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Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church Paperback – August 15, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
From the time of its publication in 1830, both the Book of Mormon and its translator, Joseph Smith Jr., have been the focus of admiration as well as criticism. The book's account of pre-Christian journeys from the Middle East to the Americas and subsequent identification of North American indigenous populations with Israelite tribes was not uncommon among Smith's contemporaries. Southerton, an Australian molecular scientist, explores these claims from a scientific standpoint and concludes that there is no evidence of Israelite descent among American Indians, Polynesians or others identified as ancestors of Book of Mormon peoples. Discussions about genetics and heredity can be a bit impenetrable to the nonscientist, but these constitute only part of the book. The author, raised Mormon but no longer a believer, uses the DNA issue to launch an attack on both bad science and what he perceives as widespread racism in the LDS Church. He blames the Book of Mormon for what he calls the church's "insidious view of a superior white race." Southerton proffers a book that is part scientific exploration and part anti-Mormon polemic, so it's likely to be closely studied by the Mormon apologetic community. Readers will decide for themselves how credible his arguments are.
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The amazing aspect of this book is not the disclaiming the Mormonism as much as it has verified the logical theory of migration of the human species out of Africa. This is the amazing part of this book, it follows the migration of mankind beautifully. Disclaiming the Mormon doctrine was a given. Scripture does not dedicate Race. The environment, the availability of characteristics within the gene pool, and selection by a natural process determines Race.
This sounds like something I heard before. In fact, since I'm on this subject matter, Evolution is not a theory, but a "Fact." The fossil record has verified that life has changed over time which is the definition of Evolution. How Evolution works by Natural Selection is the theory. So please, correct this misnomer,and make Evolution as a "Fact" and Natural Selection as the "Theory."
The DNA trail of Polynesians and the American Indians agrees beautifully with the most logical migration of humans from the Asian stock. From the Southeast Asia east to the islands of the Pacific and from the Northern Asia to the Americans through the Bering Strait.
The discussion about Religion fostering Science, again, this claim is not true by documented recorded history. If I remember my history, it was the Greek Philosophers at about 500 B.C.E. came up with the Philosophy of Science that called themselves "Natural Philosophers" I believe one them was called Thales of Miletus that was given the credit for the first. If anyone wants to know the Philosophy of Science is "to study natural phenomena's through there natural process excluding the Gods and that includes the Judea, Christian, Moslem and the Mormon's as well. Good old Gould, he has the right idea about Religion and Science. In regards to combine religion and science, I believe we tried this once before and we still refer to that period of time as the "Dark Ages". Also, when the Pope approached Professor Hawkings and asked him not to venture into the Big Bang, since that was God's domain, the Dark Ages is still banging at the door. Let Science take of care of the natural world and let Religion take care of the spiritual world and let's keep it that way.
The Book of Mormon is the most racial religious book that I have ever encountered. Superior race of course being the white Caucasian Race, all other Races being inferior, especially the black race being at the bottom of the totem pole. No wonder this book was popular in the 1800's, it went along with removing the American Indians from there land and kept the institution of slavery intact. However, I heard that the Mormon's have changed there policy about inferior races and allowed them now to hold priesthood. Hum, I wonder what there policy is on interracial marriages? But,this doesn't make the Book of Mormon less racial because the words of racism is still there and without amendments or editing of this book, they will always be there.
The Mormon Doctrine of the lost tribe has been a thorn in the side of Mormonism since the 1920's. Perpetrating an untruth will make them to deceive, manipulate, use figurative instead of literally thinking, create confusion, demand absolute obedience, requiring opponents to prove a negative and like any good lawyer defending a suspect guilty of crime, attack the evidence in an effort to maintain there religious doctrine. This is an old story of the past that Galileo, Kepler, and other famous scientists went through. The mounting evidence and advancement of knowledge will eventually overwhelm them. All I can say about this situation, is that the Mormon leaders better get some revelations that will take the Mormon religion out of the 18th century into the 21st century or there going to be left behind. Other religions has survived, Conpernicus (Sun Center Universe) Galileo, (Telescope) Kepler, (Laws of Orbiting Bodies), Charles Darwin (Evolution) and other famous scientists that contradicted religion dogma of there day. Mormonism can survive modern day science, if they choose to do so. I would hate to see this religion fade away, because it does have good family values and good healthy living.
In addition to the discourse relating (the lack of) DNA evidence to Native American peoples, Southerton also discusses the changing dynamic between the LDS church and the scientific community, especially in an era of increased strain due to the increasing amount of scientific evidence contradicting LDS claims. And toward that end, Southerton notes that the LDS church is moving towards revising history and reinterpreting revelation and prophecy to accomodate contemporary evidence. Case in point: the apologetic effort to claim that the Jaredites, Nephites, & Lamanites constituted a small fraction of a large, already existing population here in the Americas. This claim is simply inconsistent w/ LDS scripture: "Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise...they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves...and there shall be none to molest them..." (1 Ne. 1:8). According to the apologists, it seems that the "long standing popular Mormon beliefs" are "incorrect interpretations of the text" (pp.186).
Southerton's work is a fine addition to the burgeoning pool of work concerning the LDS church. In spite of Southerton's disclaimer at the beginning of the book re: his current standing w/ the LDS church (he counts himself among those that were once members but are no longer), the book ought to be read, reviewed, and mulled over by anyone w/ an eager and open mind.
The True Believers will not let the facts get in the way of their religion/cult but for those who want facts/truth....this book is highly informative.
The Church owes a public apology to the non-whites whom it has degraded, insulted, slurred and incited bigotry towards with nearly 200 years of racist doctrines based on false scripture. Simply appalling. Of course the Corporation/Church is still controlled by an exclusive all-white all-male dynasty. Don't expect any apology soon.....the courts and human rights agencies will need to reform this sad theology.
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