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Are Native Americans the Lamanites?

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I don't know what is currently believed now and taught by the church but I've heard that modern Native Americans were Lamanites back in the Book of Mormon days, so is that true? I love Native Americans and the love they have for the planet, but it would be sad if they were the ones who were so violent in the BOM and the ones who killed off all the Nephites. So what is the DNA lineage connection?

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Native Americans are Lamanites.  And Nephites.  And Jaredites.  And Mulekites.   And probably Eastern Asians of Mongolian origin.  New DNA studies show that Native Americans have at least 33% identifiable middle eastern DNA.

It is clear that Native Americans are a mixed race people, as Eskimos look nothing like the Native Americans in South America.  There is a lot of genetic variation within Native Americans.  From this, I believe the modern day Native Americans have several points of origin.

The Lamanites may represent some of the Native Americans, but the consensus appears to be that there were other civilizations in the Americas at the time of the Book of Mormon.  I once read a study which linked Nephite culture to Jaredite culture through names and other influences, both before and after Ether took place.  (Remember, the Nephites and Jaredites co-existed on the American continent for several hundred years before the events at the end of the Book of Ether.  Perhaps Ether describes what happened to only one Jaredite civilization, and other Jaredite groups mixed with the Nephites?)  I also think, if the Jaredites came from East Asia, perhaps they represent the more Asian-looking Native Americans in the United States and Canada, and to the North?

There may have also been groups of people who crossed the land bridge between Alaska and Russia and intermixed with the Lamanites and Nephites.  This would also strengthen the Asian component of Native Americans.

 Also, remember at the end of the Book of Mormon, "Lamanite" and "Nephite" are not ethnic terms anymore - the people rebelling against Christ took upon themselves the name "Lamanite".  So, the "Lamanites" surviving the Book of Mormon were a mix of ethnic Lamanites and Nephites.

I do wonder if the Lamanites later evolved into the Aztecs... after all, the Aztecs conquered all neighboring populations, practiced human sacrifices (detailed in Mormon), believed in a pale-skinned bearded god that would someday return to reign, and offered this pale-skinned god human hearts (perhaps a distortion of the symbolic teaching of offering God a "broken heart and contrite spirit?)  

Don't feel too bad for the modern day Native Americans.  One of the signs of the Second Coming is that the Lamanites will return to righteousness and play a critical role in preparing the world for the Second Coming..  We see that happening right before our eyes, with explosive Church growth in Latin America.  They are a chosen people who have a critical, special role in preparing the world for Christ's return.  It is a new day for the Lamanites, one in which they will again rise up and take their rightful place as a great and chosen people of God.

I am part Native American.  I do like to think of myself as a son of Lehi.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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The link is:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131120-science-native-american-people-migration-siberia-genetics/

This isn't a slam dunk necessarily - the story is about a Siberian child who had both Native American and Middle Eastern DNA without Eastern Asian components.  However, it does demonstrate that there has not been a foreclosure on middle eastern DNA in Native Americans, unlike what some critics may have you believe.  Perhaps this Siberian child could have been an ancestor of the tribe of Manasseh and his genes could have been passed through the Nephites to the current Native Americans?  I don't know, but it does seem that it turns out there is nothing suggesting that Native Americans have no Middle Eastern DNA.  Where this Middle Eastern DNA comes from exactly is unknown.  This article also supports my theory that Native Americans have mixed-race origins.

My theory on genetics:

1.  Nephites were not Jews.  They were of the tribe of Manasseh, and we don't know what their DNA looked like 600 b.c., although I have heard some speculation that it may have been similar to modern-day Iraqis.  This is interesting - could Saddam be Nephi's long-lost (and highly degenerate) nephew?

2.  The Lamanites were cursed.  This probably involved a change in physical features that was hereditary - in other words, their DNA was changed.

3.  The Lamanites multiplied much faster than the Nephites.  When the Nephites and Lamanites started intermingling (and intermarrying), the Lamanites' changed DNA began to predominate.

4.  Other groups, such as Jaredites (who were probably East Asian), Mulekites, etc. intermixed with the Nephites all throughout the Book of Mormon.

5.  By the end of the Book of Mormon, Nephites and Lamanites were a composite people who were actually a mix of numerous indigenous American races.  It would be hard to trace the original DNA of Manasseh at this point, but some Middle Eastern DNA markers apparently remain, as shown in the article I cited.

6.  When the New World was conquered, millions of Native Americans died from violence, exposure to Smallpox, etc. and the survivors intermarried with Spaniards, further altering the DNA record, destroying DNA evidence, and generally distorting remaining Nephite DNA.

So there we have it - Nephites, who I have heard (and I have no reference from this) may have been similar to modern-day Iraqis, and their slow morph into present day Native Americans.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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Here - have a witty David Letterman top 10 list to understand the weak, unimportant, background role of DNA in the link between Native Americans and Lamanites:

Top 8 Ways You know you're a Lamanite
(Be warned, that #1 is a doozie!)

8) If you live somewhere around 554 BC, and you seek to destroy the people of Nephi
(Jacob 1:14)  But I, Jacob … shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings.

7) You rejected the gospel as personally given by Jesus Christ
(4 Nephi 1:38 ) And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites

6) You are a Nephite that decides to call yourself a Lamanite around 84 A.D.
(4 Nephi 1:20) "And he kept it eighty and four years, and there was still peace in the land, save it were a small part of the people who had revolted from the church and taken upon them the name of Lamanites; therefore there began to be Lamanites again in the land."

5) You are a direct descendant of Laman (Regardless of which "side" you are on)
(Alma 55:4-5)"And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words, he caused that a search should be made among his men, that perhaps he might find a man who was a descendant of Laman among them. And it came to pass that they found one, whose name was Laman; and he was one of the servants of the king who was murdered by Amalickiah."

4) You are a descendant of Zoram
(Alma 54:23-24) "I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem. And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite;..."
(Alma 43:4) "For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites;"

3) You are a Nephite Defector
(Moroni 9:24) "And if it so be that they perish, we know that many of our brethren have deserted over unto the Lamanites, and many more will also desert over unto them; wherefore, write somewhat a few things, if thou art spared and I shall perish and not see thee; but I trust that I may see thee soon; for I have sacred records that I would deliver up unto thee."

2) You are not a Lamanite, but become one due to your certain "dissensions"
(D&C 10:48 ) "Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions."

And the number one way to know you're a Lamanite:

1) According to a prophecy given around 73 B.C., you are a Lamanite if you wake up in the Americas one day around 400 A.D. to discover you are still breathing:
(Alma 45:14) "But whosoever remaineth, and is not destroyed in that great and dreadful day, shall be numbered among the Lamanites, and shall become like unto them, all, save it be a few who shall be called the disciples of the Lord; and them shall the Lamanites pursue even until they shall become extinct. And now, because of iniquity, this prophecy shall be fulfilled."

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1 hour ago, DoctorLemon said:

Nephites were not Jews.  They were of the tribe of Manasseh

"Jew" is commonly understood to mean a descendant of Israel, not only of Judah. Within six or eight generations of establishing Israel, the people of Israel would have been so intermixed that you would surely have been able to find genetic markers from any given tribe in the populations of the other tribes.

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1 hour ago, DoctorLemon said:

The Lamanites multiplied much faster than the Nephites.  When the Nephites and Lamanites started intermingling (and intermarrying), the Lamanites' changed DNA began to predominate.

Actually, I'm not sure I believe this any more. The Book of Mormon does not specifically say this; it only mentions that the Lamanites became far more numerous than the Nephites. Since "Lamanite" was a term applied to anyone who wasn't a Nephite, or at least to anyone who fought against the Nephites, it would likely have been applied to any hostile indigenous peoples. I would suppose that Laman and Lemuel and their descendants "went native" and were, in effect, adopted into the larger existing population. This seems to me a far more likely explanation than that the Lamanites had higher fertility and/or survival rates.

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3 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

(Alma 45:14) "But whosoever remaineth, and is not destroyed in that great and dreadful day, shall be numbered among the Lamanites, 

Interesting thought that I'd never considered. Puts an interesting "it doesn't matter a whit" view on the whole DNA issue, doesn't it?

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7 hours ago, Vort said:

Your argument is so compelling.

Except that the native americans are not descendants of the lamanites, not how they are described in the BOM, you can broadly extrapolate as you have that anyone who was not a nephite was a lamanite then yes...I guess they are, but genetically tied to Laman and Lemuel....nope.

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6 minutes ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

Except that the native americans are not descendants of the lamanites, not how they are described in the BOM, you can broadly extrapolate as you have that anyone who was not a nephite was a lamanite then yes...I guess they are, but genetically tied to Laman and Lemuel....nope.

I especially like how you marshalled convincing evidence of your claims.

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10 minutes ago, Vort said:

I especially like how you marshalled convincing evidence of your claims.

Don't need to, there is no overwhelming compelling evidence that there is a genetic tie  Show me overwhelming evidence that a link exists and I'll serve myself up a huge slice of humble pie.

In the grand eternal scheme of things who cares really?

Edited by omegaseamaster75

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33 minutes ago, Vort said:
7 hours ago, Vort said:

Your argument is so compelling.

I especially like how you marshalled convincing evidence of your claims.

@Vort if you don't behave yourself I'm going to give the ACLU your bank account information. You be nice young man! 

(playing, playing!) 

Edited by MormonGator

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I believe at some point the term Nephite was not genetic, but more akin to "Saints" or "members of the church".  And Lamanite could be similar to "Gentile".  Clearly not every single person with Nephite DNA was killed, and there was plenty of interrelations, so when the BoM talks about the Nephites being wiped out, I think it means the believers in Christ such that the church did not exist.

Edited by bytebear

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3 hours ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

Don't need to

You made the positive claim, Omega. You need to back it up.

Of course, you don't have to. But don't expect your credibility to improve any when you make claims you don't back up.

3 hours ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

there is no overwhelming compelling evidence that there is a genetic tie

Of course there is. The evidence is not genetic, but religious. But it is very clearly taught that the Book of Mormon is written to the surviving descendants of Lehi, and the Church leadership has maintained since Joseph Smith's day that the native American Indians are among those descendants.

You may deny that evidence if you wish, but don't pretend it doesn't exist. It does.

3 hours ago, omegaseamaster75 said:

In the grand eternal scheme of things who cares really?

In the grand eternal scheme of things, the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, or else it is not. If it is, it is the very word of God to us, and our salvation depends on us understanding and following it. If it is not, then it is of no more relevance than Pilgrim's Progress or Winning Friends and Influencing People.

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A couple of remarks to some of the points made so far:

In the Doctrine and Covenants, Sections 28 and 54, the Lord himself spoke to Joseph by revelation and referred to Native Americans as Lamanites.  Some of the first missionaries sent out were to the Lamanites, and they were sent to the West, to Missouri.  I don't know if all Native Americans are Lamanites, but I'm assuming that the Lord knew who he was sending the missionaries to when he directed them to Missouri, unto the "borders of the Lamanites" (D&C 54:8).  People can argue over DNA science all day and never arrive at the truth.  The Lord's word is truth.  It's enough for me.

One last point--we presume wrongly that the Lamanites at the Book of Mormon's finish are the same "race" that was called Lamanites at the beginning of the book.  The narrative tells us that, after the Savior's appearance among them, they became one single people.  Ethnic and racial differences were blended (See 4 Nephi 1:17).  Intermarriage would have occurred.

When the wicked began to rebel some 200 years after the Lord's appearance, they split away and became a society defined by ethnicity and social classes once again.  The differences were more political than racial at that point, due to the mixing of the various groups.  

To say a Native American today is a pure "Lamanite" is probably inaccurate.  It's likely that Lehi's DNA is in many of them, but it would be impossible to say now who was purely Lamanite, Nephite, Jacobite, Lemuelite, etc.

Edited by spamlds
added a paragraph

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On 12/8/2016 at 10:05 PM, Zarahemla said:

I don't know what is currently believed now and taught by the church but I've heard that modern Native Americans were Lamanites back in the Book of Mormon days, so is that true? I love Native Americans and the love they have for the planet, but it would be sad if they were the ones who were so violent in the BOM and the ones who killed off all the Nephites. So what is the DNA lineage connection?

Why would it be sad? 

1) Recognize that the definition of "Lamanite" changed in the Book of Mormon (before the Resurrection vs after).
2) What some culture did 1600 years ago does not define the people today.
3) The Lamanites of that era were MORE righteous than the Nephites of the same time.  That's why the Nephites lost.  They abandoned the ways of the Lord.
4) I'm saying the following as politely as I can: I find multiple statements in your post above to be racially charged and somewhat offensive.

Edited by Guest

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Just to make sure actual scriptures get a little attention here:

Quote

Top 8 Ways You know you're a Lamanite
(Be warned, that #1 is a doozie!)

8) If you live somewhere around 554 BC, and you seek to destroy the people of Nephi
(Jacob 1:14)  But I, Jacob … shall call them Lamanites that seek to destroy the people of Nephi, and those who are friendly to Nephi I shall call Nephites, or the people of Nephi, according to the reigns of the kings.

7) You rejected the gospel as personally given by Jesus Christ
(4 Nephi 1:38 ) And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites

6) You are a Nephite that decides to call yourself a Lamanite around 84 A.D.
(4 Nephi 1:20) "And he kept it eighty and four years, and there was still peace in the land, save it were a small part of the people who had revolted from the church and taken upon them the name of Lamanites; therefore there began to be Lamanites again in the land."

5) You are a direct descendant of Laman (Regardless of which "side" you are on)
(Alma 55:4-5)"And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words, he caused that a search should be made among his men, that perhaps he might find a man who was a descendant of Laman among them. And it came to pass that they found one, whose name was Laman; and he was one of the servants of the king who was murdered by Amalickiah."

4) You are a descendant of Zoram
(Alma 54:23-24) "I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem. And behold now, I am a bold Lamanite;..."
(Alma 43:4) "For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites;"

3) You are a Nephite Defector
(Moroni 9:24) "And if it so be that they perish, we know that many of our brethren have deserted over unto the Lamanites, and many more will also desert over unto them; wherefore, write somewhat a few things, if thou art spared and I shall perish and not see thee; but I trust that I may see thee soon; for I have sacred records that I would deliver up unto thee."

2) You are not a Lamanite, but become one due to your certain "dissensions"
(D&C 10:48 ) "Yea, and this was their faith—that my gospel, which I gave unto them that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions."

And the number one way to know you're a Lamanite:

1) According to a prophecy given around 73 B.C., you are a Lamanite if you wake up in the Americas one day around 400 A.D. to discover you are still breathing:
(Alma 45:14) "But whosoever remaineth, and is not destroyed in that great and dreadful day, shall be numbered among the Lamanites, and shall become like unto them, all, save it be a few who shall be called the disciples of the Lord; and them shall the Lamanites pursue even until they shall become extinct. And now, because of iniquity, this prophecy shall be fulfilled."

By my count, that's six scriptures requiring no genetic tie whatsoever, and two that are based on blood.  One of those two is Zoram's blood.  Zoram - the servant of Laban, sort  of kidnapped-but-not-really by Nephi during the whole head-chopping thing.  For all the BoM tells us, he could have been from anywhere.  He could have been a Moabite, or from Syria/Aram, or a full-blooded Egyptian.  

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I have serious doubts that there is much Nephi DNA in any indigenous people on the American continent. I say this mostly because it seems unlikely to me that South America was entirely unpopulated when Lehi arrived.

Consider that the Jaredites  had been present for over a thousand years. if the Jaredites had arrived with 50 people and an exponential growth rate of 0.0075 (current growth rate is about 0.011), there would have been close to 2 million people just from the Jaredites. that doesn't include anyone who came over after them via land bridges, etc. if you take a very strict interpretation of Ether, only two people survived the destruction of that society. that seems far fetched to me. a more generous growth rate of 0.01 makes a Jaredites population of 60 million, which makes the total and utter destruction down to just two sound somewhat preposterous.

Even if you assume a near zero population when Lehi arrives, assuming he arrives with 50 people and the same growth rate, there would be between 2000 and 7000 between the Nephi test and Laman it's by the time the wars started around 90 BC. And recalling that 1,005 of the people of Ammon were killed in one day; thousands more were killed during the course of that war; and the two civilizations were both well populated after the war still, either the Nephi test and Laman it's had an enormous (and incestuous) growth rate, or they were intermingling with other peoples. And while the Mulekites certainly added many to the Nephite population, the Laman it's were known to be much greater in number than the Nephites.

All-in-all, the numbers don't seem to add up for the descendants of Lehi to have populated the continent from zero. if that's the case, Lehite genetics could be pretty heavily diluted, and claiming the Native Americans are the Lamanites is about as meaningful as claiming an anglo-Saxon is a descendant of Charlemagne--most of us are by now.

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9 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

All-in-all, the numbers don't seem to add up for the descendants of Lehi to have populated the continent from zero. if that's the case, Lehite genetics could be pretty heavily diluted, and claiming the Native Americans are the Lamanites is about as meaningful as claiming an anglo-Saxon is a descendant of Charlemagne--most of us are by now.

I completely agree, MoE. We are all of us (well, almost all Americans, "white" or otherwise) descendants of Charlemagne. If he were the divine recipient of a hereditary covenant, we would be part of that covenant. That he may be merely one of several millions (or tens of millions) of ancestors at that generation is not relevant. Similarly, whether the modern-day descendants of indigenous American populations are "primarily" Lehite is not relevant -- though that used to be the common thinking in the Church and even the claim of many Church leaders. I suspect few believe that to be the case today, but the promises and covenants are still in force. That is the point, and as far as I understand, the only point. That the modern-day "Lamanites" may not be "primarily" descended from Lehi in a genetic sense is unimportant. They are the children of the covenant through Lehi.

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On 12/9/2016 at 10:19 AM, DoctorLemon said:

The link is:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/11/131120-science-native-american-people-migration-siberia-genetics/

This isn't a slam dunk necessarily - the story is about a Siberian child who had both Native American and Middle Eastern DNA without Eastern Asian components.  However, it does demonstrate that there has not been a foreclosure on middle eastern DNA in Native Americans, unlike what some critics may have you believe.  Perhaps this Siberian child could have been an ancestor of the tribe of Manasseh and his genes could have been passed through the Nephites to the current Native Americans?  I don't know, but it does seem that it turns out there is nothing suggesting that Native Americans have no Middle Eastern DNA.  Where this Middle Eastern DNA comes from exactly is unknown.  This article also supports my theory that Native Americans have mixed-race origins.

My theory on genetics:

1.  Nephites were not Jews.  They were of the tribe of Manasseh, and we don't know what their DNA looked like 600 b.c., although I have heard some speculation that it may have been similar to modern-day Iraqis.  This is interesting - could Saddam be Nephi's long-lost (and highly degenerate) nephew?

2.  The Lamanites were cursed.  This probably involved a change in physical features that was hereditary - in other words, their DNA was changed.

3.  The Lamanites multiplied much faster than the Nephites.  When the Nephites and Lamanites started intermingling (and intermarrying), the Lamanites' changed DNA began to predominate.

4.  Other groups, such as Jaredites (who were probably East Asian), Mulekites, etc. intermixed with the Nephites all throughout the Book of Mormon.

5.  By the end of the Book of Mormon, Nephites and Lamanites were a composite people who were actually a mix of numerous indigenous American races.  It would be hard to trace the original DNA of Manasseh at this point, but some Middle Eastern DNA markers apparently remain, as shown in the article I cited.

6.  When the New World was conquered, millions of Native Americans died from violence, exposure to Smallpox, etc. and the survivors intermarried with Spaniards, further altering the DNA record, destroying DNA evidence, and generally distorting remaining Nephite DNA.

So there we have it - Nephites, who I have heard (and I have no reference from this) may have been similar to modern-day Iraqis, and their slow morph into present day Native Americans.

I found something interesting pop up in my facebook feed for anyone interested in the Middle-Eastern origins of Native Americans:  http://nativesnewsonline.com/2017/04/16/dna-scientists-claim-that-cherokees-are-from-the-middle-east/.

Very interesting . . . 

@Carborendum

Edited by DoctorLemon

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