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Genetic Research a Galileo Event for Mormons

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Abstract: Genetic research into Native American and Polynesian origins has provoked controversy within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Book of Mormon claims that the principal ancestors of the American Indians came from the ancient Middle East, an historical assertion now repudiated by mtDNA evidence. Mormon interpretations of the scripture led to the popular belief that Polynesians, likewise, descended from ancient Israelite populations. This belief is now also undermined by genetic research. Protests erupted when the LDS Church initiated and then aborted an effort to excommunicate Thomas Murphy. Protestors objected to racism within LDS Family Services and questioned practices that subverted paternal rights of Native Americans.

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