Saturday, December 3, 2011

Modern-Day American Indian Trio Of The Omaha Tribe In Nebraska Accepts LDS Mission Calls In The Tradition Of Samuel The Lamanite

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that many modern-day American Indians carry Lamanite ancestry. That is, they are descended at least in part from Laman, the eldest son of the patriarch Lehi who, with his family and others, migrated from Jerusalem to the Western Hemisphere around B.C. 600. One of the most powerful and effective missionary voices from the Lamanites back during their time was Samuel the Lamanite, who accurately prophesied various local events accompanying the birth and death of Jesus Christ.

Now a trio of modern-day American Indian siblings have decided to follow the example of Samuel the Lamanite and accept mission calls. They are a trio of siblings from a family of 11 who are members of the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska. Two of the 11 have already served missions. Read the full story by the Sioux City Journal, replete with a photo of the three. Here are the particulars:

-- Sariah Harlan, 21, a junior at BYU-Provo studying anthropology and international relations, left November 25th for an 18-month mission in Albuquerque, NM. A considerable percentage of New Mexico's population has Lamanite blood, to include both those who identify as American Indians as well as mestizos who identify as Hispanic.

-- Jarom Harlan, 25, attended Wayne State College in business management and is now preparing to deploy on December 28th on a two-year mission to Leon, Mexico. A majority of the population of Leon prospectively has Lamanite ancestry.

-- Moroni Harlan, 19, a recent graduate of Lyons-Decatur High School, is now preparing to deploy on December 28th on a two-year mission to Vancouver, WA.

The three are particularly interested in setting an example for their American Indian brothers and sisters. They note that on their reservation in Macy, NE, there were once hundreds of Mormons, but now that number has dwindled to only a few families. They're hoping that by going out and searching for the Lord, they can bring back blessings for their people and help them lift themselves and start getting back on the right track.

Because the Book of Mormon focuses exclusively upon the Nephites, the Lamanites, the Mulekites, and an earlier group of people, the Jaredites, many early Mormon leaders got the impression that they were the only peoples in the Western Hemisphere during those times. That impression has since been corrected through scientific discovery and subsequent inspiration; the more contemporary belief is that these peoples were just one of many different peoples who lived in the Western Hemisphere. One can look at Alaska Natives and Canadian First Nations peoples and clearly see physical evidence of their Asian origin. So the Book of Mormon is no longer considered incompatible with the Bering Strait migration theory, nor is it consider to preclude the possibility of additional migrations from elsewhere -- perhaps even from China.

The Book of Mormon has been criticized by scoffers walking after their own lusts because of so-called "lack of DNA evidence". But FairLDS provides a credible response. They state that the population that existed in the Americas prior to Lehi's arrival likely would have been much, much larger, correspondingly dominating the genetic structure of later generations. This means it would be extremely difficult to find any MDNA from Lehi's family in today's generations because the introduction of the new MDNA from the larger preexistent population would prevent such a trace. Read this Wikipedia article about genetics and the Book of Mormon for more information; Jeff Lindsay also provides a detailed FAQ portal.

One of the reasons why the Book of Mormon has so many "loose ends" is because our Heavenly Father wanted us to accept it on the basis of faith. He dispenses wisdom line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. He wants to provoke further curiosity and inquiry on our part. That's why we can't find a map of the Nephite homelands or so-called "smoking-gun proof" of the existence of such people. If our Heavenly Father gave us all the answers on a silver platter, He would deny us the thrill of initial discovery. It is actually a blessing that the Father has held back enough information so we will want to continue searching for answers.

We can either join the Charles Anthon Cult and cry about how we cannot read a sealed book, or we can turn to the Father for guidance, remembering that He has said "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not".

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