In early 2008 Rodney Meldrum published a DVD titled DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography: New scientific support for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon; Correlation and Verification through DNA, Prophetic, Scriptural, Historical, Climatological, Archaeological, Social, and Cultural Evidence. The DVD is based upon a popular presentation given in a number of fireside venues since at least the middle of 2007. This page provides easy access to FAIR’s reviews of the presentation.
Why These Reviews?
This publication by FAIR addresses the oral presentations by Rod Meldrum, and the DVDs he produces and sells, that ostensibly deal with the geography of the Book of Mormon and the issues that have recently emerged concerning DNA and its implications for the Book of Mormon. Were Rod Meldrum’s work merely another of many theories about where the events in the Book of Mormon happened in the new world and the meaning of DNA studies, FAIR would not have published these reviews. It is doing so in response to questions addressed to FAIR by concerned or confused Church members and because the core issues raised by Rod Meldrum’s propositions are fundamental to the faith of the Latter-day Saints and the integrity of the leadership of the Church. Accordingly, FAIR is addressing the needs of the public and here, at the outset, wishes to ensure that readers are clear about what the real matters in issue are.
We repeat what is noted above: the ostensible subjects of Rod Meldrum’s oral presentations are geography and DNA, in support of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. We repeat, for emphasis, that were Rod Meldrum’s work simply the theories of another man on geography and DNA, FAIR would not have become involved. FAIR has taken the carefully considered decision to prepare and publish this paper because there is convincing evidence demonstrating that his work puts the basis of the faith of not a few Latter-day Saints at risk and because its core premise calls the allegiance to Joseph Smith’s teachings by today’s Church leaders in question. If the leaders of our Church can be questioned on this point, it is a small step to put their allegiance to any of the Prophet’s revealed teachings in question, and from small seeds large weeds do grow.
Neither of the two fundamental issues which FAIR has with Rod Meldrum’s work (misplaced faith and the questionable loyalty of today’s prophets, seers, and revelators) is obvious to all—indeed, at first viewing it wasn’t initially obvious to some at FAIR. The work is persuasive, appears to be sincere, is accompanied by what looks like solid evidence with respect to geography and the purported views of the Prophet—and it is therein that the real danger lies. Therefore, in these reviews we first ask whether what Rod Meldrum says in his presentations and DVDs is something upon which a Latter-day Saint should base his faith and will then demonstrate that it is not. Second, we address whether the core premise of Rod Meldrum’s presentations is consistent with the proposition that the revelations of Joseph
Smith are being proclaimed to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by the prophets, seers, and revelators requiring, as Rodney Meldrum claims, that he must proclaim aspects of the Prophet’s revelations anew, and we show that his core claim is not correct.
We again emphasize, that were the issues raised only matters of geography or genetics, FAIR’s members would not have devoted many hundreds of hours of volunteer, unpaid work, and the expenditure by some of their own money, to the preparation of these reviews. However, although geography and DNA appear at first glance to be the subjects in question, they are not the real issues, and the real issues strike at fundamentals of the faith of the Saints, So, as onerous and unpleasant a task as it has been, and recognizing that there may be some who won’t be familiar with our purpose, and who do not carefully study our papers, or who act out of partisan loyalty, who may criticize us, we are nonetheless obliged to publish. There have already been mutterings about lawsuits, but we are well advised on the law and are not troubled by such threats. We know the law, and we honor and abide by it. We are also fully aware that Rod Meldrum may attack us for what we are doing; however, FAIR members are willing to weather the criticisms of the few on behalf of the many, and have willingly made these sacrifices as part of FAIR’s mission to defend the true faith of the Latter-day Saints.
It will be evident that FAIR regrets the necessity of having to have engaged Rod Meldrum’s theories. He is, after all, a fellow Latter-day Saint. But, as noted, FAIR has received numerous requests from Church members for information on his theories and there is a clear public need for us to respond given the cry for it, according to our mandate to provide well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS (Mormon) doctrine, belief and practice. That mission is invoked because the core of Rod Meldrum’s presentation is not Book of Mormon geography or DNA. Instead, it is a challenge to core issues of LDS doctrine, belief and practice, which have been entrusted by the Lord to the sole province of the leaders of the Church. The core claim Rod Meldrum makes is that he must “proclaim anew” some revelations of Joseph Smith. From that claim the obvious and unmistakable conclusion is that he is telling his audience, in effect, that the Church and its leaders have not been, and are not now, proclaiming the Prophet fully or with faith—or, of course, Rod Meldrum would not be proclaiming him “anew.” The seriousness of this can hardly be overstated.
Reviews, by Section
In the table below you will find, at the left, the sections of the DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography DVD. To the right of each of these sections you will find links to both an executive summary and full analysis. Some sections don’t have reviews listed to the right of them; these reviews will be posted as they become available. For other sections there is only a single review listed; these reviews address multiple sections in the DVD presentation. (For instance, the “Geography” review analyzes several DVD sections, so it is listed to the right of several DVD sections.) The first line in the table is an overview of the entire review (Misguided Zeal) and will be of interest to all.
|DVD Section||Executive Summary||Full Analysis||Last Update|
|Misguided Zeal and Defense of the Church: HTML or PDF||Misguided Zeal and Defense of the Church: HTML or PDF||6/30/08|
|1||DNA Evidence||DNA Evidence: HTML or PDF||DNA Evidence: HTML or PDF||9/3/08|
|2||Geography||Geography: HTML or PDF||Geography: HTML or PDF||9/3/08|
|3||Joseph Smith||Joseph Smith: HTML or PDF||Joseph Smith: HTML or PDF||9/3/08|
|4||Promised Land||Prophecy and Scripture: HTML or PDF||Prophecy and Scripture: HTML or PDF||9/13/08|
|5||Prophesies and Promises||Prophecy and Scripture: HTML or PDF||Prophecy and Scripture: HTML or PDF||9/13/08|
|6||Tents, Temples and Teepees||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||11/23/08|
|7||Weather and Climate||Weather and Climate: HTML or PDF||Weather and Climate: HTML or PDF||10/11/08|
|8||Buffalo Evidence||Buffalo Evidence: HTML or PDF||Buffalo Evidence: HTML or PDF||01/18/09|
|9||Chronological Evidence||(no summary for this review section)||Chronological Evidence: HTML or PDF||11/01/08|
|10||Nephite Defenses||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||11/23/08|
|11||Nephite Structures||(no summary for this review section)||Nephite Structures: HTML or PDF||11/01/08|
|12||The Mound Builders||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||11/23/08|
|13||Nephite Culture||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||11/23/08|
|14||Nephite Implements||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||Identifying the Nephites: HTML or PDF||11/23/08|
|15||Book of Mormon Lands||Geography: HTML or PDF||Geography: HTML or PDF||9/3/08|
|16||Travel Indications||Geography: HTML or PDF||Geography: HTML or PDF||9/3/08|
|17||Conclusions and Results||(no summary for this review section)||Conclusions and Results: HTML or PDF||10/12/09|
For those interested, an overview of Book of Mormon geography and the various geographical models offered over the years is available on on the FAIR Wiki. Those interested in knowing more about DNA and the Book of Mormon can find information on the FAIR Website or on the FAIR Wiki. Each of these links provides well-documented information with the ability to locate other information of interest to the topic at hand.