“I Have Other Sheep”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet
Here the Savior broadens our understanding of his statement in Jerusalem regarding his “other sheep”: they consist of the Nephites, the ten tribes, and possibly other branches of Israel of which we have no knowledge.

“I Have Other Sheep”

In summary, to those who argue that the ten tribes are presently together in one large body-totally organized and empowered as members of the Church-we might consider the following:

  1. It is an established doctrine of the Church, one easily sustained by each of the standard works, that there was a universal apostasy after the mortal ministry of Christ. That such an apostasy embraced the ten tribes is evident in the Allegory of Zenos (see Jacob 5:29-49).
  2. It is an equally well-established doctrine that in the last days there would be a universal restoration of the gospel. That is, the gospel restored to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith is the gospel that is destined to go to those of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. There is no justification to suppose that every nation, kindred, tongue and people does not include the ten tribes. Indeed, if the ten tribes were together in a body in 1830 with their prophets, why the necessity of a Joseph Smith and the return of a host of ancient prophet with their keys and authority to him? Surely if all these things were already on the earth the Lord would not ignore them and start from scratch with some other people.
  3. The keys of the gathering of Israel and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north-a phrase which seems to mean, more generally, from their scattered condition (see Zechariah 2:6)-were given to the president of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.

    Keys are the right of presidency, the directing power. They imply responsibility. How could the prophet claim to preside over a people and an event unknown to him? This would be akin to calling a man to preside over some foreign mission but

According to the analogy, all he would be afforded would be an invitation to the mission reunion. Truly, “It shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church” (D&C 42:11).

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4