Thomas W. Murphy argues that DNA evidence for Native Americans renders BOM historicity implausible.

Thomas W. Murphy

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

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Thomas W. Murphy
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Some Latter-day Saints have expressed optimism that DNA research would lead to a vindication of the Book of Mormon as a translation of a genuine ancient document. The hope is that DNA research would link Native Americans to ancient Israelites, buttressing LDS beliefs in a way that has not been forthcoming from archaeological, linguistic, historical, or morphological research. The results, though, have been disappointing. This essay outlines two significant insights into the geography and history of human genes and their implications for Mormon thought. If the new embrace of DNA research has an impact on Mormon views of the world, it will likely propel new approaches to scripture and history already underway in Mormon intellectual circles. First, the genealogical data inscribed in human genes suggest to current researchers that humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor that lived in Africa between five and seven million years ago. This genetic data adds to the abundance of archaeological, fossil, and anatomical data pointing to ancient human origins in Africa and adds to difficulties in upholding scriptural literalism. Second, genealogical data inscribed in genes of modern humans and ancient American skeletons not only helps researchers to identify ultimate origins but also provides clues to ancient migration patterns. Current genetic data suggest that ancestors of Native Americans separated from their Asian neighbors about 40-50,000 years ago and from each other in what may have been three or more separate waves of migration by 7-15,000 years ago. No support for Mormon beliefs linking American Indians to ancient Israelites is evident in the data.

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