So it all depends. I am almost certain there are some from Uganda, Ethiopia or all over Africa.’ Zabron Mwaipopo, zpopo (at) hotmail.com

‘Sister Horner (last known residence was Fort St. John, B.C. Canada) from the tribe of Naphtali. Her maiden name is McWilliams (we went to high school together). I would guess by her maiden name she has Scottish or similar decent? Her mom resided in Hudson’s Hope, B.C. Canada but I do not know if she is still amongst the living. We obtained our patriarchal blessings together and so we sat in on each other’s blessings. The date was June 20, 1981. Our Patriarch was Leroy Rollins of Edmonton Alberta East and Susan’s blessing would either be number 739 or 741 (I was 740) and I cannot remember if she was before or after mine. I distinctly remember when Patriach Rollins announced she was from the tribe of Naphtali.’ Glenda, littlebit (at) look.ca

The Tribe of Reuben Today

Reuben = who sees the son; the vision of the son

‘Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.’ Genesis 48:3-4

‘Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.’ Deuteronomy 33:6

‘I just emailed a couple girls from Romania to find out about their lineage. One who is living in Romania currently said she is from Ephraim. The other is here in the US for school, she is from the tribe of Reuben.’ Carey Lynn Wolfley

The Tribe of Simeon Today

Simeon = that hears

‘I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.’ Genesis 48:7

‘I have a member in my ward who is of Simeon. He is of French ancestry, however he was born and lives in Australia.’ Anonymous, Australia

The Tribe of Zebulun Today

‘Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon’ Genesis 48:13

‘And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.’ Deuteronomy 33:18-19

‘One of my great-grandfathers, Daniel Hutchinson Keeler, joined the Church in 1838 New Jersey. He emigrated to Nauvoo in 1842, and received his P. Blessing under the hand of Hyrum Smith, who was the Patriarch of the Church at that time. His lineage was given as being from Zebulon, one of the sons of Jacob and Leah. Many of us have Xeroxed copies of the original, now on file in the Archives of the Church.’ Carol McKinney, mckinney(at)afnetinc.com

‘My father, Charles Manville, received his patriarchal blessing late in life. He was told he was of the tribe of Zebulon. His background was Ashkenazi Jewish. His ancestors were from England and before that likely Hamberg. He was told that the reason it took him 20 years to accept the gospel was due to his lineage. gmann(at)connect.ab.ca

‘On my mission in Ecuador, there was a lady that cooked meals for us. She had recently recieved her patriarchal blessing and told that she was from the tribe of Zabulon. She appeared to be of African ancestry.’ tamagosan(at)altavista.net

Tracing the Dispersion: Fact or Fiction?

by David Stewart

After reviewing this article from an old Ensign which attempts to trace the dispersion of the Lost Tribes of Israel through the Black Sea area (modern Ukraine) into Northern Europe, I am somewhat disappointed. I question whether the logic and evidence really support the article’s conclusions…

From: ‘Tracing the Dispersion,’ by Terry M. Blodgett, Ensign, February 1994

‘The apocryphal book of 4 Ezra (a continuation of the book of Ezra in the Old Testament) describes how Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, took northern Israel captive. It also indicates, as Isaiah prophesied (see Isa. 10:27), that at least some of the Israelites escaped their captors and fled north. According to the account in 4 Ezra (referred to in some editions as 2 Esdras), the fleeing captives ‘entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river’ and traveled a year and a half through a region called ‘Arsareth.’ (4 Ezra 13:43-45.) The narrow passage could refer to the Dariel Pass, also called the Caucasian Pass, which begins near the headwaters of the Euphrates River and leads north through the Caucasus Mountains.’

‘At the turn of the century, Russian archaeologist Daniel Chwolson noted that a stone mountain ridge running alongside this narrow passage bears the inscription Wrate Israila, which he interpreted to mean ‘the gates of Israel.”

Why would the Israelites fleeing the Captivity hundreds of years before Christ have written ‘Wrate [Vrata] Israila’ in Old Slavonic/Russian? This is clearly not a Hebrew or Aramaic expression at all, but is of much later date.

‘These narrow passages lead through a region called Ararat in Hebrew, and Urartu in Assyrian. Chwolson writes that Arsareth, mentioned in 4 Ezra, was another name for Ararat, a region extending to the northern shores of the Black Sea. A river at the northwest corner of the Black Sea was anciently named Sereth (now Siret), possibly preserving part of the name Arsareth. Since ‘ar in Hebrew meant ‘city,’ it is probable that Arsareth was a city-the city of Sareth-located near the Sereth River northwest of the Black Sea.’

Blodgett equates Arsareth with Ararat and places it northwest of the Black Sea, over a thousand miles from the historical Mount Ararat, based on a single reference from a Russian scholar at the turn of the century. Even Chwolson is clear that Arsareth is a region, but Blodgett attempts to demonstrate that it is a city. If Arsareth is a city, Blodgett’s logic is exactly backwards. If his reasoning were correct, the region ought to be called Sareth, and the city Arsareth, and not the other way around.

Many Semetic languages besides Hebrew shared similar roots. Claiming a two-letter prefix to be definitive evidence of the Hebrew influence borders on ridiculous. If ‘arsareth’ is a Hebrew word, what exactly does ‘sereth’ mean in Hebrew? Armenia was populated, in great measure, by Semites, so the presence of a Semetic-appearing root should not be surprising. That is not to say that ‘ar’ couldn’t have meant something in many non-semitic languages as well, which is not considered here.

‘Chwolson and others of the Russian Archaeological Society found more than seven hundred Hebraic inscriptions in the area north of the Black Sea.’

Blodgett omits that Daniel Chwolson studied the Khazars and Karaites, who were Turkic, non-Hebraic peoples who adopted the Jewish faith and Hebrew script. The Khazar empire flourished as an independent state in Ukraine and Southern Russia from 650 – 1016 AD, and its inhabitants remained Jewish for several centuries thereafter. The conversion to Judaism is thought to have occurred around 740-750 AD. Any valid theory of Israelite evidence in the Black Sea area must account for the later influence of the Khazarian empire.

A good reference on Khazaria is http://www.khazaraia.com/. An article on Khazar-Karaim relations is found at http://www.turkiye.net/sota/karakhaz.htm. Information on modern Karaite beliefs can be found at http://www.karaite-korner.org/.

‘A number of other geographical locations in the area of the Black Sea have names that suggest Hebraic origins. For example…North of the Caspian Sea is a city called Samara (Samaria).’

It ought not to be surprising that Samara, built on the northern periphery of the former Khazar Empire in a region traditionally populated by Khazar Jews, has a Hebraic name. According to historians, Samara is a relatively young city founded only in the fifteenth century AD!

‘There is also a city of Ismail (Ishmael) on the Danube, and a little farther upstream is a city called Isak (Isaac).’

These are Turkish cities, founded in the middle ages by Islamic Ottoman Turks who invaded the Balkans! Ishmael (Izmail) was the father of Arabs, and his name has been popular among Muslims for centuries. The incorporation of these cities into Ukraine is relatively recent.

‘According to Chwolson, one of these inscriptions refers to the Black Sea as the ‘Sea of Israel.’ On the Crimean Peninsula was a place referred to as the ‘Valley of Jehoshaphat,’ a Hebrew name, and another place was called ‘Israel’s Fortress.”

It is well known that the Karaites, who lived in the Crimea for centuries, and the Khazars of Southern Russia and Ukraine adopted the Hebrew script! Ought one not to expect Hebrew inscriptions to be found on their territory?

‘It is difficult to date these inscriptions, but some of them contain information relating to the fall and captivity of Israel. Others appear to have been written about the time of Christ and even later, indicating that the area north of the Black Sea contained an Israelite population for many centuries.’

Difficult to date? That’s a nice way of saying that an early origin of these inscriptions is unproven. As the author admits, many of the inscriptions were clearly written at much later dates. Again, Blodgett seems to be unaware of the Khazars, who constituted a large Jewish population in this area for ‘many centuries.’

‘The Russian archaeologists also found mounds, or heaps of earth, dotting the landscape. These mounds, stretching across the entire region north of the Black Sea where the Hebraic inscriptions were found, turned out to be elaborate burial chambers, often containing a leader of the people with some of his possessions. Although mound building was not a typical type of burial in the Middle East, ‘high heaps’ or ‘great heaps’ are described as a means of burial in several Old Testament passages. (See Josh. 7:26, Josh. 8:29; 2 Sam. 18:17.) Furthermore, the people of Ephraim were commanded in the Old Testament specifically to build up ‘high heaps’ as ‘waymarks’ as they traveled. (See Jer. 31:21.)’

Anyone who reads the scriptural references mentioned here will see that the ‘high heaps’ of stone mentioned in all three of these passages cited by Br. Blodgett were to cover the abominations of evildoers ignominiously slain — not to honor great kings! What does building ‘waymarks’ have to do with burial mounds? The only Hebraic reference in this passage that is both true and relevant is that ‘mound building was not a typical type of burial in the Middle East.’

‘These Black Sea mounds contain not only inscriptions but also drawings, jewelry, and other artifacts indicative of Hebrew origin. The mounds stretch from the Black Sea northward through Russia to the top of the Scandinavian Peninsula, then southward to southern Sweden-where thousands of mounds are found. Similar burial mounds are also found in Britain and western Europe, indicating other migrations in westerly and northwesterly directions.’

I’m not sure what he interprets to be Hebrew jewelry. The pictures I’ve seen of the mound contents certainly don’t suggest that, nor would many archaeologists feel these items to be consistent with a ‘Hebrew origin.’ To the contrary, the pronounced differences between the contents of the mounds and traditional Israelite artifacts are obvious.

‘Herodotus identified the first of the mound builders in the Black Sea area as Kimmerioi; the Romans referred to them as Cimmerii, from which we have the name Cimmerians. They called themselves Khumri, which refers to ‘the Dynasty of King Omri.’ Omri was king of northern Israel about 900 B.C. He founded Samaria and established the capital of Israel there…’

‘Dynasty of King Omri’ from ‘Khumri?’ Another poorly-supported speculation. According to historians, the Cimmerians lived in the Black Sea area for at least 2-3 centuries before the Northern tribes of Israel were even taken into captivity! There may have been some later connection between the Lost Tribes and the Cimmerians, but it isn’t demonstrated here.

Similar theories can be found on the site, ‘Migrations of the House of Israel’ at http://asis.com/~stag/migratio.html for a page with similar theories. Some of these claims may have merit, but it is difficult to separate the grains of truth from the larger bodies of inconsistencies and assumptions.

Herodotus’ remarks on the Cimmerians can be found at http://www.hrothgar.com/cimmerian.html. Regarding mound building, he writes: ‘all of the Royal tribe were slain, and the people buried them near the river Tyras, where their grave is still to be seen.’

‘There are other peoples throughout Europe and Asia whose origins trace from this area and whose names seem to have a Hebrew root. Among these are the Galadi (the root word probably comes from the biblical Gilead, the region east of the Jordan River, pronounced Galaad in that region and in Assyria and the Celts (a Germanic pronunciation of Galadi); the Gallii (or Gali, root word probably from the biblical Galilee), also called Gals, Gaels, and Gauls; the Sacites, or Scythians (the word comes from Assyrian captives, Esak-ska and Saka, comparable to the Hebrew Isaac); the Goths, or Getai (the root probably from the biblical Gad, pronounced Gath); the Jutes of Jutland (from the tribe of Judah); and the Parsi (from Hebrew Paras, which means ‘the dispersed ones’), who settled Paris and whose name in Germanic territory sound-shifted to Frisians.’

This is pure speculation, much of which is inconsistent with historical data. Blodgett also omits the connection between ‘Saka’ and ‘Saxon’ claimed by other proponents of his theory. There has to be more evidence than two common consonants to demonstrate the origin of tribal names! There are many other ancient non-Israelite names with equal similarity to the names of the peoples above. The author hurts his claims greatly by claiming ‘probable’ rather than ‘possible’ Hebraic origins for certain names. Blodgett shows no evidence in the article of having considered any other possible explanations for his data.

There is no credible modern evidence for the tribe of Gad in the Germanic nations, as almost all converts from those nations have been declared to be of the lineage of Ephraim by LDS patriarchs. These claims are also anachronistic. Historians note that Celtic culture ‘covered’ western Europe by 700 BC — only twenty years after the fall of the Kingdom of Israel. A translation of Jordanes’ ‘Origin and Deeds of the Goths’ can be read at http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~vandersp/Courses/texts/jordgeti.html An article on Gaulic history can be found at http://www.moltenlava.com/uo/Celtichistory.html

‘The research shows that the changes in language [Germanic sound shifts] resulted from an influx of Hebrew-speaking people into Europe, particularly into the Germanic- and Celtic-speaking areas…’

I’m not qualified to assess the claims of a Hebraic origin for the Germanic sound shifts. Certainly, these claims do appear to fit existing data points better than the other points in the article. However, given the quality of research and logic in the rest of the article, I’m very cautious about any conclusions I can’t verify.

I do believe that there is significant evidence for the tribes of Israel having migrated north of the Black Sea through modern Ukraine and into Scandinavia, Britain, etc. However, Blodgett’s article is not a reliable source of such evidence.


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