New Light on DNA and the Book of Mormon

Coming at the scientific community like a ton of bricks, it has been revealed that Native American’s are not of exclusively Eastern Asian heritage. As the National Geographic states, “Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe, rather than entirely from East Asians as previously thought.” The discovery of 24,000-year-old Siberian youth and a second 17,000 year old human remains nearby contain a third of western Eurasians genomes related to Middle East and Europe ancestry.

Needless to say, the discovery has been shocking to scientists who have for years insisted that there was only one DNA explanation for Native Americans. In the linked article, co-author and ancient-DNA specialist Eske Willerslev, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, says, “These results were a great surprise to us . . . I hadn’t expected anything like this. A genome related to present-day western Eurasian populations and modern Native Americans as well was really puzzling in the beginning. How could this happen?” Not that there weren’t clues that indicated things weren’t what was expected long before this discovery. According to the scientists, it answers some long standing questions and anomalies. The mysterious Kennewick Man, who to some doesn’t look either East Asian or Native American, might not be a complete anomaly. In fact, it has always been something of a puzzle why, “no contemporary East Asian populations really resemble Native Americans,” Willerslev said. The evidence is growing from genetic, linguistic, and physical evidence that America has ancient migrants from multiple peoples.

Despite all the evidence, there are some things that can be concluded and others not about The Book of Mormon and the DNA discoveries. It is not as clear cut for both sides, no matter how strong feelings are about the issues. What does this mean? That question will be answered in response to relatively standard comments already made by others. Continue reading

The TLC controversy and Mormons with same-sex attraction

You may have heard that TLC is planning on running a show on Mormons with same-sex attraction, some of whom are happily married to somebody of the opposite sex. As anybody could have predicted, some champions of “tolerance” are intolerantly calling for the cancellation of this show, which simply has these people telling their stories. The show is called “My Husband’s Not Gay.”

I would urge M* readers to visit this post, which has a great summary of the situation. I would also urge charity and compassion for these brave Mormons trying to balance their sexual desires with prophetic guidance. These people truly are modern-day heroes.

Here is the teaser for the show on TLC:

Can you spare some compassion for the workers?

I want to tell you about my friend Tom. Tom went to college but graduated a few years ago and could not find a good job. After months of searching, he ended up working as a bartender. He worked five days a week from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Tom didn’t like the hours of his job and he didn’t like working in a bar. But it was a job and he did his best. After tips, he made about $35k per year.

Six months ago, Tom got offered a job by an oil company. It just so happens that I live in northern Colorado, where there is an oil and gas boom of epic proportions. Tom’s starting salary? $50k per year, with the potential to make $70k within a year or so. Tom’s working hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and his company gave him a brand new truck to drive on the work site.

Tom’s story is not unique. I know literally a dozen people who are either working for an oil company or working for a company that provides services to an oil company. They all tell the same story: starting salaries are great, working conditions are great, and they feel part of something that is growing and has a future.

In Tom’s case, he recently got married, and he says one of the reasons he was able to make the commitment of marriage is that he now has a stable job making more money. He plans on buying a house soon. Importantly, he feels his marriage will be more stable if he is not working at a bar until 2 a.m. but instead is home for dinner every night.

People seem to forget that good jobs make for good families and for stable communities. From a Gospel perspective, it seems obvious to me that we should favor policies that allow the creation of new high-paying jobs in the private sector.

Unfortunately, many people seem to favor the latest left-wing cause rather than having compassion for the American worker. Make no mistake: most of these causes are favored by people who work in academia or government. Most of these causes claim to want to “save” one thing or another. But the proponents of these causes could care less about Tom and the literally millions of other people who need a good job today.

Continue reading

A decade of The Millennial Star

10 years ago a group of Mormon bloggers founded The Millennial Star, a Mormon blog dedicated to building up and sustaining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is surprising to many that we are still around.

A few thoughts:

–Finding a name for a new blog is always an adventure. I can now reveal that one of the names that was considered is “Laban’s Neck.”
–Most of the early founders of the blog no longer write here, but those of us who remain love them and welcome them.
–The blog went through some tough times in its second year, but I am happy to report that readership is higher than ever and that 2014 was a banner year for The Millenial Star. We are at record levels in terms of readership, number of posts and number of comments.

All is all, it is likely we will continue to be around for a while longer. Happy 2015 everyone!