When Christ appeared as a resurrected being to the people who were gathered as a faithful body on the American continent and showed them the wounds in His hands, in His side, and in His feet, He told them, Ye are they of whom I said, Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold; [I must go to them] and they [must] hear my voice, and there [should] be one fold and one shepherd (3 Nephi 7:3). He explained that the disciples at Jerusalem didn’t ask Him about it, and they didn’t understand who He was talking about. They wrongly supposed that Christ meant He would speak to other sheep through the ministry of the people in Palestine, as they spread the message outward. Instead, He meant that He, Christ, would go, as a resurrected being, to scattered remnants of the House of Israel; that He would let them hear His voice, see Him, and He would minister to them. And that included, within the body of those that Christ intended to minister to, the people who were writing the Book of Mormon. And then He extended that and said, “I have still other sheep, in addition to you, and I’m going to go visit with them, also.”
“And so, from the record of the Book of Mormon, in just one example, if you want to understand the obscure statement that Christ made, preserved in the New Testament, that He has other sheep to whom He’s going to go minister, in order to understand that prophecy, you go to the last in time, the later to interpret the earlier, and the Book of Mormon supplies you that interpretation and explains : yes, Christ meant as a resurrected personage that He would go and He would appear. The record of Christ’s appearance in his post-resurrected state in Palestine includes appearing first to two women. Then He spent the better part of the day walking on the road to Emmaus with two disciples — Cleopas and an unidentified other who wrote the record, Luke. Then He appeared to the twelve. Still later, He would appear to the apostle Paul. And then when He ascended, there were above 500 gathered together at the time that He ascended from the mount. And so there were multiple sightings, multiple witnesses, and multiple audiences to whom He ministered as a post-resurrected being. Then in the Book of Mormon He does exactly the same thing. He appears as a resurrected personage and He ministers.”1 Christ would like mankind to have this information. He wants all to know He is the God of Israel and, indeed, the God of the whole earth. He not only ministered in Palestine and visited the Nephites, but He visited all of His sheep, wherever they were located throughout the world. This is what the Book of Mormon was to prove. Although it is only a record of a single group of the “other sheep,” it establishes there are “sheep” throughout the world to whom He paid a visit after His resurrection. In the title page of the Book of Mormon (now known as the Dedication in the Restoration Edition of scriptures), it says it was written to shew unto the remnant of the house of Israel how great things the Lord hath done for their fathers, and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off for ever. And also to the convincing of the Jew and gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. This reference to “all nations” confirms the meaning of the term “other sheep,” as Christ elaborated to the Nephites. The term was intended to cover multiple groups of believers who had been separated from Palestine and not just a single third group of believers. Christ’s ministry after His resurrection, therefore, may have involved many groups who both saw Him and heard His voice and, thereby, became part of His sheepfold.2 The third chapter of Jacob, although an allegory, may be the most detailed account of these “other sheep.”3
1 500th Year Reformation Talk Five, 3, Sandy, UT, Sept. 7, 2018, transcript of recording.
2 The Second Comforter, 95–96.
3 The Second Comforter, 96n76.