Reviewed by: Mike Burns
“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
“DNA Evidence and The Book of Mormon” is a thoroughly enjoyable feature that seeks to compare and contrast mainstream scientific research with the history taught in the Book of Mormon about the origin of the Native American peoples. While many of the facts in this video (due to be released in February 2003) are not new, recent publicity surrounding a Mormon Anthropologist, Thomas W. Murphy) have brought even more facts to light surrounding the validity of the Book of Mormon.
Though this is a pre-release copy I viewed and not in final form, the basic layout for this documentary spends about half the time covering the claims of the Book of Mormon specifically in regard to the Nephite and Lamanite origins. Static graphics are used to compliment the story as it is being read from the Book of Mormon. It’s not a big budget PBS special, but certainly quite acceptable in quality and very informative and accurate in content. The remainder of the video features interviews with experts in history, biology, anthropology, linguistics and archaeology. The conclusion of “DNA Evidence” brings us the fascinating testimony of an Ex-Mormon.
In the Book of Mormon, the book of Nephi tells the story of a Hebrew family that flees the city of Jerusalem around 600 B.C. The father’s name was Lehi, an alleged descendant of Joseph from the Bible. Lehi’s son Nephi was the most righteous son and therefore became the leader of his rebellious brothers. The Lord instructed the family to cross the ocean on a boat driven by the wind to the Central American continent at about 589 B.C. After arriving, Nephi and his oldest brother Laman had a conflict and separated, starting two nations; the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites had God’s favor and are described in the Book of Mormon as being “white and exceedingly fair and delightsome.”
Book of Mormon—Helaman 3:8 says, “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole Earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.”
According to the Book of Mormon, the whole face of the land was covered with buildings. Thirty-eight Nephite cities are mentioned specifically in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon says that the Lamanites were cursed to have black skin. Although more primitive, the Lamanites were more numerous than the Nephites. These two nations fought against each other for centuries. At one time Mormon was the leader of the Nephites and proposed that they should gather at the hill Cumorah and battle the Lamanites. The Nephites were totally destroyed and only Moroni, a Nephite, escaped the last battle. He compiled the Book of Mormon on golden plates and buried them, which Joseph Smith later discovered. Today, the Lamanites are the principle ancestors of the American Indians according to the Book of Mormon, the modern day Indians are supposedly ancestors of the Israelites and direct descendants of Joseph.
Mormon Anthropologist Thomas W. Murphy stated, “I have serious problems with the Book of Mormon’s representations of American Indians. Not only does it claim that Lamanites are the principle ancestors of American Indians, but throughout the text it repeatedly refers to them as Israelites, as descendants of Joseph; of descendants of the Biblical Patriarchs of Abraham. Those repeated references to an ancient Israelite connection have been clearly invalidated by scientific research and to the genes of American Indians.”
Mr. Murphy expounds on the subject explaining that genetic research validates that American Indian DNA more closely resembles Mongolian and Siberian people than anyone else in the world. This evidence is further substantiated by archeological similarities between the cultures and in the artifacts that the people groups used. Linguistics data also shows similarities between the American Indian people and modern day Asians.
Dr. Stephen L. Whittington, Co-Editor of the “Bones of the Maya,” comments that human skeletal remains show that the origin of people in North, Central and South America are clearly of North Asian descent. He goes on to say that there are no Hebrew origins to be found. Similarly, Molecular Anthropologist Dr. David Glenn Smith agrees that the homeland of Native Americans is Eastern Asia and goes into extensive detail into the compelling evidence that there is no link between the American Indians and Jewish or Hebrew genetics.
Mr. Murphy concludes with his final comment, “Mormon Scholars can pretend like this evidence doesn’t exist, which I think is dishonest. We can confront it and we can challenge it. I don’t think we (Mormons) would be successful in challenging the data, in fact I don’t know of any Mormon scientists that are challenging the finding of geneticists… Most Mormon scholars who commented on the subject, including myself, agree that the American Indians could not possibly be the descendants of the Lamanites. That for the American Indians as a whole, it is genetically impossible (for relation to Lamanite descendants), it’s also archaeologically impossible. It’s also historically and linguistically impossible.”
After watching DNA Evidence and The Book of Mormon it is painfully clear that Joseph Smith was a fraud and willfully attempted to deceive people. If these great cities actually existed across the Americas from ocean to ocean, where is the archeological evidence? Where is the linguistic evidence, the biological evidence or the historical evidence? Most importantly, where is the DNA evidence that links the American Indians to the Hebrew people? While the absence of such evidence is one issue, it is quite another thing when existing facts clearly contradict what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) are asking people to believe. This is simply unacceptable!
Blaine Hunsaker, an Ex-Mormon, finishes the video by reaffirming that Jesus died for the Mormon people and that they are just as deeply in need of Him as any other person. This video is an eye-opening look for Mormons to see the deception laid before them by clearly proving that there is no evidence to support The Book of Mormon and, in fact, provides contrary evidence.
In summary, DNA Evidence and The Book of Mormon is long overdue. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints need to realize that God does not seek to confuse us and lead us away from Him through the use of our intellect. Rather, he calls us to prove all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21) and to use God’s word as the measuring stick for truth. The foundation of our faith should be rooted in fact, not falsehood. Joseph Smith fabricated the Book of Mormon from his imagination as well as other works of his including The Book of Abraham.
It is my sincere hope that Christians will also realize this deception and not use these facts to hurt their Mormon friends. After revealing the lies (perhaps by showing them this video even), share the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and show them the truth through His Word.
For More Information or To Order DNA Evidence and The Book of Mormon (available February 2003) please visit MormonChallenge.com. Produced By Living Hope Ministries From Brigham City, Utah.
Mr. Murphy began his teaching career in 1995 at the University of Washington. He started teaching part-time at Edmonds Community College in Fall 1998 and full-time in Fall 2000. He has an M.A. (1996) in Anthropology from UW and a B.A. (1993) in Anthropology and Religion from the University of Iowa, where he represented his graduating class as commencement speaker. The U.S. Army awarded Achievement and Commendation Medals to Murphy for meritorious service in Operations Desert Shield and Storm. He won honorable mention for the 1993 Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics and USA Today selected him for the 1994 All-USA College Academic Team. He is currently a Ph.D. Candidate (1997) in Anthropology at UW where he is completing a dissertation on Mormon representations of American Indians. He has been published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Ethnohistory, Journal of Mormon History, Review of Religious Research, Dialogue, Sunstone, and has received numerous awards. He also has an article in a book that has gathered a good deal of attention, “American Apocrypha” (edited by Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe).