Comments about ‘LDS Church posts topic page on Book of Mormon and DNA studies’

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Published: Friday, Jan. 31 2014 5:00 p.m. MST

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eastcoastcoug
Danbury, CT

One more...

I've visited sites in Sicily and southern Spain which were settled by the Phoenicians (of Semitic origin) in 800 B.C. Some have speculated they had the technology to go outside the Mediterranean and settle other lands. A few years ago, archeologists uncovered ships in use in the Arabian Peninsula around the time of Lehi and stated that their technology was far more advanced than originally believed and could have sailed long distances.

So if these people in Lehi's time and location had the ability to sail beyond the Mediterranean, would that also not mean it was possible that Lehi himself could have done it?

We know so little about the ancient world - we have barely begun to scratch the surface. No one with a truly scientific mind can say categorically these people never existed. The best we can say is there is some evidence supporting the claims of the Book of Mormon, some of it circumstantial, some with amazing coincidence and that in the end we really know very little about the ancient inhabitants of the Americas. Most of it is buried, or otherwise lost.

Many people also doubted the existence of the city of Troy.

NT
SomewhereIn, UT

When we begin think that we can outsmart an omnipotent being (our maker, our Heavenly Father) and set aside His requirement for faith, which central to His plan, then we deceive ourselves and we find ourselves off the path to eternal truth.

Mayfair
City, Ut

Dear The Scientist
As is your wife, I too am married to an Atheist. It would crush me to hear mine make the same very frequent, degrading and insulting remarks about my religion as you do about hers.

desert
Potsdam, 00

It doesn't matter ? Oh, yes it matters; everything matters. If we could prove it with DNA we would, if we had the Golden Plates we would.

Let us go on a warm summer walk into an open field where we would find a beautiful flower.
First we could dissect it for biological studies, Second we should ask what does the sun ray do to my perception and what is reality?

But most importantly we can assume multitasking the flower is capable of.
It can bring more flowers, it can reflect beauty, but it could also make us think !
There is a purpose in everything, if you just trust that there is a Creator.
That is the intention of the Writers of the Book of Mormon. To make us think and wanting to change. To discover Who we are. That is the most important study and the most difficult.

That is why people want to avoid the Book of Mormon, it is a treasure to your soul but also a difficult road for asking questions about us.

Those who find the BM to be a true book, know there is more evidence to come.
Just a question of time.

desert
Potsdam, 00

Bob and Wolfgang,
the Book of Mormon reader does not need evidence from outside source, nor the opinion of any General Authorities about it. The book contains all answers exclusively for you as the Spirit was with the Nephite and Lamanite Prophets at that time and it will carry it to you again. Joseph Smith was taught by Moroni himself many times, more than we know, you as well can be taught and touched by that same spirit if you search for it in the Book.

The people of the Book of Mormon times are present within the book, and it becomes clear that they had influence from other sources and other people.
Just looking at some pages will not do it, you need to get involved.

Coolio
SLC, UT

The church shouldn't have done this. Because it doesn't really matter. You could go through a laundry list of things that don't make sense in Mormonism and try to explain them one by one. The whole idea of spirituality is to find peace through things that cannot be explained in an earthly manner. Whether you find it through Mormonism, Catholicism, Islam, or Nature it does not matter. People are still trying to figure out Nature, and can't quite do it.

Thinkman
Provo, UT

The article states that some people in the 1800s believed that the peoples of the Book of Mormon came from the Middle East.

Actually, if you were to poll 1,000 active Mormons today, I bet 90% or more would say that they believe and KNOW that the Lehites, Mulekites and Jaredites came from the Middle East.

I taught this in my Gospel Doctrine classes, on my mission and I was taught this from my days in primary decades ago and it was taught to us over and over again by apostles and other LDS Church General Authorities.

rightascension
Provo, UT

One of the red-est of red herrings. We don't know where they were. The Book claims they were all gone at the end, anyway. The Book itself makes it clear that it does not state where this group landed and colonized. They could have landed in Malaysia.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

The fact that American Indian DNA doesnt match that of the middle east not surprising. The Book of Mormon says God changed the skin color of the Lamanites. Doing this would have required a change in their DNA. Given the change, it isnt surprising there is no match.

Assuming the Bible is to be taken literally, This isn't first time God has changed the DNA of people. All races of people come from one set of parents. Again this couldn't be unless there was a change in peoples DNA.

The Judge
Kaysville, UT

For a great book on this topic, read Jon Entine's "Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People." Or, if you don't wanna take time to read the book, read his article in the June 4, 2012 issue of Forbes. Boom. There's your evidence, sourced by some of the leading scientists in the field.

I don't really need scientific evidence. Over the last 40 years I've been told by scientists to expect a second ice age, that smoking isn't bad for me, that a fetus isn't really alive...and now science is telling me the opposite. The spiritual truths I've been taught are--Surprise--the same ones I've been taught for 40 years.

metamoracoug
metamora, IL

Dear Scientist: "No evidence?" If one has an intimate knowledge of both BofM and archaeological evidence, one could not possibly be so bold in this statement. I will acknowledge that there is no direct evidence -- no city signs discovered declaring a place to be Zarahemla or Bountiful. But there is plenty of parallel evidence -- things Joseph Smith could not have known or guessed at in his day -- the most glaring of which is that there even was a Native American civilization that had a written language. Another one that is interesting is that one of the first Mayan words deciphered was translated as "it happened" or "it came to pass," both used by non-LDS scholars. This word appears in Mayan texts about as frequently as it occurs in the BofM. Coincidence? I think not. But you are welcome to blissfully exist in your on-going ignorance if it pleases you.

Hockey Fan
Miles City, MT

Scientists perform a valuable service in the quest for knowledge. The scientific method is a valuable approach to acquiring knowledge. Scientists have been around for thousands of years, yet they are still necessary in 2014. Why? Because there are still many things we do not know, so the quest for knowledge must continue and the scientists' skills are needed in that endeavor. In addition, some of the "facts" that scientists declared only 100 years ago have been replaced by new "facts" because of their ongoing research. I am certainly glad to see the research that scientists are conducting with DNA; however, the body of knowledge they are acquiring is ongoing and dynamic and will continue to result in ever-changing conclusions. I think "A Scientist's" decision to resort to his snipe hunting comment is a betrayal of his profession as a scientist. If you are a scientist, then please think and write like one. I would value your insights if you did so.

10CC
Bountiful, UT

There is a precedent for a people who claim Jewish heritage in an usual location, and scientists were able to validate the claim via DNA.

The Lembda tribe in Zimbabwe and South Africa long claimed to be Jewish, even though their appearance is much like the Bantu groups around them. Not knowing what exactly they were looking for, scientists found the so-called "Cohen haplotype" among a high percentage of the Lembda males.

There are differences in population size, and unknowns regarding the number of Jews who moved to southern Africa, but the migration out of Israel occurred roughly around the time period the BOM family would have left, about 2500 years ago.

Even with "genetic drift", the genetic evidence of BOM origins should exist in American Indian populations, almost certainly not at the frequency among the Lembda, but it should appear, perhaps sporatically, but as genetic research becomes cheaper and more widespread, and more information is learned from population genetics, the evidence of Israeli origins should start to appear in Native Americans, in a convincing manner.

David R
Dexter, MI

The piece on lds.org is good but has a couple of mistakes. For one, it states: "scientific consensus holds that the vast majority of Native Americans belong to sub-branches of the Y-chromosome haplogroups C and Q14 ... which are predominantly East Asian."
This is incorrect. To the contrary, a very significant portion of Native Americans belong to Y-chromosome haplogroup R-M173, not to C or Q14, and there is not a scientific consensus that Y chromosome haplogroup R-M173 is East Asian.
Y chromosome haplogroup R-M173 is the second most common haplogroup among indigenous americans, and the most common haplogroup among Native Americans in the Eastern US. See, e.g., Deborah A. Bolnick, et. al., "Asymmetric Male and Female Genetic Histories among Native Americans from Eastern North America," 23 Molecular Biology and Evolution, at 2163 (2006). It is also considered to be of European origin, not Asian. Many scientists currently assume this European DNA "must" have come from recent European contact, but this is questionable due to the DNA's extraordinarily high prevalence (approaching 80% in some tribes) even among native americans who claim pure native american ancestry.

David R
Dexter, MI

The lds.org piece is good, but a second error is where it states: "scientific consensus holds that the vast majority of Native Americans belong to ... mitochondrial DNA haplogroups A, B, C, D, and X, all of which are predominantly East Asian." Contrary to this statement, there is not a scientific consensus that mitochondrial DNA haplogroup X is East Asian. For example, in "The Druze: A Population Genetic Refugium of the Near East," by Liran I. Shlush, et. al (2008), the (non-mormon) researchers state: "No population or geographic region has [previously] been identified to date, in which haplogroup X and its major subhaplogroups are found at both high frequency and high diversity, which could provide a potential clue as to their geographic origin. Here we suggest that the Druze population of northern Israel may represent just such a population." The researchers went on to discuss how the "surprisingly high frequency and high diversity of X haplogroup lineages" among the Druze population in Israel indicates that the X haplogroup was prevalent anciently in the Near East. They reason that "these Galilee Druze individuals represent the refugium of an ancestral group ... from which the global diversity of X mtDNA haplogroup emerged."

RAB
Bountiful, UT

LDS leaders are not infallible beings whose every word is irrefutable truth from the mouth of God. When they speak about living righteously, their words are of God. But when they merely speculate or speak of how things appear to be, you can rest assured that they are merely sharing ideas that appear to them to be right. Frankly, God isn't interested in appeasing our every curiosity. He is interested in our souls. That is what His prophets were called to save.

It has always been on our individual heads to follow whisperings of the spirit to discover the truth for ourselves.

Yes, many church leaders taught that all Native Americans descended from the Lamanites. They made assumptions and speculations based on what seemed true to them regardless of what was actually claimed in scripture or revealed to them by the Lord. Had they made a concerted effort to ask the Lord about it, perhaps He would have explained it better. But it is far more likely that God has better things to do than satisfy our childish curiosities as to which Native Americans descended from Lamanites.

slcman
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@eastcoastcoug - The Ohio State Professor you are referring to is an economics professor, hardly an authority on ancient civilizations or linguistics. I believe his name is J. Huston McCulloch.

AZKID
Mapleton, UT

While many may disagree with me, I am personally of the opinion that the Book of Mormon narrative occurred in the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, with the "land northward" being upstate new York where the plates were eventually found. There are certain textual difficulties in locating the various "seas" described in the text under this model, but I have successfully reconciled those with a mixture of Great Lakes references (narrow neck, day's journey) combined with Gulf of Mexico (west sea south) along with the Chesapeake bay area (sea east). Then by simply identifying the "head" of the River Sidon as the Mississippi delta, rather that the tiny origin of the river in the Northern Plains, makes it all fit. This, combined with the National Geographic study cited above regarding Western Eurasian DNA in Native Americans, kind of seals the deal for me.

AZKID
Mapleton, UT

A few more thoughts:

The Mezzo-American ruins are fabulous, (I have read all the FARMS stuff, Sorrensen, etc.) but they do not match the Book of Mormon cultures for me. The "Hopewell" cultures of North America were the Nephites and Lamanites. (I'll credit my acquaintance Rod Meldrum with much of my perspective on this, although I have views that differ from his in some particulars.) Rod's views are controversial, but I believe they are far closer to the truth than many realize.

So for the doubters and naysayers out there, I would encourage you to look at the North American model before you make your draconian pronouncements on the veracity of the Book of Mormon. I know/believe it to be true from both an intellectual and spiritual point of view.

Thinkman
Provo, UT

RAB,

I would agree with your statement about the prophets and other LDS church authorities speaking by interpretation and assumptions if it weren't for the FACT that the Book of Mormon itself up until the last few years stated on its title page that it was the history of THE people of the Americas.

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