Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church
A FAIR Analysis of: Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon ChurchA work by author: Simon G. Southerton
|Note: This is a review of claims and/or responses to misrepresentations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found in this work. The inclusion of an author's work here does not imply that he or she is "anti-Mormon," or that none of his or her works have value. Those who do not wish to examine the claims contained in what some would consider an "anti-Mormon" work are advised to proceed no further.|
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- Index of claims—
Responses to specific critical or unsupported claims made in Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church indexed by page number. (Link)
- Use of sources—
An examination and response to how the author of Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church interprets the sources used to support this work, indexed by page number. (Link)
About this work
- 1984: One problem some Latter-day Saint writers and lecturers have had is confusing the actual text of the Book of Mormon with the traditional interpretation of it. For example, a commonly heard statement is that the Book of Mormon is “the history of the American Indians.” This statement contains a number of unexamined assumptions—that the scripture is a history in the common sense—a systematic, chronological account of the main events in the past of a nation or territory; that “the” American Indians are a unitary population; and that the approximately one hundred pages of text containing historical and cultural material in the scripture could conceivably tell the entire history of a hemisphere. When unexamined assumptions like these are made, critics respond in kind, criticizing not the ancient text itself, but the assumptions we have made about it.
- —Dr. John L. Sorenson, "Digging into the Book of Mormon: Our Changing Understanding of Ancient America and Its Scripture," Ensign, September, 1984 (The presentation of the limited geography theory in the official Church magazine) (emphasis added)
Losing a Lost Tribe was published some twenty years after Dr. Sorenson made the statement above. Dr. Sorenson's warning about the critics responding to the "traditional interpretation" of the Book of Mormon, rather than to the text itself, appears to have been fulfilled in this work. Ironically, out of the eight works authored by Dr. Sorenson that Dr. Southerton quotes as references on pages 249–250, the Ensign article quoted above is not included among them. The author clarified in September 2008 that the focus of the debate is not about the genetic origin of Native Americans, but the LDS theology associated with it. Indeed, a full third of Losing a Lost Tribe is devoted to a discussion of what the author calls The Troubled Interface Between Mormonism and Science, and the role of FAIR, the Maxwell Institute (formerly FARMS) and LDS apologists.
Quotes by the Author
- My wish is not to offend or to offer advice in matters of faith.
- —Dr. Simon Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, p. viii.
- Here are some of the stars in the current apologetic circus juggling dubious claims in support of the Book of Mormon's historicity.
- —Dr. Simon Southerton, "Cirque Du Apologetique - starring Sasquatch and UFOs", posted to anti-Mormon discussion board, July 11, 2008.
- ...most Native American Latter-day Saints throughout the Americas regard the Israelite Lehi to be a blood relative.
- —Dr. Simon Southerton, Losing a Lost Tribe, p. 37.
- In 600 BC there were probably several million American Indians living in the Americas. If a small group of Israelites entered such a massive native population it would be very, very hard to detect their genes 200, 2000 or even 20,000 years later. But does such a scenario fit with what the Book of Mormon plainly states or what the prophets have taught for 175 years? Short answer. No! Long answer. Nooo!
- —Dr. Simon Southerton, posting to an anti-Mormon discussion board, Feb. 15, 2005 (emphasis added)
- They also set up the straw man that I am arguing that according to the Book of Mormon all American Indians are descended from Hebrews. I have never claimed this. The vanishing geography theory is utter desperation.
- —Dr. Simon Southerton, posting to an anti-Mormon discussion board, July 5, 2008. (emphasis added)
- In case anyone from FAIR is unclear I will repeat what I wrote four years ago…“IF A SMALL GROUP OF ISRAELITES ENTERED SUCH A MASSIVE NATIVE POPULATION (SEVERAL MILLIONS) IT WOULD BE VERY, VERY HARD TO DETECT THEIR GENES.” Now that FAIR has finally conceded that American Indian DNA is essentially all derived from Asia, I also agree with them that the debate should be about the theology.
- —Dr. Simon Southerton, "Finally, I agree with LDS scientists-apologists," posting to an anti-Mormon discussion board, Sept. 6, 2008. (emphasis in original)
Reviews of this work
- Kevin L. Barney, "A Brief Review of Murphy and Southerton's 'Galileo Event'," FAIR off-site
- Ryan Parr, "Missing the Boat to Ancient America . . . Just Plain Missing the Boat (Review of: Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church)," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 83–106. off-site PDF link
DNA and the Book of Mormon
- David A. McClellan, "Detecting Lehi's Genetic Signature: Possible, Probable, or Not?," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 35–90. off-site PDF link
- D. Jeffrey Meldrum and Trent D. Stephens, "Who Are the Children of Lehi?," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 38–51. off-site PDF link wiki
- Matthew Roper, "Nephi's Neighbors: Book of Mormon Peoples and Pre-Columbian Populations," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 91–128. off-site PDF link
- Matthew Roper, "Swimming the Gene Pool: Israelite Kinship Relations, Genes, and Genealogy," FARMS Review 15/2 (2003): 129–164. off-site PDF link
- John L. Sorenson and Matthew Roper, "Before DNA," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 6–23. off-site PDF link wiki (Key source)
- John A. Tvedtnes, "Reinventing the Book of Mormon (Review of: “Reinventing Lamanite Identity,” Sunstone, March 2004, 20–25)," FARMS Review 16/2 (2004): 91–106. off-site PDF link
- Michael F. Whiting, "DNA and the Book of Mormon: A Phylogenetic Perspective," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 12/1 (2003): 24–35. off-site PDF link wiki (Key source)
|A FAIR Analysis of Critical Works|
- American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows— (Index of claims)
- An Insider's View of Mormon Origins — (Index of claims—Use of sources)
- Archaeology and the Book of Mormon
- Ashamed of Joseph: Mormon Foundations Crumble
- Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism/Inside Today's Mormonism — (Index of claims—Use of sources)
- Behind the Mask of Mormonism
- Specific works/Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows
- Specific works/By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus
- Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism
- Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon
- Decker's Complete Handbook on Mormonism
- Early Mormonism and the Magic World View — (Index of claims—Use of sources)
- Specific works/Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism
- Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History
- From Captain Kidd's Treasure Ghost to the Angel Moroni: Changing Dramatis Personae in Early Mormonism
- In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith — (Index of Claims)
- Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon
- Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record
- Is the Mormon My Brother?
- Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet
- Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon (2nd edition)—(Index of claims)
- Joseph Smith's New York Reputation Reexamined
- The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) — (Index of claims)
- Leaving the Saints
- Letters to a Mormon Elder
- Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church — (Index of claims)
- Mormon America: The Power and the Promise — (Index of claims)
- The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power — (Index of claims)
- The Mormon Mirage: Seeing Through the Illusion of Mainstream Mormonism
- Mormonism 101—Index of claims
- Mormonism (Kurt Van Gorden)
- Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? — (Index of claims)
- The Mysteries of Godliness—A History of Mormon Temple Worship
- Nauvoo Polygamy — (Index of claims—Use of sources—Prejudicial language—Presentism—Mind reading—Censorship—Romance—Assumptions—Magick)
- New Approaches to the Book of Mormon
- New Mormon Challenge
- No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith — (Index of claims)
- One Nation Under Gods — (Index of claims—Use of Sources—Prejudicial language—Absurd claims—Presentism—Mind reading—Rewording—Omissions—Sarcasm)
- The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644–1844
- Same-Sex Dynamics Among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example — (Index of claims)
- Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess
- The Changing World of Mormonism — (Index of claims)
- Trouble Enough: Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon
- Under the Banner of Heaven — (Index of claims)
- Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture
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