[DWJ] the Ites

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Fri Apr 20 17:05:11 EDT 2007

On Fri, 20 Apr 2007 10:49:45 -0400 (EDT), deborah.dwj at suberic.net wrote:

>On Fri, 20 Apr 2007, Otter Perry wrote:
>> One of the things that people who lived in North America
>> in the 18th and early 19th centuries seemed to be easily
>> convinced of was ... [that's just the introduction to this
>> sentence]
>Melissa, am I making this up out of a flawed memory, or are
>Mormons also theologically descended from a lost tribe? My book
>of Mormon is at home, although I'm sure I could look this up
>online. (And I am looking up online; I'm asking an online expert.

LOL...online expert.  That cracks me up because I have to fight my kids to
even get online these days.

In Mormon theology, the Native American tribes are what's left of two groups
of Israelites who left Jerusalem around 600 B.C.  There is a great deal of
speculation on whether or not this is factually true, thanks to DNA evidence
or the lack thereof, but I don't know anything about that.  I'm almost
totally uninterested in proving or disproving my faith through archaeology.

One of the non-sacramental but important things Mormons do as adults (or at
least older teens) is receive a blessing from someone ordained as a
patriarch in the LDS Church (this is a specific priesthood office that only
a few people are given).  Among other things, this blessing reveals the
recipient's "lineage" in the Tribe of Israel.  Based on this, most Mormons
are descendants of the tribe of Ephraim by adoption, if they aren't lineally
descended from some other tribe.  Sometimes I hear people say that we are
*literally* descended from Ephraim, but I think that's a misunderstanding.
For one thing, it's extremely unlikely that millions of people just happen
to be members of a single lost tribe of Israel.  Also, our church regards
Jews with a great deal of respect as the covenant people of Israel, and
honorary membership by adoption seems more in keeping with this attitude.

Thus endeth the lesson.  One of the reasons I like my theology is it sounds
so much like a fantasy novel.  :)

Melissa Proffitt
(and speaking of "ites," we used to be called "Mormonites" up to about a
hundred years ago)

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