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