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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 (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…..

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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…..