DNA Evidence Exposes a Major Tenet of Mormon Teaching as Fraudulent
A major tenet of Mormon scripture posits that the ancestors of American natives were an ancient tribe of Hebrews who came from the Middle East. However, modern DNA evidence contradicts this, revealing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.
According to Mormon doctrine, an angel named Moroni led founder Joseph Smith in 1827 to a divine set of golden plates buried in a hillside near his New York home.
God provided the 22-year-old Smith with a pair of glasses and seer stones that allowed him to translate the “Reformed Egyptian” writings on the golden plates into the “Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Mormons believe these scriptures restored the church to God’s true, original vision.
According to Joseph Smith, a tribe of Hebrews sailed from Jerusalem to the New World in 600 BC and split into two warring factions, the Lamanites and the Nephites. By 385 AD the Lamanites had wiped out the Nephites. The Mormon church called the victors “the principal ancestors of the American Indians.”
Over the years, Mormon missionaries have used the supposed ancestral link between the ancient Hebrew Lamanites and Native Americans as a prime conversion tool in Central and South America.
“As I look into your faces, I think of Father Lehi [patriarch of the Lamanites], whose sons and daughters you are,” church president and prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said in 1997 during a Mormon conference in Lima, Peru. “I think he must be shedding tears today, tears of love and gratitude…. This is but the beginning of the work in Peru.”
In recent decades, Mormonism has flourished in Central and South America, which now has nearly four million members — about a third of Mormon membership worldwide.
With DNA evidence having exposed the erroneous connection between ancient Israelites and Native Americans, some converts to Mormonism feel betrayed by the fraud.
From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.
Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.
“We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people,” said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. “It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God.”
“I’ve gone through stages,” he said. “Absolutely denial. Utter amazement and surprise. Anger and bitterness.”