Psst! Hey you! Come here. Can you keep a secret? You are not going to believe this, but the Church has lost an entire group of people and cannot find them. In fact, they have given up even looking for them. Why should you care, you ask. Well, the Church claims the Book of Mormon to be true and the Church to be directed by Christ Himself. During Joseph Smiths day, the Church was given commands to go to these missing people and share the book with them so they can be white and delightsome.
Who are these people? The Lamanites of course. They are the only surviving people of the book that was written for them.
Here is what the title page says regarding the purpose of the book.
“It is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites-Written to the Lamanites..”
This is a big deal because unless we can get this book in their hands they will not get this great blessing bestowed upon them and the Church will fail in its sacred duty. The problem, is our leaders in all their prophetic wisdom do not have the first idea where these people went to. An entire people vanished without a trace. Here is what I can tell you, the next time I play a game of Hide and Seek, I want to be on the side of the Lamanites.
To get a handle on this, we probably need to back up so I can give you some background information.
The Church accepts the Book of Mormon as truthful and literal history. Here is what the introduction of the Book of Mormon says,
“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites..”
Maybe we can help the Church out and do a search on our own. If we are going to find them, we need to know who they are. Here is what President Spencer W. Kimball said,
“The term Lamanite includes all Indians and Indian mixtures, such as the Polynesians, the Guatemalans, the Peruvians, as well as the Sioux, the Apache, the Mohawk, the Navajo, and others. It is a large group of great people.”(Of Royal Blood,” Ensign, July 1971, p. 7)
That was a prophet, seer, and revelator speaking. We are told they will not lead us astray, so he must be right. What does the Book of Mormon say?
“And then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us, how that we came out from Jerusalem, and that they are descendants of the Jews.” (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 30:4)
That is very clear as well. These people are Jewish. The book says so and we know it is the most correct book on the earth because Joseph Smith told us it was. When he was around, he had No doubts as to who the Lamanites were and where to find them. Apparently, in those days the Lamanites had not perfected the game of Hide and Seek yet.
The Lord himself was also quite clear who the Lamanites were.This is what He told Oliver Cowdery, in the 28th section of the Doctrine and Covenants,
“28:8 And now, behold, I say unto you that you shall go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them; and inasmuch as they receive thy teachings thou shalt cause my church to be established among them; and thou shalt have revelations, but write them not by way of commandment.”
This next part is from the 32nd section of the Doctrine and Covenants.
“32:2 And that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servants, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, Jun., into the wilderness among the Lamanites.”
And where did Oliver and Peter go when they went to preach to the Lamanites? They went to a tribe of Native Americans on the Cattaraugus Reservation near Buffalo, New York. They preached to them for “part of a day” and were treated kindly. The missionaries left two copies of the Book of Mormon with them.In November they went among the Wyandot Indians near Sandusky, Ohio and taught them the gospel.
So, the Lamanites are Native Americans,they are Jewish and came to the American Continent by way of boat in 600 B.C.
Joseph Smith continually taught who the Lamanites were. Was he just speaking as a man when he taught this?
“At the grove President [Joseph] Smith addressed the Indians at some length, upon what the Lord had revealed to him concerning their forefathers, and recited to them the promises contained in the Book of Mormon respecting themselves. … How their hearts must have glowed as they listened to the prophet relate the story of their forefathers—their rise and fall; and the promises held out to them of redemption from their fallen state! “(B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2:88-89, 1957)
What about after Joseph Smith died?
The Twelve Apostles issued a “Proclamation” to the world leaders, the year after Joseph died. In this official statement the North and South American Indians are clearly identified as the descendants of the Lamanites. They said,
“KNOW YE: — That the kingdom of God has come, as has been predicted by ancient prophets, . . . This High Priesthood or Apostleship, holds the keys of the kingdom of God, . . . Being established in these last days for the restoration of all things . . . in order to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man. . . . We also bear testimony that the “Indians” (so called) of North and South America are a remnant of the tribes of Israel, as is now made manifest by the discovery and revelation of their ancient oracles and records.
And that they are about to be gathered, civilized, and made one nation in this glorious land. . . .
Let the government of the United States also continue to gather together, and to colonize the tribes and remnants of Israel (the Indians), and also to feed, clothe, succor, and protect them, and endeavor to civilize and unite; and also to bring them to the knowledge of their Israelitish origin . . .
He has revealed the origin and the Records of the aboriginal tribes of America, and their future destiny.—And we know it “(Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, New York, April 6th, 1845, sixteen page pamphlet).
John Taylor, the third prophet claimed to have received a revelation regarding the subject. Here is part of that revelation.
“Thus saith the Lord to the Twelve, and to the Priesthood and people of my Church: … proceed forthwith and call to your aid any assistance that you may require from among the Seventies to assist you in your labors in introducing and maintaining the gospel among the Lamanites throughout the land “(Revelation to John Taylor, 13 October 1882, section 83:1,6, in Unpublished Revelations, compiled by Fred Colier, 1979, p. 138).
This was a revelation. He was not claiming to speak as just a man.He even used the words, “Thus saith the Lord.” to show he was speaking as a prophet on behalf of the Lord.Who were they maintaining the gospel among? Native Americans in Utah.
Here are a few more quotes from those who have been sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators,
Elder Spencer W. Kimball said this,
“And Lehi and his family became the ancestors of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea” (“Of Royal Blood,” Ensign, July 1971, p. 7.
Here we see where the leaders of the Church have actually extended the population of the Lamanites to more than just Native Americans. This theme became prevalent early in the twentieth century.
President Hinckley continued this idea of expanding who the Lamanites were, when he visited Lima, Peru. He met with missionaries and held two conferences attended by a total of 28,000 members.President Hinckley recognized the Book of Mormon heritage of his listeners in Lima:
“As I look into your faces, I think of Father Lehi, whose sons and daughters you are. I think he must be shedding tears today, tears of love and gratitude. … This is but the beginning of the work in Peru. This work of the Almighty will go on and grow and grow.” (“God’s Holy Work” in Peru, in “News of the Church,” Ensign, Feb. 1997, 73).
At this point in Church history, the Book of Mormon was going to the Lamanites in South America, North America, and other parts of the world. It was a joyous time when the mission of the Book of Mormon was being fulfilled and Lamanites where everywhere to be found. The introduction to the book also echoed this idea and told the reader this,
“After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principle ancestors of the American Indians”
Prophet after Prophet read this introduction and approved it. They proudly spoke of who the Lamanites were in very specific terms. And then a funny thing happened on the way to the fair. Science, in its blind enthusiasm for the truth reared its mighty head and swatted away the Church narrative of the Lamanites.
Since the late 1990s, scientists have developed techniques that use genetic markers to indicate the ethnic background and history of individual people. The data developed by them tells us that the Native Americans have very distinctive DNA markers, and that some of them are most similar, among old world populations, to the DNA of people anciently associated with the Altay Mountains area of central Asia. This conclusion from a genetic perspective supports a large amount of archaeological, anthropological, and linguistic evidence that Native American peoples’ ancestors migrated from Asia at the latest 16,500–13,000 years ago.
Wow! Let us back up. This contradicts everything we have just heard from the prophet, seers, and revelators since the days of Joseph Smith. It seems the American Indians are not Lamanites after all. The 28,000 that were identified as Lamanites by President Hinckley are also not Lamanites. No people identified by the Church seem to be Lamanites after all. Huh? They vanished without a trace.
This mainstream scientific consensus about the origin of the ancient Americans and Mesoamerican people is at odds with the claims put forth in the Book of Mormon, and Prophets, though Mormon apologists have made efforts to reconcile these apparent contradictions.
It is understandable why the leaders thought this. The Book of Mormon told them so. No reason to doubt the identity of the Lamanite people when they read verses in the Book of Mormon that are very clear.
The Book of Mormon portrays a land devoid of people after Noah’s flood, preserved by God for those who will “serve him” (Ether 13:2). After “the waters had receded from off the face of this land”
The book recounts that the first migration to the New World was the Jaredites at the time of the Tower of Babel. This group was directed by God to gather their families, flocks, seeds, etc., and prepare for a voyage to a new land, which the Lord had preserved for a righteous people. And he had sworn in his wrath to the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off. . . (Ether 2:7-8).
This passage claims that America was without inhabitants prior to the arrival of the Jaredites (about 2200 BC). They grew into a great nation but fell into wickedness and terrible wars. Prophets were sent to warn the people that if they didn’t repent “God would send or bring forth another people to possess the land, by his power” (Ether 11:21).
The second civilization in the promised land, was made up of two separate groups, the family of Lehi and the followers of Mulek. They were all Israelites who, directed by God, fled Jerusalem about 600 BC and traveled to America. The Book of Mormon informs us that Lehi, a prophet, came out of the land of Jerusalem, who was a descendant of Manasseh, who was the son of Joseph who was sold into Egypt by his brothers (Alma 10:3).
Lehi prophesied that others would be kept from the land as long as his descendants remained righteous,
“There shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord.
Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. . . . And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.
Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves” (2 Nephi 1:6-9).
These verses leave no room for other people to have been in the land other than those mentioned in the record. In fact, the record mentions no other people. Lehi’s family eventually divided into two groups, the righteous Nephites, who were “white” (2 Nephi 5:21), and the wicked Lamanites, who were cursed with a “skin of blackness” (Alma 3:6). In addition, they were not confined to a small geographic location according to Helaman.
“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)
It is easy to see where the leaders were carried away with giddiness as to the identity of the Lamanite people. They had the scriptures themselves that taught this, they had the words of the foremost prophet, even Joseph Smith.They had the collective wisdom of the twelve apostles. But then DNA science told us the scriptures and the Prophets were wrong. Not only were they wrong, they were dead wrong. When DNA analysis was added to all the other anachronisms in the book, the Lamanite people vanished before our eyes. The 28,000 Lamanites that listened to President Hinckley, just vanished. Poof! They were gone in an instant
It would have been world wide news if the Censorship Department had not stepped in and distracted members with an Orwellian dance.
So, what did the Church do after this? Did the Prophet and Apostles embarrassingly hold a press conference to announce they had been mistaken all these years? Did they admit the Church was really not run by revelation? No, the Church does not function like that!
They retrenched by employing apologists to put their typical apologetic spin on the problem. They gaslighted members, they backed up and on points they could not defend, they pretended all was well on the good ship Zion.
They tried to quietly change the introduction to the book to read:
“After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.”
No longer were they they the “principle” ancestors but only a small group among many. So much for revelation in the Church.
Lets see a small sample of what scientists have to say on the subject:
Thomas Murphy, Mormon Anthropologist said,
“As a Mormon anthropologist I have a serious problem with the Book of Mormon representations of American Indians, it repeatedly refers to them as Israelites, descendants of Joseph, as descendants of the biblical patriarchs, of Abraham, those repeated references to an ancient Israelite connection have been clearly invalidated by scientific research into the genes of American Indians. … What is most significant about the genetic research and its applicability to the Book of Mormon is that it validates what we already knew from other scientific disciplines. From biological anthropology more generally, we knew a long time ago that American Indians resembled Asians and particularly the people from the regions around Mongolia, and Siberia more than they did any other peoples. Archeologically we knew that there were similarities between the cultures of north east Asia and those of the early Americans … We also knew based on the linguistic evidence that American Indians shared a common ancestry with at least some of the north east Asians and Siberians so we had all this other evidence from scientific disciplines as diverse as linguistics, archaeology and human biology all showing us an Asian origin of the American Indians. Now the genetic data confirms what we already knew from that other material.”
Simon Southerton said,
“For over a century there has been widespread scientific agreement that the ancestors of Native Americans migrated into the Americas over 13,000 years ago across a frozen Beringian land bridge that joined what is now eastern Siberia and Alaska. No credible archaeological evidence has been found to suggest that any Old World peoples migrated to the Americas after the initial incursion from Siberia, apart from minor Norse encounters beginning around 1000 AD and occasional contacts between arctic populations. A very telling fact is the discovery of clear evidence of small Viking settlements that existed in the New World soon after the Nephite-Lamanite battle described above.
“Ten centuries ago a handful of Norse sailors slipped into Newfoundland, established small colonies, traded with local natives, then sailed back into the fog of history. In spite of the small scale of their settlements and the brevity of their stay, unequivocal evidence of their presence has been found. Just six centuries earlier the Book of Mormon tells us, a climactic battle between fair-skinned Nephites and dark-skinned Lamanites ended a millennial dominion by a literate, Christian, Bronze Age civilization with a population numbering in the millions. Decades of serious and honest scholarship have failed to uncover credible evidence that these Book of Mormon civilizations ever existed. How is it that they remain a great civilization vanished without a trace, the people along with their genes?”
– Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, 2004 page 199
For entertainment purposes, let us take a look at that dance performed by our apologetic brethren.Here is Simon Southerton discussing the polemic attempts by Church apologists to counter science.
“The sleight of hand of all the FAIR DNA apologetics is that it depends on testimony-shattering reinterpretations of the Book of Mormon history and the arrogant dismissal of 180 years of prophetic declarations.
New Book of Mormon history
The Lehites met and fully integrated with New World civilizations soon after their arrival
American Indian’s handed control of their civilizations with minimal resistance to a band of displaced Hebrews
The term Lamanite is largely a cultural term (the baddies)
The genetic Lamanites have essentially been wiped out or lost
Book of Mormon civilizations were located in Mesoamerica, not North America
There are two Hill Cumorah’s where the gold plates were stored. One in Mesoamerica mentioned in Book of Mormon and one in New York, mistakenly thought to be the Book of Mormon Cumorah by every Mormon prophet who has ever lived and virtually all Mormons
The narrow (1 1/2 day walk) neck of land is the not so narrow Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico
Moroni carried the 60-80lb gold plates from Mexico to New York so that the plates were conveniently located for Joseph Smith.
Dismissing prophetic statements
Anything Joseph Smith said that connects North America with the Book of Mormon civilizations (Zelph etc.) is just his opinion
When God refers to Indians in the Western United States as Lamanites in the DandC, it is Joseph Smith’s personal opinion influencing scripture
Anything any prophet said that implies there are millions of Lamanites across North and South America is just personal opinion and not doctrine.”
Church leaders no longer want to have conversations about who the Lamanites are and where they can be found. One of the principle reasons for the coming forth of the Book of Mormon has been thwarted. The Church does not have a clear view who these people are or where they can be found. Is it because they never existed in the first place and are a figment of Joe Smith?
Come out where ever you are!