Ep 199 – Who Is Mormon Genome Project?


Posted July 29th, 2015

Scott (the Infant who brought you Any Opposed) explains the Mormon Genome Project. Did Joseph Smith Father any children with any of his polygamous wives? You can help answer that question. Take a listen.

Check out The Mormon Genome Project for more information.


  • msurkan

    Hasn’t DNA testing positively disproven some of the claims of polygamous descent from Joseph Smith? The fact that it has been possible to prove that some people who claim to be descended from Joseph Smith are not is very troubling to me. It raises a doubt about other claims which might not be so easy to prove or disprove due to the current limitations of DNA tests.

    • Mike

      I think if you listen closely to what is being done you will find a cover-up by the church. The church has tried to control the information flow from tests done through the Sessions/Lyons line….Hugo knows….but he aint telling. Kudos to you Scott for this project…I will donate

      • msurkan

        I don’t see why the church would want to cover up evidence of Joseph’s polygamous offspring. It would be a disaster for the LDS church if DNA testing was only negative and gave further reasons for people to doubt Joseph’s polygamy. If Joseph wasn’t a polygamist then Brigham Young was a fraud and there is no legitimate chain of authority. In short, it is absolutely in the church’s interests to PROVE Joseph has polygamous offspring through DNA tests.

        • Mike

          Even the chief apologists from the church don’t dispute that JS married polygamously and …….did the deed

          • msurkan

            So why would anyone want to hide DNA evidence of Joseph’s polygamy? It only helps bolster the church’s claims of authority.

  • John

    Looks like Dr. Ugo Perego has started his own project:


    • Tim

      It’s like the restoration of the one true genome. Maybe we could splice it with dinosaur DNA and start Josephic Park in Independence Missouri!

  • Odell

    A couple of questions I have about the project are (1) how will you identify descendants of the three pool groups; and (2) do have any idea if they will cooperate with the DNA study?

    • Scott

      As to 1) a number of them have already reached out to me and I already have some samples and some processed data. I am also contacting family groups who are known descendants. As to 2) some family members will, some won’t.

  • J.T.

    Make sure you don’t lose your testimony that Smith was a polygamist when the results for Josephine come back negative.

    DNA testing has not been kind so far. Here’s a list of claimed mothers and offspring.

    NEGATIVE DNA results:
    1. Fannie Alger – Orrison Smith
    2. Presinda Huntington Buell — Oliver Buell
    3. Clarissa Reed Hancock – Mosiah Hancock
    4. Clarissa Reed Hancock – John Reed Hancock
    5. Mary Ann Frost Pratt – Moroni Pratt
    6. Zina Huntington Jacobs – Zebulon Jacobs

    Not possible to test (no grave or offspring):
    7. Marinda Johnson Hyde – Orson Washington Hyde
    8. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner – Algernon Lightner

    9. Marinda Johnson Hyde – Frank Henry Hyde
    10. Sylvia Porter Sessions Lyon – Josephine Rosetta Lyon

    POSITIVE DNA results:

    Two (2) children remain possible to test, and one (Frank) is unlikely given the late birth date etc.

    Kind of makes you wonder how good of a historian Fawn Brodie actually was, right? She really fell for all this silliness.

    • Mike

      No..you did.

      • J.T.

        Ok. Well, let me know when you find that DNA evidence. Won’t be long now, right? Hint: Check over by the Nephite DNA. It might be all mixed together.

        • Mike

          Right….and the earth is what?…6000 years old. Don’t know what you mean by “check over by the Nephite DNA”… do really believe there is semitic blood in the native americans? Wow!

          • J.T.

            No. What? No.

            Nephites did not exist. That is why there is no DNA evidence for them.

            Joseph Smith was not a polygamist. His children all came through Emma. That is why his DNA will not be found in the descendants of children he did not father, including Josephine.

            People who hoped to find Nephite DNA look pretty silly now, don’t they?

            I wonder how people who just KNOW Smith’s DNA will be found will look in a few years.

          • Mike

            I’ll be patient…I might be wrong….let’s let the scientific evidence prove it.

          • J.T.

            At what point do you conclude evidence has proved it?

            I suspect Josephine will come back negative and some will say it was Frank. Or other mystery children we just haven’t found yet.

            Is Josephine your limit? Or do you keep going, kind of like the Nephite limited geography theory, with the number of Joseph’s presumed descendants shrinking to a tiny group that magically can’t be detected by their DNA.

          • Mike

            Josephine’s line will probably show that JS did the “dance of the dolphin” with Mom. What does it prove? Polygamy was a true revelation?…..or that JS was horny and a fallen prophet? Won’t matter cuz the debate of the church’s truthfulness will still be in question…..minds will continue to spin the truth to make it fit. I just want to fix a bowl of popcorn and watch the drama unfold.

  • msurkan

    I understand how it will finally prove beyond a doubt that Joseph was a polygamist if DNA tests are positive. I wonder whether there would be any significance if the tests were conclusively negative (i.e. proving no relation to Joseph)? That wouldn’t really prove anything, right? It wouldn’t undermine any of the existing evidence that Joseph was a polygamist would it?

    • Mike

      Do your really believe that Joseph didn’t practice and perfect the sport of polygamy? There’s hundred’s of other issues that discredit the prophet…ergo the church. This will be for entertainment purposes only.

      • msurkan

        No, I do believe Joseph was a polygamist. I am merely wondering what the implications of negative DNA tests with Josephine would be. The implications of positive tests are pretty clear.

        If nothing else, negative tests would bring more doubts around anyone claiming to be a descendant of Joseph other than by Emma. It would certainly bolster restorationist claims that Joseph was “pure” and that it was Brigham who ruined the church.

    • J.T.

      In the case of Smith and polygamy, there isn’t much “existing evidence” to undermine, is there?

      There is a difference between allegations and evidence. What actual evidence exists to prove any of the allegations? Can you list any? Other than the large number of allegations.

      The purpose of the DNA testing was to provide evidence to support certain allegations. So far, the specific allegations of paternity have not stood up to DNA testing. Thus, we continue to have no evidence to support those allegations. A negative result for Josephine would undermine one more allegation.

      Let’s pretend we are also testing a Native American to see if she had semitic DNA. Now let’s apply your same logic:

      A positive result totally proves the Book of Mormon is true, of course.

      A negative result would not undermine any of the evidence we have that the Book of Mormon is true.

      Do you still like the logic?

  • Chad

    Hey Scott. I would like to contribute to the project. Would you take a check? If so, send me an email.

  • Ophanim

    When I talked with Perego he said that he had to get permission to disinter the body/bones of Joseph Smith to get more nuclear DNA to prove to high probability that Josephine was Joseph’s child. Where are Joseph’s bones? How would someone get permission to disinter the remains? As this would be difficult, what sequencing technology has made this unnecessary? From Lighner’s talk at BYU in 1905, she said she knew of 3 children of Joseph Smith. Are the most likely children in addition to Josephine, Esther Dutcher Smith child – Joseph (born 21 September, 1844) Hannah Dubois Dibble child – Loren (born 29 May, 1844)?

  • Mike
  • J.T.

    Huh. The Mormon Genome Project gofundme has raised over $13,000 and appears to still be accepting donations. No updates since 17 months ago. The domain name for mormongenomeproject.com and mormongenomeproject.org are back on the market and available for purchase. Gosh, I wonder how it all turned out. I hope they were able to “definitively prove whether or not Josephine Rosetta Lyon is Joseph Smith’s genetic daughter”.

    • Glenn

      Huh. Guess what? They were. Both Scott’s project and Perego’s project showed that Josephine was not Joseph’s daughter. Perego’s findings were announced last May. We have mentioned this on the podcast probably 3 or 4 times since then. Maybe you were too busy looking up domain registrations when that happened.

      • Infant Scott

        Yep, Perego published first and had lots of data. I was able to confirm multiple data points of overlapping data to check his findings. Joseph is most likely not the biological father of Josephine. The interesting thing about this is that it is confirmatory evidence of true sexual polyandry, because Sylvia clearly believed that Joseph was the father, so she was sleeping with both of them. And her believing JS to be the father wasn’t just a later, Utah era claim, it was something she believed at the time of the birth, naming her Josephine in Nauvoo. It also blows a giant hole in Brian Hales’s many claims that Josephine and Windsor were divorced (they weren’t).

        • J.T.

          Lack of DNA evidence = confirmation that Smith was having sex with Sylvia? You’ll have to explain that to me. The less convoluted explanation is that either Sylvia or Josephine told a lie.

      • J.T.

        Yes, I stopped listening to the podcast long ago and have devoted myself full-time to monitoring domain registrations. I haven’t paid any attention to this lately but had a note to follow up and see how it turned out. So I did, and it was quite entertaining to listen to that podcast again. You should add a little clip of Gilda Radner at the end saying “Nevermind”.