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Testing the Creation Model of the LDS Church. Richard Deem Evidence for God from Science www.GodAndScience.org. Why Test Religious Claims?. ?. Determine the truth Adopt a valid worldview Lead others to develop a valid worldview. Is It Fair to Test LDS Theology?.

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testing the creation model of the lds church

Testing the Creation Model of the LDS Church

Richard Deem

Evidence for God from Science


why test religious claims
Why Test Religious Claims?


  • Determine the truth
  • Adopt a valid worldview
  • Lead others to develop a valid worldview
is it fair to test lds theology
Is It Fair to Test LDS Theology?
  • According to Joseph Smith, all Christianity had become apostate and was an “abomination” in the sight of God
  • Current official teaching of the LDS church teaches that “error crept into Church doctrine” and that the true Church was destroyed
  • Christians have the right and responsibility to defend the indestructible Church that Jesus Christ established in the first century
overview of lds theology
Overview of LDS Theology
  • “Standard works”
    • Bible (Old and New Testament)
    • Book of Mormon
    • Doctrine and Covenants
    • Pearl of Great Price
  • Some or all of previous revelation may be superceded by the current “prophet”
  • This presentation uses the official LDS teaching book Gospel Principles
overview of the lds creation model
Overview of the LDS Creation Model
  • Heavens and the earth were created by a council of gods
  • The God of this world (Elohim) was once a man who worked his way to godhead
  • Gods are created
    • Celestial procreation produces “spirit children”
    • Spirit children can progress to godhead
  • Matter is eternal
the lds creation model
The LDS Creation Model
  • Heavens and the earth were created by a council of gods
    • “…the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was…” (D&C 121:32)
    • The Gods plan the creation of the earth and all life thereon… (PoGP:Abraham 4:Heading)
    • …And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth. (PoGP:Abraham 4:1)
the lds creation model1
The LDS Creation Model
  • The God of this world (Elohim) was once a man who worked his way to godhead
    • “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…” (D&C 130:22)
    • “This is the way our Heavenly Father became God. Joseph Smith taught: ‘It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God. . . . He was once a man like us; . . . God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).” (Gospel Principles, 1997. Chapter 47 “EXALTATION”).
the lds creation model2
The LDS Creation Model

Obedient humans can become gods:

  • “If we prove faithful to the Lord, we will live in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. We will become exalted, just like our Heavenly Father…”“These are some of the blessings given to exalted people…2. They will become gods.”(Gospel Principles, 1997. Chapter 47 “EXALTATION.”
  • “Celestial marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become gods;” (D&C: Section 132:Heading)
the lds creation model3
The LDS Creation Model

Gods are created through celestial procreation

“… our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present his plan for our progression (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 348, 349, 365). We learned that if we followed his plan, we would become like him. We would have a resurrected body; we would have all power in heaven and on earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as he does (see D&C 132:19-20).”

Gospel Principles, Chapter 2, “Our Heavenly Family”

the lds creation model4
The LDS Creation Model

Matter is eternal

  • Since gods are created, matter must be eternal


  • Scientists agree that matter (along with energy, space and time) was created at the Big Bang
  • How did matter create the first god?
e mail from an lds member
E-mail From an LDS Member

“Cosmology today postulates an initial explosion (the Big Bang) from which our universe has emerged … the beginning for energy and all the associated laws of physics, chemistry, et al. This is great for Christianity. It certainly appears that science supports the Biblical “in the beginning” which is interpreted to define a creation of the Heavens and the Earth out of nothing… I think it is safe to say that Mormons don't believe in the Big Bang.”

book of mormon overview
Book of Mormon Overview
  • “Another testament of Jesus Christ”
  • Recorded by the prophet Mormon
  • Claims to be an account of two great civilizations in the Americas:
    • Jaredites (from the scattering at the Tower of Babel)
    • Nephites and the Lamanites (from Jerusalem in 600 B.C.)
book of mormon errors
Book of Mormon Errors
  • Archeology
    • Metals
    • Weapons
    • Agriculture
    • Textiles
    • Animals
    • Calendars
    • Religion
    • Racial characteristics
  • Genetics
smithsonian institution letter

The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution has never used it in archeological research and any information that you have received to the contrary is incorrect.

Smithsonian Institution Letter
  • Metals (in coins, weapons, and buildings)
  • Weapons of war (chariots, scimitars, swords, breastplates)
  • Crops (wheat and barley)
  • Specialized fabrics (linen and silk)
  • Animals (donkey, cattle, oxen, horse, pig, and elephants)
  • Calendar
metals in the book of mormon

Metal workers in pottery, 1000 to 1500 A.D.

Metals in the Book of Mormon
  • Book of Mormon claims that iron, steel, brass, copper, silver and gold found in Americas before Christ
  • These metals were said to be found in coins, weapons, and buildings
metal use in the americas

Stone Aztec knife,1450 A.D.

Metal Use in the Americas
  • Metallurgy did not occur until at least 900 A.D.
  • Stone weapons in use at time Spanish conquistadors arrived
  • Depictions of metals/metal work in art did not appear until ~1000 A.D.
weapons in the book of mormon

Scimitar, MiddleEastern weapon of war

Weapons in the Book of Mormon
  • Book of Mormon claims that chariots were used in Americas before Christ
  • Book of Mormon describes use of scimitars (spelled “cimiter” in Book of Mormon), steel swords and brass breastplates
weapons in the americas

Weapons included spears

Weapons in the Americas
  • No chariots or even wheeled vehicles used
  • No metal weapons prior to 1000 A.D.
  • Millions died in battle at Hill Cumorah – no weapons or remains found
agriculture in the book of mormon
Agriculture in the Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Mormon describes the growing of crops that require the use of plows and specialized farming techniques
  • Book of Mormon crops included wheat and barley
agriculture in the americas
Agriculture in the Americas
  • Many ancient American Cultures were hunter-gatherers
  • No evidence of plows (as actual artifacts or in artwork)
  • No evidence of either wheat or barley
  • Crops know to be grown by ancient Americans, such as chocolate, lima beans, squash, potatoes, and tomatoes are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon
textiles in the book of mormon
Textiles in the Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Mormon describes the use of linen and silk
  • No evidence for the growing of flax (used to make linen) has been found in pre-Columbian sites
  • No evidence of silkworms or the technology required to produce silk material has been found
  • No linen or silk items have been found
textiles in the americas
Textiles in the Americas
  • Textiles have been found dating from as early as 5800 B.C.
  • Elaborate weaving and patterns found in textiles dating from 600 B.C. (date Nephites and Lamanites were said to have sailed to the Americas)
animals in the book of mormon
Animals in the Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Mormon claims that the following Old World animals were found in ancient America:
    • Donkeys
    • Cattle
    • Oxen
    • Horses
    • Pigs
    • Elephants
animals in the americas

Man with llama

Animals in the Americas
  • Mammoths, mastodons, and horses had disappeared from the American continents 10,000 years ago
  • Donkeys, cattle, oxen, horses, and pigs were introduced on the continent by the Spanish after 1492
calendars in the book of mormon

Aztec calendar, 1372 A.D.

Calendars in the Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Mormon claims that ancient Americans practiced a seven day week
  • This week was said to have consisted of six days of work and a seventh day of rest
calendars in the americas
Calendars in the Americas
  • 260-day cycle divided into 13 “months” of twenty days (used by most of the ancient Mesoamericans)
  • 365-day cycle, divided into 18 “months” of twenty days. The five leftover days were called the “resting,” or “sleep of the year.”
  • 3276-day cycle divided into four quadrants of 819 days (the product of 7 x 9 x 13, all sacred numbers to the Maya).
  • “Long count” calendar counted days from the creation of the world (said to be on August 11, 3114 B.C.)
religion in the book of mormon

Wheeping God

Bat God

Water Goddess

Solar God

Jaguar God

Death God

Rain God

Corn God

Religion in the Book of Mormon
  • The Book of Mormon claims that ancient Americans were monotheistic and worshipped the God of the Hebrews
religion in the americas
Religion in the Americas
  • Religion in the Americas included human sacrifice, including child sacrifice
racial characteristics of ancient americans
Racial Characteristics of Ancient Americans
  • All native peoples of the Americas are dark-skinned
  • Depictions of native peoples in the period artwork shows dark-skinned peoples
  • No evidence for the “white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome.” Nephites
genetics in the book of mormon
Genetics in the Book of Mormon
  • Book of Mormon claims
  • DNA studies
  • LDS objections based on science
  • LDS objections based upon textual interpretation
book of mormon claims
Book of Mormon Claims
  • Native Americans are descended from Hebrews
    • “...Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel..” (Title Page 1:2)
    • “...the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians” (Introduction Preface:1-2)
    • “...I speak unto you [Lamanites], ye remnant of the house of Israel; and these are the words which I speak: Know ye that ye are of the house of Israel.” (Mormon 7:1-2)
    • “Which is my word to the Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant...” (D&C: Section 19:27)
dna studies on native american origins
DNA Studies on Native American Origins
  • Y-chromosome
  • mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA)
  • Polymorphic Alu insertions
  • Intestinal microbial flora
  • Domesticated animals
y chromosome studies
Y-Chromosome Studies
  • SNP in DYS199 locus present in all 5 Native American populations and in Siberian Chukchi populations
  • Examination of more than 2,500 Y-chromosomes of wide geographic origin indicated this polymorphism is found only in Native American and Asian populations (not found in African, Australoid, or Caucasian European populations)
y chromosome studies1
Y-Chromosome Studies
  • Haplotype M3 present in 66% of NA males found in Chukotka peninsula in Siberia
  • Haplotype M45 present in 25% of NA males found in Lower Amur River and Sea of Okhotsk regions of eastern Siberia
  • Haplotype RPS4Y-T present in 5% of NA males found in the Lower Amur River/Sea of Okhotsk region of Siberia
y chromosome studies2
Y-Chromosome Studies
  • Polymorphisms of Native American populations show a gradient of polymorphisms extending from North to South America
  • Such a gradient is expected from an Asian migration through the Bering Strait
  • Book of Mormon suggests that a genetic gradient should extend in the opposite direction
mitochondrial dna
Mitochondrial DNA
  • Four Native American haplotypes (A-D) found in 50% of native Mongolians
  • NA HVS-1 haplotype found in 50-70% of aboriginal Siberians
  • Genetic studies set the date for the origination of these haplotypes at 20,000 - 30,000 years ago
polymorphic alu insertions
Polymorphic Alu Insertions
  • Alu family of retroposons is present at an extremely large copy numbers within the chromosomes of the human genome (500,000 copies/genome equivalent)
  • Five polymorphic Alu insertions were examined from 24 Native American populations
  • The comparison showed a close similarity between Chinese and Native American populations
intestinal microbial flora
Intestinal Microbial Flora
  • Helicobacter pylori, a chronic gastric pathogen of human beings, can be found in virtually every human population group
  • H. pylori strains can be genetically divided into seven populations that exhibit distinct geographical distributions
  • Native Americans have the same strain found in East Asians
domesticated animals

Mesoamerican dog (with fleas) dated 200 B.C. - 500 A.D.

Domesticated Animals
  • Native Americans had domesticated dogs in their settlements
  • All of these dogs were wiped out or interbred with European dogs
  • Remains from pre-Columbian NA dogs (Alaska,Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia) have been genetically examined
  • mtDNA sequences show that Native American dogs originated from Asian dogs who accompanied late Pleistocene humans across the Bering Strait
lds objections to the genetic studies
LDS Objections to the Genetic Studies

Founder effect

  • If one individual harbors a significant mutation compared to the population he came from, the genetics would be skewed toward that one individual.

Genetic drift

  • Results in isolated populations as selective breeding occurs, skewing the genetics in a particular direction
lds objections founder effect
LDS Objections: Founder Effect
  • All males descended from Lehi and all females descended from Ishmael
  • Requires mutations of at least:
    • 6 Y-chromosome polymorphisms
    • 4 mtDNA haplotypes
    • 5 polymorphic Alu insertions
    • Helicobacter pylori
    • Canine mtDNA haplotypes
  • All mutations must occur simultaneously and must result in Asian haplotypes
lds objections genetic drift
LDS Objections: Genetic Drift
  • Could genetic drift over 2,600 years account for the loss of Jewish haplotypes in Native Americans?
  • 700 year old remains show that Native American mtDNA haplotypes have not changed significantly
  • The African Lemba tribe claims to have Jewish roots
  • More than 50% of Lemba Y chromosomes carry haplotypes that are common among Jewish populations but absent in their African neighbors
other people groups are primary ancestors of native americans
Other People Groups Are Primary Ancestors of Native Americans
  • Nephites – Same Hebrew origins
  • Mulekites (book of Omni) – also of Hebrew origins
  • Jaredites – from the Tower of Babel. All except one man were killed in a devastating war
lamanites were a small group in central america
Lamanites Were a Small Group in Central America

Doctrine and Covenants

  • section 28 says that the city of Zion will be built “on the borders by the Lamanites.”
  • indicate that Mormon leaders were to “preach to the Lamanites”
  • relates the Lamanites to the “Indian tribes in the West”

Gospel Principles

  • teaches that “The Lamanites Will Become a Great People”
lds cosmology
LDS Cosmology
  • Matter is eternal
  • Habitable planets exist at the center of our galaxy
matter is eternal
Matter is eternal

“A large body of astrophysical observations now clearly points to a beginning for our universe about 15 billion years ago... There is, in fact, no evidence that any of the particles of matter with which we are now familiar existed before this great event.”

Louis J. Clavelli, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, University of Alabama

“One of the major hypotheses on which modern cosmology is based is that the Universe originated in an explosion called the Big Bang, in which all energy (and matter) that exists today was created.”

Eric S Rowland, UC Santa Cruz

  • Since gods are created, matter must be eternal
  • Scientists agree that matter (along with energy, space and time) was created at the Big Bang
planet kolob is the throne of god
Planet Kolob is the Throne of God

Pearl of Great Price

  • And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, togovern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest. (PoGP:Abraham 3:9)
kolob is at the center of the galaxy
Kolob is at the Center of the Galaxy

Pearl of Great Price

  • Kolob is the throne of God (where God supposedly lives)
  • Kolob “governs” other planets, including earth
  • Therefore, Kolob must be at the center of our galaxy, since this is the only position from which it could govern the movement of the earth, Sun, and moon.
light borrowed from kolob
Light Borrowed From Kolob

Pearl of Great Price

Fig. 5. Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob. (PoGP:Facsimile 2:5)

light produced by fusion not borrowed from kolob
Light Produced by Fusion, Not Borrowed From Kolob

Pearl of Great Price

  • The Sun “borrows its light from Kolob”
  • Other stars receive their power through “the revolutions of Kolob.”


  • Sun produces light through nuclear fusion
  • Other stars generate power through nuclear fusion
kolob revolves once every 1 000 years
Kolob Revolves Once Every 1,000 Years

Pearl of Great Price

  • And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God… that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord's time, according to the reckoning of Kolob. (PoGP:Abraham 3:3-4)
scientific problems with kolob
Scientific Problems With Kolob

Scientific Problems

  • Kolob’s 1000 year rotation period would make it extremely temperature variable.
    • The side that remained in darkness for 500 years would be extremely cold (near absolute zero)
    • The side in the light for 500 years would become very hot (likely several hundred degrees minimum)
scientific problems with kolob1
Scientific Problems With Kolob

Scientific Problems

  • Since Kolob governs the movements of the Earth the Moon, and the Sun it must reside at the center of our galaxy
    • Kolob would be subjected to extremely high levels of radiation from our galaxy’s central black hole
    • The chance of collision with other stellar systems would be very high at this location in our galaxy
summary of scientific problems
Summary of Scientific Problems

According to official LDS doctrine

  • Gods are created and matter is eternal
  • God lives on an uninhabitable planet called Kolob
  • Ancient Americans used metals in coins, buildings and weapons
  • Ancients Americans grew plow agriculture crops, such as wheat and barley
summary of scientific problems1
Summary of Scientific Problems

According to official LDS doctrine

  • Ancients Americans made materials from linen and silk
  • Ancient Americans raised donkeys, cattle, oxen, horses, pigs, and elephants
  • Ancient Americans used a calendar consisting of a seven day week
  • Ancient Americans were descendants of Hebrews
  • LDS “standard works” and official theology contain numerous scientific errors in their creation model
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a false religion