Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church/Chapter 14

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Response to claims made in "Chapter 14: Moving the Spirit"

A FairMormon Analysis of: Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church, a work by author: Simon G. Southerton
Claim Evaluation
Losing a Lost Tribe
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Response to claims made in Losing a Lost Tribe, "Chapter 14: Moving the Spirit"

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Response to claim: 199 - No Semitic languages have been found in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

No Semitic languages have been found in the New World.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Nobody is expecting to find Semitic languages in the New World.


Question: Is finding links between Hebrew and ancient American languages realistic?

The Lehite’s mother tongue all-but-disappeared shortly after their arrival in the New World

It is important to note that we may never find traces of Hebrew language among American languages for the simple fact that the Lehite’s mother tongue all-but-disappeared shortly after their arrival in the New World. When Moroni writes about reformed Egyptian, he also explains that the “Hebrew hath been altered by us also” (Mormon 9:33).

Like other ancient civilizations (such as Egypt) most New World inhabitants would not have been literate. While ancient Americans had a sophisticated writing system, it is likely that knowledge of this system was limited to the civic officials or the priestly class. In the Book of Mormon we infer that training and devotion were necessary to competently master their difficult writing system. King Benjamin, for example, “caused that [his princely sons] should be taught all the languages of his fathers, that thereby they might become men of understanding” (Mosiah 1:3). Moroni, who had mastered the art himself, lamented that the Lord had not made the Nephites “mighty in writing” (Ether 12:23).

The most likely scenario is that the Lehites—who were a small incursion into a larger existing native populace—embraced the habits, culture, and language of their neighbors within a very short period after their arrival in the New World

The most likely scenario is that the Lehites—who were a small incursion into a larger existing native populace—embraced the habits, culture, and language of their neighbors within a very short period after their arrival in the New World. This is what we generally find when a small group melds with a larger group. The smaller group usually takes on the traits of the larger (or, at least, the more powerful) group—not the other way around. It is not unusual, however, for at least some of the characteristics of the smaller group to show up in the larger group’s culture. Typically, however, the smaller group becomes part of the larger group with which they merge. Thus, the Lehites would have become Mesoamericans. We see, therefore, the necessity to teach the Old World language to a few elite in order to preserve, not only the traditions, but also to maintain a continuation of scribes who could read the writings of past generations.

Even with such instruction, however, the script was most likely an altered form of Egyptian—perhaps adapted to Mesoamerican scripts—and altered according to their language. This suggests that ideas and motifs that originated in the Old World were adapted to a script that could be conveyed with New World motifs, or at least New World glyphs. Under such conditions, would there be any reason to expect that we’d find “Hebrew” among the Native Americans?


Question: Have any relationships been found between New World languages and Hebrew?

Recent scholarly research suggests a possible link between Uto-Aztecan (a family of about 30 Native American languages) and Hebrew

The Book of Mormon text suggests that Lehite language had a relatively minor impact on the speech of the Americas. It may be that Old World languages formed a type of "elite" language, used only by a few for religious purposes.

If, however, one is persuaded that the Book of Mormon text implies that some Hebrew links should still exist, preliminary linguistic data suggest that there are some intriguing links.

For example, Dr. Brian Stubbs argues for numerous parallels between Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan. As a professional linguist, Dr. Stubbs avoids the pitfalls of amateurs who simply point at similar words between two different languages. As he points out,

Any two languages can have a few similar words by pure chance. What is called the comparative method is the linguist's tool for eliminating chance similarities and determining with confidence whether two languages are historically—that is, genetically—related. This method consists of testing for three criteria. First, consistent sound correspondences must be established, for linguists have found that sounds change in consistent patterns in related languages; for example, German tag and English day are cognates (related words), as well as German tür and English door. So one rule about sound change in this case is that German initial t corresponds to English initial d. Some general rules of sound change that occur in family after family help the linguist feel more confident about reconstructing original forms from the descendant words or cognates, although a certain amount of guesswork is always involved.

Second, related languages show parallels in specific structures of grammar and morphology, that is, in rules that govern sentence and word formation.

Third, a sizable lexicon (vocabulary list) should demonstrate these sound correspondences and grammatical parallels.

When consistent parallels of these sorts are extensively demonstrated, we can be confident that there was a sister-sister connection between the two tongues at some earlier time.[1]

A few of Stubbs' many examples are:

Hebrew/Semitic Uto-Aztecan
kilyah/kolyah 'kidney' kali 'kidney'
baraq 'lightning' berok (derived from *pïrok) 'lightning'
sekem/sikm- 'shoulder' sikum/sïka 'shoulder'
mayim/meem 'water' meme-t 'ocean'

Rhodes Scholar Dr. Roger Westcott, non-LDS Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at Drew University, has made positive comments about Dr. Stubbs' research:

Perhaps the most surprising of all Eurasian-American linguistic connections, at least in geographic terms, is that proposed by Brian Stubbs: a strong link between the Uto-Aztecan and Afro-Asiatic (or Hamito-Semitic) languages. The Uto-Aztecan languages are, or have been, spoken in western North America from Idaho to El Salvador. One would expect that, if Semites or their linguistic kinsmen from northern Africa were to reach the New World by water, their route would be trans-Atlantic. Indeed, what graphonomic evidence there is indicates exactly that: Canaanite inscriptions are found in Georgia and Tennessee as well as in Brazil; and Mediterranean coins, some Hebrew and Moroccan Arabic, are found in Kentucky as well as Venezuela [citing Cyrus Gordon].

But we must follow the evidence wherever it leads. And lexically, at least, it points to the Pacific rather than the Atlantic coast. Stubbs finds Semitic and (more rarely) Egyptian vocabulary in about 20 of 25 extant Uto-Aztecan languages. Of the word-bases in these vernaculars, he finds about 40 percent to be derivable from nearly 500 triliteral Semitic stems. Despite this striking proportion, however, he does not regard Uto-Aztecan as a branch of Semitic or Afro-Asiatic. Indeed, he treats Uto-Aztecan Semitisms as borrowings. But, because these borrowings are at once so numerous and so well "nativized," he prefers to regard them as an example of linguistic creolization - that is, of massive lexical adaptation of one language group to another. (By way of analogy, . . . historical linguists regard the heavy importation of French vocabulary into Middle English as a process of creolization.)....

Lest skeptics should attribute these correspondences to coincidence, however, Stubbs takes care to note that there are systematic sound-shifts, analogous to those covered in Indo-European by Grimm's Law, which recur consistently in loans from Afro-Asiatic to Uto-Aztecan. One of these is the unvoicing of voiced stops in the more southerly receiving languages. Another is the velarization of voiced labial stops and glides in the same languages.[2]

While the conclusions remain tentative, some of the details of this on-going research look promising. Certainly, nothing in the linguistic evidence provides plausible arguments against the Book of Mormon narrative.

Question: Have any relationships been found between New World languages and Hebrew?

Recent scholarly research suggests a possible link between Uto-Aztecan (a family of about 30 Native American languages) and Hebrew

The Book of Mormon text suggests that Lehite language had a relatively minor impact on the speech of the Americas. It may be that Old World languages formed a type of "elite" language, used only by a few for religious purposes.

If, however, one is persuaded that the Book of Mormon text implies that some Hebrew links should still exist, preliminary linguistic data suggest that there are some intriguing links.

For example, Dr. Brian Stubbs argues for numerous parallels between Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan. As a professional linguist, Dr. Stubbs avoids the pitfalls of amateurs who simply point at similar words between two different languages. As he points out,

Any two languages can have a few similar words by pure chance. What is called the comparative method is the linguist's tool for eliminating chance similarities and determining with confidence whether two languages are historically—that is, genetically—related. This method consists of testing for three criteria. First, consistent sound correspondences must be established, for linguists have found that sounds change in consistent patterns in related languages; for example, German tag and English day are cognates (related words), as well as German tür and English door. So one rule about sound change in this case is that German initial t corresponds to English initial d. Some general rules of sound change that occur in family after family help the linguist feel more confident about reconstructing original forms from the descendant words or cognates, although a certain amount of guesswork is always involved.

Second, related languages show parallels in specific structures of grammar and morphology, that is, in rules that govern sentence and word formation.

Third, a sizable lexicon (vocabulary list) should demonstrate these sound correspondences and grammatical parallels.

When consistent parallels of these sorts are extensively demonstrated, we can be confident that there was a sister-sister connection between the two tongues at some earlier time.[3]

A few of Stubbs' many examples are:

Hebrew/Semitic Uto-Aztecan
kilyah/kolyah 'kidney' kali 'kidney'
baraq 'lightning' berok (derived from *pïrok) 'lightning'
sekem/sikm- 'shoulder' sikum/sïka 'shoulder'
mayim/meem 'water' meme-t 'ocean'

Rhodes Scholar Dr. Roger Westcott, non-LDS Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at Drew University, has made positive comments about Dr. Stubbs' research:

Perhaps the most surprising of all Eurasian-American linguistic connections, at least in geographic terms, is that proposed by Brian Stubbs: a strong link between the Uto-Aztecan and Afro-Asiatic (or Hamito-Semitic) languages. The Uto-Aztecan languages are, or have been, spoken in western North America from Idaho to El Salvador. One would expect that, if Semites or their linguistic kinsmen from northern Africa were to reach the New World by water, their route would be trans-Atlantic. Indeed, what graphonomic evidence there is indicates exactly that: Canaanite inscriptions are found in Georgia and Tennessee as well as in Brazil; and Mediterranean coins, some Hebrew and Moroccan Arabic, are found in Kentucky as well as Venezuela [citing Cyrus Gordon].

But we must follow the evidence wherever it leads. And lexically, at least, it points to the Pacific rather than the Atlantic coast. Stubbs finds Semitic and (more rarely) Egyptian vocabulary in about 20 of 25 extant Uto-Aztecan languages. Of the word-bases in these vernaculars, he finds about 40 percent to be derivable from nearly 500 triliteral Semitic stems. Despite this striking proportion, however, he does not regard Uto-Aztecan as a branch of Semitic or Afro-Asiatic. Indeed, he treats Uto-Aztecan Semitisms as borrowings. But, because these borrowings are at once so numerous and so well "nativized," he prefers to regard them as an example of linguistic creolization - that is, of massive lexical adaptation of one language group to another. (By way of analogy, . . . historical linguists regard the heavy importation of French vocabulary into Middle English as a process of creolization.)....

Lest skeptics should attribute these correspondences to coincidence, however, Stubbs takes care to note that there are systematic sound-shifts, analogous to those covered in Indo-European by Grimm's Law, which recur consistently in loans from Afro-Asiatic to Uto-Aztecan. One of these is the unvoicing of voiced stops in the more southerly receiving languages. Another is the velarization of voiced labial stops and glides in the same languages.[4]

While the conclusions remain tentative, some of the details of this on-going research look promising. Certainly, nothing in the linguistic evidence provides plausible arguments against the Book of Mormon narrative.


Response to claim: 199 - No wheeled chariots or horses to pull them have been found in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

No wheeled chariots or horses to pull them have been found in the New World.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Wheeled chariots are never said to exist in the Book of Mormon. Horses are never said to pull chariots. They are associated with chariots, which is quite a different matter.


The work repeats itself on p. xiv, 7-8., 173., and 199.

Question: In what context are chariots mentioned in the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon mentions "chariots," which one assumes to be a wheeled vehicle. It is also claimed that no draft animals existed in the New World to pull such chariots. It should be remembered that chariots do not play a major role in the Book of Mormon. They are mentioned in the following contexts:

Quotations from Old World scriptures

Apocalyptic teachings in Old World style

  • 3 Nephi 21:14 - Jesus speaks of "horses and chariots" in a symbolic and apocalyptic address

Used in conjunction with horses

  • Alma 18:9 - Ammon feeds the Lamanite king's horses, which are associated with his "chariots."
  • Alma 20:6 - Lamanite king uses horses and chariot for visit to neighboring kingdom
  • 3 Nephi 3:22 - Nephites "had taken their horses, and their chariots" to a central fortified area for protection against robbers

(It should be noted that we are not told if these chariots served a purpose in riding, or if they were for transport of goods, or if they had a ceremonial function. One assumes some sort of practicality or ritual importance in war, since they brought chariots to the siege.)

Conspicuously absent is any role of the chariot in the many journeys recorded in the Book of Mormon. Nor do horses or chariots play any role in the many Nephite wars; this is in stark contrast to the Biblical account, in which the chariots of Egypt, Babylon, and the Philistines are feared super-weapons upon the plains of Israel.


Gardner: "a correct approach to a Mesoamerican battle required all three elements: king, litter, and battle beast"

Wrote Mesoamerican expert Brant Gardner, who believes the Book of Mormon was situated in Mesoamerica:

Regardless of the reason for the presence of "horse" and "chariot" in the text, we must still deal with the question of what the original text might have meant the animal and conveyance that Joseph translated as "horse" and "chariot" to be. From this point on, all is speculation—but speculation consistent with the Mesoamerican world.

The wording describing horses and chariots is at least suggestive that the king would be transported in connection with the horse and chariot: "they should prepare his horses and chariots, and conduct him forth." "Conduct him" does not necessarily mean that Lamoni was conducted in the horse/chariot. Indeed, verse 9 mentions horses and chariots, but only the king is "conducted." It is possible that we are dealing with several ritual objects rather than a conveyance. Verse 12, however, does suggest that conveyances are available for the king and his servants; but if would be highly unusual for servants to ride in a culture where everyone walks. Riding would confer upon them the same social status as the king—not to be thought of unless chariots were so common that they were in universal use. And nothing in the text suggests that they were.

If we are dealing with a conveyance, there is a Mesoamerican possibility. A king might be conveyed in a litter, but the litters were carried by men, not pulled by animals. However, an interesting connection between the litter and an animal occurs on what has been termed a battle litter. Freidel, Schele, and Parker note:

Lintel 2 of Temple 1 shows Hasaw-Ka'an-K'awil wearing the balloon headdress of Tlaloc-Venus warfare adopted at the time of the Waxaktun conquest, and holding the bunched javelins and shield, the original metaphors for war imported from Teothuacan. He sits in majesty on the litter that carried him into battle, while above him hulks Waxkluha=un-Ubah-Kan, the great War serpent.... Graffiti drawings scratched on the walls of Tikal palaces, depicting the conjuring of supernatural beings from the Otherworld, prove that these scenes were more than imaginary events seen only by the kings. Several of these elaborate doodles show the great litters of the king with his protector beings hovering over him while he is participating in ritual. These images are not the propaganda of rulers, created in an effort to persuade the people of the reality of the supernatural events they were witnessing. They are the poorly drawn images of witnesses, perhaps minor members of lordly families, who scratched the wonders that they saw during moments of ritual into the walls of the places where they lived their lives.

Thus, Maya art represents the king riding on a litter. In battle, capturing the litter was tantamount to capturing that king's gods. However, the graffiti litters at least open the possibility that these were simply formal litters and not limited to battle context. These litters were accompanied by a "battle beast," or an animal alter ego, embodied in the regalia of the king and litter. Thus, a correct approach to a Mesoamerican battle required all three elements: king, litter, and battle beast.

If Joseph Smith, while translating, came upon an unfamiliar idea but which seemed to describe a kingly conveyance associated with an animal, would it not have seemed logical to him to describe it as a horses and chariot for the king? I see the plausible underlying conveyance as an elaborate royal litter, accompanied in peacetime by the spiritual animal associated with the king. This animal was a type of alter-ego for the king, and was called the way [pronounced like the letter "Y"]....[5]

Gardner's case may be strengthened by the mention of chariots being brought to the lengthy siege in 3 Nephi—suggesting again a possible ritual use associated with warfare.


Response to claim: 199 - No swords or steel have been found in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

No swords or steel have been found in the New World.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

Swords are well-known in the New World, just not European-style swords.


The work repeats itself on p. 8, 172., and 199.

Question: What was known about steel in ancient America?

The steel of the Book of Mormon is probably not modern steel. Steel, as we understand today, had to be produced using a very cumbersome process and was extremely expensive until the development of puddling towards the end of the 18th century. Even in ancient times, however, experienced smiths could produce steel by heating and hammering pig-iron or, earlier still, the never-molten iron from a bloomery to loose the surplus of carbon to get something like elastic steel. Early smiths even knew that by quenching hot steel in water, oil, or a salt solution the surface could be hardened.

Any Mesoamerican production likely depended upon the first method, which requires lower temperatures and less sophistication. Laban's "steel sword" is not anachronistic; Middle Eastern smiths were making steel by the tenth century B.C.[6]


Madden et al.: "by the beginning of the tenth century B.C. blacksmiths were intentionally steeling iron"

Robert Maddin, James D. Muhly and Tamara S. Wheeler:

It seems evident that by the beginning of the tenth century B.C. blacksmiths were intentionally steeling iron. [7]


Roper: "For example, an iron knife was found in an eleventh century Philistine tomb showed evidence of deliberate carburization"

Matthew Roper:

Archaeologists, for example, have discovered evidence of sophisticated iron technology from the island of Cyprus. One interesting example was a curved iron knife found in an eleventh century tomb. Metallurgist Erik Tholander analyzed the weapon and found that it was made of “quench-hardened steel.” Other examples are known from Syro-Palestine. For example, an iron knife was found in an eleventh century Philistine tomb showed evidence of deliberate carburization. Another is an iron pick found at the ruins of an fortress on Mount Adir in northern Galilee and may date as early as the thirteenth century B.C. “The manufacturer of the pick had knowledge of the full range of iron-working skills associated with the production of quench hardened steel” (James D. Muhly, “How Iron technology changed the ancient world and gave the Philistines a military edge,” Biblical Archaeology Review 8/6 [November-December 1982]: 50). According to Amihai Mazar this implement was “made of real steel produced by carburizing, quenching and tempering.” (Amihai Mazar, Archaeology of the Land of the Bible 10,000-586 B.C.E. New York: Doubleday, 1990, 361).[8]


Roper: "archaeologists have discovered a carburized iron sword near Jericho"

Matthew Roper:

More significant, perhaps, in relation to the sword of Laban, archaeologists have discovered a carburized iron sword near Jericho. The sword which had a bronze haft, was one meter long and dates to the time of king Josiah, who would have been a contemporary of Lehi. This find has been described as “spectacular” since it is apparently “the only complete sword of its size and type from this period yet discovered in Israel.”(Hershall Shanks, “Antiquities director confronts problems and controversies,” Biblical Archaeology Review 12/4 [July-August 1986]: 33, 35).

Today the sword is displayed at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. For a photo of the sword see the pdf version of the article here.

The sign on the display reads:

This rare and exceptionally long sword, which was discovered on the floor of a building next to the skeleton of a man, dates to the end of the First Temple period. The sword is 1.05 m. long (!) and has a double edged blade, with a prominent central ridge running along its entire length.

The hilt was originally inlaid with a material that has not survived, most probably wood. Only the nails that once secured the inlays to the hilt can still be seen. The sword’s sheath was also made of wood, and all that remains of it is its bronze tip. Owing to the length and weight of the sword, it was probably necessary to hold it with two hands. The sword is made of iron hardened into steel, attesting to substantial metallurgical know-how. Over the years, it has become cracked, due to corrosion.

Such discoveries lend a greater sense of historicity to Nephi’s passing comment in the Book of Mormon.[9]


Sorenson: "By 1400 BC, smiths in Armenia had discovered how to carburize iron by prolonged heating in contact with carbon"

John L. Sorenson: [10]

Steel is "iron that has been combined with carbon atoms through a controlled treatment of heating and cooling." [11] Yet "the ancients possessed in the natural (meteoric) nickel-iron alloy a type of steel that was not manufactured by mankind before 1890." [12] (It has been estimated that 50,000 tons of meteoritic material falls on the earth each day, although only a fraction of that is recoverable.) [13] By 1400 BC, smiths in Armenia had discovered how to carburize iron by prolonged heating in contact with carbon (derived from the charcoal in their forges). This produced martensite, which forms a thin layer of steel on the exterior of the object (commonly a sword) being manufactured. [14] Iron/steel jewelry, weapons, and tools (including tempered steel) were definitely made as early as 1300 BC (and perhaps earlier), as attested by excavations in present-day Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Iran, Israel, and Jordan. [15] "Smiths were carburizing [i.e., making steel] intentionally on a fairly large scale by at least 1000 BC in the Eastern Mediterranean area." [16]


Hamblin: "there are no references to Nephite steel after 400 B.C."

William Hamblin: [17]

Steel is mentioned only five times in the Book of Mormon, once in the Book of Ether (7.9), and four times in the Nephite records (1 Ne 4.9, 1 Ne 16.18, 2 Ne 5.15 and Jar 1.8). Of these, two refer to Near Eastern weapons of the early sixth century B.C. 1 Ne 4.9 states that the blade of Laban’s sword was “of most precious steel.” Nephi’s Near Eastern bow was “made of fine steel” (1 Ne 16.18). The next two references are to steel among generic metal lists. The first is to the time of Nephi, around 580 B.C.:

“work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores” (2 Ne 5:15)

The second is from Jarom 1:8, around 400 B.C.:

“workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war–yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war”

Notice that these two texts are what is called a “literary topos,” meaning a stylized literary description which repeats the same ideas, events, or items in a standardized way in the same order and form.

Nephi: “wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel” Jarom: “wood, …iron and copper, and brass and steel” The use of literary topoi is a fairly common ancient literary device found extensively in the Book of Mormon (and, incidentally, an evidence for the antiquity of the text). Scholars are often skeptical about the actuality behind a literary topos; it is often unclear if it is merely a literary device or is intended to describe specific unique circumstances.

Note, also, that although Jarom mentions a number of “weapons of war,” this list notably leaves off swords. Rather, it includes “arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin.” If iron/steel swords were extensively used by Book of Mormon armies, why are they notably absent from this list of weapons, the only weapon-list that specifically mentions steel?

Significantly, there are no references to Nephite steel after 400 B.C.


Response to claim: 200 - The Israelites of the Book of Mormon made no noticeable contribution to the native gene pool in the New World or in Polynesia

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The Israelites of the Book of Mormon made no noticeable contribution to the native gene pool in the New World or in Polynesia

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event


Gospel Topics: "Basic principles of population genetics suggest the need for a more careful approach to the data"

"Book of Mormon and DNA Studies," Gospel Topics on LDS.org:

Although the primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is more spiritual than historical, some people have wondered whether the migrations it describes are compatible with scientific studies of ancient America. The discussion has centered on the field of population genetics and developments in DNA science. Some have contended that the migrations mentioned in the Book of Mormon did not occur because the majority of DNA identified to date in modern native peoples most closely resembles that of eastern Asian populations.

Basic principles of population genetics suggest the need for a more careful approach to the data. The conclusions of genetics, like those of any science, are tentative, and much work remains to be done to fully understand the origins of the native populations of the Americas. Nothing is known about the DNA of Book of Mormon peoples, and even if their genetic profile were known, there are sound scientific reasons that it might remain undetected. For these same reasons, arguments that some defenders of the Book of Mormon make based on DNA studies are also speculative. In short, DNA studies cannot be used decisively to either affirm or reject the historical authenticity of the Book of Mormon.[18]


Questions: What are the criticisms related to the Book of Mormon and DNA?

DNA attacks against the Book of Mormon account fail on numerous grounds

Few criticisms of the Church have received as much media attention as this criticism, with so little thought and science being applied to the question. DNA attacks against the Book of Mormon account fail on numerous grounds.

It is important to realize that critics of the Book of Mormon base their arguments on DNA data that has never been shown to be even relevant to the issue of Book of Mormon genetics, let alone conclusive. Such critics have cobbled together DNA data gathered from unrelated studies to produce arguments with the appearance of scientific weight but having no real significance. No genetic studies have been designed and performed to test the hypothesis that Native Americans were of Lehite descent and that this inheritance is detectable today.

DNA samples taken from modern Native Americans do not match the DNA of modern inhabitants of the Middle East. Critics argue that this means the Book of Mormon's claim that Native Americans are descended from Lehi must be false, and therefore the Book of Mormon is not an ancient record as Joseph Smith claimed. [19]

"Recent attacks on the veracity of the Book of Mormon based on DNA evidence are ill considered."[20] Various geographical models introduce issues unique to each model, but the DNA data is no where as conclusive as some claim, regardless of the geographical model chosen.

Critics tend to opt for the most naive, ill-informed reading possible of the Book of Mormon text, and then cry foul when the Saints point out that they have given much thought to these issues and come to more nuanced conclusions that are more faithful to the Book of Mormon text than the critics' poorly-considered caricatures.

Critics do not provide the "whole story" of the DNA data, and seem to want to use the certainty which DNA provides in modern crime-solving as a springboard to trick the Saints, the media, and investigators into thinking that their historical DNA conclusions are as solid.

DNA data tells us nothing which we did not already know from archaeological data

In fact, DNA data tells us nothing which we did not already know from archaeological data—at present, the human settlement of the Americas is thought to date thousands of years before the advent of Lehi. Many of these settlers have links to east Asia. None of this is news, and none of it threatens the Book of Mormon's status as authentic history.

But, the critics hope that their listeners will be awed by the banner of DNA science, and conclude that something more impressive is going on. Informed members of the Church have not been persuaded by their tactics, and much has been written to help non-specialists understand the "numerous and complex" issues in the fascinating and valuable science of genetics.


Response to claim: 200 - Many LDS are disquieted by "how far the Book of Mormon is from reality"

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Many LDS are disquieted by "how far the Book of Mormon is from reality"

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Only those who rely on the author for understanding how leaders and scholars have seen these issues for the last century would be disquieted. The facts provide no reason for concern.

Logical Fallacy: Bandwagon (Appeal to the Masses)—The author believes that this claim is true simply because all of his or her buddies believe that it is true, despite the lack of actual evidence supporting it.

The author frequently makes claims about what "most Mormons" believe. How does he know? What surveys has he done? The author strives to portray members as gullible, ill-informed, confused, and manipulated. But, he presents no evidence save his opinion. Why ought members trust someone who obviously has such a low opinion of them?
The work repeats itself on p. 42, 135., 135-136., 136., 137., 142., 143., 197., 200., and 202-203.

Question: Do Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon describes real historical events?

Latter-day Saints believe that the events described in the Book of Mormon were real events that actually happened

Lately there has been increasing controversy among various academics regarding the veracity of the Book of Mormon's historical accounts. Several efforts have been made to "prove" that what the Book of Mormon has to say about the history of the new world cannot possibly have been the case.

There is a fundamental difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon that influences how we look at this issue. The Bible is a religious library that comes from many different sources, many different places and times. So you might disagree with a literal understanding of the portrayal of the creation from Genesis, but you might accept other events as reported in the Bible, such as the Assyrian conquest or the Babylonian captivity. In the case of the Book of Mormon, it all funnels through Joseph Smith, so if it is simply Joseph's creation, then none of it is historical.

Beyond this, the same issues are shared between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. The Book of Mormon discusses in places the process by which it was compiled. Some parts of the text (those books found at the beginning of the published Book of Mormon) claim to have been written by their authors without editing or copying by others. Other portions claim to be compilations of earlier sources and records, often hundreds and even thousands of years after the original accounts had been written. Some of these are not just compilations, but translations of earlier records. In this fashion, the Book of Mormon is no different than the Bible, and when taken as a literary text, can be viewed and read with the same kinds of literary criticism to which the Bible is exposed. Parts of the text of the Book of Mormon can be viewed as more literally accurate than other parts. To use the example from the question, the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, discusses Adam and Eve. Members who feel that the Adam and Eve narrative is more metaphorical as it is portrayed in the Bible will probably also approach the text of the Book of Mormon in the same fashion.

Does that ultimately matter? Some people have tried to make the case that historicity doesn’t matter at all, analogizing for instance to the parables of Jesus. Of course, the parables were put forward as parables, not as actual history, so that analogy breaks down pretty quickly.

Most Latter-day Saints have taken the view that the power of the message of the Book of Mormon would be lost if it were not in fact an historical document. If it is just a long, ahistorical allegory, then its influence would be severely truncated. If the Book of Mormon isn't what it claims to be, then we may as well close up shop and go home.

The Lord went to extreme lengths to show the Book of Mormon was indeed historical

The Lord went to extreme lengths to show the Book of Mormon was indeed historical. In his first written account of Moroni's visits, Joseph said as clearly as he possibly could that

an angel of the Lord came and stood before me and...revealed unto me that in the town of Manchester Ontario County N.Y. there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni & his fathers the servants of the living God in ancient days and deposited by the commandments of God and kept by the power thereof and that I should go and get them.[21]

This is the foundation of the Restoration, important enough that the Lord called eleven witnesses of the plates, with "historicity" being a key element of their testimonies. Considering the fact that three of the standard works proclaim the Book of Mormon to be historical, this can hardly be considered a side issue. Some would argue that denying the historicity of the Book of Mormon is denying a fundamental doctrine of the Church.

LDS members may disagree in the details. Some may well believe that certain narratives are present to serve a rhetorical purpose and were not intended to portray a literal and completely accurate historical presentation. And usually, differences in opinion at this level have little impact (if any at all) on a person's membership and ability to function at any level within the Church.

Church members are not required to believe in the literalness of every word in the Book of Mormon

And now the important question: Does it really matter? Does the Church actually have some doctrine that requires its members to believe in the literalness of every word in the Book of Mormon? Other Christian religions, it seems to me, make room for members who see, for example, the creation story of Adam and Eve as a profound metaphor, a way of explaining the ultimate truth of the creation without requiring any definite belief in the literalness of the story as it comes down to us in Genesis.

If someone comes to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is not historical at all, is there a place for him in the Church? Probably. We cast a very broad net. That person cannot go around teaching his heterodox views on the subject, but if he is willing to keep them to himself, he can be a contributing, active member of the Church, simply bracketing the historicity issue.


Response to claim: 200 - Many LDS are disquieted by "how far the apologists have strayed from traditional Mormon beliefs"

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Many LDS are disquieted by "how far the apologists have strayed from traditional Mormon beliefs"

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Since when are "traditional" beliefs binding? Only beliefs anchored in revelation or scripture are of ultimate value. Church dioramas and audio-visual productions have tended to emphasize the Mesoamerican model of the Book of Mormon—would the author have us believe that this is done against the wishes of the leaders of the Church?

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<Rather than interact with arguments the author labels "apologetic" (i.e., any interpretation which does not suit his naive view of the matter), the author hopes to marginalize them and reject them from consideration by claiming they are somehow novel, contrary to the Book of Mormon's plain meaning, or driven by desperation.

Many statements indicate that these ideas are generally not novel, and were certainly developed well before any pressure from DNA arguments—they arose from the Book of Mormon text itself.

The work repeats itself on p. xv, 42., 143., 148., 200., 203., and 206.

Response to claim: 201 - The author presents a supposition that the Church as a history of ancient America may some day be de-emphasized

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The author presents a supposition that the Church as a history of ancient America may some day be de-emphasized.

Author's sources:
  1. Brent L. Metcalf, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology (1993).
  • Mark D. Thomas, Digging in Cumorah: Reclaiming Book of Mormon Narratives (1999).

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This is pure speculation.


Response to claim: 202 - A limited Book of Mormon setting has "not been granted the church's official blessing in any way"

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

A limited Book of Mormon setting has "not been granted the church's official blessing in any way."

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

There is no official geography, so of course no official endorsement is present. Sorenson's limited setting, however, was published in the Church's official magazine, the Ensign. This is hardly a sign that leaders of the Church disapprove.
  • John L. Sorenson, "Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient America and Its Scripture, Part 1," Ensign (September 1984), 27. off-site For second part of the article, see off-site

Dallin H. Oaks reminisced about his time at BYU, and noted:

Here [BYU, 1950s] I was introduced to the idea that the Book of Mormon is not a history of all of the people who have lived on the continents of North and South America in all ages of the earth. Up to that time, I had assumed that it was. If that were the claim of the Book of Mormon, any piece of historical, archaeological, or linguistic evidence to the contrary would weigh in against the Book of Mormon, and those who rely exclusively on scholarship would have a promising position to argue.

In contrast, if the Book of Mormon only purports to be an account of a few peoples who inhabited a portion of the Americas during a few millennia in the past, the burden of argument changes drastically. It is no longer a question of all versus none; it is a question of some versus none. In other words, in the circumstance I describe, the opponents of historicity [i.e. those who argue that the Book of Mormon is not a literally true record, as it claims] must prove that the Book of Mormon has no historical validity for any peoples who lived in the Americas in a particular time frame, a notoriously difficult exercise. You do not prevail on that proposition by proving that a particular Eskimo culture represents migrations from Asia. The opponents of the historicity of the Book of Mormon must prove that the people whose religious life it records did not live anywhere in the Americas.[22]

Teaching for decades at the Church's flagship school and appearing in the Ensign are as close to "official" endorsement one is likely to get about a matter about which there is no revelation. The Church is unlikely to ever endorse any scholarly position that does not have revelatory confirmation.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<The author wishes to discredit anything he labels "apologetic" (i.e., any work that might contest his naive and ill-informed reading of LDS scripture). He does not engage their arguments, but uses a variety of tactics to avoid or dismiss them. The author sometimes claims that "apologetic" answers are not endorsed or promoted by the Church (allowing him to suggest that either such answers don't count because they aren't "official," or such answers are radical and therefore ultimately unacceptable—and the Church knows it.

Yet, the author knows that this claim is false, since he cites Jeff Lindsay on p. 185-186. Lindsay is an "apologist," and his work is cited by the Church's official website. There are also other examples of the Church using "apologetic" responses in a formal way.

The work repeats itself on p. 185-186, 202., and 205.

Response to claim: 202 - The general membership would not believe a limited Book of Mormon geography

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The general membership would not believe a limited Book of Mormon geography.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

The leaders of the Church apparently disagree, since they published John Sorenson's discussion of the same (see p. 202). Elder Oaks was likewise taught such ideas at BYU in the 1950s.

Logical Fallacy: Bandwagon (Appeal to the Masses)—The author believes that this claim is true simply because all of his or her buddies believe that it is true, despite the lack of actual evidence supporting it.

The author frequently makes claims about what "most Mormons" believe. How does he know? What surveys has he done? The author strives to portray members as gullible, ill-informed, confused, and manipulated. But, he presents no evidence save his opinion. Why ought members trust someone who obviously has such a low opinion of them?
The work repeats itself on p. 42, 135., 135-136., 136., 137., 142., 143., 197., 200., and 202-203.

Response to claim: 202 - Millions of Mormons believe that Lehi stands at the head of their own family pedigrees

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Millions of Mormons believe that Lehi stands at the head of their own family pedigrees.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

"Millions" may be an exaggeration.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

Taking the position that Lehi existed, then population genetics predicts that virtually all Amerindians and Polynesians are his literal descendants. They are simply not exclusively his descendants. The author wants to make Lehite links absurd or impossible.

Response to claim: 202b - The work of LDS apologists is not discussed in any public forum sponsored by the Church

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The work of LDS apologists is not discussed in any public forum sponsored by the Church.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

This is false. The FairMormon Conference is discussed in the Deseret News and the Church News.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<The author wishes to discredit anything he labels "apologetic" (i.e., any work that might contest his naive and ill-informed reading of LDS scripture). He does not engage their arguments, but uses a variety of tactics to avoid or dismiss them. The author sometimes claims that "apologetic" answers are not endorsed or promoted by the Church (allowing him to suggest that either such answers don't count because they aren't "official," or such answers are radical and therefore ultimately unacceptable—and the Church knows it.

Yet, the author knows that this claim is false, since he cites Jeff Lindsay on p. 185-186. Lindsay is an "apologist," and his work is cited by the Church's official website. There are also other examples of the Church using "apologetic" responses in a formal way.

The work repeats itself on p. 185-186, 202., and 205.

Response to claim: 202-203 - The genetic support for an Israelite presence in the New World is "slim to none"

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The genetic support for an Israelite presence in the New World is "slim to none."

Author's sources:
  1. Author's conclusion based upon preceding chapters.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

LDS scientists do not expect that such evidence would exist.


Question: How does one identify "Jewish" or "Middle Eastern" DNA?

Identifying DNA criteria for Manasseh and Ephraim may always be beyond our reach

Identifying DNA criteria for Manasseh and Ephraim may always be beyond our reach. But, even identifying markers for Jews—a group that has remained relatively cohesive and refrained from intermarriage with others more than most groups—is an extraordinarily difficult undertaking.

One author cautioned:

Studies of human genetic diversity have barely begun. Yet the fashion for genetic ancestry testing is booming. . . . Other groups, such as Jews, are now being targeted. This despite the fact that Jewish communities have little in common on their mitochondrial side—the maternal line down which Judaism is traditionally inherited. It's the male side that shows common ancestry between different Jewish communities—so, of course, that's what the geneticists focus on. . . . Geneticists—like preachers and philosophers before them—need to avoid promising more than they can deliver. [23]


Response to claim: 203 - Apologists are unable to find an Israelite genetic signature in the islands of the Pacific

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Apologists are unable to find an Israelite genetic signature in the islands of the Pacific.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's conclusion based upon preceding chapters.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

LDS scientists would not expect that such a signature exists. LDS apologists aren't even attempting to find an "Israelite genetic signature" in the Pacific islands.


Response to claim: 203 - Apologists are unable to find an Israelite genetic signature in Central America

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Apologists are unable to find an Israelite genetic signature in Central America.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's conclusion based upon preceding chapters.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

LDS apologists aren't even attempting to find an "Israelite genetic signature" in Central America.


Response to claim: 203 - Apologists have chosen to reinterpret the statements of modern prophets regarding Book of Mormon geography

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Apologists have chosen to reinterpret the statements of modern prophets regarding Book of Mormon geography.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author needs some evidence for this statement. Apologists and scholars have always pointed out that a variety of views have been expressed by leaders and members.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<Rather than interact with arguments the author labels "apologetic" (i.e., any interpretation which does not suit his naive view of the matter), the author hopes to marginalize them and reject them from consideration by claiming they are somehow novel, contrary to the Book of Mormon's plain meaning, or driven by desperation.

Many statements indicate that these ideas are generally not novel, and were certainly developed well before any pressure from DNA arguments—they arose from the Book of Mormon text itself.

The work repeats itself on p. xv, 42., 143., 148., 200., 203., and 206.

Response to claim: 203 - Most Mormons believe that Adam and Eve were placed on the Earth 6000 years ago

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Most Mormons believe that Adam and Eve were placed on the Earth 6000 years ago.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Some Mormons do, but the Church has no official position on such matters.


Brigham Young (1871): "whether the Lord...made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he give revelation on the subject"

Brigham Young:

In these respects we differ from the Christian world, for our religion will not clash with or contradict the facts of science in any particular...whether the Lord found the earth empty and void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of the rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he give revelation on the subject. If we understood the process of creation there would be no mystery about it, it would be all reasonable and plain, for there is no mystery except to the ignorant.[24]


John S. Lewis: "Considering that Doctrine and Covenants 77:6 refers to “…this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence,” what led Phelps to speak of Earth as 2,555 million years old?"

The antiquity of Earth was a subject of active debate in the early nineteenth century. Some adherents of a conservative interpretation of scripture ignored or sought to explain away the overwhelming evidence from geology. The more liberal scientific interpretations of geological history suggested an age of 100,000 to millions of years for Earth. Almost alone, W. W. Phelps, Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham scribe, offered a vastly larger perspective. In the Times and Seasons, a letter from Phelps to the Prophet’s brother William states:

That eternity, agreeable to the records found in the catacombs of Egypt, has been going on in this system [Page 76](not the world)3 almost 2555 millions of years; and to know that deists, geologists and others are trying to prove that matter must have existed hundreds of thousands of years:—it almost tempts the flesh to fly to God, or muster faith like Enoch to be translated and see and know as we are seen and known!


...
Considering that Doctrine and Covenants 77:6 refers to “…this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence,” what led Phelps to speak of Earth as 2,555 million years old? The answer appears to be straightforward. Though 7000 Earth years is in conflict with all physical, chemical, genetic, archaeological, and linguistic evidence, 7000 years of God is not ruled out. The arithmetic is easy. One day of God is 1000 years of man, and therefore in Joseph Smith’s reckoning, a day of God is 365 × 1000 days of man. The 2.555 billion years in question therefore corresponds to 2,555,000,000/365,000 years of God, which is 7000 years of God for each day of Earth’s existence. A more careful calculation, using the true average length of the year including leap years (365.257 days) gives 2,556,799,000 Earth years. Clearly Joseph Smith did not intend the “7000 years” of Earth’s age to refer to Earth years.[25] —(Click here to continue)

John S. Lewis, "The Scale of Creation in Space and Time,"


Improvement Era 1909 regards an ancient earth as consistent with scripture

The editor of the Improvement Era wrote:

Several students have asked to know whether the ideas contained in the seventh Y. M. M.I.A. Manual lesson are in harmony with the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith as found in section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants. A careful reading of the 7th lesson, also of the Book of Abraham, and the section referred to in the Doctrine and Covenants will demonstrate that there is no conflict. The Manual, as I understand it, simply gives the scientific deductions concerning the geological age of the earth. It does not pretend to say how old the earth is, but points out the scientific conclusions on this subject. The Book of Abraham in the 3rd and 4th chapters, very distinctly points out, or conveys, the idea that the creative days or periods included long periods of time. This is plainly set forth on pages 56 to 59 in the Manual. We are not told how long these periods were. It is only demonstrated in the Manual that science declares the creation to have covered very long periods of time; and that Joseph the Prophet, through the Book of Abraham, also declared that long periods of time were consumed in the preparation of the earth for man; which the prophet did before the scientists or religious leaders had announced this truth. It seems to me unnec- essary to discuss. much less try to decide, in class, the length of the time. The prophet declares it was long periods. Science, as is stated, gives millions of years as the length of time. There is positively and absolutely no definite solution of the problem given either in science or in revelation; but the fact is clearly expressed, and that is all that is sought to be done, that both science and the Prophet Joseph ascribe long periods of time to the formation of the earth....

The idea to be obtained out of our Manual in regard to these matters is not to settle upon things that are not revealed, and to decide things that cannot be decided; but it is the purpose of the Manual to show that, in a general way, Joseph Smith the Prophet, by the inspiration of God, announced truths then generally unknown but which have since been declared by men of science.[26]

The editor concludes by introducing remarks by Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve on the age of the Earth.


John A. Widtsoe in Improvement Era 1909 on the age of the earth

The scientific doctrine of the great age of the earth, rests largely upon the evidence of the orderly arrangement of plant and animal fossils in the rocks constituting the upper portion of the earth’s crust. Those who hold to the six day theory of creation, claim that in accordance with the above quotation from the Prophet Joseph, these stratilied rocks, containing fossils, are fragments of other worlds, and do not represent processes that have taken place on this earth. Why fossils may have been formed on other worlds, but not on the earth, is nearly as difficult to understand as the doctrine that living, intelligent beings are found only on the earth. Modern science has developed a doctrine like that of Joseph Smith, which teaches that heavenly bodies may be made up of fragments of destroyed worlds, but the parts of destroyed worlds which go to build new heavenly bodies are minute, even microscopic in size. There are numerous strong evidences against the view that large sections of other worlds were brought together to form this earth (see an article by Dr. J. E. Talmage, Improvement Era vol 7, p 481). Primarily, it would not be the way of nature, as we know it. God, who is nature's master, does his work in a natural manner.... The more the matter is carefully examined, the firmer grows the belief that the creation of the earth occupied immense time periods, the exact length of which is not yet given to man to know. This view does not in any way discredit the book of books, the Holy Bible. The Bible must be read with understanding minds; as :1 hook, it must no more be held to a word. than a man desires so to be held. By verse and chapter and book, the Bible will be found an accurate, inspired record of the most wonderful and valuable events and doctrines of the world. However, it must not be forgotten that the Apostle Paul has reminded us that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” God reveals himself in nature; and when nature is read understandingly God may thereby in part be comprehended. There is no conflict between the story of the rocks and the Bible, except as man has made it. Finally, it must be said that so far as living a correct gospel life is concerned, it matters little whether or not we know the time God consumed in making the earth a fit habitation for man.[27]


Charles W. Penrose in Improvement Era 1909 on the age of the earth

In times past a large portion of the religious world, following perhaps the chronology of the scriptures given by Archbishop Usher, believed that the creation took place in the year 4004 before Christ. but this no longer prevails among enlightened people, and has been exploded by researches and developments and scientific observation. Geology, or "the science of the earth.” has demonstrated the fallacy of the idea that the earth is such a young; planet in this universe. We do not regard geology as sufficiently scientific to determine exactly the period when this globe rolled into organized existence, revolving on its own axis and traveling [sic] on its career round the sun, but the data furnished by thoroughly sincere and truth exploring geologists are sufficiently definite and reliable to prove that this planet existed and moved and had its being long ages before the six-thousand-years period....

The light thus thrown on the process of creation and the periods thereof , throws hack the age of the earth at least :1 period of six thousand years before the time set forth in the chronology, which for 3 long time was accepted in Christendom. Readers of the Bible should understand that the figures placed at the head of chapters therein are in It large degree speculative and unreliable: some of them, showing the periods from the birth of some of the patriarchs to that of others. are measurably correct, because they are computed from statements given in the sacred record. But those ventured as starting points on which to calculate the age of the earth, are altogether mere matters of conjecture? That which we have referred to as given by modern revelation does not die- close. or profess to disclose, the actual age of the earth. It only starts from the period alluded to in Genesis 1: 3, when “God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” How many ages upon ages passed from the time called “in the beginning," to that when God called forth the light out of the midst of the darkness, cannot be gleaned from any revelation or scripture ancient or modem, that is now known to man.

Neither the periods nor the processes of the development of the earth from the nucleus or starting point of its organized development are revealed in the sacred writings, but there may have been eons of ages between the time mentioned as “in the beginning” until the time when “God said, Let there be light; and there was light.” And it should not be thought that this command of Deity was the actual creation or formation of light, for that is an eternal principle or manifestation of an eternal essence. It was simply the bringing forth of light to penetrate “the darkness which was upon the face of the deep.” So, when after several periods in the order of creation “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night,” and further, when it is said, “God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also,” it is not to be understood that they were for the first time brought into being, but that they were disclosed to this globe, and their influence was brought to bear upon it by the clearing away of the dense mists that had surrounded this planet. [28]


Response to claim: 203 - Most Mormons believe that the Earth was re-colonized after the Flood

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Most Mormons believe that the Earth was re-colonized after the Flood.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

Some Mormons believe this, others do not.

Logical Fallacy: Composition—The author assumes that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.

The Church has no official position on the extent of Noah's Flood. Just because some members and leaders believe that the Flood was global in scope does not mean that everyone believes it.
The work repeats itself on p. 30, 42., and 203.

Response to claim: 203 - LDS apologists need to explain how people have lived in Australia and the New World separately for tens of thousands of years without evidence of a global flood having disturbed them

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

LDS apologists need to explain how people have lived in Australia and the New World separately for tens of thousands of years without evidence of a global flood having disturbed them.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Why must LDS apologists defend a global flood or its implications when a global flood is not an official doctrine of the Church? FairMormon is committed to the proposition that there are a variety of logical and intellectually plausible solutions to such issues, and does not believe that one must be entertained to the exclusion of others.


Question: How do Latter-day Saints reconcile scriptural accounts of the Flood of Noah with scientific evidence of continuous human habitation on the earth?

There is scientific evidence of diversity of species, language and of continuous human habitation

Modern scientific knowledge regarding the diversity of species, language and evidence of continuous human habitation does not support the Biblical story that a global flood wiped out most life as recently as 4,400 years ago.

The following criticisms are often applied to Latter-day Saint (or traditional Christian beliefs) regarding the Flood:

  • It is claimed that LDS scriptures require Mormons to believe in a global flood, and that if LDS doctrine or leaders are fallible in their statements concerning the flood, then they must be wrong about other Church doctrines as well.
  • If Noah's Flood was not global, how do we account for Joseph Smith's claim that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri?
  • Isn't it true that before the flood all the continents were all one land mass, since the Bible says that the earth was "divided in the days of Peleg."

Latter-day Saints believe that Noah existed, and that he built an ark to save his family from a flood, and that the flood occurred

There are a number of basic teachings which we all accept regardless of the global or local scope of the Flood:

  • There existed a prophet named Noah.
  • Noah was commanded by the Lord to construct an ark.
  • Noah warned the people of the impending deluge.
  • The Flood was a literal event which did indeed occur.
  • Noah, his family and the animals he collected were saved from the deluge.
  • The Lord made a covenant with Noah and his descendants.

Whether the Flood covered the entire earth, or whether it only covered Noah's world, makes no difference

Latter-day Saints believe that the prophet Noah existed, and that he was commanded to build an ark and save his family from a flood. A belief that this flood was global in nature is not a requirement for Latter-day Saints; traditionally, many earlier members and leaders endorsed the global flood views common in society and Christendom generally. The accumulation of additional scientific information have led some to conclude that a local flood — one limited to the area in which Noah lived — is the best explanation of the available data. People of either view can be members in good standing.


Response to claim: 203 - BYU professors have been "compelled to shrink the scale of the assumed Israelite incursion into the Americas"

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

BYU professors have been "compelled to shrink the scale of the assumed Israelite incursion into the Americas"

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The only thing that has "compelled" them to do so is a careful reading of the Book of Mormon text itself, and this has been going on since the 1920s, long before "BYU professors" were involved.


Response to claim: 204 - In 1938 Joseph Fielding Smith opposed a limited geography for the Book of Mormon

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

In 1938 Joseph Fielding Smith opposed a limited geography for the Book of Mormon.

Author's sources:
  1. Unspecified statement by Joseph Fielding Smith in 1938.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Why is this supposed to be significant? In 1984, the Ensign actually published the Limited Geography theory.


Response to claim: 204 - The youth of the Church have been assured that the Smithsonian uses the Book of Mormon to guide their research

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The youth of the Church have been assured that the Smithsonian uses the Book of Mormon to guide their research.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

Any youth being told this is being misled. There is nothing in the Church curriculum that states this. Where is the author's evidence?


Question: Does the Smithsonian Institution send out a letter regarding the use of the Book of Mormon as a guide for archaeological research?

In response to inquiries from Mormons and non-Mormons, the Smithsonian Institution sends out a standard letter denying that they use the Book of Mormon as a guide for archaeological research

The Smithsonian Institution sends a form letter to those who inquire about their use of the Book of Mormon for archaeological purposes. The National Geographic Society has a similar letter. The content of the letter has changed over the years; the current version (revised 1998) reads:

Your inquiry of February 7 concerning the Smithsonian Institution's alleged use of the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide has been received in this office for response.

The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archaeological research, and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect.

Your interest in the Smithsonian Institution is appreciated.

The letter is correct: The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide

Taken at face value, the letter is correct: The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. Its purpose is "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations" (Title Page), not to give a history of all (or even most) ancient Americans.

Previous editions of the letter contained a detailed list of alleged "problems" with the Book of Mormon

A previous edition of the letter contained a detailed list of alleged "problems" with the Book of Mormon. Critics of the Church use this older letter as proof that the Book of Mormon has no archaeological support and is therefore false. One critic even claims that "generations of youth" in the Church have been taught that the Smithsonian uses the Book of Mormon to guide their research.

John Sorenson, an LDS anthropologist, wrote a detailed critique and encouraged the Smithsonian to update their letter to reflect the latest scientific evidence:

For many years, the Smithsonian Institution has given out a routine response to questions posed to them about their view and relation between the Book of Mormon and scientific studies of ancient American civilizations. Statements in their handout pointed out what somebody at the Institutions claimed were contradictions between the text of the scriptures and what scientists claim about New World Cultures.

In 1982 John Sorenson wrote a detailed critique of the Smithsonian piece that was published by FARMS. It pointed out errors of fact and logic in the statement. He revised that in 1995 and included the recommendation that the Smithsonian Institution completely modify their statement to bring it up-to-date scientifically. FARMS officers later conferred with a Smithsonian representative who indicated a willingness to make changes. More recently members of Congress have questioned the Institution about the inappropriateness of a government agency taking a stand regarding a religious book. - Anonymous, "Smithsonian Statement on the Book of Mormon Revisited," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 7/1 (1998): 77–77. off-site wiki

While archaeology could be useful in determining where the events of the Book of Mormon took place, the Book of Mormon does not contain the sort of historical detail that would make it useful for non-Mormon archaeologists.

That the Smithsonian does not use the Book of Mormon in its research says nothing about the book's divinity and truthfulness.

For further details, see: John L. Sorenson, "A New Evaluation of the Smithsonian Institution "Statement regarding the Book of Mormon," FARMS (1995).


Response to claim: 204 - The Book of Mormon depicts the settlement of an area of the world that was previously unpopulated

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The Book of Mormon depicts the settlement of an area of the world that was previously unpopulated.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

The Book of Mormon describes a land that was kept from others. The extent of this land is not specified. The author assumes that this reference is to the entire North and South American continents.

Logical Fallacy: Strawman—The author sets up a weakened or caricatured version of the opponent's argument. The author then proceeds to demolish the weak version of the argument, and claim victory.

Since scholars have long pointed to many textual clues which point to the existence of other non-Lehites in the New World, the author must dispense with such ideas if he is to succeed in portraying the Book of Mormon at odds with science. However, he does not engage the textual evidence that Latter-day Saints have found in abundance—he merely insists there is no evidence there.
The work repeats itself on p. 160, 193., 195., and 204.

Response to claim: 205 - General Authorities tell members in certain areas of the world that they are the offspring of Lehi

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

General Authorities tell members in certain areas of the world that they are the offspring of Lehi.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's conclusion based on preceding chapters.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

That is correct. Assuming that Lehi existed and that his descendants entered the existing population of ancient America, then at this point everyone living in those areas of the world have Lehi among their ancestors. He is not, however, their exclusive ancestor.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

Taking the position that Lehi existed, then population genetics predicts that virtually all Amerindians and Polynesians are his literal descendants. They are simply not exclusively his descendants. The author wants to make Lehite links absurd or impossible.

Response to claim: 205 - The Church disregards people's own cultural history and local mythologies

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The Church disregards people's own cultural history and local mythologies.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

The only cultural traditions that the Church would "disregard" would be those that are inconsistent with becoming followers of Jesus Christ. The Church actually values cultural traditions among its various members around the world.


Question: Does the Church disregard people's own cultural traditions?

Sometimes acceptance of the restored Gospel requires a convert to put aside traditions which have been culturally ingrained

It is claimed that the Church disregards people's own cultural traditions, and that it does not assign any value to native cultures, their histories or mythologies.

Sometimes acceptance of the restored Gospel requires a convert to put aside traditions which have been culturally ingrained. This is not an effort on the part of the Church to destroy someone's traditions, but rather a willing change on the part of the convert to live the principles of the Gospel. Where native cultural traditions are uplifting, the Church promotes them, such as the case with the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii.

To claim that the Church has no regard for diverse local cultural traditions is painting with a very broad brush

To claim that the Church has no regard for diverse local cultural traditions is painting with a very broad brush. There are many types of cultural traditions. Some are good and uplifting, and some are not. The Church does not attempt to "homogenize" its membership in various parts of the world. The style of worship may vary, but the principles of the restored Gospel are the same in any part of the world. Certain practices that are traditional may be incompatible with or prevent acceptance of the Gospel, which others may actually fit nicely with new beliefs.

Some cultural religious traditions prevent acceptance of the Gospel

[T]wo realities hamper the growth of the Church: traditions and poverty. The first reality, deeply held cultural traditions, discourages individual family members from changing religions. “Life will be different for someone who joins the Church,” says Elder John B. Dickson, President of the South American South Area until August 1997. “They will need to learn new religious traditions.” In a country rich with tradition, change comes only with sacrifice, and in the past many new members found the obstacles overwhelming.[29]

∗       ∗       ∗

The Indian citizens of Fiji also have strong cultural traditions. Many Indian parents do not allow their children to date, and arranged marriages are common. When a woman is married, she becomes a member of her husband’s family and a servant in her mother-in-law’s home. While she lives there, her father-in-law has the final say on what she does. This may hinder a young woman from joining the Church, even though her husband, who is not required to secure his father’s permission, does join. Most Fijians of Indian descent are Hindu, and some Indian Church members are ostracized when they give up the beliefs their families have held for generations. “My personal philosophy,” says Peter Lee, a counselor in the Fiji Suva Mission presidency, “is that if one’s culture is not going to hinder progress, then we should keep it. But if it’s a tradition that will hinder the work of the Lord, we need to take a stand on what we should or should not do. Otherwise we’ll never move forward.”[30]

Some cultural traditions are not compatible with the Gospel

Many people’s dispositions mirror the cultural traditions that they internalized while growing up. The widespread consumption of alcohol, immodesty of dress and behavior, and cohabitation without marriage are but a few examples of cultural traditions alien to the spirit of the gospel. So it is that the “wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers” (D&C 93:39). These traditions seem natural because most people in a given society engage in such behaviors, but the commandments of God are based upon revealed truth, not popular preferences. Thus, King Benjamin warned his people that “the natural man is an enemy to God,” and he exhorted them to put off the natural man, or in other words to reject unholy traditions and to undergo a mighty change in their natural dispositions by yielding “to the enticings of the Holy Spirit” (Mosiah 3:19).[31]

Some cultural traditions can be integrated with the Gospel

Mormonism had a familiar ring to the Maoris. It must be remembered that by the time LDS doctrine was introduced to the Maoris, they were but one or two generations removed from their pre-Christian religion. Although most Maoris had given up the past, they still remembered many of their old traditions and practices. Even before Mormonism, the Maoris had turned to millennial faiths and various adjustment cults in an effort, generally a conscious one, to bridge the gap from the past to the present. Mormonism, too, emphasized the coming time of peace which would be ushered in by the Savior. Of great importance to the Maoris, as they discovered Mormonism and used it to make the adjustment to the pakeha world, was that the elders did not reject Maoritanga, Maori cultural traditions, in their entirety. The missionaries, too, believed that the Maoris were being brought again into a fold from which they had strayed, but from which they had not wandered too far.[32]

Some cultural traditions facilitate acceptance of the Gospel

Two cultural traditions make the gospel “good news” to the Koreans: their religious beliefs and their great family love. Korea has a popular religion, established in 1909, called Dae jong. The beliefs, theologies, and teachings of this religion are very similar to those of Christianity. For example, Dae jong teaches that there are many gods, but one is most high and glorious. His son (Dan koon) acting as his mediator, is the spiritual source of help to the people. These ideas remind us of our Christian concept of Deity.[33]


Response to claim: 205 - The Church does not officially endorse apologetic scholarship

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The Church does not officially endorse apologetic scholarship

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

"Apologetic scholarship," as the author puts it, has been published in the Ensign, the Church News, the Deseret News and on LDS.org.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<The author wishes to discredit anything he labels "apologetic" (i.e., any work that might contest his naive and ill-informed reading of LDS scripture). He does not engage their arguments, but uses a variety of tactics to avoid or dismiss them. The author sometimes claims that "apologetic" answers are not endorsed or promoted by the Church (allowing him to suggest that either such answers don't count because they aren't "official," or such answers are radical and therefore ultimately unacceptable—and the Church knows it.

Yet, the author knows that this claim is false, since he cites Jeff Lindsay on p. 185-186. Lindsay is an "apologist," and his work is cited by the Church's official website. There are also other examples of the Church using "apologetic" responses in a formal way.

The work repeats itself on p. 185-186, 202., and 205.

Response to claim: 205 - The Church officially tells members not to attempt to link the Book of Mormon to any geographical location

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The Church officially tells members not to attempt to link the Book of Mormon to any geographical location.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

This is incorrect. The Church emphasizes the spiritual value of the Book of Mormon, and does not encourage attempts to link its geography to a real world location. However, the Church does not tell its members not to attempt it.

Logical Fallacy: Black-or-White—The author presents two alternative states as the only two possibilities, when more possibilities exist.

Members are encouraged not to focus on the geography to the exclusion of the Book's more important spiritual message. BYU and FARMS (now the Maxwell Institute) have published a great deal of member scholarship on geography, however. If the Church opposed this, it could easily be stopped.

Ironically, the author knows that there is no official geography (see p. 205) but continues to act as if it scandalous that the Church does not preach a non-official idea as official—perhaps hoping we will conclude that the model he describes is the official one which the Church dare not renounce.

The work repeats itself on p. 43, 142., and 205.

Response to claim: 206 - There is no evidence of a Hebrew influence in Mesoamerica

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

There is no evidence of a Hebrew influence in Mesoamerica.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's conclusion.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources


Question: Have any relationships been found between New World languages and Hebrew?

Recent scholarly research suggests a possible link between Uto-Aztecan (a family of about 30 Native American languages) and Hebrew

The Book of Mormon text suggests that Lehite language had a relatively minor impact on the speech of the Americas. It may be that Old World languages formed a type of "elite" language, used only by a few for religious purposes.

If, however, one is persuaded that the Book of Mormon text implies that some Hebrew links should still exist, preliminary linguistic data suggest that there are some intriguing links.

For example, Dr. Brian Stubbs argues for numerous parallels between Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan. As a professional linguist, Dr. Stubbs avoids the pitfalls of amateurs who simply point at similar words between two different languages. As he points out,

Any two languages can have a few similar words by pure chance. What is called the comparative method is the linguist's tool for eliminating chance similarities and determining with confidence whether two languages are historically—that is, genetically—related. This method consists of testing for three criteria. First, consistent sound correspondences must be established, for linguists have found that sounds change in consistent patterns in related languages; for example, German tag and English day are cognates (related words), as well as German tür and English door. So one rule about sound change in this case is that German initial t corresponds to English initial d. Some general rules of sound change that occur in family after family help the linguist feel more confident about reconstructing original forms from the descendant words or cognates, although a certain amount of guesswork is always involved.

Second, related languages show parallels in specific structures of grammar and morphology, that is, in rules that govern sentence and word formation.

Third, a sizable lexicon (vocabulary list) should demonstrate these sound correspondences and grammatical parallels.

When consistent parallels of these sorts are extensively demonstrated, we can be confident that there was a sister-sister connection between the two tongues at some earlier time.[34]

A few of Stubbs' many examples are:

Hebrew/Semitic Uto-Aztecan
kilyah/kolyah 'kidney' kali 'kidney'
baraq 'lightning' berok (derived from *pïrok) 'lightning'
sekem/sikm- 'shoulder' sikum/sïka 'shoulder'
mayim/meem 'water' meme-t 'ocean'

Rhodes Scholar Dr. Roger Westcott, non-LDS Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at Drew University, has made positive comments about Dr. Stubbs' research:

Perhaps the most surprising of all Eurasian-American linguistic connections, at least in geographic terms, is that proposed by Brian Stubbs: a strong link between the Uto-Aztecan and Afro-Asiatic (or Hamito-Semitic) languages. The Uto-Aztecan languages are, or have been, spoken in western North America from Idaho to El Salvador. One would expect that, if Semites or their linguistic kinsmen from northern Africa were to reach the New World by water, their route would be trans-Atlantic. Indeed, what graphonomic evidence there is indicates exactly that: Canaanite inscriptions are found in Georgia and Tennessee as well as in Brazil; and Mediterranean coins, some Hebrew and Moroccan Arabic, are found in Kentucky as well as Venezuela [citing Cyrus Gordon].

But we must follow the evidence wherever it leads. And lexically, at least, it points to the Pacific rather than the Atlantic coast. Stubbs finds Semitic and (more rarely) Egyptian vocabulary in about 20 of 25 extant Uto-Aztecan languages. Of the word-bases in these vernaculars, he finds about 40 percent to be derivable from nearly 500 triliteral Semitic stems. Despite this striking proportion, however, he does not regard Uto-Aztecan as a branch of Semitic or Afro-Asiatic. Indeed, he treats Uto-Aztecan Semitisms as borrowings. But, because these borrowings are at once so numerous and so well "nativized," he prefers to regard them as an example of linguistic creolization - that is, of massive lexical adaptation of one language group to another. (By way of analogy, . . . historical linguists regard the heavy importation of French vocabulary into Middle English as a process of creolization.)....

Lest skeptics should attribute these correspondences to coincidence, however, Stubbs takes care to note that there are systematic sound-shifts, analogous to those covered in Indo-European by Grimm's Law, which recur consistently in loans from Afro-Asiatic to Uto-Aztecan. One of these is the unvoicing of voiced stops in the more southerly receiving languages. Another is the velarization of voiced labial stops and glides in the same languages.[35]

While the conclusions remain tentative, some of the details of this on-going research look promising. Certainly, nothing in the linguistic evidence provides plausible arguments against the Book of Mormon narrative.

Question: Have any relationships been found between New World languages and Hebrew?

Recent scholarly research suggests a possible link between Uto-Aztecan (a family of about 30 Native American languages) and Hebrew

The Book of Mormon text suggests that Lehite language had a relatively minor impact on the speech of the Americas. It may be that Old World languages formed a type of "elite" language, used only by a few for religious purposes.

If, however, one is persuaded that the Book of Mormon text implies that some Hebrew links should still exist, preliminary linguistic data suggest that there are some intriguing links.

For example, Dr. Brian Stubbs argues for numerous parallels between Hebrew and Uto-Aztecan. As a professional linguist, Dr. Stubbs avoids the pitfalls of amateurs who simply point at similar words between two different languages. As he points out,

Any two languages can have a few similar words by pure chance. What is called the comparative method is the linguist's tool for eliminating chance similarities and determining with confidence whether two languages are historically—that is, genetically—related. This method consists of testing for three criteria. First, consistent sound correspondences must be established, for linguists have found that sounds change in consistent patterns in related languages; for example, German tag and English day are cognates (related words), as well as German tür and English door. So one rule about sound change in this case is that German initial t corresponds to English initial d. Some general rules of sound change that occur in family after family help the linguist feel more confident about reconstructing original forms from the descendant words or cognates, although a certain amount of guesswork is always involved.

Second, related languages show parallels in specific structures of grammar and morphology, that is, in rules that govern sentence and word formation.

Third, a sizable lexicon (vocabulary list) should demonstrate these sound correspondences and grammatical parallels.

When consistent parallels of these sorts are extensively demonstrated, we can be confident that there was a sister-sister connection between the two tongues at some earlier time.[36]

A few of Stubbs' many examples are:

Hebrew/Semitic Uto-Aztecan
kilyah/kolyah 'kidney' kali 'kidney'
baraq 'lightning' berok (derived from *pïrok) 'lightning'
sekem/sikm- 'shoulder' sikum/sïka 'shoulder'
mayim/meem 'water' meme-t 'ocean'

Rhodes Scholar Dr. Roger Westcott, non-LDS Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics at Drew University, has made positive comments about Dr. Stubbs' research:

Perhaps the most surprising of all Eurasian-American linguistic connections, at least in geographic terms, is that proposed by Brian Stubbs: a strong link between the Uto-Aztecan and Afro-Asiatic (or Hamito-Semitic) languages. The Uto-Aztecan languages are, or have been, spoken in western North America from Idaho to El Salvador. One would expect that, if Semites or their linguistic kinsmen from northern Africa were to reach the New World by water, their route would be trans-Atlantic. Indeed, what graphonomic evidence there is indicates exactly that: Canaanite inscriptions are found in Georgia and Tennessee as well as in Brazil; and Mediterranean coins, some Hebrew and Moroccan Arabic, are found in Kentucky as well as Venezuela [citing Cyrus Gordon].

But we must follow the evidence wherever it leads. And lexically, at least, it points to the Pacific rather than the Atlantic coast. Stubbs finds Semitic and (more rarely) Egyptian vocabulary in about 20 of 25 extant Uto-Aztecan languages. Of the word-bases in these vernaculars, he finds about 40 percent to be derivable from nearly 500 triliteral Semitic stems. Despite this striking proportion, however, he does not regard Uto-Aztecan as a branch of Semitic or Afro-Asiatic. Indeed, he treats Uto-Aztecan Semitisms as borrowings. But, because these borrowings are at once so numerous and so well "nativized," he prefers to regard them as an example of linguistic creolization - that is, of massive lexical adaptation of one language group to another. (By way of analogy, . . . historical linguists regard the heavy importation of French vocabulary into Middle English as a process of creolization.)....

Lest skeptics should attribute these correspondences to coincidence, however, Stubbs takes care to note that there are systematic sound-shifts, analogous to those covered in Indo-European by Grimm's Law, which recur consistently in loans from Afro-Asiatic to Uto-Aztecan. One of these is the unvoicing of voiced stops in the more southerly receiving languages. Another is the velarization of voiced labial stops and glides in the same languages.[37]

While the conclusions remain tentative, some of the details of this on-going research look promising. Certainly, nothing in the linguistic evidence provides plausible arguments against the Book of Mormon narrative.


Response to claim: 206 - LDS apologists believe that the "miniscule Lehite colony" had no lasting impact on the Americas

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

LDS apologists believe that the "miniscule Lehite colony" had no lasting impact on the Americas.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is false

LDS apologists believe that the Lehite colony had a cultural impact on the Americas, not a genetic impact.


Response to claim: 206 - LDS apologists are cut off from the larger church community because of differences in their beliefs

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

LDS apologists are cut off from the larger church community because of differences in their beliefs.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This claim is absolutely absurd. Just for example, members of FAIR include current or former bishops, elders' quorum presidents, stake presidents, mission presidents, and area authority seventies. How can these groups be described as "cut off from the larger church community"?

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<Rather than interact with arguments the author labels "apologetic" (i.e., any interpretation which does not suit his naive view of the matter), the author hopes to marginalize them and reject them from consideration by claiming they are somehow novel, contrary to the Book of Mormon's plain meaning, or driven by desperation.

Many statements indicate that these ideas are generally not novel, and were certainly developed well before any pressure from DNA arguments—they arose from the Book of Mormon text itself.

The work repeats itself on p. xv, 42., 143., 148., 200., 203., and 206.

Response to claim: 206 - Millions of members feel a "familial bond" with Lehi that played a central role in their conversion to the church

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

Millions of members feel a "familial bond" with Lehi that played a central role in their conversion to the church.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

If members felt a spiritual witness of their connection to Lehi, this witness is confirmed by the findings of population genetics.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

Taking the position that Lehi existed, then population genetics predicts that virtually all Amerindians and Polynesians are his literal descendants. They are simply not exclusively his descendants. The author wants to make Lehite links absurd or impossible.

Response to claim: 206-207 - The General Authorities have not found a way to detach or reinterpret the Book of Mormon from real history

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The General Authorities have not found a way to detach or reinterpret the Book of Mormon from real history.

Author's sources:
  1. Author's opinion.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

That is because the General Authorities believe that the events in the Book of Mormon actually happened: They are not even attempting to detach or reinterpret the Book of Mormon from "real" history.


Response to claim: 207 - The Church takes a "dim view" of scientists and intellectuals

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:

The Church takes a "dim view" of scientists and intellectuals.

Author's sources:
  1. No source given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

No, the Church takes a "dim view" of scientists and intellectuals (or any other members) who break their covenants or undermine the faith of others. Education tends to increase, not decrease, activity rates and religious conviction in members of the Church of Jesus Christ.


Notes

  1. Brian D. Stubbs, "Looking Over vs. Overlooking: Native American Languages: Let's Void the Void," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 1–49. wiki
  2. Roger Williams Westcott, "Early Eurasian Linguistic Links with North America," in Across Before Columbus?, edited. by Donald Y. Gilmore and Linda S. McElroy (Laconia, New Hampshire: New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), 1998),193–197; cited by Jeff Lindsay, "Nugget #8: Uto-Aztecan and the Book of Mormon: Linguists Provide Possible Evidence Consistent with Book of Mormon Claims," jefflindsay.com (accessed 16 September 2007) off-site
  3. Brian D. Stubbs, "Looking Over vs. Overlooking: Native American Languages: Let's Void the Void," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 1–49. wiki
  4. Roger Williams Westcott, "Early Eurasian Linguistic Links with North America," in Across Before Columbus?, edited. by Donald Y. Gilmore and Linda S. McElroy (Laconia, New Hampshire: New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), 1998),193–197; cited by Jeff Lindsay, "Nugget #8: Uto-Aztecan and the Book of Mormon: Linguists Provide Possible Evidence Consistent with Book of Mormon Claims," jefflindsay.com (accessed 16 September 2007) off-site
  5. Brant A. Gardner, Second Witness: Analytical and Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 6 Vols. (Salt Lake City, UT: Greg Kofford Books, 2007), 4:287–288. Footnotes and one obvious typographical error have been silently omitted. Italics added to the internal quotation.
  6. Matthew Roper, "Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon," FAIR Conference, 2001.
  7. Robert Maddin, James D. Muhly and Tamara S. Wheeler, “How the Iron Age Began,” Scientific American 237/4 [October 1977]:127. Cited by Matthew Roper, "Laban’s Sword of 'Most Precious Steel' (Howlers #5)," FairMormon Blog (17 June 2013)
  8. Matthew Roper, "Laban’s Sword of 'Most Precious Steel' (Howlers #5)," FairMormon Blog (17 June 2013)
  9. Matthew Roper, "Laban’s Sword of 'Most Precious Steel' (Howlers #5)," FairMormon Blog (17 June 2013)
  10. John L. Sorenson, "Steel in Early Metallurgy," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 15/2 (2006): 108–109. off-site wiki
  11. Lenore O. Keene Congdon, "Steel in Antiquity: A Problem in Terminology," in Studies Presented to George M. A. Hanfmann, ed. David Gordon Mitten et al. (Cambridge: Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1971), 18–19.
  12. Robert James Forbes, Metallurgy in Antiquity: A Notebook for Archaeologists and Technologists (Leiden, The Netherlands: E. J. Brill, 1950), 402.
  13. Harvey Harlow Nininger, Find a Falling Star (New York: Paul S. Erikson, 1972), 238.
  14. Congdon, "Steel in Antiquity," 24–25; D. Davis et al., "A Steel Pick from Mount Adir in Palestine," Journal of Near Eastern Studies 44/1 (1985): 42; and Muhly, "Mining and Metalwork," 3:1515.
  15. Patrick E. McGovern, "The Innovation of Steel in Transjordan," Journal of Metals 40/7 (1988): 50; Jane C. Waldbaum, From Bronze to Iron: The Transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age in the Eastern Mediterranean (Göteborg, Sweden: Paul Åström, 1978), 54; and Robert Maddin et al., "How the Iron Age Began," Scientific American 237 (1977): 122.
  16. Tamara S. Wheeler and Robert Maddin, "Metallurgy and Ancient Man," in Coming of the Age of Iron, ed. Wertime and Muhly, 116.
  17. William Hamblin, "Steel in the Book of Mormon," FairMormon Papers
  18. "Book of Mormon and DNA Studies," Gospel Topics on LDS.org (January 31, 2014)
  19. Criticisms regarding DNA and the Book of Mormon have been raised in the following publications: Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism (Harvest House Publishers: 2005). 73 367 n.131-135. ( Index of claims ); John Dehlin, "Why People Leave the LDS Church," (2008).; Hank Hanegraaff, The Mormon Mirage: Seeing Through the Illusion of Mainstream Mormonism (Charlotte, NC: Christian Research Institute, 2008), ?.; Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), 202. ( Index of claims ); John Dehlin,"348-349: Simon Southerton, DNA, Lamanites and the Book of Mormon," Mormon Stories Podcast (21 May 2012).
     http://mormonstories.org/348-349-simon-southerton-dna-lamanites-and-the-book-of-mormon/
    ; MormonThink.com website (as of 4 May 2012). Page: http://mormonthink.com/book-of-mormon-problems.htm; Thomas W. Murphy, "Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics," in American Apocrypha, ed. Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002), [citation needed].; Thomas W. Murphy and Simon G. Southerton, "Genetic Research a 'Galileo Event' for Mormons," Anthropology News 44/2 (February 2003): 20; Simon Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 2004) 1–207. ( Index of claims ); Tower to Truth Ministries, "50 Questions to Ask Mormons," towertotruth.net (accessed 15 November 2007). 50 Answers
  20. John M. Butler, "Addressing Questions surrounding the Book of Mormon and DNA Research," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): 101–108. off-site wiki
  21. Joseph Smith's 1832 account of the First Vision, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, pp. 1-6.
  22. Dallin H. Oaks, "Historicity of the Book of Mormon," Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies Annual Dinner Provo, Utah, 29 October 1993; cited in Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon," (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1994). Reproduced in Dallin H. Oaks, "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon," in Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures, ed. Paul Y. Hoskisson (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2001), 237–48.
  23. Martin Richards, "Beware the Gene Genies," Guardian (21 February 2003), accessed 7 July 2006. off-site; cited by Stewart, "DNA and the Book of Mormon."
  24. Brigham Young, (14 May 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:116.
  25. John S. Lewis, "The Scale of Creation in Space and Time," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 8:71-80 (27 December 2013).
  26. Edward H. Anderson, "Editors Table: Age of the Earth," Improvement Era 12 no. 6 (April 1909), 489-91.
  27. John A. Widstoe, "The Length Time of Creation," Improvement Era 12 no. 6 (April 1909), 491-94.
  28. Charles W. Penrose, "The Age and Destiny of the Earth," Improvement Era 12 no. 7 (May 1909), 505-509.
  29. Judy C. Olsen, "https://www.lds.org/ensign/1998/02/argentinas-bright-and-joyous-day?lang=eng Argentina’s Bright and Joyous Day]," Ensign (February 1998), 36.
  30. Shirleen Meek, "Fiji: Islands of Faith," Ensign (December 1990), 32.
  31. Spencer J. Condie, "A Disposition to Do Good Continually," Ensign (August 2001), 13.
  32. R. Lanier Britsch, "Maori Traditions and the Mormon Church," New Era (June 1981), 38.
  33. Sang Han, "Encounter: The Korean Mind and the Gospel," Ensign (August 1975), 47.
  34. Brian D. Stubbs, "Looking Over vs. Overlooking: Native American Languages: Let's Void the Void," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 1–49. wiki
  35. Roger Williams Westcott, "Early Eurasian Linguistic Links with North America," in Across Before Columbus?, edited. by Donald Y. Gilmore and Linda S. McElroy (Laconia, New Hampshire: New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), 1998),193–197; cited by Jeff Lindsay, "Nugget #8: Uto-Aztecan and the Book of Mormon: Linguists Provide Possible Evidence Consistent with Book of Mormon Claims," jefflindsay.com (accessed 16 September 2007) off-site
  36. Brian D. Stubbs, "Looking Over vs. Overlooking: Native American Languages: Let's Void the Void," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996): 1–49. wiki
  37. Roger Williams Westcott, "Early Eurasian Linguistic Links with North America," in Across Before Columbus?, edited. by Donald Y. Gilmore and Linda S. McElroy (Laconia, New Hampshire: New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), 1998),193–197; cited by Jeff Lindsay, "Nugget #8: Uto-Aztecan and the Book of Mormon: Linguists Provide Possible Evidence Consistent with Book of Mormon Claims," jefflindsay.com (accessed 16 September 2007) off-site