Dear 100 Hour Board,
I have a question about a sentence in the introduction of the Book of Mormon. It's the one that reads:
"After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians."
From what I've heard recently, DNA tests have shown that Native Americans are mostly Mongoloid (that is to say, they trace most of their genetic heritage back to Mongolia). I was thinking that perhaps the word "principal" in this case means something other than what I think it does. What's your take on this?
- Red Skeleton
I believe the Book before I believe the science. I don't see any reason why the two couldn't be of the same ancestry. The world teaches exclusionary principles... to find truth by extracting it from other parts versus including their piece with the possibilities of a greater whole yet unseen (faith, anyone?).
I am not a geneticist, nor an anthropologist, but other arguements that said that something couldn't be so because there wasn't any evidence up to that point were later refuted by discovery of evidence. SO... I think, given some time, that the science might begin to get a glimpse of what is already explained by religion.
Two other possibilities to consider: (a) the introduction was written by a person, and therefore may not be perfect, (b) "principal ancestors" does not necessarily mean what it sounds like--that other peoples God led to the American Continents anciently were given the same promises as the Lamanites; much like many that are not technical decendants of Abraham can still be "of the house of Abraham." To me, each of these three possibilities is viable, and I don't know of any doctrinal statement that offers further clarification.