Artist James Christensen's painting "Jesus and Mary Magdalene."

SPRINGVILLE — A new book due out in September may have never seen the printing press were it not for Da Vinci fever.

Vern Swanson, director of the Springville Museum of Art, researched "Dynasty of the Holy Grail — Mormonism's Sacred Bloodline" for 28 years before the furor and alleged historical errors in Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" captivated the public.

Because of those errors, publishing the book became imperative, Swanson said.

"The gospel truth did not need me, but I needed to do it," he said.

Yet he, too, admits he made mistakes and looks forward to critical reviews.

"I know I have made mistakes, and I'll be hit in the head," he said.

His critics may disagree with his theories about whether Jesus Christ was married and had a family and bloodline, but Swanson said he based his ideas on lengthy research. He read more than 400 books on the subject, including books by Catholic, Masonic, Gnostic and New Age writers. The book deals with the body of literature on the Holy Grail and how LDS theology creates new possibilities.

Unlike those writers, Swanson holds tightly to the LDS belief that Christ was literally the Son of God and was divine.

The Holy Grail consists of four objects including the cup, which could have been the cup of the Last Supper and the cup of sin Christ accepted in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Other objects are the Spear of Longinus, the Sword of Balinus and a stone. All purportedly have magical, healing qualities.

But if the Holy Grail, as depicted in "The Da Vinci Code" was Christ's bloodline through Mary Magdalene, it would mean they were married and had children. While the book takes an LDS point of view and includes statements by early church leaders that Christ may have been married, it doesn't stray from a recent church statement that a married Christ is not official LDS doctrine, Swanson said.

"I've never known a Mormon, with the exception of a couple, who didn't believe Christ wasn't married," he said.

The book postulates that Mary Magdalene was an Ephraimite, while Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, and that Lucy Mack Smith, LDS founder Joseph Smith's mother, was a direct descendant of the supposed wife of Jesus on the maternal side. Joseph Smith Sr., on the other hand, descended directly from Jesus on the paternal side, making Joseph Smith Jr. a direct descendant of Christ from both sides, one of the reasons he was chosen to restore the Church of Jesus Christ.

The union of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith brought together the Ephraimite bloodline of Mary Magdelene and the Judaic bloodline of Christ to give birth to a modern prophet, he said. It also fulfilled a Biblical scripture that Ephraim and Judah, two warring tribes, would unite in the last days. (Isa. 11:13)

"I'm not saying it's fact. It's speculation, but not without some evidence," Swanson said. "He had a right to restore (the church) because he is an heir of the bloodline."

If Jesus had children they would be "robust," Swanson said, but would lack the power over death that LDS people believe Christ had. It would take about three generations for the godly attributes of Christ to be absorbed into the gene pool with the exception of the Y chromosome that came from Christ and the mitochondrial DNA, which came through Mary Magdelene.

The book speculates Joseph Smith Jr. was in possession of both.


E-mail: rodger@desnews.com