Challenging Issues, Keeping the Faith: Two arguments for Great Lakes model not conclusive

Published: Monday, Dec. 13 2010 5:30 a.m. MST

Today they are often referred to as “Native Americans,” although they never referred to themselves as “American” until long after the name became popular by those who invaded the New World. Likewise, early Latter-day Saints commonly referred to all Native Americans as “Lamanites.” The use of the term “Lamanite” in the Doctrine and Covenants may simply be an extension of a common LDS vernacular of the time.

Lastly, and more importantly, it’s very likely that Lehi and his sons would appear on the ancestral slot of virtually all Native Americans today. Recent studies demonstrate that many large groups of humans are related in distinct ways and that most people are descendants of Abraham. In fact, studies suggest that all of the people on earth today have a common ancestor who may have lived as recently as the time of Christ.

Therefore, modern prophets have accurately referred to the people of North and South America — and even those of the Pacific Islands — as
Lamanites. This presents a problem for those who claim that true Lamanites must have a specific DNA found only among tribes in the Great Lakes region.

While the Doctrine and Covenants correctly refers to the indigenous people of Joseph’s vicinity as “Lamanite,” this does nothing to advance a theory on Book of Mormon geography.

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