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Question

 

Dear Gramps;

This is in reference to the tribes of Israel. Most members of the Mormon Church seem to be from either Ephraim or Manasseh; in my patriarchal blessing I was told I was from the tribe of Benjamin. That wasn’t one of the 10 lost tribes, was it? What does it mean? Thank you for any information you can give me.

Lori

 

Answer

 

Dear Lori,

The kingdom of Israel was divided about 975 B.C. Ten of the tribes revolted and followed Jeroboam as their king and became known as the Kingdom of Israel or the Kingdom of Ephraim.  Judah and part of the tribe of Benjamin maintained their allegiance to their monarch, and following Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, became known as the Kingdom of Judah.

Now, concerning your own lineage, President Joseph Fielding Smith had this to say:

When a man who is of Israel joins the Church, his tribal relationship does not change. For instance, a descendant of Judah would be classed as of the tribe of Judah, a descendant of Benjamin as of the tribe of Benjamin, and so with those of other tribes (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.247).

So you are not descended from any of the lost ten tribes (most of the members of the Church today seem to be of the tribe of Ephraim) but are descended from those who remained at Jerusalem when the tribes were divided.

You may know that Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin. In writing his epistle to the Roman saints he said: “For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1).

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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