A week or so ago the world noted the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Dubbed “Darwin Day,” the event was met in the press with many stories related to evolution and the effect that evolutionary theories have had on not just the biological sciences, but also on society as a whole.
In a different thread on this blog, an ex-member of the Church mentioned that he and his friends—some still in the Church and some no longer in the Church—regularly met for lunch and were able to remain friends despite their now-different takes on the truth claims of the Church. As part of his comment he made what I consider to be a very interesting statement:
Our biggest problem was that we maybe believed in the church too much…and to some here it seem too literally and then tried to learn more.
On January 28, 2009 Simon Southerton posted the following comments on the discussion board at exmormon.org about my recent scientific publication on Native American origins. He also took the opportunity to criticize Dr. Scott Woodward, former molecular biologist at Brigham Young University and current director of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF).
Having great familiarity and being personally involved with the subjects mentioned in Southerton’s remarks, I deemed it necessary to provide an alternative and more accurate version of the facts. This is simply a rebuttal to Southerton’s specific posting and it is not meant to be another treatise on the Book of Mormon vs. DNA issue, since there is already a great abundance of LDS scholarship addressing the topic.
Despite having a priesthood organization that resembles that of the New Testament church, the latter day church sometimes receives criticism for any perceived changes between then and now. For example, biblical fundamentalists contrast instructions in the pastoral letters that deacons should be husbands of one wife to the current LDS practice of ordaining twelve year old boys. I am open to hearing arguments of whether that means at least one one wife, exactly one wife, or at most one wife and what the implications are for widowers, divorcees, polygamists, and celibates. Continue reading