Mormon genealogy and DNA

ldsdnaAccording to Latter-day Saints, the Book of Mormon was brought forth when God provided 22-year-old church founder Joseph Smith with special glasses and seer stones that enabled him to translate writings — from “Reformed Egyptian” — on golden tablets found in New York. Mormons believe these scriptures restored the church and left the rest of Christianity in apostasy.

The Book of Mormon has a compelling narrative about a tribe of Jews who sailed from Jerusalem to the Americas before the time of Christ and split into two factions. The Nephites were the good guys. In 1981, the word for them was officially changed from “white” to “pure.” The Lamanites received the “curse of blackness.” The Los Angeles Times provides the background:

According to the Book of Mormon, by 385 AD the dark-skinned Lamanites had wiped out other Hebrews. The Mormon church called the victors “the principal ancestors of the American Indians.” If the Lamanites returned to the church, their skin could once again become white.

This is not just a 19th-century teaching. Current Mormon president Gordon Hinckley has told Native Americans they are descended from one of the factions. The Times ran a story yesterday on DNA evidence that puts the story about the lost tribe of Israel in question.

From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.

“We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people,” said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. “It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God.”

A few years ago, Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.

“I’ve gone through stages,” he said. “Absolutely denial. Utter amazement and surprise. Anger and bitterness.”

My wonderful future in-laws are Mormon, and I have Mormon ancestors myself, so I’m always fascinated by tales of the Latter-day Saints. And this story is no exception. But it also provides fodder for thinking about how to treat the meeting of faith and science.

The headline of this piece is “Bedrock of a Faith is Jolted.” But as Slate‘s William Saletan quickly summarizes (with a bit of attitude), the Latter-day Saints have worked around the problem with ease:

DNA evidence is rattling Mormonism. The church converted millions of Latin Americans and Polynesians with its scriptural story that they came from a lost tribe of Israel. DNA says they came from Asia instead. Old Mormon argument: The scripture is literally true. New arguments: 1) DNA evidence is being twisted by enemies of the church. 2) Maybe the folks who came from the lost tribe were few, and their DNA was “swamped” by immigrants from Asia. Try falsifying that! 3) “The Book of Mormon will never be proved or disproved by science.” 4) We’re “willing to live in ambiguity.”

This DNA kerfuffle has been going on for years, long enough that I was wondering why the Times was covering it yesterday. The Latter-day Saints even put up a site for media specifically dealing with DNA and the Book of Mormon. I got the image above from a Mormon magazine article about the issue. One of the Mormon critics quoted in the Times piece published a book last year about the topic.

history of churchAnyway, Mormonism is a large and growing religion and the DNA evidence problem isn’t the only issue being dealt with from its scriptures:

For instance, the Mormon scriptures contain references to a seven-day week, domesticated horses, cows and sheep, silk, chariots and steel. None had been introduced in the Americas at the time of Christ.

But these issues have been discussed by Mormons for a very long time. Go to the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, a Mormon apologetic group, today and you can get the answer to this (declarative) question of the week:

The mention of windows that could be “dashed in pieces” in Ether 2:23 seems to be anachronistic, since glass windows were not invented until the late Middle Ages.

I really do think this is a fascinating story, but the notion that this is jolting the bedrock of the Mormon faith might be overstating it. I couldn’t find any recent coverage in Utah papers, for instance. However, Peggy Fletcher Stack, the Salt Lake Tribune‘s religion reporter, likely covered it years ago. It would have also been helpful if reporter William Lobdell interviewed outside critics of Mormonism instead of just Mormons and ex-Mormons (and Mormon scholar Jan Shipps). It would also be great to see a follow-up that explores specifically how the DNA story relates to Mormonism’s concern with geneology and lineage. Let us know if you see any coverage.

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  • Dave

    DNA evidence does not refute the Book of Mormon at all. Read this scholarly article:

  • Mollie

    I found this media critique after I posted. Thought people might be interested.

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  • Avram

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden writes about some of these issues in her essay “God and I”, written after she was excommunicated from the Church of LDS in 1980:

    Another thing, a small thing that peculiarly caught my eye, is that in the Book of Mormon there are many large battles fought with swords. Now, there are two kinds of swords that could be used in these conflicts. They could have the all-metal one- or two-edged sort that comes in a hundred shapes and sizes in Old World literature, or they could be using the best New World equivalent, a sort of large club or paddle edged on both sides with inset rows of sharpened obsidian chunks–a fearsome weapon. Whichever; take your pick. Many men with swords go out to the field of combat and die there, their swords and armor decomposing somewhat more slowly than their bodies. Now, if they were using metal swords, there ought to be some trace of that much metal left–its rust in the ground in wetter climates, the artifacts themselves further west. (In some parts of the Southwest, corncobs and broken sandals are found in caves thousands of years after they were abandoned there, still in perfect shape.) In either case there’d be metalworking sites near sources of ore. There’s nothing of the sort. So, okay, they were using the Aztec-style wooden paddle with obsidian edges. In that case there should be, around the old battle sites, innumerable shaped obsidian pieces lying where they came to rest after their wooden cores rotted out. These should occur frequently at sites extending from Old Mexico to New York. They don’t, of course; there was a remarkably widespread trade in Central American obsidian across North America, but the stuff was used for things like ritual implements and jewelry.

  • Aaron Shafovaloff

    Of interest:

    “Most members of the Church know that the Lamanites, who consist of the Indians of all the Americas as well as the islanders of the Pacific, are a people with a special heritage.” -Spencer W. Kimball

  • Jake D

    To any objective mind it seems like a open and close case. Especially when you read the really poor apologetics of groups like FARMS, FAIR, and especially Jeff Lindsey.

    They problem for Mormons(I am one) when confronted with dozens of pieces of evidence to the contrary people look for any reason to believe. So apologist offer a outlandish possibility that in all probability has about a .1% chance to be true we still want to believe.

    Of course there are many many Mormons like myself who know it’s not true.

  • Roland

    My grandfather and I use to collect lots of obsidian across the American Southwest and into Mexico.

  • Adam s

    fiRST OF ALL Aaron Shafovaloff is he claims to be a mormon who does not believe in the doctrine this means he is not mormon. through god al things are posaable science will tell us that Mary could not have a baby how she did or maybe we should of found the remains of a giant ship(the Arc). god does not give us scientific proof that he exists he wants us to pray about and get confirmation for ourselves. if he gave us proof we would no longer have faith we would have oure knoledge and there would be no trial which is why we are on this earth.

  • Adam s

    correction not published by Aaron Shafovaloff but by JAKE D

  • http://none Deadeye Dick

    I recall many years ago hearing a lecture by the eminent Bible teacher Wilbur M. Smith in which he pointed out a quotation in the Book of Mormon from Isaiah that used the same words that were in the King James Version. However, the Dead Sea Scrolls that had been found only a few yeara earlier had shown the KJV translation was based on an erroneous text. If the Book of Mormon had actually been an ancient document as it was professed to be, it would have had the correct wording of Isaiah. As a life-long history teacher, I have referenced this to my students as an example of what historical criticism can show us.

  • Trierr

    I would love to hear more on the meeting between science and religion.

    It seems that almost any literalist interpreter of any faith is threatened by science. This need not be so. The problem, as noted with Galileo, is not the faith itself, but it’s interpretation. Nobody these days thinks anything about the earth not being the center of the universe. (We all tend to put ourselves there, but that’s a different issue!) More than likely, 400 years from now, all Christians will look at evolution the same way.

    What are other ways that science and faith struggle? How does science end up influencing theology and is this okay? How about theology influencing science?

  • HiveRadical

    I find it funny that the DNA evidence has been presented the way it has. For example, here’s what Jake D, a supposed Mormon, says–

    To any objective mind it seems like a open and close case. Especially when you read the really poor apologetics of groups like FARMS, FAIR, and especially Jeff Lindsey.

    They problem for Mormons(I am one) when confronted with dozens of pieces of evidence to the contrary people look for any reason to believe. So apologist offer a outlandish possibility that in all probability has about a .1% chance to be true we still want to believe.

    Of course there are many many Mormons like myself who know it’s not true.”So apologist offer a outlandish possibility that in all probability has about a .1% chance to be true we still want to believe.

    Jake has no concept, or is intentionaly misportraying, just as the LA Times did, what is at issue and what it means and what it reveals about the plausibility of our faith in light of the DNA evidence.

    Jake, the LA times, and others, don’t address the details. They think if you say “DNA” and tie it in with a proof that you have a 99.999999% proof of the argument they are offering. I’m not disputing the accuracy of the DNA evidence. But if you look at it you’ll realize that this evidence isn’t the surefire evidence for rocking, or even significantly shaking, the bedrock of LDS faith and doctrine.

    Jake said “To any objective mind it seems like a open and close case. ” Objectivity would demand realizing. And truthfully stating WHAT the evidence really is. Instead Jake, like the LA Times, makes a bold conclusive declaration on what the evidence means.

    There are more than one kind of DNA evidence. Most people doen’t know that. So if most people that thought they were ‘objective’ were also ignorant of that fact–that there are more than one kind of DNA–then they would have a serious obstical to objectivity, they’d also see that Jake’s guestimation of a .1% chance of appologists views to be rightly founded would also be eliminated.

    Here’s a little lesson on Cells and DNA for those unfamiliar with such.

    Cells have TWO parts that have DNA in them. The cells nucleous, the “center”, has the most. The DNA there is the DNA that most of us think of when we here about DNA.

    The second part that has DNA are smaller parts of the cell called mitochondria. These are like the “power plants” of the cells. They have DNA in them also. This DNA has a distinct advantage for those who do DNA testing. Unlike the stuff in the Nucleous that is like a random mixing of the mother’s and father’s DNA the ‘little bit’ of DNA found in the mitochondria seems to stay unchanged from MOTHERS to children. That means that YOU have the mitochondrial DNA that your maternal Mother has. If you are a woman and have a daughter, she will have mitochondrial DNA identical to yours. If you’re a man then you, personaly, can never pass on this Mitochondrial DNA, a biological sister could–as long as she gave birth to a daughter. Any way, I hope you get the point. This DNA (and the Y-Chromasome DNA in the Nucleous in Men–women don’t have a Y-Chromasome–that’s what makes them female) is much easier to use for evidence in things like court cases, or figuring out what child belongs to which parents, because you can take a simple piece (small by comparison to the stuff in the nucleous) a piece that would be essentialy the same in the mom (for mitochondrial DNA) or the same as the dad (y-chromasome DNA). So you have an easy way to find out who’s someone’s mom and dad are. You don’t have to extensively map their DNA–that makes it faster and cheaper, and you don’t have to take alot of time. So you figure out who someones father and mother are, genenticaly, and you have a pretty certain indicator of the person you’re looking for.

    Now try to apply this people who lived hundreds and hundreds of years ago. You only have a hint of the genetic make-up of ONE person, a father’s line, and that’s the only link to the text you have. Even this hint isn’t very helpful because, though it specifies what genetic line someone has (in the form of declaring a definitive male ancestor) you have the problem of not having a definitive genetic (in this case y-chromosome) sample. But that’s a little thing. You have an entire group of people mentioned explicitly, and an even larger group mentioned implicitly, that NEVER have any illusion as to who their progenitors are. So if all you’re using is mitochondrial and y-chromosome DNA to try and disprove the Book of Mormon then you have some serious issues. Aside from not knowing WHAT the DNA makeup was of the claimed progenitors mentioned in the Book of Mormon but you also have the problem that any line of those, even if you certainly had the genetic evidence from the members of that early group you don’t know if it was wiped out or smashed in a couple, or even a single, generation.

    The thing I find most amusing is the fact that, while those who spout this as seriously damaging–or as certain proof of the claimed ‘impossible’ or ‘improbable’ ‘nature’ of our beliefs they could easily, within even my own lifetime, be proven–conclusively– WRONG. What I’m saying is that we could reach a point where we could, more quickly, and with less expensive means, discover what peoples heritages were in light of ALL of their lines of decent. Now, while thise would likely be too jumbled to create clearly delineated family trees for everyone–and thusly would not prove conclusively our faith, it could clearly wipe out the claims of the current narrow viewed critics by clearly demonstrating the presence of sizable genetic similarities between some or all Native Americans to Semitic peoples (such as Jews-descendants of the tribes of Israel, of today.

    So it’s possible that some of those of Native American ancestry, who have, or will, claim to leave the church on the ill founded claims of perpetuating a ‘myth’ could themselves, or have their children, see the day when their decision would be PROVEN to have been a fool’s decision that they’d tried to hide under the cloak of ‘truth’. What problems they’d have then.

    So Jake, and the like, if you claim to be ‘scientific’ or ‘objective’ or ‘Mormon’ try and be certain of those claims before you go condemning, or making rash declarations about what is and isn’t so.

    Wouldn’t it suck to find at some latter date that you were becoming guilty of the very crime you claimed to the world was committed by others? Especially if you believe, as some have taught, that judgment received will mirror, in a significant way, the judgments we proclaim on others.

  • Trevor

    I don’t claim to be an expert on anything but I just want to offer out my opinion. As a member of the LDS faith I understand the arguments proposed by other members, but I am open minded enough to find intrigue in the DNA results. First observation is, that if DNA were 100% it would be required in every court room, yet in the Pre CSI world DNA isn’t 100% fool proof. Also, no one has questioned the credentials of the scientist running the test, is he a Dr? Is he properly trained and qualified to run such a test and be able to properly interpret the data?

    An idea that comes to my mind is that other then the Pacific island, how far did those people of Hagoth make it? Did they sail on to Asia and mingle and populate with the cultures? The worlds population has exploded in the last 200 years, so we can see that it doesn’t take a long time to create new groups(hybrid) of people. There is reference on the similarities between Mexicans and Filipinos. In addition there were 12 tribes of Israel, do we know where they all went? Some could speculate that they are extinct after being taken into captivity, but history has shown us with Israelites in Egypt even African slaves have a great deal or resilience and continue to populate in captivity and even interbreed with their hosts.

    As religion is based on faith, we have not been given any hard proof evidence of actual facts. As far as the myth about horse on the American Continent pre European invasion.

    1964 Alaska experience an earthquake that swallowed up 6 city blocks, last year New Orleans was sunk the BoM tells of days of earthquakes, flood, fire and numerous natural disasters. The South America we know today, isn’t he South America That was last written about 1800 years ago.

    While DNA proof sounds official and means to an end, it is still in it’s infancy, there are still too many loose ends to make such a declaration.

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  • Katie

    Scientific studies exploring ancient lineages use exclusively mitochondrial DNA and y-chromosomal DNA for a reason. Looking at the mutations in the otherwise unchanging mDNA has led to startling conclusions in the past five years – notably the scientific possibility and verisimilitude of a true “mitochondrial Eve.”

    Despite many scientists/writers (like Stephen Oppenheimer) derision of the coined phrase, I find this – and the previous evidence for one exodus out of Africa – a compelling and intriguing collision between religion and science.

    Could it be possible in the next thousand years (or earlier) for science to definitively prove and disprove various theologies, and if so, should science aim to?

    Popular/Accessible books about mitochondrial Eve from Amazon:
    The Real Eve, By Stephen Oppenheimer
    The Seven Daughters of Eve, By Bryan Sykes
    and for the newer Y-Chromosome research, The Journey of Man, By Spencer Wells

  • Avram

    Trevor, the article is right. As far as we can tell, there were no domesticated horses (or wild ones either) in the Americas at the time of Christ. There were horses in the Americas once — in fact, paleontologists currently believe that the horse first evolved in North America — but they went extinct here about 9000 years ago; that’s what’s showing up in the La Brea tar pits.

  • BrentB

    Please don’t use on-going scientific discovery to come to conclusions and present them as being as solid as scientific fact. As soon as it’s proven scientifically that there were not horses in North Amercan at the time of Chirst, then you can use that to question a Mormon’s believe. As long as you have to throw in “As far as we can tell” then you don’t have enough. As HiveRadical points out, there is to much scientific and statistical uncertanty to state categorically that Mormon beliefs and statements about Indian heritage is wrong. At the most, this discussion should be approaching the DNA findings as “current evidence is not supporting Mormon belief”.

    Using the science method to prove a positive is extremely easy compared to proving a negative. For example, science can prove to us that there are other stars in the universe, but it can’t prove there is no life on other planets. Instead, science can explain the low likelyhood of life on other planets and we jump to conclusions from there. So the current DNA evidence might make Mormon leaders/teachers be less confidence in their teachings, but it doesn’t disprove anything. Please wait until the DNA evidence is presented (and verified by multiple scientists in published articles who approach it from different angles arriving at the same conclusions) which shows how it’s not possible for Indians to have any connection to who the Mormon’s say they do. Then I’ll agree with you.

  • Avram

    Brent, I think you misunderstand the nature of scientific proof. Science isn’t like math; things don’t get scientifically proven for all time. All of science is “as far as we can tell”. That goes for everything — gravity, atoms, stars, evolution, the speed of light, magnetism, anything you can mention.

  • BrentB

    Okay Avram – you are correct and are probably more qualified at scientific discussion than I am. My problem with this discussion is that I’m seeing one side trying to dismiss a religion and using science to do so, when the evidence is either not broad or conclusive enought to prove their point. I’ll dismiss a religion – an extremely serious action – when the evidence is stronger than “this is what we’ve found so far”. (I had a lot more to add, but I’ve lost interest.)

  • Trevor

    We have to remember we live in the age of information, where a good majority of earth’s people know how to read and write. How would we know about dodo’s if no one wrote about them? There are skeletal remains, but they existed on an island without humans and without natural predators. In a land with large cat, wolves, bears and many other carnivores it would be easy domesticated animals to become extinct. Many species have come and gone, we continue to find more and lose just as many. If people did not document their existence then our knowledge would be limited to the amount of remains we can find.

    As I see it there were once millions of dinosaurs and creates in between, why are we not finding millions of remain? Fires, floods, and climate changes I don’t see how we expect carbon based remains to be overly abundant after 1800 years.

    It’s all speculation on both sides, at least if I’m wrong I was fooled and no harm done. As I believe in Christ of the Bible, and in his sole redeeming power, but if there is no Christ and this life is it, I enjoyed every moment and have no regrets. If you’re wrong… Well eternity is a long time to live with ones own arrogance and the fact of losing life’s biggest gamble, in some place other than paradise.

  • Harry James

    This is a tempest in a teapot, and poorly reported by most of the newspapers. The original note that this was a non issue that had really been dropped already was, I thought, the most accurate take on this.

    First, the so called detractors of Mormonism don’t use a proper control group for their so called “study” comparing the “Hewbrews” to inhabitants of the Americas. Second, their “study” was not a study at all, but just extrapolating selected data from other researchers. This is sometimes known as cherry picking. This was originally done by a cultural anthropologist, not a trained biochemist although since then all sorts of folks have weighed in, gnashed their teeth, and etc.

    At the point that I know a study is poorly controlled, I look to see if anyone has tightened up the protocol and reproduced the results. That has not happened here. That makes me wonder why anyone would keep repeating what appears to be a rather thinly veiled attempt to preach one’s own dogma as if it had some validity and root in science.

    The issue really lies with the LDS faithful, as best I can tell, who perpetuate non-doctrine by saying things like “all persons on this continet descended from Hebrews, no question.”

    I did not get that from reading the book of mormon and I can’t find where outside a few quips here and there which are ambiguous that there is an established doctrine stating this as inerrant or required for belief.

    Shavaloff or whatever his name is has a hard road to hoe here as well. My take on this is that people who want to complain about FARMS or Lindsay had best get their act together: Lindsay’s responses are reasoned, humorous, and comes from his perspective as a PHD biochemist. FARMS is not an organization for dummies and I’ve yet to see them bested in an objective and polite dialogue.

    People who underestimate the LDS apologetics or toss out unresearched commentary do so a tad too cavalierly.


  • Bob koch

    So this is what passes for the LDS apologist commandos? Oh dear, I had thought it would be somewhat challenging. They seem to have a version of the “Lost Tribes” that I might hear on Art Bell late some night when the subject strays from UFO sightings. Almost any book that discusses the exile of the Israelites into Babylon mentions, and this is not a secret, that alot of them *stayed* there. They just didn’t go back whrn they had the chance. Not “lost” at all, just exiled, and stayed. Boy, no long cruise after all. There, by the way, is something that genetic analysis could prove in a heartbeat. If the DNA evidence isn’t conclusive, are there alot of other things medical researchers come up with that Mormons don’t want to take advantage of? Is the science behind molecualer biolgy itself some kind of plot?
    I’m, glad to be an Orthodox Christian. No science of any kind threatens my faith, because it is real, and not founded on false claims that can later be tripped up by something as simple as a cotton swab of cheek cells.

  • Ben

    Bob Koch, Mormons don’t believe the Nephites are one of the 10 lost tribes. The Babylonian exile is not where the “lost tribes” come from, but the Assyrian exile of 140 years earlier c. 722 under Sargon.

    Second, my wife has a degree in molecular bio and works in a lab at a prominent university.

    Be careful what kind of naivete you thus proudly associate with the label “Orthdox Christian.”

    “In 1981, the word for them was officially changed from “white” to “pure.” ”

    Sure, but this wasn’t racially motivated, as clearly demonstrated by the printing history of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith himself changed “white” to “pure” for the 1840 edition of the BoM, but due to a geographical quirk, all subsequent editions up to 1981 were based off the text of the 1837. Having done their homework, the Church wanted the BoM to read how the translator (ie. Joseph Smith) had wanted it to, and thus “white” reverted back to pure.

    Lastly, Aaron Shavfovaloff’s Mormon Wiki is not actually Mormon. It’s another Evangelical hack job with false dichotomies and poor logic, such as “Christian vs. Mormon,” as 1)if Christianity were monolithic and 2)Mormonism were not a sub-set thereof. It’d be like saying “Catholic vs. Christian.” They don’t even argue it, they just assume it.

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  • carl loeber

    So they said that the natives came from Asia instead of Isreal.

    How about that? Isreal (Palestine) is part of Asia.

  • Bob Koch

    Ben, I mistook my exiles, sorry! However, my error doesn’t chamge Mormonism from being historical fiction to historical fact. Your wife’s work sounds interesting. It’s a great field to be in, as was my study of biology and physiology. None of it makes one bit of Mormonism real or historical Orthodox Christianity true for that matter. It is difficult to have a faith that is so vulnerable to something as simple as a new technique of biological researchers that so threatens it’s history. I don’t envy people who have to work so hard.

  • DougForbes

    A report by William Lobdell (February 6, 2006) asserted that some Mormons were troubled by a “lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans”. In fact about one third of Native American males selected for DNA research have Y chromosomes that belong to lineages commonly found in modern Jews. This includes the Q-P36 lineage group that is ancestral to the primary Native American lineage group, Q3. Q-P36 is found in 5% of Ashkenazi Jews [1], 5% of Iraqi Jews [2] and a significant number of Iranian Jews [3]. A rare branch of Q-P36 called Q-M323 is found in 15% of Yemeni Jews [4]. Other west Eurasian lineages found in Native American test subjects include R, E3b, J, F, G, and I. [5] All of these are also found in modern Jews. The problem is not a “lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans”. It is a lack of discernable facts in Lobdell’s report.

    Douglas M Forbes
    Greenfield IN 46140

    [1] Behar et al, 2004, Contrasting patterns of Y chromosome variation in Ashkenazi Jewish and host non-Jewish European populations.

    [2] Shen et al, 2004, Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation, page 249 & 251.

    [3] Hammer et al, 1999, Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes.

    [4] Shen et al, 2004, Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other Israeli Populations From Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation, page 251.

  • Tyler

    Hey, critical analysis in something so distinct from science will only lead back to one thing; difference of opinion. “Orthodox Christians” wouldn’t dream of questioning the Bible’s account of the great flood, nor of the enormous yet disappeared ark, nor the “7,000″ year existance of the earth, the fact that “Moses” can’t be found anywhere in Egyptian history (nor any story like it), the accounts of Adam and his progenitors living 100′s of years, nor any of the unexplained details of the Bible. Yet because Mormonism has it’s own style of mystery, they run quickly to condemn. No one will ever “GetReligion” using the scientific method. Jesus teaches that in John 14. Faithful Mormons, the kind that actually have analyzed and considered and wondered and come to their own conclusions, aren’t faithful because of what they think; it’s because of what they feel.

  • DougForbes

    Despite denials, the genetic link between Jews and American Indians has been established fact since 1999 [1]. The Q-P36 lineage group is found in 31% of US American Indians [2], 5% of Ashkenazi Jews [3], 5% of Iraqi Jews [4], and a significant number of Iranian Jews [5]. Q-P36 is thought to be 20,000 years old and to have originated in Central Eurasia [6]. It’s spread to the Middle East was inevitable and probably occurred several thousand of years ago. The fact of Jewish Q-P36 is open to various interpretations, and is a fairly common topic of discussion among well-informed Jews. A Jewish perspective of Jewish Q is provided by Ellen Levy-Coffman’s paper, A MOSAIC OF PEOPLE: THE JEWISH STORY AND A REASSESSMENT OF THE DNA EVIDENCE.

    [1] Hammer et al, 1999, Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes.
    [2] Hammer et al, 2005, Population structure of Y chromosome SNP haplogroups in the United States and forensic implications for constructing Y chromosome STR databases.
    [3] Behar et al, 2004, Contrasting patterns of Y chromosome variation in Ashkenazi Jewish and host non-Jewish European populations.
    [4] Shen et al, 2004, Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and other Israeli populations from Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence Variation.
    [5] Hammer et al, 1999, 1999, Jewish and Middle Eastern non-Jewish populations share a common pool of Y-chromosome biallelic haplotypes.
    [6] R. Spencer Wells, 2001, The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity.