Episode 56a: The Lost 10 Tribes Part 1

38 comments on “Episode 56a: The Lost 10 Tribes Part 1”

  1. Glenn Reply

    Always a bad sign when I get to the comment board before Richard of Norway. I hope this Part 1 interview with Dr. Benite isn’t too thick to get through — Part 2 is certainly more conversational and probably more interesting to listen to. I’ll be very interested to hear what people think about it.

  2. Glenn Reply

    Always a bad sign when I get to the comment board before Richard of Norway. I hope this Part 1 interview with Dr. Benite isn’t too thick to get through — Part 2 is certainly more conversational and probably more interesting to listen to. I’ll be very interested to hear what people think about it.

  3. Rich McCue Reply

    I just finished listening to part 1 over lunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Having only been exposed to the 10 tribes story from a mormon perspective, it was interesting to learn about how other groups at different points of time have dealt with the story.

    I also had not heard about the 1912 prophecy that the 10 tribes would come out of the north and bring their scriptures with them. Was that from a general conference talk?

    • Glenn Reply

      Hey Rich. Thanks. Dr. Benite is a really smart guy. There was a lot of information and I could have talked with him for another hour. We barely scratched the surface on some of the stories that developed around Prestor John and Lost Tribes quests in the middle ages — some really interesting stuff in his book.

      Yes, the 1916 prophesy was Talmadge in general conference — I first came across it in McConkie’s mormon doctrine. My grandpa was born in 1912 (although he was not in utah when that prophesy was made) — and I always used to think, “how many people my grandpa’s age are still around to be able to read these records when the lost tribes return?” As my grandpa passed away and it got more and more unlikely, I got a little sad and begrudgingly let that hope of prophesy fulfillment go.

  4. Rich McCue Reply

    I just finished listening to part 1 over lunch, and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Having only been exposed to the 10 tribes story from a mormon perspective, it was interesting to learn about how other groups at different points of time have dealt with the story.

    I also had not heard about the 1912 prophecy that the 10 tribes would come out of the north and bring their scriptures with them. Was that from a general conference talk?

    • Glenn Reply

      Hey Rich. Thanks. Dr. Benite is a really smart guy. There was a lot of information and I could have talked with him for another hour. We barely scratched the surface on some of the stories that developed around Prestor John and Lost Tribes quests in the middle ages — some really interesting stuff in his book.

      Yes, the 1916 prophesy was Talmadge in general conference — I first came across it in McConkie’s mormon doctrine. My grandpa was born in 1912 (although he was not in utah when that prophesy was made) — and I always used to think, “how many people my grandpa’s age are still around to be able to read these records when the lost tribes return?” As my grandpa passed away and it got more and more unlikely, I got a little sad and begrudgingly let that hope of prophesy fulfillment go.

  5. Seth R. Reply

    What a fascinating interview! Thanks for posting this. I always love learning about the ongoing human quest for a transcendent narrative.

  6. Seth R. Reply

    What a fascinating interview! Thanks for posting this. I always love learning about the ongoing human quest for a transcendent narrative.

  7. NightAvatar Reply

    This is very fascinating! I’m only about halfway through (part 1) but I love stuff like this!

    Off topic: One thing I think might make these podcasts – or rather this website – even better, would be to include photos of each guest that would consent to it. It would help put a face on the voice. But I can understand some guests and perhaps panelists not wanting their faces known. Just an idea. I think Mormon Stories does that, but I must confess I haven’t heard a single Mormon Stories podcast. Mormon Expression fills the void enough for me.

  8. NightAvatar Reply

    This is very fascinating! I’m only about halfway through (part 1) but I love stuff like this!

    Off topic: One thing I think might make these podcasts – or rather this website – even better, would be to include photos of each guest that would consent to it. It would help put a face on the voice. But I can understand some guests and perhaps panelists not wanting their faces known. Just an idea. I think Mormon Stories does that, but I must confess I haven’t heard a single Mormon Stories podcast. Mormon Expression fills the void enough for me.

  9. Swearing Elder Reply

    For the first 30 minutes or so I felt like I needed to have a Biblical map, glossary, and study guide by my side. I felt so “out of it” — and I’ve taught the Old Testament as a Gospel Doctrine teacher.

    But, I think that speaks to the problem of Biblical knowledge in the LDS Church. It’s correlated and spoon-fed. You can sit through Sunday school without really gaining an in-depth understanding of the Bible — hell, you can even teach it without gaining an in-depth knowledge. Just go over the pre-packaged lesson plan, add water, and presto! you’ve got a “lesson.”

    Other churches may be guilty of this as well, but I don’t know if they can measure up to the guiltiness the church has in terms of cherry picking verses from the Bible to fit their story. The “staff” of Ephraim and Judah just jumped right out in this interview.

    All that said, I think it would have been helpful for Glenn or John to have given a five-minute preamble to this interview before diving in. The second half of the interview was much better, but I’ll admit that much of the first part went over my head — I just don’t have the background.

    Excellent work, Glenn.

    • Glenn Reply

      That is EXACTLY how I felt while I was doing the interview and especially after I finished and listened back — like this Mormon pond we are all big fish in is just a single little hydrogen molecule without the other H and O in a vast universe of ocean (and Mike, my water analogy here is not intended to mean “the gospel”).

      I felt embarrassed to presume with Dr. Benite that I or “my people” had any privileged claim to his middle east traditions. Who are we to tell him that the staffs of Judah and Ephraim are really Isaiah’s ancient prophetic way of saying the the Book of Mormon and the Bible will be joined together someday for purchase as a binded black leather quad from Deseret Books for a mere $74.75? It was all very humbling.

      As to your point about the five minute intro, John and I debated on whether to put the panel discussion as part one and this interview as part two for that very reason, but I think John made absolutely the right call on that.

  10. Swearing Elder Reply

    For the first 30 minutes or so I felt like I needed to have a Biblical map, glossary, and study guide by my side. I felt so “out of it” — and I’ve taught the Old Testament as a Gospel Doctrine teacher.

    But, I think that speaks to the problem of Biblical knowledge in the LDS Church. It’s correlated and spoon-fed. You can sit through Sunday school without really gaining an in-depth understanding of the Bible — hell, you can even teach it without gaining an in-depth knowledge. Just go over the pre-packaged lesson plan, add water, and presto! you’ve got a “lesson.”

    Other churches may be guilty of this as well, but I don’t know if they can measure up to the guiltiness the church has in terms of cherry picking verses from the Bible to fit their story. The “staff” of Ephraim and Judah just jumped right out in this interview.

    All that said, I think it would have been helpful for Glenn or John to have given a five-minute preamble to this interview before diving in. The second half of the interview was much better, but I’ll admit that much of the first part went over my head — I just don’t have the background.

    Excellent work, Glenn.

    • Glenn Reply

      That is EXACTLY how I felt while I was doing the interview and especially after I finished and listened back — like this Mormon pond we are all big fish in is just a single little hydrogen molecule without the other H and O in a vast universe of ocean (and Mike, my water analogy here is not intended to mean “the gospel”).

      I felt embarrassed to presume with Dr. Benite that I or “my people” had any privileged claim to his middle east traditions. Who are we to tell him that the staffs of Judah and Ephraim are really Isaiah’s ancient prophetic way of saying the the Book of Mormon and the Bible will be joined together someday for purchase as a binded black leather quad from Deseret Books for a mere $74.75? It was all very humbling.

      As to your point about the five minute intro, John and I debated on whether to put the panel discussion as part one and this interview as part two for that very reason, but I think John made absolutely the right call on that.

  11. Joe Geisner Reply

    Glenn and Dr. Benite,

    Thank you very much for introducing me to an entirely new subject. This has to be one of my favorite podcast of all time. Before I finished listening to the inteview I was on Amazon buying Dr. Benite’s book. I can’t wait for its arrival.

    I was completely taken in by his knowledge and discussion about the Assyrian record. The last ten minuets I could not stop laughing about Israel repatriating the people from various cultures as the ten tribes. Great stuff.

    • Glenn Reply

      Thanks Joe. Spend some time on Wikipedia looking through Lost Tribes of Israel and you’ll find some real interesting cases like the self proclaimed Jews in Ghana:

      “Several tribal elders of the Sefwi have been exploring the possibility of a Jewish ancestry to their people, and some claim to have recognized their Judaic past. As a result, the leader of the House of Israel was granted a plot of land on which to build a Jewish school so that children are not forced to attend a Christian one.”

      Interesting stuff.

  12. Joe Geisner Reply

    Glenn and Dr. Benite,

    Thank you very much for introducing me to an entirely new subject. This has to be one of my favorite podcast of all time. Before I finished listening to the inteview I was on Amazon buying Dr. Benite’s book. I can’t wait for its arrival.

    I was completely taken in by his knowledge and discussion about the Assyrian record. The last ten minuets I could not stop laughing about Israel repatriating the people from various cultures as the ten tribes. Great stuff.

    • Glenn Reply

      Thanks Joe. Spend some time on Wikipedia looking through Lost Tribes of Israel and you’ll find some real interesting cases like the self proclaimed Jews in Ghana:

      “Several tribal elders of the Sefwi have been exploring the possibility of a Jewish ancestry to their people, and some claim to have recognized their Judaic past. As a result, the leader of the House of Israel was granted a plot of land on which to build a Jewish school so that children are not forced to attend a Christian one.”

      Interesting stuff.

  13. Tim Reply

    This fell quite in line with the former beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God. The believed the lost tribes went to England and then the United States.

  14. Tim Reply

    This fell quite in line with the former beliefs of the Worldwide Church of God. The believed the lost tribes went to England and then the United States.

  15. Joe Geisner Reply

    Glenn,

    Am I to understand that you did a dissertation on the Ten Tribes?

    One of the online reviews claims that Dr. Benite in his book is “focusing on unrepresentative data and mistaken interpretation” when it comes to Mormon thought on the Ten Tribes. I tried to find something scholarly on Mormon theology when it comes to the Ten Tribes, but was unable to find anything.

    Does your dissertation deal with nineteenth century Mormon thought on the Ten Tribes?

    • Glenn Reply

      Joe,

      My MA Thesis was on the Folklore of Japanese Missionaries — stories and evidences and clues that were passed around within the church in Japan that claimed that the Japanese are the Lost Tribes. There is a little bit about ninteenth century non-Mormon thought (Roger Williams of New England, an early settler who thought the indians were lost tribes and tried to demonstrate Hebrew traces in their language). But that wasn’t my main focus. And I have been out of academia so long I’m not sure if there is a scholarly source on Mormon Lost-tribe-dom. And I cetainly don’t have the patience or the discipline to do it.

      I have read some reviews of Dr. Benite’s work online, and I think they were written by people who don’t want to see Mormonism as a smaller piece of much a larger world culture, but would rather describe it the other way around. And their problems are with details like whether or not Dr. benite uses the accurate name of the church — but they ignore the main point (and the reason why a discussion of Mormonism is only about 2.5 pages of the whole book).

  16. Joe Geisner Reply

    Glenn,

    Am I to understand that you did a dissertation on the Ten Tribes?

    One of the online reviews claims that Dr. Benite in his book is “focusing on unrepresentative data and mistaken interpretation” when it comes to Mormon thought on the Ten Tribes. I tried to find something scholarly on Mormon theology when it comes to the Ten Tribes, but was unable to find anything.

    Does your dissertation deal with nineteenth century Mormon thought on the Ten Tribes?

    • Glenn Reply

      Joe,

      My MA Thesis was on the Folklore of Japanese Missionaries — stories and evidences and clues that were passed around within the church in Japan that claimed that the Japanese are the Lost Tribes. There is a little bit about ninteenth century non-Mormon thought (Roger Williams of New England, an early settler who thought the indians were lost tribes and tried to demonstrate Hebrew traces in their language). But that wasn’t my main focus. And I have been out of academia so long I’m not sure if there is a scholarly source on Mormon Lost-tribe-dom. And I cetainly don’t have the patience or the discipline to do it.

      I have read some reviews of Dr. Benite’s work online, and I think they were written by people who don’t want to see Mormonism as a smaller piece of much a larger world culture, but would rather describe it the other way around. And their problems are with details like whether or not Dr. benite uses the accurate name of the church — but they ignore the main point (and the reason why a discussion of Mormonism is only about 2.5 pages of the whole book).

  17. Joe Geisner Reply

    Glenn,

    Thanks very much about the information on your MA thesis.

    Quite amazing about your take on the reviews. After listening to the interview I went back and read the one review I had read. My reaction was the same as your comments. In fact, I thought it quite generous Dr. Benite gave any attention to Mormon theology. It sounds like the amount of information in world history when it comes to the Ten Tribes could take volumes.

    Dr. Benite’s comment about Smith and his words being other worldly was quite perceptive. One of the best articulations I have heard. When I read “Occult America”, I thought how common an experience this must be for followers of prophets.

    Thanks again.

  18. Joe Geisner Reply

    Glenn,

    Thanks very much about the information on your MA thesis.

    Quite amazing about your take on the reviews. After listening to the interview I went back and read the one review I had read. My reaction was the same as your comments. In fact, I thought it quite generous Dr. Benite gave any attention to Mormon theology. It sounds like the amount of information in world history when it comes to the Ten Tribes could take volumes.

    Dr. Benite’s comment about Smith and his words being other worldly was quite perceptive. One of the best articulations I have heard. When I read “Occult America”, I thought how common an experience this must be for followers of prophets.

    Thanks again.

  19. Mister IT Reply

    Another fascinating podcast! Thank you.

    It fails to amaze me how all the evidence points to the Book of Mormon being very much a 19th Century period piece. This was just another validating data point.

    Dr. Benite mentioned Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews” but failed to mention Solomon Spaulding’s two 10-Lost Tribe novels “Manuscript Story” and “Manuscript Found”. Of course, all three works are embedded in the Book of Mormon, Ethan Smith’s work via Oliver Cowdrey and Spaulding’s (“Manuscript Found” in particular) via Sidney Rigdon.

    And to coin a phrase from Spaulding . . .

    And it came to pass that those interested in pursuing the latest research in this area may find Craig Criddle’s 2009 presentation, “Authorship – Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?” of interest: http://www.youtube.com/user/ExmormonFoundation#p/c/CC85CE4017A42CE3/0/utDU45lm210

    And it came to pass that those interested in reviewing the full body of Mr. Criddle’s work can do so here: http://www.concernedchristians.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=42&func=view&catid=520&id=82123#82123

    And, of course, Mr. Criddle’s research dove tails wonderfully with Mr. Benite’s. Enjoy!

  20. Mister IT Reply

    Another fascinating podcast! Thank you.

    It fails to amaze me how all the evidence points to the Book of Mormon being very much a 19th Century period piece. This was just another validating data point.

    Dr. Benite mentioned Ethan Smith’s “View of the Hebrews” but failed to mention Solomon Spaulding’s two 10-Lost Tribe novels “Manuscript Story” and “Manuscript Found”. Of course, all three works are embedded in the Book of Mormon, Ethan Smith’s work via Oliver Cowdrey and Spaulding’s (“Manuscript Found” in particular) via Sidney Rigdon.

    And to coin a phrase from Spaulding . . .

    And it came to pass that those interested in pursuing the latest research in this area may find Craig Criddle’s 2009 presentation, “Authorship – Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?” of interest: http://www.youtube.com/user/ExmormonFoundation#p/c/CC85CE4017A42CE3/0/utDU45lm210

    And it came to pass that those interested in reviewing the full body of Mr. Criddle’s work can do so here: http://www.concernedchristians.com/index.php?option=com_fireboard&Itemid=42&func=view&catid=520&id=82123#82123

    And, of course, Mr. Criddle’s research dove tails wonderfully with Mr. Benite’s. Enjoy!

  21. Joe Geisner Reply

    I have been reading Dr. Benite’s book. It is great, though not light reading. The amount of information in the book is quite impressive. I highly recommend the book to others if you are interested in history, religious history and/or Mormon thought.

    Dr. Benite introduces the reader to the Danites of antiquity. This is found on page 86. It is interesting since these guys make Rockwell look like a sissy. The mythos of the lost tribes and a military conflict is found very early in the story and the tribe of Dan fits into the puzzle.

    One of the most striking features is how the Mormon mythos of the ten tribes fits so well with in the broader mythos of the Jews, Christians and Muslims over the ten tribes.

    Mormon theology has the tribes in the north country and the geography will level when they come back. The tribes will need saving ordinances when they come back. They have their own record and are pure in their religion, Mormon of course. They had Jesus visit them and John is currently with them. They will provide personnel to over throw wickedness. They live on another planet. They are mixed in other races.

    All of these ideas and theology (with many more) can be found in all the other myths that surround the tribes. I am fascinated with the history. It has opened up my understanding of the rich history of the Jewish people that I had not understood. The Jewish, Muslim and Christian dynamics and conflict is equally interesting and sad at the same time.

    Great book.

  22. Joe Geisner Reply

    I have been reading Dr. Benite’s book. It is great, though not light reading. The amount of information in the book is quite impressive. I highly recommend the book to others if you are interested in history, religious history and/or Mormon thought.

    Dr. Benite introduces the reader to the Danites of antiquity. This is found on page 86. It is interesting since these guys make Rockwell look like a sissy. The mythos of the lost tribes and a military conflict is found very early in the story and the tribe of Dan fits into the puzzle.

    One of the most striking features is how the Mormon mythos of the ten tribes fits so well with in the broader mythos of the Jews, Christians and Muslims over the ten tribes.

    Mormon theology has the tribes in the north country and the geography will level when they come back. The tribes will need saving ordinances when they come back. They have their own record and are pure in their religion, Mormon of course. They had Jesus visit them and John is currently with them. They will provide personnel to over throw wickedness. They live on another planet. They are mixed in other races.

    All of these ideas and theology (with many more) can be found in all the other myths that surround the tribes. I am fascinated with the history. It has opened up my understanding of the rich history of the Jewish people that I had not understood. The Jewish, Muslim and Christian dynamics and conflict is equally interesting and sad at the same time.

    Great book.

  23. Campeche Reply

    Fascinating podcast and so informative. One thing I felt was left out was the question of why people even care about the myth of the Lost Tribes. 3 reasons that come to mind are:

    1. Curiosity. The Jews are masterful record keepers and no one does history preservation better than ancient Israel (albeit a self-serving history). They preserved this story, gave it a moral twist, and set the foundation for centuries of speculation.

    2. People would like to think that the lost tribes have some kind of messianic quality or secret that will “save” us and/or has been saved for a specified time in the history of the world. Otherwise, how could you explain a group of people hiding out from the rest of the world – either they are really, really primitive or they are hiding for a reason.

    3. Many people would like to think they are part of the “chosen people of God” which is the likely motive for some groups of people to claim they descend from the lost tribes. I think this is the case with Mormonism especially when our “true” lineage is revealed to us in our patriarchal blessing. Isn’t it handy that the BOM clarifies that the true Chosen Land is really America (specifically the United States of America). The divine origin of the US constitution, as modern prophets have pointed out, only seals the deal. I’m sure I’m not the only Mormon who was raised on the refrain that Mormons are God’s chosen
    people and that our valor in the pre-existence is the reason we were so blessed to be born into the church.

    Great podcast. Can’t wait to listen to it anew……

  24. Campeche Reply

    Fascinating podcast and so informative. One thing I felt was left out was the question of why people even care about the myth of the Lost Tribes. 3 reasons that come to mind are:

    1. Curiosity. The Jews are masterful record keepers and no one does history preservation better than ancient Israel (albeit a self-serving history). They preserved this story, gave it a moral twist, and set the foundation for centuries of speculation.

    2. People would like to think that the lost tribes have some kind of messianic quality or secret that will “save” us and/or has been saved for a specified time in the history of the world. Otherwise, how could you explain a group of people hiding out from the rest of the world – either they are really, really primitive or they are hiding for a reason.

    3. Many people would like to think they are part of the “chosen people of God” which is the likely motive for some groups of people to claim they descend from the lost tribes. I think this is the case with Mormonism especially when our “true” lineage is revealed to us in our patriarchal blessing. Isn’t it handy that the BOM clarifies that the true Chosen Land is really America (specifically the United States of America). The divine origin of the US constitution, as modern prophets have pointed out, only seals the deal. I’m sure I’m not the only Mormon who was raised on the refrain that Mormons are God’s chosen
    people and that our valor in the pre-existence is the reason we were so blessed to be born into the church.

    Great podcast. Can’t wait to listen to it anew……

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