Hurt by beliefs. Facts hidden in the DNA Essay.
I have been hurt by belief. Not facts, not truth, but just belief. I woke up thinking about the DNA Studies essay. I have read it countless times. Initially when I was a member still, and I didn’t understand what they were trying to say. I hadn’t even been aware it was an issue. Like so many other faithful believers I was uneducated about the real issues over the many claims the church makes.
On Sunday, while I was writing the post about the current Seminary manual, I kept thinking about when I was a member. Everything was so real, the Book of Mormon made “Lamanites” so real to me. How I truly believed, as I was taught, as my mother was taught, I was a “Lamanite.” So I thought I would highlight the main text that stood out to me every time I read the essay.
DNA Studies Essay Quotes
- “The primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is more spiritual than historical.”
- “…majority of Native Americans carry largely Asian DNA.”
- “The Book of Mormon provides little direct information about cultural contact between the peoples it describes and others who may have lived nearby.”
- “DNA of Book of Mormon peoples likely represented only a fraction of all DNA in ancient America.”
- “…it is quite possible that their DNA markers did not survive the intervening centuries.”
- “…it is unlikely that their DNA could be detected today.”
I was raised being taught I was Tsimshian, but that my tribe was actually “Lamanite” heritage, part of a bigger picture. By categorizing my tribe in a different heritage – their true history was warped and stolen with a lie. Most member of the church are ignorant of the fact that it is a lie, I know I was. I can’t be upset with the young missionaries who taught my mom. They were faithfully trying to live their beliefs.
Is it acceptable that the church continues to teach people they are “Lamanites?” In the essay it shows they admit not knowing who, where, or even if the “Lamanites” survived. There are many good people in the church. Would they be ok with it, if they knew the truth? Would they continue to teach it for the church? Would young missionaries continue to teach it if they knew?
Fact is, it is still being taught. On the Mormon Stories podcast I shared one of the latest public examples: “The Book of Mormon is true, and you are part of it,” Elder Neil L. Andersen told a group of about 100 Native American youth and young single adults…” I do not believe Elder Andersen purpose was to harm. I do not believe when temples are dedicated in Central and South America to “Lamanites” the purpose is meant in harm. I do not believe young missionaries are trying to harm people. Though the intent of the majority of active members is not to harm, lies still harm. Even if they are lies told in ignorance.
The truth is the First Presidency does not know who the “Lamanites” are, or if they even exist. DNA is not inconclusive. If you want to learn about how accurate and conclusive DNA research is do not read the DNA Studies essay from the church to learn about DNA. Learn from real education sources, non church affiliated.
- Book of Mormon and DNA Studies. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 31 January, 2014. Web. 25 July, 2017.
- Johnson, Valerie. Elder Andersen Tells Young Native American Members They Are a Part of the Book of Mormon, Church News LDS.org, 17 April, 2017, Web 25 July, 2017.
Yes, I agree, belief can be painful. Angelo Baca and I have an article about the DNA essay coming out in a new book featuring scholars responding to the various essays (hopefully later this year). One of the points that we make is that as descendants of the First Peoples we have our own stories. We do not need Mormons to tell us where our ancestors came from or to judge their righteousness or wickedness. Instead, Mormons need to take the time to listen to Indigenous peoples. If anything, the new DNA evidence makes it very clear that Mormons have no authority to tell Indigenous stories. They never did it, but for many of us it took evidence coming from science to realize this important life lesson.