Scholars more closely aligned with the Mormon church than Murphy argue that the lack of genetic evidence of an ancient Hebrew tribe in America does not undermine the Book of Mormon, which also includes what the book asserts is an eyewitness account of the ministry of [Jesus Christ] on the American continent following his resurrection in Jerusalem.
"The idea that America may have been overwhelmingly peopled by folks from northeastern Asia is perfectly compatible" with Mormon doctrine, said Daniel Peterson, a lifelong Mormon and professor of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young. Genetic evidence that some Native American ancestors came from the Middle East could easily be lost over thousands of years, he said.
Murphy published his findings last year on a Web site run by Mormon intellectuals who openly debate the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon. His work then appeared in American Apocrypha, an anthology about the Book of Mormon published in May by Signature Books, a small academic press in Salt Lake City that often releases books critical of church doctrine.