Ten Tribes Live on Another Planet

MYTH: The lost Ten Tribes of Israel were taken off of this planet currently reside on another planet waiting for their time to return.


Although this myth may initially sound absurd, after all, how are we to accomplish the gathering of Israel if they no longer live on this earth? However, there is strong historical support for this myth, which originated with the prophet Joseph Smith.

In order to understand this myth, we need a brief historical background on the lost tribes. In 925 B.C., the kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms: The southern kingdom was made up of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin with the other ten tribes making up the northern kingdom. About 200 years later the northern kingdom was conquered by the Assyrians and carried away into Assyria (modern southern Turkey.)

As recorded in the apocryphal book 2 Esdras, the ten tribes escaped from the Assyrians roughly ninety years later and journeyed into an unknown land in the north.[1] Bruce R. McConkie asserted that the ten lost tribes were completely dispersed among the nations and their gathering would be the result of typical missionary work.[2]

However, leaders of the early Church understood things differently. The prophet Joseph Smith allegedly told fellow member Benjamin Brown that the ten tribes were taken from off the earth and currently resided on a “twinkler” that can be seen in the proximity of the Polar Star. According to Homer M. Brown, the grandson of Benjamin Brown:

The prophet turned to Section 133 and read, commencing at the 26th verse, and throughout the 34th verse. He said, after reading the 31st verse, “Now let me ask you what would cause the Everlasting Hills to tremble with more violence than the coming together of the two planets.

And the place whereon they reside will return to this Earth.” “Now” he said, “scientists will tell you that it is not scientific: that two planets coming together would be disastrous to both, but, when two planets or other objects are traveling in the same direction and one of them with a little greater velocity than the other, it would not be disastrous, because the one traveling faster would overtake the other, and now, what would cause the mountains of ice to melt quicker than the heat caused by the traction of the two planets coming together?” And then he asked the question: “Did you ever see a meteor falling that was not red hot? So that would cause the mountains of ice to melt.”

And relative to the Great Highway which should be cast up when the planet returns to its place in the great Northern Waters, it will form a highway and waters will recede and roll back. He continued, “Now as to their coming back from the Northern waters; they will return from the north because their planet will return to the place from when it was taken. [3]

Elder Orson Pratt confirmed this belief. He stated:

The Prophet Joseph once in my hearing advanced his opinion that the Ten Tribes were separated from the Earth: or a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off, and that the Ten Tribes were taken away with it, and that in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions. Whether the Prophet founded his opinion upon revelation or whether it was a matter of mere speculation with him, I am not able to say.[4]

Elder Parley P. Pratt also taught that the lost ten tribes were living on another star and would be returned to the earth. He wrote in the Millennial Star, “The stars which will fall to the earth, are fragments, which have been broken off from time to time…some with the ten tribes…These all must be restored again at the “times of restitution of all things.” This will restore the ten tribes of Israel… [5]

Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal a statement he attributed to Brigham Young:

The leaders upon their return from Provo made a visit to Logan. Here, President Young is quoted as saying that the ten tribes of Israel are on a portion of the earth--a portion separated from the main land.[6]

Additionally, a hymn written by Eliza R. Snow and included in the LDS hymnbooks from 1856 to 1912, reiterated this commonly believed idea. The words of the hymn were as follows:

1. Thou, Earth, wast once a glorious sphere
Of noble magnitude,
And didst with majesty appear
Among the worlds of God
2. But thy dimensions have been torn
Asunder, piece by piece,
And each dismember’d fragment borne
Abroad to distant space
3. When Enoch could no longer stay
Amid corruption here,
Part of thyself was borne away
To form another sphere.
4. That portion where his city stood
He gain’d by right approv’d
And nearer to the throne of God
His planet upward mov’d
5. And when the Lord saw fit to hide
The “ten lost tribes” away,
Thou, Earth, wast sever’d to provide
The orb on which they stay.
6. and thus, from time to time, thy size
Has been diminish’d, till,
Thou seemst the law of sacrifice
Created to fulfil.

Clearly the idea that the lost ten tribes of Israel resided on a fragment of the earth out in space was a commonly held belief among the early members of the Church, though it is no longer taught. Is it correct doctrine or myth? Who can know?
The LDS Church’s official position is that the Lord has not revealed the location of the lost ten tribes and no one knows for sure where they are.

[1] 2 Esdras 13:40-47
[2] Bruce R. McConkie, “The Millennial Messiah” BookCraft, Salt Lake City, 1982
[3] Robert W. Smith, “Scriptural and Secular Prophecies Pertaining to the Last days,” Pyramid Press, Salt Lake City, Utah 1948, p.211-216, as recorded in “..As a Thief in the Night..” Roger K. Young, 1999, Celestial Publications
[4] Orson Pratt, “Letter box of Orson Pratt,” Church Historian’s Office, Letter to John C. Hall, December 13, 1875
[5] Parley P. Pratt, Millennial Star, Vol.1:258, February 1841
[6] Matthias F. Cowley, “Wilford Woodruff,” BookCraft, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1964, p.448
[7] Franklin D. Richards, “LDS Hymns: Sacred Hymns & Spiritual Songs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Deseret News Company of Salt Lake City, UT.

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