Comments about ‘DNA solves a Joseph Smith mystery’

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

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Provo, UT

skeptic: The records are open to all who want to do the research.

James B. Young

I am not LDS but believe plural marriage was initiated by Joseph Smith, and I have read all of the material and looked at almost all of the evidence personally and up close. This is a simple caution for some of the snarky replies. Give some grace, please. Fawn did a great job for the day in some ways, and her conclusions on the ancestry were probabilities; whether she left LDS'ism is immaterial to the story. Simply look at the sources and follow them. The scientist is merely ruling out some of the possibilities, not all or even most of them, and that is good to do. None of this changes the overwhelming probability that Joseph Smith initiated plural marriage in Nauvoo. Too many contemporary first hand accounts from full time players on that scene testified that he did.

Alex 1
Tucson, AZ

Dixie Mike:

I understand your point, but I think that you misunderstand. The DNA testing is credible in testing the paternity of Joseph Smith, but not credible for establishing a link to the descendents of Lehi, because we have a known sample of Joseph Smith's DNA to test, but we have no such sample of ancient Israelite DNA that predates the Babylonian captivity. The Lehite population diverged from the gene pool of Israel 2600 years ago. With so little genetic data, we can neither disprove or prove anything.

Phoenix, AZ

%snowman, As you say, some of the church records and some materials from private libraries are available, but archives of the Mormon history that tell the rest of the story are kept under lock and key and not made available for public view or research.

Silly Rabbit
Small Town, USA, UT

Dixie Mike

There were close to 4000 different native languages spoken in the Americas, so that tells me there were quite a few tribes out there. Some of them have been gone for hundreds of years so how did all of those races get there DNA tested. Its funny even about a 115 or so years back the white people didnt even know that there was the Hopi Natives tribe out there in Oraibi Village. What else is real funny and cool is that just in the past month there was an unknown tribe of people found in the jungles of Brazil.

We as people like to think that we are know of all things, well we don't. I have studied about all the DNA testing and the whole Lamanite or Nephite controversy and to me it really doesnt sway my thinking in anyway. I believe what I believe, and I am one of those people that years ago I tried to find anything to keep me away from my LDS faith. Guess what the more I studied the more my LDS faith made sense and proved to me what was true.


This is a great article...However, it doesn't really look at the fact that adoption could've occurred back then. I have several adoptees in my genealogy and DNA tests would only be able to look at the birth family. I have 2 adopted children and they are fully part of my genealogy even though they aren't biological. These people in the past could've adopted babies or children and kept it a secret, so DNA wouldn't match up.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

Please, sharrona (or anyone on here) answer me this...

What was this comment supposed to mean? It was directed at me and I'll be quite honest I'm a little lost.


"RE: A voice of reason. So in the end, if people feel the church is hiding things... they should try to find out for themselves how OPEN the church is.

I have a copy of (D&C 17:22,23) The communion service,which describes the blessing of the bread and the blessing of the wine,the sacrament of the Lords supper. Do you?"


Is this supposed to say that I am either transgressing or at very least that I am not saying or doing what I should on here? I'm not sure whether this is a personal attack at me or something to somehow address the point I made about people being able to access the Church's historical materials and information.

Either way, I will clarify my comment as I can only guess it was either taken the wrong way or not understood at all.

I simply meant that the Church isn't hiding things and answers can easily be found.

I'm confused and a little concerned.

John Corrill
Independence, Mo

Here is what Brodie's book actually says about John Reed Hancock (emphasis mine):

[QUOTE] There is a tradition among some of the descendants of Levi Hancock that Mrs. Hancock was sealed to Joseph Smith in Nauvoo and that one of her sons may have been his child. Since there seems to be no printed or manuscript evidence to support this story, however, it must be taken with CONSIDERABLE RESERVE. [END QUOTE] (pg 464)

So we see that Brodie was actually not convinced of the Hancock family tradition and now, due to this article, we know that she was correct in her analysis.

Also, contrary to what the article says, Brodie did not say that Moroni Pratt was the son of Joseph Smith. What she did say was (emphasis mine):

[QUOTE] [Mary Ann Frost's] son, Moroni...may be added to the list of boys who MIGHT POSSIBLY have been the sons of Joseph Smith [END QUOTE] (pg 484)

So, it appears she was not comfortable making a proclamation one way or the other regarding Moroni's paternity.

Thanks Mr. Perego, for this interesting research.

Main Street Plaza
Salt Lake City, UT

I'm confused by the reaction of some commenters here who seem to think there are larger conclusions to be drawn from the results of this DNA research.

county mom
Monroe, UT

James B Young, I believe that pural marriage was 'invented' by God. Lets look at the Bible. How about Abraham and Jacob, many in the Old Testiment and those in the New Testiment. As a matter of fact having sent a son to Canada on a mission. There are those of other Christian faiths that have more then one wife there. A cousin who went to Africa taught a man with 5 wives who had never read the Bible and knew nothing of Joesph Smith or the Book of Mormon. Poligamy is not an invention of Joesph Smith. I read Brodie's book on the prophet as a young woman and was so offended by her speculation. How can she put thoughts into someone elses mind? Speculation is an assumption. Guessing what happened and how others felt is fiction. A LIE!

Woods Cross, UT

The DNA research proves little as far as the polygamy debate is concerned. Joseph did take plural wives and documentary evidence maintains he had sexual relations with some of those wives.

It does little to dismiss Fawn Brodie's analysis. Love it or hate it, it will be an important work now and in the future.

I do appreciate the work of this researcher, but I greatly appreciate his attitude towards discerning the truth. The LDS Church has nothing to fear from the truth.

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT

RE: John Corrill

Thanks for the enlightenment regarding Fawn Brodies actual comments about the paternity of John Reed Hancock and Moroni Pratt. Her recommendation for readers to use considerable reserve regarding her information is a far cry from the villain some on this board have made her out to be.

So much for letting an agenda drive one's understanding of the facts.

Mint Julip

@toosmartforyou, cats, Michael D Groote

Those quick to judge Brodie critically for writing about possible ancestry that turned out invalid should remember the change made by the church to the introduction of the Book of Mormon.

On Nov 8, 2007, the Deseret News reported that, "Past editions of that page say all of the people chronicled in the book "were destroyed, except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians." The new introduction reads much the same, but says the Lamanites "are among the ancestors of the American Indians."

It is wrong to dismiss an entire work based on so little whether it's Know Man Knows my history or the Book of Mormon.

Sarah Nichole
West Jordan, UT

Dixie Mike

"LDS shouldn't take DNA technology too seriously. Researchers have and have processed DNA samples of all the native tribes of the Americas, and they haven't found a single Lamanite or decendant of Lehi."

That's not true for several reasons.

First, they're constantly finding "new" tribes along the Amazon that have no contact whatsoever with the outside world. They're completely closed off and primitive, and no DNA work has ever been done on them.

Second, many, many tribes have vanished completely over the centuries, even just since Columbus. Entire languages, cultures and people have been completely wiped out. I'm not sure how you can establish a DNA profile on these tribes when we only know of their existence through written records.

Third, and this is the big one, we don't KNOW what the Lamanite/Nephite DNA looked like. We don't know what the Jaredite DNA looked like. We have no idea what lineage Ishmael, Sariah or Ishmael's wife had. We have no idea how that DNA mixed with local populations and dispersed over the years. We can't rule out Lamanite DNA in American native tribes, because we don't know what we're looking for.


My GGG Grandmother Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon was sealed to Joseph Smith during his life time and may have born his child, Josephine Rosetta Lyon. Dr. Perego solicited DNA samples from many of my cousins and family members. Since DNA is harder to trace through feminine genes it still remains a mystery at last report. I am wondering if Dr. Perego and Sorenson Research is any closer to solving this mystery. I understand to date all other claimants have been disproven. Personally, I choose to be the GGG Grandson of Windsor Palmer Lyon. He is my hero and was a great Latter Day Saint in his own right. He built and was burned out of Far West, then on to Nauvoo he built again the Lyon Drug Store. Excommunicated by William Marks unjustly, he remained faithful and started west with the pioneers. He died in Winter Quarters. Here's to you Grandfather Lyon and our wonderful Mormon History and heritage!

layton, UT

RE: voice of reason & RE: ?, I have a copy of (D&C 17:22,23) The communion service,which describes the blessing of the bread and the blessing of the wine, the sacrament of the Lords supper is also found in (D&C 20:75-79). Verses 1-21 of D&C 17 were edited out.
Did you know (John C.)Bennett was the most intimate friend of Joseph for a time. He boarded with the prophet. He told me once that Joseph had been talking with him about his troubles with Emma, his wife. He asked me, said Bennett, smilingly, what he should do to get out of the trouble ? I said, This is very simple. GET A REVELATION that polygamy is right, and all your troubles will be at an end. (Dr. W. Wyl, Mormon Portraits: Joseph Smith The Prophet His Family and His Friends, 61-62). JS had 34 wives from 14-56 years old, 11 were still married to other men, i.e. Orson and Marinda Hyde. Google, remembering the wives of JS.

Provo, Ut

So who is this evidence for??

If we go to great lengths and prove that Joseph smith's polygamy was non-sexual, we may restore some of the lost faith in Joseph Smith (there are many other problems for me, but for the sake of argument). We now have to reconcile Joseph Smith's polygamy with Brigham Youngs (we aren't debating whether he fathered children with multiple wives), and that actually scores points for the formerly reorganized Church, not the mainstream organization. Polygamy was the principle divider between the two sects.

Lehi, UT

IRS probably knows about the finances of the LDS Church. Even nonprofits have to file and are subject to audit. Other than that the top leaders of the church and those under them entrusted with the running of these businesses know. I've audited quite a few operations of the church and can attest that they are well documented and controlled. Most for profit businesses report a tiny fraction of the total volume of data to the general public and only what is required. Wouldn't want to give your competitors an advantage. When I worked as controller of large privately held companies the data was severely restricted to a need to know basis. The LDS Church follows these sound business practices.
As far as this article goes, Brigham Young DNA proves he fathered many children with his plural wives and he was a prophet of God. Joseph may have as well. I can wait for this answer. No hurry.

Johnny Triumph
American Fork, UT

How is he just an impartial scientist if he's hoping to have his work published? If he finds a child of Joseph Smith then it'll become that much more valuable to him. I'd say this is far from impartial.

Michael De Groote

@John Corrill | 12:19 a.m. July 11, 2011

As long as you have Brodie's book handy, why not give the whole quote from p. 464 about what she said about Hancock? If I remember correctly (I don't have her book handy) she was doing a bit more than just reporting speculation. She seemed to be presenting an argument.

She also hedges her bet as you quoted. Good for her.

I think there was something also on p.345. (Sorry, I don't have her book here)

The point of the article was not to slam Brodie. I only mentioned her because she is the documentary source that many people rely upon in this matter. She raised the question. Other historians writing about the same topic did not.

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