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RICHARD - Why is it important for those of us to know that we belong to the Tribe of Ephraim?
JOEL - Those that belong to the tribe of Ephraim know that they have the unique responsibility to spread the message of the restored gospel to the world and as Jesus said "brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." (Matt 13: 8)
For the tribe of Ephraim D&C 133: 30-34 says :
They (who are in the north countries) shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows (D&C 133:30-35)
Knowing we are blessed with these things gives us hope for the future and gives us incentive to perfect ourselves and spread the gospel throughout the world.
The "richer blessing" we receive is the great privilege of bringing others to Christ, of assisting the Savior in his work of bringing others to exaltation.
For the tribe of Judah verse 35 says:
"And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain, shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord, to dwell in his presence day and night, forever and ever."
RICHARD - Through Patriarchal Blessings we are told which of the 12 Tribes we belong to. Having that wonderful blessing in our lives, which Tribe do black people belong to?
JOEL - In a Patriarchal blessing the method for assigning a lineage for black people is the same as for any other race because it is dependent on revelation the patriarch receives while giving the blessing. No person is given a lineage simply because he belongs to a certain race. It is hard to specify lineage simply by blood inheritance, because the house of Israel today constitutes a large measure of the human family who have descended from the ancient tribes that intermixed one with another.
Normally most members, regardless of race, are given the lineage of Ephriam, meaning that they either literally decend from that tribe or when they become members of God's kingdom they are adopted into that tribe. Occaisionaly a few that are of Jewish decent are declared to be from the lineage of Judah and others from other tribes, but that is not a common thing. The patriarch assigns lineage through inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
RICHARD - Our Stake Patriarch disagrees with your answer. He says "there are none of the 12 Tribes that black people belong to because they have a direct line going back to Cain. 12 Tribes are not part of black people's heritage."
JOEL - The problem with his thinking is that not all black people are pure blood black. With so much historical intermixing of races most blacks do not have a direct line going back to Cain; there are most likely many tribes represented in the blood of black members today. Also, blacks decending from Cain is not official Church doctrine, although some past Church leaders have had that opinion
According to the Church Patriarch's handbook:
"The Patriarch is to discern and declare a person's lineage through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The declaration of lineage is not determined by a person's race or nationality. Because of the scattering of Israel among all nations of the earth, the lineage of Israel is found in people of most races and nationalities."
So the patriarch is free to declare whatever lineage he is inspired to declare. And regardless of what lineage he declares it can come by way of direct lineage or eventually by adoption into the House of Israel.
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