From the newsgroup alt.religion.mormon


a Mormon said:
For the record, a common mistake many make is to assume things the Book of Mormon does not claim, then try to "disprove" it by showing that those assumptions are wrong, often by using unproven hypotheses that "everyone knows is true." Example: the Book of Mormon NEVER says that ALL the American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites.

a former-Mormon scientist comments:
Joseph Smith commonly referred to the Indians as Lamanites. When Joseph Smith sent Oliver Cowdery on a mission to the Indians, he said (speaking as god): "And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them..." (D&C 28:8). The terminology is reaffirmed in D&C 32:3 when Joseph Smith said (again, speaking as god): "And that which I have appointed unto him is that he [Parley P. Pratt] shall go with my servants Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites." In D&C 54:8, Joseph Smith (speaking as the Mormon god) says the "borders of the Lamanites" are near the "land of Missouri". True, Joseph never said ALL the American Indians are Lamanites, but he spoke in language giving the impression that he believed they were primarily of Lamanite descent. In one of his accounts of the church's early history, Joseph Smith described an (imaginary) visit from Moroni. In that story, Joseph Smith said: "He [Moroni] said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants ..." (Joseph Smith 2:34). Perhaps Moroni meant only "some" of the inhabitants. But that is not what he said. Perhaps he meant only "part" of the continent. But that is not what he said. The matter-of-fact way that Moroni describes the Book of Mormon as being "... an account of the former inhabitants of this continent..." seems to imply that most, if not all, of the American Indians have Lamanite blood in them. Brigham Young was no less consistent in calling the American Indians Lamanites. According to Brigham Young: "There is a curse on these aborigines of our country who roam the plains, and are so wild that you cannot tame them. They are of the House of Israel; they once had the Gospel delivered to them, they had the oracles of truth; Jesus came and administered to them after his resurrection, and they received and delighted in the Gospel until the fourth generation when they turned away and became so wicked that God cursed them with this dark and benighted and loathsome condition." [Quoted from Discourses of Brigham Young, compiled by John A. Widtsoe, pages 122, 123.] Considering the statements from Mormon scriptures, coupled with the consistent references by Mormon prophets, seers, and revelators, your argument seems unlikely. At the very least, Mormon scripture and inferences from Mormon prophets suggest that the Book of Mormon be evaluated from the position that most (if not all) of the Amerindians are descendants of the Lamanites.
I add that Kimball said, "You Polynesians of the Pacific are called Samoan or Maori, Tahitian or Hawaiian, according to your islands. There are probably sixty million of you on the two continents and on the Pacific Islands, all related by blood ties. The Lord calls you Lamanites, a name which has a pleasant ring, for many of the grandest people ever to live upon the earth were so called. In a limited sense, the name signifies the descendants of Laman and Lemuel, sons of your first American parent, Lehi; but you undoubtedly possess also the blood of the other sons, Sam, Nephi, and Jacob. And you likely have some Jewish blood from Mulek, son of Zedekiah, king of Judah. The name Lamanite distinguishes you from other peoples. It is not a name of derision or embarrassment, but one of which to be very proud." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.596)

the Mormon continued:
The entire Book of Mormon occurred in a very small area of the Americas ....

the former-Mormon scientist comments:
This is a convenient myth that Mormons have invented in an attempt to avoid the obvious implications of a lack of archeological evidence for the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately for Mormonism, however, the Book of Mormon itself speaks otherwise. The Book of Mormon purports to document civilizations with populations in the millions. In describing the last battle of the civilization in the book of Ether, Joseph Smith said that two million people were killed in a single series of wars [Ether 15:2]. The Book of Mormon describes a single battle between Nephites and Lamanites where the Nephite casualties alone numbered over 100,000 [Mormon chapter 6]. For these stories to be true Joseph Smith's imaginary civilizations must have been very large and covered a very large area of land. In fact, the Book of Mormon describes the Nephite and Lamanite civilization as covering the "the face of the whole earth". In Helaman 3:8 the Book of Mormon 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, and from the sea west to the sea east." [Helaman 3:8]. Given this clear description, how can Mormons justify their assertion that "The entire Book of Mormon occurred in a very small area of the Americas ...."?

a Mormon continued:
(the best theory I've heard, backed by an incredible amount of research, places it in the area around the Yucatan Peninsula and the isthmus near there the name of which I forget -- the "narrow neck of land" is NOT the isthmus of Panama, .....

a former-Mormon scientist comments:
Scientific research is published in peer-reviewed science journals. Please provide references to even one article in a peer-review science journal that speaks directly to the Book of Mormon or any of its claims. According to the Book of Mormon, there were two large land masses in the western hemisphere, separated by a narrow neck of land that ran north to south. The west sea was on one side of the narrow neck of land and the east sea was on the other side. This neck of land must have been very narrow, since it was only a day's journey for a Nephite to cross from the East to the West sea (see Alma 22:27-34 and Helaman 4:7). There is no geological feature in the Western Hemisphere that meets the definition given in the Book of Mormon describing the narrow neck of land. Certainly nothing in the Yucatan Peninsula. Perhaps, if you think otherwise, you should name the location on a map, show that the narrow neck runs north and south, name the east and west seas, and demonstrate that the narrow neck can be crossed in one day without modern transportation. The mix-up with the narrow neck of land is exactly the kind of confusion I would expect from a young author from upstate New York who was writing a book of fiction about wayward Hebrew castaways in the Western Hemisphere.

a Mormon continued:
... and there were tribes mentioned therein of unstated origin, and times that people would leave the area on expedition and nothing more was heard of them.

a former-Mormon scientist comments:
No group of people in the Book of Mormon is ever mentioned whose origin is not ultimately explained in the Book of Mormon. His argument that people would leave on expeditions and never come back is evidence for widespread dispersion. It is also evidence against his argument that the people were confined to a small area of the Western Hemisphere.

a Mormon continued:
There is nothing therin which says that all the peoples we call American Indians are descendants of the peoples which came here from Palestine.

a former Mormon scientist comments:
We have consistent statements from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the D&C, that treat the words "Indians" and "Lamanites" interchangeably. We have descriptions in the Book of Mormon showing advanced civilizations that spread over the "whole face of the earth". There is nothing in the Book of Mormon indicating that these wide-spread civilizations ever came across another group of people who were not also descendants of some group from the Old World. Given these consistent claims from Mormon scripture and prophets, your argument seems rather weak. Certainly, early Mormon prophets considered the American Indians to be primarily descended from Hebrew stock.

the Mormon continued:
The fallacy usually continues to dispute this false assumption by the statement that "everyone knows these days that the American Indians REALLY came here over the Bering Strait Land Bridge back when there was one." While this is indeed a commonly held belief among anthropologists, it is not by any means proven, and there is much evidence against it. While many tribes certainly did arrive this way, there is no evidence to say that all of them did.

a former Mormon scientist comments:
Please provide scientific evidence against migration from Asian across the ancient land bridge. Then, please provide scientific archeological evidence showing that the ancient inhabitants of this continent (as Joseph Smith said) came from the Middle east, established a thriving civilization with millions of people, smelted steel, domesticated horses, used horse-drawn chariots, and wrote in altered Hebrew and Egyptian. [1 Nephi 4:9, 1 Nephi 16:18, 2 Nephi 5:15, Jarom 1:8, Ether 7:9, Ether 9:18-19, Alma 18:9-12; 20:6, Mormon 9:32-33.]

the Mormon continued:
For instance, while the Navajos are born with certain Asian traits (the so-called Mongoloid Spot, for instance), and thus their ancestors almost certainly did come here via Bering, there are other tribes with distinctly Semitic features (one pair of missionaries, one very obviously a full-blooded Jew [Judahite, not Judaist, of course] and one who was a full-blooded Indian -- Cherokee, as I recall --would use as a door approach: "Hi, we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Have you ever wondered why Indians have Jewish noses? Still others with Polynesian traits (remember the Kon Tiki voyage which proved that it was possible that Polynesians could have reached America using only the technology they're known to have had?), ect.

a former Mormon scientist comments:
Are you seriously submitting the sales pitch of a Mormon missionary, who thinks he sees some racial similarity between Hebrews and Amerindians, as evidence for the Book of Mormon?

FARMS takes a different approach by now claiming that there were 'others' in the New World. When the old 'facts' don't fit with the actual evidence apologists can still come up with mind bending answers. (Unfortunately, FARMS now requires you to pay for access to the file that was previously linked from this page.)


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