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Jim Tackles DNA & Book of Mormon

We’re continuing our discussion with Jim Vun Cannon, a counselor in the First Presidency of the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Jim gave his testimony of the Book of Mormon in part 2 of our conversation, and we touched on the Book of Mormon in our previous episode, and we talked about Remnant scriptures including the Doctrine & Covenants and Book of Mormon.  Today we will delve deeper into mysteries such as whether issues surrounding DNA & Book of Mormon are compatible.  I first asked Jim if he believes the Book of Mormon is a literal history or simply a foundational scripture as the Community of Christ believes?

GT:  Let’s talk about the Book of Mormon.   We’ve talked about that.  I know in the LDS Church, most people I think believe it’s a literal history.  It seems like in the Community of Christ, most probably don’t. {chuckles}

Jim:  I would say you’re probably right.

GT:  Where does the Remnant Church fit on that spectrum?

Jim:  We believe that it is an absolute literal history.  We believe that there were Lamanites and Nephites and Jacobites and Josephites and all the different –ites that were here upon the land.  Obviously there’s a good debate on where they really were exactly for North and South America and so forth, and where maybe in North America and so forth.  But yes we do believe that it was a literal people that were here.

DNA & Book of Mormon

I also asked him some of the questions of critics.

GT:  One of the big knocks against the Book of Mormon is DNA.  A guy by the name of Simon Southerton, an Australian researcher has said you don’t find any evidence of DNA.  I think the LDS—well I won’t say the LDS Church response, [because] the LDS Church I believe is neutral on the issue, but a lot of LDS researchers have said, well the population was probably a lot smaller, so you wouldn’t have any evidence of that.  What do you think?

Jim:  Well you know, first of all, I think that whole study—I feel there was a motive to putting together that research, first of all.  I don’t feel that was fair and scientific in the way that it was done.  Considering if you really want to look at the groups of people, you could argue that Ishmael, is that really the name of a good practicing Jew?  I don’t know, but I have a lot of questions.  Oh by the way, how many peoples actually came to the Americas?  I’ll just put it that way.  We’ll summarize.  How many different people came?

Well there were a lot of people, and they’re finding a lot of archaeological evidence of a lot of people, so to say that we know that all the Indians were Lamanites I think is really a fallacy.  I don’t think you can really say that.  They may or may not be.  We really don’t know which ones really are or aren’t.  For them to go forward and try to put together DNA evidence based on that, plus the other thing is you’re talking about many, many generations back.  Trying to argue that you’ve got somebody you can match DNA with from that time period to this time period, I don’t think that science is quite there yet for that.

I really think that it’s a, “ah, we got them!  We’re going to disprove the Book of Mormon in one fell swoop.” It’s just kind of like, ”no guys, I don’t think so.”  I just don’t think that from my background, being in engineering, I don’t really feel like all the boxes were checked.  I don’t really feel like it was an exhaustive study.  I felt like there was more of a motive for putting together the research instead of actually looking at it objectively.”

Do you agree with Jim.  Did Simon Southerton have an agenda to prove the Book of Mormon was false?  Check out our conversation…..

 

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Solved! DNA & Book of Mormon

Or has it been?  In this episode we’re going to talk about the thorniest of all topics when it comes to DNA & Book of Mormon.  Former bishop Simon Southerton, an Australian researcher and expert on DNA, says he lost his testimony when he discovered that Native American peoples had Asian DNA rather than Middle Eastern DNA.  We’re continuing our discussion with David Rosenvall.  How does David respond to this?  He has a theory I’ve never encountered before!

David:  If you go back to the Book of Ether we know that story happened long before Lehi and his descendants.  We’re talking probably the Tower of Babel.  At that time there was a family, Jared and his family, and the brother of Jared and his family, and their friends, so a large group of people left where we think the Tower of Babel was.  We assume that it was down in the area of Iraq today.  In the Book of Ether it states that they went northward.  From there they crossed into a quarter where man had never been and they built boats and crossed some large inland sea.  After they crossed this inland sea with boats they built all by themselves, it says the Lord wanted them to continue on to the Promised Land.  Eventually they got to a great sea, they called it, and they camped near a mountain.

Well it just so happens if you want to go look on Google Earth, there’s only one mountain on the entire eastern seaboard of China today, and it’s actually the birthplace of Taoism.  It’s almost the birthplace of China. So we have this large group of people that came across from Tower of Babel and settled on the seashore.  Four years after they had been there, the Lord had chastised them for not praying and Ether goes and builds these boats and he needs instructions on how to build them.  They’re a little different than the boats they built before.  He says they built eight boats.  Those eight boats then take 345 days I believe it is, or about that, to cross over to wherever they got to.  It just so happens that the ocean currents across the northern Pacific without a sail take about exactly that time.

So out of all these people coming over on these eight barges, probably about 13 families because it says there were 22 souls that arrived with them, they spread across North America.  Eventually one of those families, Ether’s descendants kill themselves off, but that doesn’t suggest that everyone else got killed off, and they probably dispersed all across North America.

So when Lehi gets wherever he’s going, let’s assume Baja for a second, there’s probably a thousand more years of people spreading across there.  There could have been and probably would have been people in North America, however it appears wherever he went they were in isolation.  They never came in contact with anyone except the Mulekites and they knew that there was a people who killed themselves up north.  That’s about all that they knew.

Now let’s go back to DNA.  In North America, our hypothesis is that you have at least everyone that came over with Jared and his brother who dispersed for thousands of years, and if you assume that there are some that didn’t come across the ocean who were also related to them, who may have been a big part of how Asia became, there’s a good chance that the people of North America and the people of Asia are going to have the same DNA.  The difference is they used boats to get them across and maybe the Bering Sea but at least the boats according to the Book of Mormon.  So I always say DNA is the best evidence that the Book of Mormon is true because in there is the Book of Ether that talks about a group that was in Asia and a group that’s in North America that are related.

I’ve never understood the DNA fight if you will.

Have you ever heard this before?  Check out our Intro and comparison to Mesoamerica.

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