For Mormons, the lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans is no minor collision between faith and science. It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error.
For those outside the faith, the depth of the church's dilemma can be explained this way: Imagine if DNA evidence revealed that the Pilgrims didn't sail from Europe to escape religious persecution but rather were part of a migration from Iceland — and that U.S. history books were wrong.
Critics want the church to admit its mistake and apologize to millions of Native Americans it converted. Church leaders have shown no inclination to do so. Indeed, they have dismissed as heresy any suggestion that Native American genetics undermine the Mormon creed.
Yet at the same time, the church has subtly promoted a fresh interpretation of the Book of Mormon intended to reconcile the DNA findings with the scriptures. This analysis is radically at odds with long-standing Mormon teachings.
Some longtime observers believe that ultimately, the vast majority of Mormons will disregard the genetic research as an unworthy distraction from their faith.
I tend to agree here. When one measures spiritual truth through a "burning of the bosom," then the Book of Mormon has to be true, no matter what science says. Additionally, those who are looking to find validity for the Book of Mormon will probably be satisfied with the "fresh interpretation" offered by LDS apologists.
Nevertheless, I do not think we should automatically dismiss this argument either. Some Latter-day Saints are open to this scientific evidence. For others, this could be one damaging claim among others that could build a cumulative case against Mormonism. Joel Kramer and Living Hope Ministries has released a helpful video and DVD, "DNA vs. the Book of Mormon." As a whole, I find this resource very informative and useful.