Simon Southerton's Opinion Of The Newsweek Article And My Response To Those That Think "We" Are Crazy For Not Being Overly Critical Of Elise!!
Subject: Elise Soukup is not a TBM
Date: Oct 10 20:56
Author: Simon Southerton
Some of you may be interested to read some correspondence I had with Elise Soukup in the weeks before her Newsweek story was published (see bottom of this note).
I was very pleased with her story and in my interaction with her I never suspected for a minute that she was a biased Mormon. After reading the article I am certain she is NOT a TBM in the sense that most of us view TBMs.
I think we have to be realistic here. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Smith's birth. Whether we like it or not he has had a major impact in the American religious scene. It would have looked horrible to Mormons AND non-Mormons if the article was a one-sided hatchet job on the Church. People can sense gross bias very quickly and I don’t think people will see it here. Most of us on RfM are very biased in our opinions. We might be right but we are very biased!
I think Elise did an excellent job of raising many of the major issues the church has struggled with and is still struggling with. I actually sensed that she is on our side believe it or not. She portrayed the church as she would like it to be, a little more honest and open than it currently is. I don’t think she believes Hinckley is a prophet who speaks to God. I am certain that there will be a few Mormon eyes opened by the article. I still have TBM family members who would be quite surprised to read the article, and not just because it mentions me by name.
Here is the brief correspondence I had with Elise as she was fact checking her story.
From Elise Soukup
I'm fact-checking my story about Joseph Smith and I'd like you to review the following sentence for accuracy. Can you tell me if it is factually correct?
"Last year, molecular biologist and former LDS bishop Simon G. Southerton applied available DNA studies to argue that all Native Americans are descendents of Asians, which would preclude the Book of Mormon account of an Israelite family coming to the New World in the sixth century B.C."
Thank you for your email. I am more than happy to help with any questions you have.
I have some observations for you to consider arising from the sentence you sent.
Last year in my book Losing a Lost Tribe (Signature Books, 2004) I questioned the widespread Mormon belief that the Amerindians are mostly descended from Israelites. DNA studies have shown these beliefs to be false. Even Mormon apologists now accept that greater than 99.6% of the ancestors of Native Americans were Asians, but the leadership of the church do not officially endorse what the apologists are saying. Some LDS scholars are saying that the prophets have been wrong on this issue for 175 years.
The Book of Mormon isn’t simply a story of an Israelite family coming to the Americas. There were about 60 Israelites in two independent migrations who sailed to the Americas. They multiplied rapidly over several hundred years into civilizations that numbered in the hundreds of thousands if not millions. The Book of Mormon describes how by 400 AD many hundreds of thousands of these Amerisraelites were killing each other in massive battles. The Book of Mormon is largely about these Amerisraelite civilizations.
I have suggested a sentence below. In a brazen act of self promotion I have added the title of my book. But I think it is fair to say that my book is a major focus of the current debate.
"Last year, molecular biologist and former LDS bishop Simon G. Southerton surveyed available DNA studies in his book Losing a Lost Tribe to argue that Native Americans are descendents of Asians, which would preclude the Book of Mormon account of Amerisraelite nations flourishing in the New World between the sixth century B.C. and A.D 421"
Let me know if I can help further if you have any questions.
Final sentence in Newsweek 10/17/05
“Last year, molecular biologist and former LDS bishop Simon G. Southerton applied available DNA studies in his book, "Losing a Lost Tribe," to argue that Native Americans are descendants of Asians, contradicting the Book of Mormon account of an Israelite family's coming to the New World in the sixth century B.C. and eventually flourishing into two distinct civilizations”.
She didn’t have to include the title of my book. I was VERY surprised that she did, even when I was under the impression she was not a Mormon. While the DNA issue is important to me, it is just one of heaps of issues that the church is facing, and she covered a lot of them. I think she went out on a limb here.
She also addressed quite well the major issue I had with the original sentence. This was that it portrayed the Book of Mormon as just a story about a family sailing to America. At the time I actually suspected that her original sentence was written by an apologist, but even a non-Mormon could have written it the way she did. She came back with something that the apologists won’t be entirely happy with.
All in all, I think she did a pretty good job considering she is an active Mormon sitting through hours and hours of mind-numbing relief society and Sunday school lessons that avoid all of the controversial issues she wrote about.
Now, over on the "RFM" board, people pretty much let Simon have it and frankly, that pissed me off. Simon has done so much for so many of us by writing his book, "Losing a Lost Tribe" proving that there is no DNA link between the Native Americans and Israelites but instead that they are related to Asians through extensive DNA studies. I thought the criticism of him for his views of the Newsweek article by Elise Soukup was unwarranted and ridiculous!! The very fact that he even shared personal email interaction that he had with Elise, was admirable to say the least. Simon simply expressed what he felt and got destroyed for it, by a bunch of rabid dogs that only wanted one thing from Elise, a massive, anger ridden, anti-Mormon tell all article about the Mormon Church.
Obviously these people that feel that way,are up in the night and must be smoking something in my opinion. It isn't even a realistic opinion in any way, shape or form!! It's absurd!! Anyway, I was gonna post my response over on the RFM board, but the Simon thread is closed, so I'm just gonna post it here instead. I don't frankly care who I offend or piss off by coming to the defense of Simon and agreeing with him 100%. Simon doesn't need me to defend him nor have I ever personally spoken with him, but I already felt the same way Simon did and had already done my analysis of the article when I saw what Simon had written. Anyway, here were my thoughts regarding Simon's opinions on the Newsweek article and Elise plus my thoughts about those that think we have a screw loose for even liking the article a little bit.
Subject: I agree with you Simon!! Thank you for your common sense and honesty!!Date: Oct 11 19:16Author: Samuel the UtahniteMail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for saying what I've been saying!! First of all Simon I want to thank you publicly for all of your hard work and for what you've gone through publicly and personally in order to bring us the truth. I had discovered many things and reading about your DNA studies just helped convince me that I had discovered the "real truth." It cemented my decision that the Mormon Church was a fraud.
The way the Mormon Church handled your situation was a disgrace and nothing but a witch hunt by a bunch of Morgbots that didn't want to deal publicly with the real reason they were after you. There is also no doubt that these Morgbots took their marching orders straight from Salt Lake and for them to say differently makes them liars as well. Again, thank you for what you've gone through personally in order to help us to learn and know the truth about the Mormon Church and the Book of Mormon; that they are both complete frauds.
Now, regarding Elise and her article in Newsweek,I think considering all of the circumstances involved and who this woman is and the fact that she is most likely still a temple recommend holder, goes to Church every week, she did a pretty good job. I realize that most people here wanted her to do the "hatchet job" as you called it. They wanted her to tell the world how evil and vile Joseph Smith was and dive into the deepest, darkest Mormon Church recesses and doctrine and uncover every secret that exists in the Mormon past.
They wanted her to discuss the racism, blood atonement, Mountain Meadows Massacre, Joseph's 14 year old wife, how Joseph created the Book of Mormon, etc. How about we be grateful for what was brought up instead of obsessing over what wasn't discussed. Sometimes we have to be grateful for what we do have instead of only worried about what we don't have. In any case, I consider this to be the beginning of opening up some of these forbidden topics, both within and outside the Mormon Church.
Had she done this one sided "hatchet job" that so many people here are still fantasizing about, she would have lost all credibility instantly. "TBMS" wouldn't have read the article as word would have spread that it was an anti-Mormon article by an anti-Mormon Magazine. The Mormon Church would have had to come out publicly and condemn the article and order all members not to read it, as they have done with various things in the past.
At least with this article, now endorsed by the Church publicly, all "TBMS" will feel that it is okay and safe to read it and they will now likely learn of things that they never knew before and never would have known or learned. They may also have questions that they never would have thought of and go searching on the Internet and find this site and many others that will lead them to the "real truth." I know that if I hadn't started my journey to the truth 4 months ago, this article would have put me on this very same path. Considering that I never even really knew that Joseph Smith was a polygamist, this article would have shocked me to the core.
I know that not knowing about Joseph's polygamy is quite common among the membership of the Church, even Bishops. The Mormon Church has done an absolutely phenomenal job in lying and covering up their "true history." In my opinion, this article by Elise, just by bringing up such forbidden subjects, undermines all of the hard work that the Mormon Church has gone to for the last 175 years and they can't be happy about it at all.
They may state publicly that they are happy with it but in reality, they have smoke coming out their ears. They are in a real pickle!! If they were to go after Elise and try to excommunicate her, they would be exposed in Newsweek for the whole world to see. Plus the fact that the Mormon Hierarchy has already basically endorsed the article which also includes an exclusive interview with Hinckley. They are in too deep now to say anything negative without losing all credibility and boxing themselves into a deep corner.
Yeah, that would have been wonderful(the "hatchet job") and something that all of us here would have loved and fully supported but it isn't realistic at all. Just the fact that she openly discussed or even brought up so many taboo subjects in a Worldwide Magazine, things are strictly forbidden to be spoken of in any public forum by Mormon Hierarchy, to me, is a major breakthrough.
This isn't a book written by a former member, this is an article written by a current member in good standing(as far as we know) and a BYU grad, that has been published in a worldwide magazine, that is at every check-stand in every major store in America and across the world.
My first clue that she wasn't a "TBM" in the sense that we speak of here, was when she referred to Joseph Smith as Prophet and polygamist, mesmerizer and rabblerouser, saint and sinner. Then the fact that she could have brought up your Church court and didn't, spoke volumes to me. In fact, she didn't even mention that you were no longer a member or excommunicated, just that you were a "former Bishop." She obviously wanted you to receive your due credit and did a great job of accomplishing that goal. I mean come on, I'll take any credibility that any of us EXMOS can get, especially in a worldwide magazine, by a current member of the Church and former BYU grad.
She very easily could have told the world all about your court, that you were exed, and used the Church's reasons for why, but she didn't. She stuck to the substance of what you discovered and like you said, she certainly didn't need to mention the title of your book. Does this sound like a "TBM" that is hell bent on proving only good and wonderful, glorious things about the Mormon Church? I don't think so, no way!! What are you guys thinking?
She was able to mention enough positive things, sprinkled by the controversial things to keep the TBMS in the reading circle and earn an endorsement by LDS INC. I find it absolutely laughable that one person here actually wondered out loud if you, Simon, would feel the way you do about Elise's article if she hadn't mentioned the title of your book. What a joke!! What they are saying Simon is that you are a sell out and don't have a mind of your own and if you actually like this article and don't have the rabid anger that they feel, for all that was left out, then your an idiot and a sell out. Hell, maybe these same people think that you cut a check to Elise and paid her off too or that Elise paid you to say good things about her? This is complete lunacy!!
I say that they are the idiots for even thinking that you, a man with your credentials, knowledge and fortitude to do what you have done for so many of us, would be a sell out to Elise and Newsweek, simply because she mentioned your book title. You are a realist and expressed that perfectly in your original post. They, on the other hand, are clueless!!
A true "TBM", as defined here in RFM, would never discuss anything controversial in regards to the Mormon Church and it's history, especially the beloved Joseph Smith, whose life they have been celebrating all year long!! This has been apparent with all of the Joseph Smith festivities this past summer, the last conference and it will all culminate this December with a birthday blowout bash. The TBMS that I personally know in my life, won't even discuss these "forbidden" things that Elise mentions in her article, especially anything against Joseph Smith and dismisses them as simply anti-Mormon doctrine.
I honestly don't understand where everyone here is coming from? What do people here in RFM expect? Did they honestly expect a current member/temple recommend holder or someone that they consider to be a "TBM", to write a scathing anti-Mormon article? What planet are you on? How about we be grateful for what she did write and bring up, instead of freaking out and having a massive coronary over what she didn't write. If a die-hard anti-Mormon from here in RFM or elsewhere was asked to write an article about the Mormon Church and it's history, would the "TBMS" freak out because the anti-Mormon didn't write a wonderful article telling the world how great and perfect the Mormon Church is?
I just don't understand the mentality and it makes no sense at all. It's like most people here think that Elise was on the Ex-Mormon Foundations payroll and betrayed us all by writing a sparkling article on the Mormon Church. Give me a break!! She did the best she could with what she had to work with, considering everything that was involved and I think that she needs to be applauded for her efforts. I don't personally know one single "TBM" that would write this type of article about their perfect and beloved church and Prophet Joseph Smith, none!!
Of course no article written in any magazine by anybody, would most likely satisfy most of us here 100%, unless it revealed every single little sin and detail of the retched, sick, twisted history of the Mormon Fraud, right?
In this case, as I mentioned above, I think that we need to be grateful that someone like Elise, had the courage to write a mainstream article, discussing so many things that the Mormon church had been trying to forget about for the last 175 years. I think that after the General Conference we just had, the stupid celebrations for Hinckley and Joseph Smith this past summer, showing the world how perfect, mainstream and spotless the Mormon Church is, this article was the perfect remedy.
Obviously she could have gone much further, given more details, not sucked up to the Church at all, but all in all, I think she did a hell of a job considering everything, especially since she, her Family and friends are still most likely active, temple recommend holding members of the Mormon Church.
Some of you think that she may be on the Church's payroll but ask yourself honestly if this is even plausible. The Church has spent the whole year telling the world what a perfect, wonderful man and saint Joseph Smith was. There is another big birthday bash for Joseph Smith scheduled for December 23rd, with Hinckley at his birthplace and Monson and Faust in the Conference Center.
Does this sound like a Church that would suddenly do a 180 in the middle of celebrating Joseph Smith's life and his impeccable, perfect record? In Hinckley's current interview with Newsweek, he mentioned that he "almost stands in awe" of Joseph Smith. He says that his mind was "clean and pure." So, let me get this straight, this entire year, including the birthday party coming up in December, has been a total ruse?
Now, the Mormon Church has paid of Elise and Newsweek, to talk openly about Joseph Smith's polygamy and his 16 year old maid being his first wife. They paid Elise to refer to their "perfect Joseph" as "Prophet and polygamist, mesmerizer and rabblerouser, saint and sinner?" They paid her off to quote Joseph Smith himself when he said,"If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself?"
They also paid her off to expose that many people were shocked when they met Joseph Smith in person because "he lost his temper, he enjoyed power....and on occasion, his ventures failed?" They also paid her off to quote Mark Scherer from the former "RLDS" Church that said, "Either you thought the guy walked on water or you thought the guy was a huge fraud" and then later was quoted regarding Joseph Smith's polygamy, "He committed ministerial abuse" and "He figured out a way to commit adultery and to do it sacramentally." Yeah, that's exactly what the Mormon Hierarchy wanted her to print, they must have paid her double for writing those statements, hell, maybe triple.
They paid her off really well to tell the world that "Joseph Smith was involved in dozens of lawsuits" and that "by the end of his life, he had accrued some 30 wives, massive debt and hundreds of enemies." That statement put Joseph in a great light, didn't it? Every "TBMS" Fantasy!! The Church must have really paid her top dollar to quote Oliver Cowdery when he called Joseph's first plural marriage, "a dirty, nasty, filthy affair." That is something that the Mormon Church wants to shout to the world, isn't it? Didn't Hinckley and Monson share that quote in this past conference? Please!!
They also put her on the Mormon Church payroll when she pointed out that "many of Smith's most committed followers-among them future prophets Young and Woodruff-joined the Church without ever having met him." That basically, they fell in love with the idea and "the sacred", "in a way they'd never known before." In other words, they fell in love with the idea and how they felt which had nothing to do with Joseph Smith since they had never even met him when they joined.
I could go on and on regarding the other things that she wrote about, that many of you obviously consider "proof" that she was on the Church's payroll, but I'll spare all of us. Actually, you can just read my post where I analyze the entire article and that should suffice for those that are interested. My point above, was that it is ridiculous and preposterous, with all that she wrote negatively about Joseph Smith and the Church history in general, for anyone to honestly believe and say, that she was on the Church's payroll.
I have no clue where you guys that really believe that, are coming from. It doesn't make one bit of logical sense whatsoever!! I find it amazing that many here have accused me of being too angry or rabid about my desire to spread the truth of the Mormon Fraud and debunk the Mormon Church and now I'm one of the few voices of reason in regards to this article. That's ironic!! Who did you guys think that Newsweek asked to write the article? Sandra or Jerald Tanner? Give me a break!!
Nobody would have loved a complete tell all article, completely thrashing and trashing the Mormon Church, from Top to bottom, more than I would have. I'm sure Simon wouldn't have argued either but I can't speak for him. It is my opinion, that those out there, which appear to be many, that honestly believe and expected this, are completely blinded by some fog that must be left over either from their "TBM" days or their "rabid anger."
You must be so damn mad that you can't see straight, have no ability to use any logic or reason, or any common sense at all. If the article is anything less that a tell all with 100% accuracy, then it's worthless or even worse, a piece clearly written by the Mormon Hierarchy and given to Elise along with a big fat paycheck, both to her and Newsweek. Oh yeah, and lets not forget, somebody must have paid Simon too, right? After all, there is no way that he could have found anything positive in the way that Elise wrote this article and the information that she shared. Gee, maybe some of you think that Simon is headed for re-baptism or something. I think for the first time, I'm really seeing and experiencing the extreme element that exists in the Ex-Mormon movement and it sure the hell isn't me or Simon!!
I'll say it one more time. I agree completely with Simon,he hit the nail squarely on the head. Elise did a great job considering her situation, most likely still being a true believer along with 95% of her friends and Family. To expect her, under these conditions and working for a worldwide magazine, to come out and do a rabid anti-Mormon article that would live up to the standards of those of us here in RFM, is ridiculous, plain and simple. Those of you that fall into this category, need to clean out your cobwebs, begin to use reason and logic once again, and join those of us in the "real world!!"
For those interested, here are some other links that I posted regarding this article.
Here is my link to my complete analysis on Elise's article:
Here were some other comments I had regarding the article:
Here were my comments on Hinckley’s new Newsweek interview:
Here is another opinion that I expressed in response to Rebel Scholar on RFM who can't understand where I and Simon Southerton are coming from and here's a link to that post and the entire thread:
Samuel the Utahnnite
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