Author: Joel Kramer
How to Witness to Mormons with the “DNA vs The Book of Mormon” video
No farmer sows his fields with seed one day and wakes up the next morning to ripened grain. The seeds need water, plenty of sunlight, and time to grow.
When a Mormon watches DNA vs. The Book of Mormon, a seed has been planted. If that seed eventually helps lead the person to Christ, it is rarely in the moment or the next day. The important thing is to get the seed planted, so that by God’s power, it can begin to grow and eventually produce a harvest of righteousness. There is no chance for harvest if seeds are never sown!
Since we released the DNA video last March, we have seen 10 Mormons come to Christ directly through Living Hope’s ministry. We have also heard from other Christians, churches, and ministries, that many LDS members have been saved after having seen the video. It has taken some time, but these encouraging reports are now consistently coming in. For most of these new believers, the DNA issue was the “final straw” that allowed them to come out of deception and accept the truth. Most of them had been wrestling with doubts for years. For many others, the DNA issue will be what begins the wrestling match between doubt and truth. The goal of this article is to help those who want to use DNA vs. The Book of Mormon as a witnessing tool to LDS members by sharing what we at Living Hope have learned from our own experiences and from those of others who have written or called in.
First and foremost, it is essential to encourage Mormons to watch the video so that a seed can be planted and begin to grow within their hearts. One of the most effective ways to get Mormons to watch the video is to give it to them – not as an attack on their beliefs, but as a challenge to defend what they believe.
For example, you might say, “I saw this video and it raised some questions about Mormonism. Would you be willing to watch it and answer some of my questions?” This can be effective, because many sincere Mormons have a desire to defend their faith. If they are willing to view the video, the seed is planted, and the hardest part is complete. Nevertheless, a decision takes time, anywhere from days to several years.
When Mormons watch DNA vs. The Book of Mormon, they generally ask, “Is the DNA evidence presented on the tape accurate? And if so, does it really disprove the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon and the trustworthiness of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God?” Within Mormonism, there are only two main sources to which individuals may turn in order to find an answer to these serious questions.
BISHOPS & MISSIONARIES
The first source is their official leadership. Though this includes high officials, most LDS members will turn to their local stake president, missionaries, or more commonly, their bishop. Often they are not seeking answers for themselves, but rather, ways to answer the person who gave them the DNA tape.
We have heard such responses from Mormon leaders as “God changed the DNA of Native Americans” and “DNA science cannot be trusted.” Mormon leaders have a responsibility to reinforce more than 170 years of teaching that The Book of Mormon is the “bible” of the New World – that it is historical fact and that it should be believed above science, and even in spite of science. Their primary tactic, however, is silence. They often don’t answer the question, but rather tell the questioners, “Don’t think – just believe.” The leaders will encourage their members to read their Mormon scriptures and stop having conversations about this issue with whoever gave them the video.
Seekers often leave these discussions frustrated, without having their questions sufficiently answered. Since they do not feel confident to respond to questions from non-Mormons about the DNA issue, they will seek out their second source, hoping to find more adequate answers.
SCHOLARS AND SCIENTISTS
The second source is LDS scientists and scholars, which includes BYU professors and organizations like the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS), as well as other producers of articles, lectures and websites who come from academics within the religion. What seekers receive is a completely different answer to their question.
LDS scholars and scientists have to deal, at least to some degree, with the evidence. They won’t dismiss it by saying things like “God changed the DNA” or “The science is inaccurate.” Rather, they present the view that the 170-plus years of Mormon teaching that all of the American continents were populated by Hebrews – something ingrained in Mormons from the time they are children – is incorrect. The scientists and scholars present their own model that The Book of Mormon history actually takes place in a “limited geography”- a small, isolated place somewhere in the Americas that cannot be genetically traced.
This is contradictory to what LDS bishops and missionaries are teaching – that The Book of Mormon is the history of the entire western hemisphere. They can’t agree with the LDS scholars’ theory, because that would fly in the face of the teachings of all the Mormon prophets and presidents, starting with Joseph Smith himself. The LDS religion is divided on the DNA issue!
Another tactic of scientists and scholars is to complicate the DNA issue. They go into great detail about how DNA mixes from generation to generation and how hard it is to find a relative ten generations back. While this may be factual, this is completely irrelevant to the DNA problem facing The Book of Mormon claims.
It is not about finding a person’s single distant relative; rather it is answering the question: “Who were the principal ancestors of an entire race of people?”
Mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA are specifically tested to determine ancestry because they don’t recombine from generation to generation; they remain intact. It is simple: there is a living population today of Native Americans, Asians and Hebrews. Geneticists have tested these populations and have compared the results to see who is related to whom. These tests have demonstrated that there is a clear genetic link between Native Americans and Asians, but none whatsoever between Native Americans and Hebrews. It’s that simple!
Because they don’t have answers to the evidence, Mormon scientists try to lead people into unrelated complexity in order to confuse them. They know that confused people eventually give up. Anyone with a copy of the DNA video, on the other hand, can share how simple and straightforward the subject is.
The main result, then, for Mormons asking questions from both the religious leadership and LDS scientists is that they usually receive contrary answers from their two main sources. It is here that their questions may become doubts, and therefore much more personal. At this point, they might begin to consider the possibility that the information and conclusions on the DNA tape are correct. Entertaining this possibility can lead to further research (often on the Internet), which leads to more questions and challenges that can ultimately lead seekers to truth. It is also probable that at some point during this wrestling match they may allow the person who gave them the tape the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.
I have found it effective to encourage Mormons to understand that a division exists within their own religion on the DNA issue. If they give me a scholarly explanation to the DNA problem, I ask what their bishop and stake president says about it, or if they served missions, what did they teach – limited geography or all of the Americas? If they are honest, they will admit they taught it was the history of the entire New World. If they give me an answer from their leadership, I ask them what BYU scientists say about the matter and introduce them to the limited geography concept. My hope is that this will get them wrestling with these very different answers.
It is essential to understand that questioning and finding the truth happens through the working of the Holy Spirit and that praying for the individual is of utmost importance. It is always a miracle when Christ brings somebody to the foot of His cross. The means by which He draws each person are often diverse, but the end result is the same. We have heard about hundreds of Mormons who have already come through a process like the one explained, and have been saved. We believe there are many more in the process. We are praying that more Christians will be willing to plant seeds in the hearts of the Mormons they know by giving them tapes and encouraging them to watch, and then fighting for their souls through prayer.
Please, help us sow truth into the lives of these precious Mormon souls! And keep in mind these words of Jesus Christ as you continue to pray for those caught up in Mormonism: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined.” (Matthew 12:25)
The above article appeared in “The Field Worker” a publication of Living Hope Ministries that produce the DNA Video, and is reprinted with permission.
Copies of the DNA vs. The Book of Mormon video are available from the shop. Please help to get these seeds sown in the field of this world. Some are called to sow, some are called to reap – but God makes things grow! (1 Corinthians 3:5-8).