I thought it might be good to dispel a common "mormon myth".
Did Lehites Mix with existing indigenous people upon their arrival in the promised land?
Not according to God, Zenos, and Jacob. In the vineyard analogy in reference to planting the Lehites in America we read : (Jacob is quoting Zenos who says “thus sayeth the Lord”.)
44 And thou beheldest that I also cut down that which acumbered this spot of ground, that I might plant this tree in the stead thereof.
(Book of Mormon | Jacob 5:44)
The scriptures plainly say that the people that lived on this land were wiped off to prepare for the coming of Lehi's family and posterity.
The Lord kept this land hidden from other peoples, at least for a short time. Perhaps for a long time.
8 And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be akept as yet from the knowledge of other bnations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.
(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 1:8)
Furthermore, the Book of Mormon plainly tells us of the times when they did mix with other people. Zoram, Ishmael's family, the Mulekites, and the Jaredites. Groups of all sizes.
And yet people would have us believe that the prophets failed to mention other large groups of people. To me that is nonsense. When you read the scriptures there is no need for “other people” than those we are told about in the scriptures.
I think many people don't realize how fast populations can grow. My great great grandmother lived to be over 100 years old. When she died she had over 600 descendents. Now picture the next hundred years if each of those have 600 descendents of their own. That would be 360,000 people in only two hundred years. And that is starting from just one woman (and her husband of course). Now multiply that number by the number of families when the Lehites arrived in America. There were at least seven married couples when they arrived, not even counting Lehi and Sariah. This results in 2,520,000 people after two hundred years. Note that the first mention of a battle killing thousands of people in the Book of Mormon is around 450 years since the time they left Jerusalem. There could have been well over a Billion people by that time. Even if we cut the number in half making it only 300 descendents in 100 years it is 90,000 in 200 years, 27,000,000 in 300 years, and 8,100,000,000 in 400 years.
But perhaps that isn't realistic either. Let's just assume a growth rate of 50 people per 100 years. In four hundred years you still have over 6 million people. No need to add other peoples to the mix.
So where does this “other indigenous peoples” idea come from? Not from scriptures, but from Bad science.
The mistaken idea comes from a misunderstanding and misapplication of science. Let me explain.
We are supposed to believe that this continent was peopled by people 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. This “fact” is arrived at by doing some basic math with DNA. You see they did DNA research on ancient remains of ancient inhabitants and compared it to DNA samples of living native Americans. The differences are presumed to take a certain amount of time. This is arrived at by presuming evolution of species and comparing the difference between apes and man, and thus creating a time line for how long it takes DNA to change. This time ratio when applied to the differences in native American DNA produces a result of 10,000 to 11,000 years..
Why is this bad science? So many reasons. It all hinges on first believing in millions or billions of years of evolution. (Theories of “evolution of species” and the word of God are mutually exclusive.)
First, there really is no science to show that man evolved from apes. But that is another subject.
If you try to cross reference DNA changes in living people, for instance after tracking a couple of generations of DNA changes, and then extrapolating those changes to the supposed changes from today's people to the supposed “mitochondrial Eve” it turns out to be somewhere around 6,000 years, not 200,000. And that even assumes no major changes (catastrophies, etc.) during all those years. Actually DNA is simply too fragile and changeable to be a good time clock for much of anything.
The other huge error for believing in “other indigenous peoples” is the reliance on radiometric dating to tell us how old rocks or human remains may be.
If you talk to scientists who use these methods they will tell you how precise and accurate they are. The problem is it simply isn't true. If you actually study how these methods are used it is as bad as the DNA aging, or worse.
You see, their accuracy is only measured with any level of accuracy in controlled laboratory conditions on pristine materials. (Even in the lab they cheat by creating 'Concordia” to reach consensus.) But when you look at real world results, there isn't hardly any accuracy at all!
For instance taking the radiometric age of the same rock sample three times, looking for a different element each time, you get three entirely different dates. And we are not talking small differences either. One rock sample dated to about 500 million years using one method, about 1 billion years using a second method and 1.5 billion years using a third method. All from the same rock!
Would you call that accurate? Not me!
How about taking lava that formed from Mt. Saint Helens in 1986, let it cool until 1996, then take a sample into the lab for dating? The lab came back with a radiometric age of 350,000 years! Similarly, lava flows on the sides of Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand known to be less than 50 years old, yielded “ages” of up to 3.5 million years. Does that look like a problem to you? It does to me too.
When looking at science you have to look at the basic assumptions of any method. If those assumptions are wrong then the method can't be right. Next the theory has to turn up predictable results in real world experiments. None of the methods for claiming an age for the earth over 15,000 years fits these requirements. These methods simply do not work.
It might also be good to mention that, yes, there were people who lived on this land before the Lehites arrived. The scriptures tell us that. The Jaredites thrived here until they were wiped out. Also remember that this land was the place of Eden and all the history that happened from the time of Adam and Eve until the time of Noah. So, of course it is no surprise to find evidence of different people from different time periods living on this continent.
The most accurate method that science has of dating or aging anything is to use written records. That is why ice-core data is only accurate for about 150 years or so. We have actual weather data for that time period. After that the ice-core data is translated through speculations and a variety of theories. Written records give us solid evidence. We have that with the scriptures. Believe the eye witness accounts and the word of God as recorded by his prophets.
Any time science disagrees with scripture, you can know that the science is wrong, not the other way around. If you actually look at the science and start asking questions you can see how flawed it is.
Remember that Science is just another word for “philosophies of man”. In fact before we called it science it was called “Natural Philosophy”. Trust God, he will never lead you astray.
The other excuse I've heard for claiming “other indigenous peoples” is that Nephi's people wanted him to be a King for them. The question is asked, “Why would they need a King if they are just a small family group with no other people around?”
Go back to the scriptures, both the Book of Mormon and the Old Testament. You find out that Lehi's family came out of the Jerusalem area in a time of many Kings, or Chieftains, over warring groups of people. Notice how Nephi is referred to as a King or “protector” of his people (2 Nephi 6:2). Nephi's people ask him to be their King sometime between 30 and 40 years after they left Jerusalem. So obviously in 3 or 4 decades the people had begun to spread out on the land and recognized that they needed to come together to defend themselves against the ever present threat of war from the Lamanites. They desired for Nephi to be their leader in those situations. No far fetched “others” are necessary in the least.
2 Behold, my beloved brethren, I, Jacob, having been called of God, and ordained after the manner of his holy aorder, and having been consecrated by my brother Nephi, unto whom ye look as a bking or a protector, and on whom ye depend for safety, behold ye know that I have spoken unto you exceedingly many things.
(Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 6:2)
Study it out for yourself. Here are some resources to use.
Book of Mormon
For some fascinating science that shows how a young earth is not only possible, but probable:
http://www.holoscience.com/synopsis.php (read all 12 sections of the synopsis)
This science is laboratory tested, logical, and agrees with scripture. I'm not saying that it is true, I'm just saying that it dovetails nicely with what the scriptures teach when you look at the science with a scriptural view (taking the scriptures as truth).
Always judge science by the ruler of the scriptures. Never judge scriptures by the ruler of science. Science always changes, that is it's nature. Don't get hung up on science theories of the day. They are usually wrong to one degree or another. If you use the scriptures as your guide as you look at science you may gain many insights into things as they really are.
Trust God first!