The Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 7, 2003
By Kristen Moulton, The Salt Lake Tribune
BRIGHAM CITY — The Living Hope Christian Fellowship, a small nondenominational church, has staked its savings on a video that challenges the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon.
Some 27,000 copies of the video, “DNA vs. The Book of Mormon,” have been sold worldwide since production began last March, and demand for the video is not waning, says Pastor Joel Kramer.
The video is a compilation of interviews with seven scientists — geneticists and anthropologists — who discuss the DNA of American Indians and the widespread conclusion that it shows their ancestors came from northeast Asia.
The Book of Mormon’s introduction says the principal ancestors of American Indians were the Lamanites, who Mormons believe are descendants of a Hebrew group that migrated to the New World about 600 B.C.
If that were the case, say Kramer and scientists on the video, there would be evidence of the Hebrew DNA among American Indians.
Dale Bills, spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, declined to comment Wednesday, saying he was not aware of the video and could not readily find a church official who was.
Kramer, a former photojournalist who has been pastor at Living Hope for nearly six years, said the church decided to produce the video because it feels called by God to lead Mormons to the Christ of the Bible.
“We consider ourselves a missionary church and the mission field is the LDS Church,” says Kramer. “Our sole motivation is to save those caught in deception.”
The Living Hope Fellowship in March sent 7,500 free videos to every household in Brigham City and the neighboring communities of Perry and Mantua. Since then, church volunteers have been filling e-mail and phone orders. Copies of the video are $3 each to cover the cost of production and mailing. A Spanish version is expected out in September.
So far, Kramer estimates the church has spent $50,000 on the video project. Some of that was donated, and the rest came out of savings from the years the congregation went without a pastor.
The video is paying off, Kramer says. His congregation has three new members who formerly were LDS, and stories reach him daily of conversions.
“This was very much a God-anointed thing,” says Kramer. “For whatever reason, he chose this little body of believers.”
The video can be viewed or ordered via http://www.mormonchallenge.com.