My daughter and I had a discussion about her patriarchal blessing and the tribe she is adopted in. Our whole family is of the house of Ephraim with the exception of her. She is of the house of Manasseh and feels like she will be with that tribe when the 12 tribes come together and not with all her family. Does this make her a Lamanite? We are way back in our genealogy and haven’t found any connection with the isles of the sea or any dark skinned people. When she was born, an Afro-American mom teased me about the nurses switching babies because of their skin color, but that couple was black. My daughter had olive colored skin, black hair and black eyes when she was born. The nurses thought it was a funny oddity, I did, too. Anyway, is this an indication that researching our family lines we might be linked to the isles of the sea? We’re curious about this and what your answer will be. An avid reader of your letters and hopefully put my daughter’s mind at ease that she is indeed a blood member of our family.
You ask a couple of questions- Is my daughter a Lamanite because she is of the house of Manasseh? Lehi was of the house of Manasseh (see Alma 10:3), and thus were his descendants, including the American Indians. However, Lehi was not the only descendant of Manasseh, so unless your daughter has some Native American blood, you can dismiss the idea that she is a Lamanite..
Next you ask if she might be linked to the isles of the sea. You undoubtedly got that idea from the assumed connection to the descendants of Lehi. I don’t whether you are using “isles of the sea” as a euphemism for a tie to the Book of Mormon people, or if you assume some connection to the islands in, say, the Pacific Ocean. The phrase “isles of the sea” is a common expression in the Book of Mormon, and it comes from Nephi’s reading of Isaiah, (see 2 Nephi 10:21), where “isles” or “isles of the sea” is mentioned in Isaiah eight times. We differentiate between continents and islands, but in former days it was not so. The word “continent” is not found in any of the scriptures. So any land outside the land of those who wrote the scriptures was called an isle, or isle of the sea. The word “continent” didn’t enter the English vocabulary, for instance, until 1541. It is derived from the Latin, continens, meaning to hold in. The word, contain, comes from the same root. So an isle of the sea in scriptural times could be any place in the world.
You also ask, if she is of the house of Manasseh will she be with that tribe when the 12 tribes come together and not with all her family? When the 10 lost tribes return, the members of the house of Israel are not going to be separated from their families and herded together according to what tribe they belong to any more than there is now a separation between the Ephraimites and the Manassehites. The family is the basic unit of the kingdom and of society in general. When the Lord reigns, family ties will come first, particularly those who are sealed together as families for time and eternity. They are promised, if they are faithful, that their family unity will last into the eternities.