As if the BofM word change wasn’t enough…
Now there is pretty clear evidence that the Native Americans came across in a single migration around 12,000 years ago. A recent article in PLoS found that the genetic evidence among Native Americans in South, Central, and North America indicates a single migration. Mormon apologists are going to have to completely concede any claims to a Hemispheric Model at this point and push their “interpretation” of the BofM completely into the realm of the non-falsifiable…
Impending apologetic rhetoric (you saw it hear first folks), “Pshaw, Nephi and his band of merry followers immediately started inter-breeding with the natives. There were millions of Native Americans and only 40 or so Jews. And, well, we all know Jewish DNA isn’t as good at being passed on as Native American DNA (explanation #1), so that clearly explains why there is no evidence of a second migration. Oh, and all of Lehi’s followers were singled out for destruction at the battle at Cumorah – it was divine intervention. The Lamanites who survived were all descendants of the people who were already here (explanation #2). So, couple the “weak” Jewish DNA with divine intervention and it’s perfectly clear why there is absolutely no evidence of Jewish DNA in the Americas. That also explains why there is only evidence of a single migration. Look, let me make this simple for you – if the BofM says something happened, it happened. We just have to find a way to justify not finding evidence to support the claims of the BofM. That’s easy. Here’s one more – when god cursed the Lamanites, changing their skin to the cursed black state, he also changed their DNA from Jewish (i.e., white and delightsome) to black (cursed and abhorrent), and we all know that blacks are, well, like Native Americans, with their “less than faithful” DNA and all that is not of the “chosen” Jewish lineage (explanation #3). So, there you have it, three reasons why we can’t find any DNA evidence of Jews among Native Americans. The BofM is true, amen!”
My own pet theory is that the “curse” of the Lamanites was due to intermarriage with indigenous populations. That would explain the darkening of the skin. Under the Mosaic Law, the Nephites would have been prohibited from intermarrying with the neighboring heathens.
“the time passed away with us, and also our lives … as it were a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.”
Nephi and his band were not “merry men.”
It’s all true! I’m converted back!
Hi Seth… I mean this in the kindest way possible, really… Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you’re spending way too much time trying to reconcile problems in the BofM? Honestly, I think your explanations are great (I don’t buy them…) – but I can’t help but think you’re rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Since I’m asking sincerely, would you mind answering that – have you ever wondered if you’re wasting your time?
the today ‘on the ground’ problems with Mormonism Completely Overshadow the historical; even looking at things historical, one needent go back further than JS, BY to find problems-issues that “Burn your eyes out”.
FGS! leaders are still re-hashing the MMM because of the award way they have always dealt with truth/reality.
I (old as dirt) still remem the changes that have taken place since DOM. Since then, an obvious tug-of-war between Mainstreaming & Retrenchment has been taking place just below the surface.
the church struggles to pacify both the older Legacy members & genXers … whose dis-affection, attachment to extra-church (www) sources of info threatens to sink the ship.
Growth numbers (actually, All church published #s) are little more than puffery, I think. The true numbers of temple attendance, % of activity & retention,etc. along with financials are held as secrets.
The times, they are a-changing…
I find this stuff kind of fun. That theory took me all of maybe 5 minutes to come up with a couple months ago.
I do get very tired by all this on occasion. Not that I ever think of leaving the Church. Every time I tried to summon up some level of “serious” doubt in the LDS Church (and I did give it a couple sincere tries), it just felt so ridiculously ill-fitting that I gave it up rather promptly. It was almost as if God was sitting back with an amused look on his face saying “Who are you kidding? You’re a MORMON – get over it!” I had to conclude that He had a point. I am a Mormon, and I make for a really crappy doubter.
But these topics and conversations are draining. I’ve often wondered (and so has my wife) if I’d be better off just leaving the disillusioned ex-Mormons, the sarcastic atheists, the outraged Evangelicals, the vicious anti-Mormons, and the resident peanut galleries to their own devices, throwing in the towel, and calling it quits. Maybe I’d be better off cross-referencing my scriptures, reading the latest Apostle-authored book, and worrying about my Church callings.
But I’m just not wired this way. I can’t leave things alone. I have to delve and get all the info I can. So I keep at it.
I have to admit to being wired somewhat the same way… In reading your prior post I was just thinking that before I left I used to think to myself on occasion, “Am I just fighting a losing battle?” Of course I ultimately concluded that I was and left… But I can understand your sentiments. Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth fighting over (regardless of which side you’re on), but then something someone says or something that happens gets my “panties in a wad” and I can’t help myself. I don’t think you and I are all that different…
Thanks for the response!
“Mormon apologists are going to have to completely concede any claims to a Hemispheric Model at this point”
I think they conceded the first part a while ago.
“and push their â€œinterpretationâ€ of the BofM completely into the realm of the non-falsifiableâ€¦”
I’m not so sure about this part. The language of the study didn’t say that *all* Amerindians were from *one* migration. I think it said that the evidence suggested a single *main* colonization event from Siberia. Even if you ignore the Book of Mormon completely, I think I would be hard-pressed to say that there was only *one* migration over the Bering land bridge.
I’m not sure that this study will have much impact on the Limited Geographic Model (or whatever it is called).
Here’s an interesting article on the genetic ancestry of those in the British Isles. Even invaders seem to have a limited genetic impact on those who were there first.
You could say that a small group of people from the Middle East would have an insignificant effect genetically on the existing population. Doesn’t really prove the Book of Mormon as historically accurate, but I’m sure that there will always be enough ambiguity for those who want to believe and enough ‘hard’ evidence for those who don’t want to believe.
Daniel… A study like this isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. It just reaffirms what most of us already know – there is no genetic evidence of Jews in the Americas prior to Columbus and later waves of immigration from Europe.
As for pushing this into the non-falsifiable, if I’m not mistaken, that has been the intent (whether manifest or latent) of the limited geography model since day one (that and making a buck taking tours of Mormons to ruins in Central America). The goal of many religious groups when faced with scientific evidence refuting their claims is to slowly back away into the realm of non-falsifiability until their claims are completely non-falsifiable (e.g., intelligent designer, god, immortality, etc.). Mormon apologists are doing just that with the BofM. The evidence supporting it doesn’t exist so they claim such evidence is not necessary by changing the claims of the BofM so they are not subject to scientific scrutiny.
That’s fine, I don’t care if Mormons do that – they are losing this battle either way. I just think Mormon apologists need to admit what they are doing.
I actually think the move to the non-falsifiable, as you put it, is a healthy one for a religion.
When we step back a pace and really look at the core function and aim of religion, it simply isn’t the defining of secular knowledge, but of spiritual knowledge.
Take the Roman Catholic trial of Galileo. I would suggest that the Roman Catholic Church went wrong here in trying to be authoritative on matters that were really outside its core mission – the salvation of souls via the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. Practically speaking, what did the question of whether the earth orbited the sun or vis versa have to do with that mission?
I’d posit that it really had nothing to do with it, and the Roman Catholics had really painted themselves into a corner by allowing themselves to go off on this tangent.
The move towards the non-falsifiable, actually represents a bit of a ceasefire between religion and science wherein religious authorities are willing to let science be science and concern themselves with the spiritual reality of human existence. Thus the religious faithful are freed to pursue scientific knowledge without concern for losing their treasured spiritual life. I consider it to be a good thing, and a mark of an enlightened society.
Seth… Two responses.
First, I’m loathe to put “religion” and “healthy” into the same sentence, but I’m sure you already know that 😉 I would say it is “beneficial” for religions in exactly the way you describe it and add “it will also decrease their membership losses.” Otherwise, I agree with everything you said – it is “healthy” for religion in the sense that they will inevitably loose that battle, so they should stop fighting it. Once again, we agree far more than we disagree on this point!
Second, are you admitting this is what apologists are doing? If so, hooray! I’ve finally garnered a supporter who recognizes this push for what it is. Regardless of how you interpret it or the motivations you attribute to the move, it is a move toward non-falsifiability.
sethr…that is exactly my experience too.
I just had to tell you that we finally agree on something
Wow, if cross-referencing scriptures and reading books by apostles are the alternatives, it’s no wonder you’re here. (A bit of a tangent, but) don’t Mormons do anything fun anymore? Like direct a Road Show or plan an activity for the kids or something? Even journal-writing or spending an afternoon with fellow ward members working at the local church welfare farm sound more interesting than your suggestions…
Our Elders Quorum held a board game night a while back.
That was fun. We ate Thanksgiving dinner with two other young families in our ward.
I was talking about intellectual life in the Church actually.
Oh, okay. But even in terms of intellectual life, I think that coming up with theories for how the Book of Mormon might possibly not be fiction beats reading books by G.A.’s by a pretty wide margin.
Hugh Nibley is fun too. But then you’re kind of wandering off the reservation again.
Yes exmoron, I am conceding the move to non-falsifiability. Just to be clear.
Apologetics never is about convincing outsiders of your claims. It’s real aim is to keep those who believe based on one type of evidence not feel stupid when confronted with a different type of evidence.
So take heart. It really isn’t about you. It’s about me!
Seth, I don’t know if your last post makes you a good or bad apologist (depends on your perspective I guess), but I like you either way!