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Have you ever known someone that is more concerned with the next move of God or wave of the Spirit rather than reading , understanding, and applying the principles of God into their daily living. I do, there are numerous charismatic signs and wonders chasers being deceived in the Body  of Christ and in the Church today. I can compare it to a surfer trying to catch the ultimate wave, going from beach to beach in search of the ultimate wave but never finding it. The search for the next wave in Charismatic circles  has led believers down a path away from  Jesus instead of towards Him.

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Is Baptism Essential To Salvation?

by baptismalregenerationheresy.com

There are many churches and individuals who believe that people must be baptized in water in order for them to be saved from their sins and go to Heaven when they die. Some churches teach that baptism is essential to salvation. Those churches generally believe that anyone who trusts Jesus, but does not also get baptized in water before they die, must then go to Hell, because they did not perform the “good work” of getting baptized that they might be saved thereby.

Churches believing that baptism is essential to salvation tend to de-emphasize the Blood of Christ as an all-sufficient payment for sin. Instead, they believe that the blood of Jesus is not really sufficient to “cleanse us from all sin”. (See I John 1:9). Instead, they believe that salvation must be obtained through both the good work of Christ on the cross, and through the good work of man in baptism. People who hold to this false doctrine believe that Man therefore becomes a “co-redeemer” together with Christ. They believe in salvation by the grace of God plus the works of man. This is the erroneous belief that Jesus and man both work together to pay for sin, a doctrine also taught by the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church.

One of the most well-known churches teaching that baptism is essential to salvation is the “Church of Christ”. I once heard a man say that he knew of a preacher who was raised in the Church of Christ and stayed in the Church of Christ all of his life. Nevertheless, even though he was a preacher in the Church of Christ, on his death bed he wanted to be baptized “once again”, just to “be sure” that he would go to Heaven instead of going to Hell when he died.

Those churches believing that baptism is essential to salvation often use such verses as Acts 2:38 to support this point of view. This view of baptism held by the Church of Christ can be traced to its founder, Alexander Campbell. Alexander Campbell once said that, “Immersion is that act by which our state is changed” The idea that baptism itself saves, (instead of Jesus alone saving us from our sins through His own redeeming blood shed on the cross), is called “baptismal regeneration”.

The act of baptism is actually a picture of what should have already happened in the lives of believers before they were baptized. Namely, that they have already been forgiven for their sins and therefore they have already been made ready for Heaven by trusting Jesus alone for salvation. This then brings up an interesting question: If all of their sins were already forgiven before they were baptized, then how can there be any sins left over for baptism itself to “forgive” or wash away? Also, which sin will they be sent to Hell for, if someone had trusted Jesus, but then died before getting baptized?

I was baptized a few times before I was actually saved. In fact, all that happened to me on those occasions was that I got wet. I was not saved by getting baptized. When I did get saved by trusting Jesus alone for my salvation, I was e again baptized — but this time out of obedience to Christ! Since I had already been saved, I had no need to try to earn my own salvation by my own good work of baptism. Jesus had already saved me. Jesus did all the saving. It was all Christ.

I once knew of a lady who desired to be baptized. When she was baptized and came up out of the water, she praised God that she was now saved. What she meant, of course, was that she was lost in sin before going down into the water. She was trying to save herself by her own good work of baptism. Needless to say, this woman very quickly fell back into the world and back into sin, proving that she was never truly converted in the first place. Her baptism, (which was an act of “salvation by works”), did not save her from her sin.

The idea of salvation by works dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Cain, the son of Adam, brought an offering of vegetables to God – his attempt at “salvation by works”. Nevertheless, God wanted blood, not the “good works” of fallen man. Cain’s offering of works was therefore rejected by God. The fact is, men and women often want to give their “salvation by works” offerings to God, just as Cain once tried to do. They do not want to trust Jesus alone to save them by His blood. This “total depravity” of man in rejecting God’s way of salvation by grace, helps to explain why there are hundreds of religions in the world today which provide various forms of “salvation by works”. Jesus said:

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” (Matt. 7:13)

Most people try to be saved by their good works, such as by the good work of baptism. God’s way for you to be saved is by His grace through faith in Jesus’ blood alone, which Jesus shed outside Jerusalem at Calvary to pay for your sins. The Bible says:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)

“…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (I John 1:7)

Have you trusted Jesus alone to save you from your sins? If you are trusting Jesus plus anything else to save you, then this proves that you have never actually been converted. You are still on the road to Hell. Trust Jesus alone to save you before it is too late. Eternity is a very long time, and Hell is very, very hot. Trust Jesus today!

***The Only Way to God***

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Even though I have been negatively affected by other Cults and false teachings, since before I knew what a Cult and False teaching was, I am going to use MY WORDS TO HEAL those deluded by the WoF movement. Because the WoF teaching that faith is a force is not only a false teaching, But also A VERY DANGEROUS and sometimes deadly OCCULTIC PARADIGM SHIFT.

So I have decided (willed) to USE THE POWER OF MY WORDS to heal you. I will be constantly Chanting YOUR HEALED,YOUR HEALED, YOUR HEALED. So don’t make any negative confessions, least Thee over power my positive confessions, JUST RECEIVE AND BE HEALED. 

You know I am just joking, being sarcastic and a little facetious right?
 
But If I weren’t, think of the ramifications of the idea that words have magical creative power.
 
We hear Word of Faith believers say “Life and death is in the power of the tongue” BUT THAT DON’T MEAN that actions don’t have consequences, AND WORDS are more powerful than WHAT WE DO, and sometimes think. Just think how delusional and illogical the idea is that words have more power than our actions do.
 
The first thing we learn as a Kid is that actions have consequences. If we stick our finger in the fire, we find the fire is HOT, not because someone SAID FIRE IS HOT, but because fire is hot by it’s nature. As a baby,,, we cannot even understand our parents say the fire is Hot. And fire was hot WAY BEFORE cavemen quit grunting and grumbling and started talking. And we usually don’t find the real power in words until we use the wrong words, on the wrong people,,, and get a bop on the nose for it. Our words have some power, but not literal creative power.

And certainly God could have created everything,,, without a single word, because He IS GOD. THE Creator. 

Man has never created anything Ex-nihilo (out of nothing), much less with mere words. Although words can uplift, encourage and build self esteem, and our words can insult, degrade and devalue a person. Words have never actually killed anyone. It is impossible to die from saying “I am laughing myself to death”

Have you ever noticed that ALL BRIDGES ARE SLIPPERY WHEN WET? Even if they don’t have a warning sign saying so. OR SOMEBODY SAID SO. Have you ever noticed that in contradiction against the obvious implications of the Word of Faith teaching,,, deaf and speaking impaired people get sick and have problems that RESULT FROM THEIR ACTIONS,,,,, not words TOO?

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WHO SPOKE THE MAJIC WORD FIRST? 

In other words, WHERE DOES THE IDEA THAT WORDS HAVE POWER COME FROM?

If you seek out the answer to this question, you will find that the WoF teaching comes from Kenneth Haggin, who got it from EW Kenyon, who in turn got it from Mary Baker Eddy (of Christian Science) through Charles Emory. And Mary Baker Eddy got the words have power teaching from Phineas Qumby, the Father of New Thought or Mind Science .

There is a few things you should know about Mr. Quimby before you continue to try and create realities with your words.

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From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phineas_Quimby

Phineas Quimby was known as a philosopher, magnetizer, mesmerist, healer, and scientist. Quimby’s focus of attention was philosophy of mind, on which he held the dualist position. (See also Cartesian dualism).

He approached the mind-body problem by reasoning that mind was “spiritual matter”, observing that man “exists outside himself,” and that mind and body, although of two different natures, interact with each other.

Quimby claimed that disease is not the cause of illness, but the effect of a conflict existing within the mind; he claimed that all mental and most physical diseases were the result of faulty reasoning. He said “the explanation is the cure.”

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The above WiKipedia article also says that Mrs. Eddy was a patient of Mr. Quimby’s and shared his view that disease is rooted in a mental causation. The Article also tries to claim that Quimby did not mix his “System of healing” with religion. But Quimby’s own words prove otherwise.  http://www.phineasquimby.com/concerning_use_medicine.html

From the article above, Mr Quimby was a philosophical dualist who said “Medicine contains nothing to me, except as an effect – and if a patient believes he must use it, I sometimes allow him to do so; but I always tell him the cure is in himself (or in his belief), and not in the medicine.”

Philosophical dualism states that matter and mind are different. Mind is more akin to Spirit than Matter. So when Quimby would assert that “the cure is in himself (or in his belief)”,,, he was basically saying that Mind is a spiritual force that can be “tapped into” or manipulated, if you just “think rightly“, to affect sickness and disease.

WHAT ARE WORDS? Expression of thought.

Words ARE NOT a tool to manipulate a so called “force of faith” as so many Word of Faith teachers arrogantly proclaim. 

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WORDS ARE FOR WITCHES (silly rabbit) and God is for Christians

I read every article I post on this blog and probably 5-6 articles for every 1 that I do post. Many WoF expose articles will show the origins of this false teaching to go back to EW. Kenyon. Some trace it further back to Marry Baker Eddy and some go back to Quimby. But most fail to show the real source of the teaching. Satan and the Occult.

Yes,, there are many articles that show the WoF teaching of positive confession to be the same as the occultic New Age “Law of Attraction”. And anyone can see the similarities of the NEW AGE Mega-book “THE SECRET” AND the WoF teachings.

A few articles rightfully mention that the WoF teachings is akin to witchcraft without quoting any witches. Looking at the definitions of Magic, Spells and Incantation will show the WoF is witchcraft like And many article list quotes from Prominent Word of faith teachers saying that “if the occult can get results out this force of faith,, why can’t Gods children?“ Don’t that show JUST a little (wee) bit of a lack of discernment.

BUT I WOULD LIKE TO GO FURTHER THAN THAT.

Because my Uncle is a Mormon Bishop and because Joseph Smith was a Freemason, I have studied the Occult extensively. Witchcraft and other forms of the Occult IS ALL ABOUT POWER. People don’t become witches to make their parents angry. NO THEY WANT THE POWER TO CONTROL THEIR LIFES AND OTHERS.

Instead of throwing themselves to the mercy of a sovereign God and living life to please him. They seek to manipulate their reality with “spiritual forces”. But as Jesus said, “Father, If it be thy will” is what Christians should pray. God only gives us WHAT HE WILLS. No matter what we ask for?

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STRAIGHT FROM THE WITCHES MOUTH 

Here is some text from a website on witchcraft.

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/ 

“Mankind has always attempted to know the unknowable and control it by his own actions. At the same time, it was recognized that there were powers beyond his ability to control. Throughout history, certain people have been accepted as being better at controlling the powers that represent natural forces such as earthquake, wind, flood,fire and disease.

In some cases, these powers were named as gods or goddesses, at other times the forces themselves were named and summoned and controlled by the will of humans known as witches in modern day language.

The power possessed by a witch or shaman skilled in the art and working of witchcraft was assumed to be almost limitless. By saying certain words or power names in the correct manner and correct tone of voice, the witch could heal the ill, and cast out the evil spirits which caused pain and suffering in those who were diseased.

Inanimate nature also obeyed the words of witchcraft and even the creation of the world itself was through a spoken word. The words could tear the earth apart and make water pile up in a heap and even the sun could be stopped in its course by a word uttered in witchcraft.”

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Witchcraft vs Christianity; Learn the similarities and differences of the two 

“The differences between the Christian and witchcraft viewpoint is the difference between being citizens of a society which takes an active role to shape and mold the structure of society or subjects of a society which has the connotation of subordination to the larger group for the benefit of all.

A similar term with very different meanings between Christian and pagan understandings of the word is “self-control”. To those practicing witchcraft they believe that they are the one who has full control over the actions. They do not surrender to another except under very brief, special and voluntary circumstances. Self-control means taking charge, making all decisions relating to oneself, doing anything so long as it doesn’t hurt someone else. 

The witch views control as the act of intentionally and positively directing the will toward the achievement of positive goals. The underlying assumption with the witch’s view of self control is that man is inherently valuable, and can achieve good and beneficial ends through the use of will power.”

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/christianity.html

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EVEN WITCHES DON’T HAVE FAITH IN FAITH 

“People who are just beginning witchcraft don’t have the understanding or the ability to actually practice medicine, but witchcraft is the belief system which is outstripping all others in popularity. It is expected that young people who are practicing witches may soon be preparing for degrees in medical fields and thus improve the chances of being healed through witchcraft as well as more mainstream means and medications.

Modern scientists have documented the term called the placebo effect. When some people receive healing from illnesses which in some cases are considered terminal illnesses after being given a pill made of sugar rather than the test drug, the healing is due to the placebo effect. Others would say that they were healed by faith, the patient believed that they would be healed due to the medication, and so they were healed, in spite of the fact that they received no medication. So, faith regardless of whether the faith comes from belief in the drug, belief in God or belief in witchcraft.”

http://www.witchcraft-magick.com/spells.html

A WICHES FAITH IS in the force of WITCHRAFT,,, Not faith or God.

There is no force called faith. Faith (trust) is only as good as the object of that faith.

 

An interesting study is to get a few bible dictionaries and do a word search and study on “god of forces” I have several books on demonology by Merrill F. Unger. He has a whole chapter devoted to the “god of forces” in one of them, so he might have a really good definition in his bible dictionary. I will look when I get more of my books out of storage.

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IN CLOSING 

I have about a dozen witchcraft websites bookmarked that are speaking about “creating your own future with the power of words” or “use your words to make yourself rich and powerful” BUT I will not make anymore quotes from them in this article.

INSTEAD I ask you to take a intellectual peek into the matter for yourself,, after you have prayed for spiritual protection over your heart.

Control, Power, and creating so called “realities” out of non physical realities (words and thoughts) is the very basis of all Occult philosophies. USE THE POWER LUKE, AM I YOUR FATHER?

The Word of Faith movement is nothing more than Gnosticism/Occultism invading the Christian Church tempting the Modern Christian to attempt to be in control of his own destiny and well being,,,, instead of FULLY RELYING ON GOD.

Have you bought into the lies, Do you still buy into the lies, OR WAS YOU HEALED BY THE POWER (reasoning) OF MY WORDS? Or maybe it was the power words in the title?

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HERESIES: THEN AND NOW
By Jason Barker

In 2 Peter 2:1–2, the apostle states, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

The apostle accurately observed the spread of heresy in the first–century church, and his warning that false teachers would continue to arise can easily be seen in the growth of cults and pseudo–Christian religions in our time. Interestingly, the heresies that are popular today are simply variations of the same heresies that have arisen throughout the history of the Church. This article will briefly examine some of the most influential of these heresies, will list scriptures that refute the heresy, and will list some of the modern groups that continue to promote the heresies.

Judaizers — 1st Century Judaizers, or the Judaizing movements, is not a condemnation of Judaism or ethnic Jews. Instead, it has historically been the label for those who attempt to make observing the Mosaic Law a requirement for Christianity and salvation. The book of Acts refers to such people as “they of the circumcision” (Acts 10:45; 11:2), and the council at Jerusalem decisively ruled against them (Acts 15:23–29).

Despite this biblical ruling, Judaizing movements continue to grow in our time. These movements require such things as strict observance of the Sabbath on Saturday, mandatory tithing, observance of the Jewish feasts, and other regulations in order for a Christian to earn salvation.

Scriptural Refutation: Romans 3:24–28.

Modern Groups: Seventh-Day Adventists; followers of Herbert W. Armstrong.

Gnosticism — 1st and 2nd Centuries The Gnostics promoted three basic teachings: 1) matter is evil, and thus Jesus only appeared to be a man; 2) because the Bible teaches that God created matter, the God of the Old Testament Jews is an evil deity who is distinct from the New Testament God, Jesus Christ; and 3) ultimate Truth is a mystery that is available only to those who are initiated into the secret teachings and practices of the Gnostic groups.

Gnosticism has become popular in the latter half of the 20th century with the 1945 Egyptian discovery of the Nag Hammadi library, a collection of Gnostic writings. One of the most influential books in modern Gnosticism has been Elaine Pagel’s The Gnostic Gospels, an analysis of the Nag Hammadi documents. Modern Gnosticism is commonly found in syncretistic groups, which teach that Truth can be found by combining the beliefs and practices of numerous religions.

Scriptural Refutation: Genesis 1:4, 10, 18, 21, 25, 27; John 10:30; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 1 John 1:1.

Modern Groups: Primarily found in the New Age Movement.

Docetism — 1st – 4th Centuries The name is taken from the Greek word dokein = to seem. The docetics believed that the seeming humanity of Christ, particularly his suffering, were imaginary. They taught that the divine God cannot suffer, and thus, since Christ is divine, his suffering was an illusion to teach humans a valuable lesson about the illusion of matter. Docetism was an integral part of Gnosticism. The heresy was a major impetus for the Chalcedonian Definition of 451, which describes that Christ is one person with two natures: human and divine.

The heresy continues among modern groups that deny the reality of suffering.

Scriptural Refutation: John 1:1–3, 14; Philippians 2:6–8.

Modern Groups: Christian Science, Mind Sciences, the New Age Movement.

Origenism — 3rd Century The career of Origen is one of the more unusual in Christian history. He dedicated himself to defending attacks on Christianity from paganism, Judaism, and Christian heresies. His apologetic book, Against Celsus, remains a classic piece of Christian literature.

Despite his defense of orthodoxy, Origen developed several heretical doctrines that were eventually condemned in 553. His most notable deviant teachings involve the preexistence of human souls, the subordination of the Son to the Father, and universalism. Few groups currently adopt all of Origen’s teachings. Nonetheless, groups influenced by Joseph Smith believe in both the preexistence of souls and the essential subordination of the Son to the Father, and many other groups believe in both the preexistence of souls (usually in the form of reincarnation) and universalism.

Scriptural Refutation: Hebrews 9:27; John 10:30; Matthew 7:13–23; 8:11–12.

Modern Groups: Mormons, Liberal Christianity.

Dynamic Monarchianism / Sabellianism — 3rd Century Although the heresy was first taught in 190 by Theodotus of Byzantium, monarchianism was most notably promoted by Sabellius in the third century. Monarchianism denies the Trinity by teaching that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not separate persons. Instead, the monotheistic God (called a monad) progressively revealed Himself as the creator and lawgiver through the “office” of Father, as the redeemer through the office of Son, and as the source of grace through the office of Spirit.

Scriptural Refutation: John 3:16; 17:22–23; 1 John 5:7–14.

Modern Groups: Oneness Pentecostals.

Arianism — 4th Century Perhaps the most significant heresy faced by the Church, Arianism (named after Arius) taught that, as the Son of God, Christ was created by God the Father. Arius thus denied the Trinity by teaching that Jesus is less than fully divine. This heresy became extremely widespread, even being promoted by many bishops. It was condemned at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 (which proclaimed that Christ is fully divine), and at the First Council of Constantinople in 381 (which proclaimed that the Holy Spirit is divine). Arianism remains one of the most common heresies to afflict the Church. Almost all pseudo–Christian groups deny the full deity of Christ.

Scriptural Refutation: John 10:30; 1 John 5:7.

Modern Groups: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, the Unification Church.

Pelagianism — 5th Century Pelagius, a Welsh monk, taught that humanity does not inherit original sin, and that salvation is earned by following the example of Christ. Grace is not necessary; instead, humans overcome the sin they gradually develop by using God’s grace to assist them in perfecting themselves and thus earning salvation.

This heresy, along with Arianism, is endemic to almost all modern pseudo–Christian groups.

Scriptural Refutation: Romans 3:24–26; 5:11–21.

Modern Groups: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, followers of Herbert W. Armstrong.

Nestorianism and Mono-physitism — 5th Century Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, taught that Mary bore only Jesus’ human nature in her womb, thus implicitly teaching that Christ was not divine while on earth. In an overreaction to Nestorius, the Monophysites taught that Christ was one person with his humanity and divinity fused into a single nature (the Greek roots of the word monophysite are mono = one, and physis = nature), thus implicitly teaching that Christ was neither fully human nor fully divine.

Nestorianism is implicit in those groups who deny the reality of matter. One of the most common forms of the monophysite heresy can be found in the New Age Movement, where many believe that Jesus was a man who developed his “Christ consciousness” and thus fully achieved his divinity.

Scriptural Refutation: Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6–8.

Modern Groups: the New Age Movement, Christian Science.

Conclusion

Heresy is not new to the Church. The book of Colossians is Paul’s response to the syncretistic heresies present in the 1st century church in Colossae. Colossians 1:15–20, known as the “Christ Hymn,” is one of the best responses to the heresies that attack the deity and work of Christ.

Christians are commanded by God to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). One of the most effective ways to contend for the faith is to know the various ways in which the faith is attacked, and to know the biblical response to these attacks.

http://www.watchman.org/reltop/heresiesthenandnow.htm

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The following are some of the major false doctrines that are a particular danger to Bible-believing churches in our day and a concise biblical refutation of them. We use the following to train our church members.

SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT FALSE TEACHERS

1. Jesus warned about false teachers (Matt. 7:15-17).

2. Paul warned about false teachers (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Tim. 3:13; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).

3. Peter warned about false teachers and said that many will follow them (2 Pet. 2:1-2).

4. John warned about false teachers (1 John 2:18-20).

5. Jude warned about false teachers (Jude 3-4).

SOME BIBLE FACTS ABOUT DOCTRINE

1. The Bible is given for doctrine (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

2. We are to continue in the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).

3. Preachers are to give themselves to doctrine (1 Tim. 4:13).

4. No false doctrine is to be allowed (1 Tim. 1:3).

5. Our doctrine is to be uncorrupt (Titus 2:10).

6. We are to separate from false doctrine (Rom. 16:17).

SOME OF THE FALSE DOCTRINES THAT CHURCHES MUST CONFRONT TODAY

1. The false teaching that salvation is by grace plus works (Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Church of Christ, Roman Catholic Church)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says salvation is by grace without works and that works follows after salvation (Rom. 4:1-6; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-8).

b. The Bible says that grace and works cannot be mixed together (Rom. 11:6).

c. Grace means a free gift. Salvation is called a gift 16 times in the New Testament. If salvation requires some works, then it is not a true gift. The gift of God is free for the sinner because Jesus Christ purchased it at great price with His blood and death on the cross.

2. The false teaching that Jesus is not God (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible plainly says that Jesus is God

(1) Isaiah called Jesus God (Is. 7:14; 9:6).

(2) Matthew called Jesus God (Matt. 1:23).

(3) Jesus called Himself God (Jn. 5:17-18; 8:58-59; 10:30-33; Rev. 1:8).

(4) John called Jesus God (Jn. 1:1; 1 John 3:16; 5:20).

(5) Thomas called Jesus God (Jn. 20:28).

(6) Paul called Jesus God (Acts 20:28; Phil. 2:5-6; 1 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:13).

(7) God the Father called Jesus God (Heb. 1:8-10).

b. In His incarnation the Lord Jesus Christ “made himself of no reputation” and became a lowly servant to God and man (Phil. 2:7). The Greek word for “made himself of no reputation” is “kenoo,” meaning “to empty, to abase, to make of none effect” (Strong). Jesus did not cease to be God. Phil. 2:6 plainly states that He is God, but the Son of God willingly laid aside His glory for the purpose of redeeming man by the cross.

c. There is an order to the Trinity. God the Son submits to God the Father, even though they are equal.

3. The false teaching that God is not a Trinity (Jehovah’s Witnesses)

Bible Answer:

a. The term “trinity” is not in the Bible, but the doctrine is (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 14:16,26; 16:7-15; 2 Co. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Jn. 5:7).

b. The O.T. teaches that God is one in a plurality. Though the Old Testament does not fully reveal the doctrine of the Trinity, it does teach us that God is a plurality. It is left for the New Testament to open up this revelation fully.

Genesis 1:1. The Hebrew word for God here is elohim. This is a plural noun, but the verb is singular, teaching that there is one God in a plurality.

Genesis 11:6-7. Here again God is spoken of in the plural and in the singular at the same time.

Deuteronomy 6:4. This verse could be translated, “Jehovah our elohim is a united Jehovah.” The word “one” refers to a unity. The same word for one is used in Gen. 2:24, speaking of the oneness of a husband and wife. This verse summarizes the Bible’s teaching about God. He is one but exists in three Persons.

Psalm 45:6-7. According to Heb. 1:8-9, God the Father is speaking in Psalm 45, and He is referring to the Son as God. Sometimes people ask, “If Jesus Himself was God, why did He address the Father as God?” The answer is that Jesus addressed the Father as God for the same reason that the Father addressed the Son as God—because they are both God!

4. The false teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (Rom. 6:3-4). It is the blood and death of Christ that takes away our sins, not water or religious rituals.

b. Paul says that baptism is not the gospel (1 Cor. 1:17). The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for our sins (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Baptism only symbolizes the gospel.

c. The book of Acts teaches us that baptism follows salvation (Acts 8:36-38; 16:30-33; 18:8).

d. Acts 2:38 does not teach that baptism is a part of salvation, because Peter later taught that baptism is a symbol (1 Pet. 3:21). Acts 2:38 teaches that we are baptized because we have been forgiven of our sins not in order to be forgiven.

5. The false teaching that infants should be baptized (Church of Christ)

Bible Answer:

a. Baptism is only for those who believe (Mk. 16:15; Acts 8:36-38). When a child is old enough to believe on Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, then he can be baptized. But an infant cannot do this.

b. No infants were baptized in the New Testament.

Some say that there must have been infants baptized in the case of Cornelius since his kinsmen and friends were present (Acts 10:24, 47). Contrariwise, Acts 11:17 says that those who were saved and baptized with Cornelius were those “who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Obviously these were not infants.

What about the case of Lydia and her household (Acts 16:14-15). Nothing is said about infants in this passage, and it is highly unlikely that this busy merchant woman would have had babies. There is no evidence here whatsoever for the practice of infant baptism.

What about the Philippian jailer and his household (Acts 16:30-34). This passage clearly says that Paul spoke the Word of God to the entire household (v. 32) and that the entire household “believed” (vv. 32-33). This could not be said of infants.

What about the household of Crispus (Acts 18:8)? Those who were saved and baptized in this family were all believers, for we are told, “Crispus … believed on the Lord with all his house…” Obviously they were not infants.

What about the household of Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16)? Again nothing is actually said about infants being present or baptized. In 1 Cor. 16:15 we are told that this household addicted themselves to the ministry. This could not be said of infants.

6. The false teachings of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement (Assemblies of God, etc.)

6a. The false doctrine that tongues speaking is for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says tongues were a real language (Acts 2:3-11).

b. The Bible says tongues were a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Cor. 14:21-22). After Israel rejected God’s sign of tongues and Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. and the Jews were scattered to the ends of the earth, the need for tongues as a sign was finished.

c. Biblical tongues had to be used according to the teaching of the apostles, yet the Pentecostals and Charismatics do not submit to these restrictions:

(1) Women are not allowed to speak in tongues (1 Cor. 14:34)

(2) Tongues were to be spoken only by course (1 Cor. 14:27)

(3) Tongues must be interpreted (1 Cor. 14:27)

(4) There is to be no confusion (1 Cor. 14:33)

(5) Everything is to be decent (1 Cor. 14:40)

(6) Everything is to be orderly (1 Cor. 14:40)

d. Tongues were not spoken by every believer even in the days of the apostles (1 Cor. 12:28-30).

e. Biblical tongues were not sought after but were sovereignly given by God (1 Cor. 12:11).

f. There is no instruction in the Bible about HOW to speak in tongues. Those who believe in tongues speaking today claim that they can teach people who to do it.

g. The Bible says tongues speaking, prophesying, and words of knowing will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8). When the New Testament was completed, there was no further need for these particular gifts.

6b.The false doctrine that healing is promised in the atonement

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that not all sicknesses are healed (2 Cor. 12:97-10; 1 Tim. 5:23; 2 Tim. 4:20).

b. The Bible says that the physical part of our salvation is for the future (Rom. 8:17-25.

c. Peter says that Isaiah 53:5 refers to spiritual healing of the soul (1 Pet. 2:24-25).

6c. The false doctrine that miracles should be sought

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus warned that it is not good to seek miracles (Mat. 12:39).

b. The miracles performed by the apostles were special (2 Cor. 12:12). Not every Christian could perform miracles.

c. Faith does not come from miracles but from God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). Multitudes witnessed Jesus’ great miracles, but most did not believe.

6d. The false doctrine that the Holy Spirit baptism follows salvation

Bible Answer:

a. Jesus promised the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:5) and this was fulfilled in Acts 2 for the Jews and in Acts 10:44-47 for the Gentiles.

b. Since then, every believer receives the Holy Spirit when he believes (Eph. 1:12-14).

c. The book of Acts is a transitional book. Not everything that happened then is the pattern for the rest of the church age.

d. In the epistles, the reception of the Holy Spirit is always mentioned in the past tense (Rom. 8:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13).

6e. The false doctrine that we should exalt the Holy Spirit

Bible Answer:

a. The Lord Jesus Christ foretold what role the Holy Spirit would have in the church age (John 16:13-15). In this passage we learn that the Holy Spirit does not exalt Himself and the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to Himself.

b. There is no example in the N.T. of praying to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray to the Father, not to the Holy Spirit (Matt. 6:6,9; Jn. 16:23). The Apostle Paul taught us to pray to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 1:8; 7:25).

c. There is no example in the New Testament of inviting the Holy Spirit to work. Neither Jesus nor the apostles did that.

6f. The false doctrine that we should not test the Holy Spirit with the Bible

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible warns that there are false spirits and that the devil tries to deceive (2 Cor. 11:4; 1 Jn. 4:1). Therefore we must test everything carefully or we will be deceived.

b. The Bible commands us to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21).

c. The Bible commended the Bereans because they tested everything by the Scriptures (Acts 17:11)

6g. The false doctrine that the believer can be rid of his sin nature

Bible Answer:

a. Paul taught that the believer still has the struggle with sin (Rom. 7:14-21; Gal. 5:16-17).

b. John teaches that the believer still has sin (1 John 1:8, 10).

6h. The false doctrine that victory in the Christian life comes through unusual baptisms and experiences

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible does not exhort us to make spiritual leaps through unusual experiences. Rather, it exhorts us to GROW in Christ (1 Pet. 2:1-2; 2 Pet. 3:18).

b. The apostles wrote many epistles instructing the believers about how to deal with sin an spiritual problems, but they never instructed the believers to seek a second baptism or other such special experiences.

6i. The false doctrine that visions and prophecies are for today

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says the faith was completed in the days of the apostles (Jude 3).

b. The Bible says that the Scriptures are sufficient (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

c. The Bible says that Scripture is more sure than visions (2 Pet. 1:16-21).

d. The Bible says that prophecies will pass away (1 Cor. 13:8).

7. The false teaching that death is a sleep and not a journey (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The Old Testament plainly says that death is a journey (Gen. 25:8; 35:18; Nu. 27:13; 2 Sa. 12:23; 1 Ki. 17:21-22).

b. The New Testament plainly says that death is a journey:

(1) Jesus said death is a journey (Lk. 16:19-23; 23:42-43). That Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable is evident by the fact that Jesus named the names of Abraham and Lazarus. He never named names when He was giving parables. Further, even if it were a parable, it would still teach literal truth.

(2) Paul said death is a journey (2 Cor. 5;6-7; Phil. 1:23; 2 Tim. 4:6).

(3) Peter said death is a journey (2 Pet. 1:13-15).

(4) The fact that the dead saints return with Christ from heaven at the time of the rapture shows that dead saints go to Heaven at death (1 Th. 4:14).

(5) John’s heavenly visions show that dead saints are conscience in heaven prior to the resurrection and during the Great Tribulation on earth (Re. 6:9-11).

(6) Moses’ and Elijah’s appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration proves that the dead have conscious existence between death and resurrection. Moses and Elijah, though dead, were allowed by God to appear in time on that mountain and to converse about events which were soon to take place in Jerusalem (Mt. 17:1-3; Lk. 9:30-31).

c. The Bible sometimes speaks of death as a “sleep,” but it is the body that sleeps not the spirit (Jam. 2:26).

d. Ecclesiastes sometimes speaks of death as nothingness (i.e., Ecc. 9:5), but this is because Ecclesiastes is written from the perspective of the man “under the sun” (Ecc. 1:3, 9, 14, etc), the perspective of man looking at life the way it appears apart from divine revelation. To the natural man who does not have the revelation of the Scriptures, death appears to be the end of things. But other portions of the Bible tell us that this is not the case. Even the book of Ecclesiastes itself, in its conclusion, says that death is a journey (Ecc. 12:7).

e. The Old Testament speaks of the “spirit” as the breath once or twice, but usually the “spirit” of man is that non-material part which is separate from the body and which lives on after death (1 Thess. 5:23). False teachers make the mistake of refusing to allow the context to define Bible words and instead they put their own preferred definition on the word and force that definition into every context.

8. The false teaching that Hell is not eternal torment (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The doctrine of death and hell were not fully revealed in the Old Testament; these were brought to light with the coming of Christ (2 Tim. 1:10).

b. The New Testament plainly teaches that hell and the lake of fire are places of eternal torment:

(1) Jesus said hell is a place where the worm does not die (Mark 9:43-44).

(2) Jesus said the rich man was in torment in hell (Lk. 16:24). This is not a parable, because Jesus named the names of Lazarus and Abraham.

(3) Revelation says those who receive the mark of the antichrist will be tormented forever (Rev. 14:10).

(4) Revelation says Satan, the Antichrist, and false prophet will be tormented forever (Rev. 20:10).

(5) Revelation says all the unsaved will be cast into the same lake of fire (Rev. 20:15), and since the antichrist and false prophet are not burned up but are tormented forever in the lake of fire, it is obvious that other sinners cast there will have the same experience.

c. The Bible says the punishment of the unsaved will be worse than violent death (Mk. 9:42). This proves the punishment is not annihilation, but is eternal torment. 3. Jesus said it would have been better if Judas had never been born (Mt. 26:24). Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas was only going to be annihilated.

9. The false teaching that Sabbath worship is for the churches today (Seventh-day Adventists)

Bible Answer:

a. The sabbath, though mentioned in Gen. 2:2-3, was not delivered to man until it was given to Israel in the wilderness (Neh. 9:13-14).

b. The sabbath was given, not to mankind in general, but to Israel alone as a special covenant sign between her and God (Ex. 31:13,17).

c. Jesus kept the sabbath because He was born under the law to fulfill the demands of the law (Gal. 4:4-5).

d. The apostles and early churches met on Sunday.

(1) On the first day Jesus rose from the dead and first appeared to His disciples (Mk. 16:9). The sabbath is associated with the old creation; the first day is associated with the new creation.

(2) On the first day Jesus met with the disciples at different places and repeatedly (Mk. 16:9-11; Mt. 28:8-10; Lk. 24:34; Mk. 16:12-13; Jn. 20:19-23).

(3) On the first day Jesus ascended to Heaven, was seated at the right hand of the Father and was made Head of all (Jn. 20:17; Eph. 1:20).

(4) On the first day the Holy Spirit descended (Acts 2:1). Pentecost was on the 50th day after the sabbath following the wave offering (Lev. 23:15,16). Thus Pentecost was always on a Sunday.

(5) The Christians met to worship on the first day (Acts 20:6,7; 1 Cor. 16:2).

e. The New Testament plainly teaches that the Christian is not bound to the sabbath law (Col. 2:16-17).

10. The false teaching that the Prophecies of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6-22 are not for the future but are being fulfilled today (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. The timing of the events of Matthew 24 are plainly given:

(1) Jesus said that the prophecy of Matthew 24 pertains to the end of the age and to the time of His return (Matt. 24:3-4). This includes the rule of the antichrist (v. 15) and the Great Tribulation (v. 21).

(2) Jesus said the events of Matthew 24 will occur just prior to His return (Matt. 24:29-30).

b. Paul also taught that the antichrist is a real man who will rule the world just prior to Christ’s return (2 Thess. 2:2-9).

c. The judgments of Revelation are the wrath of God (Rev. 6:16; 15:1), whereas Paul said the church-age believers are not appointed to wrath (1 Thess. 5:9-10).

11. The false teaching that God is finished with the nation Israel; that the church has replaced Israel (Roman Catholic, most Protestant denominations such as Presbyterian and Lutheran, etc.)

Bible Answer:

a. God’s covenants with Israel are eternal (Jer. 31:31-37).

b. Paul said that Israel has been set aside temporarily, and that God will fulfill His promises to Israel after He completes His plan for the church (Rom. 11:25-29).

12. The false teaching that God chooses who will be saved and that only those who are chosen can be saved (Calvinism)

Bible Answer:

a. The Bible says that God wants all men to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-5; 2 Pet. 3:9).

b. Jesus died for the sins of all men, not just some who are pre-chosen (1 John 2:1-2).

c. God has ordained that every person who believes on Christ will be saved (Jn. 6:40).

d. God has commanded that the gospel be preached to every person (Mark 16:15).

e. The Holy Spirit convicts every sinner and Jesus draws and gives light to every sinner (Jn. 1:9; 12:32; 16:7-8).

f. Believers are the elect of God, but that does not mean that God chooses some to be saved and the others not to be saved. Election is based on God’s foreknowledge (1 Pet. 1:2).

13. The false teaching that the believer can only eat certain things (Seventh-day Adventist)

Bible Answer:

a. Dietary laws in the New Testament are a mark of false teachers (1 Tim. 4:1-5).

b. The New Testament believer has liberty in such things (Rom. 14:1-4; Col. 2:16).

14. The false teaching that there should only be one church in each village and city

Bible Answer:

a. This idea has no support in the Bible. There is no such commandment in the New Testament.

b. This idea is contrary to Christ’s Great Commission. Jesus commanded all believers to preach the gospel and baptize every nation and individual (Matt. 28:19-20; Mk. 16:15). This commandment was not given just to one church in each area. Believers do not have to ask other churches for permission to preach the gospel and baptize and establish churches. We have authority from Jesus Christ.

c. If this idea is true, how can it be accomplished? Such an principle would mean that one church would be able to forbid other churches to preach, but Jesus said we are not to forbid others (Lk. 9:49-50).

d. If there is only one church in each city, what church would it be? Who will have control to say which church it should be? This is what the Roman Catholic Church claims for itself and what the cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses claim for themselves.

November 3, 2005 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, fbns@wayoflife.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) –

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/major-falsedoctrines.html

 

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DANGER: The Church of Christ By David J. 218

DNA proves the Book of Mormon to be fals 142

So Joel Osteen says Mormons are Christia 128

 

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DNA and the Book of Mormon By Bill McKeever

http://www.mrm.org/topics/book-mormon/dna-and-book-mormon-record 

One of the fundamental tenets taught to Mormon children and new converts is that the Book of Mormon is an account of real people and real events. Mormon leaders, apologists, and scholars have been adamant in declaring the Book of Mormon to be actual history. Dr. Robert Millet, the well-respected professor at Brigham Young University, stated, “The historicity of the Book of Mormon record is crucial. We cannot exercise faith in that which is untrue, nor can ‘doctrinal fiction’ have normative value in our lives…Only scripture-­writings and events and descriptions from real people at a real point in time, people who were moved upon and directed by divine powers­-can serve as a revelatory channel, enabling us to hear and feel the word of God” (“The Book of Mormon, Historicity, and Faith,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies Vol. 2, number 2, p.1).

One of the claims made in the Book of Mormon is that it records the story of a Hebrew man named Lehi who sees in a vision the destruction of Jerusalem around 600 B.C. He then flees with his family to escape the impending onslaught of Babylonian conquerors and eventually sails to the Western hemisphere. Following the death of Lehi, circumstances led to the colonizers splitting into primarily two groups, known as Nephites and Lamanites. As the story goes, the exploits of the Nephites and Lamanites were recorded on gold plates that were ultimately buried in the ground and found by Joseph Smith several centuries later. 

The Hebrew Connection  

The introduction to the Book of Mormon states that the book is “holy scripture comparable to the Bible” and that it is a “record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.” It goes on to claim that the Lamanites “are the principle ancestors of the American Indians.” Mormon apologists have been quick to point out that the introduction makes no claim for infallibility. While that is true, we know of no General Authority who claims that the introduction teaches error.

However, the title page to the narrative states that the Book of Mormon is “an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi, and also of the Lamanite– written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel.” In an article written for the Mormon periodical Times and Seasons in 1842, Joseph Smith made it a point to mention “that the title page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated; the language of the whole running the same as all Hebrew writing in general; and that, said title page is not by any means a modern composition either of mine or of any other man’s who has lived or does live in this generation” (3:943.)

We are told in the Book of Mormon that Nephi was “the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh” (Alma 10:3).

Nephi, one of the primary characters in the Book of Mormon narrative, made it clear that the people mentioned in the Book of Mormon “are descendants of the Jews” (2 Nephi 30:4).

Speaking in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in 1881 Wilford Woodruff, who later became Mormonism’s fourth president), stated, “The Lamanites, now a down-trodden people, are a remnant of the house of Israel. The curse of God has followed them as it has done the Jews, though the Jews have not been darkened in their skin as have the Lamanites” (Journal of Discourses 22:173).

Mormon Apostle James Talmage noted that, “The Nephites suffered extinction about 400 A.D., but the Lamanites lived on in their degraded course, and are today extant upon the land as the American Indians” (Jesus the Christ, 23rd ed., p.49).

Tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote in his book Doctrines of Salvation that this connection is also noted in Doctrine and Covenants 3:264: “Not only in the Book of Mormon are the descendants of Lehi called Jews, but also in the Doctrine and Covenants. In section 19, this is found: ‘Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and, look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.'”

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, under the subtitle “Native Americans,” states that “the Book of Mormon tells that a small band of Israelites under Lehi migrated from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere about 600 B.C. Upon Lehi’s death his family divided into two opposing factions, one under Lehi’s oldest son, Laman (see Lamanites), and the other under a younger son, Nephi” (3:981). 

The Controversy  

In the fall 1997 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, LDS author Brigham Madsen discussed the difficulty that many Latter-day Saints are having with accepting the Book of Mormon as an historical document (Reflections on LDS Disbelief in the Book of Mormon as History). Many who have closely examined the contents of the book in light of scholarship have come to realize that it cannot possibly be true history. Madsen raised an interesting challenge in his article when he refers to the history and origins of the American Indian. He wrote, “…perhaps it can be anticipated that before long some scholar will examine the DNA of early inhabitants of eastern Siberia and the DNA of early American Indians for confirmation of their relationship. All that would be left would be for an interested Mormon to compare the two findings to the DNA of Israelites who lived about 600 B.C.E.” (p. 91). It appears that the day of DNA confirmation has arrived.

The book American Apocrypha (Signature, 2002) contains an essay titled Lamanite, Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics. The essay’s author, Thomas W. Murphy, is both a member of the Mormon Church and an anthropologist who offers information that conflict with traditional assumptions regarding the heritage of the Indians. He notes, “So far, DNA research has lent no support to the traditional Mormon beliefs about the origins of Native Americans. Instead, genetic data have confirmed that migrations from Asia are the primary source of American Indian origins” (pp. 47-48). He goes on to say, “While DNA shows that ultimately all human populations are closely related, to date no intimate genetic link has been found between ancient Israelites and indigenous Americans, much less within the time frame suggested in the Book of Mormon” (p.48).

Murphy cites the works of several experts in the field of anthropology and genetics, including that of Michael Crawford, a biological anthropologist at the University of Kansas who said, “I don’t think there is one iota of evidence that suggests a lost tribe from Israel made it all the way to the New World. It is a great story, slain by ugly fact.” Murphy says that Crawford’s “work shows that Amerisraelite Lamanites could not possibly have been the ‘principle ancestors of the American Indians,’ as claimed in the current introduction to the Book of Mormon” (p.53). He also mentions Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes and Russian geneticist Miroslav Derenko “who have substantiated Crawford’s conclusion through agreement that ‘the Indian gene pool is Siberian, not Middle Eastern'” (p.53).

In his essay, Murphy responds to some of the claims made by LDS apologetic groups such as the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR). On page 62 he says, “FARMS has played a role in offering revisionist interpretations that seek to reconcile faith with science. But the DNA research may make this effort more difficult as the views of intellectuals and those of traditional Mormons continue to diverge.”

In response to an inquiry made to FARMS in 1997, I received the following from Dr. John Tvedtnes: “The most recent mitochondrial DNA study demonstrated that there were three known separate migrations to the New World, one certainly connected to Siberian peoples, the other thought to be Asian. Among Amerindians, samples were taken in Canada, the United States, and Peru. None were taken in Mesoamerica, where most LDS scholars believe the story of the Book of Mormon took place” (e-mail received 11/14/97).

Statements such as this would make it appear that there was still hope that research done in Mesoamerica (which includes countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador) would offer the elusive connection. However, such research has been performed and no link has been established. Murphy states on page 62, “While FARMS researchers are careful to note the importance of cultural influences on the construction of categories, they express confidence in an Israelite genetic presence in Central America and perhaps as far away as Arizona to the north and Colombia to the south. As we have seen, genetic studies of indigenous peoples throughout North, Central, and South America have failed to link Native Americans from these locations to ancient Hebrews.”

In 1997 I wrote to Scott Woodward, the renowned molecular biologist at Brigham Young University, to ask if any DNA studies had been done at BYU. He wrote me the following: “We have an active research project addressing some of these questions but most of the data is still too preliminary to make any hard conclusions. Most of all the evidence to date would point to Asian populations as the source of at least the great majority of contemporary Native American gene pool.” In the same post, Dr. Woodward also stated that he believed “that the Americas were moderately populated at the time of arrival of the Lehi group, the Jaredites and any other group that may have come from the Middle East” (e-mail received 11/14/97).

According to Murphy’s essay, it appears that Woodward is still not at all optimistic that a link will be found. Although Murphy notes how Woodward “believes that the presence or absence of genetic linkages to the Near East in the Americas is neither proof nor disproof of the Book of Mormon” (p. 66), on page 65 he says, “it would not surprise Woodward if geneticists ultimately failed to find any traces of mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] from Lehi’s party, Jaredites, or Mulekites.”

While speaking on this subject at the 2002 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, Murphy cited others who have come to conclusions similar to his. For instance, Dr. David Glenn Smith, a molecular anthropologist from the University of California Davis, said, “Genetic research, particularly that using mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers, provide quite emphatic refutation of any such relationship between Jews and Native Americans.”

Murphy closed his remarks by asking, “Now what do we as Mormons do? We’ve got a problem. Our beliefs are not validated by the science.” Murphy believes that Mormons have a moral and ethical responsibility to relegate this notion as a “mistake of men.”

William S. Bradshaw, a molecular biologist teaching at BYU, responded to Murphy’s Sunstone talk. Bradshaw opened his response by saying, “Let me repose a question that Tom has put to us. Is there scientific evidence based in molecular biology to substantiate the statement in the introduction to the Book of Mormon that Lamanites are the principle ancestors of American Indians? The answer is no.” He admitted that he could not discount the conclusions made by Murphy, but he urged the crowd to be cautious of those conclusions. If true, however, he felt that this mistake of man was no more than “the mistake of overreaching. The mistake of saying we know more than we know.” He also urged listeners not to make judgments “about mistakes that were held by people decades ago without trying to understand the context in which they made those statements.” 

Mormonism’s Defenders Respond  

As expected, many in the LDS apologetic community have vilified Murphy for his public statements. Allen Wyatt, a Mormon apologist working with the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), made no pretense in accusing Murphy of behaving like an “apostate” despite the fact that his church has declined to charge Murphy with apostasy for his public statements http://www.fairlds.org/apol/antis/200207.html). Some at least, have chosen to refrain from the typical ad hominem argument so prevalent in Mormon apologetics and have at least attempted to offer some sort of an explanation.

Mormon apologists don’t seem to deny that current genetic evidence shows no connection between Lamanites and Hebrews. In a December 8, 2002 article in the LA Times, Dr. Daniel Peterson, a BYU professor and researcher at FARMS, was quoted as saying, “The idea that America may have been overwhelmingly peopled by folks from northeastern Asia is perfectly compatible” with Mormon doctrine, said Daniel Peterson, a lifelong Mormon and professor of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young. Genetic evidence that some Native American ancestors came from the Middle East could easily be lost over thousands of years, he said.”

In their essay titled, “Who are the Children of Lehi,” Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens wrote, “As biologists we accept the published data dealing with Native American origins and view those data as reasonably representing American-Asian connections” (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol.12, number 1, 2003, p.38). On page 41 of the same essay they state, “The data accumulated to date indicate that 99.6 percent of Native American genetic markers studied so far exhibit Siberian connections.” On page 42 they say, “There has been little if any evidence seriously considered by the mainstream scientific community that would indicate a Middle East origin, or any other source of origin, for the majority of contemporary Native Americans.” Like many Mormons, they dismiss the conclusion that a lack of a DNA link between Indians and Hebrews discredits Joseph Smith’s claim as prophet.

Like Peterson, Meldrum and Stephens hold to the theory that the genetic gene pool was diluted through intermarriage with other people groups. “We propose that Book of Mormon is the account of a small group of people who lived on the American continent, interacting to some degree with the indigenous population but relatively isolated from the general historical events occurring elsewhere in the Americas” (Ibid., p.44).

Such conclusions are only speculative since there is no hard evidence to support the notion that the Lehi colonizers lived simultaneously with other non-Semitic cultures. Nothing in the Book of Mormon clearly suggests this. To say the genetic link could have been lost gives the impression that the offspring of those in the Lehi party remained relatively small. 

“Other Nations”?  

First, let’s examine the claim that the offspring of the Lehi party intermarried with another culture. In 2 Nephi 1:6 Lehi prophesies “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” He goes on to state in verses 8-9, “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance.”

We learn from this that no other nation had knowledge of this land at the time of the arrival of Lehi’s party, thus excluding the notion that other cultures shared the same area. We also learn that such an arrangement would continue as long as those who were brought out of Jerusalem continued to keep God’s commandments. However, should the people “dwindle in unbelief,” God would bring “other nations unto them and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten” (vv. 10,11). As to when exactly such an incursion would take place is not specified in the prophecy.

Acknowledging this prediction, retired BYU anthropologist John Sorenson asks how long it could have been before other nations would have come and intermingled with the Nephites and Lamanites. He notes on page seven of his article “When Lehi’s Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?” that the Lamanites “dwindled in unbelief within a few years.” Dr. Sorenson asks, “How then could Lehi’s prophecy about ‘other nations’ being brought in have been kept long in abeyance after that?” He then notes, “The early Nephites generally did the same thing within a few centuries.”

While I agree that both the Nephites and Lamanites had their times of unbelief, the Book of Mormon fails to mentions other nations who came in to “take away from them the lands of their possessions,” especially those whose genetic makeup would take us to Asia. This can only be argued from silence.

J. Reuben Clark, writing for the LDS magazine Improvement Era, stated, “The Lord took every precaution to see that nothing might interfere with this posterity of Joseph in working out their God-given destiny and the destiny of America. He provided, and so told Lehi at the very beginning of his settlement, that: . . it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations ; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. (2 Nephi 1:8.) The Lord so kept the land for a thousand years after Lehi landed. He so kept it in His wisdom for another thousand years after the Nephites were destroyed, perhaps to give the Lamanitish branch another chance” (“Prophecies, Penalties, and Blessings,” Improvement Era, 1940, Vol. xliii. July, 1940. No. 7). Several LDS leaders have stated that this was fulfilled when the Gentiles came to America.

The Book of Mormon does mention other groups of people, but in most cases it appears that these are merely sub-groups that can be traced back to Lehi or other Jewish groups whose DNA should lead us back to Israel. For example, Omni 1:15 in the Book of Mormon tells of a group of people who lived in Zarahemla who “came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.” Mulek, supposedly the only son of Zedekiah who was not killed when Jerusalem fell, led the people of Zarahemla. According to Mosiah 25:3, these people, known by Mormons as “Mulekites,” outnumbered the Nephites, but together the Nephites and Mulekites were only half as numerous as the Lamanites.

Dr. Sorenson is among some Mormons who offer the possibility that a remnant of Jeredites intermarried with the colonizers. In an article posted on the Mormon website Meridian Magazine, Geoffrey Biddulph writes, “Chances are extremely high that at least some, and perhaps a majority, of modern-day Native Americans are descended from the Jaredites, and would have Asian blood. And of course Brother Murphy’s writings and public comments virtually ignore the Jaredites”

(http://www.meridianmagazine.com/ideas/030128anti.html). Biddulph’s use of the phrase “extremely high” and “perhaps a majority” must be taken as nothing more than hyperbole. There is no way such a comment can be proven.

According to the Book of Mormon the Jaredites came to the western hemisphere around the time God confounded the languages at the Tower of Babel. Even if this theory is correct, we probably have more reason to believe that a genetic link would take us back to the Middle East, not Asia or Siberia, given the fact that the Tower of Babel was believed to have been built somewhere in Babylonia. Hebrews, like Babylonians, both fall within the category of Semitic people. According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, the record of the Jaredites “hints at an epic genre rooted in the Ancient Near East” (2:717).

The Jaredite theory poses another problem if we are to believe the Book of Mormon record for what it actually says. According to the fifteenth chapter of Ether, King Coriantumr gathers “all of the people upon all of the face of the land, who had not been slain (except the prophet Ether) for a final battle against the army of Shiz, which also consisted of “men, women, and children being armed with weapons of war” (15:15). Such was the slaughter that in both armies all had fallen by the sword except the two leaders (15:23-29). Shiz is beheaded and Coriantumr, weakened from battle, is later “discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons” (Omni 1:21).

Mormon Seventy B.H. Roberts felt that the Jaredite race came to be extinct. “In their last great war, which resulted in the extinction of the race, to the last man, it is stated that ‘two millions of mighty men had been slain; and also their wives and their children.'” Roberts believed that Coriantumr was the “last Survivor” (Studies in the Book of Mormon, p. 164, emphasis mine) However, Roberts was aware of the argument that quite possibly some Jaredite survivors married into Mulek’s colony but noted that such a theory is “merely a matter of conjecture” (New Witnesses for God 3:137).

Even if we gave this theory the benefit of the doubt, the fact that Mormon leaders and scholars have described the demise of the Jaredites with words like complete annihilation (Ludlow), exterminated (Hunter), wiped out (Nibley), extinction (Roberts), etc., tends to tell us that if there were any Jaredite survivors at all, they would indeed be a very small number. If Mormons wish to cling to the idea that genetic evidence was somehow lost, it would seem more probable that Jaredite genes would be the ones in short supply, not Nephite or Lamanite genes.

Sorenson offers this suggestion, “And if the Lord somehow did not at those times bring in ‘other nations,’ then surely he would have done so after Cumorah, 1100 years prior to Columbus” (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, v.1, Fall 1992). This seems to be the theory held by Seventy Milton R. Hunter. “Following the close of Nephite recorded history, Mongolians, Vikings, and perhaps small groups of wanderers from other lands, came to the Americas and intermarried—to a greater or less extent—with the descendants of Book of Mormon peoples. Their posterity constituted the numerous aboriginal tribes found in the New World by the Europeans” (Archaeology and the Book of Mormon p.15).

If this prophecy came to fruition after the battle of Hill Cumorah, the time frame involved becomes much shorter, making a diluted gene pool less likely. 

Lost Genetic Evidence?  

Next, let us examine the claim that the genetic gene pool was somehow diluted to the point where we should not expect to find a Hebrew link.

The Book of Mormon gives the impression that the Nephites and Lamanite populations were anything but small. Helaman 3:8 in the Book of Mormon states, “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.” In commenting on this passage, the Book of Mormon Student Manual, published by the LDS Church, notes, “No one knows the details of Book of Mormon geography. But the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed some information that suggests that at some time in their history the spread of the Nephites unto the ‘land northward’ included what we know today as North America” (1979 edition, p.354). This coincides with Doctrine and Covenants 54:8, which states that the borders of the Lamanites extended to the “land of Missouri.”

Mormon 1:7 adds, “The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.” A footnote at the bottom of the page dates this passage at around A.D. 322.

Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt believed that the Lamanites “gathered by the millions” at the battle of Hill Cumorah! (Journal of Discourses 17:31.) Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie agreed with this assessment when he wrote, “Neither the Nephites nor the Jaredites repented when rivers of blood flowed on their battlefields and millions of their number were slain by the sword” (The Millennial Messiah, p. 386 –387, emphasis mine).

It could be argued that the battle at Hill Cumorah severely diminished the population of remaining Lamanites. However, this does not seem to be the position of some LDS leaders. For instance, tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith let it be known that the Lamanite influence was not restricted to North America. “The history of this American continent also gives evidence that the Lamanites have risen up in their anger and vexed the Gentiles. This warfare may not be over. It has been the fault of people in the United States to think that this prophetic saying has reference to the Indians in the United States, but we must remember that there are millions of the ‘remnant’ in Mexico, Central and South America” (Church History and Modern Revelation 2:127, emphasis mine).

Speaking in conference in October 1921, Elder Andrew Jenson, a member of the staff of the LDS Church’s Historian’s Office, stated, “We, therefore cast a glance southward into old Mexico and through the great countries beyond — down through Central America and South America, where there are millions and millions of Lamanites, direct descendants of Father Lehi.” (Conference Report, October 1921, p.120, emphasis mine).

On page 601 of The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth Mormon prophet stated, “About twenty-five centuries ago, a hardy group left the comforts of a great city, crossed a desert, braved an ocean, and came to the shores of this, their promised land. There were two large families, those of Lehi and Ishmael, who in not many centuries numbered hundreds of millions of people on these two American continents” (emphasis mine).

Probably the most damning quote that undermines this notion that the Lamanite genetic link could have been lost to the point of nonexistence is found on page 596 of the same book. Kimball wrote, “Lamanites share a royal heritage. I should like to address my remarks to you, our kinsmen of the isles of the sea and the Americas. Millions of you have blood relatively unmixed with gentile nations” (emphasis mine).

The obvious question is, “How do you lose the genetic link of millions of people who allegedly have not mixed their blood with another culture?” Notice also that Kimball refers to the “kinsmen of the isles of the sea.” Many are unaware that according to the teachings of LDS leaders, the Lamanites were not restricted to merely the western hemisphere. In a message given in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on February 11, 1872, Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt proclaimed, “Here let me say again, according to the Book of Mormon, many of those great islands that are found in the Indian Ocean, also in the great Pacific Sea, have been planted with colonies of Israelites. Do they not resemble each other? Go to the Sandwich Islands, to the South Sea Islands, to Japan–go to the various islands of the Pacific Ocean, and you find a general resemblance in the characters and countenances of the people. Who are they? According to the Book of Mormon, Israelites were scattered forth from time to time, and colonies planted on these islands of the ocean” (Journal of Discourses 14:333). 

“What would Lehi’s DNA look like?”  

Clinging to the presupposition that the Lamanitish gene pool was diluted, some Mormon apologists have insisted that it would be next to impossible to know exactly what Lehi’s DNA would look like. Perhaps that answers lies with Mormon President Gordon Hinckley.

On more than one occasion, President Hinckley has mentioned the Hebrew/Lamanite connection in dedicatory prayers given at Mormon temples. For instance, in his prayer at the dedication of the Mexico City temple in December 1983, he stated, “Bless Thy Saints in this great land and those from other lands who will use this Temple. Most have in their veins the blood of Father Lehi” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?mexico_city&chronological)

In December of the following year, he gave a dedicatory prayer at the Guatemala City, Guatemala temple where he stated, “Thou Kind and Gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for Thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi… We thank Thee O God, for lifting the scales of darkness which for generations clouded the vision of the descendants of Lehi” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?guatemala_city&chronological)

In his March 6, 1999 dedicatory prayer given at the Colonia Juaréz Chihuahua Temple, Hinckley he said, “Bless Thy Saints that they may continue to live here without molestation. May they live in peace and security. May they be prospered as they cultivate their farms and pursue their vocations. May the sons and daughters of father Lehi grow in strength and in fulfillment of the ancient promises made concerning them.” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?colonia_juarez&alphabetical).

In August 1999, Hinckley made a similar statement as he was in Guayaquil, Ecuador to dedicate another new LDS temple. “It has been a very interesting thing to see the descendants of father Lehi in the congregation that have gathered in the temple…So very many of these people have the blood of Lehi in their veins, and it is just an intriguing thing to see their tremendous response and their tremendous interest” (Salt Lake Tribune 11/30/2000).

When James Faust, Gordon Hinckley’s second counselor, gave the dedicatory prayer for the Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico temple on March 12, 2000, he stated, “We invoke Thy blessings upon this nation of Mexico where so many of the sons and daughters of Father Lehi dwell.” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?tuxtla_gutierrez&chronological)

Thomas Monson, Gordon Hinckley’s first counselor, made the same connection when he prayed at the dedication of the Villahermosa, Mexico temple on May 21, 2000: “May Thy eternal purposes concerning the sons and daughters of Lehi be realized in this sacred house. May every blessing of the eternal gospel be poured out upon them, and may the suffering of the centuries be softened through the beneficence of Thy loving care.” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?villahermosa&chronological)

Suffice it to say that plenty of sources can be cited to demonstrate that Mormon leaders have taught and believed that not only are Lamanites related to “Father Lehi,” but they can apparently be identified. 

Conclusion  

Once again Mormons are placed between a rock and a hard place. They can choose between the spin coming out of Provo or continue to believe that their leaders are incapable of leading them astray. Choosing the former will certainly help them retain their faith in the Book of Mormon; however, in taking this direction, consistency would demand that their divinely appointed prophets and apostles were misleading members when they said that millions of direct descendants of Lehi are now living.

For further study, we suggest the video DNA vs. The Book of Mormon by Living Hope Ministries. This is available through Mormonism Research Ministry. To watch the video online please see http://www.mormonchallenge.com/dna/dna.htm.

To order the book American Apocrypha, containing Thomas Murphy’s entire essay, please see: http://www.mrm.org/bookstore/books_on_mormonism/

 

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DNA and the Book of Mormon By Bill McKeever

http://www.mrm.org/topics/book-mormon/dna-and-book-mormon-record

 

One of the fundamental tenets taught to Mormon children and new converts is that the Book of Mormon is an account of real people and real events. Mormon leaders, apologists, and scholars have been adamant in declaring the Book of Mormon to be actual history. Dr. Robert Millet, the well-respected professor at Brigham Young University, stated, “The historicity of the Book of Mormon record is crucial. We cannot exercise faith in that which is untrue, nor can ‘doctrinal fiction’ have normative value in our lives…Only scripture-­writings and events and descriptions from real people at a real point in time, people who were moved upon and directed by divine powers­-can serve as a revelatory channel, enabling us to hear and feel the word of God” (“The Book of Mormon, Historicity, and Faith,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies Vol. 2, number 2, p.1).

One of the claims made in the Book of Mormon is that it records the story of a Hebrew man named Lehi who sees in a vision the destruction of Jerusalem around 600 B.C. He then flees with his family to escape the impending onslaught of Babylonian conquerors and eventually sails to the Western hemisphere. Following the death of Lehi, circumstances led to the colonizers splitting into primarily two groups, known as Nephites and Lamanites. As the story goes, the exploits of the Nephites and Lamanites were recorded on gold plates that were ultimately buried in the ground and found by Joseph Smith several centuries later.

The Hebrew Connection

 

 

The introduction to the Book of Mormon states that the book is “holy scripture comparable to the Bible” and that it is a “record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.” It goes on to claim that the Lamanites “are the principle ancestors of the American Indians.” Mormon apologists have been quick to point out that the introduction makes no claim for infallibility. While that is true, we know of no General Authority who claims that the introduction teaches error.

However, the title page to the narrative states that the Book of Mormon is “an abridgment of the Record of the People of Nephi, and also of the Lamanite– written to the Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel.” In an article written for the Mormon periodical Times and Seasons in 1842, Joseph Smith made it a point to mention “that the title page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated; the language of the whole running the same as all Hebrew writing in general; and that, said title page is not by any means a modern composition either of mine or of any other man’s who has lived or does live in this generation” (3:943.)

We are told in the Book of Mormon that Nephi was “the son of Lehi, who came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh” (Alma 10:3).

Nephi, one of the primary characters in the Book of Mormon narrative, made it clear that the people mentioned in the Book of Mormon “are descendants of the Jews” (2 Nephi 30:4).

Speaking in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in 1881 Wilford Woodruff, who later became Mormonism’s fourth president), stated, “The Lamanites, now a down-trodden people, are a remnant of the house of Israel. The curse of God has followed them as it has done the Jews, though the Jews have not been darkened in their skin as have the Lamanites” (Journal of Discourses 22:173).

Mormon Apostle James Talmage noted that, “The Nephites suffered extinction about 400 A.D., but the Lamanites lived on in their degraded course, and are today extant upon the land as the American Indians” (Jesus the Christ, 23rd ed., p.49).

Tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote in his book Doctrines of Salvation that this connection is also noted in Doctrine and Covenants 3:264: “Not only in the Book of Mormon are the descendants of Lehi called Jews, but also in the Doctrine and Covenants. In section 19, this is found: ‘Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and, look not for a Messiah to come who has already come.'”

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, under the subtitle “Native Americans,” states that “the Book of Mormon tells that a small band of Israelites under Lehi migrated from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere about 600 B.C. Upon Lehi’s death his family divided into two opposing factions, one under Lehi’s oldest son, Laman (see Lamanites), and the other under a younger son, Nephi” (3:981).

The Controversy

 

 

In the fall 1997 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, LDS author Brigham Madsen discussed the difficulty that many Latter-day Saints are having with accepting the Book of Mormon as an historical document (Reflections on LDS Disbelief in the Book of Mormon as History). Many who have closely examined the contents of the book in light of scholarship have come to realize that it cannot possibly be true history. Madsen raised an interesting challenge in his article when he refers to the history and origins of the American Indian. He wrote, “…perhaps it can be anticipated that before long some scholar will examine the DNA of early inhabitants of eastern Siberia and the DNA of early American Indians for confirmation of their relationship. All that would be left would be for an interested Mormon to compare the two findings to the DNA of Israelites who lived about 600 B.C.E.” (p. 91). It appears that the day of DNA confirmation has arrived.

The book American Apocrypha (Signature, 2002) contains an essay titled Lamanite, Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics. The essay’s author, Thomas W. Murphy, is both a member of the Mormon Church and an anthropologist who offers information that conflict with traditional assumptions regarding the heritage of the Indians. He notes, “So far, DNA research has lent no support to the traditional Mormon beliefs about the origins of Native Americans. Instead, genetic data have confirmed that migrations from Asia are the primary source of American Indian origins” (pp. 47-48). He goes on to say, “While DNA shows that ultimately all human populations are closely related, to date no intimate genetic link has been found between ancient Israelites and indigenous Americans, much less within the time frame suggested in the Book of Mormon” (p.48).

Murphy cites the works of several experts in the field of anthropology and genetics, including that of Michael Crawford, a biological anthropologist at the University of Kansas who said, “I don’t think there is one iota of evidence that suggests a lost tribe from Israel made it all the way to the New World. It is a great story, slain by ugly fact.” Murphy says that Crawford’s “work shows that Amerisraelite Lamanites could not possibly have been the ‘principle ancestors of the American Indians,’ as claimed in the current introduction to the Book of Mormon” (p.53). He also mentions Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes and Russian geneticist Miroslav Derenko “who have substantiated Crawford’s conclusion through agreement that ‘the Indian gene pool is Siberian, not Middle Eastern'” (p.53).

In his essay, Murphy responds to some of the claims made by LDS apologetic groups such as the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) and The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR). On page 62 he says, “FARMS has played a role in offering revisionist interpretations that seek to reconcile faith with science. But the DNA research may make this effort more difficult as the views of intellectuals and those of traditional Mormons continue to diverge.”

In response to an inquiry made to FARMS in 1997, I received the following from Dr. John Tvedtnes: “The most recent mitochondrial DNA study demonstrated that there were three known separate migrations to the New World, one certainly connected to Siberian peoples, the other thought to be Asian. Among Amerindians, samples were taken in Canada, the United States, and Peru. None were taken in Mesoamerica, where most LDS scholars believe the story of the Book of Mormon took place” (e-mail received 11/14/97).

Statements such as this would make it appear that there was still hope that research done in Mesoamerica (which includes countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador) would offer the elusive connection. However, such research has been performed and no link has been established. Murphy states on page 62, “While FARMS researchers are careful to note the importance of cultural influences on the construction of categories, they express confidence in an Israelite genetic presence in Central America and perhaps as far away as Arizona to the north and Colombia to the south. As we have seen, genetic studies of indigenous peoples throughout North, Central, and South America have failed to link Native Americans from these locations to ancient Hebrews.”

In 1997 I wrote to Scott Woodward, the renowned molecular biologist at Brigham Young University, to ask if any DNA studies had been done at BYU. He wrote me the following: “We have an active research project addressing some of these questions but most of the data is still too preliminary to make any hard conclusions. Most of all the evidence to date would point to Asian populations as the source of at least the great majority of contemporary Native American gene pool.” In the same post, Dr. Woodward also stated that he believed “that the Americas were moderately populated at the time of arrival of the Lehi group, the Jaredites and any other group that may have come from the Middle East” (e-mail received 11/14/97).

According to Murphy’s essay, it appears that Woodward is still not at all optimistic that a link will be found. Although Murphy notes how Woodward “believes that the presence or absence of genetic linkages to the Near East in the Americas is neither proof nor disproof of the Book of Mormon” (p. 66), on page 65 he says, “it would not surprise Woodward if geneticists ultimately failed to find any traces of mtDNA [mitochondrial DNA] from Lehi’s party, Jaredites, or Mulekites.”

While speaking on this subject at the 2002 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City, Murphy cited others who have come to conclusions similar to his. For instance, Dr. David Glenn Smith, a molecular anthropologist from the University of California Davis, said, “Genetic research, particularly that using mitochondrial and Y chromosome markers, provide quite emphatic refutation of any such relationship between Jews and Native Americans.”

Murphy closed his remarks by asking, “Now what do we as Mormons do? We’ve got a problem. Our beliefs are not validated by the science.” Murphy believes that Mormons have a moral and ethical responsibility to relegate this notion as a “mistake of men.”

William S. Bradshaw, a molecular biologist teaching at BYU, responded to Murphy’s Sunstone talk. Bradshaw opened his response by saying, “Let me repose a question that Tom has put to us. Is there scientific evidence based in molecular biology to substantiate the statement in the introduction to the Book of Mormon that Lamanites are the principle ancestors of American Indians? The answer is no.” He admitted that he could not discount the conclusions made by Murphy, but he urged the crowd to be cautious of those conclusions. If true, however, he felt that this mistake of man was no more than “the mistake of overreaching. The mistake of saying we know more than we know.” He also urged listeners not to make judgments “about mistakes that were held by people decades ago without trying to understand the context in which they made those statements.”

Mormonism’s Defenders Respond

 

 

As expected, many in the LDS apologetic community have vilified Murphy for his public statements. Allen Wyatt, a Mormon apologist working with the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), made no pretense in accusing Murphy of behaving like an “apostate” despite the fact that his church has declined to charge Murphy with apostasy for his public statements http://www.fairlds.org/apol/antis/200207.html). Some at least, have chosen to refrain from the typical ad hominem argument so prevalent in Mormon apologetics and have at least attempted to offer some sort of an explanation.

Mormon apologists don’t seem to deny that current genetic evidence shows no connection between Lamanites and Hebrews. In a December 8, 2002 article in the LA Times, Dr. Daniel Peterson, a BYU professor and researcher at FARMS, was quoted as saying, “The idea that America may have been overwhelmingly peopled by folks from northeastern Asia is perfectly compatible” with Mormon doctrine, said Daniel Peterson, a lifelong Mormon and professor of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young. Genetic evidence that some Native American ancestors came from the Middle East could easily be lost over thousands of years, he said.”

In their essay titled, “Who are the Children of Lehi,” Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens wrote, “As biologists we accept the published data dealing with Native American origins and view those data as reasonably representing American-Asian connections” (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, vol.12, number 1, 2003, p.38). On page 41 of the same essay they state, “The data accumulated to date indicate that 99.6 percent of Native American genetic markers studied so far exhibit Siberian connections.” On page 42 they say, “There has been little if any evidence seriously considered by the mainstream scientific community that would indicate a Middle East origin, or any other source of origin, for the majority of contemporary Native Americans.” Like many Mormons, they dismiss the conclusion that a lack of a DNA link between Indians and Hebrews discredits Joseph Smith’s claim as prophet.

Like Peterson, Meldrum and Stephens hold to the theory that the genetic gene pool was diluted through intermarriage with other people groups. “We propose that Book of Mormon is the account of a small group of people who lived on the American continent, interacting to some degree with the indigenous population but relatively isolated from the general historical events occurring elsewhere in the Americas” (Ibid., p.44).

Such conclusions are only speculative since there is no hard evidence to support the notion that the Lehi colonizers lived simultaneously with other non-Semitic cultures. Nothing in the Book of Mormon clearly suggests this. To say the genetic link could have been lost gives the impression that the offspring of those in the Lehi party remained relatively small.

“Other Nations”?

 

 

First, let’s examine the claim that the offspring of the Lehi party intermarried with another culture. In 2 Nephi 1:6 Lehi prophesies “that there shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.” He goes on to state in verses 8-9, “And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance.”

We learn from this that no other nation had knowledge of this land at the time of the arrival of Lehi’s party, thus excluding the notion that other cultures shared the same area. We also learn that such an arrangement would continue as long as those who were brought out of Jerusalem continued to keep God’s commandments. However, should the people “dwindle in unbelief,” God would bring “other nations unto them and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten” (vv. 10,11). As to when exactly such an incursion would take place is not specified in the prophecy.

Acknowledging this prediction, retired BYU anthropologist John Sorenson asks how long it could have been before other nations would have come and intermingled with the Nephites and Lamanites. He notes on page seven of his article “When Lehi’s Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?” that the Lamanites “dwindled in unbelief within a few years.” Dr. Sorenson asks, “How then could Lehi’s prophecy about ‘other nations’ being brought in have been kept long in abeyance after that?” He then notes, “The early Nephites generally did the same thing within a few centuries.”

While I agree that both the Nephites and Lamanites had their times of unbelief, the Book of Mormon fails to mentions other nations who came in to “take away from them the lands of their possessions,” especially those whose genetic makeup would take us to Asia. This can only be argued from silence.

J. Reuben Clark, writing for the LDS magazine Improvement Era, stated, “The Lord took every precaution to see that nothing might interfere with this posterity of Joseph in working out their God-given destiny and the destiny of America. He provided, and so told Lehi at the very beginning of his settlement, that: . . it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations ; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance. (2 Nephi 1:8.) The Lord so kept the land for a thousand years after Lehi landed. He so kept it in His wisdom for another thousand years after the Nephites were destroyed, perhaps to give the Lamanitish branch another chance” (“Prophecies, Penalties, and Blessings,” Improvement Era, 1940, Vol. xliii. July, 1940. No. 7). Several LDS leaders have stated that this was fulfilled when the Gentiles came to America.

The Book of Mormon does mention other groups of people, but in most cases it appears that these are merely sub-groups that can be traced back to Lehi or other Jewish groups whose DNA should lead us back to Israel. For example, Omni 1:15 in the Book of Mormon tells of a group of people who lived in Zarahemla who “came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon.” Mulek, supposedly the only son of Zedekiah who was not killed when Jerusalem fell, led the people of Zarahemla. According to Mosiah 25:3, these people, known by Mormons as “Mulekites,” outnumbered the Nephites, but together the Nephites and Mulekites were only half as numerous as the Lamanites.

Dr. Sorenson is among some Mormons who offer the possibility that a remnant of Jeredites intermarried with the colonizers. In an article posted on the Mormon website Meridian Magazine, Geoffrey Biddulph writes, “Chances are extremely high that at least some, and perhaps a majority, of modern-day Native Americans are descended from the Jaredites, and would have Asian blood. And of course Brother Murphy’s writings and public comments virtually ignore the Jaredites”

(http://www.meridianmagazine.com/ideas/030128anti.html). Biddulph’s use of the phrase “extremely high” and “perhaps a majority” must be taken as nothing more than hyperbole. There is no way such a comment can be proven.

According to the Book of Mormon the Jaredites came to the western hemisphere around the time God confounded the languages at the Tower of Babel. Even if this theory is correct, we probably have more reason to believe that a genetic link would take us back to the Middle East, not Asia or Siberia, given the fact that the Tower of Babel was believed to have been built somewhere in Babylonia. Hebrews, like Babylonians, both fall within the category of Semitic people. According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, the record of the Jaredites “hints at an epic genre rooted in the Ancient Near East” (2:717).

The Jaredite theory poses another problem if we are to believe the Book of Mormon record for what it actually says. According to the fifteenth chapter of Ether, King Coriantumr gathers “all of the people upon all of the face of the land, who had not been slain (except the prophet Ether) for a final battle against the army of Shiz, which also consisted of “men, women, and children being armed with weapons of war” (15:15). Such was the slaughter that in both armies all had fallen by the sword except the two leaders (15:23-29). Shiz is beheaded and Coriantumr, weakened from battle, is later “discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons” (Omni 1:21).

Mormon Seventy B.H. Roberts felt that the Jaredite race came to be extinct. “In their last great war, which resulted in the extinction of the race, to the last man, it is stated that ‘two millions of mighty men had been slain; and also their wives and their children.'” Roberts believed that Coriantumr was the “last Survivor” (Studies in the Book of Mormon, p. 164, emphasis mine) However, Roberts was aware of the argument that quite possibly some Jaredite survivors married into Mulek’s colony but noted that such a theory is “merely a matter of conjecture” (New Witnesses for God 3:137).

Even if we gave this theory the benefit of the doubt, the fact that Mormon leaders and scholars have described the demise of the Jaredites with words like complete annihilation (Ludlow), exterminated (Hunter), wiped out (Nibley), extinction (Roberts), etc., tends to tell us that if there were any Jaredite survivors at all, they would indeed be a very small number. If Mormons wish to cling to the idea that genetic evidence was somehow lost, it would seem more probable that Jaredite genes would be the ones in short supply, not Nephite or Lamanite genes.

Sorenson offers this suggestion, “And if the Lord somehow did not at those times bring in ‘other nations,’ then surely he would have done so after Cumorah, 1100 years prior to Columbus” (Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, v.1, Fall 1992). This seems to be the theory held by Seventy Milton R. Hunter. “Following the close of Nephite recorded history, Mongolians, Vikings, and perhaps small groups of wanderers from other lands, came to the Americas and intermarried—to a greater or less extent—with the descendants of Book of Mormon peoples. Their posterity constituted the numerous aboriginal tribes found in the New World by the Europeans” (Archaeology and the Book of Mormon p.15).

If this prophecy came to fruition after the battle of Hill Cumorah, the time frame involved becomes much shorter, making a diluted gene pool less likely.

Lost Genetic Evidence?

 

 

Next, let us examine the claim that the genetic gene pool was somehow diluted to the point where we should not expect to find a Hebrew link.

The Book of Mormon gives the impression that the Nephites and Lamanite populations were anything but small. Helaman 3:8 in the Book of Mormon states, “And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.” In commenting on this passage, the Book of Mormon Student Manual, published by the LDS Church, notes, “No one knows the details of Book of Mormon geography. But the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed some information that suggests that at some time in their history the spread of the Nephites unto the ‘land northward’ included what we know today as North America” (1979 edition, p.354). This coincides with Doctrine and Covenants 54:8, which states that the borders of the Lamanites extended to the “land of Missouri.”

Mormon 1:7 adds, “The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea.” A footnote at the bottom of the page dates this passage at around A.D. 322.

Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt believed that the Lamanites “gathered by the millions” at the battle of Hill Cumorah! (Journal of Discourses 17:31.) Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie agreed with this assessment when he wrote, “Neither the Nephites nor the Jaredites repented when rivers of blood flowed on their battlefields and millions of their number were slain by the sword” (The Millennial Messiah, p. 386 –387, emphasis mine).

It could be argued that the battle at Hill Cumorah severely diminished the population of remaining Lamanites. However, this does not seem to be the position of some LDS leaders. For instance, tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith let it be known that the Lamanite influence was not restricted to North America. “The history of this American continent also gives evidence that the Lamanites have risen up in their anger and vexed the Gentiles. This warfare may not be over. It has been the fault of people in the United States to think that this prophetic saying has reference to the Indians in the United States, but we must remember that there are millions of the ‘remnant’ in Mexico, Central and South America” (Church History and Modern Revelation 2:127, emphasis mine).

Speaking in conference in October 1921, Elder Andrew Jenson, a member of the staff of the LDS Church’s Historian’s Office, stated, “We, therefore cast a glance southward into old Mexico and through the great countries beyond — down through Central America and South America, where there are millions and millions of Lamanites, direct descendants of Father Lehi.” (Conference Report, October 1921, p.120, emphasis mine).

On page 601 of The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth Mormon prophet stated, “About twenty-five centuries ago, a hardy group left the comforts of a great city, crossed a desert, braved an ocean, and came to the shores of this, their promised land. There were two large families, those of Lehi and Ishmael, who in not many centuries numbered hundreds of millions of people on these two American continents” (emphasis mine).

Probably the most damning quote that undermines this notion that the Lamanite genetic link could have been lost to the point of nonexistence is found on page 596 of the same book. Kimball wrote, “Lamanites share a royal heritage. I should like to address my remarks to you, our kinsmen of the isles of the sea and the Americas. Millions of you have blood relatively unmixed with gentile nations” (emphasis mine).

The obvious question is, “How do you lose the genetic link of millions of people who allegedly have not mixed their blood with another culture?” Notice also that Kimball refers to the “kinsmen of the isles of the sea.” Many are unaware that according to the teachings of LDS leaders, the Lamanites were not restricted to merely the western hemisphere. In a message given in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on February 11, 1872, Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt proclaimed, “Here let me say again, according to the Book of Mormon, many of those great islands that are found in the Indian Ocean, also in the great Pacific Sea, have been planted with colonies of Israelites. Do they not resemble each other? Go to the Sandwich Islands, to the South Sea Islands, to Japan–go to the various islands of the Pacific Ocean, and you find a general resemblance in the characters and countenances of the people. Who are they? According to the Book of Mormon, Israelites were scattered forth from time to time, and colonies planted on these islands of the ocean” (Journal of Discourses 14:333).

“What would Lehi’s DNA look like?”

 

 

Clinging to the presupposition that the Lamanitish gene pool was diluted, some Mormon apologists have insisted that it would be next to impossible to know exactly what Lehi’s DNA would look like. Perhaps that answers lies with Mormon President Gordon Hinckley.

On more than one occasion, President Hinckley has mentioned the Hebrew/Lamanite connection in dedicatory prayers given at Mormon temples. For instance, in his prayer at the dedication of the Mexico City temple in December 1983, he stated, “Bless Thy Saints in this great land and those from other lands who will use this Temple. Most have in their veins the blood of Father Lehi” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?mexico_city&chronological)

In December of the following year, he gave a dedicatory prayer at the Guatemala City, Guatemala temple where he stated, “Thou Kind and Gracious Father, our hearts swell with gratitude for Thy remembrance of the sons and daughters of Lehi… We thank Thee O God, for lifting the scales of darkness which for generations clouded the vision of the descendants of Lehi” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?guatemala_city&chronological)

In his March 6, 1999 dedicatory prayer given at the Colonia Juaréz Chihuahua Temple, Hinckley he said, “Bless Thy Saints that they may continue to live here without molestation. May they live in peace and security. May they be prospered as they cultivate their farms and pursue their vocations. May the sons and daughters of father Lehi grow in strength and in fulfillment of the ancient promises made concerning them.” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?colonia_juarez&alphabetical).

In August 1999, Hinckley made a similar statement as he was in Guayaquil, Ecuador to dedicate another new LDS temple. “It has been a very interesting thing to see the descendants of father Lehi in the congregation that have gathered in the temple…So very many of these people have the blood of Lehi in their veins, and it is just an intriguing thing to see their tremendous response and their tremendous interest” (Salt Lake Tribune 11/30/2000).

When James Faust, Gordon Hinckley’s second counselor, gave the dedicatory prayer for the Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico temple on March 12, 2000, he stated, “We invoke Thy blessings upon this nation of Mexico where so many of the sons and daughters of Father Lehi dwell.” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?tuxtla_gutierrez&chronological)

Thomas Monson, Gordon Hinckley’s first counselor, made the same connection when he prayed at the dedication of the Villahermosa, Mexico temple on May 21, 2000: “May Thy eternal purposes concerning the sons and daughters of Lehi be realized in this sacred house. May every blessing of the eternal gospel be poured out upon them, and may the suffering of the centuries be softened through the beneficence of Thy loving care.” (http://www.ldschurchtemples.com/cgi-bin/prayers.cgi?villahermosa&chronological)

Suffice it to say that plenty of sources can be cited to demonstrate that Mormon leaders have taught and believed that not only are Lamanites related to “Father Lehi,” but they can apparently be identified.

Conclusion

 

 

Once again Mormons are placed between a rock and a hard place. They can choose between the spin coming out of Provo or continue to believe that their leaders are incapable of leading them astray. Choosing the former will certainly help them retain their faith in the Book of Mormon; however, in taking this direction, consistency would demand that their divinely appointed prophets and apostles were misleading members when they said that millions of direct descendants of Lehi are now living.

For further study, we suggest the video DNA vs. The Book of Mormon by Living Hope Ministries. This is available through Mormonism Research Ministry. To watch the video online please see http://www.mormonchallenge.com/dna/dna.htm.

To order the book American Apocrypha, containing Thomas Murphy’s entire essay, please see: http://www.mrm.org/bookstore/books_on_mormonism/

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