DNA solves a Joseph Smith mystery

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  • Meg Stout ANNANDALE, VA
    Aug. 7, 2011 4:10 p.m.

    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.

  • Joe1 YUMA, AZ
    July 17, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    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?

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 17, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    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.

  • j0bi SALT LAKE CITY, Utah
    July 14, 2011 5:15 a.m.

    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.

  • platesofplatinum San Fernando, CA
    July 14, 2011 12:35 a.m.

    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.

  • Normal Guy Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 11:33 p.m.

    @ 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.

  • marble Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 6:47 p.m.

    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.

  • The Authority Richfield, UT
    July 13, 2011 3:28 p.m.

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

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    July 13, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    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.

  • John Corrill Independence, Mo
    July 13, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    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)

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    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.

  • Razzle2 Bluffdale, UT
    July 13, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    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.

  • LDS Revelations Sandy, UT
    July 13, 2011 2:00 p.m.

    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.

  • Jaime Lee Bonberger Houston, TX
    July 13, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    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.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    "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.

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    July 13, 2011 11:25 a.m.

    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.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 13, 2011 11:07 a.m.

    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.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    July 13, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    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?

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    July 13, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    Tragically, many Mormons are not even fully aware of the doctrines and history of their own church so when an article like this appears they grab onto it to support that their faith is justified while ignoring information that could make them question it. Does this specific DNA determination really matter when there is so much information out there that would make most people question the varacity of the LDS Church as a whole?

  • Mike W Syracuse, UT
    July 13, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had offspring from God-ordained polygamous relationships. My respect for Joseph Smith won't be changed if he is found to be in the same category."

    So I can assume you have the same "respect" for Warren Jeffs and Phillip Garrido?

    July 13, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    The DNA evidence cont'd: In excess of a hundred and fifty tribes have been tested now, these are scattered all over north and central and South America, even to Greenland. And from that survey, in excess of five and a half thousand individuals have been involved and have been tested, from those five and a half thousand, 99.4% of Native Americans have a mitochondrial DNA lineage that originated in Asia. There can be no question: 99.4%. The other 0.6% have either a European or an African mitochondrial lineage. The very tiny minority of European and African lineages that they do find came after Columbus. Currently on the available evidence theres nothing to suggest a [Native American Indian] relationship whatsoever with Israelites.
    (Dr. Simon Southerton, Molecular Biologist)

    July 13, 2011 8:35 a.m.

    Listen Up Brothers and Sisters: the DNA argument used in this preemptive defense of Joseph Smith and denial of Brodie's work is the sharpest of all swords against the LDS foundation: I quote "Thomas Murphy, (anthropologist, Mormon scholar, and DNA researcher), acknowledges the problem that the DNA evidence presents for the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon. We [i.e., Mormons] are in a dilemma now, the genetic evidence shows clearly that American Indians are not Hebrews, they are not Israelites. The Book of Mormon is not true.

  • Normal Guy Salt Lake City, UT
    July 13, 2011 12:53 a.m.

    @ John Corrill

    Very uncool to quote Brodie's book to discredit the author of the article but conveniently leave out key statements made by Brodie that were on the very page you quoted. Similarly, the article does not state that Brodie claimed Moroni Pratt was a descendant of Joseph as you mistakenly challenged. Rather, the article clearly indicates a descendant of Moroni's read the book an wanted to then find out about his lineage.

    Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had offspring from God-ordained polygamous relationships. My respect for Joseph Smith won't be changed if he is found to be in the same category.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 12, 2011 5:44 p.m.

    DNA can solve many things but what has it solved about Israelites in the Americas.

  • John Corrill Independence, Mo
    July 12, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    Hi Michael,

    Based on some of the recent comments, many readers are still being misinformed by your article that "Brodie got it wrong" regarding the paternity of John Hancock.

    Per our previous discussion where it was demonstrated that Brodie expressed "CONSIDERABLE RESERVE" about the idea of Joseph Smith being John Hancock's father, would you be willing to correct your article or post an addenda at the bottom of it to correct this?

    John Corrill

  • JohnCBennett Polk City, Iowa
    July 12, 2011 3:33 p.m.

    Andy said:

    "This research says more about Fawn Brodie than about Joseph Smith."

    Really? So your position is that he didn't have more than one wife? Are you a Reorg? Even most of them have given that up. If not lets have your list of possible kids.

    "The evidence continues to mount that Ms. Brodie is the charlatan, or at least an undisciplined researcher. So much for her emotional history and "read between the lines" research techniques she relied upon so heavily. "

    Are you aware that Fawn is Pres Mckay's granddaughter and had access to the church archives? Do you further know that Bushman had access to the archives and that although different in tone, both books are very similar in content?

    Kudos on the "mounting evidence of a charlatan" though.

  • Mike W Syracuse, UT
    July 12, 2011 3:08 p.m.

    "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."

    Funny, I was thinking just the opposite...

  • Michael De Groote
    July 12, 2011 3:05 p.m.

    According to Ugo Perego, this DNA research was his own personal research and not by his employer Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.

    He said the John Reed Hancock case followed the same methodology he has used for other cases. For example, look at the Fall 2005 issue of the Journal of Mormon History for Moroni Pratt, Zebulon Jacobs and Orrison Smith and in the 2008 issue of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal for Oliver Buell and Mosiah Hancock. Anybody can look at these articles and the tables with actual genetic profiles. You can see how the profiles were obtained, check the pedigrees, and judge how the analysis was performed. "In science," Perego said, "you are required to make these details known so that others can 'confirm biased findings...'" This is the type of information he said he will include in the article he is working on for the Mormon Historical Studies journal. So everything will be out there for people to look at.

    Here is a link to a pdf of one article by Perego: http://bit.ly/qOtZZU

  • Andy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 12, 2011 2:10 p.m.

    This research says more about Fawn Brodie than about Joseph Smith.

    The evidence continues to mount that Ms. Brodie is the charlatan, or at least an undisciplined researcher. So much for her emotional history and "read between the lines" research techniques she relied upon so heavily.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    "What exactly is a "closet anti-Mormon"? Couldn't that describe just about every member of the LDS Church today?"

    No, just the ones who call themselves LDS, but yet find every possible reason to disagree with the LDS church on about every issue they can. Sound familiar? The idea that one has a testimony would include that they 'know' that it is true, and that revelation is true. Knowing that God has far greater 'skills' to reason, use logic, and have a perfect understanding of right and wrong.... makes it this simple-

    There are those who have their testimony and decide to trust in God when even they don't always understand his reasons... and there are those who have their testimony, then dwindle away arguing against God's reasons. The reason people fight God is because it is easier to disagree and voice that die-hard opinion, than it is to consider... 'am I wrong?' or 'perhaps God knows more than I do about morality, etc'

    Faith, as I see it, is about trusting God. Something many don't realize is that some people who voice loudly against things like gay marriage may have questioned it themselves, but used faith.

  • Franjeado Lambare, Paraguay
    July 12, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    I just Know, Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son, so he is actually a Prophet of God.
    Thank you.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 12, 2011 11:51 a.m.


    "...a strong closet anti-Mormon..."?

    What exactly is a "closet anti-Mormon"? Couldn't that describe just about every member of the LDS Church today?

  • BCA Murrieta, CA
    July 12, 2011 11:40 a.m.

    Mr. De Groote---While I am decidedly not a believer in JS, I appreciate you taking part in the followup discussion. I have always thought writers would have no interest in the comments because they devolve into prejudice-sharing rants (both ways) most of the time when it comes to the LDS church. Thanks again.

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    July 12, 2011 11:27 a.m.


    "It's so much easier to belong to religeous groups who don't have controversy surrounding the progeny, wives, doctrines and revelations of their founders: Who aren't hounded out of communities, states and territories for breaking civil and Biblical laws. Whose artifacts don't disappear, whose heavenly visitors hang around for an interview, whose motives aren't impugned..."

    That's kind of the entire point. It's not always easy to have faith. The Lord has said repeatedly throughout history that He will test His people. He will give them obstacles to their faith and He will put them through the refining fire. But, if you have a firm testimony of the restored gospel, which many of us on this board do, then those tests just don't matter.

  • newslover Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2011 11:06 a.m.

    Michael De Groote...(d-news) seems to 'protest too much' in his effort to discredit Fawn Brodie... seems desperate. The 'disinterested' and proper method by a credible journalist...would be to seek out an outside opinion on Sorensons biased mormon research... do it right... other wise it is an embarrassment...

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    July 12, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    @Michael De Groote
    Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad to hear they used multiple sources descending from multiple sons to assure that the sample for Joseph Smith's profile was sound.

    Hopefully they will gain the ability to do analysis not involving the Y chromosome in order to evaluate the possibility that Joseph Smith had daugthers from his polygamous marriages.

  • JohnCBennett Polk City, Iowa
    July 12, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    I only trust science and dna studies when it feels good. If they tell me something that doesn't sound right, I just feel "icky" and then i know they have a hidden agenda. My seminary teacher said Brodies book was basically pulled out of a hat.

    When peoople compare Joseph Smith to Warren Jeffs, they are way out of line. They aren't alike at all!

  • T.S.Zarathrustra Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2011 10:02 a.m.

    It is good to see LDS readers warming up to DNA evidence. Does this mean you will now become interested in what DNA tells us about the origins of Native Americans?

  • Michael De Groote
    July 12, 2011 9:42 a.m.

    VocalLocal | 8:16 a.m. July 12, 2011
    "I'd like to know how they created the genetic profile of Joseph Smith"

    The DNA profile is of Joseph Smith's Y Chromosome. Unlike autosomal DNA (that's the bulk of DNA that is shuffled 50/50 between a mom and dad everytime they have a kid), the Y Chromosome is virtually unchanged as is passes from father to son to grandson, etc.

    To get Joseph Smith's Y Chromosome, they took DNA samples from many of his known male descendants and from his brother Hyrum's male descendants. They should all have the same Y chromosome DNA -- which would be the same as Joseph's and Joseph Smith Sr's. So they are able to get the exact profile the same as if he gave a sample himself.

    The original motivation to get the profile was to trace the Smith family DNA back to England to see if they could solve missing info. in his genealogy, not to learn about possible children.

  • DR Hampton Portage, MI
    July 12, 2011 8:51 a.m.

    First, I believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God. I believe God required him to reinstitute polygamy likely beginning in Kirtland. I don't understand why polyandry was part of this, but it's not a problem for me. There is credible evidence that some of his plural relationships included sexual relations.
    Second, this set of comments has become a forum on Fawn Brodie's trustworthiness as a historian, not really the subject of the article upon which we are commenting. I believe she was a tabloid historian, particularly interested in prurient and controversial hidden stories in prominent people's lives. If you read her article Hidden Presidents: Looking through their memoirs for involuntary truth, Harper's, April 1977, pp. 61-76, you will find her strong allegation that Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the death of his mother (p. 71). Fawn Brodie did get many things right in her book about Joseph Smith, but what she got wrong about Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln and... was their underlying goodness and their important God-given roles in human history. It's good that she didn't write a biography of the prophet Abraham using her Freudian approach to history. Duane

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    July 12, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    First off I'd like to know how they created the genetic profile of Joseph Smith-if there was any inaccuracy in that then the whole analysis is meaningless.

    Also as I understand it there were few polygamous wives who claimed that Joseph Smith was the father of their children and the most prominent claim was a daughter-which the article makes clear is difficult to confirm and has not yet been tested.

    Last Fawn Brodie, though she perhaps speculated too much, has proven to be ahead of her time. Much of what she wrote is now accepted by LDS and non-LDS scholars alike as the likely story of Joseph Smith. What is sad is that the Church she belonged to felt so threatened by the truth that they took such firm action against her.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 12, 2011 7:38 a.m.

    %Serenity, I like your post, but I have heard the story told a little differently. I heard Fawn Brodie was related to presidend Mckay and she was commissioned by the church to write the book for the church centenial. It was her's and the church's thought that the book would be a compliment to the church and Brodie. However, when she did her research for the book she learned the truth was different than the church's version and being an honest author she wrote the truth as revealed by the facts rather than the church's wish for faith promoting fiction. This caused her friction with the church and the loss of her membership. I think the Palmer story is some what similar. I hope if this story in incorrect that you will correct it. Thx.

  • newslover Salt Lake City, UT
    July 12, 2011 12:46 a.m.

    ... breaking news from a 'mormon research firm'...(Sorenson) after reviewing this story... there are many unanswered questions about 'flawed research' and criteria... For years people have beein trying to discredit Ms. Brodie. Here research has proven flawless. I think there needs to be an outside firm to 'confirm' biased findings...

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 11, 2011 11:32 p.m.

    We can speculate all we want about the nature of Joseph Smith's relationships with his wives. All we know for sure is that Emma bore 9 children and they were all his children and none of the other wives did. None of us knows personally any of the people involved and to try to attach any kind of improper or immoral behavior to any of the people involved is unfair to them since they can't defend themselves.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    July 11, 2011 10:58 p.m.

    Does it make a difference if Joseph Smith had children with his plural wives? He was commanded to practice it for the propagation of the saints at the time. This is not that unusual. Most prophets and kings in the old testament practiced it, like Solomon with his wives and even concubines. The Lord prospered these people and didn't condemn them. Even today in the Muslim world, they are allowed up to four wives. Joseph was obeying the Lord's commandment even if reluctantly.

    Fawn Brodie was bound to write a book as "No Man Knows my History" because she had an anti-Mormon influences even in her home when growing up. Her mother was a strong closet anti-Mormon and she made comments which Brodie used in her book. Eventually her mother left the Church, so Brodie had her justification for writing the book.

    You can believe what you want about Joseph Smith, but the truth is so apparent in the way he translated the BOM and how the religion itself is growing. I think the best proof of its truthfulness is the quality and the holiness of the people who truly live the Gospel.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    July 11, 2011 7:17 p.m.

    We can fight against Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all we want, but it will only be to our own detriment.

    The book is from God and Joseph Smith was called by our Divine Maker to be the mighty prophet to restore the Savior's gospel.

    Praise to the man!

  • Grace Bakersfield, CA
    July 11, 2011 5:40 p.m.

    It's so much easier to belong to religeous groups who don't have controversy surrounding the progeny, wives, doctrines and revelations of their founders: Who aren't hounded out of communities, states and territories for breaking civil and Biblical laws. Whose artifacts don't disappear, whose heavenly visitors hang around for an interview, whose motives aren't impugned...

    Would love to interview Jesus, Mary, Peter/Shimon, Paul/Shaul, Daniel, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob/Israel, Moses/Moshe, Mohammed and Joseph S. Only two in that group, however, claimed that polygamy was commanded by God. The others followed cultural or personal reasons. For New Testament and Book of Mormon believers, the issue was settled in the text and no DNA proof is needed. Would enjoy a De Groote article on that topic.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    July 11, 2011 2:27 p.m.

    Sharrona: What edition of the Doctrine and Covenants are you using?

  • EgbertThrockmorton Layton, UT
    July 11, 2011 1:56 p.m.

    Interesting bit of research. I think a great deal of history,is more mythology than a factual representation of what happened. I agree that those with a specific agenda,seem to publish books on what they think happened, according to their own personal bias and political/religious agendas.
    I personally am not threatened by any warts in the history of the LDS Church at all. Not coming from "pioneer stock", I don't see the pioneer history in any other light, than (in most cases) courageous actions of individuals seeking to better themselves and their families. Of course people are going to have "blights" in their lives,no one escapes that. How is leaving those things out of history helpful in the long run? It isn't. Just my opinion.
    For the record, I don't believe for a second, that given the academic training of Joseph Smith and those who assisted him, that they could have of their own accord, come up with or produced the Book of Mormon. Sorry folks, they were NOT that smart or academically talented enough to commit such a fraud. Just don't see evidence of that at all.

  • Michael De Groote
    July 11, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    The rest of what Brodie said about John Reed Hancock in her book:

    Brodie Page 345: "Legend among the descendants of Levi W. Hancock points to another son of the prophet. If the legend is true, the child was probably John Reed Hancock, born April 19, 1841 in Nauvoo. Oddly, the next Hancock child, born considerably after Joseph Smith's death, was named Levison, as if to satisfy any doubt that Levi Hancock was in truth the father."

    Mr. John Corrill at 12:19 a.m. July 11, 2011, posted only part of what Brodie had written. Here is the rest of what she wrote (after what John quoted) on Page 464:
    "It is of some interest, however, to note that one of Levi Hancock's sons, born on June 9, 1845 in Nauvoo, was named Levison, as though to distinguish his parentage from that of a preceding son, born on april 19, 1841 and named John Reed Hancock. The latter might have been the child in question."

    Thank you to a friend of mine who had Brodie's book handy and was kind enough to forward me these quotes.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 11, 2011 12:32 p.m.

    %Big Lunch: I agree with you, it is all very confusing; and if Joseph Smith took his other brothers wives as his plural wives would that not be denying his brothern that in the celestial kingdom that JS wanted for himself. That dosen't seem very brotherly.

  • Big Lunch REDMOND, WA
    July 11, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    I do not understand, that if it is understood and accepted that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy as a holy principal, and that stated purpose of that principal is to bear seed (D & C 132), why would we be so anxious to declare Joseph Smith as utterly failing in this capacity? Why are we equating the lack of these children existing as a defense of his moral character?

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    July 11, 2011 11:51 a.m.

    @Dixie Mike
    DNA paternity tests require a sample of the parent's DNA. Apparently, Joseph Smith's DNA has been obtained (probably from a bloodstain). Then we can compare somebody's DNA and look for matching "markers".

    Nobody has a sample of any of Lehi's family DNA. Therefore a match cannot be made. However, other DNA tests can be made on people to match origin in a broad way. DNA analysis did not identify a middle eastern origin of Native Americans, but did identify several distinct origin patterns. However, a colony of 10 or 20 Jews arriving and mixing with natives already there, would probably not leave a discernable DNA source.

    DNA analysis does destroy the old Mormon myth that all Indians are descendants of Lehi. That the Lehites interbred with natives is clearly shown in Jacob, where he chides the people for their extra wives, etc. There would have been less than a hundred Lehites if the promised land were empty, so clearly Laman and Lemuel joined one tribe and the Nephites joined another. Jacob makes it clear that the term Nephite and Lamanite were political terms.

  • John Corrill Independence, Mo
    July 11, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    Michael De Groote: 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.

    John Corrill: Your recollection would be incorrect. Perhaps you should scoot on down to the library and see what the book actually says - rather than relying on your readers to do your research - and then issue appropriate corrections to your article.

    Michael De Groote: 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.

    John Corrill: Perhaps not, but the information in your article was incorrect and multiple reader comments castigated Brodie for "getting it wrong" when in fact, she did not.

    Michael De Groote: She raised the question. Other historians writing about the same topic did not.

    John Corrill: The women who were married to Joseph Smith were the ones who indicated they had children with Joseph Smith. Brodie was EXPLORING who the children MIGHT be.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    July 11, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    It appears that, insofar as anyone can determine thus far, Joseph Smith had NO children other than those borne by Emma. And even if he did, I am convinced that they would have been born in the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage (See D&C 132). Thus, in God's eyes they would have been Joseph's legitimate offspring, entitled to all the blessings that God offers, in this life and the next.
    As a side note, there were numerous persons sealed to Joseph Smith after his death. This doctrine of "adoption" was later ended by the Church.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 11, 2011 9:57 a.m.

    skeptic: No family histories are kept under lock and key. It is all open to anyone who wants to see it.

    July 11, 2011 9:50 a.m.

    It appears that some here are interpreting the DNA results as evidence that Joseph didn't have sexual relations with his wives. I think that is the wrong conclusion to make, since many of his wives made statements and even signed court affidavits indicating that they did in fact have sexual relations. It seems the more logical conclusion to be further investigated is that Joseph may have taken steps to prevent pregnancies with his polygamous wives. I'm not sure what the implications of that are, other than it would seem to run contrary to some of the teachings of allowing polygamy to raise up seed and whatnot.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    Again with Ms. Brodie in regards to her books on Jefferson and Smith, the difficulty is she presents the books as biographical-not historical fiction. She uses scurilous undocumented speculative sensational material in the books in the guise of fact or well accept understandings of the facts which they were not at the time of the writing of the books. Such effort does not aid the reader or the historian. It only adds to book sales, which seems to be the purpose. This from a professor of history is very disturbing. The comparison to Bushman is a very long reach. His work is meticulous in its documentation and research. Comparing Brodie, even though some of what she speculated is confirmed by Bushman, to Bushman is like comparing the writings of my 3-year old daughter to Shakespeare. (No offense to my daugther or Shakespeare).

  • Michael De Groote
    July 11, 2011 9:43 a.m.

    @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.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    July 11, 2011 9:19 a.m.

    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.

  • Tommy2Shoes Lehi, UT
    July 11, 2011 9:17 a.m.

    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.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    July 11, 2011 9:11 a.m.

    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.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 11, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    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.

    July 11, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    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!

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    July 11, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    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.

  • Mint Julip KAYSVILLE, UT
    July 11, 2011 7:51 a.m.

    @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.

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    July 11, 2011 7:22 a.m.

    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.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    July 11, 2011 3:17 a.m.

    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.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    July 11, 2011 1:17 a.m.

    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!

  • Main Street Plaza Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2011 12:28 a.m.

    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.

  • John Corrill Independence, Mo
    July 11, 2011 12:19 a.m.

    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.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 11, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    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.

  • Rachoo78 KIHEI, HI
    July 11, 2011 12:16 a.m.

    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.

  • Silly Rabbit Small Town, USA, UT
    July 10, 2011 11:38 p.m.

    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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 10, 2011 11:30 p.m.

    %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.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    July 10, 2011 11:21 p.m.

    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.

  • James B. Young SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 10, 2011 10:50 p.m.

    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.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 10, 2011 10:39 p.m.

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

  • donn layton, UT
    July 10, 2011 9:46 p.m.

    Alex,The real shock is that with all of the speculation passed off as fact, they have yet to produce 1 verifiable offspring that didn't come through Emma. That is the real embarrassment!
    Zebulon Jacobs was not Joseph Smith's son. Zina Huntington Jacobs married Joseph on October 27,1841. Henry Jacobs Zinas other husband was Zebulons father.
    Oliver Buell was not Joseph Smith's son. Presendia Huntington Buell married Joseph Smith on December 11, 1841. Joseph had married her sister, Zina two months prior. Norman Buell Presendias other husband was Olivers father.

  • zeba Brigham City, UT
    July 10, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    @ Cats, the article was not about DNA evidence for the Book of Mormon. There is zero DNA evidence to corroborate the Book of Mormon stories.

    Joseph Smith had secret polyandrous and polygamous relationships and the relationships were kept hidden from church members until being exposed by the Nauvoo Expositor. The Ancestry website has proof of the marriages.

  • M Edwards Heber City, Ut
    July 10, 2011 9:10 p.m.

    Re: Dixie Mike, You may want to do some further research. DNA has been found to link some Native Americans to those of the Lamanites. Rod Meldrum has brought forth such information.

  • utecougar Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2011 8:25 p.m.

    Brodie's book has never been out of print and continues to be the most popular "biography" about Joseph Smith, even though it mainly qualifies as biographical fiction. She wrote it to justify to herself her own lack of faith. Instead of trying to study the evidence objectively, she picked and chose sources that were obviously hostile because they supported her own prejudices. Still, she did raise some important questions, which truly qualified researchers like Bushman have worked to address. Her book was intended to harm the LDS Church, but I think ultimately it will do more good than she intended.

  • The Balloonatic Kearns, UT
    July 10, 2011 7:55 p.m.

    Ugo Perego was one of my friends at BYU. It's great to hear what he's up to and that he's doing such interesting and important work.

    Very interesting article, Mr. DeGroote. It grabbed the reader in and we followed along with the clues until we found out the answer at the end. It was fun and was instructive as to what DNA testing can do for historical research.

  • Dixie Mike Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2011 7:45 p.m.

    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.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    July 10, 2011 7:44 p.m.

    Whether or not Joseph Smith is the father to any children other than Emma's does not really change anything for me. I'm OK either way. Why? It is my deeply held conviction that plural marriage was a commandment of God, as well as the commandment to cease, and I am pretty comfortable in that. Now if you believe the same, it shouldn't be too difficult to accept the reality that married people frequently have children. There will always be those who will present speculation as fact, and in the most unflattering way they can.

    The real shock is that with all of the speculation passed off as fact, they have yet to produce 1 verifiable offspring that didn't come through Emma. That is the real embarrassment!

  • Elcapitan Ivins, UT
    July 10, 2011 7:31 p.m.

    Skeptic...that is a good question. While you are on your knees sometime, ask the Lord for a look into His historical files and those of this descip;les also. I suppose it depenbds on how you might approch looking at sacred things. Not many such requests are granted by those who hold them in respect and safekeeping. Live by Faith like most of us believers are reqauired to do.

  • Mint Julip KAYSVILLE, UT
    July 10, 2011 7:06 p.m.

    I am glad to see the Deseret News publish an article that shows the validity of DNA testing for proving and/or disproving bloodlines.

  • Major Bidamon Birmingham, AL
    July 10, 2011 7:02 p.m.

    RE: the Truth 5:42 p.m.

    He validated fanny alger and polyandry which was a shock to my life-long Bishop Father-in-law, but you are correct that he did not validate Brodie's conclusions. I'll meet you half way.

    I think his statement on page 439 of RSR supports my contention that this is not a closed case:

    "...nothing indicates that sexual relations were left out of plural marriages".

  • Michael De Groote
    July 10, 2011 6:37 p.m.

    zero_limits_33 | 3:02 p.m. July 10, 2011
    "So it does seem a little disingenuous in the manner in which you critiqued her book."

    I didn't really critique Brodie's book, I only gave it as a source for why Ugo Perego investigated the DNA of Moroni Pratt, etc. She raised the issue with Hancock as well.

    You are correct, Brodie did not present the information as strictly "factual." Sometimes, however, she sounded quite sure in her unsureness.

  • ? Fort Knox, KY
    July 10, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    Sharrona: I think the verses you are looking for is Doctrine and Covenants 20:77,79.

    Not sure which version of the Doctrine and Covenants you are using, but it is definately different than the one the rest of us use where section 17 only has 9 verses.

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    July 10, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    To EnglishAlan 3:03 pm

    You are exactly right. I love your perspective. It is one that can only come about by reading and praying, as you indicated. If one is sincere in so doing, the Holy Ghost will testify the truthfulness of it, and he will receive a witness from God through the Spirit. Thank you for your enlightening post.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 10, 2011 5:42 p.m.

    RE: Major Bidamon | 3:10 p.m

    Repeating someone else's words is NOT validation.

    Believing something is true does not make something true.

    It appears Joseph Smith was a much better man than his critics give him credit for.

    Funny how they rush to believe the words of his critics, but not him or his friends.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    July 10, 2011 5:21 p.m.

    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?

  • jmort SLO, CA
    July 10, 2011 4:56 p.m.

    RE Joseph Smith's activities: Whether or not Joseph fathered children outside the confines of the type of marriage the Church currently calls "traditional" doesn't change or invalidate his teachings or accomplishments. He was human like the rest of us.

    RE Church openness: Where can I find published numbers regarding how much was earned in Church-owned farming (and other) businesses over the past few years?

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2011 4:36 p.m.

    I just want to add that in my previous comment... the 'critics sit on the couch and take spoon-fed opinions' bit wasn't meant to be rude... but simply to say that most people I've met who criticize the church take their information from whatever sources are most convenient to them. They don't do their own research, and if they did actual investigating... they would not only find a different conclusion... but would find that there is much more to things that T.V. or well publicized critics of the church usually offer.

    In retrospect... I would also LOVE to point out one other thing. I'm would actually say this same thing about a lot of criticism. I personally believe that we should avoid passing judgements on others or other groups without either having a proper place to judge (authority, etc) or without having the most informed background possible on the topic before making such decisions.

    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. Most critics I have met who feel the church hides things have never tried to actually research anything.

  • Major Bidamon Birmingham, AL
    July 10, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    I honestly don't know why people are upset with Brodie. Bushman validated much of what she laid out. In any case, for all sides of this issue, this is far from a closed area of inquiry.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    July 10, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    As a convert to the LDS Church of over forty years I found this interesting, but not definitive. For me, what is definitive is that I read the Book of Mormon, and prayed about its authenticity. The Holy Ghost testified of its authenticity. All else is of interest, but does not sway me one way or the other. If the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph was a Prophet. If Joseph was a Prophet, the LDS Church is led by a Prophet today.

    Joseph was a man, and therefore imperfect. So were Moses, Abraham and Isaiah. Their imperfections did not prevent the Lord from using them, and it did not prevent Him from using Joseph. It's the message that needs to be perfect, not the messenger. It was, even though he was not.

  • zero_limits_33 Eagle mountain, UT
    July 10, 2011 3:02 p.m.

    @Michael De Groote

    I was not aware of that criticism of Dr. Brodie, but I can concede that, there was a fair amount of speculation on the thoughts of Smith. What I am really interested in is the factual evidence/history presented by Brodie. I do not believe I am mistaken that Richard Bushman came up with similar facts in his "Rough Stone Rolling" the difference is his was written from a position of faith.

    All that aside, my original point was Brodie was speculating on that Joseph was the father of the child, and it was not presented as factual. So it does seem a little disingenuous in the manner in which you critiqued her book.

  • county mom Monroe, UT
    July 10, 2011 2:40 p.m.

    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.

  • Bugoff Houston, TX
    July 10, 2011 2:11 p.m.

    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.

  • Michael De Groote
    July 10, 2011 1:37 p.m.

    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.)

  • Michael De Groote
    July 10, 2011 1:32 p.m.

    @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.

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    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.

  • LawMama HIGHLAND, UT
    July 10, 2011 1:24 p.m.

    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.

  • zero_limits_33 Eagle mountain, UT
    July 10, 2011 12:46 p.m.

    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.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    July 10, 2011 12:25 p.m.

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

  • SSMD Silver Spring, MD
    July 10, 2011 12:22 p.m.

    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.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    July 10, 2011 12:00 p.m.

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

  • zero_limits_33 Eagle mountain, UT
    July 10, 2011 10:41 a.m.

    @ 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.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    July 10, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    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.

  • Silly Rabbit Small Town, USA, UT
    July 10, 2011 10:05 a.m.

    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:)

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    July 10, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    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.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 10, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    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.

  • snowman Provo, UT
    July 10, 2011 9:27 a.m.

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

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    July 10, 2011 7:16 a.m.

    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.

  • GoldieZ Eureka, UT
    July 10, 2011 6:19 a.m.

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

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    July 10, 2011 2:31 a.m.

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

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    July 10, 2011 12:42 a.m.

    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.