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Why Isn’t there a Match with DNA & Book of Mormon? (Part 1)

DNA & Book of Mormon: It’s a favorite topic of anti-Mormons because evidence seems to show that Native Americans came from Asia rather than from the Middle East as the Book of Mormon implies.  Dr. Ugo Perego is a population geneticist.  How does he explain this?  Would you be surprised that he talks about concubines?

Ugo:  We cannot deny scientifically that there were people here before Lehi.  We don’t know anything about the Jaredites really.  We think we know but we don’t know anything about the Jaredites.  Could the Jaredites play any role with pre-Lehites?  We don’t know to what extent.  We know there were people, probably millions of people.

So Lehi’s family comes.  They come from Jerusalem.  These people that are here come from Asia.  They are closely related genetically to Asian people.  Lehi’s family comes, 30, 40, 50 people.  There are the Mulekites that are coming too.  We don’t know how many.  We don’t know if they are a population isolated.  We don’t know if they mix with locals.  People say, “The Book of Mormon doesn’t say anything about others here, so they didn’t exist.”  True, but the Book of Mormon is also summary.  It is not a full record.  It’s what Mormon decided to put in there, and if its focus is to bring people to Christ, it’s going to talk about what people were doing to get ready or not ready for that.  It’s going to leave a lot of the details out.

This is first generation.  Is that possible that because they had the gospel and they encounter other people and then teach them the gospel and they become part of their group?  You go to Jacob chapter two.  Jacob, first generation in the Book of Mormon lands, how many people are there right now of that group, the original group?  How long have they been there?  In Jacob chapter two is frustrated with the Nephites for taking too many wives and too many concubines.  You have got a group of people that are what, 60-70, they are all cousins.  Where do you get these concubines from?  How are you satisfying your sexual desires with this?

Actually I’ve been doing some discussions lately with some other people around here, according to Israelite tradition, because in the Old Testament it talks about concubines, and Hagar was a concubine of Abraham.  The reference to concubine usually—you can take wives, multiple wives according to Jewish tradition.  They are wife as long as they are part of your same culture or your same social status.  But concubines are usually foreign women.  They do not have the same status as your family, so you treat them as some sort of wife, there is a legal binding, but they do not have the same status.  Could it be that the Nephites were doing the same, some foreign women, some local indigenous women?

GT:  Today with ISIS[1] in the Middle East, a lot of times they are taking these Yazidi women and they are basically sex slaves.  Is that kind of…?

Ugo:  Sex slaves, that’s another word for concubine.  It depends culturally where you are.  Sex slaves is probably the worst situation you can have.  I mean you are really there only to satisfy sexual pleasure.  Concubine has some rights as well.  In fact even today with Islam you can have up to four wives and as many concubines as you want but the problem is that when the husband dies, the inheritance only goes to the first four wives.  As long as the man is alive, the concubines have the same rights as the women, the same lifestyle or status, but then when the husband dies they don’t get anything.  They leave.

Then you have Jacob chapter seven, you have Sherem, the first anti-Christ that goes to Jacob and he says, “I have been looking for a long time to meet with you.”  How long does it take to meet somebody that just came with you from across the ocean?  You were on the same ship together for heaven’s sake.  How long does it take to talk together?

Then he says, in verse 4, Jacob 7:4 he says that Sherem was much learned with the language of the people.  Why would you have to make that reference about him knowing the language if he was part of the same group?  Why did he have to learn that language?

Ugo:  if there were really a lot of people here and Lehi’s group was very small, and there was as it looks like from these Book of Mormon passages that we talk about it, some sort of mixture, intermingling, their DNA would have disappeared within five or six generations.

GT:  Really?

Ugo: Yeah.

What do you think of his explanation?  Was Lehi’s group so small that it is impossible to detect?  In our next episode, we’ll talk about the Lemba Tribe.  This is an African Tribe that seems to have Jewish DNA.  (We touched on this previously in our conversations with Jim Vun Cannon and David Rosenvall.)  Are there differences between the Lemba Tribe and the Lamanites?

 

[1] ISIS stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” Taking advantage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as well as the Syrian Civil War, the group took over large swaths of land between 2006-2017 in Iraq and Syria, capturing, torturing, and killing local populations and forcing conversions to a brutal brand of Islam.  They have claimed responsibility for several high profile terrorist acts.

 

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Is Evolution Compatible with the Bible?

In Sunday School we learn that God created the earth in 6 days.  Many people believe that this is about 6000 years.  On the other hand, evolution and geology seem to show the earth is much older than that.  Were Adam & Eve the first humans on the earth?  What does Dr. Ugo Perego think about these topics?

Ugo:  Even if I am a scientist and I like to push boundaries of knowledge, when it comes to things that pertain to the church either you sustain brethren or you don’t.  Either you can go with what they are doing or try to see things why they are doing and you accept that or you don’t.  In my mind is if the church openly has said that we don’t have an official position on what happened before Adam and Eve, how Adam and Eve came to be as physical beings, we don’t have an opinion or revelation or a position on evolution.  We don’t have a position with Book of Mormon geography.  We don’t have a position on the Nephites, of the biological population of the Nephites to the American continent, then you are leaving a lot of room open for everything.  Everybody can be correct and everybody can be wrong when it comes to their point.

Maybe I’m too naïve but I still don’t understand why some people become so feisty—is that the right word, feisty—about issues where the church has decided not to take a position on it.  There must be some reason why they didn’t.  I don’t think it is fear.  I don’t think they have the answers and they don’t want to tell you.

It doesn’t matter if Bruce McConkie said so and so, if Joseph Fielding Smith said that, if Joseph Smith said that.  If the church says today that we don’t have an official position about Book of Mormon geography, that is the final answer.  That is it.

Just express your thoughts, share your conclusion, share what evidence that you have about your ideas, but don’t impose them, don’t come to me and say you are wrong because I am right.  I am sticking with the brethren.  This is my position.

Going to your question, can there have been people living in America 15,000 years ago, pre-flood time, pre-Adam and Eve time?  The answer is, why not?  Because the [LDS] Church does not have a position about who lived before Adam and Eve.  We know through revelation there was an Adam and Eve.  We know that we are descendants of them, but the Church has never said there was nothing before.  They haven’t said that.

Dr. Perego is a population geneticist.  What do you think of Perego’s position?  Check out our conversation…..

 

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Was Emma Licentious? Would it matter? Addressing Ugo’s DNA Critics

In this episode, we’ll discuss Ugo’s DNA critics. Of course there are critics of Dr. Perego, as well as Joseph Smith.  At Wheat & Tares, commenter Mike posed a question wondering if Emma had sex with one or more of Joseph Smith’s brothers, would that affect Dr. Ugo Perego’s test results?  (Apparently he is parroting questions popping up in ex-mormon rumor mills.) The simple answer is it would have zero impact on Dr. Perego’s results.  Here’s why.

For the record, I don’t like Mike’s assertion, but for a moment let’s assume that Mike is right:  Emma was fooling around with Joseph Smith’s brothers.  Even if this were the case (and there isn’t a hint of historical evidence to think this was remotely true), it simply wouldn’t matter with regards to Dr. Perego’s DNA test results, which state that 0% of Smith DNA has been found in any of the potential children.

Let me repeat, even if Emma had sex with Joseph Sr., Hyrum, Don Carlos, William, Samuel and gave she gave birth to a child of Joseph’s brothers (or even father for that matter), all the while Joseph Smith is completely clueless (or somehow didn’t care) to this improbable scenario, 0% of Smith DNA was found in Josephine Lyon, John Hancock, Oliver Buell, etc.  That rules everyone in the Smith family out.  It simply doesn’t matter if Joseph’s DNA is confused with his brothers because 0% of Smith DNA is in the suspected children.  None.  Not only has the entire Smith family been ruled out as father of the potential children in Dr. Ugo Perego’s test, but the real father has been identified (Parley P. Pratt, Levi Hancock, Windsor Lyon etc.)  It is not simply ruling Joseph or the Smith family out, it is ruling Parley in, Levi in, etc.  It simply doesn’t matter if Emma had sex with anyone outside of Joseph.  Smith DNA is nowhere to be found, and the father of Josephine Lyon has been identified, and it is Windsor Lyon.  The father of John Hancock has been identified as Levi Hancock.  The father of Moroni Pratt has been identified as Parley P. Pratt.  Cases closed.  There is no question about who the fathers are.

So even if this highly unlikely scenario is true, Emma’s sexual habits simply don’t matter at all since the entire Smith family has been ruled out and the real fathers have been ruled in and identified.

What’s bothers me that most in this ridiculous conspiracy theory is that it seems to be an attempt (1) to discredit Dr. Perego’s results by throwing up a diversion while (2) impugning the Smith family as sexually licentious.  I know that several in the ex-Mormon community have no problem throwing Joseph under the bus, but it seems especially insidious to accuse Emma of being licentious as well.  There isn’t even a hint of Emma having sex with any of Joseph’s brothers (or anyone else) in any journals, records, newspapers, etc.  None.  I find such “brainstorming” extremely distasteful and beyond ridiculous.  The science is settled.  If you don’t understand the issues, read them.  They are published and these questions are not only distasteful, but the issues are completely settled.  If you still have questions it is because you are too lazy to read the articles.  (I posted links in my previous show notes.)

Ugo Discusses Smith’s Critics, and his own

This leads into my next episode.  Dr. Perego discusses a particular critic who said several derogatory things about Dr. Perego, as well as the Smith family.

Ugo:  You have to understand that there are people here.  No matter how curious you are about history, and how much of a National Geographic experience it is for you, or a Discovery Channel, whatever it is, there are real people involved.  People that are alive, people that are descendants of these individuals, and they have a relationship with their ancestors that is a lot different than you have with them.  You look at them as historical figures that you can trash, play with, speculate, say whatever you want about them.  But to some people, that’s family.  They feel very tender about their ancestors.  They are here on the earth because these people existed.  You have to have that respect.  You have to build that trust.

Very likely I met individuals who introduced me to other individuals to be able to—and I feel very much part of the family with regards to [be] more than a friend.  They welcomed me with regards to Josephine descendants and the trust that they had bestowed on me, but also with Joseph Smith descendants.

I always try to be very respectful and think about besides the DNA that you see on a computer or the kit, or the history that there are actual real people alive with sentiments, with feelings, with concerns, with worries about privacy, about misuse of data.  All it takes is one bad example or occurrence and then you kind of ruin their trust, and I value that.

So when Scott was working and had this approach, his approach, and this is what the Josephine descendants told me, his approach totally turned them off.  They were absolutely not interested in working with him because of the way he approached the research, the project.

Find out more of who Scott is, and what his issues were with Dr. Perego.  Check out our conversation…..