Looking for an Apologist to Discuss Book of Mormon for Podcast

John DehlinMormon 27 Comments

MM Community,

I’m looking to do a podcast series for Mormon Stories on Book of Mormon Historicity and DNA.  I’ve approached Mike Ash to participate, and he has politely declined (I’m waiting to hear back on his reasons).  I’ve also approach FAIR, and am waiting to hear back.

In case FAIR/FARMS decide not participate, do any of you know anyone who is a believer in Book of Mormon authenticity, who is able AND willing to discuss Book of Mormon historicity and DNA issues on a podcast?  I offered Mike Ash and FAIR the questions in advance, and an opportunity to review/edit before publishing.  I also promised to be fair/kind in my interview…and I’ll offer the same to others if necessary.  I think my track record with believing folks like John Lynch, Greg Kearney, Richard Bushman, and Margaret Young/Darius Gray supports that I will be kind/fair.

Thanks so much!

John Dehlin

Comments 27

  1. I don’t represent FAIR at all but I’m a member of it. I have my own ideas about a lot of things, and my ideas are not mainstream apologetics, and definitely not the FARMS/FAIR party lines, so I can’t really represent anybody but myself. I could kick around the idea, but I don’t know how people at FAIR would feel about my participation. I am a believer in Book of Mormon historicity/authenticity. I’m not a believer in the Mesoamerican Cumorah, but feel the majority of the Book of Mormon took place in Mesoamerica. I can’t speak much on the DNA issue but have my own opinions about it. I don’t believe in the missing papyrus theory for the Book of Abraham but believe it was a real translation.

    I don’t know if I qualify as much of a expert on anything though I’ve researched a number of subjects on my own that interest me. I’m a shy person and its easy to type here where nobody can hear my voice, but it may not be so easy for me to come out publicly. I guess we can talk and see where this goes. But I may not be the right guy for this.

    Ed Goble

  2. I would consider myself a believer in the historicity of the Book of Mormon — especially by Community of Christ standards — but I can see hope for reconciling DNA evidence only by giving up the “correlated” dating of the Jaredite migration and moving it back more than 10,000 years earlier to the global sea level rises as the last ice age ended. They move from the mideast across Asia in a generation at “religious quest” speed, stick around only long enough to incorporate Siberian genes into their linage by having lots of little kids to pack into the fleet, and then roll along the North Pacific Gyre to land in the Pacific Northwest. Key events are carried as oral traditions until the Olmecs, among all the descending cultures throughout the Americas, develop the culture to start writing them down.

    Without thousands of years of adaptive headstarts, later Lehite contributions can’t compete genetically, but religion and culture can combine with what was here and adapt.

    I think this is a tough nut for any apologist.

  3. I’ll definitely give it a listen if you pull this together. Are you getting panelists from various perspectives (or do you already have the non-historical viewpoint panelists covered)?

  4. Bored,

    Thank you. I definitely like it, and have used it for a long time since one of my hobbies is astronomy.

  5. Ed — I’ll definitely be in touch with you. Thanks so much for the offer! Let me see what FAIR says, and I’ll go from there.

    Ang — I’m definitely planning on covering both sides…..a scientific/skeptical perspective, and a faithful one…though the lines can be really blurry, obviously.

    I’ll keep ya’ll posted!

  6. John

    Cris may shoot me for doing this but you might consider Cris Heimerdinger. He is the author of the Tennis sShoes Among the Nephites fictional series about the Book of Mormon. He is very articulate and a firm believer in the historicity of the Book Of Mormon.

    Larry P

  7. John, I appreciate the intentions behind your offer, but the way it’s worded presents people like me who are affiliated with FAIR in a bit of an awkward place.

    I belong to FAIR and contribute a bit to its work. But I most definitely don’t represent the organization, and most of us members are at pains to make that distinction. FAIR is a group of people with a common goal, but often highly differing views. It is impossible for any of us to really represent the whole organization. Certainly, it is impossible for me.

    Yet, the way your invitation has been issued makes it quite clear that anyone who chooses to take you up on it would be widely seen as “representing” FAIR. His or her arguments would be viewed as those of FAIR, for better or worse.

    I would not be willing to put myself in that position.

    Now, I did recently participate in a podcast with Kevin Barney over at Mormon Expressions. But both of us did so at the personal request of a mutual friend we respected. There was no implication of it being a showing of official FAIR presence.

    FAIR as a whole does not exercise that much control over its members, and I felt no particular need to ask “permission” from anyone to do the Mormon Expressions podcast. But I acted strictly on my own in that regard. I could not feel I would be doing so, if I were to accept your invitation here (not that I’d be a great candidate for a vigorous advocacy of the Book of Mormon anyway – your other mentioned candidates are much better qualified).

    Just my own thoughts here and why I personally can’t feel comfortable accepting such an invitation – were it directed at me.

  8. I think this is a great idea John. I hope you can find someone who has some skill.

    For apologetics, I would suggest either Michael Whiting or John E. Clark. From what I have read or heard they seem to be the best on the apologetics side.

    To make it fun, you could add Rod Meldrum, Bruce Porter or Wayne May for the hemispheric model. They seem to have the largest following and are old school orthodoxy.

    But to really mix it up you need Brent Metcalfe. Now that would be a program for the ages.

    If I may suggest, I think you need to do a interview with John Sorenson. In many ways he is the father of Meso-America BOM geography and the man is getting up there in years. This would be important for future generations. You could ask him about publishing his book and having to wait for certain GA’s to pass on.

  9. John, What about Kerry Shirts, the “backyard professor” from youtube, he’s the perfect apologist, try to see some of his videos on his blog and/or youtube. And by the way, he already agreed on being interviewed by you

  10. John,

    After further thoughts, I feel that this is not right for me. I made a mistake and I’m not the right person for this. My destiny is not to be on podcasts. I feel the Lord taking me a different direction. I apologize.

    Ed Goble

  11. I’m going to second what Flauber Barros said. Kerry Shirts is as feisty as they come, and he knows a heck of a lot about Mormon apologetics.

  12. The dust jacket from Who Are the Children of Lehi? DN and the Book of Mormon by D. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens reads:

    The Book of Mormon stands as the keystone of the LDS faith. Millions regard it as a book of scripture, another testament of Christ, produced in the New World by the descendants of a small party of Israelite immigrants who are among the ancestors of the American Indians. Yet DNA sequencing of modern natives of both North and South America clearly imply that their ancestors came from Asia, not the biblical lands of the Middle East. How serious is this challenge to long-held assumptions about the identity of Book of Mormon peoples? Does the DNA evidence undermine the historicity of the Book of Mormon?

    In Who Are the Children of Lehi? Jeff Meldrum and Trent Stephens, professors and researchers, provide a solidly scientific guide for the layperson, beginning with the basics. The scientific method works by proposing testable hypotheses and eliminating those that are incorrect. But the scientific method can’t falsify untestable hypotheses (for example, is there a “Lehite” genetic marker in the Americas?) nor can it prove a negative (for example: if we can’t find “Lehite” DNA, then it never existed). They also explain the fascinating process of genetic inheritance itself, illuminating technical points with easy-to-grasp examples and using their own family histories to show how DNA sequence data captures only a fraction of the 1,024 “slots” on a ten-generation pedigree chart.

    This discussion lays the foundation for a fascinating overview of DNA studies on existing Native American populations, which does indeed confirm Asian origins for most current Native Americans sampled by such methods. However, that discussion leads to a sober analysis of the genocide that swept Native American populations with the arrival of Europeans. In vivid historical examples and reports of contemporary studies, the authors explain how simplistic assumptions about DNA survival must be qualified by the often dramatic effects of swamping out, bottlenecks, founder effects, genetic drift, and admixture. The result is a rich and complex view of the realities of genetic transmission. They also offer diffusionism, a hypothesis with mounting evidence of numerous transoceanic contacts, as an alternative to the “crossing the Bering land bridge” paradigm.

    In their conclusion, they return to the foundations laid out in their introduction: The ultimate issues of the veracity of the Book of Mormon record as it relates to Native American ancestry lie squarely in the arena of faith and personal testimony—beyond the purview of scientific empiricism. In the end, Lehi’s legacy is one of kinship through covenant, rather than through bloodlines or genes.

  13. Seth,

    I’m happy to bring on anyone who is competent. They don’t have to represent FAIR. That was just a starting point for me.

    Happy to bring you on as just Seth.

  14. john, I am a bit of a hobbyist on this topic, and I am familiar with many unorthodoz theories (as well as orthodox ones). I am familiar with dna but don’t consider myself an expert. I have posted many times on geography and dna.

  15. The difficulty here is that there isn’t a consensus apologist position. Its the “nailing jello to a wall” problem.

    The number one question that you should ask the apologist is why the church knows so little about the subject now, when the early church leaders claimed to know so much. Joseph supposedly knew about the ancient inhabitants like he had lived his life among them. Now we can’t even take an official position on who they were, where they lived, how they lived, etc. Doesn’t sound anything like what you’d expect from an organization that claims divine revelation.

  16. Thanks John.

    Alas, my only claim to fame is arguing with an obscene amount of people on the Internet. I don’t feel even half as qualified as guys like Kerry Shirts or Mike Ash.

  17. john, simon southerton is another person you should talk to. he commented on my blog a while back, and wrote the book called ‘losing a lost tribe.’ of course, he would definitely be considered a skeptic. I may some contact info for him.

  18. QUESTION: How can you discuss DNA, without knowing WHERE the specific Nephite/Lamanite tribes are/were located.
    Have you considered Robert A. Pate, author of:
    1) Mapping the Book of Mormon: A Comprehensive Geography of Nephite America(2002).
    2) Mormon Names in Maya Stone(2009)
    3) Mormon Key to Maya Code(2012), and
    4) Mormon Footprint in Mesoamerica(2012).
           Since his first book he has published 3 more. His 3rd book, MORMON KEY TO MAYA CODE(2012), identifies SPECIFICALLY which Mayan tribes pertain to the specific Nephite remnants for the residual tribes of NEPHI, SAM, JACOB, and JOSEPH. He has also identified other residual tribe associations for Zoramite, Mulekite, and Jaredite remnants. His latest  research results coupled with the utilization of some relatively recent native Maya research done by Ruud VanAkkeren and Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos correlates specific Maya tribes to specific Book of Mormon tribal groups. See MormonTopics.com. NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO GET THAT LEVEL OF SPECIFICITY EVER BEFORE. He also identifies additional links to some Chinese influence & others as well. The cultural mixing pot is a very fine cultural stew, which has never before been deciphered or unraveled, as Pate is able to do. READ his 3rd book. and it will forever alter your perspective on the matter.

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