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Native people not descended from lost Jewish tribe

The Mormon Church doesn't plan on changing its teachings about Native Americans even after DNA evidence showed that indigenous people in the Americas do not descend from a lost tribe of Hebrews.

The church has long claimed that Native Americans are descended from a tribe of "pure" -- once known as "white" -- Hebrew people from Israel. They have used the claim to convert indigenous people to the religion.

But DNA tests showed that Native Americans do not have discernible Hebrew or Middle Eastern blood. The church's official response is that critics are using the evidence to attack the religion.

Unofficially, some Mormons are suggesting a new interpretation of church teachings that claims Hebrews did indeed settle in a part of Central America, but that their DNA was "swamped" by other indigenous people already living in the area.

Get the Story:
Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted (The Los Angeles Times 2/16)