D&C 133:26–34 . What Do the Saints Know about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“When Shalmanezer overran the Kingdom of Israel (about 721 B.C. ), he carried the Ten Tribes comprising that kingdom captive into Assyria. From thence they were led into the lands of the north and have been called the Lost Tribes because they are lost to the knowledge of other people. ( 1 Ne. 22:4 .) ‘We have no knowledge of the location or condition of that part of the Ten Tribes who went into the north country.’ ( Compendium. p. 88.)
“Esdras, an apocryphal writer, records this version of their escape from Assyria: ‘Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea the king, whom Salmanasar the king of Assyria led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt, That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land . And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passage of the river. For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over . For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth. Then dwelt they there until the latter times; and now when they shall begin to come, The Highest shall stay the stream again, that they may go through.’ ( Apocrypha, 2 Esdras 13:40–47.)
“Commenting on this, Elder George Reynolds has written: . . .
“‘Is it altogether improbable that in that long journey of one and a half years, as Esdras states it, from Media the land of their captivity to the frozen north, some of the backsliding Israel rebelled, turned aside from the main body, forgot their God, by and by mingled with the Gentiles and became the leaven to leaven with the promised seed all the nations of the earth? The account given in the Book of Mormon of a single family of this same house, its waywardness, its stiffneckedness before God, its internal quarrels and family feuds are, we fear, an example on a small scale of what most probably happened in the vast bodies of Israelites who for so many months wended their tedious way northward. . . .’ ( Are We of Israel, pp. 10–11.)
“ The Lost Tribes are not lost unto the Lord . In their northward journeyings they were led by prophets and inspired leaders. They had their Moses and their Lehi, were guided by the spirit of revelation, kept the law of Moses, and carried with them the statutes and judgments which the Lord had given them in ages past. They were still a distinct people many hundreds of years later, for the resurrected Lord visited and ministered among them following his ministry on this continent among the Nephites. ( 3 Ne. 16:1–4 ; 17:4 .) Obviously he taught them in the same way and gave them the same truths which he gave his followers in Jerusalem and on the American continent; and obviously they recorded his teachings, thus creating volumes of scripture comparable to the Bible and Book of Mormon. ( 2 Ne. 29:12–14 .)
“In due course the Lost Tribes of Israel will return and come to the children of Ephraim to receive their blessings. This great gathering will take place under the direction of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for he holds the keys. . . . Keys are the right of presidency, the power to direct; and by this power the Lost Tribes will return, with ‘their prophets’ and their scriptures to ‘be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.’ ( D. & C. 133:26–35 .)
“At the October, 1916, general conference of the Church, Elder James E. Talmage made this prediction: ‘The tribes shall come; they are not lost unto the Lord; they shall be brought forth as hath been predicted; and I say unto you there are those now living—aye, some here present—who shall live to read the records of the Lost Tribes of Israel, which shall be made one with the record of the Jews, or the Holy Bible, and the record of the Nephites, or the Book of Mormon, even as the Lord hath predicted; and those records, which the tribes lost to man but yet to be found again shall bring, shall tell of the visit of the resurrected Christ to them, after he had manifested himself to the Nephites upon this continent.’ ( Articles of Faith, p. 513.)” ( Mormon Doctrine, pp. 455–58.)
For a discussion of the role of John the Beloved with the ten lost tribes, see Notes and Commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 7:3–6 .
(Institute Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual pp. 340-341)