EVIDENCE: Lost Tribes of Israel (3 Nephi 15:12–16:1; 17:4)

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

In his 1825 book titled A View of the Hebrews, Ethan Smith theorizes that the American Indians are the “lost ten tribes” of Israel, using various arguments and citing many commonalities between the Indians and the ancient Israelites. Contrastingly, the Book of Mormon relates a lengthy, detailed story of Lehi’s descendants, and it declares rather than argues that many of its peoples descended from the Israelites. And unlike Ethan Smith’s treatise, the Book of Mormon specifically states that the Nephites and Lamanites are “a remnant of the house of Joseph” and that “the other tribes of Israel … are not of this land, neither of the Land of Jerusalem” (3 Nephi 16:1). While they descended from two of the lost tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh), the Book of Mormon peoples cannot be considered to represent all the descendants of all ten lost tribes. (See Echoes, 312–313.)

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2