Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church

Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church

by Simon G. Southerton
     
 

 For the past 175 years, the Latter-day Saint Church has taught that Native Americans and Polynesians are descended from ancient seafaring Israelites. Recent DNA research confirms what anthropologists have been saying for nearly as many years, that Native Americans are originally from Siberia and Polynesians from Southeast Asia. In the current volume,

Overview

 For the past 175 years, the Latter-day Saint Church has taught that Native Americans and Polynesians are descended from ancient seafaring Israelites. Recent DNA research confirms what anthropologists have been saying for nearly as many years, that Native Americans are originally from Siberia and Polynesians from Southeast Asia. In the current volume, molecular biologist Simon Southerton explains the theology and the science and how the former is being reshaped by the latter.

In the Book of Mormon, the Jewish prophet Lehi says the following after arriving by boat in America in 600 BCE:

Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, 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 (2 Ne. 1:9).

Editorial Reviews

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. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781560851813
Publisher:
Signature Books, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/28/2004
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
900,494
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

 Simon G. Southerton is Principal Research Scientist in the Applied Biotechnology and Genomics area of the Commonwealth Scientific laboratories (CSIRO) in Canberra, Australia. His Ph.D. is from the University of Sydney. He has published in New Phytologist, Plant Journal, Plant Molecular Biology, and Plant Physiology. He served an LDS mission to Melbourne in the 1980s.

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