by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
December 8, 2002

Associated Press released the following news report on November 30, 2002:

SALT LAKE CITY - A graduate student with Mormon family roots says he probably will be excommunicated next week for articles he has written questioning the validity of the Book of Mormon.

Thomas W. Murphy, 35, published an article in the May Signature Books anthology, "American Apocrypha," which uses genetic data to discredit the Book of Mormon claim that American Indians are heathen descendants of ancient Israel. The conclusion also is the thesis of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Washington.

"We're told to tell the truth, but not if the truth contradicts [Mormon] church doctrine. I would prefer to tell the truth," Murphy said.

Murphy, chairman of the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Wash., will face a church disciplinary council on Dec. 8. There, he will be allowed to make a statement and council members may try to change his mind about the Book of Mormon.

Church spokesman Dale Bills declined to comment specifically on Murphy's case.

"Matters of church discipline are handled on a confidential basis between church members and their local leaders. Local church leaders determine what, if any, disciplinary action is appropriate," Bills said.

Lavina Fielding Anderson, a historian who was excommunicated in 1993, said Murphy is one of at least three scholars either threatened with expulsion or excommunicated in the last three months, raising concerns about renewed efforts to purge dissident church members. "Such ecclesiastical actions are deeply distressing," she wrote.

Murphy said he has made it his quest to expose racism in the [Mormon] scriptures, starting with the teaching that American Indians are descendants of Middle Easterners known as Lamanites, the heathen antagonists in the Book of Mormon.

Mormons believe the Book of Mormon is a history of the Americas beginning in 600 B.C. [Mormon] Scripture teaches that a group of Lamanites who decided to forgo violence and war became Christians - and white.

"That's racist," Murphy said.
                                  (Associated Press, November 30, 2002).

The Los Angeles Times gave this additional information:

Anthropologist Thomas W. Murphy set out to test a key principle of his Mormon faith with the latest technology.

He wondered:  Would DNA analysis show - as taught by the book of Mormon - that many American Indians are descended from ancient Israelites?  His finding:  negative.  The result:  excommunication...the Book of Mormon teaches that the American Indians are descendants of ancient Israelites who came to this continent 600 years before Christ - a time period within the reach of modern archaeology and genetics.

Murphy, chairman of the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College in Lynwood, Wash., and other scientists say that DNA research demonstrates what anthropologists have long said:  The ancestors of the American Indians came across the Bering Sea from Asia, with no traces of Middle Eastern ancestry...

His conclusion is that "the Book of Mormon is a piece of 19th century fiction," said Murphy, a lifelong Mormon who calls himself a Latter-day skeptic.  "And that means that we have to acknowledge sometimes Joseph Smith lied" (Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2002, p. A21).

Genetic data shows that the American Indians are Asian, and unrelated to white Caucasians. Thus, DNA evidence indicates that the Book of Mormon is a fraud. Thomas Murphy's essay is contained in American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon (Signature Books, 2002). His essay is titled, "Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy, and Genetics."

You can read a more complete review of American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon, edited by Dan Vogel - by clicking on (hyperlinked - click on here). The book can be ordered from Amazon directly.