I’m here at the Mormon History Association Conference, and Ugo Perego has revealed his results regarding the paternity of Josephine. Josephine is not the biological daughter of Joseph Smith.
The presenters are Don Bradley, Ugo Perego, and Brian Hales.
Don’s been unwell, so he went first. He looked at the textual evidence. Clearly Josephine and her family believed that Josephine was the biological child of Joseph Smith. Sylvia Lyon waited to the end of her life to convey the information, suggesting something special was intended.
Ugo then presented his result about whether Josephine was the biological daughter of Joseph Smith.
If Josephine had been proven to be the child of Joseph Smith, Brian had constructed a lovely explanation of how Sylvia and her legal husband were estranged at the time.
However if Josephine was proven to not be Joseph’s child, the belief that Sylvia’s deathbed confession implied biological is so strong that many will presume this necessarily means Sylvia was simultaneously having sex with both Joseph and her legal husband.
I have posed an explanation for why Sylvia would have felt a need to convey the information. But this was not shared as part of either Don Bradley’s presentation or Brian Hales’ presentation.
Ugo reviewed the science of DNA and past results. In the past, Ugo has constructed a very accurate Y chromosome signature for Joseph Smith.
Other cases Ugo had evaluated had all come up negative for Joseph being able to be the biological father.
Ugo now has been able to assemble 6000 relationship pairs, with fifty five individuals specifically tested for this evaluation. The unit of resemblance is cM, centi Morgans. A grandchild would be expected to share ~1700 cM with their grandfather. Each additional degree of separation would reduce the expected number of shared cM by a factor of two, though there could be significant variation about the expected result.
Due to the amount of time that has passed, the expected cM shared between known descendants of Joseph and known descendants of Josephine would be 106.25 cM for the relationship pairs being examined if Joseph was the father.
The shared cM was 0 between the closest extant descendants of Joseph and each of the five closest extant descendants of Josephine Lyon.
Here’s the link to Ugo’s white paper and supplemental information:
Brian Hales covered the possibilities this result might support.
First, Sylvia may have had sexual relations only with her legal husband. A newly shared document from Phebe Clark seems to indicate she felt the deathbed declaration regarding Joseph being father applied also to her. As Phebe was conceived long after Joseph’s death, this argues for the covenant child interpretation.
A second possibility is that Sylvia had become pregnant by Windsor, but did not realize her pregnant state and separated from Windsor before beginning exclusive relations with Joseph.
A third possibility is that there was full polyandry, but Sylvia merely asserted the identity of the more desirable husband.
A fourth possibility is that Sylvia mainly had sex with Joseph after the sealing, but did have at least one sexual interlude with Windsor. [I was amused that Brian didn’t mention the possibility that the postulated sexual interlude in this proposed case might not have been consensual…]
Brian then reviewed the cultural evidence that polyandry is typically not accepted, specifically not in later Mormon circles.
Polyandry is also not a part of the biblical tradition.
In the discussion, Brian shared a statement from Whitesides suggesting Sylvia may have been having inappropriate relations with Stephen Markham. This is fascinating from the standpoint of my paradigm, suggesting an alternate reason for Joseph’s covenant with Patti, Sylvia’s mother.
Brian and Laura Hales have a video explaining these results at the FairMormon site.