Comments about ‘DNA solves a Joseph Smith mystery’

Return to article »

Published: Saturday, July 9 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Farmington, UT

It's really interesting to me how many people years ago put such trust in Fawn Brodie's work and now that it is being examined more closely, a lot of what she alledges is absolutely false. Many scholars trusted her regarding Joseph Smith and then later, after they saw what she wrote about one of the founding fathers, her credibility went to zero. Another example is how she claimed the account of the First Vision was a fabrication of Joseph that didn't occur until the mid 1830's, only to have an 1831 version show up. So much for letting an agenda drive one's research for truth.

Orange County, CA

Hugh Nibley wrote a response to Faun Brodie entitled "No, Ma'am, That's Not History." This is additional evidence supporting Nibley's conclusion.

Eureka, UT

I have always been amazed at how people are so willing to believe anything, unless it is true.

Somewhere in Time, UT

Poor Fawn. It's too bad that she chose to sell her birthright for a mess a pottage.

It's so interesting that so much science is now adding more and more evidence to the truthfulness of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon and how much so-called science that disputed the Book of Mormon has now been shown to be wrong.

Provo, UT

Joseph had no other children than those he had with Emma.

Hayden, ID

As scarce as truth is, the supply is always greater than the demand. Isn't it interesting that the opposite is true for frauds and hoaxes (both the supply and demand are always high)? By that alone, one can usually tell the difference.

Salt Lake City, UT

Interesting effort what a tenacious researcher. And with regard to Ms. Brodie the title to her book just needs to be expanded to No Man nor Woman Knows My History, which is true before and after reading the book.

Silly Rabbit
Small Town, USA, UT

I read "No Man Knows My History" long ago out of curiosity and I can see it sitting on my book shelf of to my left. I read it when I was inactive in the church hoping it would keep me inactive. It was an interesting read, but much of it seemed to be a well written made up tale, ooops I better get dressed for church I don't want to be late:)

Mission Viejo, CA

I am personally convinced that history and science have done nothing to harm Joseph Smith's story. I am becoming convinced that the preponderance of evidence available today, including the voluminous work on the Book of Mormon, is becoming powerful evidence that Smith was what he said he was. Certainly, it is becoming more and more difficult to simply dismiss the BOM as a fraud or extrapolation of something Smith might have read. Nobody has been able to formulate a plausible explanation for the BOM other than Smith's and his family and colleagues' testimony.

If you insist that Smith was a fraud, then you are obligated to explain the BOM's complexity, internal harmony, hebrew poetry, and volume, all "written" by Smith in 20 weeks while in humble surroundings. Absent Smith, explain how anybody could have written the BOM in twenty weeks.

Eagle mountain, UT

@ too smart for you,

Fawn Brodie may not have gotten everything right, but did hit the nail on the head. If I recall it was mere speculation about the offspring of Smith. If I am not mistaken further, much of what Richard Bushman wrote was in line with what Brodie said.

On a side note if the founding father you are referring to is Thomas Jefferson, she was proven to be correct that he had an illegitimate child with one of his slaves. Not exactly an impeachment of the good Dr's historical prowess.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

Possibly others are not so excited to have Joseph Smith as an ancestor, and have not come forward?

Silver Spring, MD

zero limits,
I believe that the latest DNA research on Thomas Jefferson fathering a child with Sally Hemming is that Thomas Jefferson or a close relative, possibly Thomas' brother, fathered the child. So to say it was Thomas is likely true, but not definitive. I read this a couple of years ago, so there may have been subsequent clarification.

Phoenix, AZ

So why dosen't the church open their files for research and documentation of the true history and end the speculation.

Eagle mountain, UT

I am not sure the point you are trying to make. The DNA evidence combined with the weight of historical evidence, leads us to the conclusion that the father was most likely Thomas Jefferson.

I would say that Dr. Brodie was fairly accurate, in keeping with my previous post. Just like she was fairly accurate concerning Smith.


I found this article fascinating and very well-written. It read like a mini-mystery-page-turner. And I find some of the snarky comments on the article very bland and predictable. I loved the comment of the researcher where he says he isn't tied to one outcome or another, because just knowing what "is" is fascinating in itself. Trolling commenters to this article would do well to remember that. I often find that many comments on an article involving the LDS Church in any way are negative, petty, and a waste of time.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Quote: "So why dosen't the church open their files for research and documentation of the true history and end the speculation."

I personally know many and know OF many people who criticize the church. Most of them sit on a couch, willingly take whatever the T.V. spoon-feeds them about anything... and they develop their beliefs this way.

Those who actually do take the time to question the church can get their answers.

1) The Joseph Smith Papers are an invaluable resource into his daily life. This is an unparalleled tool for research that can withstand any objective scrutiny thrown at it.

2) The Church publishes the largest resource on the planet for Genealogy. This is not a 'secret' database.

3) Any legitimate claims people have with the Church... the Church addresses.

People would do a lot better to take the time to consider humility, question whether there really is a God, and in true desire to want to know... kneel down and pray in hope that an answer will come. More answers would come from this then all the logical arguments and evidence that can ever be provided on this planet.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Michael De Groote

@skeptic | 12:25 p.m. July 10, 2011
"So why doesn't the church open their files for research and documentation of the true history and end the speculation." There are not a lot files to open up on this subject. But as for the church's openness, take a look at the Joseph Smith Papers project or its book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

@zero_limits_33 | 12:46 p.m. July 10, 2011
If I recall correctly, the criticism of Brodie's work on Jefferson did not center on Hemming, but on often Brodie speculated on what Jefferson's actual thoughts were. Non-LDS historians were not sensitive to this mind-reading ability in her book on Joseph Smith, but they didn't like it in her book on Jefferson.

Michael De Groote

For an interesting summary of criticism of Brodie's book on Thomas Jefferson, there is an article on PBS here:

For an LDS review of Brodie's book on Joseph Smith, there is an FARMS review article by the indomitable Louis Midgley here:

(FYI: Deseret News staff are allowed to post URLs.)

Houston, TX

Much of what passes for history today is really biased and selective recording of what was a complex many faceted current event.

Too many of the Relativists/Post Modernists start with a premise or agenda and then cherry pick what they want to construct a preconceived reality.

county mom
Monroe, UT

Thank you, Michael, for the clarification. Those with closed minds, who want to hate Joesph Smith, will. Those who are willing to believe that Heavenly Father will speak to a boy, calling him by name, and give him knowledge, understanding and help, will believe. If there are those sitting on the fence questioning whether or not any of the things the LDS Church proclaim are true, they need to read The Book of Mormon with an open heart.
Make up your own mind.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments