Because of my late husband Mike’s and my DNA tests, the name clues I have found in our genealogy, and our inherited Sephardic Jewish autoimmune disease , the perception of our ancestral Mormon pioneers as a group of British and other Western Europeans; is now clarified, as a gathering of multicultural peoples living amongst native Western Europeans. I believe the glue that holds together the diverse genetic background of our ancestors is Judaism.
As “strangers in a strange land”, the devout Jew, crypto, and converso were tossed to and fro on the waves of uncertainty. Never feeling secure in their host environments; knowing their fate, lives, and fortunes could change on the whim of the Christian or Muslim majority; their support system was fractured and faith wavered. The Converso/Crypto Sephardim (Mediterranean Jews), Mizrahi (Asian Jews) and Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish descendants who were disassembled by the tolerance of Protestantism, persecution, poverty, and false messiahs; had all been prepared by God, to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I hardly think my Mormon pioneer ancestors are all that unique. Many of the classic Melungeon/ Sephardic names are familiar to me. I have glanced at a few of the early families in the church and I see Sephardic Jewish given and surnames among them.
Because of my research, I bear a strong witness to what Joseph Fielding Smith said:
The Lord said He would scatter Israel among the Gentile nations, and by doing so he would bless the Gentile nations with the blood of Abraham. Today we are preaching the gospel in the world and we are gathering out, according to the revelations given to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and and the other prophets, the scattered sheep of the House of Israel. These scattered sheep are coming forth mixed with Gentile blood from their Gentile forefathers. Under all the circumstances it is very possible that the majority, almost without exception, of those who come into the Church in this dispensation have the blood of two or more of the tribes of Israel as well as the blood of the Gentiles. Joseph Fielding Smith Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 volumes, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-66, 3:63
- In ancient dispensations, the revelations given by God to Moses ( Deuteronomy 30:3), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:3), Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 28:25), Isaiah (Isaiah 11:11-12; 43:5), Micah (Micah 2:12), and other prophets; for the scattered sheep of the House of Israel to be gathered. These scattered sheep have been/are brought out from the far corners of the earth, coming forth indeed, mixed with gentile blood from their gentile forefathers. As I look back at the history of the Jews, in the last five hundred years, it is marvelous to behold the sons and daughters of Judah who have been preserved by the hand of God in leading them to settle in in North and South America which has become another promised land for the gathering of the Jews and the descendants of the Jews.
But what of the faith of the ancient ones before them? What of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Are they not our fathers? Are we not the House of Israel- Dieter Uctdorf General Conference April 2008
When our prophets make statements similar to what President Uctdorf has made, do we really believe their words? If we have educated ourselves with the history of the House of Israel, we know President Uctdorf’s statement to be a true statement. We understand how the Jews were scattered, not just in a vague sort of theoretical way, but how and why they were scattered and now being gathered in our dispensation ( Ephesians 1:10; 1 Nephi 22:25; Doctrine and Covenants 39:11).
But what of the Sephardic peoples in our modern times? The Sephardic communities were decimated by the Holocaust, and it is ironic to note, the Ashkenazi Jews who flourished; have overshadowed the Sephardim ( in times past, the opposite was true). Because of their diaspora status, the Sephardic communities were fractured into East and West, Turkish and Western European/American. The Sephardim, a generation ago, were nearly extinct. Despite the closure of Sephardic synagogues, and the assimilation into Ashkenazi and Christian cultures, the Sephardim are hanging on.
In the last decade, an awakening has occurred. God has led many of us to find our identity as the lost Sephardim, or in Hebrew, as Anouism. We are discovering our Crypto/Converso Sephardic Jewish heritage. Many are returning to Judaism, and some have emigrated to Israel. Other Sephardic Jewish descendants, unable to leave behind Christ, have joined the Messianic movements.
For additional info see: http://www.ifmj.org/main/index.shtml .
Jews have noticed this trend and acknowledge the Anouism in the gathering of Israel.
From Spain to Brazil to the southwestern United States, the number of Anousim coming out into the open is surging. The time has come to welcome them back home. Michael Fruend The Inquisition: Full Circle, Jerusalem Post to read article in entirety see: http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48891232.html
As far as our family is concerned, God has shown us our true heritage and we are also gathered by the truth and knowledge. We have been blessed by the knowledge as we discovered we have Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) and are now receiving treatment. I believe (just like Joseph Fielding Smith), most, if not all, LDS people are a mix of Hebrew and Gentile. LDS people have also been gathered, but may be ignorant of true ancestry. It is imperative we come to a realization of who we really are. Our knowledge is part of the gathering of peoples. I am confident future family historians, filled with the Spirit of Elijah, will use DNA as a tool to find previously lost generations of ancestors. They will not assume an ancestral line found in a particular place and time; has always resided in that particular place. Future family historians will understand the broad view of historical migrations and events which include their ancestors.
In my oldest son Tex’s patriarchal blessing, it is prophesied he will do the work for hundreds of his kindred dead, who anxiously await their temple work to be done. At the time of his blessing, seven years ago, I wondered how this seemly impossible task would be accomplished; now we know. The work is never done; the field is white and ready to harvest for us all.