Daniel Peterson and Thomas Johnson made substantial contributions to this article.
(Editor’s note: On August 20, 2022, join Maurine and Scot Proctor as we cruise the river between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and see the ancient and beautiful world of Russia up close and personal. We will see the grand sights in the cities and the charming villages. What makes this cruise like none other is that Russian members of the church, as well as other Russians anxious to meet Americans, will join us on this unique voyage. We will hear what it is to be a Latter-day Saint in Russia, have speakers who will teach us everything from Russian literature to Pushkin’s fairy tales. We hope you join as well for an authentic heart to heart experience; we see the beautiful sights and relish the new friends we make.
As if this isn’t enough, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former president of the Soviet Union will join us to speak one evening!
Call Elizabeth at 801-669-1777 for tour information AND a great deal on airfare! Go to https://HeartOfRussiaCruises.com/Meridian for the itinerary, cabins, and the wonderful things you’ll experience.) Other sailing dates are available.
Sometimes strange things come from simple gifts. A good friend from Moscow, Russia, Nadezhda Brychuk, is a devout Russian Orthodox believer. When she saw my interest in Holy Russia (Rus) by the Russian Orthodox painter Mikhail Nesterov she wrote to me a few days ago:
Dear Mark, I saw your story about Nesterov’s frescoes. Do you know that there is a convent downtown Moscow (metro station Tretyakovskaya) the main cathedral of which was painted by M.Nesterov? It is called Marfo-Maria Convent of Mercy founded by Grand Dutchess Elizabeth (sister of Nicholas II’s wife). And the main fresco above the altar also shows how Christ visited Russia. Thought you’d like a picture of it.
Critics have said that Jesus could not have visited Russia because the ancient people here were not of the House of Israel. Yet, is it possible that the lost ten tribes might have gone northward and settled in Georgia, Ukraine and Russia? Let’s explore that question.
Just a bit of background on the lost ten tribes before we probe the fertile minds of retired BYU professor Dan Peterson and the distinguished jurist, Thomas Johnson who researches this topic.
The Bible, Book of Mormon and various histories do not leave much room for dispute that the ten+ tribes of Israel were taken captive and sent north. The dispute is often — how far north did they go, and eventually how many countries did they disperse to?
…So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day. (2 Kings 17:5-6, 21-24).
…for it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations… wherefore, they shall be scattered among all nations and shall be hated of all men (1 Nephi 22:3-5).
…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).
At least one ancient historian agreed. “The ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now [A.D. 93], and are an immense multitude and not be estimated in numbers” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book 11, ch. 5, line 133).
You get the idea. If you’re dying for more references and lots of quotes from lots of people who support their claims of where the ten “lost” tribes are, I put Thomas Johnson’s research at the end of this article.
To summarize this subject that may be someplace between esoteric and essential, we’ve divided the points of view into three camps:
To add some complication, here is a quote from Sister Wendy Nelson from BYU Women’s Conference, April 30, 2015. Let me say first that she and everyone else is entitled to wonder and explore gospel topics. The fact is, I’ve heard and my relatives who have served missions in Russia and Ukraine that might be considered “north countries”, have all heard of members of the church receiving patriarchal blessings where the member is declared to be one of the ten tribes.
Here’s what was reported at Women’s Conference:
Sister [Wendy Watson] Nelson moved on by focusing on covenants within the context of the present days. She spoke of a 24-hour experience in Moscow, Russia, where she met with 100 Russian sisters while her husband taught the priesthood leaders of the area.
When she went to the pulpit to talk to the sisters, she said something she “never anticipated. I’d like to get to know you by lineage,” I said. “Please stand as the name of the tribe of Israel, which declared in your patriarchal blessing, is spoken,” Sister Nelson said, “While the women knew each other well, they didn’t know each other’s lineage.”
She said everyone was thrilled with what they were witnessing, feeling and being taught as each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were announced. “We were being taught about the reality of the days in which we now live,” Sister Nelson said.
In the small gathering of fewer than 100 women in Moscow, 11 of the Twelve Tribes of Israel were represented — all but the Tribe of Levi. After the meeting, the Nelsons went to the airport and flew to Armenia, where Elder Nelson was set to create the first stake of Zion in the country the next day. The first people to greet them as they got off the plane were the Armenia Mission president and his wife, who heard of the Moscow sisters’ experience. “The first thing she said to me was, ‘I’ve got Levi!’” Sister Nelson said. (BYU Women’s Conference, April 30, 2015).
To give us perspective and further thoughts, I asked the noted scholar Dan Peterson his thoughts. My big question to Dan: “Are these Russians and Ukrainians literal descendants of Israel or are they adopted into those tribes? Could Russia have been a landing site for the nomadic ten tribes?”
Dan: I leave the question of “literal” or “adopted” to the patriarchs. It is all certainly possible that the land north could have been Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and other countries nearby. That is definitely a more plausible explanations then some I’ve heard.
Mark: Many of the theories about what happen to the tribes come from letters, journals or conversations someone else recorded involving discussions from people who lived close to the Prophet Joseph Smith. They are quite insistent that they accurately attribute lost tribes conclusions to something they discussed with Joseph?
Dan: I don’t recall of any references from Joseph Smith that could help pinpoint where the ten tribes ended up. I’m very leery of any attribution to anything Joseph might have said about anything because faithful honest people can hear something and get it wrong. I’ve certainly thought a person I spoke to had said something but upon discussing the matter again, I found I had missed a word here or there or totally missed the context. People get the details wrong.
Mark: Might references to the ten tribes be something a court of law might called “hearsay”?
Dan: Exactly. Having someone quote the Prophet on a point of doctrine or gospel discussion when the points made are not found in his writings or public addresses is a dangerous practice. It is the very definition of “hearsay.” 800 years of Common Law discount hearsay as unreliable.
Mark: My final big question is “what difference does it make, or could it make,” as to where the ten tribes are? I understand they could be tied to signs of the end of times. But facetiously, I would like to know when I can expect the tribes to come from the north and settle in Nevada so I can buy some lots there.
Dan: I don’t spend much time on this topic normally. In fact, I had to think through and review the literature on this when you asked me to join you in this conversation.
I can’t say the topic intrigues me … or should I say other topics of the Gospel intrigue me far more.
As to literal descendants, siblings have been given different tribal lineage, so it is not so simple. You may, indeed, have ancestry in many tribes. However, your assigned lineage may be connected to a particularly relevant assignment for you. But, to the central question of, “Does Russia have ancestors from the lost ten tribes?” the evidence is abundant that the House of Israel is well represented throughout Russia.
I must interject on the Mikhail Nesterov painting of Holy Russia that I saw in Meridian Magazine. When I first saw this painting, I thoroughly enjoyed the art and I found it to be dramatic tangible evidence of the claims in 3 Nephi and John 10 where Jesus said, “other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring…” It’s exciting to see such beautiful evidence.
Thank you, Dan Peterson! We’re hoping to have Dan aboard one of our Heart of Russia Cruises in 2022 representing the Interpreter Foundation. No doubt we’ll be discussing with the Russian saints on board their thoughts on the location of the lost ten tribes.
(Go to https://HeartOfRussiaCruises.com/Meridian or call Elizabeth at 801-669-1777 for the itinerary, cabins, and the wonderful things you’ll experience. AND, for Meridian friends only, when you book a Deluxe King room, you receive a special airfare credit from Los Angeles or New York…FREE!)
Let’s now turn to Thomas Johnson, who prepared the following research report on the ten tribes. You’ll note that the first section provides actual quotations from the scriptures and the second section quotations from researchers and General Authorities.
The Ten Tribes: Where are They?
Capture and Separation:
Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. . .
For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof (2 Kings 17:5-6, 21-24).
And this my Son shall rebuke the wicked inventions of those nations, which for their wicked life are fallen into the tempest; And shall lay before them their evil thoughts, and the torments wherewith they shall begin to be tormented, which are like unto a flame: and he shall destroy them without labour by the law which is like unto me. And whereas thou sawest that he gathered another peaceable multitude unto him;
Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.
And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over. For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter time; and now when they shall begin to come, The Highest shall stay the springs of the stream again, that they may go through: therefore sawest thou the multitude with peace (Apocrypha, 2 Esdras 40-47).
Wherefore, the things of which I have read are things pertaining to things both temporal and spiritual; for it appears that the house of Israel, sooner or later, will be scattered upon all the face of the earth, and also among all nations.
And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away.
And since they have been led away, these things have been prophesied concerning them, and also concerning all those who shall hereafter be scattered and be confounded, because of the Holy One of Israel; for against him will they harden their hearts; wherefore, they shall be scattered among all nations and shall be hated of all men (1 Nephi 22:3-5).
Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words (Jeremiah 36:32).
Apocrypha, 2 Baruch 78:1: The letter of Baruch, the son of Neriah which he wrote to the nine and a half tribes. These are the words of the letter which Baruch, the son of Neriah’ sent to the nine and a half tribes which were across the rivers in which were written the following things:
78:2 Thus speaks Baruch, the son of Neriah, to the brothers who were carried away in captivity:
For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews 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.
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 Nephi 29:12-13).
But, verily, I say unto you that the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you, that ye were separated from among them because of their iniquity; therefore it is because of their iniquity that they know not of you.
And verily, I say unto you again that the other tribes hath the Father separated from them; and it is because of their iniquity that they know not of them (3 Nephi 15:19-20).
And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.
And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone, that if it so be that my people at Jerusalem, they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry, do not ask the Father in my name, that they may receive a knowledge of you by the Holy Ghost, and also of the other tribes whom they know not of, that these sayings which ye shall write shall be kept and shall be manifested unto the Gentiles, that through the fulness of the Gentiles, the remnant of their seed, who shall be scattered forth upon the face of the earth because of their unbelief, may be brought in, or may be brought to a knowledge of me, their Redeemer.
And then will I gather them in from the four quarters of the earth; and then will I fulfil the covenant which the Father hath made unto all the people of the house of Israel (3 Nephi 16:1-5).
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).
“JAMES, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting (James 1:1).
Writings of Researchers and Authorities
The ten tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now [A.D. 93], and are an immense multitude and not be estimated in numbers (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews Book 11, ch. 5, line 133).
Reports of travelers encountering the ten tribes in the Middle Ages: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-ten-lost-tribes
In a conference of the Church on 3 June 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith taught concerning John’s ministry: “John the Revelator was then among the Ten Tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion” (History of the Church, 1:176).
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:12).
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 35:8-10).
In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers (Jeremiah 3:18).
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers (Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:7-8).
For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither (Jeremiah 31:8).
Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD (Zechariah 2:6).
And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem (3 Nephi 21:26).
After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north (D&C 110:11).
And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
And a highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
Their enemies shall become a prey unto them, and in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.
And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.
And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.
And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.
And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.
Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows (D&C 133:26-34).
Theories of Their Location:
(Source: R. Clayton Brough, The Lost Tribes (2005)):
1. Separated from the Earth: Proponents of the separated from the earth theory generally believe that the lost ten tribes were taken away from the earth in a manner similar to that of the City of Enoch. For example, Eliza R. Snow, a wife of Joseph Smith, wrote a hymn, first published in 1856 which said, in part: “And when the Lord saw fit to hide, the ten lost tribes away, Thou, earth, wast severed to provide, the orb on which they stay” (Hymn 313).
According to an account by Homer M. Brown, a patriarch in Granite Stake, Eliza R. Snow once visited his grandparents’ home. During the visit, his grandmother asked, “Eliza where did you get your ideas about the Ten Lost Tribes being taken away as you explain it in your wonderful hymn?” Eliza answered, “Why my husband [Joseph Smith] told me about it.”
“Have you any other information that your grandfather ever gave you, as contained in any conversation with the Prophet Joseph Smith?”
“I have! One evening in Nauvoo, just after dark, somebody rapped at the door very rigorously. Grandfather said he was reading the Doctrine and Covenants. He rose hurriedly and answered the summons at the door, where he met the Prophet Joseph Smith.”
He said, “Brother Brown, can you keep me over night, the mobs are after me?” Grandfather answered, “Yes Sir. It will not be the first time, come in.”
“All right,” the Prophet said, shutting the door quickly. He came in and sat down. Grandmother said: “Brother Joseph, have you had your supper?”
“No,” he answered, “I have not.” So she prepared him a meal and he ate it. Afterwards they were in conversation relative to the principles of the Gospel. During the conversation the ten lost tribes were mentioned. Grandfather said, “Joseph where are the ten tribes?”
He said, “Come to the door and I will show you, come on Sister Brown, I want you both to see.” It being a starlight night the Prophet said: “Brother Brown can you show me the Polar Star?”
“Yes, sir,” he said, pointing to the North Star. “There it is.”
“Yes, I know” said the Prophet, “But which one? There are a lot of stars there.” Grandfather said: “Can you see the points of the Dipper?”
The prophet answered, “Yes.”
“Well”, he said, “trace the pointers,” pointing up to the largest star. “That is the North Star.”
The Prophet answered: “You are correct. Now,” he said, pointing toward the star, “do you discern a littler twinkle to the right and below the Polar Star, which we would judge to be about 20 feet from here?”
Grandfather answered, “Yes, sir.”
The Prophet said: “Sister Brown, do you see that star also?” Her answer was, “Yes, sir.” “Very well then he said, “let’s go in.”
After re-entering the house, the Prophet said: “Brother Brown, I noticed when I came in that you were reading the Doctrine and Covenants. Will you kindly get it.”
He did so. The Prophet turned to Section 133 and read, commencing at the 26th verse, and throughout the 34th verse. He said, after reading the 31st verse, “Now let me ask you what would cause the Everlasting Hills to tremble with more violence than the coming together of the two planets. And the place whereon they reside will return to this Earth.”
“Now,” he said, “Scientists will tell you that is not scientific: that two planets coming together would be disastrous to both; but, when two planets or other objects are traveling in the same direction and one of them with a little greater velocity than the other, it would not be disastrous because the one traveling faster would overtake the other. Now, what would cause the mountains of ice to melt quicker than the heat caused by the friction of the two planets coming together?” And then he asked the question: “Did you ever see a meteor falling that was not red hot? So that would cause the mountains of ice to melt.”
“And relative to the Great Highway which should be cast up when the planet returns to its place in the great Northern Waters, it will form a highway and waters will recede and roll back.”
He continued, “Now as to their coming back from the Northern Waters, they will return from the north because their planet will return to the place from whence it was taken.” Relative to the waters rolling back to the north, if you take a vessel of water and swing it rapidly around your head you won’t spill any, but if you stop the motion gradually, it will begin to pour out.
“Now,” he said, “Brother Brown, at the present time this earth is rotating very rapidly. When this planet returns it make the earth that much heavier, and it will then revolve slower, and will account for the waters receding from the earth for a great while . . . “ (Robert W. Smith, Scriptural and Secular Prophecies Pertaining to the Last Days, Pyramid Press, Salt Lake City, Utah 1948).
Orson Pratt stated: The Prophet Joseph once in my hearing advanced his opinion that the Ten Tribes were separated from the Earth; or a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off, and that the Ten Tribes were taken away with it, and that in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions. Whether the Prophet founded his opinion upon revelation or whether it was a matter of mere speculation with him, I am not able to say (Letter
Box of Orson Pratt, Church Historian’s Office, December 13, 1875)
In the journals of Wilford Woodruff he recorded a visit by Brigham Young to Logan, during which visit Brigham Young said, “The ten tribes of Israel are on a portion of the earth—a portion separated from the main land” (Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, p. 448 (1909)). In another place, Wilford Woodruff wrote, “A portion of the North Country containing the ten tribes may be separated from the Earth” (Daily Journal, September 25, 1859).
2. Inside the Earth: Benjamin Johnson, an associate of the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote in his diary as follows: I asked where the nine and half tribes of Israel were. “Well,” said he [Joseph Smith], “you remember the old caldron or potash kettle you used to boil maple sap in for sugar, don’t you?” I said, “Yes.” “Well,” said he, “they are in the north pole in a concave just the shape of that kettle. And John the Revelator is with them, preparing them for their return.” (Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review, Zion’s Printing & Publishing Company, 1947, p. 93).
3. At the North Pole: “[T]here may be a continent at the north pole of more than 1300 square miles, containing thousands of millions of Israelites” (W.W. Phelps, “ A Letter to Oliver Cowdery” (Messenger & Advocate, vol. 2, p. 194, October, 1835)).
“When the Ten Tribes left Assyria they crossed the Euphrates River from west to east, miraculously. . . They likely passed between the Black and Caspian Seas and continued on through north. But his could not be year and half’s journey; indeed, it would not be an average of five miles a day. From many intimations of ancient prophecy they evidently had a highway for them in the midst of the Arctic Ocean and were led to a land in the neighborhood of the North Pole. this region would be about 4000 miles north of their Assyrian residence and could be traveled in eighteen months’ time at an average of a little less than eight miles a day” (Orson Pratt, “Where are the Ten Tribes of Israel?”, Millennial Star, vol. 29, pp. 200-201, March 30, 1867.
4. “North Countries” or “Land of the North”: “During the reign of Hosea, King of Israel, Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, carried the ten tribes captive and planted them in Halah and Habor, on the river Gozen in the cities of the Medes. This country was on the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Traveling northwesterly from this point would take them on the west side of the Caucasus Mountains, and on the east of the Black Sea. It is on the northwest coast of the Black Sea that the country known as the Russian Crimea, one of the most productive and delightful parts of the known world is situated. . . The most direct evidence however that we have that the Crimea was occupied by the ten tribes is the fact that many burial places have been opened there, which prove beyond doubt that the people interred in that particular locality were of Israelitish descent. Professor Chowlson of the National Museum of St. Petersburg, tells us that he has examined no less than 700 tombstones and 150 other epigraphs, all of which are in Hebrew, that have been taken from these burials of which the following are a few examples: “This is the tombstone of Buki, the Priest. May his rest be in Eden, at the time of the salvation of Israel”; “Rabbi Moses Levi died in the year of our exile 726”; “Zadoc, the Levite, son of Moses, died 4000 years after the creation, 785 of our exile”; “To one of the faithful in Israel, Abraham-Nar-Sinohah, or Kortch, in the year of our exile 1682 when the envoys of the prince of Rosh Mesheck from Kiow came to our master, Chazar, Prince David, Halaah, Habor, Gozan, to which place Tiglath Pileser had exiled the sons of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Menasseh, and permitted to settle there, and from which time they have been scattered throughout the entire west, even as far as China”; I am Jehudi, the son of Moses, the son of Jehudah, the mighty, a man of the tribe of Naphtali, of the family of Shim, who was carried captive in the captivity of Hosen, king of Israel, with the tribe of Simeon, together with other tribes of Israel” (Anthony W. Ivins, “The Lost Tribes” (letter)).
“The thought is becoming almost universal in the British Isles that Israel is there, where we have always known them to be” (Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, October 3, 1926). “Some of the representatives of the tribes of Israel moved on in a northwesterly direction until they reached Denmark . . . The great majority of the Anglo Saxon people of Europe are descended from the ten tribes” (Anthony W. Ivins, “The Lost Tribes” (letter)).
“[W]hen traveling northward, as described in Esdras, the tribes of Israel mingled on the way with Gentile nations, and that numbers of their posterity are to be found in the various provinces of Germany, in Switzerland, in Holland, in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and the numerous islands in the far north” (R. Clayton Brough, The Lost Tribes (2005), pp. 83-84.
A great many of the members of the Church are descendants of Ephraim, according to their patriarchal blessings, and their ancestors came from Britain and Scandinavia. Ephraim is one of the lost Ten Tribes.
4. Assyria (Iraq, northern Syria, Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia):
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros [upper Egypt], and from Cush [Ethiopia], and from Elam [Iran], and from Shinar [Iraq], and from Hamath [upper Syria], and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 11:11-12).
“The Ten Tribes were never lost. . . Nowhere in the Bible does it mention that the Ten Tribes are ‘lost.’ Paul told King Agrippa that the ‘twelve tribes’ were serving God night and day (Acts 26:7), James addressed his epistle to the ‘twelve tribes’ scattered abroad (James 1:1). . . After the conquest of Assyria, the Bible does not mention them moving elsewhere. . . In the fifth century Jerome [Catholic bishop] said, ‘Unto this day the ten tribes are subject to the kings of the Persians, nor has their captivity ever been loosed . . . The ten tribes inhabit at this day the cities and mountains of the Medes;’ At no period has Oriental Judaism admitted that any tribes were lost. The egotism of modern western gentile ignorance invented the theory of the lost tribes . . . they promptly and unanimously agreed that the ten tribes of Israel never were lost; they remained in the east, and are there yet.” (Allen H. Godbey, The Lost Tribes a Myth (1930)).
5. Dispersion/One Body
a. Completely Dispersed: “Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth” (Amos 9:8-9).
“And as surely as the Lord liveth, will he gather in from the four quarters of the earth all the remnant of the seed of Jacob, who are scattered abroad upon all the face of the earth. And as he hath covenanted with all the house of Jacob, even so shall the covenant wherewith he hath covenanted with the house of Jacob be fulfilled in his own due time, unto the restoring all the house of Jacob unto the knowledge of the covenant that he hath covenanted with them. And then shall they know their Redeemer, who is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; and then shall they be gathered in from the four quarters of the earth unto their own lands, from whence they have been dispersed; yea, as the Lord liveth so shall it be. Amen” (3 Nephi 5:24-26).
“True it is that they are lost from the knowledge of the world; they are not seen and recognized as the kingdom they once were; but in general terms, their whereabouts is known. They are scattered in all nations of the earth, primarily in the nations north of the lands of their first inheritance” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Deseret Book, 1985), p. 520).
b. One Body: “While many of those belonging to the Ten Tribes were diffused among the nations, a sufficient number to justify the retention of the original name were led away as a body and are now in existence in some place the Lord has hidden them” (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith (Deseret Book 1961), pp. 339-41). Accord: Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p. 130; Parley P. Pratt, Voice of Warning, pp. 30-31; Orson F. Whitney, Saturday Night Thoughts, p. 174; LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work & Wonder, pp. 218-19.
Additional Sources: Encyclopedia of Mormonism, “Lost Tribes of Israel”; Mormon Doctrine, “Lost Tribes of Israel”; Jewish Encyclopedia, “Tribes, Lost Ten”; John P. Pratt, “A Volcanic Highway for the Lost Tribes.”