When you have to write an exploratory essay on a topic you are not very familiar with, it is often a real stumbling block. After all, instead of proving your own point of view, you have to gather information, check the facts and present your findings in an unbiased manner, and maintaining this objectivity may be difficult. However, when you already have a topic at your disposal, it becomes easier to concentrate your thoughts on a particular subject without having to imagine from which direction you are supposed to approach it.
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Interesting topics, aren’t they? They are based on 10 facts on anthropology of Mormonism prepared specially for you. You can check out the tips on exploratory essay writing as well. And right now we will show you a sample of an essay written on one of them.
The teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in the area of anthropology have been a subject of much debate ever since the foundation of this fairly young religion.
According to the Book of Mormon, some 4,200 years ago a lost tribe of Israelites travelled across the Atlantic Ocean to an uninhabited region in Central America. There they eventually divided into two separate peoples, the Nephites and the Lamanites. After a 200-year period of complete peace the two nations waged a large-scale war against each other, as a result of which the Nephites, which are described as highly-developed light-skinned people, were complete wiped out by the Lamanites, which are characterized as idle and wicked dark-skinned people. The Lamanites settled all over the Americas, becoming the ancestors of the Native Americans, effectively making them a lost tribe of Israel.
The Book of Mormon is perceived by the LDS as a divinely inspired revelation, so the Israelite roots of Native Americans are one of the principal tenets of the religion while going against everything stated by mainstream historiography. However, prior to relatively recent advances in DNA analysis there wasn’t any irrefutable evidence for or against the claims made by the Book of Mormon. Yes, archeologists, linguists, historians, biologists and anthropologists repeatedly pointed out numerous anachronisms contained in a presumably impeccable text, but Mormon scholars were always capable of finding explanations for why they were present there – sometimes rather far-fetched, but more or less believable.
However, the Book of Mormon doesn’t stand very well against the genetic evidence, and even those scholars who are members of the LDS themselves more and more often are forced to admit it. One of them, Thomas W. Murphy, was heavily criticized and even got under threat of excommunication from the church for his essay “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy and Genetics”. In it he supported the point of view that has been dominant in mainstream scientific community for a long time: that genetic evidence proves without any possible doubt that Native Americans have nothing to do whatsoever with the Israelites and instead originate from East Asia.
Nevertheless, it seems that this proof did little to persuade the LDS majority, even those of them belonging to scientific community. LDS-affiliated scholars like John Sorenson and John E. Clark continue to accept the historicity of the Book of Mormon and claim to find new and new proofs of its truthfulness despite being ridiculed by mainstream science. They find evidence in perceived similarities of the Book of Mormon geography with some Central American regions, interpret ancient Mesoamerican monuments to suit their historiography and so on.
However, one thing remains unchanged: none of the proofs used by Mormon scholars have been accepted by mainstream science. All non-Mormon experts agree that all currently available evidence is incompatible with Mormon view on anthropology, and none of the evidence used by Mormon scientists is in any way material.
Allen, Joseph L. Sacred Sites: Searching for Book of Mormon Lands. American Fork, UT: Covenant Communications, 2003. Print
Clark, John E. “A New Artistic Rendering of Izapa Stela 5: A Step toward Improved Interpretation.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8.1 (1999): 22-33. Print
Clark, John E. “Archaeology, Relics and Book of Mormon Belief.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 14.2 (2005): 38-49. Print
Green, Dee F. “Book of Mormon Archeology: The Myths and the Alternatives.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 4 (1969): 72-80. Print
Murphy, Thomas. “Lamanite Genesis, Genealogy and Genetics.” American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon. Ed. Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 2002. 47-77. Print
Sorenson, John L. An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Company, 1996. Print
Tanner, Jerald, Sandra Tanner. Archaeology and the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1969. Print
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