Journal of Book of Mormon Studies

Article Title

Before DNA


Book of Mormon, Civilization, Criticism, DNA, Geography, Language, Mesoamerica


Critics of the Book of Mormon often cite genetic evidence in their attacks on the historicity of the text, saying that the lack of any Near Eastern–American Indian DNA links conclusively proves that no emigration ever occurred from the Near East to the Americas. Their simplistic approach—that the Book of Mormon purports to be a history of the entire American Indian race—is not supported by archaeological or Book of Mormon evidence. The authors pose and respond to questions about the geographical scene, the spread of Book of Mormon peoples, Latter-day Saint traditions about the scenes and peoples of the Book of Mormon, the terms Nephites and Lamanites, the possible presence of others in the land, ocean travel, Mesoamerican native traditions, languages of the Western Hemisphere, Old World peoples coming to the Americas, archaeological evidence, and ethnically distinct populations in ancient American art. These questions set out the social, cultural, and geographical contexts that are necessary for geneticists to understand before reaching major conclusions.