I've only recently been reading and educating myself on the supporting science of the Book of Mormon, and I am not at all as versed in these matters as the rest of you, but I must say I feel very blessed to be among the faithful here. My own education was in sales (cars) so it is very helpful to be able to read articles and comments from my brothers and sisters who have been able to stomach the so-called "science" enough to share that understanding with folks like me. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and can always work backwards from there when it comes to confusing topics like science, politics, economics, foreign policy, civil liberties, and civic duty. Bless you all.
@Porter, you're so right! My favorite thing about the failed attempt of the PhD scientists to discredit the literal historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon, is how they say there's only a one-in-five-hundred-trillion chance that genetic drift or bottlenecking could cause Lehite DNA to disappear from the north and south american continents. Frankly this is pathetic. I believe in a God of miracles who knows a lot more about science than these vain college professors. Those odds are a joke for a God powerful enough to save a sinner like me. Am I right?
Body Slam, Michael R. Ash! I just can't relate to those so called "intellectuals" in the church who look to archaeology and genetics research to compare it to the Book of Mormon for their testimonies. I'm so glad that we have church schools to send our kids to. Go Cougars!
I fully agree with @Nelson! We are blessed to have Brother Ash, who is so humble, teach about genetics instead of those vain PhDs who think they are wise because they are learned.
In 2 Nephi, Lehi blessed Sam that his "seed" would be numbered with Nephi's family. Inheritance was through the male line, so I have to assume poor mild-mannered Sam had no sons. Here is one genetic "bottleneck" early in the story.
What a great article. Brother Ash always does such a great job of pointing out the vainness and frailties and foolishness of science. You don't need science to confirm something that you already know is true!
How could there be people in the Americas 10K years ago with a global flood 4K years ago? The problem with just about every apologists answer to "complicated" problems requires a rewrite of LDS doctrine and history.
@Uneva - Worse advise ever. We shouldn't be afraid of truth, science or otherwise. I don't think DNA is a silver bullet by any means, and congratulations to the author on a concise and understandable article on the subject. What is far more perplexing to me is the sheer number of decisions and opinions we have to form on a daily basis with faulty, incomplete data. Church history and Book of Mormon historicity being at the top of the list! It's amazing if we have anything right completely right. If you want light in your life, look for light. It's that simple.
I thought haplogroup x was a dead issue and not considered evidence for the Book of Mormon. Or did I misread the LDS.org essay?
I wish this piece had been written in a simple expository format instead of the tedious mock-conversation style. Its points are strong enough not to need bolstering by this unpleasantly manipulative-feeling tactic which smacks of the old scripted missionary discussions.
The DNA argument "against" the Book of Mormon turned into the DNA argument for the "Book of Mormon" when it was discovered that the Native Americans in the Eastern United States (what Joseph Smith said was the Book of Mormon lands) was proven to have the Haplogroup X mtDNA marker. This marker is shared only with a very small number of people, including Jews and Native Americans. Rod Meldrum spearheaded much of this research and there are a great number of articles, videos, and talks available about this. Long story short, DNA proves the church is true and also helps establish the location of the Nephites/Lamanites. There have also been a great number of the cities and temples contained in the Book of Mormon discovered in the Great Lakes area, which corresponds to the DNA evidence as well as the location of the Hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith unearth the plates.
The SIMPLE remedy for avoiding falling into this,
and other Anti-LDS pits,
is to refuse to read any Anti-LDS literature!
After all, when one prayerfully studies the Book of Mormon,
sincerely seeking the Truth, as suggested in Moroni 10:4-5,
there is absolutely no need to look any further.
The Holy Spirit, who knows all Truth, has spoken.
To me, the only obvious solution is that the Jaredites were not completely killed off, and came from uncorrupted Adamic bloodlines, which came from Asia after Noah's ark settled in Asia Minor. That means Adam and Eve would have looked like today's Orientals and Native Americans. We assume they didn't, but why? I agree with Mr. Ash that we do need to look past some unfounded assumptions like that if we are to discover what really happened and how things really are.
It's easy to see why someone could be confused on this topic: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1976/06/a-promised-land?lang=eng
The DNA question fizzles for me because my studies of the Book of Mormon and prayers about it have convinced me that it is what it purports to be. I don't have an answer for the DNA question, but I do wonder why the Book of Mormon only mentions one other civilization that was encountered (and it was assimilated). I'm guessing that archeological evidence would be pretty clear about the existence of other civilizations in the Americas that predate the Nephites and Lamanites and/or coexisted with them. At the very least, the Book of Mormon seems to imply that its people dominated the area they lived in. The continent is a big place... lots of room for various small civilizations, and its not necessary to accept that they comingled. I don't feel like this article helps me much on this issue.
Nice article by Mike, as usual. In addition to his points, there are other DNA-related scientific problems for the critics of the Book of Mormon. In 2003 an anti-Mormon DVD was released about DNA and the Book of Mormon that claimed there was no Middle Eastern DNA in the native populations of the Americas. That claim may have been true at that time, but since 2006 it HAS been found in several native American populations. Score another point for the Book of Mormon!
There is plenty of mtDNA connection between Great Lakes Indian tribes and Hebrews in Israel. There is also ample artifact evidence. See www.bookofmormonevidence.org.
This was a good article. Remember also, that Haplogroup X (mtDNA) is still found today centered only in 2 world locations; the Palestine area around Israel, and in Native American peoples in the great lakes region of Michigan in the United States. How did it get to the American continent? See the Wikipedia article here:
“Nearly one-third of Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe”
Read the entire article in National Geographic here:
It all comes down to testimony and trusting in the things you know and not letting the things you do not know override everything else. I love the Book of Mormon and know it is the word of God and abiding by its teachings will make me happier than I could ever be without those teachings. Do I worry about the actual translation process? No. I know that God's hand was in it and I see the good fruits of those labors. Why lose your testimony over the process? Trust what you know and recognize that you will get all the answers to the other questions in time.
I get where you're going with this, and in concept I agree. Lack of proof is not actually a solid rebuttal. That being said: There actually is DNA evidence of the Middle East connection with the peoples of the Americas: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131120-science-native-american-people-migration-siberia-genetics/
Interesting article. Let us focus on just genetic drift. Let us take the concept shown in the Icelandic study but be generous. In the Icelandic study quoted, 75% of those 1900s ancestors had no genetic markers among the population today. Now the article did not state what time period was measured. But, it does show that only 25% of the 1900s population had any markers among present day population. Let us, for the sake of argument, assume a 50% genetic marker transmittal rate over a period of 200 years. Those figures are much more generous than the article suggests but lets use them anyway. That would mean, that at the end of the first period of 200 years, only 50% of the original population would have markers among the current population. In another 200 years, that drops to 25%. The Book of Mormon timeline states that Lehi and his colony arrived sometime around 588 BC. Ignoring the impact of the Spanish conquest, and starting at only 500 BC, that would be approximately 2500 years between arrival and the so-called modern era in which DNA studies could be done. Dividing 2500 by 200 gives us 12 full periods for our genetic drift. Doing the math would suggest that, without any other impacts, genetic drift would reduce the original markers to a mere 0.00024414 of the present population. That is a little more than a 0.002% presence in present day populations of the original markers. Is that even measurable? If we allow for the population loss that occurred with the Spanish conquest of Central and South America and the settlement of North America by English and French colonists, remembering that almost entire tribes of North American Indians were wiped out by European diseases, then the DNA argument fails for a long list of reasons. The primary reason being that between genetic drift and "natural" disasters, the DNA trail is completely distorted and altered and cannot serve as a "map" to prove either that there are Jewish markers present or that there are not. This further ignores the fact that we are using present day Jewish markers to search for markers that would have existed 2500 years ago. DNA cannot refute or deny The Book of Mormon!
Having spent many years in Tunisia, I was stricken by the resemblance between native Tunisians - people of Arabian origin - and many of the BYU Lamanites I'd run into while a student there.
The only difference I could notice was that American Indians were relatively bigger in size, something essentially related to a protein-rich diet. However, had one of them walked through the streets of Tunis, it would have been natural for locals to address him in Arabic, so much he would look like he belonged there.
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