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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Lehi, UT

Seems our friends have some new accounts : ), and some oldies..
Im warming up to Native American DNA also as research progresses and takes into account morphology, interactions, etc.
Points to ponder from non-LDS scholars
Ancient American morphology is not Asian, but includes Polynesian, Middle East, Armenian, etc.
Recent research indicates a FEW interactions with founders (Amerindians, Olmec, Jaredites, Mulekites etc) can bury invading DNA, but morphology takes longer.

People related to Native Americans include Jews (in much higher percentages than Asians), Turkic peoples of Central Asia (more than East Asians) etc some Jewish scholars recently claim Native American marker Q-p36 is a founding Jewish lineage.

Manassehs mother is thought to be related to Mongolian Turks and perhaps Seljuks (who possibly carried steeled iron bows from ME etc) The earliest Americans may have been descended from these people, as well as Asenat.

There are several good articles on FAIR lds on polygamy etc. It is wrong in our world, but not in Abraham, Moses, Joseph's world. Before becoming LDS some early Saints lived in communes and practiced free love, sorta the original American hippies, so polygamy was perhaps conservative for them.

@joggle... or misinformation?

Sugar City, ID

re. MikB. Go to fairlds.org, click on google on the right side of the screen and type in DNA. There you will find a plethora of scientific articles that do not agree with your conclusions.

Bountiful, Utah

Personally, I don't think it is ANY of my business as to how many children Joseph Smith was the biological father of. Its just not relevant to my belief in the gospel at all.

Salt Lake City, UT

"Does it make a difference if Joseph Smith had children with his plural wives? "

Not really. If one believes polygamy was okay then his having other kids isn't going to change anything. After all Brigham Young had plenty of children with plenty of different wives so it's not like a Prophet having kids with multiple women would be anything completely new in church history.

"and how the religion itself is growing."

That's not a valid argument for proof of correctness.

Jaime Lee Bonberger
Houston, TX

The problem with Brodie is not so much what she said in her book, but what she and others said thereafter.

She later stated (to Dale Morgan, I believe) that "if Oliver Buell is not the son of Joseph Smith, then I am not a Brimhall", referring to her mother's maiden name, thereby asserting her confidence. She was wrong.

So many subsequent authors (George D Smith to name one) regurgitated her reserved suppositions and later confident claims as fact, that it has always been assumed that Joseph was an uncontrollable lecher.

Yes, he had relations with some of his polygamous wives, but far, far fewer than most have assumed and, to my knowledge, none of his polyandrous wives.

Rest assured that if a positive DNA paternity test ever occurs for a child not born of Emma, the critics will never tire of repeating it.

LDS Revelations
Sandy, UT

Brodie's book while not perfect still stands as not only a remarkable honest assessment of Joseph Smith's life and work but one of if not the first to address the hard issues. Defenders who still buy into the lusterware Joseph Smith taught in Church will certainly not like many of her assertions because they do not match the myth that the Church has crafted over the past 167 years.

People like Richard Bushman however have remarked that her work, now over 65 years old, still provides valuable insights in the life of Smith and is for the most part in line with current history. Current historians not only rely on it for information but it help pave the way for more open and honest LDS history. I know Nibley and other defenders like to malign her work but I've found most of that to be little more blind apologia.

Brodie did propose that a number of children could have been Smith's by polyandrous wives. Current DNA seems to show that she was wrong on many of them but testing for some still remains including Josephine Lyon Fisher.

Bluffdale, UT

Why did Joseph Smith teach plural marriage only to a select few?
Why didn't the LDS Church announce the practice until 1850 in Utah?
Why was plural marriage only allowed by certain families?
Why did God change his mind in 1890?

According to my ancestors stories; the Mormons were pushed out of Missouri because of the fear of a Mormon voting block in a state that allowed slavery. My ancestors were abolitionists. They did not know anything about plural marriage until they got to Utah. Brigham Young wanted to rise up a righteous generation and since there were nearly 8 women to every man he used the plural marriage card Joseph had given him (or prophesized). Men were scarce for many reasons; slow to convert, more likely to die on the plains, left Utah for California gold or Colorado silver.
After the railroad arrived to Utah in 1869 the balance of the sexes begin to level out. In 1890 plural marriage was abandoned the LDS Church.

Although a minority of the LDS Church practiced plural marriage; the majority of the next generations were descendents of these families and the genealogy continues today.

Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT

Brigham Young wanted to rise up a righteous generation and since there were nearly 8 women to every man he used the plural marriage card Joseph had given him (or prophesized). Men were scarce for many reasons; slow to convert, more likely to die on the plains, left Utah for California gold or Colorado silver.

I saw the statistics for Utah in the early 1850's and there were NOT 8 women to every man. That is a myth. Look it up for yourself. They were nearly even.

John Corrill
Independence, Mo

John Corrill: Hi Razzle2. Here is what Apostle John A. Widtsoe had to say about that:

[QUOTE] Plural marriage has been a subject of wide and frequent comment. Members of the Church unfamiliar with its history, and many non-members, have set up fallacious reasons for the origin of this system of marriage among the Latter-day Saints.

The most common of these conjectures is that the Church, through plural marriage, sought to provide husbands for its large surplus of female members. The implied assumption in this theory, that there have been more female than male members in the Church, is not supported by existing evidence. On the contrary, there seem always to have been more males than females in the Church...

The United States census records from 1850 to 1940, and all available Church records, uniformly show a preponderance of males in Utah, and in the Church...

The theory that plural marriage was a consequence of a surplus of female Church members fails from lack of evidence...[UNQUOTE] (Widtsoe, John A., Evidences And Reconciliation, pgs 307 310, The Bookcraft Company, 1943, Salt Lake City, Utah)

Bluffdale, UT

DNA and the Lamanites

The idea that all American Indians were descendents of Lehi's family, the Lamanites, became popular with Mormons in the 1950's. The introduction of the Book of Mormon published by the LDS Church stated that "all were destroyed except the Lamanites and they are the principle ancestors of the American Indians." The intro has recently been removed and was never canonized as scripture.

First, the introduction did not claim that Lamanites were descendents of Lehi's family. Although the original group came from Lehi in 600 BC the race did not stay pure in the Book and we don't know what happened to the Lamanites since 400 AD.

Second, the People of Zarahemla (Mulekites) play a role in the Book of Mormon because of the missionary efforts of Mosiah. If the Mulekites had not converted they probably would not have been mentioned in the Book. How many other groups were in America that could have joined the Lamanites before or after the great battle of Cumorah?

Although, the idea that some Native Americans are descendents of the Book of Mormon people is probable, the idea that they are literal DNA descendents of Lehi is very unlikely.

The Authority
Richfield, UT

HA! Another hater's story is shot to pieces. Go DNA!
Next time don't make false claims!

Salt Lake City, UT

I am EXTREMELY irritated at this story. Obviously, Fawn Brodie doesn't know her own history, let alone Joseph Smith's. If Ugo Perego had done a little research of his own before beginning the DNA testing, he would have seen that Mosiah Hancock was born BEFORE plural marriage was ever revealed. Mosiah was the eldest son of Levi and Clarissa Reed Hancock and his younger brother was John Reed Hancock. This story (according to Brodie) implies that Joseph Smith had an extramarital affair with a married woman who already had children. What an absolute joke. That was not the purpose for plural marriage. Anyone who believes this woman would believe ANYTHING.

I will not sit by and say nothing. I am a direct descendant of Levi, Clarissa, and Mosiah Hancock. Let's not forget the women whose names are being tarnished by Brody who is only in it for profit, not truth.

Normal Guy
Salt Lake City, UT

@ Mike W

To read my post and then ask if I respect Warren Jeffs indicates that you believe Jeff's relationships to be 'god-ordained' to group them with those I mentioned. You and I will have to differ on that since I don't respect him.

San Fernando, CA

With Josephine conceived during the polyandry years of 43', and 44' it is imperative to conduct careful research on the autosomal DNA and publish as soon as can be confirmed.


There's a HUGE difference in terms of accuracy between tracing a bloodline back 200 years contrasted with 2000 years. There are so many variables in DNA that even linking Jews to ancestry dating back 2000 years is next to impossible. So until we understand DNA tracing A LOT better than we do today, the jury is still WAY out on lamanite herritage issues. It's a little rediculous that it's being used as being clear cut science at this point.

Provo, UT

Razzle2: 1. Joseph had a revelation about plural marriage. it was taught to all 3 years after the revelation. 2. polygamy was racticed before they came to Utah and well before Josephs death. 3. Polygamy wasn't started for sexual purposes. Hence the fact that Joseph had no other children than those he had with Emma. It was started for the purposes of protecting the widows and the children. 4 Once they arrived in Utah there was no need for the practice.


I wonder why members would care whether Joseph Smith had sex with his plural wives or not. They were his wives. Why wouldn't he? Every other instance of polygamy that I can think of, both in and out of the LDS church, assumes sex is permitted with your plural wives. Why would Joseph Smith's polygamy be different?

Meg Stout

Joe1 wrote "I wonder why members would care whether Joseph Smith had sex with his plural wives or not."

Prior to the DNA evidence, LDS did not question that Joseph Smith had been intimate with his plural wives. It was rather a point of pride, in fact, to claim Joseph as a possible ancestor.

However with the majority of modern church members being new converts and with all the conclusive data to date refuting tales that Joseph fathered children by plural wives, the possibility arises that Joseph was entirely physically faithful to his first wife, Emma.

Joseph undoubtedly established plural marriage amongst his followers. But if he, himself, was not inspired by lust, then modern LDS can contemplate a founding prophet who was acting for ideological reasons. Writ properly, this monogamous Joseph becomes a tragic and heroic figure, and the debate must shift from discussing Joseph's lechery to discussing the merit of Joseph's theology.

FWIW, I am descended from one of Joseph's plural wives (Elvira Annie Cowles) and am a believing member of the modern Church.

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