Reason #198: Simon Southerton’s Treatment as a Doubting Mormon

Many people suppose that leaving Mormonism is at first a liberating experience, throwing off the shackles of error, going into the light of truth. But it didn’t feel that way to me, and apparently it doesn’t feel that way to a lot of thinking Mormons who struggle with the cognitive dissonance of their heartfelt “testimonies” that clash with information they acquire that proves the LDS Church is wrong.

Simon Southerton is most famous for his groundbreaking book, Losing a Lost Tribe, in which he used his scientific training to show that DNA testings prove that the American Indian, known as the “Lamanite” in the Book of Mormon, could not possibly have the Jewish ancestry that Mormonism claims.

He struggled with his findings, and found at a local level the LDS leadership was empathetic and helpful. But as his discoveries went higher and higher into Mormon leadership (even though Southerton had not published his findings at that time), he was counseled by that upper leadership to memorize glib “dodges” to questions and to keep quiet about his scientific findings. In fact, other LDS researchers had previously come to the same conclusions and had been silenced, why not him?

Read Simon Southerton’s account of the early days of his struggles with emerging truth here.

11 Comments

  1. xmormon
    Feb 4, 2012

    I have heard that Mr Southerton and his brother are now returning to the Mormon fold… Can anyone confirm this?

  2. admin
    Feb 5, 2012

    I have not heard that. Can you provide information about your source? Thank you.

  3. Simon Southerton
    Feb 9, 2012

    I can confirm that my brother and I have no intention of ever returning to the Mormon Church.

  4. admin
    Feb 9, 2012

    Thank you, Simon. I couldn’t imagine that you’d want to go back.

  5. d
    Mar 25, 2012

    i heard Joseph smith, God, jesus, john the baptist, peter,paul,james,
    moses, elisha,lucifer,and Santa Clause all came to Simon S. confirming the book of mormon…can avyone confirm this?

  6. JRSG
    Jul 12, 2013

    There is a Cherokee Tribe that claim they come from Jewish ancestry. They even fly the official flag of Israel along the Tribal flag and the United States flag.
    There is more to the oral stories and traditions of the indegenious peoples than what the white man believes or wants to believe. There is actual research taking place to compare oral stories and traditions among all indengenious peoples of different countries and cultures and compare them to what little has been preserved in writings over hundreds and hundreds of years. The accurcy of the oral traditions is amazingly accurate.

  7. admin
    Jul 12, 2013

    Very Interesting! Which Cherokee tribe is that?

  8. JRSG
    Aug 11, 2013

    The Tribe says their oral tradition says their people came across the ocean. Modern scientists say that the Jewish ancestry comes from the 1500’s, so there is disagreement about that. The Tribe is fighting for U.S. Government recognition last time I looked. They are in Missouri and claim they come from Masada per oral tradition.

    In another book called “Red Earth, White Lies” the Native American author (NOT LDS) has many interesting things to say. He debunks the Bering Strait theory of how the Native Americans came to this continent. There is a story of a Tribe in Washington state that has a necklace/pendant with Hebrew writing on it, passed from father to son. Their oral tradition says they came across the oceans from the east. The author also says that the European’s discount all native peoples oral traditions, no matter where in the world they reside (like Eastern India, Australia, New Zealand. People who were native before Europeans invaded).

    Also, the Spaniards destroyed 99% of the Mayan writings. The Mayan’s made paper superior to that of the Egyptians. So a lot has been purposely destroyed, and the hot, humid jungles do the rest.

  9. JRSG
    Aug 11, 2013

    I forgot to add that I am not saying these things are proof. But I am saying that the white man has been quick to dismiss stories and oral traditions and ceremonies as mumbo jumbo. It is past time to start to really look into what the oral traditions say.

    Thor Heyerdahl did a vast amount of research into ancient maritime sailing. He built boats as accurately as possible to what the ancient cultures built to prove that people could cross oceans before anyone ever thought people could do such a feat. He proved it was done.
    Thank you.

  10. Alan
    Feb 28, 2014

    I saw this video recently and wondered how an ex-Mormon would feel about its grasp on reality. If anyone cares to check it out, I would love to learn of your perspective. http://youtu.be/nR3uxbxRUz8

  11. admin
    Jun 6, 2015

    I watched the film, and was impressed with how emotion-dependent it is. The “scholar” just asserts that the papyrus wasn’t translated, and then dismisses the “anti” arguments wholesale. I think the reaction of a Mormon who wants to stay a Mormon, keep his family LDS and intact, would just be willing to conclude that he should just stuff his doubts because the nice family on the video got through their challenges and there’s no need to replicate their efforts. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention!

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