We’re continuing our conversation with Dr. Simon Southerton. We’re going to talk about vanishing DNA. Is it possible that Lehite DNA simply vanished from the Americas? Simon says no, but I’ll ask him about some other possible cases.
GT: Well his point is we know the Vikings were here. We can see their settlements. We can’t find any DNA from them. So, he sees the parallel with the Lehites. We can’t find their DNA. So, you don’t agree with that parallel?
Simon: Well I can see the point he is trying to make. He is just trying to create, “Yes, we can’t find them.” But it just bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon account. What we need to hear, we don’t need to hear the DNA excuses for why we can’t find their DNA.
What people need to hear from the church is an explanation, a new narrative, an explanation for the Book of Mormon narrative. How do we fit this vanishing story with the text, the scripture? If you read the scripture it is really quite clear that they were very significant populations of people. So, the Nephites and Lamanites were fighting each other for a thousand years but they still referred to each other as their brethren. How does that go on for a thousand years when you’re just a tiny little people?
I’ll also ask Simon about Rodney Meldrum’s claims to have found Middle Eastern DNA here in North America. What does Simon think of Meldrum’s claims?
Simon: I’ve been less critical of Meldrum than the FARMS guys. They called him a snake-oil salesman, which he is. But he’s a salesman, he is not a scientist. He’s a joke. He doesn’t understand the science. He thinks that the scientists foolishly overlooked the connection of the X-lineage to the Middle East, and his whole business is built on his X-lineage claim, and he’s wrong. It’s completely wrong.
We heavily reference our conversation with Dr. Perego. If you haven’t seen it, or have forgotten, I encourage you to check out our interview with Perego! Check out our conversation…..
 FARMS stands for Foundation of Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. This is an informal collaboration of academics devoted to Latter-day Saint historical scholarship. In 2006, the group became a formal part of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, formerly known as the Institute for the Study and Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts, BYU. FARMS has since been absorbed into the Maxwell Institute’s Laura F. Willes Center for Book of Mormon Studies. For more info, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_for_Ancient_Research_and_Mormon_Studies
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 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.
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?
 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.