Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

In 721 b.c. the ten northern tribes of Israel were taken captive into Assyria. From there they were led into the lands of the north and were thereafter lost from the annals of history. They have thus come to be known as the lost ten tribes.

Much discussion and extended speculation have taken place as to their where abouts and the manner in which they will return and be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance.

It is common for Latter-day Saints, for example, to cite numerous legends or reminiscences of persons who supposedly heard Joseph Smith state that these Israelites are in the center of the earth, on a knob attached to the earth, on the North Star, or on another planet. We shall focus in our discussion of this subject upon what the Book of Mormon teaches on the matter.

“Therefore I Go to Show Myself Unto Them”

Our friend Mormon, as he nears the end of his divinely appointed work, that of preserving the everlasting word as it was had among the Nephites, says: ’I write unto you, Gentiles, and also unto you, house of Israel, when the work shall commence, that ye shall be about to prepare to return to the land of your inheritance.’ Then, as though this salutation was not sufficient, and lest any should be confused as to the people to whom the Book of Mormon shall go, Mormon wrote: ’Yea, behold, I write unto all the ends of the earth; yea, unto you, [the] twelve tribes of Israel.’ The Book of Mormon is written to the twelve tribes of Israel. And this includes the lost Ten Tribes. For that matter, the New Testament is addressed ’to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.’ (James 1:1.)

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4