Was a photo of Joseph Smith discovered?

Is the photo on the right of Joseph Smith?

Read the story here of how this photo was discovered by Dan Larsen, the great-great grandson of Joseph Smith Jr.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

12 thoughts on “Was a photo of Joseph Smith discovered?

  1. Geoff, since the web site doesn’t allow me to cut and paste, I will try this. Some time last year in September, I believe it was in Meridian magazine by Scott and Maureen Proctor, an article was posted about another daguerreotype of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This photo was also compared point by point to the death mask and possibly (I’m not sure) to the skeleton head with striking resemblances. The photo is of a quite younger Joseph. I’m including the pictures. How do you think they compare to the ones presented in this article?
    Oh, it did work. Hope you can access the jpegs.

  2. I’m not seeing the resemblance to the paintings/drawings. I’ll wait for a side-by-side and overlay with the mask.

  3. It’s always a good idea to be somewhat skeptical when new finds like this take place. Church members have been fooled by a lot of garbage over the years. We can believe it is interesting to speculate while at the same time maintaining a healthy amount of doubt.

  4. The original conception of the Prophet has a rather narrow mouth…closer to the one I submitted, but the locket picture has a rather wider mouth. I agree that it’s easy to be fooled and we tend to prefer what we want. Too bad Gary Moore (What’s My Line) isn’t around to say “will the REAL Joseph Smith please stand up?

  5. P.S. Could the locket picture be one of Emma’s new husband? I wasn’t sure at what time of her life she loaned it out….during or after the Prophet’s life? If both, then we have to assume it was a likeness of the Prophet. Still, I’ll wait patiently for the ‘Big Show’.

  6. There’s at least one photo of Lewis Bidamon on the web. It shows near the top of search results. I think he can be ruled out.

    I’m not saying that the Larsen photo can’t be JS. But if it is, the paintings and drawings were way off.

    And I admit the paintings/drawings could be way off, because back then many artists tended to soften and “idealize” facial features of subjects that they were predisposed to. Life-like realism was not always a goal in portaits. We still do it today with image filters that take out wrinkles.

  7. Including what’s on those twitter threads, here’s a summary of what I see:

    1) a _news organization_ says that …

    2) a man with a _vested interest_ says that…

    3) an _un-named source_ told him that…

    4) there’s a “good chance” that …

    5) a primitive grainy photo of a sitting live man matches …

    6) a modern photograph of …

    7) a crudely made positive cast from a crudely made mask of a reclining man who had been deceased for several days.

    The twitter threads bring up the above, and things like vertical angle of the cameras, depth of field/focal length, trauma to soft tissue. Those things can work both ways, explaining away or excusing both similarities and discrepancies.

    I’m not a forensics expert. But I’ll say my untrained eye sees more discrepancies than similarities.

    It would be nice if the locket photo were the prophet.

    I’ll also venture to say that the man in the locket photo has known suffering.

  8. I have researched this on Debi’s Dive into History channel on youtube. I superimpose his facial features and it is not a match. The experts are hardly mentioned and don’t even have associates degrees, but one was a police sketch artist. I am an artist with Bachelor of Science degree and am a CMA. I talked to forensic anthropologists about alleged images for almost 4 hears, and we are writing a paper, they are analyzing this picture.

    My thoughts are at first- too thin of eyebrows, Joseph Smith was said to have heavy, thick, even “bushy eyebrows”, no way in heck would Anyone EVER say this guy has bushy or thick eyebrows! Secondly, curly hair- eldest Son wrote a lengthy letter to the Salt Lake Tribune stating how an artist in Utah painted his Dad as having curly hair and his dad did not have curly hair. Upper lip lands too straight, missing the middle bulge. His Nose does not come forward at all, it is too thin, too small, and his bridge is wide flat and V shape between the brows- not seen on the mask, and missing key injuries seen on the death mask and the skull- a step deformity, left eye socket was lower from injuries per Dr. Niles Herrod.

    Bertha Madison has these facial features and she is who Daniel Larsen and Lach Mackay are descended from. Joseph Smith III had about 25 children with 3 wives. Bertha was the 2nd wife, and the girls wearing it are her daughters, (also Joseph Smith gave his wives gold pocket watches, he loved giving the, so the one Emma Wore was probably from her first husband and was just an eyewitness account that she wore a gold watch, so did Eliza R. Snow). so given the clothing styles it’s either Bertha’s Dad Mads Madison or JS, he looks a TON like Bertha. Lach excluded Mads, but he NEVER submitted that picture (no on has, that I can find, yet), for analysis, he just assumed it wasn’t. Also their daguerreotype of Lucy Mack with a long down pointing nose… is not Lucy!! Her nose tip was higher up, like Joseph’s meaning from the front you can see her nostrils. Frederick Piercy’s drawing in an 1855 book, of her from life, 1 yr before she died, depicts her with a different nose, nostrils very round and visible, and with WHITE HAIR in Maudsley’s 1842 painting (lady in their daguerreotype has President Monson’s nose, hardly can see her nostrils).

  9. It doesn’t look like JS at all, from any life painted portraits. Yes, you can smooth out and improve a face with painting, but a good artist isn’t going to change major features and still call it the same person. The one in this photo is at least ten years older than JS when he died. The descriptions of JS were of a young looking man even when putting on weight near the end of his life, large eyes, a long prominent nose, and small mouth consisting of a thin lower lip with a constant natural smile at the ends . Everyone who described him, even his enemies , considered his facial features as pleasant.

    This man is gruff, has big lips, a short prominent nose, and no thin lower lip. His age has to be in the mid 40s at least. His ears are also too large, compared to the small ones that JS was supposed to have had on his face. I have had pause on other supposed pictures before, but this one is not JS I am sure.

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