Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife)/Chapter 11

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Response to "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 11 - DNA

A FairMormon Analysis of: For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife), a work by author: Anonymous

Response to claims made in "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 11 - DNA

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Response to claim: "Due to DNA evidence disproving the Hebrew origins of the people of the Americas, the introduction to the Book of Mormon has been changed from the 'principal ancestors of the American Indians'"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Due to DNA evidence disproving the Hebrew origins of the people of the Americas, the introduction to the Book of Mormon has been changed from the “principal ancestors of the American Indians” (1981 edition) to now say “among the ancestors…” (2006 edition). In light of scientific evidence, the Church has modified the claims of the Book of Mormon - that the Lamanites were ancestors of all the native people of the Americas.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The change was not made because of "DNA evidence disproving the Hebrew origins of the people of the Americas". The phrase "principal ancestors" was inserted into the Book of Mormon in the 1920's (not 1981) and is not part of the scripture itself. At that time, Church members believed that Lehi was the primary ancestor of the American Indians. The change to "among the ancestors" makes the Book of Mormon introduction compatible with current DNA evidence and acknowledges the fact that Lehi's group likely intermingled with the native inhabitants of the American continents based upon current knowledge of the DNA composition of the inhabitants of the New World. However, it does not negate the claim that all Native Americans are descendants of Lehi. If Lehi had any descendants among Amerindians, then after 2600 years all Amerindians would share Lehi as an ancestor, thus he would be "among the ancestors" of every Native American.

Question: Why did the Church modify the introduction to the Book of Mormon from "principal ancestors" to "among the ancestors?"

The Church changed the wording to remove the assumption (inserted into the Book of Mormon in the 1920's) that all of the inhabitants of the Americas were exclusive descendants of Lehi

The Church made the change in wording to the introduction to the Book of Mormon to remove the assumption, which inserted into the Book of Mormon introduction in the 1920's and not part of the original text, that all of the inhabitants of the Americas were exclusive descendants of Lehi. This had been the generally held belief from the time that the Church was restored.

This change makes the Book of Mormon introduction compatible with current DNA evidence and acknowledges the fact that Lehi's group likely intermingled with the native inhabitants of the American continents based upon current knowledge of the DNA composition of the inhabitants of the New World. There is substantial scientific evidence of habitation in the Americas for thousands of years prior to Lehi's arrival.

If Lehi had any descendants among Amerindians, then after 2600 years all Amerindians would share Lehi as an ancestor. Even if (as is probable) the Lehite group was a small drop in a larger population 'ocean' of pre-Columbian inhabitants, Lehi would have been an ancestor of virtually all the modern-day Amerindians if he has any ancestors at all.


Response to claim: "Unfortunately, the resulting studies reveal that Israeli lineage of the natives to North, Central and South America is not the case"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Unfortunately, the resulting studies reveal that Israeli lineage of the natives to North, Central and South America is not the case

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The term "Israeli" is a modern term (the author likely intended to say "Hebrew"). There is no such thing as a "Israeli" DNA marker, since Israelis come from all over the world. According to Wikipedia article "Israelis":

Israelis are citizens or permanent residents of the State of Israel, a multiethnic state populated by people of different ethnic backgrounds. The largest ethnic groups in Israel are Jews (75%), followed by Arabs (20%) and other minorities (5%). Among the Jewish population, hundreds of thousands of Jews born in Israel are descended from both Ashkenazi and Mizrahi Jews. More than 50% of the Jewish population is of at least partial Mizrahi descent.

Large-scale Jewish immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Jewish diaspora communities in Europe and the Middle East and more recent large-scale immigration from North Africa, Western Asia, North America, South America, the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia introduced many new cultural elements and have had profound impact on the Israeli culture.

Israelis and people of Israeli descent live across the world: in the United States, Russia (with Moscow housing the single largest community outside Israel), India, Canada, the United Kingdom, throughout Europe, and elsewhere. Almost 10% of the general population of Israel is estimated to be living abroad.

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