Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Book Review, November 3, 2013: Who Are the Children of Lehi?

Dear Readers,

Have you ever wondered how religious people can hold on to their religious beliefs while accepting modern science with its apparently anti-religious conclusions about the nature of the universe, the earth, and the appearance of humanity on the earth?

Madame L does not happen to have that problem, because her church (she is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) teaches true religion is compatible with truth in whatever realm; that we should accept truth, and only truth, no matter its source; that we should search for truth; and that we can receive personal revelation from a loving God who wants to lead us to truth, enlightenment, and back into His own very presence.

But Madame L is well aware that not every member of the church thinks the same way she does, and certainly that not every member of the scientific community does. 

So she loves it when she finds some LDS (Latter-day Saint) scientist who explains how whatever  his or her field is does not conflict with the Book of Mormon or with true religion in general.  

Here's an example that Madame L recommends heartily: "Who Are the Children of Lehi? DNA and the Book of Mormon," by Jeff Meldrum and Trent Stephens, available at

The authors, professors at Idaho State University, demonstrates that we have no way of "proving" the truth of the Book of Mormon by comparing the genetics of the modern-day indigenous people of America with the family of Lehi or any of the other settlers of the New World mentioned in the Book of Mormon. 

Does the fact that DNA testing of modern indigenous people of North and South America does not reveal them to be descended from or related to any Middle Eastern peoples "prove" that the Book of Mormon isn't true? Of course not, and these authors demonstrate why the very idea that DNA evidence should "prove" or "disprove" such an idea is preposterous.

If you don't have a background in molecular biology, no worries, because the authors kindly provide about two semesters' worth of background on the subject in the early chapters of the book. If getting that much information in less than 20 pages seems daunting, don't worry about that, either, because you can skim through that part to get to the conclusions, which show precisely why individual genetics won't work to solve this "problem." Then  you can read the chapters on population genetics, again skipping to the conclusions if you'd like, and which show, again, from that point of view, why it simply can't be done. Does it matter? Obviously not.

The book is infused with the authors' strong testimonies of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and its teachings and their conviction that having a background in molecular biology or any kind of science is not necessary for gaining a testimony. 

Madame L recommends this book heartily to members and non-members of the Church. Madame L has started reading another book by these authors, "Evolution and Mormonism: A Quest for Understanding," also available from, and will report on this book soon.

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

OK, I'm sold. Drop it on my desk wynn U finish it. Please mark it up for the Slow Reader in the family. ;=)