DNA and the American Indians


What Does Mormonism Teach? 


They are Descendants of Israel that Traveled Across the Ocean 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) claims that the American Indians are descendants of Israelites who traveled to the Americas in the 6th century BC. Lehi was the patriarch who had two sons, Nephi and Laman. They became the fathers of two great nations - the Nephites and the Lamanites. The Nephites were light skinned people, and the Lamanites were cursed with darker skin. See the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 12:23; Alma 3:7; 2 Nephi 5:21. See also History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., pp. 44-45.

We are told in The Book of Mormon:  

And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. (Helaman 3:8)



Laman is The Ancestor of The American Indians 

The introduction to the Book of Mormon reads: "After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors* of the American Indians." See Doctrine & Covenants: 3:18-2019:27; 28:8; ; 54:8; 57 (Introduction). These are supposed "revelations from the Lord" that Joseph Smith claimed to receive about the Lamanites. See also the Book of Mormon: Moroni 1:4

This position, which the LDS Church continues to maintain today, implies that Native Americans did not descend from Asian racial stock, but from Semitic racial stock. 



The Lamanites Numbered in the Millions 

The Book of Mormon is very clear in its claim that Israelites migrated and populated most of the American continent. All of the early church leaders and most of the church leaders today believe all American Indians are primarily descendants of Laman. The Book of Mormon describes great civilizations numbering in the millions. According to the Book of Mormon, a quarter of a million Nephite men, women and children were killed in just a single day. There must have been millions of Lamanite people that finally slaughtered the rest of the Nephites. 

The Book of Mormon reads: 

And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.

And it came to pass that they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers. (Mormon 6:7-8



What are the Facts?


Archeology reveals The American Indians migrated via the Bering Strait

In TIME MAGAZINE, January 16, 1995, it reads: 

In the Americas, a look at native tribes shows that they are not all blood brothers. The three main groups classified by language, were found to be genetically distinct, suggesting that three separate populations from Asia may have crossed the Bering Strait at different times to settle in America[page 47] 

There is no sound historical evidence for the Book of Mormon's claim that Hebrew immigrants came to the Americas in pre-Columbian times. According to the Smithsonian Institution, archeological evidence shows that the Western hemisphere was populated by East Asian peoples migrating across the Bering Strait and rules out "alternatives involving long sea voyages" as a significant contribution to New World settlement: 

There is no good evidence for immigration via other routes before Norse arrivals from Greenland and Newfoundland about A.D. 1,000, and if other early voyages occured, they were insignificant for the origins and composition of New World populations. ["Origin of the American Indians," National Museum of Natural History-Smithsonian Institution, WashingtonD.C., 1985, p.1]



What About DNA? 

There is no scientific foundation for the Book of Mormon premise that the Native American Indian peoples of North, Central, and South America are of Semitic stock. The overwhelming scholarly consensus is that the native New World peoples are of Asian Mongolian stock. To cite the words of a 1985 Smithsonian Institution paper on the subject: 

The American Indians are physically Mongoloids and thus must have originated in eastern Asia. The differences in appearance of the various New World tribes in recent times are due to (1) the initial variability of their Asian ancestors; (2) adaptations over several millenia to varied New World environments; and (3) different degrees of interbreeding in post-Columbian times with people of European and African origins. 

Smithsonian Institution Department of Anthropology - National Museum of Natural History (1982):

"The physical type of the the American Indian is basically Mongoloid, being mostly related to that of the peoples of eastern, central, and northeastern Asia." (See photos at bottom)



Think About It 

Where does the evidence point? 

The archeological and DNA evidences contradict the claims within the Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants where they refer to the American Indians as Lamanites. DNA research has not found a single discovery that points to the evidence for such a massive group of people, and archeological evidence shows conclusively that the New World was populated by east Asian peoples who migrated across the Bering Strait. 

The evidence reveals that the characters written about in the Book of Mormon are fictitious.



Note: * The most recent Introduction to the Book Of Mormon has changed the wording from "and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians" to read... "and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians."


For more information, see BofM Intro Change




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