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Was Emma Licentious? Would it matter? Addressing Ugo’s DNA Critics

In this episode, we’ll discuss Ugo’s DNA critics. Of course there are critics of Dr. Perego, as well as Joseph Smith.  At Wheat & Tares, commenter Mike posed a question wondering if Emma had sex with one or more of Joseph Smith’s brothers, would that affect Dr. Ugo Perego’s test results?  (Apparently he is parroting questions popping up in ex-mormon rumor mills.) The simple answer is it would have zero impact on Dr. Perego’s results.  Here’s why.

For the record, I don’t like Mike’s assertion, but for a moment let’s assume that Mike is right:  Emma was fooling around with Joseph Smith’s brothers.  Even if this were the case (and there isn’t a hint of historical evidence to think this was remotely true), it simply wouldn’t matter with regards to Dr. Perego’s DNA test results, which state that 0% of Smith DNA has been found in any of the potential children.

Let me repeat, even if Emma had sex with Joseph Sr., Hyrum, Don Carlos, William, Samuel and gave she gave birth to a child of Joseph’s brothers (or even father for that matter), all the while Joseph Smith is completely clueless (or somehow didn’t care) to this improbable scenario, 0% of Smith DNA was found in Josephine Lyon, John Hancock, Oliver Buell, etc.  That rules everyone in the Smith family out.  It simply doesn’t matter if Joseph’s DNA is confused with his brothers because 0% of Smith DNA is in the suspected children.  None.  Not only has the entire Smith family been ruled out as father of the potential children in Dr. Ugo Perego’s test, but the real father has been identified (Parley P. Pratt, Levi Hancock, Windsor Lyon etc.)  It is not simply ruling Joseph or the Smith family out, it is ruling Parley in, Levi in, etc.  It simply doesn’t matter if Emma had sex with anyone outside of Joseph.  Smith DNA is nowhere to be found, and the father of Josephine Lyon has been identified, and it is Windsor Lyon.  The father of John Hancock has been identified as Levi Hancock.  The father of Moroni Pratt has been identified as Parley P. Pratt.  Cases closed.  There is no question about who the fathers are.

So even if this highly unlikely scenario is true, Emma’s sexual habits simply don’t matter at all since the entire Smith family has been ruled out and the real fathers have been ruled in and identified.

What’s bothers me that most in this ridiculous conspiracy theory is that it seems to be an attempt (1) to discredit Dr. Perego’s results by throwing up a diversion while (2) impugning the Smith family as sexually licentious.  I know that several in the ex-Mormon community have no problem throwing Joseph under the bus, but it seems especially insidious to accuse Emma of being licentious as well.  There isn’t even a hint of Emma having sex with any of Joseph’s brothers (or anyone else) in any journals, records, newspapers, etc.  None.  I find such “brainstorming” extremely distasteful and beyond ridiculous.  The science is settled.  If you don’t understand the issues, read them.  They are published and these questions are not only distasteful, but the issues are completely settled.  If you still have questions it is because you are too lazy to read the articles.  (I posted links in my previous show notes.)

Ugo Discusses Smith’s Critics, and his own

This leads into my next episode.  Dr. Perego discusses a particular critic who said several derogatory things about Dr. Perego, as well as the Smith family.

Ugo:  You have to understand that there are people here.  No matter how curious you are about history, and how much of a National Geographic experience it is for you, or a Discovery Channel, whatever it is, there are real people involved.  People that are alive, people that are descendants of these individuals, and they have a relationship with their ancestors that is a lot different than you have with them.  You look at them as historical figures that you can trash, play with, speculate, say whatever you want about them.  But to some people, that’s family.  They feel very tender about their ancestors.  They are here on the earth because these people existed.  You have to have that respect.  You have to build that trust.

Very likely I met individuals who introduced me to other individuals to be able to—and I feel very much part of the family with regards to [be] more than a friend.  They welcomed me with regards to Josephine descendants and the trust that they had bestowed on me, but also with Joseph Smith descendants.

I always try to be very respectful and think about besides the DNA that you see on a computer or the kit, or the history that there are actual real people alive with sentiments, with feelings, with concerns, with worries about privacy, about misuse of data.  All it takes is one bad example or occurrence and then you kind of ruin their trust, and I value that.

So when Scott was working and had this approach, his approach, and this is what the Josephine descendants told me, his approach totally turned them off.  They were absolutely not interested in working with him because of the way he approached the research, the project.

Find out more of who Scott is, and what his issues were with Dr. Perego.  Check out our conversation…..

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Who’s the Daddy of Josephine (Part 2)? Joseph Smith or Windsor Lyon?

We’re continuing our discussion with Dr. Ugo Perego.  Last year at the Mormon History Association meetings he made a lot of news when he announced the official test results of his test on paternity of Josephine Lyon.  Sylvia was married to Windsor Lyon but sealed to Joseph Smith, and there has been some question as to whose daughter she really was.  Was it Windsor or was it Joseph?

Ugo:  It was a difficult test to do.  It was a difficult question to answer.  Josephine is a girl, so you have the strongest historical case because Josephine’s mother made a confession made a confession on her death bed….

[Josephine] does not have the Y-Chromosome with Joseph Smith.  That’s all I had to play with.  I only had a very accurate Y-Chromosome profile and I used it to answer six cases of sons.  Five of them were published.  One of them is not published; actually there are two of them that are not published but one of them is a little bit iffy.  I don’t know if it will get published or not.  Don Bradley was the one that was working with me then.  We kind of dropped the ball on it, and now I’m doing another one, the one I was [talking about] yesterday.  They are all sons, Orson Hyde, you know the one I told you?  They are all sons, Y-Chromosome.

GT:  Can you briefly mention who these sons are?

Then we have Mosiah Hancock; Mosiah, Oliver [Buell], Moroni [Pratt], Orrison [Smith], and the fifth one is?  I can’t remember the fifth one. [It was Zebulon Jacobs. [1]]

GT:  That’s good.

Ugo:  But they’ve both been published.  One was published in the John Whitmer Journal,[2] and the other one was published in the Journal of Mormon History[3]; three cases in one and two cases in the other, single articles, two articles you get five of them.

Problems with the Test

But when it came to testing a possible daughter, Dr. Perego ran into some big problems when testing Josephine.

I had 120 descendants of Josephine that gave a DNA sample and their genealogy.  I knew how they were connected.  Josephine had a lot of children and I had many different lines represented, very beautiful results of family.  It would make a great genetics study, but not technology to do it.  We were stuck at the Y-Chromosome and mitochondrial DNA at that time.

Then when the technology finally started coming around, all the sudden the data was sold to Ancestry.com and I was given word at that time by some individuals that were involved with that process that I could still access that information, that data that was moved.  Because these are samples that were collected and frozen but not the genetic data has been produced so you still need to run the data.  It’s not as if I have the data saved on a hard drive.  We didn’t have the technology to run and process that data yet.  So all at once, I lost all the samples that I had, all of it, 10 years of work of collecting these samples.

GT:  Because the company was sold.

Ugo:  The company was sold.

GT:  Oh that must have been heartbreaking.

Ugo:  It was.  So at that time, two things happened.  I lost control of the data.  It was given to Ancestry.  Very soon I understood that it was going to be very difficult.  I tried a lot of different approaches to get the data back.  In the meantime, I’m no longer working with Sorenson.  Sorenson Company doesn’t exist anymore.  I do not have access to a lab through them anymore, and I’m relocating to Italy, so I had a start anew everything with my family in a different country.  It’s been probably 2, 3, or 4 years that I absolutely did not even touch this case study anymore.  I mean I had no data, right?  What do I do with it?

At that time, Josephine’s family approached me, and I have a letter from one of the daughters because she was writing me.  I feel bad because she was writing me emails at that time and I wasn’t very quick in answering them because I didn’t know what to tell her.

There’s not much I really can do, so finally she actually wrote me a letter to Italy, and I got this letter, and she’s like, “we really want to know, what is it going to take?  Can we talk about it?  What is it going to take about money, samples?  Who’s going to run them if we get the samples?  Can you be our researcher for this?”  So at that time I became their personal researcher.  I gave my free time, my expertise and they paid for the testing.  I told them we’re going to build it, what we didn’t have.

GT:  You had to rebuild what you didn’t have.

Ugo:  Exactly.  Who’s still alive?  Who of the oldest descendants are still alive?  Can we get the DNA from them?  I pulled out my old genealogy, my old chart and asked, who do you have from this line?  3 guys from there, 3 guys from there.

(Don’t forget to listen to our previous paternity test!)  Check out our conversation…..

[1] Digital version can be found at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=mormonhistory Retrieved Sept 3, 2017

[2] A summary can be found here:  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/695226318/DNA-tests-rule-out-2-as-Smith-descendants.html

[3] Digital version can be found at http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1078&context=mormonhistory Retrieved Sept 3, 2017


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Who’s the Daddy (Part 1)? Joseph or Parley Paternity?

We started this conversation by talking about the paternity of Josephine Lyon.  It turns out that Dr. Ugo Perego is also testing other potential children of Joseph Smith.  We’ll talk about the historical relationship between Joseph Smith, Orson Hyde, and Marinda Johnson, as well as Parley Pratt and Mary Ann Frost.  What are the results of the Joseph-Parley paternity test?

Ugo:  Mary Ann Frost was the second wife of Parley P. Pratt. He was born December 1844, Moroni Pratt, which placed him 9 months within the death of Joseph Smith.  Mary Ann Frost was sealed to Joseph Smith, was never sealed to Parley.  In fact Mary Ann Frost is recorded as one of the first females, if not the first group that received the temple ordinances in the Red Brick Store.  She was there when Joseph Smith introduced the first temple endowment.  Eventually she was sealed to Joseph and children were born.  The first one, Moroni was linked to Joseph Smith as a possibility.  I think Fawn Brodie mentions that as a possibility in her book.

I found a document while I was researching this when I was doing this project that had Parley P. Pratt’s statement that every child he would have with Mary Ann would be Joseph’s in the eternity.  Are you with me?  So every child he would have with Mary Ann Frost would have been Joseph’s in the eternity.  It sounds to me very much like the Levirate marriage where the man dies, his wife is still alive, we’re talking about spiritual wife here because we are talking about celestial marriage, the next of kin, which would be brother Pratt to Joseph, spiritually is raising a posterity in eternity for Joseph.

GT:  Hmmm. That is very interesting interpretation.

Ugo:  That’s what he said.  That’s what Parley said.  It’s not my words.

GT:  Parley said that?

Ugo:  Parley said that.

GT:  So let me make sure I’m clear on the thing.  So you said that Frost, what was her first name?

Ugo:  Mary Ann Frost.

GT:  Mary Ann Frost was sealed to Joseph but that was after…

Ugo interrupts:  but married to Parley.

GT:  Was she married to Parley before she was sealed to Joseph?

Ugo:  Yes.

GT:  That just seems so strange.

Ugo:  She was married to Parley for time, but to Joseph for eternity.

GT:  See I think most people would be so surprised to hear that they would have a polygamist marriage that would be not for eternity.  I mean when you read D&C 132, that’s what it seems like and so it seems so strange.

Ugo:  We still don’t know a lot of things about it.  If you are very negative about the whole thing, you’re always going to look for the dirtiest reasons why there were these things:  polyandry, promiscuity, sexual interest, control over women, whatever you want to bring up.

But if you are more on the, well let’s see.  If they are really trying to establish some celestial order on the earth; Who are we?  We are all children of Heavenly Father.  It doesn’t matter how we are connected as long as we are connected to him at the end, right

Ugo also makes some interesting points regarding potentially polyandrous relationships.

Ugo:  We have to wonder, what was the nature of a woman being alive and having some certain documented tie, a union, or marriage to more than one man?  We are trying to speculate and guess what was the nature and the practice and the environment and the sexuality that surrounded this union.  Was it the same?  Was it different from husband to another husband?  We are left with wondering on this issue.

Besides, the fact that we don’t have children of Joseph Smith from polygamous relationships does not tell us anything about his sexual interactions with this woman.  We all know that you don’t have a child every time you have intercourse.  But it does bring up some interesting alternative answers when you see that there are absolutely no children.  Brigham Young had no problem having children with all his wives, or Joseph F. Smith, or anyone else, so why not Joseph?

Was he too persecuted, too busy?  He had to act secretly so he didn’t have as many opportunities?  Stress level was high?

If you listen to the podcast or watch the video below, you can find out the results of the Paternity test on Moroni Pratt.  Was he Pratt’s son, or Joseph’s?  Don’t forget to check out or episode on DNA 101 and 150 year old paternity tests!)  Check out our conversation…..