Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church/Introduction

Response to claims made in "Introduction"


A work by author: Dr. Simon G. Southerton
Claim Evaluation
Losing a Lost Tribe
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Response to claim: xiii- The Book of Mormon talks primarily of a small group of Jews who sailed from Jerusalem in 600 B.C.

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Book of Mormon talks primarily of a small group of Jews who sailed from Jerusalem in 600 B.C.Author's sources: No specific verse given. This is an incorrect statement.—

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh, and was not a Jew, however, author later makes the correct statement regarding Lehi's ancestry on page 5. The author makes the same error, however on p. 188. This is our first hint that the author's familiarity with the necessary detail in the Book of Mormon is not adequate.
The work repeats itself on p. xiii and 188.

Question: What is Lehi's ancestry?

Lehi and his family are not Jews: They belong to the tribe of Manasseh

Genetic attacks on the Book of Mormon focus on the fact that Amerindian DNA seems closest to Asian DNA, and not DNA from "the Middle East" or "Jewish" DNA. However, this attack ignores several key points.

Lehi and his family are clearly not Jews. They belong to the tribe of Manasseh (Alma 10:3, 1 Nephi 5:14), and married into Ishmael's family, the tribe of Ephraim. [1] These tribes were carried away captive by the Assyrians, and did not contribute greatly to the current genetic mix of the Middle East.

Furthermore, the Middle East is located at the crossroads of three continents, and has seen a great deal of immigration, mixing, and intermarriage. To use modern Middle Eastern DNA as the "standard" against which to measure what Manasseh and Ephraim DNA must have been like 2600 years ago is not a scientifically sound approach.


Response to claim: xiii - Mormons believe that the dark skinned race constitutes the principal ancestors of the American Indians

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
Mormons believe that the dark skinned race constitutes the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

This is based upon a phrase added in the 1981 introduction to the Book of Mormon. The 1830 Book of Mormon contains no such claim.

Question: Does the Church claim that Native Americans were the exclusive descendants of Lehi or Mulek?

LDS leaders have expressed a variety of opinions regarding whether or not all Amerindians are literal descendants of Lehi

LDS leaders have expressed a variety of opinions regarding whether or not all Amerindians are literal descendants of Lehi. Population genetics indicate that Lehi can likely be counted among the ancestors of all native Americans—a position that the Church reinforced in the 2006 edition by changing the Book of Mormon introduction originally introduced in 1981 from "principal ancestors" to "among the ancestors." (see Book of Mormon Introduction on lds.org)

Many Church leaders, most notably Spencer W. Kimball, have made clear statements regarding the belief that Lehi was the exclusive ancestor of all native Americans. However, contrary to the claims of critics who attempt to use DNA evidence to discredit the Book of Mormon, many readers and leaders have also noted that those in Lehi's group were not the exclusive progenitors of the inhabitants of the American continents. When asked about the Church’s official position on this matter by a writer, a Church spokesman said:

As to whether these were the first inhabitants…we don't have a position on that. Our scripture does not try to account for any other people who may have lived in the New World before, during or after the days of the Jaredites and the Nephites, and we don't have any official doctrine about who the descendants of the Nephites and the Jaredites are. Many Mormons believe that American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites [a division of the Nephites], but that's not in the scripture.[2]

In addition, apostles and seventies have made many statements which differ from critics’ understanding of the matter, taught them in General Conference, and the Church has published such perspectives in their magazines, study guides, and manuals. The Church’s university has passed them on to their students for generations. The Church’s official spokespeople disclaim the interpretation which critics insist we must hold. Why must we? Well, because critics’ DNA theory “disproving” the Book of Mormon is in deep trouble otherwise.


Question: Why did the Church modify the introduction to the Book of Mormon from "principal ancestors" to "among the ancestors?"

The Church changed the wording to remove the assumption (inserted into the Book of Mormon in the 1920's) that all of the inhabitants of the Americas were exclusive descendants of Lehi

The Church made the change in wording to the introduction to the Book of Mormon to remove the assumption, which inserted into the Book of Mormon introduction in the 1920's and not part of the original text, that all of the inhabitants of the Americas were exclusive descendants of Lehi. This had been the generally held belief from the time that the Church was restored.

This change makes the Book of Mormon introduction compatible with current DNA evidence and acknowledges the fact that Lehi's group likely intermingled with the native inhabitants of the American continents based upon current knowledge of the DNA composition of the inhabitants of the New World. There is substantial scientific evidence of habitation in the Americas for thousands of years prior to Lehi's arrival.

If Lehi had any descendants among Amerindians, then after 2600 years all Amerindians would share Lehi as an ancestor. Even if (as is probable) the Lehite group was a small drop in a larger population 'ocean' of pre-Columbian inhabitants, Lehi would have been an ancestor of virtually all the modern-day Amerindians if he has any ancestors at all.


Response to claim: xiv - Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on earth

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book on earth.Author's sources: *No source given.
  • The common source for this statement is History of The Church 4:461

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Joseph Smith was not claiming that the Book of Mormon did not contain errors - the Book of Mormon itself acknowledges the possibility that there are "mistakes of men" within its pages. What Joseph was claiming was that it was the "most correct book" with regard to its doctrine.

Question: Why did Joseph Smith say that the Book of Mormon was the "most correct book"?

Joseph Smith: "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth"

In the History of the Church, the following entry is recorded as having been made by Joseph Smith on November 28, 1841.[3]

Sunday, 28.--I spent the day in the council with the Twelve Apostles at the house of President Young, conversing with them upon a variety of subjects. Brother Joseph Fielding was present, having been absent four years on a mission to England. I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.

Critics of the Church assert that the phrase "the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth" means that the Prophet Joseph Smith was declaring the Book of Mormon to be without error of any kind. Since each edition of the printed Book of Mormon since 1829 (including editions published during the life of Joseph Smith) has included changes of wording, spelling, or punctuation, critics declare Joseph Smith's statement to have been demonstrably false, thus proving that he was a false prophet.

Joseph Smith referred to the Book of Mormon as the "most correct book" because of the principles it teaches

When Joseph Smith referred to the Book of Mormon as the "most correct book" on earth, he was referring to the principles that it teaches, not the accuracy of its textual structure. Critics of the Book of Mormon have mistakenly interpreted "correct" to be synonymous with "perfect," and therefore expect the Book of Mormon to be without any errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, clarity of phrasing, and other such ways.

But when Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was the "most correct of any book," he was referring to more than just wording, a fact made clear by the remainder of his statement: He said "a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." When read in context, the Prophet's statement refers to the correctness of the principles it teaches. The Book of Mormon is the "most correct of any book" in that it contains the fulness of the gospel and presents it in a manner that is "plain and precious" (1 Nephi 13:35,40).


Response to claim: xiv - The Israelites are said to have arrived in a land kept from the knowledge of other nations

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Israelites are said to have arrived in a land kept from the knowledge of other nations.Author's sources: *2 Nephi 1:8

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The author assumes that the "land" referred to encompasses the entire North and South American continents.

Question: Was the Lehite colony too small to produce the population sizes indicated by the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon contains many overt references, and some more oblique ones, to 'other' peoples that were part of the demographic mix in Book of Mormon times

A superficial reading of the Book of Mormon leads some to conclude that the named members of Lehi's group were the only members of Nephite/Lamanite society.

The Book of Mormon contains many overt references, and some more oblique ones, to 'other' peoples that were part of the demographic mix in Book of Mormon times. Indeed, many Book of Mormon passages make little sense unless we understand this. The Nephite record keeps its focus on a simplistic "Nephite/Lamanite" dichotomy both because it is a kinship record, and because its focus is religious, not politico-historical.

But, as one author observed, it is

inescapable that there were substantial populations in the "promised land" throughout the period of the Nephite record, and probably in the Jaredite era also. The status and origin of these peoples is never made clear because the writers never set out to do any such thing; they had other purposes. Yet we cannot understand the demographic or cultural history of Lehi's literal descendants without taking into account those other groups, too.

Hereafter, readers will not be justified in saying that the record fails to mention "others" but only that we readers have hitherto failed to observe what is said and implied about such people in the Book of Mormon.[4]:34


Response to claim: xiv - There is no mention of any non-Israelite people in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
* There is no mention of any non-Israelite people in the New World.Author's sources: *None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



At the very least, there are the Jaredites who are not Israelite. But, there are clear evidences of others.

Question: Why aren't other inhabitants of the America's mentioned in the Book of Mormon?

The Book of Mormon is likely a "kinship record," which is a history written from the point of view of a social clan: the Nephite ruling class

The Book of Mormon is not primarily a history of a people. It is the history of a message—the doctrine of Christ—and those who either embraced or rejected it. It is also likely a "kinship record," which is a history written from the point of view of a social clan: the Nephite ruling class. Thus, the text focuses the majority of its attention on the doctrine of Christ, and how that doctrine affects the relatives of the kin group keeping the record.

The Nephite record keepers clearly understand that there is more going on, and are quite clear that the labels "Nephite" and "Lamanite" are political terms of convenience, where membership is varied and fluid. As Jacob said:

But I, Jacob, shall not hereafter distinguish them by these names, but I shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings. Jacob 1:14

Boyd K. Packer: "The presentation of the Book of Mormon as a history of the ancestors of the American Indians is not a very compelling nor a very accurate introduction"

Elder Boyd K. Packer emphasized that the Book of Mormon's view of itself is often not how some members of the Church portray it:

The Book of Mormon is often introduced as "a history of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent, the ancestors of the American Indians." We have all seen missionaries about the world with street boards displaying pictures of American Indians or pyramids and other ruins in Latin America. That introduction does not reveal the contents of this sacred book any better than an introduction of the Bible as "a history of the ancient inhabitants of the Near East, the ancestors of the modern Israelites" would reveal its contents. The presentation of the Book of Mormon as a history of the ancestors of the American Indians is not a very compelling nor a very accurate introduction. When we introduce the Book of Mormon as such a history–and that is the way we generally introduce it–surely the investigator must be puzzled, even disappointed, when he begins to read it. Most do not find what they expect. Nor do they, in turn, expect what they find…The Book of Mormon is not biographical, for not one character is fully drawn. Nor, in a strict sense, is it a history. While it chronicles a people for a thousand and twenty–one years and contains the record of an earlier people, it is in fact not a history of a people. It is the saga of a message, a testament.[5]


Response to claim: xiv - The Book of Mormon describes the farming of Old World domesticated plants

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Book of Mormon describes the farming of Old World domesticated plants.Author's sources: None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Some plants mentioned in the Book of Mormon are not known to exist in the New World. Is this evidence that Joseph fabricated the text based upon his own cultural background? Not at all: None of the Book of Mormon's plant species causes a problem — Spanish conquerors described pre-Columbian products in exactly the terms used by the Book of Mormon. Barley, silkworms, and grapes were known. One of the terms unknown to Joseph's day (the Akkadian sheum) is impressive evidence for the Book of Mormon's antiquity.

Smith: Sheum is "a precise match for Akkadian "she'um", 'barley' (Old Assyrian 'wheat'), the most popular ancient Mesopotamian cereal-name"

[Sheum is] a precise match for Akkadian [she'um], 'barley' (Old Assyrian 'wheat'), the most popular ancient Mesopotamian cereal-name[6]


Roper: "This term, se um, (the s is pronounced sh in semitic languages) was a term by which these ancient Near Eastern peoples referred to barley"

Matthew Roper: [7]

According to Zeniff’s record in the Book of Mormon account, “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum” (Mosiah 9:9). “Pray tell me what kinds of grain neas and sheum are? Joseph Smith’s translation needs another translation, to render it intelligible.” [8] “We must reluctantly pass on denying the existence of neas and sheum, and put them into the same category as the unidentifiable cureloms and cumoms.” [9] As it turns out sheum is a perfectly good Akkadian (ancient northern Mesopotamian) name for a grain dating to the third millennium B.C. [10] This term, se um, (the s is pronounced sh in semitic languages) was a term by which these ancient Near Eastern peoples referred to barley, although it could also be applied to other kinds of grains. Book of Mormon peoples seem to have applied this Old World name to some New World crop. Could Joseph Smith have derived this name from some nineteenth century book? Impossible. Akkadian could not be read until 1857, twenty-seven years after the Book of Mormon was published and thirteen years after the Prophet was dead. This raises an interesting question. If Joseph Smith was really the author of the Book of Mormon, how did he come up with the word sheum? How did he just happen to choose this particular name and just happen to use it in an agricultural context?


Sorenson: "linen-like cloth made from plants other than flax"

John L. Sorenson:

[The Spaniards] encountered and referred to what they considered "linen" or linen-like cloth made from plants other than flax.[11]


Sorenson: "At the time of the Spanish conquest, natives in Mexico would gather cocoons from a type of wild silkworm and spin the thread into expensive cloth"

Some people have wondered why the Book of Mormon mentions silk and linen (see Alma 1:29), since silkworms and linen as we know them were apparently not known in ancient America. The answer may be that even though the worm that eats mulberry leaves and produces silk in its cocoon seems to have been restricted to the Far East, several ancient American peoples had cloth as fine as and similar to silk.

At the time of the Spanish conquest, natives in Mexico would gather cocoons from a type of wild silkworm and spin the thread into expensive cloth. People in the Yucatan would also spin the silky floss from the pod of the ceiba tree (or silk-cotton tree) into a soft, delicate cloth called kapok. The silky fiber of the wild pineapple plant was also prized in tropical America, yielding a fine, durable cloth. The Aztecs made a silklike fabric using hair from the bellies of rabbits. Some cotton specimens excavated at Teotihuacan, dating to A.D. 400, have been described as even, very fine, and gossamer-thin.

As for linen, the flax plant from which the cloth is made was apparently not known in ancient America. However, several fabrics that look and feel like European linen were woven from native plants. The yucca plant and the leaves of the ixtle (agave plant) both yield fibers that make fine, linen-like cloth. A cloth made by stripping bark from the fig tree, soaking it, and pounding it also has some of the characteristics of linen. [12]


Response to claim: xiv - The Book of Mormon mentions horses in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Book of Mormon mentions horses in the New World.Author's sources: None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

Ancient horses are believed to have vanished before the time of the Lehite's arrival, and modern horses were brought to the New World by the Spaniards. Yet there are a few pieces of circumstantial evidence of horses which are currently not accepted as valid by the scientific community. The idea that all defenders of the Church (e.g. "apologists") believe that New World horses are actually "tapirs" is a popular strawman put forth by the ex-Mormon community, and only represents a single suggestion offered by LDS anthropologist John L. Sorenson. Any others who mention tapirs as a possibility (such as Mike Ash), are simply citing Sorenson's work. The idea that Daniel C. Peterson promotes tapirs as horses is a popular meme within the ex-Mormon online community, however, at present we can find only a single quote attributable to Dr. Peterson, which also cites John L. Sorenson. Peterson, in fact, favors the idea that actual horses existed at the time, noting that "it remains possible that the term horse in the Book of Mormon-which, by the way, does not occur very often, and even then in rather puzzling contexts-refers simply to deer or tapirs or similar quadrupeds thought by the Nephites to be analogous to the horse....But there is archaeological reason to believe that horses may, in fact, have existed in the Americas during Book of Mormon times. The question remains very much open."[13] Peterson's footnote to this statement adds "Valuable discussions of the evidence can be found at John L. Sorenson, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: An Annotated Bibliography." In fact, every mention of a "loan-shift" of the name "horse" to "deer" or "tapir" cites John L. Sorenson's original work.
The work repeats itself on p. xiv, 7-8., 173., and 199.

Question: Have any ancient horse remains from the Nephite period been found in the New World?

A few non-Mormon scholars have proposed that real horses survived the New World extinction

Wild horses were present in ancient America during the Pleistocene period (Ice Age), yet were not present at the time of the arrival of the Spaniards. Horses thrived once they were re-introduced by the Spaniards into the New World. The question then is: "Why were horses missing when the Spaniards arrived?" Is it possible that real horses lived in the Americas during Book of Mormon times? And if so, why does there seem to be no archaeological support?

At least a few non-Mormon scholars believe that real horses (of a stature smaller than modern horses) may have survived New World extinction. The late British anthropologist, M.F. Ashley Montague, a non-LDS scholar who taught at Harvard, suggested that the horse never became extinct in America. According to Montague, the size of post-Columbian horses provides evidence that the European horses bred with early American horses.[14]

Non-LDS Canadian researcher, Yuri Kuchinsky, also believes that there were pre-Columbian horses. Kuchinsky, however, believes that horses (smaller than our modern horses) were reintroduced into the west coast of the Americas about 2000 years ago from Asians who came by ship. Among Kuchinsky's evidences for pre-Columbian horses are:

  1. Horse traditions among the Indians that may pre-date the arrival of the Spaniards.
  2. Supposedly pre-Columbian petroglyphs that appear to depict horses.
  3. Noticeable differences between the typical Spanish horse and the much smaller American Indian ponies.[15]


Response to claim: xiv - The Book of Mormon mentions oxen in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Book of Mormon mentions oxen in the New World.Author's sources: *None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The work repeats itself on p. xiv, 7-8., 173., and 199.

Miller and Roper: "Bones of domesticated cattle...have been reported from different caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico"

Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper: [16]

Bones of domesticated cattle (Bos taurus – see Figure 2) have been reported from different caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.[17] In one instance these bones were found with those of an extinct horse, Equus conversidens. It is especially interesting that along with these cow and horse remains, human artifacts were found in association with them! The indication is that domesticated cattle and the horse coexisted with humans in pre-Columbian time. [18]

Image taken from Miller and Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.


Response to claim: xiv - The Book of Mormon mentions cattle in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Book of Mormon mentions cattle in the New World.Author's sources: None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

The current consensus is that ancient Americans did not keep herds of large animals for use as food. There is, however, some evidence to the contrary.
The work repeats itself on p. xiv, 7-8., 173., and 199.

Sorenson: "The Miami Indians, for example, were unfamiliar with the buffalo and simply called them 'wild cows'"

John L. Sorenson:

As with many other animals in the Book of Mormon, it is likely that these Book of Mormon terms are the product of reassigning familiar labels to unfamiliar items...The Miami Indians, for example, were unfamiliar with the buffalo and simply called them “wild cows.” Likewise the “explorer DeSoto called the buffalo simply vaca, cow. The Delaware Indians named the cow after the deer, and the Miami tribe labeled sheep, when they first saw them, ‘looks-like-a-cow’”[19]


Miller and Roper: "Bones of domesticated cattle...have been reported from different caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico"

Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper: [20]

Bones of domesticated cattle (Bos taurus – see Figure 2) have been reported from different caves in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.[21] In one instance these bones were found with those of an extinct horse, Equus conversidens. It is especially interesting that along with these cow and horse remains, human artifacts were found in association with them! The indication is that domesticated cattle and the horse coexisted with humans in pre-Columbian time. [22]

Image taken from Miller and Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.


Pietro Martire d'Anghiera (1912): "the Spaniards noticed herds of deer similar to our herds of cattle"

The current consensus is that ancient Americans did not keep herds of large animals for use as food. However, Pietro Martire d'Anghiera noted the following in 1912:

In all these regions they visited, the Spaniards noticed herds of deer similar to our herds of cattle. These deer bring forth and nourish their young in the houses of the natives. During the daytime they wander freely through the woods in search of their food, and in the evening they come back to their little ones, who have been cared for, allowing themselves to be shut up in the courtyards and even to be milked, when they have suckled their fawns. The only milk the natives know is that of the does, from which they make cheese.[23]


Response to claim: xiv - The Book of Mormon mentions goats in the New World

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Book of Mormon mentions goats in the New World.Author's sources: None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Modern goats were brought to the New World by the Spaniards in the same manner as modern horses. However, according to Wikipedia, "The mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus), also known as the Rocky Mountain goat, is a large-hoofed mammal found only in North America." [24]
The work repeats itself on p. xiv, 7-8., 173., and 199.

Miller and Roper: "Evidence of goats associated with pre-Columbian man also comes from caves in Yucatan"

Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper: [25]

Goats are mentioned among the animals once had by the Jaredites (Ether 9:18). Later, after their arrival in the land of promise Lehi’s family encountered “the goat and the wild goat” as they traveled in the wilderness in the land southward (1 Nephi 18:25). Sometime after the death of his father Jacob, Enos wrote that the Nephites raised “flocks of herds, and flocks of all manner of cattle of every kind, and goats, and wild goats” (Enos 1:21). During Alma and Amulek’s miraculous escape from the prison in Ammonihah, their terrified persecutors are said to have fled “even as a goat fleeth with her young from two lions” (Alma 14:29). There is no indication in the text that the Lehites brought goats with them to the land of promise; however, it is possible that they may have been included among those flocks and herds brought by the Jaredites in their journey over the sea (Ether 6:4). If so, it is possible that some of those encountered later by Lehi’s people were descendants of those had by the Jaredites. They would have been a useful animal to both the Jaredites and Nephites, just as they have been for man through the ages in the Old World. Evidence of goats associated with pre-Columbian man also comes from caves in Yucatan. [26] It was not made clear whether this was a wild or a domesticated type of goat.


Miller and Roper: "In post-biblical Jewish literature some Jewish writers distinguished between wild and domestic cattle such as goats"

Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper: [27]

Mention of the “wild goat” may at first seem peculiar. Biblical animals that could be eaten under the Law of Moses included the “goat” and the “wild goat” (Deuteronomy 14:4-5). In post-biblical Jewish literature some Jewish writers distinguished between wild and domestic cattle such as goats. Both were considered clean and could be eaten, but only the domestic variety was thought acceptable for sacrifice. [28] .... The only native wild goat in North America is the Mountain Goat, Oreamnos americanus. Its geographic range, though, currently only extends south from southwest Alaska down to the northwest United States. Even with a possible extended range for this animal during Book of Mormon time, it is extremely unlikely it got as far south as Mesoamerica. A closely related, but extinct, species is Oreamnos harringtoni. This goat did have a much more southerly distribution, extending into Mexico. While this goat might have survived much past the terminal Pleistocene along with other animals, there is not sufficient evidence yet for this.

It has already been indicated that a referenced animal in the Book of Mormon could actually be something somewhat different, but had a similar appearance. There is an animal now living in Mesoamerica that fits this description, the Red Brocket deer, Mazama americana. Unlike other deer it has but a single goat-like horn – which is really an antler that is shed and regrown annually like other cervids. [29]

Image taken from Miller and Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.


Response to claim: xv - Little has been discovered to support the civilizations described in the Book of Mormon

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
Little has been discovered to support the civilizations described in the Book of Mormon.Author's sources: *No specific sources.
  • General reference to "anthropologists and archaeologists."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Question: How does archaeology in the New World fit with the Book of Mormon?

There is a growing body of evidence from New World archaeology that supports the Book of Mormon

It is also worth noting that there is a growing body of evidence from New World archaeology that supports the Book of Mormon. Dr. John Clark of the New World Archaeological Foundation has compiled a list of sixty items mentioned in the Book of Mormon. The list includes items such as “steel swords,” “barley,” “cement,” “thrones,” and literacy. In 1842, only eight (or 13.3%) of those sixty items were confirmed by archaeological evidence. Thus, in the mid-nineteenth century, archaeology provided little support for the claims made by the Book of Mormon. In fact, the Book of Mormon text ran counter to both expert and popular ideas about ancient America in the early 1800s.

As the efforts of archaeology have shed light on the ancient New World, we find in 2005 that forty-five of those sixty items (75%) have been confirmed. Thirty-five of the items (58%) have been definitively confirmed by archaeological evidence and ten items (17%) have received possible—tentative, yet not fully verified—confirmation. Therefore, as things stand at the moment, current New World archaeological evidence tends to verify the claims made by the Book of Mormon.[30]

Status of Book of Mormon evidence in 1842. This chart includes both Old World and New World evidence.
Status of Book of Mormon evidence in 2005. This chart includes both Old World and New World evidence.


Response to claim: xv - The Mesoamerican cultures worshipped multiple gods and performed human sacrifice, which is not consistent with the culture of the Book of Mormon people

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Mesoamerican cultures worshipped multiple gods and performed human sacrifice, which is not consistent with the culture of the Book of Mormon people.Author's sources: None given

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The Book of Mormon Nephite culture is a minority culture in a larger cultural "sea." Human sacrifice and idol worship are mentioned by wicked Book of Mormon peoples.

Response to claim: xv - Many LDS scholars criticize mainstream scientific views in their defense of the Book of Mormon

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
Many LDS scholars criticize mainstream scientific views in their defense of the Book of Mormon.Author's sources: None given

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Without evidence this is a difficult claim to assess. Can no mainstream view be challenged? Are all such views inherently correct?

Response to claim: xv - The Church employs academics to professionally defend the Book of Mormon

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The Church employs academics to professionally defend the Book of Mormon.Author's sources: *None given.
  • This is an accusation frequently made on anti-Mormon discussion boards.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



The church does not employ any academics whose primary responsibility is to defend the Book of Mormon.

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Emotion—The author attempts to manipulate the reader's emotional response instead of presenting a valid argument.

<Rather than interact with arguments the author labels "apologetic" (i.e., any interpretation which does not suit his naive view of the matter), the author hopes to marginalize them and reject them from consideration by claiming they are somehow novel, contrary to the Book of Mormon's plain meaning, or driven by desperation.

Many statements indicate that these ideas are generally not novel, and were certainly developed well before any pressure from DNA arguments—they arose from the Book of Mormon text itself.

The work repeats itself on p. xv, 42., 143., 148., 200., 203., and 206.

Question: Do Latter-day Saint apologists receive compensation for their efforts?

Don't give up your "day job": There are no paid positions in Latter-day Saint apologetics

Those who wish to achieve a substantial level of income would be well advised to avoid LDS apologetics entirely, as it can consume substantial amounts of a person's "off-time." Most LDS apologists perform volunteer work to defend the faith while holding down their normal "day job."

Members of FairMormon are not paid for their efforts

FairMormon is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, and all of its members, with the exception of the part-time Bookstore manager, are unpaid volunteers.

All efforts devoted to FairMormon are performed only after its members spend time with their families, perform their "day job," and fulfill church responsibilities. FairMormon is not, and should not be, the top priority in any of its members' lives. This means that the work sometimes proceeds slowly, but it does proceed forward.

Having a "day job" with a Church sponsored institution does not preclude one from practicing apologetics

Some individuals who practice LDS apologetics happen to be employed by institutions sponsored by the Church: The primary institution being Brigham Young University. In this situation, their "day job" involves researching or teaching subjects which may or may not relate to subjects of interest to apologetics...which ought not to surprise anyone at all. Thus, critics attempt to argue that some LDS apologists, particularly BYU professors, are "paid" for their apologetic efforts. Critics congratulate themselves for achieving a firm understanding of the obvious: Individuals who happen to have a "day job" with a Church sponsored institution receive their paycheck from that same institution. Having a "day job" with a Church sponsored institution does not preclude one from practicing apologetics.


Response to claim: xv - The weight of evidence has forced LDS scholars to scale back the scope of the Book of Mormon

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
The weight of evidence has forced LDS scholars to scale back the scope of the Book of Mormon.Author's sources: None given.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The "scaling back" of the Book of Mormon has nothing to do with the "weight of evidence" that the author is referring to (specifically, DNA studies). The scope of the Book of Mormon was reduced starting back in the 1920s as the result of careful examination of the Book of Mormon text itself, long before DNA was a consideration.
The work repeats itself on p. xv, 154., 156., 163., 186., 192., and 193.

Logical Fallacy: False Cause—The author assumes that a real or perceived relationship between two events means that one caused the other.

The author consistently argues that LDS scholars or apologists are "adjusting" their view on the Book of Mormon because they are being driven back in a rear-guard action by science. But, in fact, some LDS leaders and scholars have argued for a restricted geography and small numeric contribution of Lehites for over one hundred years.These beliefs were not held because of scientific "pressure," but because of their reading of the Book of Mormon text. In fact, the author admits that this has occurred since at least the 1920s (see p. 154)—long before any pressure from genetics issues. Yet, he continues to make the contradictory claim that the Church's defenders are now "on the ropes" and desperate for a solution.

Question: What are the geographical assumptions upon which DNA-based attacks on the Book of Mormon are based?

Some geographical models pose problems for the DNA attacks which other models do not

It is important, as when setting out to answer any scientific question, to define the question which DNA-based attacks are attempting to answer. This requires that we establish a Book of Mormon model for potential testing. Any Book of Mormon model based in real history must address the issue of geographic scope.

The Book of Mormon account has been understood by the LDS in at least two broad geographical contexts:

  1. A limited geography model known as the Limited Geographical Theory (LGT).
  2. A hemispheric geography model known as the Hemispheric Geography Theory (HGT).

Details on these models are available in the links above; it is assumed that the reader of this article is familiar with these concepts, and they will not be elaborated on here.

DNA attacks on the Book of Mormon are arguably futile, regardless of which geographical model one adopts. However, some geographical models pose problems for the DNA attacks which other models do not, and so these issues are considered here.

Limited geography models predate issues of DNA and genetics by decades

Many Book of Mormon readers, especially during the last sixty years, have read the Book of Mormon text as requiring a relatively small geographic area within the Americas. Such readings predate issues of DNA and genetics by decades, and are not (as the critics sometimes claim) desperate "rear-guard" actions to defend the Book of Mormon against the awesome onslaught of DNA science! Such claims are ridiculous, as a review of the history of such ideas shows.[31]

Those who accept a limited geography model for the Book of Mormon would find it unsurprising that the majority of Amerindian DNA does not match purported "Lehite" DNA

LDS readers who accept a limited geography model would find it unsurprising (and even expected) that the majority of Amerindian DNA does not match purported "Lehite" DNA. Under the limited geography model, a relatively small number of Lehites landed in the Americas. This small initial population eventually intermarried with other populations in the hemisphere. Over a period of 2600 years, any initial Lehite "signature" would be hopelessly 'swamped' by other peoples' genetic markers. Just as a drop of red dye will not turn a whole swimming pool red (though the red is still "in" the swimming pool), a few Lehites added to a limited geography model's hemisphere of inhabitants will have little or no detectable genetic influence today, except by the greatest coincidence.

In 2002, anthropologist Thomas Murphy published an essay in which he argued that DNA evidence points to native Americans being related to Asians, and therefore this disproves the Book of Mormon. In 2004, plant biologist Simon Southerton published a book that made a similar argument. (Both were inactive Mormons who no longer believed the Book of Mormon was divinely revealed scripture.)

Unfortunately, neither of these men acknowledged the current state of LDS scholarship on the Book of Mormon before writing. They imagined Lehi arriving in an empty continent, and concluded that all Native Americans must therefore have a genetic inheritance solely from him. They clearly assumed, and in fact insisted, that all Mormons believed the HGT without reservation, and so were caught off guard when Mormon scholars didn't surrender to their arguments. Murphy and Southerton were addressing a straw man and didn't even realize it; they simply didn't do their homework on the LDS side of things. (This fact alone should demonstrate how out of touch they were with active Saints' thoughts on the issue when they wrote their articles.)

Critics who present the DNA criticism concede that the key assumption of that a "hemisperic" Book of Mormon geography must be made

In their more candid moments, those who present this criticism concede that the key assumption of "only Lehi" must be made. Simon Southerton writes of how some Mormons have argued that

Bottleneck effect, genetic drift, Hardy-Weinberg violations and other technical problems would prevent us from detecting Israelite genes [in Amerindians].

This is a technical way of explaining a relatively simple fact: if a small group is placed in contact with a larger group and allowed to intermarry, it becomes harder to detect the small group’s “genetic signature.”

Southerton then goes on to say:

I agree entirely. [!] In 600 BC there were probably several million American Indians living in the Americas. If a small group of Israelites entered such a massive native population it would be very, very hard to detect their genes 200, 2000 or even 20,000 years later. But does such a scenario fit with what the Book of Mormon plainly states or what the prophets have taught for 175 years? Short answer. No![32]

This is really quite astonishing. Southerton has obliged us by shooting himself in the foot. He admits that there are many genetic objections to his attack, unless we accept that the Book of Mormon requires that American Indians only be descendants of Lehi and Mulek.

Since realizing that LDS thought on this point is much more involved, those who present this criticism have been playing catch up, trying to argue (as Southerton does above) that Mormons are required to accept the HGT because most LDS leaders in the past believed it and LDS leaders are never wrong.

However, this is a fundamentalist view of our religion that students of Mormonism reject. Furthermore, some claim that this reading is the only one permitted by the Book of Mormon, while over a century of LDS writing on the subject demonstrates that this claim is false too.

A limited geography for the Book of Mormon means that the critics are reduced to making a religious argument rather than a scientific one

So Murphy and Southerton are reduced to making a religious argument, not a scientific one. And their religious argument is incorrect.

Many articles have discussed the DNA issue from this perspective, including the following:

  • Kevin Barney, "A Brief Review of Murphy and Southerton's 'Galileo Event' (Review of Thomas W. Murphy and Simon G. Southerton, "Genetic Research a 'Galileo Event' for Mormons," Anthropology News 44/2 (February 2003): 20)," FAIR. FairMormon link
  • David A. McClellan, "Detecting Lehi's Genetic Signature: Possible, Probable, or Not?," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 35–90. off-site
  • D. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens, "Who Are the Children of Lehi?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 38–51. off-site wiki
  • Matthew Roper, "Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 91–128. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "Swimming the Gene Pool: Israelite Kinship Relations, Genes, and Genealogy," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 129–164. off-site
  • John L. Sorenson and Matthew Roper, "Before DNA," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 6–23. off-site wiki  (Key source)
  • John A. Tvedtnes, "Reinventing the Book of Mormon (Review of: “Reinventing Lamanite Identity,” Sunstone, March 2004, 20–25)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 91–106. off-site
  • Michael F. Whiting, "DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 24–35. off-site wiki  (Key source)

Hemispheric geography model, type 1

Other Latter-day Saints have understood—and continue to understand—the Book of Mormon on a more "hemispheric" scale, with the "narrow neck of land" being in Panama, and the final battle site being located in New York, in the hill in which Joseph Smith recovered the plates.

Thus, this model anticipates that Book of Mormon history played out over much of the continent. However, it is here labeled as a "type 1" model, because it does not require that Lehi be the sole "source" of population for the Americas. Jaredite remnants may have intermarried with Lehite/Mulekite peoples, contributing foreign DNA markers. Other peoples unmentioned in the Book of Mormon may have immigrated to the hemisphere before, during, and/or after the Book of Mormon time frame, and provided DNA foreign to Lehi's group. These additions could have played a major, even dominant role in the genetic history of the continent (in which case the DNA attacks can be answered in a fashion similar to the 'limited geography model' as above) or they may have provided a more modest contribution which is nevertheless sufficient to "muddy the waters" when the other uncertainties of assigning DNA origins to mixed populations come into play (see below).

Articles which discuss LDS views on "other Americans" being added to the mix of Book of Mormon peoples (which do not require a limited geography model to maintain their force) include:

  • John M. Butler, "Addressing Questions surrounding the Book of Mormon and DNA Research," FARMS Review 18/1 (2006): 101–108. off-site wiki
  • Matthew Roper, "Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 91–128. off-site
  • Matthew Roper, "Swimming the Gene Pool: Israelite Kinship Relations, Genes, and Genealogy," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 129–164. off-site

Articles which discuss testing the "hemispheric" perspective:

  • Michael F. Whiting, "DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 24–35. off-site wiki

Articles which do not invoke any type of "limited geography" in their discussion include:

Hemispheric geography model, type 2

Under this model, the American continent was completely empty of any human inhabitants prior to the Jaredites (though previous to the Jaredites, other peoples could have been present who were subsequently eradicated, leaving no genetic contribution to subsequent populations.) The Jaredites were then utterly and completely destroyed (except Coriantumr—see Omni 1:21, whose contribution to the Mulekite gene pool was either negligible or non-existent) and replaced by Lehite/Mulekite immigrants, who were likewise the only source of humans in the Americas, giving rise to all (or nearly all) of the present Amerindian population.

Of all the models discussed thus far, this is the only variant to which the DNA data poses any significant challenge at all, though many of the issues discussed below also apply to DNA testing the Book of Mormon's claims with this model.

Articles which discuss testing the "hemispheric" perspective:

  • Michael F. Whiting, "DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 24–35. off-site wiki

Articles which do not invoke any type of "limited geography" in their discussion include:

Hemispheric geography model, type 3

This model could be a labeled as "empty continent, all-Lehi." Under this model, the Americas have had no inhabitants except those mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Thus, Jaredites, Mulekites, and Lehites are the only inhabitants the New World has seen before Columbus, and the Jaredites left no genetic remnants in the Lehite/Mulekite mix.

A larger problem for this model than DNA evidence is archaeological evidence of human habitation thousands of years prior to the Nephites (which would have to be explained by either appealing to dating errors, or ascribing all such remains to Jaredites). This model is arguably the most challenged by current DNA science—and science in general—but it is also the least likely model supported by the Book of Mormon text itself. Ironically, it is to this model that Murphy and Southerton seem to have addressed most of their efforts.

Articles which discuss testing the "hemispheric" perspective:

  • Michael F. Whiting, "DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 24–35. off-site wiki

Articles which do not invoke any type of "limited geography" in their discussion include:


Response to claim: xvi - LDS leaders ignore LDS scholarship and continue to teach that Native Americans and Polynesians are literal descendants of the Israelites

The author(s) of Losing a Lost Tribe make(s) the following claim:
LDS leaders ignore LDS scholarship and continue to teach that Native Americans and Polynesians are literal descendants of the Israelites.Author's sources: None given

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information



This has nothing to do with ignoring "LDS scholarship."

Logical Fallacy: Appeal to Ridicule—The author is presenting the argument in such a way that it makes his or her subject look ridiculous, usually by misrepresenting the argument or exaggerating it.

Taking the position that Lehi existed, then population genetics predicts that virtually all Amerindians and Polynesians are his literal descendants. They are simply not exclusively his descendants. The author wants to make Lehite links absurd or impossible.

Question: Does the Church claim that Native Americans were the exclusive descendants of Lehi or Mulek?

LDS leaders have expressed a variety of opinions regarding whether or not all Amerindians are literal descendants of Lehi

LDS leaders have expressed a variety of opinions regarding whether or not all Amerindians are literal descendants of Lehi. Population genetics indicate that Lehi can likely be counted among the ancestors of all native Americans—a position that the Church reinforced in the 2006 edition by changing the Book of Mormon introduction originally introduced in 1981 from "principal ancestors" to "among the ancestors." (see Book of Mormon Introduction on lds.org)

Many Church leaders, most notably Spencer W. Kimball, have made clear statements regarding the belief that Lehi was the exclusive ancestor of all native Americans. However, contrary to the claims of critics who attempt to use DNA evidence to discredit the Book of Mormon, many readers and leaders have also noted that those in Lehi's group were not the exclusive progenitors of the inhabitants of the American continents. When asked about the Church’s official position on this matter by a writer, a Church spokesman said:

As to whether these were the first inhabitants…we don't have a position on that. Our scripture does not try to account for any other people who may have lived in the New World before, during or after the days of the Jaredites and the Nephites, and we don't have any official doctrine about who the descendants of the Nephites and the Jaredites are. Many Mormons believe that American Indians are descendants of the Lamanites [a division of the Nephites], but that's not in the scripture.[33]

In addition, apostles and seventies have made many statements which differ from critics’ understanding of the matter, taught them in General Conference, and the Church has published such perspectives in their magazines, study guides, and manuals. The Church’s university has passed them on to their students for generations. The Church’s official spokespeople disclaim the interpretation which critics insist we must hold. Why must we? Well, because critics’ DNA theory “disproving” the Book of Mormon is in deep trouble otherwise.



Notes

  1. "The Prophet Joseph informed us that the record of Lehi, was contained on the 116 pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgement is given us in the first Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi's family, and Lehi's sons married Ishmael's daughters, thus fulfilling the words of Jacob upon Ephraim and Manasseh in the 48th chapter of Genesis..." - Erastus Snow, "Ephraim And Manassah, etc.," (6 May 1882) Journal of Discourses 23:184.
  2. Stewart Reid, LDS Public Relations Staff, quoted by William J. Bennetta in The Textbook Letter (March-April 1997), published by The Textbook League (P.O. Box 51, Sausalito, California 94966).
  3. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 4:461. Volume 4 link
  4. John L. Sorenson, "When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land Did They Find Others There?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 1/1 (1992): 1–34. wikiGL direct link
  5. Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991), 280–282.
  6. Robert F. Smith, "Some 'Neologisms' from the Mormon Canon," Conference on the Language of the Mormons 1973, Brigham Young University Language Research Center, 1973, 66.
  7. Matt Roper, "Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon," FAIR Presentation, 2001.
  8. Origen Bacheler, Mormonism Exposed, 14.
  9. Latayne Colvett Scott, The Mormon Mirage: A former Mormon tells why she left the Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1979), 84.
  10. Hildegard Lewy, “On Some Old Assyrian Cereal Names,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 76/4 (October-December 1956): 201-204.
  11. John L. Sorenson, "Plants and Animals," in John L. Sorenson, "Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe! (Review of "Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography" by Deanne G. Matheny)," FARMS Review of Books 6/1 (1994): 297–361. off-site
  12. John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 232. John L. Sorenson, "Silk and Linen in the Book of Mormon - Book of Mormon Update," Ensign (April 1992), 62.
  13. Daniel C. Peterson, "Yet More Abuse of B. H. Roberts (Review of The Disappointment of B. H. Roberts: Five Questions That Forced a Mormon General Authority to Abandon the Book of Mormon)," FARMS Review of Books 9/1 (1997): 69–86. off-site
  14. Paul R. Cheesman, The World of the Book of Mormon (Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers, 1984), 194, 181.
  15. http://www.strangeark.com/nabr/NABR5.pdf
  16. Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture (April 21, 2014)
  17. Robert T. Hatt, “Faunal and archaeological researches in Yucatan caves.” Cranbrook Institute of Science 33 (1953), 1-42.
  18. Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales and Oscar Polaco, “Caves and the Pleistocene vertebrate paleontology of Mexico.” In B. W. Schubert, J. I. Mead and R. W. Graham (eds.) Ice Age Faunas of North America (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2003), 273-291.
  19. John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 294.
  20. Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture (April 21, 2014)
  21. Robert T. Hatt, “Faunal and archaeological researches in Yucatan caves.” Cranbrook Institute of Science 33 (1953), 1-42.
  22. Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales and Oscar Polaco, “Caves and the Pleistocene vertebrate paleontology of Mexico.” In B. W. Schubert, J. I. Mead and R. W. Graham (eds.) Ice Age Faunas of North America (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 2003), 273-291.
  23. Pietro Martire d'Anghiera, De Orbe Novo: The Eight Decades of Peter Martyr d'Anghera (1912), 2:259.
  24. Wikipedia article "Mountain goat" (accessed 8 January 2015) off-site
  25. Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture (April 21, 2014)
  26. Robert T. Hatt, “Faunal and archaeological researches in Yucatan caves.” Cranbrook Institute of Science 33 (1953),29.
  27. Wade E. Miller and Matthew Roper, "Animals in the Book of Mormon: Challenges and Perspectives," Blog of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture (April 21, 2014)
  28. Jehuda. Felilks., “Animals of the Bible and Talmud,” Encyclopaedia Judaica (1996)3:8.
  29. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, (Ibid), 299; Roper, “Deer as `Goat’ and Pre-Columbian Domesticate,” Insights: An Ancient Window 26/6 (2006), 2-3.
  30. John Clark, “Debating the Foundations of Mormonism: Archaeology and the Book of Mormon,” presentation at the 2005 FAIR Apologetics Conference (August 2005). Co-presenters, Wade Ardern and Matthew Roper.
  31. For the history of the LGT, see Matthew Roper, "Limited Geography and the Book of Mormon: Historical Antecedents and Early Interpretations," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 225–276. off-site
  32. Simon Southerton, e-mail, “Answering the DNA apologetics,” 15 February 2005, 18h42 (copy in editors' possession).
  33. Stewart Reid, LDS Public Relations Staff, quoted by William J. Bennetta in The Textbook Letter (March-April 1997), published by The Textbook League (P.O. Box 51, Sausalito, California 94966).