([Sunday London] Times) Can a minority faith with an odd history provide the next US president?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Not the least of the church’s problems now is the growing number of highly educated, formerly prominent Mormons who have left the LDS and are only too ready to tell the world exactly why.

As a molecular biologist studying forest trees in Brisbane, Australia, Simon Southerton was in many ways a Mormon role model. He was 10 years old when his parents joined the church and he was baptised into the faith in 1970. He rose steadily through the ranks and became a bishop to his flock. Over the years he was vaguely aware that some of the historical events described by the Book of Mormon did not match the archeological or scientific record. “But I hadn’t dwelt on it,” he said. He loved his church for its emphasis on families and the sense of community it fostered.

Yet there was one key aspect of church doctrine that began to trouble him. The Book of Mormon describes a migration of Israelite clans across the Atlantic to America long before Columbus. The notion of a New Jerusalem, founded on American soil by the ancient forefathers of Mormonism, is one of the faith’s key tenets. Yet Southerton, familiar with the use of DNA to chart early human migrations, began to worry about the sheer weight of scientific evidence undermining the Book of Mormon’s account.

“Once I started looking at it seriously, it didn’t take me very long at all to realise that the Book of Mormon wasn’t real history,” he said. According to Mormon doctrine, Native Americans are descended from one of the Israelite clans. “But there’s been no serious mainstream belief in anything other than Asian origin for Native Americans for much of the last century,” Southerton added.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the President* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsMormons

4 Comments
Posted April 15, 2012 at 11:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br. Michael wrote:

As opposed to the current Marxist?  I think so.

April 15, 12:36 pm | [comment link]
2. Katherine wrote:

The point, when I’m voting for President, is to determine whether the candidate’s religious faith or lack of it has a bearing on his view of our legal and constitutional system.  In Romney’s case, while I don’t accept Mormon doctrine or theology at all, I don’t see anything in it that prevents Mormons from being good citizens and good civil servants.

April 15, 5:10 pm | [comment link]
3. Hakkatan wrote:

Years ago I read that there is reason to believe that Joseph Smith took the manuscript of a novel written by a pastor in upstate NY and used it as the basis of the Book of Mormon. I wish I could remember more - but at any rate, Mormonism is filled with rather fantastic claims.

April 16, 2:10 am | [comment link]
4. billqs wrote:

#3- I’ve heard the same thing about charges of plagiarism in the composition of the Book of Morman.  The point is, that this is just as much a political smokescreen as the ridiculous and non-existant “War on Women.”

The Dems understandably want to do anything to avoid talking about the real issue: the horrific failure of President Obama’s policies as he has pursued a leftist agenda which has further weakened our Country instead of helping it recover.

April 16, 10:00 am | [comment link]
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