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How Do You Figure Out 150 Year Old Paternity?

We’re continuing our discussion with Dr. Ugo Perego.  Before we look into the question of figuring out a 150 year old paternity test, what are his thoughts on Joseph Smith?

Ugo:  So there are still, even in the 21st century many individuals that do not fully embrace the image of Joseph Smith associated with polygamy.  They are totally fine with Brigham Young evidence [having as] many kids and as many wives as he wanted, but when it comes to Joseph Smith I guess unfortunately this idea that he was involved in a lot of things.

They have Joseph Smith on this pedestal which has kind of hurt individuals because he was a great man.  I believe he did extraordinary things.  The Book of Mormon is definitely one of the biggest miracles that has to do with the restoration, but at the end, the Lord purposely chose an imperfect, limited resources and capabilities individual.  Otherwise the greatness of the restoration has to be measured against Joseph Smith’s humble origins.  That discrepancy in my mind, you have to really think about this.  It doesn’t matter if you accept Joseph Smith or not, you have to do a lot of explanation to justify how somebody like him did what he did.  Then you have to faithfully accept that.

But then sometimes you bring Joseph Smith into the grayness.  You think that he had, as a human, he was immune to certain things which is not [true.]  He was not the Savior.  It was like Elder Bednar once said, referring to him and the Quorum of Twelve.  We are ordinary people with extraordinary responsibilities.  That’s how I view Joseph Smith.

Ugo also asks some interesting questions, and explains why Joseph may not have had children with these other women.

How many wives did he really have?  What type of relationship did he have with each one of them?  Because you have to take every single case individually.  There is too much evidence that shows that not all the unions he had were lived in the same way.  Was he having sexual relations with all of them?  Would he have had them if he could?  Maybe he didn’t have a chance because of other surrounding events at that time.  Was he sealed for eternity or for time only or for both?  Were there any children?  That’s the big question, borne from any of these relationships.  We know that one of the reasons to justify the practice of polygamy was to raise a righteous generation.  Definitely Brigham Young worked at that.  He had 50 more children.

Joseph Smith was fertile.  He had nine biological children from Emma plus two that he adopted, so he was definitely interested in posterity.  To some degree like Nephi, was very concerned about his posterity, what they would do and what they would not do.  But no one has ever been able to fully, up to the DNA era, to fully to come forth, we know that these other children was born of him through a polygamous relationship.

There has always been circumstantial evidence that would bring historians to make such claims.  So-and-so is probably Joseph Smith’s son or daughter because of a, b, and c.  Before Josephine, which is the last case that I presented, there are other cases that I am working on, but that’s the last one that we reached a conclusion, an answer.

How do you figure out 150 year old DNA test?

Modern paternity tests are quite different than ones where the potential father is long since dead.  How does that work?

I believe it was 2002-2003 when I started working on some of those cases.  Those cases only involved sons.  Josephine is a daughter.  There is a different approach that you must take genetically to answer the paternity of a son versus the paternity of a daughter when it is something that happened 150 years ago.  Nowadays if you suspect your child is not your child, regardless of whether it is a girl or a boy, you do a paternity test.  You test the mother, the father, and the child.  There are certain markers, there are autosomal markers they are called, that are very unique, the combination of such can only be reproduced within a family.  So either somebody is 100% not your child, or it is 99.99999% your child, which is just another way to say 100%.  DNA is one notch stronger in excluding relationships than it is to include.  There is always a little chance that DNA matches because of chance.  But the markers that you test are so many that the reality that there is really a chance is [close to zero.]

Check out our conversation…..

 

 

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Mormon Polyandry: More than One Husband

When we talk about Mormon polygamy, we usually mean polygyny—where a man has more than 1 wife.  The opposite of that is polyandry, where a woman can have more than 1 husband.  Did you know that Joseph was sealed to women who were already married?  In this episode, Dr. Brian Hales talks about several of these instances.  We’ll talk in detail about one of these women, Sylvia Session Lyon.  She gave birth to a girl named daughter, Josephine, and Josephine’s mother said she was the child of Joseph.  They did a DNA test to see if Josephine was the daughter of Joseph or Windsor.

I theorized that the marriage between Joseph Smith and Sylvia Sessions Lyon did include sexual relations in that plural marriage, and I had some theories as how that might have unfolded.  When the DNA evidence came back—and part of the theory was that Joseph was the father of Josephine [daughter of Sylvia Sessions Lyon.]  That’s an important point.  But when the DNA evidence came back that Windsor Lyon was the father, it required me to re-write things.  I’ll be honest with you.  It wasn’t what I expected, but it was what I had hoped.

Brian now believes that there were no sexual relations between Joseph and any of these 11-14 polyandrous marriages.

Brian:  Why the women chose Joseph over their legal husbands, sometimes these men were active Latter-day Saints, we don’t know.  It seems odd.  But it’s not as odd as them practicing actual sexual polyandry without anybody ever talking about it or finding that to be controversial.

GT:  Ok, so your opinion is of all the eleven polyandrous marriages, where a woman could have two husbands essentially, none of them involved sexual relations.

Brian:  Correct.

GT:  That’s your opinion.  Ok.  So let’s talk a little bit about…

Brian:  Rick, let me interrupt though.  If people go to my books, they’re going to be confused because I used the word eleven.  The twelfth polyandrous marriage on the chart is Sarah Ann Whitney to Joseph C. Kingsbury, which was a front marriage.  Everybody involved with that realized that she was sealed to Joseph but apparently there was some legal issues going on, so Joseph asked Kingsbury to have a legal marriage but not consummate the marriage.  Everybody agrees that was the relationship.  That’s number twelve.

Number thirteen is Lucinda Pendleton who we just know nothing about, and the fourteenth one is to Mary Herron who we have one attestation that connects her to Joseph sexually but we don’t know any of the details.  If somebody goes to my chart, there’s actually fourteen women on that but eleven of them we believe were eternity-only, two are undocumented so just take your guess, and then we have this pretend marriage with Sarah Ann, so fourteen in total.

He theorizes that this was Joseph’s attempt to satisfy the angel with a flaming sword.  Joseph was completing these sealings in order to fulfill the angel’s command and also placate Emma. We also address the rumor that Joseph sent men on missions so he could marry their wives.

Brian nods:  The problem is we have two sealing dates for Joseph and Marinda.  The other date is from an affidavit Marinda signed that is well after Orson Hyde returning from Palestine.  Even the one that appears to be a case where Joseph might have sent him on a mission, then he waits a year—it doesn’t make sense.  A year later we have Joseph being sealed to Marinda, but again we have a second date.  The second date is a signed affidavit which we probably would consider to be more reliable than something that was just scrawled on a page in Joseph’s journal, not in his handwriting but in I think Thomas Bullock’s [handwriting.]  Again that story is false, yet it’s a sound bite.  It’s all over the internet.  We’ve got to kill it.  It’s wrong.  It’s false.  Joseph did not send men on missions and so he could marry their wives according to any reliable documentation.

Why do you think that Joseph was sealed to other men’s wives?  Were you aware that most of these men were ok with Joseph being sealed to their wives?  Do you think that made it easier for them to consent because there were no sexual relations (no sexual polyandry)?  Why would God command Joseph to do this?

Don’t forget to check out our previous episode on Fanny Alger, as well as parts 15 of our conversations with Brian.  Check out our conversation…

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