Share This Episode
Viewpoint on Mormonism Bill McKeever  Logo

Gospel Topics Chapter 3 Murphy

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
April 22, 2021 9:33 pm

Gospel Topics Chapter 3 Murphy

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 662 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

April 22, 2021 9:33 pm

This week Bill and Eric cover chapters 2 and 3 of the book Gospel Topics Series. These are important essays and it’s interesting to see how these are looked upon by a variety of different scholars from different backgrounds.


.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint. One more minute sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism is the book of Mormon ahistorical book welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at M. R. M. We continue looking at the book the LDS gospel topics series a scholarly engagement and today were going to very quickly.

Look at chapter 3. That deals with a very controversial subject, especially around the beginning of the 21st-century.

This was hot news does DNA support the book of Mormon narrative. This chapter was written by Thomas W.

Murphy and Angelo Baca of Thomas Murphy was almost excommunicated for some of his views regarding DNA and the book of Mormon and so his insight to this chapter. Of course, is going to be very meaningful as is the contribution of Angelo Baca. Let's start at the very beginning of this chapter that gives you a little bit of background regarding this essay dealing with the book of Mormon and DNA studies on January 31, 2014, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints releases six in a series of essays on gospel topics titled book of Mormon and DNA studies. The essay affirms that the book of Mormon is a volume of sacred Scripture comparable to the Bible. The primary purpose of the book of Mormon. The essay notes is more spiritual than historical. The authors then Taylor response to people who have wondered whether the migrations in the book of Mormon describes are compatible with the scientific studies of ancient America. The essay contains an important acknowledgment quote the evidence assembled to date suggests that the majority of Native Americans carry largely Asian DNA" though there's a lot of information just in the opening lines but listen carefully to that phrase. The primary purpose of the book of Mormon. The essay notes quote is more spiritual then historical that seems to go counter to what Mormon leaders have said there are number of Mormon leaders that say it has to be a historical book, you can't deny the history that is a part of the book of Mormon. Certainly Joseph Smith gave the impression that the book of Mormon speaks of real history as other leaders and apologists may just give you one apologist Louis Midgley who wrote in the book historicity in the Latter Day Saints Scriptures pages 149 150.

He says there is no middle ground on the question of whether the book of Mormon is an authentic ancient text on this, but not of course on every issue we are confronted with an either or possibility. There is nothing in the book of Mormon or and just dismiss account of his coming forth that suggest that it should be read as anything other than historical fact that I would have to agree with Mr. Midgley on that point because that's usually how most Mormons understand at least the ones that I have talked to, but page 69 goes on to say, the essay counters, though, that the conclusions of science are tentative."

There are sound scientific reasons" that DNA from the near East, representing book of Mormon peoples quote might remain undetected what they are going to do in this chapter is show that that is not a position that any Latter Day Saints should hold the wiggle room that this essay tries to give is really not there we go on in this chapter to page 72 where it talks about how the book of Mormon speaks of a cultural dialogue and that's important to know because as they brought out before the essay tends to agree that Native Americans are of Asian origin, but the book of Mormon certainly doesn't teach that it teaches that they came from Israel and they comment on that. On page 72.

The book of Mormon entered this cultural dialogue with a narrative supporting the assertion that the ancestors of American Indians had come from Israel. These ancestors the new Scripture claimed had once been white to light some and chosen people, but had degenerated darkened and lost their covenant status.

Let's look at that statement more closely.

It does make a cultural statement and it does clearly teach that the ancestors of American Indians had come from Israel.

There is no denying that when you look at what the book of Mormon actually says and that's how it was taught by leaders throughout its history. Now of course they find that DNA does not support that conclusion. So the church is compelled to come up with an explanation. That's what this essay is all about. Do you think Eric if you're an investigator thinking of joining the Mormon church and most people join the Mormon church by reading the book of Mormon. First, because that is the book that missionaries will often encourage investigators to read what you get a testimony of the book of Mormon than coming a member of the LDS church is inevitable. Bill to historical issues that are vital, I think, to the home Mormon story number one would be the first vision in number two. If you don't have true historicity with the book of Mormon. I think those two are so important.

If you're going to believe in Mormonism. In this chapter on page 76. The authors again make the statement that the primary purpose of the book of Mormon is more spiritual than historical. Now they're not making that up there, getting that directly from the essay itself and if that's true then what you do with the characters that are mentioned in the book of or are you going to take. This is been nothing but allegory. I can't even imagine the LDS church going in that direction, but really what's the other alternative I really don't know what a logical art alternative would be good on page 81. This is an amazing confession. It says the essay brings the LDS church into alignment with most of its apologist, and many of its critics.

There is significant common ground between the perspectives of most critics and apologist that is effectively captured in the essay. LDS scientists generally concede that DNA from native America provides no affirmative support for book of Mormon narratives, though that's an interesting confession and I think it's very significant if LDS scientists generally concede that DNA from native America provides no affirmative support for the book of Mormon narratives, then why is it we still hear some Latter Day Saints using that as an argument I speak primarily of people like Rod Meldrum who hold to what's known as the heartland model that book of Mormon lands were in North America present-day United States area as opposed to the limited geography theory, which puts the book of Mormon Lansdowne more into the Central American area that the authors of this chapter believe that this essay, though it doesn't come right out and say it implies that the book of Mormon lands were more down in Central America. The limited geography theory that's got a tick off Mormons like Rod Meldrum and Glenn Beck who clearly hold more to heartland model. So you see there's a big controversy even within Mormonism on where the book of Mormon lands are are located.

But there's an interesting statement on page 85 the essay's attempt to use some uncertainty in scientific data to protect historical interpretations of the book of Mormon serves the social function of perpetuating racist portrayals of the ancestors of the American Indians and displacing indigenous histories that connect people to land. It goes on and says the essay perpetuates the unsubstantiated settler colonial myth that American Indians destroyed an ancient white civilization settler colonial attributions amount building to an ancient white race destroyed by American Indians were thoroughly discredited and archaeological circles by the end of the 19th century. Why is that important because if you're going to believe the book of Mormon. It means that you were giving a story to the Native Americans that Native Americans certainly don't agree with. They have their own story. They have their own history, they have their own myths. You might say.

And to believe the book of Mormon. You have to set aside all of those understandings and embrace the story that is given to you in the book of Mormon.

This is a primary objection that the authors have throughout this chapter and I do think they are correct that if you are going to believe the book of Mormon.

You have to embrace a lot of the racist ideas that were common during the time of Joseph Smith when the book of Mormon was written that becomes problematic as well. But there's an interesting statement made on page 86. Eric it says the DNA evidence presents the LDS church with a chance to repudiate these racist portrayals of the American past and embrace indigenous peoples own histories an opportunity missed by the current version of the churches essay. How could they do that though. I want to go back to that question that I asked earlier. How could the LDS church actually satisfied that problem. They can't, they would have to come out with a statement saying that there's really no historical value in the book of Mormon at all and you would lose more members doing that than just writing the kind of essay that they've written here. Yeah, it's kind of hard to give a book of Scripture to an individual and say hey it's got some positive spiritual information in here but don't buy into anything that might sound historical or lack of a support that at all. That wouldn't be a very good selling point at all for the book of Mormon bill on page 92. They write rather than let the book of Mormon stand is Scripture, not history. The essay uses uncertainty inherent in the scientific process to try to create wiggle room. The fact of the matter remains that science provides no affirmative support from DNA for the migration of any of the book of Mormon peoples plants or animals.

The essay writers do not come to terms with the sheer absence of evidence and instead try to salvage a sliver of authority to continue speaking authoritatively about native America. Eric remember years ago when DNA started becoming of real issue. How many Latter Day Saints we would talk to who kind of you know, rolled their eyes and thought all your never going to use DNA to show that the book of Mormon isn't true.

It seems like that is actually happened, but again to allow that to happen you have to distance yourselves from the historical part of the book and we find Murphy and Baca saying that the essay seems like it's doing that. Although it doesn't really do it all the way. I don't think by reading the essay, you would walk away thinking that there's no historical value to the book of Mormon. Again, I don't know how they could ever do that but certainly this is become a problem. Here's one thing that that the author say while the book of Mormon does not contain history, it does present its readers with a spiritual challenge to realize that all humans are fundamentally alike before their creator and that we necessarily experience the sacred through the lens of our own language and understanding that might seem to be a positive aspect, but let's be serious if it's not history. Why would you want to believe the other if it's not history. Why would you want to believe the spiritual message that's in the book of Mormon. You can get probably just as much value reading something from CS Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien for that matter, yet Mormons are told that this is supposed to be an actual history of real people and real events which the DNA evidence certainly does not support thank you for listening you would like more information regarding Amicus research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.

We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is if the LDS church is not true which church is. Didn't the Bible predict the apostasy of the Christian faith. These and 34 other questions often posed by Latter Day Saints are addressed in answering Mormons questions published by Kriegel, written by MRM's Bill McKeever and Gary Johnson answering moments questions includes a glossary of Mormon terms and questions for group discussions, answering Mormons questions can be ordered online or at your favorite Christian bookstore. Be ready to give an answer

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime