Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

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[BRIEF NOTE] Mormonism Fights Back?

I admit to a certain fondness for the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Mormonism is the only major branch of Christianity formed in the United States. Much about the Book of Mormon reminds me, quite honestly, of Conan the Barbarian, what with the undiscovered savage ancient civilizations and all. Perhaps unfortunately for the Mormons, the historical veracity of the Book of Mormon is being undermined by archeological and other discoveries which call into question the idea of any pre-Columbian American civilization being influenced by Old World migrants. John Sorenson's "Digging into the Book of Mormon" articles from Ensign magazine in the mid-1980s (1, 2, 3) make interesting reading as they attempt to recuperate the lost ground, but only that.

I was waiting to see how the Church of Latter-Day Saints would react to DNA evidence contradicting their central text.

A molecular biologist with the CSIRO is facing possible ex-communication from the Mormon Church after writing a book challenging its central teachings.

Simon Southerton was raised a believer but abandoned the church in 1998 when he could not reconcile his faith with scientific research.

Last year he published a rebuttal of the Book of Mormon teachings that Native American and Polynesian ancestors came from ancient Israelite tribes who had migrated to the Americas centuries before Christ.

Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church, Dr Southerton challenged the church to declare the Mormon scriptural text an "inspired fictional story".

"The DNA evidence we have today clearly shows that Native Americans and Polynesians are both descended from Asian ancestors," he said.

"Greater than 7000 Native Americans have been DNA tested and greater than 99 per cent of their DNA came from Asia."

The Skeptic's Annotated Book of Mormon makes for an interesting read.
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