This blog post is based upon an address to Mormons, Non-Mormons, and Jews at the Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, May 2, 1976. The address is called A Message to Judah from Joseph by President Ezra Taft Benson. We encourage you to read it.
During several trips to Jerusalem, President Benson met with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, Levi Eshkol and General Moshe Dayan. These men had a lot to do with the founding of the country of Israel.
President Benson said, “Yes, we can empathize with the suffering of the Jews, for we have co-suffered with them. But our affinity toward modern Judah is not prompted merely out of mutual suffering; it is prompted out of a knowledge of our peculiar relationships together—relationships which claim a common heritage. Jeremiah has prophesied that in the latter times ‘the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together.’ (Jeremiah 3:18) My prayer is that because of evenings spent together like this one, this prophecy will come to be fulfilled.”
I have always felt that joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the icing on the cake of Judaism. Even though I converted to the LDS Church, I also consider myself a Jew. The solid foundation of religion that I learned growing up Jewish has served as a basis to understand the structure and teachings of the LDS Church. From my first exposure to the Church, I immediately realized the amazing similarities between the two religions.
After my Patriarchal blessing in 2014, the Patriarch sat down with me and explained that he saw two tribes in my bloodline of almost equal strength. He held up his hand, with his forefinger and thumb an inch apart and said, “Judah beat out Ephraim as your dominate bloodline by this much.” John was at my blessing and we both realized that the two bloodlines represented in me would give me an interesting perspective on understanding the LDS Church. In our book, Gathering Israel, John and I have tried to go in depth (along with some humor) into the views of both Ephraim and Judah as our humble effort to bring understanding to both tribes.
That is why it is important to follow President Benson’s words in his address, when he said, “We need to know more about the Jews, and the Jews ought to know more about the Mormons. When we understand one another, then perhaps you will understand why Ben-Gurion said, ‘There are no people in the world who understand the Jews like the Mormons.”
Shalom Aleichem Peace Be Unto You
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