Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


Book of Mormon, Civilization, Criticism, DNA, Geography


This paper debunks the myth that the Book of Mormon has been proved false by modern DNA evidence. Critics have tried to apply American Indian DNA-based research to the Book of Mormon without designing a study specifically for that purpose. It is extraordinarily difficult to use DNA sequence information to track the lineage of any group with such a complex lineage history as the Nephites and Lamanites. Possible hypotheses about the populations from the Book of Mormon include the global colonization hypothesis (in which the three colonizing groups came to a land void of humans) and the local colonization hypothesis (in which the land was already occupied in whole or in part by people of an unknown genetic heritage). The latter hypothesis, generally viewed by Book of Mormon scholars as a more accurate interpretation, is much more difficult to investigate by way of DNA evidence. Issues such as genetic introgression, genetic drift, and the founder effect would seriously hamper any attempt to produce a funded, peer-reviewed study of Book of Mormon genetics.