Burning Bosom

Theology, History, Culture, Politics & Life from a LDS (Mormon) Perspective

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Extra! Extra! Sister Smith’s Geneaology Disproves Science!

Posted by Shawn L on January 24, 2008

I have been witness to an event that, if verified, has the potential to change mankind’s understanding of its origins. Let me set the stage for you, gentle readers . . .

My wife and I have been selected to participate in the upcoming Stake Youth Conference handcart extravaganza (hold on ’til summer for the corresponding posts). Late last week, we attended our first leadership organization meeting. It was announced that, in preparation for the event, all participants, both kids and leaders alike, will need to identify and research a pioneer (one of our own forebears, if possible) for whom we will “trek.” Naturally, this instruction dovetailed into a nice discussion about genealogy, with the gentleman leading the meeting offering some helpful information for novice researchers about how to get started. Then then it happened — in response to further questions, a woman in the back offered herself as a genealogy expert because her family has completed its entire genealogy, stretching back “142 generations, all the way back to Adam.” You read that right, her family apparently has a chart tracing her lineage all the way back to the very beginning of man’s existence.

The few “oohs” elicited by the comment surely did not do it justice. Before I call the local paper, let me tell you why I think this statement and the chart in question is so extraordinary.
As I see it, this surely elaborate chart provides much-needed on three questions that have plagued good men and women for millenia:

(1) The age of the earth: One of the more controversial questions dogging those who believe in an inerrant Bible is, just how old is this Earth anyway? Evangelicals steadfastly maintain — archaeological record be damned! — that our planet is no more than 6,000 years old. Well, it looks like that particular riddle now has been solved and the strict constructionists win. Apparently, according to this Mormon source, the Earth is no more than 142 generations old which, by my (surely errant) reckoning, totals around 5,500 years. So, religion: 1, science:0.

(2) Evolution: Another bone of contention between religionists and secularists is the issue of evolution. Most conservative Christians reject any notion of evolution as the devil’s own favorite ploy. Heck, our own leaders have very publicly disagreed about this point. Well, those disagreements are a thing of the past. Unless “The Chart of 142” lists Homo Habilus, it is proof positive that evolution is all bunk and any sticky “no death before the fall” questions are moot. Adam, sitting at the top of this good sister’s genealogical pyramid, is the alpha dog of the human race, period. By my count, that’s religion: 2, science:0.

(3) The Bible/Christianity: Here’s the big one. As I see it, if the genealogy chart in question traces a line straight back through the patriarchs to Father Adam, then it is undeniable proof that the Bible is the literal truth, thereby confirming Christianity as the one true faith. That makes the final count, religion: 3, science: 0. In your face, Richard Dawkins!

Has anyone else run across or (perchance to dream) actually seen such a “complete” genealogical chart? I would be fascinated to hear about your experiences.

8 Responses to “Extra! Extra! Sister Smith’s Geneaology Disproves Science!”

  1. yes, I have traced several of my lines “back to Adam.” This is not hard to do if you can have ancestors from colonial America. Many of them can be traced back to the British royal lines, and these lines have long-established links to Adam. They are based mostly on legend and mythology, and are fun to look at. Just one example is here.

  2. Shawn L said

    Thanks for the link, BiV (and it’s good to have you here, by the way). I honestly had never heard of such a thing. But, looking at the chart, would you agree that it is a bit, err, “speculative”? As you suggest, it is based on “legend” and “mythology.” Understood in that context, I see it as sort of a fun historical exercise. What floored me, however, was the comment I heard was presented (and understood by listeners) in a discussing geneaology. That I find to be a bit troubling.

  3. Andrew said

    I did some family history research in hopes of finding royal blood. I learned from an 1860 U.S. Census form that I am the great, great grandson of an illiterate janitor working in a pool hall in Richfield, UT. That snag dashed my hopes of finding a royal line back to Adam.

    I wonder if anyone has ever researched their family history all the way back to Cain. Ten bucks to whoever can find that for me!

  4. Shawn L said

    My rule of thumb for geneaology is, the more celebrities you claim in your direct line, the less likely I am to believe to believe a word of what you say. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met over the years who are related to Charlemagne. Not many people, on the other hand, claim descent from a mop-jockey. Well done.

  5. Andy E. Wold said

    Sadly, only one of her thousands of family lines have been “completed” back to Noah (Noah to Adam is only a 9 generation direct shot for everyone.)

    OK, first, everyone’s pedigree chart on just the 20 generations back has over 1,000,000 18th-great-grandparents, and gives over 2,000,000 persons on the pedigree chart at that point.

    I would much rather see a well sourced, fully fledged out collection of all documents and items related to a few direct-line families, than a simple single-line lineage beyond the Middle Ages. I would imagine that if she had any sources, most of them would say “GEDCOM from John Doe”, etc.

  6. Paula said

    I was given one of those too. Supposedly I descended from a bunch of Scandinavian royalty all the way back to Adam. This is a discussion written by an LDS expert in European research, who used to work at the Family History Library in SLC:

  7. James Carmichael said

    142 generations in about 6,000 years? That averages about 40 years per generation. Mind you, that’s not the average age of the father when the next generation was born. Forget the father’s age. That’s the average age of the mother when the next generation was born, whether first or last child.

    Someone is gullible, stupid, or just plain lying.

  8. James Carmichael said

    142 generations in about 6,000 years? That averages about 40 years per generation. Mind you, that’s not the average age of the father when the next generation was born. Forget the father’s age. That’s the average age of the mother when the next generation was born, whether first or last child.

    Someone is gullible, stupid, or just plain lying.

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