THE MORMONS and HOW HUMANITY KEEPS TRACK OF ITSELF
by Donald Harman Akenson C 2007
Published by McGill-Queen's University Press - Montreal and Kingston
"Where historical geneticist and Mormon genealogists completely lose touch with each other is in their notion of who are First Parents were and how we find them. IN this regard, historical geneticists are humble, in the sense that they were aware that they are making a set of approximations and that they will never have a final answer. ... In contrast, the Mormons are confident to the point of arrogance (quiet arrogance, but never the less cocksure). They know that humanity came into existence as described in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew scriptures. This was in the year 4004BCE, or thereabouts, according to the now-classical chronology of Archbiship James Ussher, the seventeenth century Church of Ireland archbishop of Armagh...
...The conflicting forces are th4e Mormons, genealogists in general, historical geneticists, historical demographers, and anthropologists. (I am lumping together anthropologists, ethnographers, and ethnologists, while being fully aware that over the generations they have fought with each other over the job specifications for each category.) All the various forces are produced by individuals who are good-faith practitioners of their own discipline or sub-field within their discipline. but if they cannot agree on something so basic as what to call the human adult pair bond- then we are in trouble let alone when they begin developing their own terms for various family members and for generational interconnections.
...the Mormon use of "pedigree" to refer to human genealogical lines is to be voided. The demographers, geneticists, and anthropologists are here correct: thoroughbred horses and show dogs have pedigrees, but humans are not the product of controlled breeding programs. In human society we have "lines: or "lineages," never pedigrees.
A set of words that also is to be avoided, except under very narrow circumstances, is "patriarchal" and "matriarchal". These are perfectly good words, but not here. They carry connotations of power relationships that can be confusing...
If you enter any aspect of the Mormon genealogical system - from blank genealogy forms to computer-generated lineages - you will discover that it runs on the Standard Double system. Is this ethnocentric imperialism? Probably, but there is a potential intellectual justif8ication for the practice. This is the very clear argument that all human beings have biological mother and a biological father and that, therefore, humans should be traced in the same way traces the breed roots of Secretariat or Red Rum. .... one cannot retroactively impose the Standard Double system on cultures that did not employ it.