DNA and the Book of Mormon

DNA and the Book of Mormon

David G. Stewart

The Traditional Latter-day Saint Position

The Book of Mormon recounts the story of a small Israelite
group led by Lehi (and also one headed by Mulek) from ancient Jerusalem to the
American continent in approximately 600 BC. Prophets who taught of the Messiah
were called from among this people for over a millennium, but the people often
fell into apostasy, and one branch of this civilization was destroyed. Modern
prophets from Joseph Smith to the present have consistently taught that the
remnant of the other branch, the Lamanites, are ancestors of modern Native
Americans. According to Joseph Smith, translator of the Book of Mormon,

The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of
Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy angel, and
translated into our own language by the gift and power of God. . . .
By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that
Joseph which was sold into Egypt.1

The Lord’s revelations to Joseph Smith repeatedly refer
to Native Americans as “Lamanites” (see Doctrine and Covenants
28:8-9; 28:14; 30:6; 32:2; 54:8). Dedicatory prayers of temples given by
Latter-day Saint prophets in Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico, Hawaii, and Peru have
proclaimed the descent of indigenous peoples from Lehi’s colony. Elder Spencer
W. Kimball put it this way:

With pride I tell those who come to my office that a Lamanite is a descendant
of one Lehi who left Jerusalem some six hundred years before Christ and with
his family crossed the mighty deep and landed in America. And Lehi and his
family became the ancestors of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North
and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea, for in the middle
of their history there were those who left America in ships of their making
and went to the islands of the sea.2

Latter-day Saint Position Challenged

In recent years, some critics have alleged that research
demonstrating considerable homology between modern Native American, Mongolian,
and southern Siberian DNA, as well as a seeming lack of homology between modern
Jewish and Native American DNA, provides conclusive proof that the traditional
Latter-day Saint view of Native American origins is false. Some Latter-day
Saint defenders have attempted to explain the data by invoking limited
geography theories proposing that Nephite and Lamanite activity was restricted
to a small area in Central America and that any trace of “Israelite”
DNA was lost by intermixing with larger indigenous groups. A closer examination
demonstrates that modern DNA evidence does not discredit traditional Latter-day
Saint beliefs and that the views of critics are based on nonfactual assumptions
and unsupportable misinterpretations of genetic data.

Mitochondrial DNA

In his paper “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and
Genetics,” Thomas Murphy claims that “some of the most revealing
research into Native American genetics comes from analyses of mtDNA” and
presents mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) data to support his conclusion that Native
Americans could not possibly have an origin in ancient Israel.3 Murphy points out that over 98
percent of Native Americans tested to date carry mitochondrial DNA haplogroups
A, B, C, or D. Outside of the Americas, these haplogroups are most commonly
found in Mongolians and south Siberians and rarely in modern Jews. Another 1
percent carries haplogroup X, which is found in South Siberian, European, and
Middle Eastern populations.

Murphy’s arguments are based on the assumption that modern
Jewish mtDNA accurately represents the mtDNA of ancient Israel. However, the
findings of modern geneticists that the mtDNA of different Jewish groups shares
little commonality with other Jewish groups but closely reflects the mtDNA of
their host populations flatly contradict Murphy’s conclusions. Mitochondrial
DNA studies have had little success in linking different Jewish groups, leading
geneticists to discount mtDNA as a reliable means of ascertaining
“Jewish” roots. In an article entitled “Beware the Gene
Genies,” genetic researcher Martin Richards observes:

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.”4

A University College London study found that while
separate Jewish communities were founded by relatively few female ancestors,
this “process was independent in different geographic areas” and that
the female ancestors of different communities were largely unrelated.5 According to Nicholas Wade, “A
new study now shows that the women in nine Jewish communities from Georgia
. . . to Morocco have vastly different genetic histories from the
men. . . . The women’s identities, however, are a mystery, because
. . . their genetic signatures are not related to one another or to
those of present-day Middle Eastern populations.”6 Dr. Shaye Cohen of Harvard
University notes, “The authors [of this study] are correct in saying the
historical origins of most Jewish communities are unknown.”7 Mark G. Thomas and colleagues
maintain that “in no case is there clear evidence of unbroken genetic continuity
from early dispersal events to the present. . . . Unfortunately, in
many cases, it is not possible to infer the geographic origin of the founding
mtDNAs within the different Jewish groups with any confidence.”8

Even close mtDNA homologies among different Jewish groups
would not necessarily prove an Israelite origin, but the conspicuous absence of
such homologies provides strong circumstantial evidence of non-Israelite
origins for the mtDNA and, likely, much of the other genetic makeup of most modern
Jews. With no evidence that modern Jewish mtDNA constitutes a valid control of
the genetics of ancient Israel—and considerable evidence to the
contrary—claims of Israelite lineage can neither be confirmed nor denied
based on mtDNA data.

Joseph’s wife Asenath, daughter of Potipherah, priest of On,
is the ancestral mother of the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 46:20).
While her genealogy is unknown, there is no reason to believe that her
mitochondrial lineage or that of her descendants, including the Lehites, would
have matched that of the tribe of Judah. The presence of mtDNA types in Native
Americans that do not match those found in modern Jewish groups is fully
consistent with both Book of Mormon and Bible accounts.

Mitochondrial DNA Data Points to a Few Closely Related Founding Groups

Studies seem to demonstrate that
Native Americans have less mitochondrial DNA diversity than found among any
other large group of comparable size and even less diversity than the much
smaller modern Jewish population. The mtDNA research of D. Andrew
Merriwether suggests that the mitochondrial genetics of Native Americans could
be explained by a single migration,9
while others believe that there may have been two or three migrations from
closely related groups. One writer insists that “most Indians of North
America, and all Indians of Central and South America seem to be descended from
this first wave of migrants. . . . Similarities in Amerindian
languages, as well as in DNA, point to the conclusion that a very small group
of migrants gave rise to this enormous, farflung assemblage of peoples in a
relatively short time.”10
Genetic evidence of one or a few closely related founding groups serving as the
ancestors of the overwhelming majority of Native Americans is consistent with
traditional Latter-day Saint views of Native American origin from the
Lamanites, Nephites, and Mulekites.

The Cohen Modal Haplotype

Murphy provides only one example—the Lemba—of an
ostensibly non-Jewish group “decisively confirmed” by modern genetics
to have at least some Israelite roots. He mentions this group ten times in
order to highlight his contrast with Native American groups. One example will
illustrate his argument:

[Molecular anthropologists] Neil Bradman and Mark Thomas have used the Cohen
haplotype to link ancient Hebrews to the modern population of the Lemba, a
black southern African, Bantu-speaking population with oral traditions asserting
a Jewish ancestry. . . . Claims regarding an Israelite ancestry
for Native Americans would fit into this category, but DNA tests of the Lemba
yielded a strikingly different outcome than for Native Americans. Two studies
to date have demonstrated that one of the Lemba clans carries a high frequency
of “a particular Y-chromosome termed the ‘Cohen modal haplotype,’ which
is known to be characteristic of the paternally inherited Jewish priesthood
and is thought, more generally, to be a potential signature haplotype of Judaic

The Cohen Modal Haplotype, or CMH, is a genetic signature
postulated to be inherited from Aaron Ha-Cohen, brother of Moses. This marker
is believed to have originated approximately three thousand years ago, a
suitable timeframe for a presumptive origin with the biblical Aaron. The CMH is
present in approximately 45-55 percent of Ashkenazic and Sephardic
Cohens, compared to 2-3 percent of non-Cohen Jews. It is also found in
the Buba clan of the Lemba tribe of Zimbabwe, the Bnei Menashe of India, and in
several non-Jewish populations, including Armenians, Kurds, Hungarians, and central
and southern Italians.

The Book of Mormon account does not support Murphy’s
assumption that the CMH, a presumptive genetic signature of Levite priests,
should have been present among the Lehites. We would not expect that two small
groups that left Israel without Cohens among them would carry the Cohen Modal
Haplotype. Lehi was a descendant of Joseph (1 Nephi 5:14). Mulek, son of
Zedekiah, was a descendant of Judah. While the lineages of Ishmael, Zoram, and
the servants of Mulek are unknown, there is no textual evidence that Cohen
priests were present among these groups. Had Cohens been present, it seems
unlikely that Lehi and other non-Cohens could have officiated in sacrificial
ordinances that were confined to Levite priests by the Mosaic law. Cohens were
specifically forbidden to intermarry even with other Israelites, accounting for
the high prevalence of the CMH in today’s Jewish Cohens and the very limited
presence of this unique genetic marker in non-Cohen Jews even after an
additional twenty-six centuries of intermixing. The presence of the CMH among
Diaspora Jewish groups with Cohens, including the Lemba and Bnei Menashe, and
its absence among Native Americans, is an expected finding fully consistent
with the Book of Mormon story.

While he sharply criticizes traditional Latter-day Saint
teachings because of the lack of homology between modern Jewish and Native
American mtDNA, Murphy inexplicably fails to disclose that the Lemba have
virtually no mtDNA commonality with other Jewish groups. Dr. Himla Soodyall
noted that “using mtDNA the Lemba were indistinguishable from other
Bantu-speaking groups.”12
Murphy also fails to mention that in contrast to the Lehite colony and the lost
ten tribes, which left Israel over two and a half millennia ago, the Lemba are
believed to be descended from Yemenite Jews who migrated to their current
location in Zimbabwe less than a thousand years ago, representing a recent
offshoot of post-Diaspora Judaism. Yet it is only through the priestly Cohen
Modal Haplotype that the Lemba have been identified as having a possible Jewish
genetic origin at all.

Murphy repeatedly demands “similar evidence” such
as he thinks he has found with the Lemba for the Israelite ancestry of Native
Americans, while failing to disclose that the CMH is the only known haplotype
with a presumptive origin in ancient Israel that demonstrates significant
homogeneity among differing Jewish populations worldwide. Ken Jacobs, author of
various studies on Jewish genetics, indicates: “The only Jewish subgroup
that does show some homogeneity—descendants of the Cohanim, or priestly
class—makes up only about 2 percent of the Jewish population. Even within
these Cohanim, and certainly within the rest of the Jewish people, there’s a
vast amount of genetic variation.”13
In view of the lack of a single validated CMH-like haplotype among modern Jews
relevant to non-Cohen Israelites, it seems that Murphy has contrived what might
be called a fool’s errand for Book of Mormon believers.

Y-Chromosome Data

Although critics have claimed that Native Americans and
modern Jews share no relevant Y-chromosome affinities, recent data have proven
such statements resoundingly false. Douglas Forbes points out that Y-chromosome
SNP biallelic marker Q-P36 (also known by the mutation marker M-242),
postulated by geneticist Doron Behar and colleagues to be a founding lineage
among Ashkenazi Jewish populations,14 is
also found in Iranian and Iraqi Jews15
and is a founding lineage group16
present in 31 percent of self-identified Native Americans in the U.S.17 A branch of the Q-P36 lineage
(M-323) is also found in Yemenite Jews.18
The Q-P36 lineage is ancestral to the Q-M3 mutation group. The Q-P36 and Q-M3
lineages together (haplogroup Q) are found in over 76 percent of Native
Forbes writes, “We find M-242 scattered all over central Eurasia and
concentrated in Turkistan just north of Iran.20
The ten tribes, including Manasseh, were taken captive to Media (northwest
Iran). So M-242 is found scattered just where you would expect it would be if
legends of the ten tribes escaping captivity by going north are true.”21 While the ethnohistory behind
these variations remains to be elucidated, these intriguing findings produce
considerable difficulty for critics’ arguments. Forbes further
notes: “Other west Eurasian lineages found in Native American test
subjects include R, E3b, J, F, G, and I. All of these are also found in modern
Jews.”22 The question of which of these latter lineages are pre-Columbian and
which may represent post-Columbian admixture has not been definitively resolved
and will require further research.

The finding of two dominant Y-chromosome lineages in
Amerindian populations is harmonious with traditional Latter-day Saint views of
Lehi and Ishmael representing the principal male ancestors of Native Americans,
with Zoram and the Mulekites contributing minor lineages. The discovery of a
founding Y-chromosome lineage prevalent at a very high frequency among Native
Americans corresponding to a founding lineage present at a lower frequency in
world Jewish populations demonstrates remarkable consistency with the Book of
Mormon account.

Some widespread Jewish Y-chromosome affinities represent
recent, post-Diaspora influences. Behar and colleagues report:

The Levites, another paternally inherited Jewish caste, display evidence
for multiple recent origins, with Ashkenazi Levites having a high frequency
of a distinctive, non-Near Eastern haplogroup. . . . the Ashkenazi
Levite microsatellite haplotypes within this haplogroup are extremely tightly
clustered, with an inferred common ancestor within the past 2,000 years. . . .
A founding event, probably involving one or very few European men occurring
at a time close to the initial formation and settlement of the Ashkenazi community,
is the most likely explanation for the presence of this distinctive haplogroup
found today in >50% of Ashkenazi Levites.23

Another study shows that “comparisons of the Ashkenazic
Levite dataset with the other groups studied suggest that Y-chromosome
haplotypes, present at high frequency in Ashkenazic Levites, are most likely to
have an east European or west Asian origin and not to have originated in the
Middle East.”24
David Keys writes that the so-called Ashkenazi Levite marker that is shared by
30 percent of Ashkenazi non-Cohen Levites was most likely introduced into the
Jewish population with the mass conversion of Turkic Khazars between AD 700 and
DNA studies demonstrating presumably non-Israelite origins of many of today’s
Jews highlight the problems in using modern Jewish genetics as a standard
against which claims of other groups to Israelite ancestry are assessed.

Regional Affiliation Haplotypes

Certain haplotypes have been identified frequently among
modern Jews and Middle Eastern Arabs. These haplotypes, some claim, represent
markers for regional affiliation to the Middle East. The absence of many of
these haplotypes in Native American populations has led some to claim that
traditional Latter-day Saint beliefs of an Israelite origin for some Native
Americans are false. The genetic markers found among Native Americans are
distinctly different from those of most modern Middle East peoples.

Michael Hammer reports that Jewish and non-Jewish Middle
Eastern populations share similar prevalences of certain Y-chromosome
haplotypes. However, he cautions: “Many of the same haplotypes present in
Jewish and Middle Eastern populations were also present in samples from Europe,
although at varying frequencies.”26
Most so-called regional affiliation markers are present only in a small
fraction of modern Middle Eastern peoples. These markers are neither inclusive
(that is, not all modern Middle Easterners share these haplotypes) nor
exclusive (that is, their absence does not preclude an origin in ancient Israel
or elsewhere in the Middle East). Studies of modern Middle Eastern groups like
Armenians reveal in many cases a “strong regional structure” as the
result of a relatively high degree of genetic isolation even within a
“single ethno-national group.”27
The vast regional differences seen within the Middle East today defy the
assumption that a few generic haplotypes can definitively rule in or out a
historic origin anywhere in an ethnically heterogeneous region that has been
home to many diverse cultures.

Simplistic claims that an Israelite origin for non-Jewish
groups can be either ruled in or out based on so-called regional affiliation
haplotypes fail to adequately account for known ethnohistoric dynamics. The
questions of what these haplotypes represent in the ethnohistory of modern
peoples, when were they introduced, and where they came from have not even
begun to be answered. Hebrew University geneticist Howard Cedar has argued that
“researchers still don’t know what the history is behind the variations.
As a result, it is difficult to draw conclusions about genetic affinity.”28 Many of the haplotypes shared
among modern Jews and non-Jewish Middle Easterners may represent genetic
material assimilated through intermarriage rather than genuine Israelite DNA,
as not one of the modern Middle Eastern regional affiliation haplotypes has
been demonstrated to have been prevalent in Israelite populations before the
Babylonian captivity.

John M. Butler has pointed out an Icelandic
study in which mtDNA and Y-chromosome haplotypes of many known ancestors were
not detectable in modern populations just over a century later.29 The study traced the
genealogy of over 131,000 Icelanders back to known ancestors born between 1848
and 1892 and between 1742 and 1798.30
The authors argued that the “populationwide coalescent analysis of
Icelandic genealogies revealed highly positively skewed distributions of
descendants to ancestors, with the vast majority of potential ancestors
contributing one or no descendants and a minority of ancestors contributing
large numbers of descendants.” They observed that this has caused
“considerable fluctuation in the frequencies of mtDNA and Y chromosome
haplotypes, despite a rapid population expansion in Iceland during the past 300
According to the study, 86.2 percent of modern Icelandic males are descended
from just 26 percent of potential male ancestors born between 1848 and 1892.
Women demonstrate even more dramatic trends due to the shorter female
intergenerational time: 91.7 percent of modern females descended from only 22
percent of potential female ancestors born between the same years.32 This study documents that dramatic
shifts in haplotype prevalence can occur and that genetic evidence for many
known ancestors is entirely lost in an advanced, peaceful, relatively isolated
society over the course of little more than a century. It also cautions against
drawing sweeping ethnohistoric conclusions about haplotypes present in many
different groups based exclusively upon their prevalence in modern populations.
One can appreciate the lack of any scientific basis for critics’ demands that
groups facing frequent episodes of war, persecution, famine, and disease, while
experiencing ongoing intermarriage with other groups, should maintain
persistent haplotype commonalities over twenty-six hundred years of separation
from the initial founders.

Ethnohistory and Genetics: Affinities vs. Origins

“Virtually all Native Americans,” Murphy insists,
“can trace their lineages to the Asian migrations between 7,000 and 50,000
years ago.”33
Yet Merriwether and colleagues explain further: “We conclude that Mongolia
or a geographic location common to both contemporary Mongolians and American
aboriginals is the more likely origin of the founders of the New World.”34 While ignored by Murphy and other
critics, the possibility of an outside “geographic location common to both
contemporary Mongolians and American aboriginals” is allowed by the
original researchers.

The only compelling genetic validation that the ancient
inhabitants of an area are the ancestors or close relatives of modern peoples
can come from comparisons of ancient and modern DNA. DNA studies have
demonstrated that the early inhabitants of the New World appear to have had all
the main mtDNA haplogroups (A, B, C, and D) found in modern Native Americans,
supporting the belief that ancient Native Americans are in fact the ancestors
of the present ones.35

Issues on the Asian side are more problematic. Very little
is known of the peoples inhabiting Mongolia before 200 BC—over five centuries
after the dispersion of the ten tribes. Ethnohistory provides abundant data of
large groups of people of almost entirely unknown origins who settled in
Mongolia and south Siberia, which were active areas for mass migrations from
across central Asia. As a nomadic people traveling over vast areas but leaving
few permanent settlements, the ancient ancestors of the Mongolians are
particularly difficult to trace. The nomadic character of the equestrian
Mongols, whose predecessors ruled an empire from eastern Europe to the Pacific;
the absence of any real natural barriers across thousands of miles of territory
that comprise the largest plain in the world; and the history of hundreds of
migrations of groups allow us to question the genetic basis for Murphy’s
assumption that those living in Mongolia and southern Siberia today harbor
essentially the same gene pool as that present thousands or even tens of
thousands of years ago.

DNA studies of ancient human remains from Siberia and
Mongolia predating the dispersion of Israel are conspicuously absent. To my
knowledge, the only ancient mummies that have been found adjacent to Mongolia
are Tocharian—an ancient and mysterious civilization of blond- and
red-haired, Caucasian-appearing people who inhabited the Tarim basin
approximately three thousand years ago.36
The Chinese government to date has not permitted DNA testing on these mummies,
but mainstream geneticists and anthropologists do not believe the Tocharians to
be the principal ancestors or even significant genetic contributors to modern
Mongolian, Siberian, or Uighur populations. Our awareness of the ethnogenetic
distinctiveness of the Tocharian people and even their very existence comes
almost exclusively from their custom of mummification and from the fortuitous
discovery of Tocharian mummies in the desert sands in 1987.

The ancient East Asian populations from which we do have
some mtDNA data—namely, the Chinese and Japanese—demonstrate
genetic patterns strikingly different from those of modern populations. The
ancient remains tested from Japan contain none of the four main mtDNA
haplogroups (A, B, C, and D) present in 98 percent of modern Native Americans
and 52 percent of modern Mongolians. Among ancient Chinese studied, only 13
percent shared a mtDNA haplogroup with Native Americans, and only two of the
haplogroups (B and C) were present at all. Even these ancient Chinese remains
are only two thousand years old, over seven centuries later than the dispersion
of the northern kingdom of Israel. In contrast, a modern study of “central
Chinese” with a similar sample size demonstrated the presence of all four
mtDNA haplogroups, and the prevalence of the shared mtDNA haplogroups has
increased to 45 percent.37

The further back we go, the greater genetic distinctiveness
we find between ancient and modern Asian populations. One of the earliest Asian
studies of ancient human remains was conducted in the Linzi area of central
China. The authors studied human remains from three different time periods and
found that

the genetic backgrounds of the three populations are distinct from each other.
Inconsistent with the geographical distribution, the 2,500-year-old Linzi
population showed greater genetic similarity to present-day European populations
than to present-day east Asian populations. The 2,000-year-old Linzi population
had features that were intermediate between the present-day European/2,500-year-old
Linzi populations and the present-day east Asian populations. These relationships
suggest the occurrence of drastic spatiotemporal changes in the genetic structure
of Chinese people during the past 2,500 years.38

Those researchers point out that “the three smallest
genetic distances for the 2,500-year-old Linzi population were from the
Turkish, Icelander, and Finnish, rather than from the east Asian
Not only did a 2,500-year-old population with strong European genetic features
live in central China, but these people appear to be the oldest inhabitants of
China yet identified. Geneticists are aware of this group, whose genetic
features seem to be almost entirely absent in the modern Chinese population,
only because of a relatively unique, recent study.40 If we were to imagine a
hypothetical Linzi group that might have emigrated to an isolated island in 500
BC, the DNA of their descendants would be completely unrelated to that of
modern Chinese and would be classified by proponents of regional affiliation
genetics as belonging to a European culture group. Self-proclaimed experts
would undoubtedly claim that this group had been “proven” not to have
originated in China at all. The Linzi data challenge the theories of those who
indiscriminately extrapolate the genetics of the modern inhabitants onto
ancient peoples without supporting DNA evidence.

Genetics, History, and Scripture

Critics have largely failed to consider scriptural and
historical explanations for modern DNA observations. Abraham was a migrant from
Ur of the Chaldees and not a native Palestinian. The Lord explicitly forbade
intermarriage between Israelites and the native inhabitants of Palestine,
commanding: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter
thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy
son” (Deuteronomy 7:3). The spiritual and social separation between Israel
and the surrounding nations is a frequent scriptural theme. Limited intermixing
occurred between Israel and surrounding kingdoms during the captivity in Egypt
and the early period of the kingdom of Israel, mainly consisting of the
assimilation of foreign wives. Nonetheless, the continued emphasis on
separation between Israel and its neighbors would make it foolish to expect
genetic regional affiliation markers gathered from a composite of Canaanites,
Syrians, Egyptians, Phoenicians, and other groups then inhabiting the ancient
Near East to represent a definitive test of early Israelite ancestry.

The Assyrian captivity of the northern ten tribes and the
Babylonian captivity of the kingdom of Judah marked turning points of genetic
divergence between the Jews who returned to Jerusalem and other Israelite
groups. The Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity found a land with a
markedly different ethnic makeup from the predominantly Canaanite Palestine of
early Israel. Many of the Canaanite tribes had been completely destroyed, while
the Assyrians had resettled “men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from
Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of
Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and
dwelt in the cities thereof” (2 Kings 17:24). Other groups migrated
into Palestine during and after the Babylonian captivity. The returned Jews
mixed among a population of Babylonians, Palestinians, Edomites, Moabites,
Ammonites, Syrians, Assyrians, and others until after the time of the Savior.
These intervening centuries provided abundant opportunities for the
introduction of numerous regional haplotypes that were not necessarily present
in ancient Israel. Continued intermarriage with foreigners would have
progressively diluted the Jewish genome to the point where many of the original
haplotypes may no longer have been detectable. The Jews who lived in the Near
East until after the destruction of Jerusalem circa AD 70 and then gradually
made their way into the Diaspora should be expected to share vastly greater
genetic commonalities with modern Syrians, Arabs, Palestinians, Kurds, and
Iraqis than the Lehites, who left Jerusalem approximately 600 BC, or the ten
tribes from the northern kingdom who were carried away by the Assyrians between
744 and 721 BC and then lost to history.

Rates of intermarriage increased significantly during and
after the Babylonian captivity. Transplanted minority groups are generally more
likely to intermarry with other groups than more homogenous ethnic groups in
their own societies because of both external cultural factors and limited
internal marriage options. The prophet Ezra initiated separations on a massive
scale between Israelite men and their foreign wives (Ezra 10), but it is
unlikely that restrictions on the ubiquitous challenge of intermarriage were
consistently enforced so zealously in subsequent generations. The Jewish
prohibition on intermarriage has rarely been consistently achieved. One source
reports that since 1985, 52 percent of North American Jews who married have
married non-Jews.41
Just a few generations of such widespread intermarriage can result in almost a
complete loss of initially defining genetic data. Even if the low 10 percent
intermarriage rate reported prior to 1965 had been maintained for twenty-six
hundred years, modern Jewish populations would bear little genetic resemblance
to ancient Israelites.

The Bible reports some 600,000 able-bodied footmen among the
Israelites at the time of the Exodus, in addition to women and children (Exodus
12:37; Numbers 11:21), suggesting a likely population of at least 2 million.
Throughout history, the Jewish population was reconstituted from only a
fraction of its former people on at least several occasions, often with
considerable influx of non-Jewish genes. Hebrew scholars estimate that the
Jewish population had fallen to approximately 300,000 a century after the
Babylonian captivity, increasing to between two and five million by the time of
Christ and falling to less than a million following the Roman-Jewish wars.42 Only a fraction of the Jews
returned from Babylon, only a portion of the Palestinian Jews survived the
Roman counterattacks leading to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and many
Jews perished in European pogroms. The asymmetric nature of all of these events
would have resulted in the loss of many “Israelite” genes from the
Jewish gene pool.

Robert Pollack observes that Ashkenazi Jews, who constitute
80 percent of the modern Jewish population, “descend from a rather small
number of families who survived the pogroms of the mid-1600s.”43 Behar reports that
“from an estimated number of ~25,000 in 1300 AD, the Ashkenazi population
had grown to more than 8.5 million by the beginning of the 19th century.”44 Daniel Elazar of the Jerusalem
Center for Public Affairs wrote that at the end of the eleventh century, 97
percent of the world’s Jews were Sephardic and only 3 percent were Ashkenazi.
He reports that in “the mid-seventeenth century, Sephardim still outnumbered
Ashkenazim three to two. . . . The Ashkenazic high point came in 1931
when they constituted nearly 92 percent of world Jewry.”45 Ethnohistory repeatedly documents
the amplification of a small subset of precursor DNA in modern Jewish
populations, the inevitable loss of many Israelite haplotypes altogether, and
the introduction of large amounts of non-Israelite DNA. Such ethnohistoric data
resoundingly repudiate critics’ assumptions that modern Jewish groups represent
a comprehensive and valid control of the genetics of ancient Israel. Pollack
further notes: “Though there are many deleterious versions of genes shared
within the Ashkenazic community, there are no DNA sequences common to all Jews
and absent from all non-Jews. There is nothing in the human genome that makes
or diagnoses a person as a Jew.”46

There is no evidence that any of the so-called regional
affiliation haplotypes shared by some modern Jews and Palestinians reflect
ancient Israelite genetics rather than sequences assimilated from non-Israelite
groups over centuries of intermixing. Historical and genetic evidence suggest
that modern Jewish populations cannot possibly contain all the genetic material
present in predispersion Israel and that few modern Jewish haplotypes are even
plausible candidates for ancient Israelite origin.

Alternative Theories

While some claim that the DNA similarities between Native
Americans, Mongolians, and Siberians discredit Latter-day Saint teachings, I
find just the opposite: the consistency between genetic data, scripture,
history, and modern patriarchal blessings is remarkable. Current DNA studies
provide no evidence that the haplogroups shared between Siberian and Native
American populations were found in Siberia or east Asia before the dispersion
of Israel. Existing data also suggest that the prevalence of these haplotypes
among central Chinese and other Asian populations may have increased
significantly over time. Could there have been a common origin outside of
Mongolia for both Native Americans and many modern Mongolians? Virtually
nothing is known about the genetics of ancient Israel. The Bible declares that
the ten tribes were dispersed to the “land of the north” (Jeremiah
3:18)—a designation for which few lands seem as appropriate as the vast
steppes of Siberia and Mongolia. The DNA commonalities between modern Siberian
and Native American populations may not have been indigenous to the
predispersion inhabitants of east Asia but could have been introduced to both
locations by migrants from ancient Israel: to east Asia by dispersed lost
tribes of the northern captivity and to the Americas by the Lehite and Mulekite
groups described in the Book of Mormon.

Patriarchal blessings of the overwhelming majority of Native
American converts in areas without significant post-Columbian admixture cite
lineage from Manasseh, consistent with the Book of Mormon teaching that Lehi
was a descendant of Joseph (1 Nephi 5:14). Well before Murphy’s criticisms
of traditional Latter-day Saint views hit the popular press, I had confirmed
from missionaries and members that modern patriarchal blessings have identified
members of all the tribes of Israel in Mongolia—a greater number than I
am aware of being found in any other country to date. These blessings were
given independently by Latter-day Saint patriarchs in stakes throughout the
world where ethnic Mongolian missionaries served, as Mongolia had no stakes or
patriarchs at the time. More recently, a similar phenomenon has been reported
from Siberia. A recently returned missionary from the Russia Novosibirsk
Mission wrote: “While there, I had the unique opportunity to be present
for the coming of two American patriarchs who delivered the first-ever
patriarchal blessings to Siberian Saints on two separate occasions. What turned
up was a staggering number of representatives from every single tribe in the
relatively few blessings given.”47 My research into patriarchal lineage
declarations has consistently found a strong correlation between specific
tribal lineages and certain ethnonational groups, and so I consider this
finding significant. While this does not offer any kind of scientific proof, it
should at least open our minds to consideration of the possibility of a common
origin for Native Americans and many modern Mongolians outside of east Asia,
perhaps in ancient Israel. One wonders if at least some elements of the
genetics of these groups may not represent the genetics of ancient Israel
better than do many of today’s Jewish populations, which have extensively
assimilated the genes of their neighbors.

Dating the DNA

The only part of the data that has not yet been explained in
harmony with the Book of Mormon story is the timing. Many scientists date the
genetic divergence of modern Native Americans as having arisen from migrations
between 10,000 and 15,000 BC, rather than shortly after 600 BC, as the Book of
Mormon account claims. Mitochondrial studies of New World DNA have led to
vastly discrepant estimates of time of divergence. According
to Ann Gibbons, “All this disagreement prompts [Stanford University
linguist Dr. Joseph] Greenberg to simply ignore the new mtDNA data. He says:
‘Every time, it [mtDNA] seems to come to a different conclusion. I’ve just
tended to set aside the mtDNA evidence. I’ll wait until they get their act together.'”48

LDS apologist Martin Tanner explains:

The idea that haplogroup X has been in the Americas for 10 to 35 thousand
years is based solely upon the assumptions of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium,
which include: (1) completely neutral variants, (2) no mutation,
(3) no migration, (4) constant near infinite population size, and
(5) completely random mate choice. In the Book of Mormon account, most
of the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium assumptions are inapplicable. The wilderness
journey, the ocean voyage, and the colonization of the New World result in
patterns of genetic selection and DNA migration different from that found
in Lehi’s home environment. Closely related individuals married, and we are
dealing with an [initially] very small group, not a nearly infinite population
which would dramatically alter DNA marker distribution and inheritance over
time. If we take these assumptions about haplogroup X instead of the Hardy-Weinberg
assumptions, haplogroup X could have been introduced into the Americas as
recently as one to two thousand years ago, far less than the ten to thirty-five
thousand years under the Hardy-Weinberg assumptions.49

DNA researcher Mark Seielstad and colleagues note some of
the problems with early dating:

Our results do not contradict earlier studies of mtDNA and the autosomes,
whose standard errors were large and whose authors noted several reasons to
expect their dates to overestimate the timing of the first human arrivals
to the Americas. In addition, a more recent time of entry into the continent
makes the proposal of the Amerind language family more plausible; or, conversely—given
the rapidity of linguistic change—the existence of a unified Amerind
family would itself imply a fairly recent settling of the Americas, as we
have suggested here.50

Although consensus science still dates the peopling of
the Americas well before the Lehites, dating methods depend highly upon
assumptions that may not be universally valid and have a wide margin of error.
Many estimates of the time of the settling of the Americas have been shortened
greatly in recent years. Time will tell whether current calculations will hold
or whether continued revision may be required.

Amerindians, Native Americans, or Lamanites?

Whatever one’s beliefs on the DNA issue, critics’ attacks on
Latter-day Saint scripture for describing Native Americans as
“Lamanites” can only seem hypocritical when these peoples continue to
be erroneously referred to as “Indians” more than five centuries
after Columbus. The pseudoscientific term Amerindian
used by Murphy does not get around the problem that Native Americans are not
Indians at all. Even the terms Native Americans
or indigenous peoples are
problematic, as migration from a homeland in the eastern hemisphere is
acknowledged by gentile scholars and Latter-day Saints alike. For modern mixed
populations, terms such as Latino or Hispanic are based entirely upon the
European admixture while conveying nothing about pre-Columbian roots. While the
word Indian was used on many
occasions by Joseph Smith and other early church leaders, this term does not
occur in Latter-day Saint scripture at all. Perhaps the use of the term Lamanite reflects the fact that their
creator understood their origins in a way that most scientists still do not.

Facts, Theories, and Consensus

When I was in medical school, physicians believed that
hormone replacement therapy (HRT) offered substantial cardiac benefits with no
increase in cancer risk for the average postmenopausal woman. Numerous
seemingly well-designed, large-scale studies had corroborated these findings.
While conducting public health research in an eastern European country,
I was informed by a local cardiologist that they did not use HRT because
of the belief that it increased cancer risk. At the time, I felt that his
community was primitive for harboring views in opposition to abundant medical
literature. Yet more recent United States studies have concluded that
traditional HRT regimens incur significant cancer risks while failing to
provide cardiovascular benefits, leading to a sweeping reversal of prior
teachings that had served as the basis for the medical care of tens of millions
of women. The initial HRT studies were much more rigorous than many
ethnohistoric and anthropologic studies, which draw from far fewer data points.

Numerous other examples could be cited of theories once
widely considered to have been rigorously proven but that have since been
almost completely repudiated by subsequent findings. Almost every year brings
unanticipated findings that require drastic revision of existing theories. Most
individuals would be surprised to learn how few data points current consensus
theories for the peopling of the Americas such as the Bering land bridge theory
are based on and how many scholars in the field hold widely different views.
Recent archaeological finds in South America that appear to be older than those
in North America have led some scholars to champion the Pacific colonization
theory, while others note that the data are too sparse to settle the debate.

It is fascinating to consider not only how frequently
science has changed its pronouncements, but also the societal amnesia that
leads each new theory to be proclaimed as fact as definitively as those it
supplanted. While the real experts acknowledge the limitations of their data
and theories, the popularization of such theories often overextends their
mandates. One observant cartoonist quipped: “My opinions may have changed,
but not the fact that I am right.”51
The innate human desire for answers has always led to overextended conclusions
in the face of inadequate evidence. Few individuals are able to acknowledge
multiple feasible possibilities or to defer judgment until better data becomes

The real test of our insight as scientists and of our
discernment as Christians is not in our acknowledgment of past findings that
are already widely accepted, but in our ability to correctly identify present
truths. The Pharisees claimed to acknowledge ancient prophets while rejecting
the living Christ of whom the prophets testified: “We know that God spake
unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is” (John
9:29). Many professed scholars today are happy to claim the mantle of science
for their acceptance of that which is already well-known, while demonstrating a
lack of understanding of the principles on which prior discoveries were made by
rejecting possibilities that do not fit with their personal assumptions. We are
all beneficiaries of theories and principles that have overcome great resistance
before eventual acceptance. Great scientists and inventors have always
possessed the ability to separate the real facts from unproven assumptions of
popular consensus and have pursued their own vision without regard to the
deprecations of short-sighted critics. While much can be learned from
consensus, those who rely upon it exclusively ultimately perish when the floods
descend. Rather than placing our faith in ever-changing popular and academic
consensus—the shifting sands of tiny minds—Christ invites us to
build upon his rock. He declares: “I am the Lord thy God, I am more
intelligent than they all” (Abraham 3:19).

Evangelical Christianity’s “Suicide Bombing”

Some evangelical critics have latched onto the claims of
dissident and ex-Mormon scholars that modern DNA evidence “disproves”
Book of Mormon historicity in their effort to discredit the faith of the
Latter-day Saints. DNA and dating arguments do not, however, represent an
exclusive challenge to Latter-day Saint teachings, although critics would like
to paint it as such. Rather, such arguments produce issues for the biblical
Judeo-Christian worldview in general. Strict biblical chronology suggests that
man has been on the earth for only six thousand years and that a universal
flood occurred approximately 2350 BC. If all mankind is descended from Eve, why
do not all humans share the same mitochondrial DNA? Where is the archaeological
evidence of a great worldwide flood? God promised Abraham: “I will
multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the
sea shore” (Genesis 22:17), yet no Abrahamic Y-chromosome has been
identified among modern Jews, who consider themselves to be children of
Abraham. While addressing such topics is beyond the scope of this article, the
attempts of critics to characterize Latter-day Saint teachings as unscientific
and irrational while failing to apply similar standards of objective validation
to their own tenets amounts to a “suicide bombing.” There is
something distinctly bizarre about evangelical groups like Living Hope
Ministries enlisting agnostic evolutionist scholars as their experts to
challenge the Church of Jesus Christ over DNA and the Book of Mormon. If one
could continue the interviews by asking these same scholars about many events described
in the Bible, one wonders if their admirers would continue to accept their
pronouncements with such credulity. Every faith accepts some beliefs that lie
outside of the ever-changing scientific and societal consensus. If one were to
use popular consensus as the basis for religious belief, what would be left?
Studies show that today, most Americans do not believe in the resurrection.52 Arguments that Latter-day Saint
beliefs are scientifically untenable while those of other faiths are
well-documented are intrinsically dishonest.

Observations on Anti-Mormonism

My interest in Book of Mormon DNA issues began several years
ago when my bishop in Texas asked me to help a less-active young man who was
struggling with this topic. I open-mindedly and carefully studied the data and
wrote a detailed article to highlight the fallacy of critics’ arguments. We
established several appointments, but he never appeared. When I finally reached
him by phone, he promised to come by to pick up the article when he was interested.
I never heard from him again. I have often found that addressing an
individual’s alleged concerns on one topic only brings forth a litany of
others. Many don’t want to have their concerns answered. Many have already made
a decision to distance themselves from the church on personal grounds but like
to flatter themselves that they are doing so for compelling scientific reasons.
Attempts to correct their misunderstanding of science are often met with
evasiveness or hostility.

Over the past year, I have received many profanity-laced
tirades from critics and disaffected ex-Mormons over my writing on the DNA
issue. The logic and language of these is not worthy of repetition. Throughout
my life, I have had many non-LDS friends and acquaintances who held religious
or personal views that I considered to be unsupportable or even bizarre, yet I
have never felt threatened by allowing them the right to believe as they wish.
Beyond the desire to defend my own faith from false accusations, I have never
felt any desire to discredit other beliefs. The New Testament teaches that
those of different beliefs should be left alone instead of persecuted.
Doctrinal criticisms of the Church of Jesus Christ by evangelical hirelings can
only be considered capricious when viewed in the context of studies that have
repeatedly documented that massive percentages of their own pastors do not
believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, that Jesus was the son of
God, or that God communicated with ancient prophets. Even from a born-again evangelical viewpoint, Christian researcher
George Barna has found that the “biblical purity” of teachings
acknowledged by Latter-day Saints is above-average for Christians in general.53
In his Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience,
Ronald Sider has documented that the lifestyle of most evangelicals is
strikingly discrepant from scriptural standards.54 Christ taught, “Why call ye
me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). He
declared, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but
perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Luke 16:44). While
Latter-day Saints are not perfect and some negative exceptions exist in any
large group, the remarkable record of Latter-day Saint society on the whole for
scriptural living and morality has been repeatedly documented by sociologic
studies. Critics are not objective evidence seekers or fair-minded scholars,
but mere cafeteria sophists, playing up findings that they believe they can
present to their advantage while ignoring data they find problematic.

Scientists or Partisans?

To my knowledge, critics to date have not been able to
generate a single peer-reviewed publication in a scientific journal on Book of
Mormon DNA issues. Although validation of study controls is critical to the
testing of any scientific hypothesis, Murphy and other critics have accepted
without validation the assumption that modern Jewish populations represent a
comprehensive control of ancient Israelite genetics. This assumption in itself
demonstrates profound ignorance of Jewish ethnohistoric dynamics. It is rather
shocking that while the original study authors repeatedly comment explicitly
that their studies of Jewish populations do not necessarily demonstrate that
the haplotypes in question reflect early Israelite genetics, Murphy and other
critics have conveniently omitted mention of these cautions.

Murphy fails to disclose the lack of any meaningful mtDNA
homology among modern Jewish groups that undermines one of his foundational
arguments attacking Latter-day Saint views. The internal control he mentions of
the Lemba is not comparable to the Lehite colony or lost tribe groups because
of its very recent origin, and it fails the mtDNA test he imposes on Native
Americans. He fails to mention that there is no reason to expect Cohen priests
carrying the CMH, the only haplotype demonstrating significant homogeneity
among Jewish populations worldwide, to have been present among the Lehites.
Murphy fails to acknowledge the presence of a founding Y-chromosome haplotype
present among Jewish communities worldwide and in Native Americans at a high
frequency. He presents no data to support his assumption that ancient
Mongolians and Siberians share similar genetic makeup to modern peoples and
ignores both ethnohistoric and genetic data from other Far Eastern populations
demonstrating drastic genetic change over time. His writing demonstrates no
evidence of any serious attempt at analysis of events described in the Book of
Mormon and Bible texts that might impact genetics, instead relying upon
assumption and caricature. Murphy might do well to educate himself regarding
Jewish ethnohistory, genetics, and scripture before attempting to tackle claims
of Israelite origin for other groups. Murphy’s authoritative pronouncement that
“The BoMor [Book of Mormon] emerged from Joseph Smith’s own struggles with
his God”55
and many similar statements56
demonstrate his bias and agenda. He mischaracterizes Latter-day Saint policies
toward Native Americans57
and ignores the church’s strong and consistent record of serving Native
American interests dating back to times when Native Americans were scarcely
considered human by the U.S. government. A review of some of the major problems
with Murphy’s claims suggests that his writings are unlikely to pass muster
with those familiar with genetics, history, and scripture and that critics will
likely continue to find their primary audience among disaffected ex-Mormons and
anti-Mormon groups. Claims of critics like Simon Southerton that modern Jewish
and Native American DNA data represent the most devastating “scientific
evidence facing the LDS Church today”58
only demonstrate the profound intellectual poverty of critics’ arguments.

When I was a missionary in Russia, atheists frequently cited
to me cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s reported statement after traveling into
space—”I didn’t see any God up there” and his conclusion that
“therefore God does not exist.” Ill-founded DNA criticisms of
traditional Latter-day Saint teachings arise from the same level of simplistic
ignorance, erroneous assumptions, and non sequitur logic. The critics’ charges
that DNA data refute Latter-day Saint teachings do not present the thinking
man’s conundrum of conflict between science and religion but are rather
made-for-media claims that excite sensational headlines for the uninformed
while failing rudimentary scientific standards. Critics demonstrate that a
little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The individual who does not understand the limitations of
the few data points he possesses and who is unable to separate his assumptions
from fact—one with learning, but without wisdom—is often more
hopelessly ignorant than the individual who knows nothing at all. Truly, God is
“able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding
of men” (Ether 3:5). The inability or unwillingness of many to recognize
his power ultimately demonstrates their small-mindedness rather than erudition.
We do not need to apologize for our prophets. We can learn much about our world
from them. Many items in the Book of Mormon that critics had previously claimed
to be impossible or anachronistic in ancient Mesoamerica have since been shown
to have existed.59
Many teachings currently presented by critics as “proof” of
Mormonism’s falsehood will one day be recognized as some of the most remarkable
evidences of Joseph Smith’s prophetic mission. We can take comfort that many
honest and perceptive people see through the hypocrisy of those who “lie
in wait to deceive.”


The recent explosion of molecular DNA data has led to a
considerable increase in knowledge about our roots. However, some individuals
have drawn, and widely publicized, conclusions far beyond those validated by
the existing data. The claims of critics that DNA evidence disproves
traditional Latter-day Saint teachings about Native American ancestry are based
in a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of science and an ignorance of
history and scripture. There is still much that we do not know about the
genetics of ancient and modern populations, but a careful examination of
existing DNA data demonstrates that the teachings of Latter-day Saint prophets
are fully consistent with existing DNA data.


1. History of the Church, 1:315.

2. Spencer
W. Kimball, “Of Royal Blood,” Ensign,
July 1971, 7.

3. Thomas
W. Murphy, “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics,” in American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, ed.
Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2002),
47-77; see Murphy, “Sin, Skin, and Seed: Mistakes of Men in the Book
of Mormon,” at www.tungate.com/sinskinseed5.pdf
(accessed 30 May 2004).

4. Martin
Richards, “Beware the Gene Genies,” Guardian,
21 February 2003; see
www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,899835,00.html (accessed 7 July 2006).

5. Mark
G. Thomas et al., “Founding Mothers of Jewish Communities: Geographically
Separated Jewish Groups Were Independently Founded by Very Few Female
Ancestors,” American Journal of Human
70/6 (June 2002): 1411.

6. Nicholas
Wade, “In DNA, New Clues to Jewish Roots,” New
York Times,
14 May 2002, F1 (col. 1).

7. Quoted
in Wade, “In DNA, New Clues to Jewish Roots.”

8. Thomas
et al., “Founding Mothers of Jewish Communities,” 1411, 1415,

9. D. Andrew
Merriwether, Francisco Rothhammer, and Robert E. Ferrell,
“Distribution of the Four Founding Lineage Haplotypes in Native Americans
Suggests a Single Wave of Migration for the New World,” American Journal of Physical Anthropology
98 (1995): 411-30.

10. Edward
J. Vajda, “The Siberian Origins of Native Americans,” at
pandora.cii.wwu.edu/vajda/ea210/SiberianOriginsNA.htm (accessed 5 May

11. Murphy,
“Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics,” 60-61; see 75 n.
74 for Murphy’s references.

12. Himla
Soodyall, quoted in Izelle Theunissen, “Every Gene Tells a Story,” Science in Africa, February 2003, at
(accessed 5 May 2006).

13. Tony
Ortega, “Witness for the Persecution,” New
Times Los Angeles,
20-26 April 2000.

14. Doron
M. Behar et al., “Contrasting Patterns of Y Chromosome Variation in
Ashkenazi Jewish and Host Non-Jewish European Populations,” Human Genetics 114 (2004): 354-65.

15. Michael
F. Hammer et al., “Jewish and Middle Eastern Non-Jewish Populations Share
a Common Pool of Y-Chromosome Biallelic Haplotypes,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
97/12 (6 June 2000): 6769-74 (p. 6770, table 1; see correlates
for 1C in Y Chromosome Consortium, “A Nomenclature System for the Tree of
Human Y-Chromosomal Binary Haplogroups,” Genome
12 [2002]: 339-48); and Peidong Shen et al.,
“Reconstruction of Patrilineages and Matrilineages of Samaritans and Other
Israeli Populations from Y-Chromosome and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence
Variation,” Human Mutation 24
(2004): 248-60. (M-242 is another label for the Q-P36 group.)

16. Stephen
L. Zegura et. al, “High-Resolution SNPs and Microsatellite Haplotypes
Point to a Single, Recent Entry of Native American Y Chromosomes into the
Americas,” Molecular Biology and Evolution
21/1 (2004): 164-75.

17. See
dougsaythis.blogspot.com/2005/09/lamanites.html (accessed 7 July 2006),
which refers to Michael F. Hammer et al., “A Population Structure of
Y Chromosome SNP Haplogroups in the United States and Forensic Implications for
Constructing Y Chromosome STR Databases,” Forensic
Science International
(3 December 2005), article in press.

18. See
Forbes at dougsaythis.blogspot.com/2005/09/lamanites.html (accessed 7 July

19. Zegura
et al., “High-Resolution SNPs,” 168.

20. Forbes
refers to Mark Seielstad et al., “A Novel Y-Chromosome Variant Puts an
Upper Limit on the Timing of First Entry into the Americas,” American Journal of Human Genetics 73/3
(September 2003): 700.

21. Douglas
Forbes, personal communication, 21 November 2005.

22. See
dougsaythis.blogspot.com/2005/09/lamanites.html (accessed 7 July 2006).

23. Doron
M. Behar et al., “Multiple Origins of Ashkenazi Levites: Y Chromosome
Evidence for Both Near Eastern and European Ancestries,” American Journal of Human Genetics 73/4
(October 2003): 768.

24. Neil
Bradman, Dror Rosengarten, and Karl L. Skorecki, “The Origins of
Ashkenazic Levites: Many Ashkenazic Levites Probably Have a Paternal Descent
from East Europeans or West Asians,” Proceedings of the 6th International
Conference on Ancient DNA and Associated Biomolecules, 21-25 July

25. David
Keys, Catastrophe: An Investigation into the
Origins of the Modern World
(New York: Ballantine Books, 2000),

26. Hammer
et al., “Jewish and Middle Eastern Non-Jewish Populations,” 6771.

27. Michael
E. Weale et al., “Armenian Y Chromosome Haplotypes
Reveal Strong Regional Structure within a Single Ethno-national Group,” Human Genetics 109 (2001): 659.

28. Dina
Kraft, “Study Finds Genetic Links between Jews and Arabs,” Associated
Press, 10 May 2000.

29. John
M. Butler, “Addressing Questions surrounding the Book of
Mormon and DNA Research,” in this number of the FARMS Review, pages 101-8. This has
appeared since February 2006 on the Maxwell Institute Web site.

30. Agnar Helgason et al., “A Populationwide Coalescent Analysis of
Icelandic Matrilineal and Patrilineal Genealogies: Evidence for a Faster
Evolutionary Rate of mtDNA Lineages than Y Chromosomes,” American Journal of Human Genetics 72/6
(2003): 1370-88.

31. Helgason et al., “Populationwide Coalescent Analysis,” 1370.

32. Helgason et al., “Populationwide Coalescent Analysis,” 1373.

33. Murphy,
“Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics,” 68.

34. D.
Andrew Merriwether et al., “mtDNA Variation Indicates Mongolia May Have
Been the Source for the Founding Population for the New World,” American Journal of Human Genetics 59/1
(July 1996): 204.

35. “Summary
of Mitochondrial DNA New World Haplogroups in Humans Worldwide,” National Park Service Archaeology and Ethnography
Program Kennewick Man homepage at www.cr.nps.gov/aad/kennewick/t_ktable2.htm
and www.cr.nps.gov/aad/kennewick/t_kfig2.htm
(accessed 1 May 2004).

36. Howard
Reid, “Mysterious Mummies of China,” PBS NOVA broadcast,
20 January 1998, transcript at www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2502chinamum.html
(accessed 15 May 2006).

37. “Summary
of Mitochondrial DNA New World Haplogroups.”

38. Li
Wang et al., “Genetic Structure of a 2,500-Year-Old Human Population in
China and Its Spatiotemporal Changes,” Molecular
Biology and Evolution
17/9 (September 2000): 1396.

39. Wang
et al., “Genetic Structure,” 1398.

40. Wang
et al., “Genetic Structure,” 1396-400.

41. See
www.whymarryjewish.com/j2k.html (accessed 5 May 2006).

42. See
Simon Burckhardt in A Historical Address of the
Jewish People,
ed. Eli Baranavi (New York: Schocken Books, 1992).

43. Robert
Pollack, “The Fallacy of Biological Judaism,” Forward, 7 March 2003, at
(accessed 5 May 2006).

44. Behar
et al., “Contrasting Patterns of Y Chromosome Variation,” 354.

45. Daniel
J. Elazar, “Can Sephardic Judaism Be Reconstructed?” Jerusalem Center
for Public Affairs, at www.jcpa.org/dje/articles3/sephardic.htm (accessed
1 June 2006).

46. Pollack,
“Fallacy of Biological Judaism.”

47. Jeffrey Carr, personal
correspondence, 28 July 2006.

48. Cited
by Ann Gibbons, “The Peopling of
the Americas,” Science,
4 October 1996, 33.

49. Martin
S. Tanner, personal communication, April 2004.

50. Seielstad,
Yuldasheva, and Singh, “Novel Y-Chromosome Variant,” 704.

51. From
Ashleigh Brilliant in her “Potshots”
series, undated.

52. Thomas
Hargrove and Guido H. Stempel III, “Most Don’t Believe in the
Resurrection,” Detroit News,
9 April 2006, at
(accessed 7 July 2006).

53. George
Barna, “Religious Beliefs Vary Widely
by Denomination,” Barna Research Group, 25 June 2001, at
www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=92 (accessed
11 July 2006).

54. Ronald
J. Sider, Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience:
Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World?
Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2005).

55. Thomas
Murphy, “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics,” found at
www.mormonscripturestudies.com/bomor/twm/lamgen.asp (accessed 30 May 2004).

56. The
published version in American Apocrypha, 68, has been rephrased to say: “The Book
of Mormon emerged from an antebellum perspective, out of a frontier American
people’s struggle with their god, and not from an authentic American Indian

57. Kevin
L. Barney, “A Brief Review of Murphy and Southerton’s ‘Galileo
Event,'” at www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/Brief_Review_of_Murphy_and_Southerton_Galileo_Event.html
(accessed 24 July 2006).

58. Simon Southerton, as quoted
by Murphy in “Skin, Seed, and the Mistakes of Men.”

59. See
Matthew Roper, “Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of
Mormon,” at www.fairLDS.org/pubs/conf/2001RopM.html
(accessed 15 May 2006); John E. Clark, “Archaeology, Relics, and Book
of Mormon Belief,” Journal of Book of
Mormon Studies
14/2 (2005): 38-51; and John L. Sorenson,
“How Could Joseph Smith Write So Accurately about Ancient American
Civilization?” in Echoes and Evidences of
the Book of Mormon,
ed. Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and
John W. Welch (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2002), 261-306.