Two years later he started writing "Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA and the Mormon Church," published by Signature Books and due in stores next month. Along the way, he found a world of scholarship that has led him to conclude The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints belief is changing, but not through prophesy and revelation.
In the six years since this article was written Mormons all three sects have not budged an inch on proof positive DNA evidence that the lynch pin of the book of Mormon The Jewish Laminates [Their supposed predecessors of American Indians] did not exist, as there is not a drop of Jewish DNA in any American Indian Tribal groups. Without Jewish DNA in any American Indian Tribes – The book of Mormon is shown to be an utter lie or fraud.
There is evidence that the Mormon Leadership in its inner sanctum in
These can not and will not admit that Mormonism in its inception was an elaborate con created by corrupt Judge Solomon Spalding, and Publicist Oliver Cowdery – In order to pull off their religious fraud they needed someone to play the part of a prophet.
The original scheme involved their sending their fake prophet [They had not found yet] ie Joseph Smith to a Church called “The Pilgrims” [Whose aged prophet had recently died.] Their fake prophet Joseph Smith was to fit in with this religious group by dazzling them with his “Prophetic Gifts,” gain their trust, and then prophesy for the Pilgrims to hand over all the money to [The yet unknown] Joseph Smith, Solomon Spalding, and Oliver Cowdery, the money the group had from having sold all their houses and lands at the words of their now dead prophet.
The original scam in the end failed as it took too long for Solomon Spalding and Oliver Cowdery to find their youthful charismatic false prophet and to train him enough in scripture and the ropes of this prophetic movement so that he could fool The Pilgrims.
Joseph Smith arrested on charges of being a con-man that pretended through the using “Seeing Stones” to see visions of the location of buried treasures and in so doing bilked people out of their money. Joseph Smith was convicted, however the court gave him leniency in the form of a suspended sentence due to Smith’s “young and tender age.”
It was in Smith’s arrest, trial, and conviction that Judge Spaulding and Publicist Oliver Cowdery first became aware of Joseph Smith. He was deemed perfect as he had the whole prophetic act down already and it was good enough that unbelievers so to speak became convinced and willingly handed money over to the youth.
So Smith was brought into the con as an actor, and their front man for the con. Spalding and Cowdery made Smith a minor partner, believing that since he was young that he would be pliable and obedient in their hands. -- (A few years later that would hardly be the case. Once Joseph Smith took the roll of prophet and the con gained a following Joseph Smith promptly cut Judge Spalding and Oliver Cowdery out of their leadership positions. Which they could do nothing about as Smith was the Prophet,)
The final piece of the puzzle of Mormonism was the writing of
the Book of Mormon. Which was originally written under another title as a
“Romantic Novel” [What today we would call an adventure novel] by a local lay
preacher that had recently died – With this unpublished novel, that was
rewritten by the Judge and Publicist to sound more biblical and their youthful
actor plan B was set into motion which was to create from scratch their own
religious following; who they would get to sell all their houses and lands and
entrust all that money to Joseph Smith, Spalding and Cowdery.
This feat was actually done twice. First from their move from
Much of their new religion’s early antics was reported in a number of local upstate
Sad as it is to say: the prophet Joseph
Smith quickly became a spiritual sensation to which the curious and the
spiritually hungry were drawn to like a magnet, and the con was quickly more
successful than Spaulding or Cowdery’s wildest expectations
as thousands were completely taken with and began to follow their youthful
charismatic actor / false prophet Joseph Smith.
Rather, Southerton sees a behind-the-scenes revolution led by a small group of
"You've got Mormon apologists in their own publications rejecting what prophets have been saying for decades. This becomes very troubling for ordinary members of the church," Southerton said.
And while the work of the BYU apologists - the term means those who speak or write in defense of something - remains confined largely to intellectual circles, some church members who have always understood themselves in light of Mormon teachings about the people known as Lamanites are suffering identity crises.
"It's that serious, that real," said Aloayza, a Peruvian native born into the church and still a member. "I'm almost here feeling I need an apology. Our prophets should have known better. That's the feeling I get."
Southerton, now a senior researcher with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
For a century or so, scientists have theorized Asians migrated to the
The church teaches that Joseph Smith translated this record from gold plates found on a hillside in upstate
In Mormon theology, Lamanites are understood as both chosen and cursed: Christ visited them, yet their unrighteousness left them cursed with dark skin. The Book of Mormon says Lamanites will one day be restored to greatness through the fullness of the gospel. (The original 1830 version of the Book of Mormon said they would become "white and delightsome;" in 1981, the passage was changed to "pure and delightsome.") Though not mentioned specifically in the Book of Mormon, Polynesians have been taught they are a branch of the House of Israel descended from Lehi.
Traditionally, Mormons have understood the Book of Mormon to cover all of the
Southerton's book details how these teachings have helped LDS efforts to convert new members, especially among Indians in Latin America and Maoris in
But in light of BYU scholars' recent opinion that the Book of Mormon's events could only have occurred in parts of Mexico and Guatemala - that is, Mesoamerica - the final third of the book is dedicated to examining the work of LDS scholars at the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, or FARMS, established 25 years ago and housed at BYU.
FARMS findings on
In a telephone interview from his Canberra office, Southerton said that keeping up with the rapidly growing body of work in genetic research made it difficult for him to finish the book while also keeping it up-to-date with critics and apologists and those in between all seeking to reframe the Book of Mormon in light of DNA research.
In particular, he's tried to keep up with FARMS qrticles, which he said are "completely at loggerheads with what the church leaders are teaching."
Church spokesman Dale Bills on Thursday said the church teaches only that the events recorded in the Book of Mormon took place somewhere in the
"Faithful Latter-day Saint scholars may provide insight, understanding and perspective but they do not speak for the church," he said.
On its Web site, under the "Mistakes in the News" heading, the church declares, "Recent attacks on the veracity of the Book of Mormon based on DNA evidence are ill considered. Nothing in the Book of Mormon precludes migration into the
The site then offers Web links to five articles, four of which were published last year in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, a FARMS publication.
Aloayza believes that is tacit approval of what FARMS is saying.
"There is such a huge divide between what the scholarly elite with the LDS church knows and will discuss and what the ordinary member knows," Aloayza said. "The burden of proof is on the people who are advancing the Book of Mormon as the word of God."
BYU political science professor and FARMS director Noel Reynolds said FARMS research and writings are not aimed at proving or disproving the Book of Mormon. "We understand the difficulties of that. We get dragged into these discussions repeatedly because of books like Southerton's or ordinary anti-Mormon questions," he said.
The work of FARMS shouldn't be considered counter to church doctrine because the geography of the Book of Mormon has "never been a matter of official church pronouncement," Reynolds said.
While believing in a hemispheric model might be considered "naive," he said, "it's also fair to say that the majority of LDS over a period of time have accepted a hemispheric view, including church leaders."
Added FARMS founder and BYU law professor John Welch, "We don't speak officially for the church in any way. These are our opinions, and we hope they're helpful."
Southerton, who no longer is a member of the church, said given the state of DNA research and increasing lay awareness of it, church leaders ought just to own up to the problems that continued literal teachings about the Book of Mormon present for American Indians and Polynesians.
"They should come out and say, 'There's no evidence to support your Israelite ancestry,' " Southerton said. "I don't have any problem with anyone believing what's in the Book of Mormon. Just don't make it look like science is backing it all up."