I think the Book of Mormon DNA issue is very easy to reconcile intellectually, IF the only conclusions are drawn from the actual book itself and not from what members (including leaders) assumed for a long time that it says. I'll try to be concise, but here is the way I read the book itself, relative to DNA:
Three groups are detailed, to some degree, in the book. In order of longevity and size:
The Jaredites - This group is described as being large at the beginning
of their migration - mulitple familes, perhaps an entire "tribe". If
we assume the standard Old Testament chronology, which I don't assume to
be accurate but can use for this purpose, they left their home probably
no later than 3,000 BC - which means they were in the "promised land"
for roughly 3,000 years when the other two groups arrived. The Book of
Ether is quite clear that it covers ONLY the people who remained at or
near the government center - and basic population demographics pretty
much guarantee that they would have spread widely across whatever land
they inhabited. Thus the total annihilation described at the end of the
Book of Ether logically could have been only the people who lived close
enough to be gathered, leaving many people still spread out
elsewhere - and the area they inhabited easily could have been massive.
In looking at the society described, as a former
History Teacher, I would place their origin in the Northeast Asian
steppe region, meaning their DNA would be consistent with the current
research. Thus, it is very plausible that they would be the "principal
(largest and/or original) ancestors" of the Native American Indians - that the primary DNA still
extent 2,000 years after the destruction of their government would be Asian.
2) The people of Mulek
- This group was relatively small and occupied a very limited area (one city and perhaps its surrounding area) when
discovered by 3) the Nephites. As small as they were, they were "more numerous" than
the Nephites - the smallest group. Interestingly, both groups
combined were FAR smaller than the Lamanites, which only makes sense if
the Lamanites had combined with a more numerous, indigenous people -
and if that indigenous people were of Asian descent (some of the non-killed Jaredites), it would explain
perfectly the "apostate" designation and dark skin stigma attached by the
Nephites to the Lamanites.
The population and distance clues in the book itself are convincing to me of a limited geography model - and
I reached that conclusion on my own long before I read any modern
arguments for them (and long before I read any DNA research showing
Asian origins for the Native American peoples). Thus, I see a
very limited geography and a relatively small population of Nephites (just over a
couple of million, tops, and perhaps significantly less) destroyed, while a much larger population
dominated genetically by "Asians" continued to spread widely (perhaps even inter-continentally) for a total of at
least 5,000 years.
That's what I see when I read the book
itself and focus only on what I think it actually says. That means two very simple things to me:
1) The latest DNA research doesn't invalidate the claims of the actual book about origins.
2) The latest research shows that the assumptions about the overall demographics in the book (particularly what "principal ancestors" meant) held by the people who believed in the book (the early Mormons, including Joseph Smith and other leaders) were wrong.
I'm OK with the second conclusion.
Enid vs. Banality 2/26/2017
16 hours ago