This week, DNA researcher Dr. Ugo Perego outlined more of the DNA tests he did on possible children from Joseph Smith with wives other than Emma.  I was surprised to learn that his original testing was simply to determine where Joseph Smith’s ancestors came from.

Ugo:  I was actually looking for his ancestry.  We don’t know where the Smith line came from in Europe, in England.  The furthest back that the Smith line has been traced is in New England.  Around 1620-1630, that’s when the first ancestor of Joseph Smith shows up, and he is 12 years old, and he’s by himself, no mom, no dad, and he comes and he shows up in Boston.  He’s an indentured servant.  His name is Robert Smith, and where does this kid come from?

Then we have all the Smiths.  We have Robert Smith, we have Samuel Smith, Samuel Smith, Asael Smith, Asael Smith (two Samuels, two Asaels), then we have two Josephs.

GT:  Joseph Sr.

Ugo nods:  Joseph Sr. and Joseph Jr, right.  That’s the line, the Smith line.  Genealogists have been looking left and right in England to find a connection with Robert Smith and where he came from.  No one has been able to do that, so I was reconstructing Joseph Smith’s Y-chromosome with the goal to compare that with a Smith in England and see if I could find a connection.

there was a genealogist [who] suspected that the Joseph Smith line to Robert Smith came from a particular town in northern England in Lancashire County.  The town was Turton, so I looked online in the white pages, how many Smiths live in Turton?  There were 1,100.

GT:  Oh my.

Ugo:  So I wrote to all of them.

GT:  No way!

Ugo:  I wrote a letter to all of them.  I sent 1,100 letters to Smiths in Turton… {chuckles}

GT:  That’s unbelievable.

Ugo:  …with a swab inside, asking for their DNA, and I had actually a good number, about 5% replying and sending their DNA back.  That’s a good sample size of a population, 5%.  I found nothing, absolutely no matches whatsoever.

Then I started using some databases and it became very clear as I was exploring this possibility that I was looking in the wrong place.  Robert Smith that first showed up in New England was not from England.

Can you imagine writing 1100 letters?

Dr. Perego also informed me about the unusual relationship between Joseph Smith, Mary Ann Frost, and Parley P. Pratt.

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?

Finally, I released the results of the paternity tests in Part 1 on Moroni Pratt and Part 2 on Josephine Lyon. What are your thoughts on these tests?