Question: Who are the “other sheep” the Savior referred to in John 10:16?
Answer: While he was on the earth teaching the people, the Savior mentions “other sheep” that He would go visit. When the Savior visited the Americas after His Resurrection, He explained who His “other sheep” are.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold (are not on this continent): them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (all of my righteous followers will ultimately come together with me in celestial glory).
The Nephites were identified as some of His sheep:
3 Nephi 15:21
21 And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Also, Jesus told the Nephites that there were “other” sheep (referring to the Lost Ten Tribes.):
3 Nephi 16:1-3
1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
2 For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
3 But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.
* * * * *
Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
The Bible tells us how God made a covenant with Abraham and promised him that through him all “families” or “nations” of the earth would be blessed (see Gen. 12:3; Gen. 22:18). What we call the Abrahamic covenant opens the door for God’s choicest blessings to all of His children everywhere. The Bible teaches that “if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29; see also Abr. 2:10).
The Book of Mormon promises that all who receive and act upon the Lord’s invitation to “repent and believe in his Son” become “the covenant people of the Lord” (2 Ne. 30:2). This is a potent reminder that neither riches nor lineage nor any other privileges of birth should cause us to believe that we are “better one than another” (Alma 5:54; see also Jacob 3:9). Indeed, the Book of Mormon commands, “Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another” (Mosiah 23:7).
The Bible teaches that some of Abraham’s descendants would be scattered “into all the kingdoms of the earth,” “among all nations,” and from “one end of the earth even unto the other” (Deut. 28:25, 37, 64). The Book of Mormon affirms this teaching, declaring that the descendants of Abraham would be “scattered upon all the face of the earth, and … among all nations” (1 Ne. 22:3).
The Book of Mormon adds to our knowledge of how our Savior’s earthly ministry reached out to all of His scattered flock. In addition to His ministry in what we now call the Middle East, the Book of Mormon records His appearance and teachings to the Nephites on the American continent (see 3 Ne. 11–28).
There He repeated that the Father had commanded him to visit the other sheep which were not of the land of Jerusalem (see 3 Ne. 16:1; John 10:16). He also said that he would visit others “who [had] not as yet heard [His] voice” (see 3 Ne. 16:2–3). As prophesied centuries earlier (see 2 Ne. 29:12), the Savior told His followers in the Americas that he was going “to show [Himself]” to these “lost tribes of Israel, for they are not lost unto the Father, for he knoweth whither he hath taken them” (3 Ne. 17:4).
The Book of Mormon is a great witness that the Lord loves all people everywhere. It declares that “he shall manifest himself unto all nations” (1 Ne. 13:42). “Know ye not that there are more nations than one?” the Lord said through the prophet Nephi.
“Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?” (2 Ne. 29:7).
Similarly, the prophet Alma taught that “the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have” (Alma 29:8).
Source: Come, Follow Me–For Individuals and Families, p. 67; The New Testament Made Easier, Part 1, Volume 2, by David J. Ridges, 294; Excerpts from General Conference, April 2006, “All Men Everywhere,” by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.