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Dr. Simon Southerton's Response To The Recent Change I The Bofm Introduction


Tramper

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Below can you read what Dr. Simon Southerton thought about the recent change in the BofM introduction. Dr. Southerton received four questions from Peggy Stack. No debate on this one, only for your update. //Tramper

1) What do you think of the change?

I think the change is very significant and that it was inevitable. The manner in which the church has made this change disappoints me. No announcement, no acknowledgement of any error and no concern for thousands of members who struggle to accept the Book of Mormon as historical in the face of devastating scientific evidence that it isnâ??t.

2) What do you think it's significance is?

The Mormon Church is conceding that mainstream scientific theories about the colonization of the Americas have significant elements of truth in them. Since its founding the church has made numerous religious claims within the scientific domains of New World archaeology and anthropology. These claims have been so clearly exposed as false that the church is now retreating from them.

3) What do you think prompted the change?

From the moment the DNA evidence arrived it was inevitable that the original statement would have to go. Over 8,000 American Indians have been DNA tested and traces of Jewish ancestry have so far eluded the scientists. DNA has revealed very clearly how closely related American Indians are to their Siberian ancestors. The Lamanites are invisible, not principal ancestors.

4) Do you think this helps the LDS Church with the problems posed by DNA research?

Changing the introduction doesnâ??t change the book. The Book of Mormon itself gives the overwhelming impression to the reader that its people are central to the colonization history of the Americas. There is no mention of non-Israelite others, the New World is portrayed as an empty land preserved for Lehite inheritance and the book describes massive civilizations populated by descendants of Hebrews. Now the Hebrew Lamanites appear to have vanished.

I think the change raises more pressing questions for those seeking the truth. If science was right all along about the dominant Siberian ancestry of American Indians, are they also right about the timing of their entry? There is abundant evidence, some now coming from the DNA research, that their Siberian ancestors arrived over 12,000 years ago. How does such a date fit with other LDS beliefs, such as a universal flood?

The following is from the Salt Lake Tribune Nov. 8, 2007. [reference: http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_7403990]

"Many Mormons, including several church presidents, have taught that the Americas were largely inhabited by Book of Mormon peoples. In 1971, Church President Spencer W. Kimball said that Lehi, the family patriarch, was "the ancestor of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea."

After testing the DNA of more than 12,000 Indians, though, most researchers have concluded that the continent's early inhabitants came from Asia across the Bering Strait.

With this change, the LDS Church is "conceding that mainstream scientific theories about the colonization of the Americas have significant elements of truth in them," said Simon Southerton, a former Mormon and author of Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church.

"DNA has revealed very clearly how closely related American Indians are to their Siberian ancestors, " Southerton said in an e-mail from his home in Canberra, Australia. "The Lamanites are invisible, not principal ancestors."

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Southerton just shows he can't think any better than he can practice a religion with strict standards. "Among" vs "principal" is a non-issue. Watching the critics jump on it sends me into fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Only the genealogically ignorant thinks our ancestral lines as converging back to a single set of ancestors around 400 A.D. Any one Native American Indian today is over 50 generations down from from that time. Does Southerton realize that this means millions of ancestors?

The only reason for his statement is that he does not believe the Book of Mormon to be historical. There is no scientific line of reasoning about genetics and DNA which "proves" the claim to ancestry from a Hebrew couple to be false.

And in the context of the Book of Mormon, the promises made to Laman's and Lemuel's descendants do still make those particular ancestors the most important (read principal) in their ancestry.

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Did anyone mention the change was done in the Doubleday book and not an official printed standard work? I'd think the Church would have mentioned changes at that time. I look forward to a new edition.

From the illustrious Doctor:

I approach this letter with a degree of resignation. It doesnâ??t matter that I have given my heart to Mormonism for three decades. This will count for naught to Mormons intent on uncovering the real reason I left the Church. Mormonism equips its adherents with a keen sense of judgment particularly when it is directed towards people who can so easily be branded apostates. With that label securely attached, Mormons seem to comfortably know how to think about a person who no longer believes. I know this is the way they often think because I used to think that way myself. In spite of this apprehension I am compelled to reveal my experiences in the hope that it will help others find the truth. My name is Simon Southerton, I am married to Jane and we are the parents of five children aged between 6 and 15 years. We left the Church together towards the end of 1998. At the time I was a bishop in Brisbane, Australia. To my surprise I have found that most exmormons I have communicated with since then were once committed believers like me and not the moral bankrupts depicted by the Church. I now have ample appreciation of the extent to which the LDS Church conceals truth and controls the flow of information to members in order to maintain the faith of the saints.
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Charity says: Only the genealogically ignorant thinks our ancestral lines as converging back to a single set of ancestors around 400 A.D. Any one Native American Indian today is over 50 generations down from from that time. Does Southerton realize that this means millions of ancestors?

The only reason for his statement is that he does not believe the Book of Mormon to be historical. There is no scientific line of reasoning about genetics and DNA which "proves" the claim to ancestry from a Hebrew couple to be false.

Charity, perhaps you could write to Doctor of Genetics Southerton and explain to him about DNA and genetics, I'm sure he would appreciate you clearing up this matter for him. And if we attack the doctor's character enough it negates anything he claims on the subject.

Jessicka, there's a link for the article in the original post on this thread. It is the web site for the SL Tribune and the article.

Tanyan, the change was in the introduction to the Book of Mormon, a change from "principal ancestors" to "among the ancestors." The change was in the new BofM printed by Doubleday. All it does is change all the teachings to the Native Americans that they were decended from the BofM people to there might be some trace of Lehi's blood in their veins but they are mainly decended from peoples of the Asian Continent. Very minor, if you're not a Native American or South Seas inhabitant.

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It is not Dr. Southerton's knowledge of science that I question, being a non-scientist myself. Whether his knowledge of science is flawed or not, I wouldn't know. But it is his blatant, purposeful disregard for the fact that nothing in the Book of Mormon precludes "others" from being present. He knows that, but it just didn't fit his agenda. He says:

http://www.irr.org/mit/southerton-response.html

"In 600 BC there were probably several million American Indians living in the Americas. If a small group of Israelites, say less than thirty, entered such a massive native population, it would be very hard to detect their genes today."

And then he says:

"However, such a scenario does not square with what the Book of Mormon plainly states and with what the prophets have taught for 175 years."

Plainly? I don't think so. And it has been shown that the prophets have not taught that for 175 years.

But this is :P so time to move to something more interesting.

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Charity, perhaps you could write to Doctor of Genetics Southerton and explain to him about DNA and genetics, I'm sure he would appreciate you clearing up this matter for him.

As Charity was trying to point out, Dr. Southerton is using the wrong argument for the wrong question. Regardless of his scientific abilities in his field, he is applying genetics to theology and it is a poor match.

Southerton has a point if and only if the Book of Mormon requires that all Native Americans descend from Book of Mormon peoples. Oddly enough, LDS scholars aren't disputing that.

I suspect that surprised Southerton (and Murphy, whose paper preceded Southerton's book). Since then they have restructured their arguments to indicate that LDS must believe in the hemispheric reading of the Book of Mormon because that is the only thing they can rebut. Southerton actually acknowledged that if we believe that a small number of people entered a populated New World (the only proposition that science could support), that his argument wouldn't contradict that. However, when that statement was put up on the Signature board, it was subsequently removed because (I suspect, I don't know) it was getting a lot of play.

I did find it later still on Southerton's site, but I don't have the reference.

So, returning to the topic - Charity is correct that Southerton's argument doesn't deal with a limited population entering a larger population (though she may not have state that clearly enough that you understood it).

This has not been a scientific discussion. The issue has been purely theological, but couched in terms that make it sound like it is science.

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There is no mention of non-Israelite others

Whoever wrote Ecclesiastes 1:9 must have had Southerton in mind:

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Anti-Mormons are so boring. Re-tread upon re-tread. They make no attempt to seriously engage LDS thought on the topics about which they pontificate.

Southerton, for example, pretends that John Sorensen's 15-year-old article, When Lehi's Party Arrived in the Land, Did They Find Others There?, doesn't exist (Jeff Lindsay also has some interesting thoughts on the subject).

Indeed, there is nothing new under the (anti-Mormon) sun.

-Smac

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And LDS Prophets and leaders have never once indicated to the general membership of the church and to the Native Americans that the Native Americans are descended from father Lehi. No not once. Never happened. It's a myth spread by anti-mormons.

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Signature Book's folk's tend to ignore DNA research when it agree's with the Book of Mormon. The M3-Lineage is a big example. But the Q-M3 marker may be the result of a more recent migration with person's that have a genetic link with modern Jews. That's why Simon Southerton's supported have had to argue it's a link the pre-dated Lehi's time.

http://www.cumorah.com/bookofmormondnarebuttalsignature.html

Has the Book of Mormon been proven? No. But Simon Southerton has been shown to be wrong in suggesting it was the result of the Siberian migration. Plus his response to David G. Stewart showed how he misunderstands Stewart. I side with Stewart over Southerton any day.

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I like knowing that person's that disagree with him really can stand up to his scrutiny. I would be siding with him if i felt he was on the right track with his conclusion's. I found his critic's more persuasive than he has been. To be fair to him i have read only short thing's from him. I certainly care about what he say's just think he is wrong.

I care because i would like to see atleast some possible evidence that might agree with the Book of Mormon, and DNA is one route to go. The DNA route is certainly easier than staring at an old ceramic pot and calling it a Nephite artifact. The marker David Stewart mentioned is important because it could only get here through a migration. I am not willing to call it proof Lehi came her with his family and introduced DNA. But it does prove a link between modern Jews and Native American DNA exists.

But those who migrated may have worshiped only idols. That those who migrated were ever believers in the true God is a matter of faith. It's ambiguous evidence of anything, but that an important later migration happened.

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And LDS Prophets and leaders have never once indicated to the general membership of the church and to the Native Americans that the Native Americans are descended from father Lehi. No not once. Never happened. It's a myth spread by anti-mormons.

And it's a blow to the head and an undercut to the chin. And the strawman falls hard to the mat. He's out cold. Sanpitch, the winner in a knockout!

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And LDS Prophets and leaders have never once indicated to the general membership of the church and to the Native Americans that the Native Americans are descended from father Lehi. No not once. Never happened. It's a myth spread by anti-mormons.

No the "myth" is the anti-mormon lie.....

1. If Lehi is a "common" father of Native Americans, his DNA would not necessarily be detectable since most Native Americans are of Asiatic decent, and thus his DNA would not be seen due to geneitc drift. Though, he still most certainly could be a ancestor of all Native Americans, just like all humans might actually be "African" or from Noah, yet our DNA doesn't really show this.

2. Lamanites have never "only" been those decended from Laman and Lemual, they were everyone non-Nephite.

3. Prophets when speaking of "decendecy" more often then not are speaking of "spiritual" decendecy, not blood. Do you really think most mormons consider what their Patriarcal blessings state as to decendecy as being LITERAL, or do you think most consider it SPIRITUAL in nature? The later is the case in case you didn't know. The same is with the words of the Prophets.

4. Educated mormons long before DNA existed knew very well that Native Americans were of primarily Asiatic decent, there has after all been more types of science other than modern DNA. Because of these, we have resolved this issue a LONG time ago. We understand the "context" of Prophets words, and we understand what the Book of Mormon ACTUALY STATES on the issue, so to us, there has never been a problem. This is simply the latest anti-mormon strawman whipping boy. It doesn't faze us at all. Those who REALLY know their religion and the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible, know very well, that this is a non-issue. It's simply more bearing false witness by anti-mormonism.

5. DNA has shown that there IS semitic DNA in the America's, to a degree which would indicated a small group of people entering the America's into a larger already existing one. However, this fact and among others is essentially ignored. The anti-mormons attempt to destroy their straw-man of supposed LDS beliefs, rather than what the Book of Mormon and DNA science actually states in relation to it.

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Thank you Obiwan for a good sensible explanation. Brant Gardner also always gives good scholarly explanations to arguments. The other flippant and sarcastic comments do not add much to a conversation, of which I contribute to also.

I probably should add Dale also and maybe some others for good worthwhile comments.

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Below can you read what Dr. Simon Southerton thought about the recent change in the BofM introduction. Dr. Southerton received four questions from Peggy Stack. No debate on this one, only for your update. //Tramper

1) What do you think of the change?

I think the change is very significant and that it was inevitable. The manner in which the church has made this change disappoints me. No announcement, no acknowledgement of any error and no concern for thousands of members who struggle to accept the Book of Mormon as historical in the face of devastating scientific evidence that it isnâ??t.

2) What do you think it's significance is?

The Mormon Church is conceding that mainstream scientific theories about the colonization of the Americas have significant elements of truth in them. Since its founding the church has made numerous religious claims within the scientific domains of New World archaeology and anthropology. These claims have been so clearly exposed as false that the church is now retreating from them.

3) What do you think prompted the change?

From the moment the DNA evidence arrived it was inevitable that the original statement would have to go. Over 8,000 American Indians have been DNA tested and traces of Jewish ancestry have so far eluded the scientists. DNA has revealed very clearly how closely related American Indians are to their Siberian ancestors. The Lamanites are invisible, not principal ancestors.

4) Do you think this helps the LDS Church with the problems posed by DNA research?

Changing the introduction doesnâ??t change the book. The Book of Mormon itself gives the overwhelming impression to the reader that its people are central to the colonization history of the Americas. There is no mention of non-Israelite others, the New World is portrayed as an empty land preserved for Lehite inheritance and the book describes massive civilizations populated by descendants of Hebrews. Now the Hebrew Lamanites appear to have vanished.

I think the change raises more pressing questions for those seeking the truth. If science was right all along about the dominant Siberian ancestry of American Indians, are they also right about the timing of their entry? There is abundant evidence, some now coming from the DNA research, that their Siberian ancestors arrived over 12,000 years ago. How does such a date fit with other LDS beliefs, such as a universal flood?

The following is from the Salt Lake Tribune Nov. 8, 2007. [reference: http://www.sltrib.com/faith/ci_7403990]

"Many Mormons, including several church presidents, have taught that the Americas were largely inhabited by Book of Mormon peoples. In 1971, Church President Spencer W. Kimball said that Lehi, the family patriarch, was "the ancestor of all of the Indian and Mestizo tribes in North and South and Central America and in the islands of the sea."

After testing the DNA of more than 12,000 Indians, though, most researchers have concluded that the continent's early inhabitants came from Asia across the Bering Strait.

With this change, the LDS Church is "conceding that mainstream scientific theories about the colonization of the Americas have significant elements of truth in them," said Simon Southerton, a former Mormon and author of Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church.

"DNA has revealed very clearly how closely related American Indians are to their Siberian ancestors, " Southerton said in an e-mail from his home in Canberra, Australia. "The Lamanites are invisible, not principal ancestors."

Yea, Yea, Yea, Then another number of d,n.a experts say something else. This d.n.a evidence is quite simply put, not conclusive! it boils down to which study one chooses to beleive, and nothing more.

:P

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I am going to ask something I am sure everyone will think is completely relevant:

Why on earth should I care what Southerton thinks?

You are right, you shouldn't.

At least not anymore. But If you were missionary and preaching the Gospel to the Lamanites many years ago, telling them they were the inheritors, descendants of BoM people then you'd run into some problems nowadays.

The proselytizing under this premise was norm 30 years ago when I was converted. It was the major attraction in Temple Square then. Doesn't any of you remember the short movie of Quetzalcoatl prominently shown with a MesoAmerican Temple? Telling people Lamanites were descendents of of BoM people?

Please feel free to tell me my memories are failing me, my mind is making up all these stuff.

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