Press Release: The Much Rumored Joseph Smith Daguerreotype

By March 19, 2008

I recieved the following this morning:

Press ReleaseFor Immediate Release: A Real Photograph of Joseph Smith Jr.March 18, 2008
Eborn Books has specialized in used, rare, and out of print LDS books for almost 2 decades. We now deal in New books as well, with 2 stores to serve you. Please check our website for more information, and a complete list of the books we have published.

Press Release: A Real Photograph of Joseph Smith Jr.

For Immediate Release March 18, 2008

Eborn Publishing, LLC, announced today the April release of these two products:

1. Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again by S. Michael Tracy
2. Picturing Joseph, a documentary (dvd)

Both products are based on the research of S. Michael Tracy and claim to include a promising new photographic image of Joseph Smith Jr., along with many years’ worth of forensic evidence supporting it. The evidence that was studied:1. Physical descriptions of the Prophet by those who knew him2. Early paintings of the Prophet3. Measurements of the Prophet’s head made by a phrenologist4. The death mask made of his face shortly after the martyrdom

5. The skull which was exhumed in 1928 for reburial

6. Many photographs which have been presented as being Joseph Smith

S. Michael Tracy has studied the evidence for many years. Both the book and documentary are based on his findings. This little-known image among Latter-day Saints has actually been in the public domain for some time, but has never been published with so much research and forensic data.The “Scannel Daguerreotype,” as it has become known, circulated among some scholars for years.

More recently it was published in the Saints Herald of December 1994, in which it was stated very emphatically that “A much more complete answer to the question of Joseph’s appearance is now known.” The image was again published in Sunstone magazine in 1995 and some paintings and sketches have also been published. (See BYU Studies Vol.41, No.2 and The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, Volume Fifteen, 1995.)

Eborn Publishing, LLC, was holding back announcing the products until they were actually available. However, due to a massive emailing of false information regarding the project, and the subsequent news coverage, they have decided to announce both products at this time.

The purpose of the book and documentary are not to conclusively state that this is positively Joseph Smith’s image, but is an effort by the author to present the overwhelming evidence, and let the Saints each decide for themselves. Tracy feels it is time for the public to both see the photograph and examine the evidence surrounding it.

Press: For further commentary on the projects contact S. Michael Tracy at 480-220-7495

Public: The book and documentary can be pre-ordered on

Book Orders:

Documentary (48-min dvd):

These products will also be available on and
These products will also be available on and

Eborn Publishing, LLC. 3601 S. 2700 W. Suite B120, West Valley City, Ut 84119Please forward this message to anyone you think would be interested!

So, thus the plot thickens. Interestingly, it mentions that due to the recent mass emailing and subsequent news coverage they have chosen to announce this at this time before becoming available. I’ll be interested to read what evidence is presented. I know this Tracy has been giving powerpoint presentations on the subject recently. I understand with this forthcoming publication, that originally the Community of Christ was involved, but has since left the project. Whether or not the evidence presented is convincing, I understand the book will include a historiography of Joseph Smith images which I hope will prove interesting.

An interesting point to ponder is what impact, if any, this image and this publication will have on the general membership in how it envisions and thinks about the Mormon prophet. I was speaking to the publisher a few weeks back and he mentioned something very interesting. He said that the people that seemed to respond most favorably, in his estimation, to this image were women. He said that they found this depiction of Joseph Smith to be more masculine and “real” compared to the images most popularly floated around in the Church on manuals, etc. and more appealing. If such a trend is true, it would be a fascinating commentary on the changing perception of Joseph Smith in the Church which Sunstone published about a few years back.

This will be an interesting unfolding one way or another.

(Note: Press release not posted for financial gain on our part…duh!)


  1. Thanks Jared. Do you know anything about Tracy? Does he have any qualifications other than being a Mormon?

    Also, any idea why the CoC backed out? What is their current stance on the issue?

    Comment by David G. — March 19, 2008 @ 12:09 pm

  2. Interesting. Thanks Jared. That’s very interesting that women have responded more favorably to the photo than men.

    Comment by Christopher — March 19, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

  3. I know that Tracy wrote a book in 1995 called In Search Of Joseph I know that some objected to it because it published photos of the skulls of Joseph and Hyrum when they were exhumed in the early 20th century. I’ve not heard any criticism of his qualifications for carrying out such a study, but I haven’t dug much on that. I’m not sure what his qualifications are, but in that earler book he undertook to use the death masks and the skull photos to create a forensically sound image of the Prophet.

    As far as the CoC, not sure where they stand on it now.

    Comment by Jared — March 19, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

  4. The purpose of the book and documentary are not to conclusively state that this is positively Joseph Smith?s image, but is an effort by the author to present the overwhelming evidence, and let the Saints each decide for themselves


    If this was a reliable scholarly treatment I would expect a different publisher, and the CoC to have stayed involved.

    Comment by J. Stapley — March 19, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  5. You know this is very unscientific but I was looking at pictures of younger Joseph Smith III, Joseph F. Smith, Alan H. Smith, and David Hyrum Smith.

    Comparing them with the Scannell I was pretty convinced.

    Comment by Jon W — March 19, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  6. Tracy was (is?) the director and CFO of the company that planned to build a hotel/conference center in Nauvoo in time for this year’s Mormon History Association meeting. We’re meeting in Sacramento instead because the Nauvoo facilities aren’t ready (yet? ever?). He has also been involved in some project involving the Nauvoo Temple Bell — he was a little late in acknowledging scholarship disproving the claim that the bell in the RS tower on Temple Square is the Nauvoo bell.

    I second J.’s #4.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — March 19, 2008 @ 2:05 pm

  7. Of course this could be Jesus Family Tomb all over again but hey I consider it less specious.

    Comment by Jon W — March 19, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  8. I emailed a friend at the Community of Christ about this. While declining to comment, this friend forwarded me a statement by the CoC on the image saying that it had not yet been posted officially, but that it may be and said that it can be passed along:

    The recently publicized image some people believe to be a picture of Joseph Smith is copyrighted intellectual property of the Community of Christ and is circulating without permission. All copies of the image were shared with researchers under strict conditions of confidentiality. E-mailing or displaying the image on the internet or any other media is a copyright infringement.

    Community of Christ experts continue to study the image. If scholarly proof of identity satisfies rigorous internal guidelines, Community of Christ may make a statement concerning its authenticity..

    Comment by Jared — March 19, 2008 @ 2:42 pm

  9. I am closely related to this project and I feel it would be best to say that this work of Tracy’s is far superior and much more complete in its research to his first project “In Search of Joseph”. That work was significant at the time, but since then, technology has greatly improved and he has done quite a bit more research to support his claims. Much more compelling and much more thorough.

    In relation to the Community of Christ. I’m not sure why they care so much about Joseph Smith anymore since they have all but denounced him as a prophet. However, they have been claiming for sometime that they own the rights to the daguerreotype. This is false. The book will not only prove that they have made this image public domain through their own actions, but that they don’t even own the original image. They own a copy of the original. A daguerreotype of a daguerreotype. By NO legal definition does that give them any right to sole ownership of this image.

    However, whatever your thoughts are on the picture or as Tracy as a researcher, I think you should take a look at the book when it comes out because it is quite convincing. Tracy’s work is backed up by forensic experts and doctors in this book who have no financial object in mind with their conclusions.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2008 @ 3:19 pm

  10. Thanks Jared. So I guess that says something about Tracy’s and Eborn’s integrity.

    Comment by David G. — March 19, 2008 @ 3:20 pm

  11. Nick, I posted my #10 before I saw your #9. I’d like to see Tracy’s case for not violating copyright.

    Comment by David G. — March 19, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  12. Nick,

    I’m with David. I’ll look forward to Tracy’s case for not violating copyright. A couple of other points:

    I?m not sure why they care so much about Joseph Smith anymore since they have all but denounced him as a prophet.

    I think that’s an unfair characterization of the CoC. Even if they have done so (and I’m not convinced they have), the reasons for their interest in JS and this alleged photo of him has much to do, I presume, with their continued interest and advocacy of historical research regarding the Latter Day Saint tradition.

    They own a copy of the original. A daguerreotype of a daguerreotype.

    I hope you meant that figuratively. Or are you really saying that the CoC utilized 19th century technology using silver plates, iodine, and mercury vapor to make their copy of the original?

    Comment by Christopher — March 19, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  13. It says nothing about their integrity. If you knew the rest of the story it might help you see the whole picture behind that statement. The reason the friend at the C of C isn’t commenting is because they know that the church is making a statement that they cannot legally back up.

    What this statement really says is that the C of C has their own book coming out and they are trying to make a claim that would discredit the writer and the publisher of this book to serve their own goals. The problem is, they want to make the same conclusion and statement that this book is, they are just getting beat to the punch. The C of C is making their own presentation at the Mormon History Association convention in Sacramento on this very subject and they are pissed that they can’t be the first.

    The C of C was all apart of the project through the whole process. They were offered a cut of the book sales and they declined. After they rode the back of Tracy’s research then they decided to come out with their own book and don’t want to share. Ask your friend at the C of C about Ron Romig’s work on this project. He practically wrote part of the book and is quoted several times in it. rest assured, the C of C is selfishly motivated with their statement.

    Before questioning someone’s integrity it might be best if you took all sides before making a decision.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  14. Christopher,
    Making daguerreotypes of daguerreotypes happened all the time. It is how the Daguerreotype photographers made their money. They would offer free sittings to famous people, give them a copy and sell copies to others. That’s history not opinion. This was not the first time that happened.

    As far as proof of this one. I will give you one, but not all because I think the book does better justice to it. The plate that the C of C has their image on was manufactured in 1850, after Joseph’s death. To some they might see that as proof that this is not a real picture. On the contrary, as I mentioned before, it was common practice, before current technologies, they would copy them by simply taking another picture of it. A daguerreotype when taken was a mirror image of the person. Meaning their right looked like their left. In this image everything matches up anatomically correct. meaning the matching of the death masks to the face required no flipping of the image to make it fit. If this was the original it would have been backwards and it is not.

    Okay that is two pieces of info. there are more in the book. Just give it a chance. Any image that is over 50 years in the public becomes public domain. This image was taken in 1850 and released by the churches own doing. No one stole anything from them that they didn’t make available to the whole world years ago.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  15. Nick, fair enough. Thanks for the info. Aside from Ron Romig, did Tracy consult any other historians, or just forensic experts and doctors?

    Comment by Christopher — March 19, 2008 @ 3:39 pm

  16. Interesting discussion. I look forward to seeing the completed project and some peer reviews of the book.

    My personal feeling is that if CoC is the legal copyrite holder than Tracy and others are in big trouble. So I too will be interested in how this works.

    I am always worried about sensationalization of finds in any field as too often than not they seem to blow up, some times literally, in the face of those making them.

    I Personally think that IF, and at this point it is an if, this a true picture than it is something almost as earth shaking as the effect of the change in the depictions of christ after the Shroud of Turin became popular.

    (For those who might not know, before the shroud Jesus was as often as not painted as a Roman, clean shaven. After the shroud, in the middle ages he gets a beard.)

    Comment by JonW — March 19, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

  17. Everybody, please be calm.

    Comment by Justin — March 19, 2008 @ 3:45 pm

  18. […] While it may not be confirmed by the Church, it may still be real. On the other hand, all the recent publicity may just be orchestrated to publicize a new book. […]

    Pingback by Joseph Smith photo isn’t real or maybe it is · A Soft Answer — March 19, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  19. There were several historians in addition to the doctors and scientists that were pulled in to make this. As far as copyright goes, there is an anti-mormon group (that I won’t identify) that claims a copyright on the picture too. I am not sure that either have any claim considering the above mentioned points, but needless to say, even a copyright doesn’t have ultimate legal standing. It depends on how you obtained the copyright and when. If someone can own it, then you are right, some heads will fly. Since I don’t see a judge upholding that, it might be of little importance. has a video story that was recent ran on the picture itself by their news station. If there is going to be some legal battles with the picture is looks like a salt lake city local news station that is distantly managed by the LDS church is going to have to be named as well. I don’t think the C of C has it in them to take that on. A small publisher, maybe…

    In the end, I hope that wether people believe this is a picture of Joseph or not, the text of the book should help them to come to know Joseph a little better.

    Sorry for my stab on the C of C. I was just presenting some facts as they currently rest.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

  20. #10 David, I’m not prepared to go that far just yet. I think some time will be needed to sort this all out, which I think you agree to after some of the subsequent comments.

    Nick, I looked through the MHA schedules and couldn’t find a presentation about this image as far as I could find. Maybe I missed it. Can anyone confirm?

    Comment by Jared — March 19, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

  21. They might not make that the title of their presentation at the conference. I can’t recall off the top of my head who from their church is participating. If I find out I will post that info. Their appearance might have been rumored, but I am pretty sure they were presenting.

    Who knows that could have all changed recently since all this has come out?

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  22. This story has been linked at A Soft Answer. I just want it to be clear that my angle here has not been that the recent press coverage and mass emails was “orchestrated” for publicity’s sake. I know a few people on “both” sides of this issue, and I respect them all. I’ve just tried to present info as I’m permitted and as it comes to me. I think it’s early yet to draw any conclusions, but the unfolding will be interesting.

    Tracy’s number is right there…I guess someone could call him 🙂 Maybe he could be gotten to come comment.

    I agree, though, with Justin’s #17.

    Comment by Jared — March 19, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  23. Jared, as I hinted in #11, I do agree that more time is needed to evaluate their integrity in this matter.

    Comment by David G. — March 19, 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  24. Nick, as someone who’s had contact with the project, can you offer any insight on why Joseph Smith’s family wouldn’t have ended up with a copy or even seem to have remembered that such an image was created? That’s kind of a head scratcher in my opinion.

    Comment by Jared — March 19, 2008 @ 4:51 pm

  25. The true name of this image is called the Scannel Daguerreotype. It was given to the C of C (RLDS) back in the early 1900’s I believe from the Scannel Family. It was from their family library and they had no way to prove it at the time that it was him. So the C of C kept it for a bit till all this evidence started being compiled and then they released it. There is one release of it in the Saints Herald Dec. 1994 edition along with an article accompanying it.

    Why Joseph’s family didn’t have it? I don’t know. Who’s to say that they don’t have one? They couldn’t even remember for a while where Joseph and Hyrums bodies were buried? It wasn’t until the RLDS hired a guy by the name of W.O. Hands to find the bodies back in 1928 that they knew where they were. After he found them (and originally misidentified the skulls might I add) they were reburied (see the current grace markers). Even then, less that 100 years after they died there wasn’t anyone who really knew where they were buried. So who is to say that the Smith family had the “stuff” together enough to have a picture of him when they didn’t even really know where his body was?

    My guess, and this is my guess alone, there are other pictures of him out there. The Smith family probably does have a copy somewhere. Lets face it, the picture doesn’t exactly fit our current standard impression of him. People probably have one in their archives, but they wouldn’t have really known it was him. I think, as this book tries to prove that it is in fact him, other pictures might surface that can further prove that it is him. A second witness in fact. People can apply these facts and techniques to other possible pictures of Hyrum even. Who knows? But i find it quite within the realm of possibilities that the Smith family does have something, they just don’t know they do. It is probably not far off that we find a picture of him and Emma. We have pictures of her so we can better confirm it. There are other possibilities out there I guess is my point.

    Comment by Nick — March 19, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  26. Sorry for my stab on the C of C. I was just presenting some facts as they currently rest.

    Again, I don’t think those are “facts” and your suggestion is unfair.

    There were several historians in addition to the doctors and scientists that were pulled in to make this.

    What historians?

    Comment by Christopher — March 19, 2008 @ 11:13 pm

  27. Two thoughts:
    (1) I first received this “press release” in a repeatedly-forwarded e-mail, in which the purported author stressed that it was NOT supposed to be issued yet, and I was not to reveal to anyone who had “leaked” it. It struck me as a marketing ploy entirely worthy of the Brothers Eborn (cough).

    (2) I also found it interesting that the man who has always been known as “Shannon M. Tracy,” suddenly needs to become “S. Michael Tracy.” I wondered if that might have something to do with the hundreds of thousands of dollars which he gathered from investors, only to end up with a “hotel and conference center” which only progressed to partial foundations before “running out of money.”

    Comment by Nick Literski — March 20, 2008 @ 9:29 am

  28. All agree, Mormons need new art for their walls, this looks good, so let’s “buy’ it and hang it.

    Comment by Bob — March 20, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  29. Bob, I don’t need any new art, and even if I did, I don’t think I would want a picture of someone who is probably not JS hanging on my wall.

    Comment by Christopher — March 20, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  30. Hold your reservations about this being a picture till you see the evidence. Such words might not taste well on their way back up. I would love to have a picture of this on my wall because even if it isn’t him, it is more him than any of the paintings that have been done of him.

    FYI Tracy changed his name from Shannon to S. Michael (which is still his name) because so many people thought it was a girls name. But you are right about the Nauvoo project and all that money. There is something creepy about that whole thing that doesn’t add up yet.

    I think it would be best if I don’t answer anymore questions about the project and those involved. There are a few that were involved that took their names off because of the C of C’s threatening emails regarding the image in the book. Tracy has kept with it because he doesn’t work for the church and he doesn’t think they have a legal leg to stand on. Others don’t have that luxury due to their associations and employment circumstances. Mentioning their names in this forum would not be fair to them and could get them in trouble. I CAN say for a surety that one of the historians not involved is Will Bagley.

    In response to the press release comments by Nick Literski, I know that they did not want to do the press release at this time for a fact. I won’t give some of the details because I am not at liberty to say why, but if this was for marketing, rest assured it was pretty poor timing. This would have been great if the books were in the stores and they are not. The picture has been on the internet for years, so to say that they leaked it is hardly a strong case for the picture being out there due to their actions.

    I agree, it can stink of a publicity stunt. To a certain extent it will have that effect. I would think the same thing if I didn’t know different. But rest assured they did not start this. It would have been very stupid timing to do it now.

    Comment by Nick — March 20, 2008 @ 12:49 pm

  31. Yeah, Bob, let’s just buy into unsubstantiated rumors.

    Comment by David G. — March 20, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

  32. #31: Sorry, I was talking about the new painting of Ken Cobett. But, if you have a picture of Jesus on your wall, most expects will tell you it is not even close. And don’t read any Shakespeare stuff until we have that cleared up.

    Comment by Bob — March 20, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  33. Nick L., what is the story regarding the brothers Eborn?

    Comment by BHodges — March 20, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  34. Is Patrick Bishop (who published the article in BYU Studies arguing that a certain daguerreotype shows O. Cowdery) involved in this project?

    Comment by Justin — March 21, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  35. tradl copyright is different from ownership of historical artifacts. someone with legal background shd address this, but various archives have requirements about the use of rare photographs or other artifacts under their control. i’ve never reviewed the law behind this. anyone of the bloggernacle scribes interested in posting on this? i’ve always askd permission to use images, including an 18th century Ezra Stiles drawing which is well outside tradl copyright.

    Tom Kimball once told me (rough paraphrase) that Mormon book collecting is a subculture that could keep Jerry Springer going for a year or more. Sounds like modern Nauvoo could too. Anyone ready to write some copy for a soap opera?

    ps, i like the daguerrotype. one wonders whether it might be Samuel or D.C.–i agree with a family resemblance but agree also it’s worth being cautious about the historical conclusions of a failed real estate/hotel speculator (though the subject of the photograph controversy had his own complex history of hotel properties in Nauvoo).

    And, Nick, I salute your Bagley reference. Perfect comic timing.

    Comment by smb — March 22, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  36. Sorry I’m coming to this discussion late. I think the Community of Christ is absolutely right that it has legal copyright to the image. It doesn’t matter how old the original is. The age of the original means that if you own the copy (i.e., if you’re the Community of Christ), you can reproduce it at will and license its reproduction at will. However, if you don’t own a copy, the question is where you got your copy. It’s only been published with permission once — in the Saints Herald in 1994. The Herald is still under copyright. If the LDS Church Archives publishes a book today that is a facsimile of the 150 year old document in its archives, I can’t just scan in their facsimile book and reproduce the image at will. Yes, if they published the facsimilie a century ago and I have a copy of the old book, I can scan in that book and reproduce it at will. But I can’t scan in a new book and reproduce it, just because the images in the new book are reproductions of historic images.

    The reason the Community of Christ is not publishing the photo is not commercial self-interest; it’s that it’s not good scholarship. This image is unlikely to be Joseph. It would be in the Community of Christ’s self-interest to get people to believe this is the only photograph of Joseph because they could sell it for a large sum to a private collector. Someone would pay millions to know Brother Joseph again.

    BTW, the Community of Christ has not renounced Joseph Smith as a prophet.

    Comment by John Hamer — March 26, 2008 @ 1:35 am

  37. I think the Scanner Daguerreotype possibly is a relative of Joseph and not the Prophet himself. I posted a new daguerrotype two days ago on my blog that is most likely the actual daguerrotype of the Prophet that has been missing for all these years. I now know where it is, too. Feel free to view and compare it to the death mask. You’ll see that it blows all other possible photos and most paintings clear away. So far, the general consensus is that this is probably the Prophet.

    Comment by LDS Anarchist — March 28, 2008 @ 4:02 am

  38. I posted a new daguerrotype two days ago on my blog that is most likely the actual daguerrotype of the Prophet that has been missing for all these years….So far, the general consensus is that this is probably the Prophet.

    Consensus among what group of people?

    Comment by Justin — March 28, 2008 @ 8:52 am

  39. I was wondering the same thing. I thought that you couldn’t get anybody in the church history department to look at it. Are you referring to some informal survey of blog readers or something?

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 28, 2008 @ 9:22 am

  40. LDS Anarchist,

    I read the whole story on your blog. Your bishop and your mother’s opinion don’t lend a lot of credibility to your story. Put me on the list of those that are not only suspicious of your claims, but also am quite doubtful.

    I posted a new daguerrotype two days ago on my blog that is most likely the actual daguerrotype of the Prophet that has been missing for all these years.

    The problem with this is two fold: First just because you really, really want it to be JS doesn’t make it so. Second, It’s not an indisputable fact that there ever was a daguerrotype taken of JS, and consequently it’s doubtful that it’s “been missing all these years.”

    Comment by Christopher — March 28, 2008 @ 9:50 am

  41. I love that his subject seems to be one of the more popular blogs on this site. To John Hammers remarks though, I have to say that this is certain to be an interesting legal battle for the sake of setting a president… that is if there ever is one. I would be interested in how you know that the C of C is not doing this for commercial self interest. You call it good scholarship, but their claim in the article was it was Joseph. They have already made the claim, they just haven’t released the study work yet.

    Just as a little FYI The C of C did give written permission to use the image in Tracy’s work. And it was released by them well before 1994. That was just the most well documented. This image has been in the public domain for years before that. Since daguerreotypists used to make copies of their well known subjects (which Joseph would have been at the time), it is very likely that there are several copy’s of the original, just like the Scannel Daguerreotype is.

    And LDS Anarchist, it is Scannel with an L not Scanner.

    Comment by Nick — March 28, 2008 @ 11:27 am

  42. I have to say that this is certain to be an interesting legal battle for the sake of setting a president? that is if there ever is one.

    There’s going to be a president? Awesome. I assume you meant “precedent.”

    Re: “[t]his subject seems to be one of the more popular blogs on this site.” That’s probably because most of the posts at the JI are academic and thoughtful in nature. They generally require a careful and thoughtful reading of historical analysis or primary document material. Since there is such a dearth of evidence one way or the other about this daguerreotype, anyone with interest and an opinion can comment on this thread. Hence it’s popularity.

    John Hamer,

    Thanks for stopping by and chiming in on the issue. And thank you especially for clarifying for Nick that the C of C has not denounced JS as a prophet.

    Comment by Christopher — March 28, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  43. General consensus as in the general public. Nearly all of those who have offered an opinion say that it looks more like the Prophet than anything else they’ve seen. Others won’t even give an opinion without a rock solid provenance.

    As for “my story,” it can be easily confirmed. The reproduction is in the book Retratos Quase Inocentes. The actual daguerreotype is in the Museu Paulista in Sao Paulo. I’ve got links and contact information posted. Anyone that wants to can confirm “my story.” Also, as the posting and comment dates attest, I broke out this information before the hullabaloo about the Scanne(l, not r) Daguerreotype (back in Oct. ’07.) It was only when I saw the Scannel image recently and lamented to my mother that everyone is making such a big deal about the Scannel when the daguerreotype that I saw seven years ago is much closer to the death mask, etc., and how sad that the counselor lost all those copies I gave him, etc., that she said I had given her a copy, to which I replied no I didn’t. She then said, “Yes, you did. I’ll show you.” And she showed me. That is why the timing is what it is. There is nothing suspicious about any of this. If I had had that photocopy back in October when I first posted, I would have uploaded it.

    One has suggested that it looked too good to be truth, in other words, that it is a forgery. That is laughable, as I don’t own the daguerreotype, am not seeking money, fame (I am completely anonymous in this) or anything else. The owner wasn’t even aware that it looked like Joseph Smith until two days ago when I informed him. The museum also wasn’t aware until this week when I told them. So, if it is a forgery, it was done back around 1845, which would make for an interesting story, but which I find improbable.

    With apologies to Bryce Haymond over at templestudy dot com, I’m going to write Bryce’s own list of reasons why this daguerreotype is possibly Joseph:

    * Joseph Smith, or his son Joseph Smith III, may have mentioned that a daguerreotype photo was taken of Joseph near the end of his life. Such a daguerreotype has never been found.

    * The daguerreotype is said to have come out of New York in 1845, and went to Brazil, which is shortly after the death of Joseph, and which could explain why it has been lost.

    * The last thing is, considering what the death mask and artwork that has depicted Joseph, this daguerreotype looks very much how we might imagine Joseph looking like, with all the features of his description mentioned above.

    I go farther than Bryce, though, in saying that it is probably Joseph. This has nothing to do with wishful thinking, it has everything to do with what Bryce said, plus other facts. That is my unprofessional opinion, which I am not ashamed to give.

    The church history department was told of the image two days ago (again, since I had also told them seven years ago about it) and this time requested to see it. It was emailed to them. No response from them, yet, nor do I expect one from any experts until a solid provenance can be produced.

    Comment by LDS Anarchist — March 28, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

  44. Problems with the three points mentioned.

    1) There is no mentioning of a daguerrotype by either Joseph Smith or JS III, hence,

    2) There is no “lost” daguerrotype of Joseph.

    3) “I think it looks like him” is not evidence. At least Tracy in his forthcoming book has supposedly performed some analysis that is more complex than just putting the death mask and this image side by side and quickly flitting his eyes from one to the other.

    So, to recap, reasons 1-3 are non issues.

    Provenance? Oh, right.

    Comment by Jared T — March 28, 2008 @ 1:54 pm

  45. General consensus as in the general public. Nearly all of those who have offered an opinion say that it looks more like the Prophet than anything else they?ve seen. Others won?t even give an opinion without a rock solid provenance.

    I’m (nearly) speechless.

    Comment by Justin — March 28, 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  46. LDS Anarchist, sorry, but the “evidence” that you’ve adduced is pretty laughable. Just because a bunch of people “say that it looks more like the Prophet than anything else they?ve seen” doesn’t prove much. No one really knows what JS looked like. The death mask is not a perfect representation of his likeness, although it’s close. Wait until some experts actually do some analysis before you start (or continue) proclaiming that this is “probably” JS. And sorry, but Bryce Hammond is not an expert.

    Comment by David G. — March 28, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  47. You can easily guess what must have happened when this was emailed to the church history department. Some missionary downloaded the image and carried a printout to an archivist. The archivist explained the meaning of “provenance” to the missionary (I have no opinion on whether the words “rock solid” were involved), and introduced the missionary to the wacko file where the 86 most recently discovered Joseph Smith photographs are filed. This (87th) proposal was placed on top of the stack, a few heads were shaken in bemused wonderment, the file was replaced, the drawer was shut, and the matter will lie forgotten until next week when somebody emails them the 88th newly discovered Joseph Smith photograph. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — March 28, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  48. Ardis,

    That may have been the most awesome comment I have ever read.

    Comment by Joel — March 28, 2008 @ 2:26 pm

  49. Ardis,

    That may have been the most awesome comment I have ever read.

    At the very least the most awesome on this thread. Thanks Ardis.

    Comment by Christopher — March 28, 2008 @ 2:27 pm

  50. Agreed. Thanks Ardis.

    Comment by David G. — March 28, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

  51. Joel, Christopher, David, you should ask to see the file sometime. Take popcorn.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — March 28, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

  52. Ardis,

    Only 87? Prove that they aren’t all him. Come on, prove it, prove it! And please don’t try any of that “logic” nonsense.

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 28, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  53. I think #41 actually does look like Joseph Smith. As a bald old man. Remember those photos on the front pages of the tabloids a few years ago, showing a comatose but living John F. Kennedy in his secret hideaway hospital, where the FBI took him in 1963 so that LBJ could declare himself president? Maybe the same thing happened to Joseph Smith in 1845 — he survived Carthage, and Sidney Rigdon stashed him somewhere! And he got older and older and balder and fatter, and somebody took photo #41!!

    Lawdy, Mr. Taysom! I don’t know nothin’ ’bout no logic!

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — March 28, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  54. Forgive something of a repeat of Jared’s #44. I am not sure why some people believe that there should be a “missing” daguerreotype of JS.

    Among other places it has cropped up in recent days, an article on by John Hollenhorst (cached version from a few days ago) says “In his journals, Joseph Smith wrote he once had his picture taken by a daguerreotype camera. But the picture has never turned up.” Someone made a change, and today the article reads, “In his journals, Joseph Smith wrote he once had his image taken. But a daguerreotype-camera image has never turned up.” Clearly an attempt to correct the mistake, but still it falls short.

    There are two situations that I can think of in JS’s journals in which mention is made of a likeness being made of the prophet. Both are in Nauvoo, both in 1842. His journal entry of 25 June 1842 states (I will refrain from quoting so as not to favor one transcription over another) that a profile image was made for the Nauvoo city chart. This we know to be the image of Joseph made by Sutcliffe Maudsley on the familiar chart today.

    The second situation is recorded in the journal entries of 16, 17, and 19/20 September 1842, which simply say that JS was at home “painting” with a brother Rogers. The identification of this painting (and the artist for that matter) has been the subject of recent research by both Glen Leonard and Richard Anderson, and we should leave the explanation to them, but it is safe to say the journal text was not lying. This was a portrait painting, not a daguerreotype.

    Dean Jessee’s Papers vol. 2 and Scott Faulring’s American Prophet’s Record, combined, present the text of JS’s journals. At risk of sounding confrontational, I welcome a reference to JS having a daguerreotype made.

    Comment by Alex — March 28, 2008 @ 3:37 pm

  55. Thanks for weighing in, Alex. The information is much appreciated.

    LDS Anarchist, I just showed your photo to Richard Holzapfel, who has probably done more research on daguerreotypes and photographs of Church leaders than anyone else. His response was less than encouraging that your find is actually Joseph Smith.

    Comment by Christopher — March 28, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

  56. Yes, thank you Alex.

    Comment by David G. — March 28, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  57. Alex,
    What’s the big idea of using actual historical sources here? What do think this is, a blog for historians? You and Ardis have been warned!

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 28, 2008 @ 5:31 pm

  58. Chris,
    I first saw the Scannel image in Richard Holzapfel’s LDS history class in 1996 or 1997. At least I think that is the one he showed us. IIRC he seemed very interested in it and was looking into it further. Do you happen to know what he thinks about it now?

    Comment by SC Taysom — March 28, 2008 @ 5:36 pm

  59. I’m certainly not an expert, thanks for pointing that out David. My points were only given as a far flung possibility. BTW, Nate Oman over at T&S also agrees that “According to his son, Joseph Smith III, the Prophet had a daguerreotype made in Nauvoo shortly before his death.” I do think LDS Anarchist’s daguerreotype looks a lot more like the Joseph I imagine than the other daguerreotype that’s been floating around. Whether or not it is him is beside the point. Both are probably NOT him. But which one looks more like him?

    Comment by Bryce Haymond — March 28, 2008 @ 7:36 pm

  60. I think it’s important to be clear that Nate was discussing the photograph JS III took of a daguerreotype in 1879 and apparently donated to the Library of Congress and not some random statement left by JS III about his father having a daguerreotype made of himself that has since been lost. I’m not familiar with all of the circumstances surrounding the 1879 donation, but from what I understand we’re fairly certain that what JS III donated was the photograph that Nate reproduces. So to extrapolate from that that there is some missing daguerreotype out there is grossly misconstruing the evidence, imo.

    Comment by David G. — March 28, 2008 @ 8:19 pm

  61. Thanks, David. #60, Bryce, listen closely, the point is there is no documentation to that effect. It really doesn’t matter what so and so said in a 4+ year old post or what so and so says in the local paper without some documentation, which is nowhere to be found. I’d drop the assertion that JS or JSIII said anything about a daguerrotype unless some evidence can actually be conjured up. Happy hunting.

    Comment by Jared T — March 28, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  62. Not to press the point, but why the fuss back at comment 44 then?

    1) There is no mentioning of a daguerrotype by either Joseph Smith or JS III

    2) There is no ?lost? daguerrotype of Joseph.

    So JS III never mentioned this photograph that he took of a daguerreotype in 1879? Then how do we know he took it and that it was of a daguerreotype? Has that original daguerreotype ever been found?

    Comment by Bryce Haymond — March 28, 2008 @ 8:38 pm

  63. Good questions, research, return and report. Ball’s in your court. And remember to give references.

    PS: What fuss?

    My only point is that no one is using any documentation, just making claims. The point is that in the last few days I’ve seen claim after unsubstantiated claim. If someone will bring some actual evidence here as Alex did in #54 (albeit contrary evidence), then I’d be a happy clam. It’s easy to make claims, it’s hard work to go and research something. So, when you find the answers to your good questions, let us know, by all means. I don’t mean to be disagreeable, but this whole business with this LDS Anarchist image is so…well, absurd to me that I get a little impatient.

    Comment by Jared T — March 28, 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  64. Nick,

    It doesn’t matter if there are several copies. It matters where you got your copy. If your copy is a copy of the Community of Christ’s copy, you can’t publish it without their permission.

    If I go to the LDS Archives and ask to see a sole copy of a 1867 daguerreotype of Orson Pratt — if I then sereptiously scan it into my computer, I can’t simply reproduce that image at will, just because it’s over a century old. It doesn’t matter that there might have been other copies at one time. All that matters is that the sole copy now is in possession of the LDS Archives. I can use my scan for personal use, but if I try to publish it, that’s a violation of copyright. It’s theft, plain and simple.

    If you have written permission from the Community of Christ, why argue that this image is in the public domain? Why argue? Why not just scan in and post the written (and signed) document you have in your possession giving you permission to reproduce the image courtesy of the Community of Christ Library-Archives?

    I’m very much doubt you have such a document.

    I don’t have the Herald on me, but I have a copy of the JWHA Journal cited above. Referring to the image, it says “possible early photographic image of Joseph Smith, Jr., ca. 1842-44; not entirely authenticated — efforts to authenticate this daguerreotype image are still in process.” (vol. 15, 1995, p. ii.)

    The Community of Christ has not concluded this image is authentic. Their people were as excited about it as the rest of us, but they haven’t been able to authenticate it. They wanted it to be real, but their research team is now dubious. I just talked on the phone to the researchers involved and they confirm that they have not been able to authenticate it and that the CoC Archives has not given permission to reproduce the image.

    It would have been super cool if this picture had panned out, but the preponderance of evidence does not argue in its favor.

    Comment by John Hamer — March 28, 2008 @ 10:43 pm

  65. Here’s some more information (with references):

    We have no direct evidence that Joseph Smith was ever photographed. It would have been possible for him to have obtained a daguerreotype of himself, since the art was practiced in Philadelphia when he visited there in 1839. In 1844 a daguerreotype studio was established in Nauvoo. Lucian R. Foster first advertised in the Nauvoo Neighbor just forty-eight days after the martyrdom, but it is not known whether his studio had been established prior to the Prophet’s death. (Hatch, Joseph Smith Portraits, 57)

    There are daguerreotypes extant, but they are most likely copies of an RLDS oil painting, and not of the prophet from life.

    The Library of Congress also has several photographs of Joseph Smith on file. Information with the Library of Congress photographs asserts that they are retouched photographs of a daguerreotype taken of the Prophet in 1842 or 1843. (Hatch, Joseph Smith Portraits, 57)

    Reed Simonsen and Chad Fugate have recently proposed that a retouched daguerreotype copy (fig. 7.10), recorded [in 1879] in the Library of Congress by W. B. Carson of Piano, Illinois, at the request of Joseph Smith III, is of the Prophet Joseph Smith taken when he was alive and is the most correct visual image we have of him. They maintain that the original daguerreotype from which the Carson retouched copy was made is lost…. I have concluded that the RLDS daguerreotype (fig. 7.1), which is central to this discussion, is the original from which the W. B. Carson image was photographed, as it is also the original from which the Charles W. Carter image (fig. 7.5) was made. It, in turn, is a photograph of the RLDS painting (fig. 6.22) located in Independence, Missouri. It follows that the original RLDS daguerreotype of the painting, and all retouched photographic copies of it, are derived from the RLDS oil painting and reproduce its inaccuracies. (Hatch, Joseph Smith Portraits, 63-65)

    Hatch’s analysis of the existing daguerreotypes of Joseph Smith concludes that all of them are copies of the RLDS oil painting. So, if there was a daguerreotype made directly of the prophet in life, which we don’t have direct evidence for but would have been possible given the availability of the technology at the time, it hasn’t been found yet.

    Comment by Bryce Haymond — March 29, 2008 @ 12:38 am

  66. Not to draw this out too much further, but all in the name of steering toward some logical conclusions.

    All right, good job, Bryce. Now interpret. We already knew that “if there was a daguerreotype made directly of the prophet in life…it hasn’t been found yet.” This wasn’t the point we were trying to get at.

    The point of the exercise was that I challenged the assertion that either JS or JSIII ever (even maybe) mentioned anything about a daguerreotype of Joseph Smith, which would then fuel “lost” daguerreotype rumors. The burden is on any who would make that assertion to produce some evidence to that effect. I still don’t see any. In my opinion, it’s not even a matter of a “far flung possibility”. That would require evidence of some sort. I guess that the anecdotal evidence supplied from a local historian or KSL’s news article, or some old blog entry would suffice, but I’ve proposed that we move beyond that and bring that assertion into the realm of actual possibility with actual evidence.

    So, let’s reread you’re #59, starting with “I’m certainly” and ending with “before his death.” Then David’s #60 and my #61, and for good measure, the first line of Alex’s #54.

    Now, again, ball back in your court. How does the information you have gone and researched in #65 answer your own questions in #62? The point, after all, of this was to go research answers to the questions you raise in #62. What did you come up with after all this?

    Comment by Jared T — March 29, 2008 @ 1:52 am

  67. Let me see if I can connect the dots for you Jared. If the Library of Congress has a photograph of a daguerreotype that they received at the behest of Joseph Smith III, then it is logical to conclude that Joseph Smith III, or W.B. Carson who he sent to register it, told the Library of Congress that information upon registering the photo. The Library of Congress wouldn’t have made up that detail.

    As far as whether there is a daguerreotype lost, I now believe, as did Ephraim Hatch, that the photographic copy that the Library of Congress has is of the RLDS daguerreotype which in turn is a copy of the RLDS oil painting.

    Then logically we can conclude that IF, and it’s a big IF, there is a daguerreotype of Joseph Smith from life out there, it has not been found, and is still lost. That is logical.

    Comment by Bryce Haymond — March 29, 2008 @ 10:19 am

  68. Thanks for “connecting the dots” for me, Bryce. You’re logic is fine, but it looks to me that there are still some assumptions here that need firming up, at least according to the evidence in Hatch.

    My point in all this is that Hatch doesn’t say exactly what the documents at the Library of Congress say. He summarizes, and that’s fine, but for me, that’s not good enough. I can’t (and wouldn’t) draw any conclusions about what’s in there and what it means from Hatch’s summaries (but that’s just me).

    Also, even if the documents have a signed, handwritten statement authenticated by Dean Jesse from JSIII stating that this photo is of a daguerreotype taken during JS’s life, Hatch provides convincing evidence that it was derived from the RLDS painting (whether of the painting directly, or of a daguerreotype of the painting, or of the image of the painting on a tortilla, or whatever). What does that tell me? It tells me that even if JSIII made a statement to the effect that the Library of Congress image is from an actual daguerreotype of JS made during his life, since it seems that this isn’t the case, then JSIII must have been wrong in his assertion and that he wasn’t speaking from any actual knowledge of a daguerreotype, but was making assumptions of his own. This is a far cry from having a statement of JSIII saying that he knew from personal knowledge (or even from his mother, etc) that JS ever had a daguerreotype taken.

    So, for the purposes of your blog, the statement that “Joseph Smith III, may have mentioned that a daguerreotype photo was taken of Joseph near the end of his life.” will probably be good enough. For your purposes, it’s a fair statement, I’ll concede that. However, for me, the evidence presented is not good enough to make that statement. We can agree to disagree on that point, I think. I think we can also agree that it’s not a fair statement to say that JS himself ever referred to any such image as Alex has pointed out in #54.

    Now, I don’t actually expect you, Bryce, to go to the Library of Congress and look at the file or do much more than you have done up to this point. I’m not demanding someone go check this stuff out, I don’t really care. However, if someone wants to make the claim that JSIII said (even “may have” said) that JS had a daguerreotype taken in life, then just be prepared for me to dispute it w/o more digging and more solid evidence. I’d actually love to have some statement by JSIII that he knew that JS had a daguerreotype taken and not just an assumption on his part or anyone else’s part.

    All I’m saying is if you’re gonna make the claim that JSIII “may have” said something about a daguerreotype, then I’m gonna challenge the claim w/o more solid evidence. You don’t really have to address my challenge, though. You can just ignore me. Who cares what I think? I’m nobody. I’m just some crackpot who won’t be satisfied with questionable to somewhat reasonable assumptions. Shame on me.

    Comment by Jared T — March 29, 2008 @ 11:47 am

  69. I think you all are going to find S. Michael Tracy’s book a very interesting and revealing read. Whether you think it is correct or not is still up in the air, but you will find it interesting to say the least. Some of you who have made claims against it being actually Joseph simply because of the absence of proof that it is Joseph, might find what you are looking for in the book. Who knows.

    #64, I am not sure that I can make this any clearer. The RLDS or C of C DID give permission to Tracy to use the image. I am not him so I will not attempt to produce the document, nor will I make a claim that I have it. Fact is, there is written permission. And that document should remain between those two parties till, or if, it is made public through court hearings. However, the reason I am arguing public domain is because the C of C is now trying to repeal their permission. Why? I have stated a portion of my opinions above in other entries, but just because my opinion is unpopular doesn’t mean they it is not true. I don’t feel the need to prove it to anyone either. That is how it is. It is MY opinion however, that any legal battle on ownership or permission will not matter since this image has been in the public domain for YEARS under the C of C’s own release of it. Remember 1994 was not the first time the public saw this image. Ask Richard Hozapfel about that.

    The Orson Pratt daguerreotype has not been released the same way that this one has… that I know of. The church didn’t publish an Ensign article offering its use to the world. If they had the same argument would stand in my opinion.

    The efforts to authenticate the photograph of which the article was in reference to, was the work that Ron Romig and S. Michael Tracy were working on TOGETHER back in 1994. It has been a few years since that statement and the research has been done-hence the upcoming book. There was a contract between the publisher, Tracy, and C of C up until a couple of months ago when for some unknown reason they backed out. They were all ready to publish this book and their actions showed it to be that way.

    Make no mistake about it, there is more to this story than either side is probably giving up. There is an economic side to this no matter what you say. It could have been something as simple as a royalty dispute. But, they agreed enough with the evidence that they signed the initial contract and were going to sell it. If they really had a problem with Tracy using the image or his findings why did they sign a contract with him to publish the book? The last 14 years of cooperation and other actions by Ron Romig and the C of C constitutes an implied contract authorizing its use anyway. This is not the forum for a legal brief, but I bet there could even be another argument there.

    Since I KNOW none of you have read the book I will ask one more time for you to have an open intellectual mind about the possibility that there is evidence and that you just haven’t seen it yet.

    To beat the argument to death that this can’t be a picture of Joseph because he never wrote anything about a daguerreotype in his journal is hardly open minded scholarly talk. Just because you haven’t found a journal entry confirming it yet doesn’t mean a photo can’t exist. Additionally, the absence of proof isn’t proof against its possible existence. Absence of a such circumstantial proof should simply should be used to say that we can’t prove its existence, not that it disproves it. Especially since there is other circumstantial evidence that gives sufficient possibility that there is one in existence. Lucien Foster was a daguerreotypist and took many pictures of people in Nauvoo while the prophet was alive. There is MORE than enough opportunity for Joseph to have his picture taken during his life. While that doesn’t prove that this is a picture of him, it should throw out the argument that just because he didn’t write about it in journal means that there could NEVER be a picture of him.

    There are plenty of things that didn’t appear in his journals that happened in his life. Do you write everything that every happens to you during the day in a journal. As a matter of fact, when was the last time many of us wrote in a journal. Not even Wilford Woodruff recorded everything, and he was amazing at journal keeping.

    I think you all have every right to every opinion about this picture. But I also think that it would be good for your own credibility to keep an open mind to this evidence. Be patient, it is coming. There is tentatively planned a press and public release day for the book and documentary for April 30th at the Joseph Smith memorial building in downtown Salt Lake from 10 a.m. starting with the press, to 9 p.m. for the public. S. Michael Tracy will be giving presentations all day for people to come and discuss the issue. If that changes I will let you all know. I suggest that you leave your conclusions till then. If you still don’t think it is him after that. Fine, he is still prophet and no picture will change my testimony to that point. But I think you should all go there in an effort to further your scholarly pursuits if nothing else.

    Side non scholarly note: I have heard that Richard Bushman has stated that he thinks it is a picture of Joseph. Now whether that is mormon folklore or simply his unscientific opinion, that is significant statement (if it is true). Maybe someone can find out if that is the case.

    #41 and #42 sorry about my spelling mistake, it happens. I did mean precedent.

    To LDS Anarchist, sorry you seem so unpopular on this blog. If you couldn’t tell this blog has a great deal of academics on it that require proof on many claims. So far though I have to agree, while it might be a picture of joseph or it might even be a photo of painting of joseph which most of the other “claimed” photos seem to be, you have a long way to go before proving that it is with this crowd. For what it is worth I will keep a neutral mind on it till something a little more solid is presented. For now I will reserve judgment.

    Comment by Nick — March 29, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

  70. Isn’t that what is wonderful about blogs… always searching, learning, tripping, falling, then getting back up again, and growing. It’s an incredible medium. It is, what I would call, a collaborative search for truth.

    I’ll see if I can track down any further information from the record at the Library of Congress.

    Comment by Bryce Haymond — March 29, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

  71. Yeah, everybody, what’s with this blog and its academics and their ridiculous habit of requiring proof on claims? Sheesh. You JI guys are SOOOOO out of touch.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — March 29, 2008 @ 12:57 pm

  72. Nick, please refrain from writing book-length redundant comments here in the future. We’ve heard your plea for patience time and time again.

    FWIW, we are not denying that JS could have had a daguerreotype taken during his life. Rather, we are contesting specific claims made by newspapers, a scholar, and amatuers that have in recent days and weeks tried to argue that JS or JS III actually recorded that the Prophet had a daguerreotype made. To assume that we are somehow making a logical leap that because there is no record from either JS or JSIII about a daguerreotype that there was no daguerreotype is, plainly, to misunderstand what we are discussing here.

    Comment by David G. — March 29, 2008 @ 1:05 pm

  73. Thanks for weighing in, Nick. I think you have misunderstood some of the sentiment that I’ve given in my recent posts and that others have given in their posts. I’ll speak for myself here, though I think the sentiment might be echoed by others.

    In your paragraph beginning with “To beat the argument…” You’re starting out already misunderstanding (or misconstruing, or both) the point being made about there not being a reliable documentary source about a JS daguerrotype. No one that I know of has been pushing the idea that since there is no mentioning in any journal or by JSIII of a daguerreotype, then there can’t be a daguerreotype. No one is saying that, much less me. You’re mistaking criticism of an unfounded claim as close mindedness. No one is throwing the baby out with the bathwater here that I can see. This type of critical thought (cynics might call it cynicism) should not be mistaken for close mindedness. To do so would really be missing the mark.

    Now, I think some of my friends here on this blog and in other places might be really dismissive of it period due to the evidence (or lack thereof) that has been presented thus far. That’s their prerogative, and I can’t say that I blame them. I personally think that what has been presented thus far is not looking too bright, but I’ve told them and time and time again I’ve told others who I’ve talked to about it that I’m waiting on the book to see what it has to say. I’m not saying it’s not, or that it is. I’m still waiting for more evidence.

    “Side non scholarly note: I have heard that Richard Bushman has stated that he thinks it is a picture of Joseph. Now whether that is mormon folklore or simply his unscientific opinion, that is significant statement (if it is true). Maybe someone can find out if that is the case.”

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s 2nd hand Marmon [sic] folklore unless we can get him on the record. I’d love to hear his opinion and the basis for it. At any rate, appeal to authority is not evidence.

    “If you couldn?t tell this blog has a great deal of academics on it that require proof on many claims.”

    Imagine that. I hope it’s not just the academics that require proof on claims, if so, we’re in a lot of trouble 🙂

    Comment by Jared T — March 29, 2008 @ 1:13 pm

  74. I didn’t see David’s remark before posting the above. Again, he has put it much more plainly and succinctly than I have.

    Bryce, amen, a search for truth.

    Comment by Jared T — March 29, 2008 @ 1:14 pm

  75. When stating ?If you couldn?t tell this blog has a great deal of academics on it that require proof on many claims? I was not meaning to do so with the idea that it was bad or wrong to do so. If you read I agreed with the need to do that. As a matter of fact I went on to say that I think he did need more proof and that I was unwilling to concede that he his photo was him after what he presented.

    I am sorry if I did misunderstand the above comments in relation to finding proof of a picture through Joseph’s journals. It was my impression at the time of reading them that the comments relating to that were being used to disprove the existence of a photo period. So to Jared T. I am sorry if I offended you. I simply misread your comments and I am sorry.

    To David G. I was unaware that there were restrictions to length on comments. As far as them being redundant… you’re right, we are never redundant in the gospel. I should repent.

    Comment by Nick — March 29, 2008 @ 1:46 pm

  76. Sorry for my typo’s by the way.

    Comment by Nick — March 29, 2008 @ 1:50 pm

  77. No apologies necessary, I was not offended. Thanks.

    Well, I think this discussion has run its course. I started it and now I’m going to end it.

    Let’s say that I’m sure we’ll revisit this once the presentation and book release has happened. There are weightier matters to pursue in the interim.

    Until then, stay tuned to the JI.

    Comment by Jared T — March 29, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  78. […] at the possibility of a true image of the prophet Joseph Smith. When I found out there would be a book about it, I looked forward with anxious anticipation to its publication, which would lay out all the […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Book Review: Shall Millions Now Know Brother Joseph Again? (Part 1) — May 1, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

  79. […] difficulties, and so, I was reserving judgment until I could get the chance to read it.  I wrote this over a month ago.  “It’s not looking good…” Yea, really strong emotional […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Book Review: Shall Millions Now Know Brother Joseph Again? (Post Script) — May 3, 2008 @ 11:32 am

  80. […] brewing over Tracy’s use of the image. The JI posted a statement by the Community of Christ here that read: The recently publicized image some people believe to be a picture of Joseph Smith is […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » Millions Shall Sue Brother Joseph Again or, That Book Again! — March 11, 2009 @ 10:41 pm

  81. Science is NOT the only way to find truth.
    I beleive this is a picture of a dear friend and Prophet of the Restoration Brother Joseph.

    Comment by Ron Whitmer — September 16, 2009 @ 3:19 pm

  82. Thanks, Ron, for the input. A “dear friend”, though? Are you Ron Whitmer or John Whitmer?

    Comment by Christopher — September 16, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  83. Ron, it must not be, because there isn’t anything I’d call “science” that seems to back up the claims in that book. See my review here or in the latest issue of the Journal of Mormon History.

    You’re certainly entitled to your own “revelations” regarding the image, though.

    Comment by Jared T — September 16, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  84. […] The Much Rumored Joseph Smith Daguerreotype Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Is This Joseph Smith? Part IIJoseph Smith ? The Seer ? LDS ( Mormon ) ProphetPraise to the ManSmith’s days in jail provide sobering experience […]

    Pingback by Photographs of the Prophet Joseph Smith? « Seth Adam Smith — October 3, 2009 @ 4:04 pm


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Daniel Stone on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “Thanks much for posting this, Joey!”

Mel Johnson on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “This JWHA will be outstanding, maybe the best ever. I encourage all Restoration historians and cultural studies people to attend along with their friends. The setting at…”

Gary Bergera on George F. Richards' journals: “I remember reading through the microfilms of the Richards's journals in the mid- to late-1970s. Nothing was redacted. They were amazing.”

Jeff T on George F. Richards' journals: “Thanks, Stapley!”

Hannah Jung on George F. Richards' journals: “That is exciting! I had no idea this was in the works! Any idea when the plan is to release the next twenty years of…”

Ben S on CFP at BYU Studies:: “Some clarifying comments here.”