“The sacred writings of many faiths make claims that might not stand up to scientific tests. But most faiths avoid conflict with scholarship either because their claims relate to events too far in the past to be tested or because they have reinterpreted their scriptural claims as metaphors, rather than assertions of literal fact.
“For devout Mormons, however, neither of those defenses is available. The Book of Mormon, made public by Joseph Smith in 1830, is a cornerstone of church doctrine and is taken literally by the faithful. It teaches, among other things, that many American Indians are descendants of ancient Israelites who came to this continent 600 years before Christ – a time period within the reach of modern archeology and genetics.”
William Lobdell and Larry B. Stammer, Los Angeles Times, “Mormon Scientist, Church Clash Over DNA Test; Anthropologist may be ousted for questioning teachings about Native American ancestry” (Los Angeles, CA: The LA Times, 8 December 2002), 1.