D. Michael Quinn defends Book of Mormon historicity against attacks based on DNA.

May 2005
D. Michael Quinn

D. Michael Quinn, "The Ancient Book of Mormon As Tribal Narrative," Sunstone (May 2005): 67

D. Michael Quinn
Reading Public

THE DNA EVIDENCE IS SIGNIFICANT, BUT QUITE frankly I’m irritated by intelligent people (including some good friends) who have rushed to assert that the current DNA comparison allegedly “disproves” the Book of Mormon’s claim to have been written by ancient inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.

So far as I am aware, the DNA evidence clearly proves one genetic fact: more than 90 percent of the indigenous peoples currently living in North and South America descended exclusively from ancient peoples residing in Northeast Asia. These are among tribes and groups in the Western Hemisphere which (by their own traditions) have not intermarried (or been raped by) the conquering Europeans.

. . .

From about age twelve to nineteen, I had repeatedly read the Book of Mormon and the Hebrew Bible and concluded that both were tribal narratives.

. . .

As a teenager, my several readings of the Book of Mormon indicated to me that it described increasingly small groups of people, who couldn’t have cared less about anyone else roaming the Western Hemisphere. The narrative of the original families of brothers Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam becomes a narrative of only the families of Nephi, Sam, and their descendants. Half the original population of interest essentially ceases to exist after a few pages in the Book of Mormon narrative, except when this invisible population thrusts itself into the Nephite tribal history through warfare.

. . .

Although now excommunicated from the LDS church, I maintain my youthful faith in the reality of God, the truth of His revelations (both ancient and modern), the existence of living prophets, and the fallibility of all prophets in word and deed (what the Book of Mormon itself refers to as “the weaknesses of men” among its prophet-writers, transcribers, translators).

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