Who Are the Gentiles

Church Educational System

The majority of references in the Book of Mormon to the word gentile are references to anyone who is not a Jew. A Jew was anyone who was a descendant of Judah and anyone from the land of Jerusalem—like the children of Lehi. President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) explained that by this definition many Gentiles did have the blood of Israel: “In this Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, the gospel came first to the Gentiles and then is to go to the Jews. [See D&C 19:27.] However, the Gentiles who receive the gospel are in the greater part, Gentiles who have the blood of Israel in their veins” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66], 4:39).

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described this as well: “We have heretofore identified the Jews as both the nationals of the kingdom of Judah and as their lineal descendants, all this without reference to tribal affiliation. And we have said, within this usage of terms, that all other people are Gentiles, including the lost and scattered remnants of the kingdom of Israel in whose veins the precious blood of him whose name was Israel does in fact flow. Thus Joseph Smith, of the tribe of Ephraim, the chief and foremost tribe of Israel itself, was the Gentile by whose hand the Book of Mormon came forth, and the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have the gospel and who are of Israel by blood descent, are the Gentiles who carry salvation to the Lamanites and to the Jews” (The Millennial Messiah [1982], 233).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)