Mormons and Mitochondrial DNA

The Church of Latter Day Saints supports the Book of Mormon’s claims of a band of ancient Hebrews establishing itself in the Western Hemisphere, with mitochondrial DNA sampling that links Native American groups with Semitic peoples in the Middle East. Is there any “objective” scientific corroboration of this link?

“Anything is peaceful from one thousand, three hundred and fifty-three feet.”

Okay, I’m not Mormon, but I’m genuinely curious – What is it with all the Mormon-bashing around here? It seems like people just post things to attack the beliefs of the LDS and piss off the posters who happen to be of that faith. Why is that?

jodih… My post was not intended as Mormon-bashing at all. I am genuinely curious about this and many aspects about what I’ve read about LDS.

I find the religious traditions and practices of Mormonism to be quite interesting, and I also am interested in the Book of Mormon’s assertions regarding the historical migrations of peoples, among other topics.

I apologize if my intentions were not clear in the original post.

“Anything is peaceful from one thousand, three hundred and fifty-three feet.”

Wow. I started researching your question and got this:
“Subpopulation Heterogeneity in Mitochondrial DNA Evaluated by Analysis of Molecular Variance of Sequence-Specific Oligonucleotide Typing of Worldwide Populations.”

You’re on your own, buddy.

Okay, I apologize as well – I got a little excited there in a hurry, but now I’ve taken a “chill pill” and am back to my usual self. (Is that an improvement? You decide.) :smiley:

In regard to mormon bashing–many of us who have family members who have joined the mormon church have serious problems with this religion. While I am fully in support of anyone’s right to chose their own faith or lack thereof, I hate the mormons because they deny this right to others by their practice of baptizing the dead by proxy. Several years ago, they were asked to stop baptizing the Jews who had been murdered during the Holocaust. They agreed but reneged on their agreement and continued to do so. After negiotiations, the mormons finally agreed to stop. I doubt that they have since there is no real way to stop a mormon from baptizing anyone. I have asked my mormon family members not to baptize me but all they do is smile that erie, mindless smile. So, now I have it in my will that my executor is to sue them for at least $100 million if they baptize me into their church.
If you want real mormon bashing–check out Some of the tales will chill you. Families who disown children who leave the church, sexual abuse that is covered up by the mormon church, holy underwear, bishops asking young boys if they masterbate before they are allowed to become a member of the priesthood, church trials, racism, Joseph Smith’s penchant for marrying married women and underaged girls, the ever-changing church beliefs, the constant rewriting of church history and doctrine, and the excommunication of any mormon who does historical research and doesn’t color it to show the early years of the church in a favorable light.
If you spend an hour reading some of the stories of those who left and some of the current trials of those attempting to leave, you will understand a little better why people either hate the mormons with a burning pure passion or love them.

I think you need to be very careful about not condemning an entire group on account of the actions of a few of its (overzealous) members…even if those members are in leadership positions. There are very few churches or religions that could stand up against such a stringent ethic. And very few political parties or national governments, for that matter.

Institutions, like religions, are created by human beings. Individual human beans may be wretchedly evil, and may lead their institutions into abominable actions… but that doesn’t necessarily condemn the institution.

I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clear. I was responding to the question as to why people “mormon bash”. It does make a difference as to why people hate certain institutions. Some hate certain churches because that church does not approve of certain practices. Some hate a church because they violate cultural norms. And various other, personal reasons. As to the specific group–if you want to know why people oppose a certain group, then a good place to understand it is to check with former members. They have an agenda, obviously, but they also have first hand experience which can alert an interested observer to areas of concern.
I was not suggesting that everyone start hating the mormon church. Obviously many people love this group, find it fulfilling, are enthralled to be a part of it, etc. Fine. Why the heck should I care–as long as they let me be as well!

No, bluebird; you explicitly stated that you hate. Not that you have reservations about a group or that you have a disagreement with that group. You, by your own admission [see above] hate.

Hate is akin to prejudice, is it not? And is not prejudice founded in ignorance?

Kind of strange stance to take on a site publicly declared to be “Fighting Ignorance.”

As to you being let be: why should it concern you what a particular faith group does with their own bodies in a ceremony after your death? To my knowledge, the Baptism for the Dead does not involve going out, digging up someone’s body and dunking it someplace else.

Get a grip.

Is it possible to talk about the actions of any institution in an unfavorable light and not be called a “Basher”, Jodih? Questioning facts as stated is one thing, but questioning the question itself is something I find very

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Hunter Thompson

Hate may be akin to prejudice, but there is no one-to-one correlation. “Prejudice” means exaxtly what the word implies: a prejudging of someone or something without a fair regard for facts. This is indeed based on ignorance.

On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to hate someone or something that you know intimately. This can no longer be dismissed simply by comparing it to prejudice. The question then becomes: are the reasons for the hatred enought to justify the hatred?

CF: what did you miss from this statement of bluebird’s? The statement is “I hate the mormons.” It is not “I hate the mormons who perform these rites.” Nor is it “I hate the mormons I’ve met.” The statement is, and remains, “I hate the mormons.” That is prejudice.

Bluebird has not only displayed prejudice here in this statement but has also displayed a woeful ignorance of the particular dogma concerned with proxy baptism.

If someone performs a proxy baptism, that doesn’t automatically mean, in LDS theology, that the dead person accepts the rite. On the other hand, not performing the rite removes the choice from the dead.

What’s worse? Proxy baptism or no proxy baptism. Your call.

If any religious group has any service for me after I am dead, I doubt I’ll be too concerned.

I think the whole concept of Mormonism’s rite of proxy baptism for the dead is sort of a tempest in a teapot for those of us that find LDS theology in the “not credible” category. I’ve done some genealgical research via the LDS library, and I know my family records are in there, so odds are some well intentioned Mormon is going to be dunked in my stead after I buy the farm. Why should a meaningless act have any effect on my eternal position?

On the flip side, one can study Mormon theology, history, and current practice, and come to some very well informed conclusions about the church. Many of the conclusions I have reached through my own research (which has been pretty thorough at times) lands me in the camp that finds LDS theology as pretty much a patent falsehood. Monty may disagree, but I don’t think that is prejudice. It is, for me, pretty factual.

Many LDS-types interpret this as 'Mormon bashing." I’ve engaged in conversations where I try and discuss some of the anaomlies or oddities in Mormon history or teaching, and I am accused of attacking them.

Of course, even in this approach, one must engage in conversation in the proper spirit and attitude. My own research leads me to conclude that LDS theology is false, based on much objective criteria and the plumb line of my own Christian faith (which draws from many evangelical schools). This does not change the fact that:

  • many Mormons are great people, who live very selfless lives and are wonderful citizens;

  • that many puported historical and theological sources (particularly some of those produced within the fundamentalist community) are false in and of themselves;

  • anti-mormonism (like any prejudice) has had some very dark chapters in our country’s history, and we can never forget that;

  • Understanding is the key. For example, there’s a lot of material out there that pretty much trashes Joseph Smith as an evil monster, while the official LDS stuff portrays him as pretty much perfect. There is plenty of objective history that helps sort it all out. But I certainly won’t help get my point across to Mormons if I take cheap shots at the founder of their faith. Joseph Smith was objectively a great leader of men. I’d rather let history and a point-by-point comparison with “orthodox” theology to make my case.

With that in mind, I’ll wait to se what comes up in support of the LDS theories on the migration of indigineous peoples.

No, Soxfan; why should I accuse you of prejudice? You have come to a conclusion based on your review of certain things. I may disagree with your conclusion, but I shan’t call it prejudice.

You evidently don’t hold out any hatred for the LDS, just disagreement. What I attacked above was a blatant, bigoted remark by another poster.

Okay, let me explain.
I sure am prejudiced against the mormons. Why shouldn’t I be? My grandfather was on his deathbed when one of his mormon friends came in and annointed him with oil AGAINST his will. My grandfather was so angry but he could do nothing–he was weak and dying. He lost his chance to die a peaceful death. The mormons STOLE that from him. They did NOT respect his wishes. They did not respect his religion (nominal Episcopalian). They did not respect his freedom of religion.
My mormon relatives bled my grandmother dry taking every bit of money she had except for her social security widow’s pension. Meanwhile they were paying full tithe to the mormon church and doing charity work to the old people in their town.
I don’t hate all the mormons I know. Lots of them are well meaning people who are personally kindly intentioned. Their religion teaches them to tramp over people’s rights.
As to the idea that baptism after death should not be offensive to anyone to wit
“Bluebird has not only displayed prejudice here in this statement but has also displayed a woeful ignorance of the particular dogma concerned with proxy baptism. If someone performs a proxy baptism, that doesn’t automatically mean, in LDS theology, that the
dead person accepts the rite. On the other hand, not performing the rite removes the choice from the dead. What’s worse? Proxy baptism or no proxy baptism. Your call. WiseOldMan”

Well, there are three objections to this tired old excuse the mormons trot out to prove their behavior is inoffensive.
One is that many people and cultures reverence their dead and find it offensive that the peace and rest of their ancestors is disturbed. Otherwise, why would Museums be falling all over themselves returning Native American remains to be properly buried? Why do people like me visit the cemetery and place flowers on graves? Why do we give gifts in memorium? Because some of us revere our dead. Desecratation of the body or memory of a dead person is abhorrent to us. It is an important part of our culture and of our religion.

The second is that by saying that the post death baptism by proxy shouldn’t bother anyone because the dead have the choice to accept or reject the baptism after death. By allowing the baptism, a person who has a different religious faith or no faith is saying, “Well, I’ll hedge my bets. Maybe the mormons are right after all.” It is a denial of one’s own absolute faith in one’s belief. If my family allows this to be done to me, they are saying they do not respect me, my religion, or my right to religious freedom. They are saying that my religious belief is no more likely than that of the mormons, that I wasn’t smart enough to really understand the difference, that other, wiser people should decide for me. I totally reject that.

Finally, the fact remains that the person’s name is placed on some list in the mormon church as being baptised. The mormons have NO RIGHT to use my name in this way. Look at it this way. Suppose NAMBLA started publishing membership rolls and in order to bolster their perverted and sick beliefs started adding the names of recently departed people–not claiming these people had been actual members–but just that they were on the membership roll. How do you think that would make the relatives of these people feel? Having my name on ANY type of mormon membership list–whether I accepted it or not after death (a concept I find ludicrous)–is guilt by association. I don’t want my name associated with this bunch of people at all! AND I have a right NOT to have my name associated with them. IN addition, I have a right to protect my family in the same way. The mormons have baptised many of my family members–most of whom soundly rejected mormonism before their deaths and the rest didn’t even know what mormons believe. How is that right? I don’t think it is. I hold the practice of baptising people after their death in the same light as forced conversions in their lifetime–as a violation of freedom of religion. You have no right to make me even listen to a prayer in a public school. How can someone have the right to baptise me after death without my and my family’s permission?
So, I’ll keep right on being prejudiced against the mormon church. As far as I am concerned that’s in the same league as being prejudiced against the KKK, the Nazis, the Taliban and any other totalitarian group that does not respect the right of individuals to make their own choices concerning their religious beliefs.
It is my choice and my right to hate the mormon church. I don’t ask that anyone else feel this way, but I am not going to keep my mouth shut about how I feel just to avoid hurting the feelings of mormons. Mormons did more than hurt my feelings–they hurt my family and they hurt my soul.

Well, jodih was right… this room did turn into one for mormon bashing… but getting back to the mitochondrial DNA quesiton, mitochondrial DNA is inherited mostly from the mother (unlike the 23/23 split between mother and father in the nucleus), leading to significantly less variety in the DNA. Considering that we are about 99.9% genetically identical to other humans concerning our nucleic DNA, our mitochondrial DNA would probably be even more closely related.
Even if a link was found… one should test it to other groups to confirm that there is any relationship. If a sampling from different part of the world were taken and equally similar results were discovered, one could dismiss the similarities in the mitochondrial DNA between Native Americans and Semitic peoples.

“[He] beat his fist down upon the table and hurt his hand and became so
further enraged… that he beat his fist down upon the table even harder and
hurt his hand some more.” – Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

Member posted 05-30-99 09:35 AM the quoted portions below (my commentary in between).

Just because you admit being a bigot doesn’t make it right to be one.

Because intolerance is wrong.

Since did when did one person costitute THEY? Your grandfather’s friend disobeyed not only his wishes but also the dictates of the LDS church by doing that. An aside: I wonder if you would feel the same if a Roman Catholic priest made the sign of the cross over someone’s recently discovered body, not knowing if that someone were RC or not?

Again I ask: since when did one person constitute THEY?

Are you sure you’re talking about the right group of relatives? I don’t recall the LDS requiring any funds from non-members nor more than 10% from members. As it is, the tithing is voluntary. That has already been discussed in another thread on this board.

If true, that’s still not the only requirement of the faith in question and by their contravening other rules really doesn’t add up to much in the spiritual realm, most likely.

“To” or “for,” blueii…er, bluebird?

Now you have me astounded. You hate the Mormons you DON’T KNOW because of what the Mormons YOU DO KNOW did and yet DON’T HATE the Mormons YOU DO KNOW? Well, bigotry isn’t logical, I guess.

The ones you know or don’t know? You’re losing me here.

That is a lie, a false witness, and if you are truly a follower of Christ as you said above you would publicly admit that.

Blueii…er, Bluebird; that was actually my statement. Maybe you misattributed the quote or you’re just recognizing that I’m a wise old man ;). I’ve attended services of other denominations in which Mormons were prayed for. The preacher’s office has a record of the event; you see, some groups keep copies of the service programmes, some groups publish weekly or monthly newsletters. And it makes for good reading/proselytizing/recruiting/fund raising/etc.

Nope; no loaded words here folks. Move on.

But you’re willing to deny one particular group their method of reverencing their dead, aren’t you?

Two reasons jump to mind: (1) Political correctness of the moment, and (2) the spectre of court rulings.

Same reason other people do what they do to remember the dead: comfort. It’s to comfort the living. Just a second here: “give gifts in memorium?” You used someone’s name after their death without their permission?

Would this be the “us of one” or the “us of a group.” I can’t always follow since you use “they” for one person’s actions. So you want your religious practices to be considered important by those not a member of your faith group but also want the religious practices of another faith group to not be considered important?

Excepting, of course, for the fact that the dead are, well, dead. According to you. To agree that the ritual gives the dead the choice, you are admitting the reason for the ritual is valid, IN YOUR VIEW; and thus, by your own words, you are the one denying the dead the comfort you so stridently said you wish to protect for them.

Whose belief, BTW; yours or the dead’s? If incorrect, then the LDS ritual has no efficacy for the dead. It does, however, remain the fact that it comforts the living LDS members. If correct, then the comfort is given to both the living and the dead.

“To” or “For?” No, I think they’re saying they want you to have comfort; or at least they want to be comforted themselves. Remember? At the time such a ritual happens, you’ll already be dead.

As with most religions, that’s quite likely the truth. After all, a good deal of “orthodox” or traditional Christianity is quite a stretch

My call? I tried to make it clear that I make my mark on the world while I’m alive. I would hope nothing done in my post-mortem would cause people to reflect on my life any differently. There isn’t anything Bluebird could do to change the way I feel about my deceased relatives. If you want to pray for them, that’s fine.
After I’m gone, cut my body up for science, pray for my soul, have a party in my name, go on with your day, I won’t care.
If I’m on my deathbed and you pray for me or rub my head with oil, I’ll hopefully be understanding. You are doing what you think is best for me and I thank you for your concern. I don’t expect it to change my beliefs though.
In all, I’m happy and I’m too busy enjoying life to worry about what will happen to my body after I’m dead. I don’t need $2000 casket or fancy funeral service and I hope I don’t receive them. I hope everybody copes with my death in their own way, not the way I cope or some preacher copes, but in hundreds of individual ways. If any mormons I have crossed paths with pray to ease their pain, it’s okay with me.

Has anyone seen my keys?

WiseOldMan: your last posting above shows, in my personal belief system, that you already have the keys; keys to heaven, that is.