Losing a Lost Tribe: Native Americans, DNA, and the Mormon Church

Nov 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 17-2: Sustainability, Media Reviews

Signature Books, Salt Lake City, UT (2004)
288 pages
ISBN 1-5608-5181-3
Paperback $24.95

Review by Gwynne Spencer

The Mormon establishment will not be happy with this book because it demands an answer: If the so-called “Lamanites” (Native Americans) were spawned from an escaped tribe of Israelites, why does their DNA show a 98.6% Asian connection and 0% Middle Eastern?

If the “Lamanites” built huge cities and had steel swords and chariots and written language and brought down the white-faced civilized tribe of Mormon, where are the ruins? Where are the artifacts? Where are the DNA markers?

In answer, Simon G. Southerton, a senior research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia and a respected molecular biologist, says it’s all mythology. Historical fiction.

Southerton includes a rather dispassionate explanation of why Mormon spokesmen will dispute research that doesn’t align itself with their world view, and then he goes on to lay out the research. It’s not difficult to follow, a bit technically overwhelming at times, but in the end, well presented. It will undoubtedly inspire counter research.

Gwynne Spencer is a freelance book reviewer and publisher in Mancos, CO.

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