Selected Teachings on
Adoption into the House of Israel

See Scriptural Teachings

James E. Faust (Quorum of the Twelve)

There are many coming into the Church in this day and time who are not of the blood lineage of a specific tribe of Jacob. Indeed, I am fully aware that there could be some within the sound of my voice who fall into this category. No one need assume that he or she will be denied any blessing by reason of not being of the blood lineage of Israel.

Paul makes repeated references to adoption into the house of Israel through faith: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Rom. 8:9). And again: "Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises" (Rom. 9:4).

King Benjamin refers to the faithful as "the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters" thus being able to be "spiritually begotten . . . through faith," and thus coming into the family of Christ through a spiritual birth (Mosiah 5:7).

It really makes no difference if the blessings of the house of Israel come through the lineage or through the spirit of adoption. Elder John A. Widtsoe stated, "Whether this lineage is of blood or of adoption does not matter" (Evidences and Reconciliations, pp. 72­77).

In Abraham we are told, "And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father" (Abr. 2:10)....

Believing Gentiles, even though not of the blood lines or genealogical ancestry of Israel, become adopted into the house of Israel. King Benjamin refers to the faithful becoming "the children of Christ, his sons and his daughters; spiritually begotten ... through faith." Thus they are born again into the family of Christ. (See Mosiah 5:7.)

Joseph Smith taught that when "the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; ... while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 149­150). (Brigham Young University, 30 March 1980)

Joseph Fielding Smith (Quorum of the Twelve)

Every person who embraces the gospel becomes of the house of Israel. In other words, they become members of the chosen lineage, or Abraham’s children through Isaac and Jacob unto whom the promises were made. The great majority of those who become members of the Church are literal descendants of Abraham through Ephraim, son of Joseph. Those who are not literal descendants of Abraham and Israel must become such, and when they are baptized and confirmed they are grafted into the tree and are entitled to all the rights and privileges as heirs. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:246; see also Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:62–64)

Daniel H. Ludlow (LDS Scholar)

Lineages declared in patriarchal blessings are almost always statements of actual blood lines; they are not simply tribal identifications by assignment. . . .

The clear teaching of the prophets is that few persons not of the blood of Abraham have become members of the Church in this dispensation; the terms "adopted into the house of Israel" or "assigned to a tribe of Israel" pertain only to those relatively few members. . . .

From what the prophets have said, then, most members of the Church come from Gentile nations, but they have some Israelite ancestors in their lineage. Therefore, they are not ‘assigned to’ or ‘adopted into’ the house of Israel. They are legal heirs of the covenant, and the lineage proclaimed in their patriarchal blessings identifies the blood line that ties them back to Abraham. (“Of the House of Israel,” Ensign, Jan. 1991, pp. 52, 54–55)