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.