“…wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them” (2 Nephi 5: 21)

“And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgressions and their rebellion against their brethren” (Alma 3: 6)

For almost 200 years, The Mormon Church has taught that Native Americans and Polynesians are descended from ancient seafaring Israelites. My 2004 book, Losing a Lost Tribe: DNA, Native Americans and the Mormon Church (Signature Books), challenged the racist LDS belief that First Nations people are descended from Book of Mormon Lamanites and carry a dark skin because of a divine curse.  In response, Mormon scholars have attacked my scientific credibility and motives, overstated the limitations and complexity of DNA studies, made false claims of positive DNA evidence and reinterpreted the Book of Mormon narrative in an attempt to accommodate vanishing DNA.

The Sacred Curse, provides “the most accessible and succinct scientific refutation of Mormonism’s Lamanite mythology” (Thomas Murphy). During the last 10 years scientists have been combing our entire genome for its ancestral secrets. In addition to discovering Neanderthal genes lurking in our DNA, these studies have shed much greater light on the origins, timing and route of human migrations into the Americas and the Pacific. No trace of pre-Columbian Israelite DNA has been found in the genomes of any of the thousands of indigenous people tested. DNA genealogy research continues to reveal the true history of indigenous peoples and, by implication, the 19th century origins of Mormonism’s keystone scripture.

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Sacred Curse

How Native American DNA Exposes Mormonism’s Lamanite Myth

Personal story

A personal, long-winded account of my conversion to Mormonism and my struggles in attempting to square the DNA science with my beliefs. 

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General Authority letters

Correspondence with LDS General Authorities revealing the sometimes threatening nature of their counsel to those struggling with doubt.

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First DNA apologetics

Within days of resigning as an LDS bishop, and while I was a teacher in Primary, Mormon apologists at BYU treated me like I was an enemy of the Church.

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“…you will become a hollow shell of the man that you once were.”

Vaughn J. Featherstone
(letter to Southerton, 1998)


“You don’t have to believe anything that isn’t true.” 

Henry Eyring
(father of Henry B. Eyring)

“Southerton continues to apply the pressure needed to destroy a myth that has long caused so much trauma to the mainland tribes, my people, and so many others.”

Forrest Cuch
Former Director of Indian Affairs, Utah

“Southerton expertly confronts the racism within the Lamanite myth, the importance of genetics and facts, and the ongoing harmful appropriation of Indigenous ancestry. These incorrect teachings continue to impact living people, making Southerton’s book an important contemporary addition to this topic.”

Sarah Newcomb
Tsimshian Tribe of the First Nations
Owner of the Lamanite Truth website

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