Thursday, May 01, 2008

Among vs. Principal Ancestors

There has been some criticism for a word change in the the Book of Mormon Introduction which was written by the LDS Church. In describing the Book of Mormon the Introduction says the people of the Book of Mormon were composed of the Jaredites, Lamanites and Nephites. The Nephites believed in and were visited by Jesus Christ. However, "all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians."

In light of recent genetic studies of American Indians, the evidence is conclusive that the principal ancestors, genetically speaking, of the American Indians came from Asiatic origin and not Middle Eastern. So, some have vocally criticized the Book of Mormon for it's use of the word "principal" in its introduction. Therefore, the LDS church has decided for purposes of clarity to change the phrase, "are the principal ancestors of the American Indians" to "are among the ancestors of the American Indians."

Some critics scoff that this change is evidence that the LDS Church is finally giving way to the mountains of archaeological proof against the Book of Mormon. However, those critics would be in error. While there are many archaeological evidences yet to be discovered which will add to the support in favor of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, this change is not proof of anything other than trying to clarity a deep seeded misunderstanding by the general public.

First off, the Introduction is meant for those not acquainted with the Book of Mormon. So, what is that misunderstanding? Many not acquainted with the Book of Mormon interpret the words "principal ancestor" as applying to genetics or culture. But that is not what the LDS church or Book of Mormon means or meant by the word "principal" at all. The Lamanites are rightly considered the principal ancestors of the American Indians only in the spiritual sense; or rather, in the eyes of God and His promises.

The Book of Mormon teaches that God is no respecter of persons with regard to skin color, gender, or culture.

2 Ne. 26: 33 For none of these iniquities come of the Lord; for he doeth that which is good among the children of men; and he doeth nothing save it be plain unto the children of men; and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.

Alma 16: 14 And as many as would hear their words, unto them they did impart the word of God, without any respect of persons, continually.

But what God does respect, is His word. And he remembers the promises and covenants (Mosiah 1: 7) that He has made. And God kept and will keep promises unto the Nephites that after their children fell into disbelief, God would preserve a record of their knowledge and belief in Christ and that record would come to the remnant of their seed (Native Americans) in the last days.

2 Ne. 30: 4-6 And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews. And the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be declared among them; wherefore, they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers, and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers. And then shall they rejoice; for they shall know that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God;

Jacob 4: 4 For, for this intent have we written these things, that they may know that we knew of Christ, and we had a hope of his glory many hundred years before his coming; and not only we ourselves had a hope of his glory, but also all the holy prophets which were before us.

1 Ne. 15: 14 And at that day shall the remnant of our seed know that they are of the house of Israel, and that they are the covenant people of the Lord; and then shall they know and come to the knowledge of their forefathers, and also to the knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer, which was ministered unto their fathers by him; wherefore, they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and the very points of his doctrine, that they may know how to come unto him and be saved.

The purpose of the change is just in recognition that the Introduction is meant for a general audience not already familiar with the Book of Mormon or the promises of God to the [small genetic] remnant of the Nephite people. So, the change will be made to prevent further misunderstanding on this point.

The Book of Mormon consistently foretells that the latter-day Native Americans would only possess a small remnant of the genetic seed of the Nephites. The Book of Mormon prophets understood that only traces of their genetic material would be found in the modern Native Americans. So, we should not be surprised when scientists verify what the Book of Mormon has said all along that most Amerind DNA is of Asiatic origin. However, I find it fascinating that a newly identified mtDNA haptotype X is of Near East and European origin and is not found in Asia. So, yet again, we see a criticism of the Book of Mormon turns into another evidence for it's authenticity.

(please see )

[Notice that Mitochondrial DNA haptotype X found in North and South America comes from Europe. The migration across Alaska is an assumption because it dates to the same time periods as the other haptotypes. Some researchers insist that there were only 1 or 2 waves of migration but Emory geneticists are finding clear evidence of multiple migrations]

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