Thomas Murphy’s fans compare him to Galileo, but the Mormon hierarchy seems to think he’s a heretic.

Murphy is head of the anthropology department at Edmonds Community College in Lynnwood, Washington and now seems to be caught in a dilemma, reports the Herald of Everett.

The Mormon anthropologist published a paper within “American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon,” which essentially says the scriptures of his faith are wrong, or at least historically.

The Book of Mormon is supposedly not simply a spiritual work, but claims to be a history book as well.

It tells the saga of lost pre-Columbian civilizations that vanished around 400 AD.

However, this history, which was supposedly divinely revealed to Joseph Smith the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), doesn’t square with any scientific evidence.

Murphy found through his research that one claim within his faith’s scriptures was certainly false. Native Americans are not the descendents of ancient Hebrews. Murphy proved this conclusively through DNA evidence.

Ironically, the anthropologist found his proof through blood samples gathered through a multimillion-dollar “molecular genealogy” project at Brigham Young University, a Mormon bastion of education.

Of course believing Mormons refute Murphy’s conclusions and he has been labeled as a likely “apostate.” Apparently the scientist is now on the brink of banishment from his church.

This would not be the first time the Mormon Church has purged an intellectual from its ranks. The last such excommunication was less than a decade ago and at least a few more academics are on a its short list for possible expulsion.

Mormons cling to their pseudo-history for good reason. If the Book of Mormon is fiction, then Joseph Smith was not a “prophet.” Smith’s status as a “revelator” is the primary premise, which forms the foundation of this uniquely American religion.

But unlike other religious texts, the Book of Mormon is relatively modern and is easily disproved historically.

Mormons have searched desperately for generations to find a single archaeological artifact that would somehow confirm a part of their book.

One such searcher was Thomas Stewart Ferguson, who spent 25 years on his quest only to ultimately conclude, “You can’t set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of dirt-archeology.”

Brigham D. Madsen, perhaps the most well known Mormon apologist, admitted there was no way to explain the historical anachronisms within his faith’s scriptures.

After much media attention the ongoing effort to examine and expel Thomas Murphy has been halted for the moment. But it is unlikely that the Mormon Church will ignore the questions raised by the anthropologist.

What can they do? Admit that Joseph Smith was not a “prophet,” but instead just a good storyteller?

I don’t think so.

It is much easier to get rid of the good professor, than examine such disturbing possibilities.


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