I've had such a good and awful week! Like I think that I said in my last post, I've been struggling with my health a little bit, although overall I am on the up-and-up, this week I was not feeling so hot. On the up side, I felt the blessings of God in my life, especially temporally, I was able to take care of such much needed things on my to-do list (like getting a read mattress, been on an air mattress over a year).
When I first created this blog, last fall, I had JUST BARELY bought the photograph. No longer was I focused on how much the image matched the Dibble Death mask, I was flooded with inspiration to read "this", study "that", random... things... were coming into my mind and I felt so much intense emotions. THEN I got sick, for months.
I was very emotionally rocked, for reasons I can't explain online, that the Hyrum Smith image, floating around (on his Family Search page, blogs...), was a FAKE; it too was a dead ringer for death mask (Hyrum Smith's Dibble Death Mask), so I posted about this. In 24 hours I went from having like- five views, if that a day, to THOUSANDS. Suddenly I was getting sweet, positive emails, that I am STILL so grateful for, to be acknowledged by some very respectable individuals, my emotions were all over the board that week... so I then bought the URL and immediately the page views dropped... Honestly, I was never hoping to get popular making a webpage, just wanted a place to organize my research in order to seek out possible help in verifying my photograph's validity/identity, being Joseph Smith.
The problem with the entire month of January and February, I was on and off pain meds because of intense pain from shingles, then I was unable to open my eyes for ENTIRE week... I literally couldn't open my eyes the time it took to walk down the hallway, with even just dim lighting, it was too painful (the shingles only on the surface of my eye, but the spots caused light to reflect... it was crazy painful).
When one rather kind Art Professor emailed me, he was just aggressive enough, on the exact day that I went in to see an eye doctor to find out if the shingles was ruining my eye sight (truth), I just lost it and got so angry... Still, so sorry for that! Because of the shingles I was extremely light sensitive and in pain. The symptoms came back two weeks ago, probably because I got stressed, but I'm doing better now, after doing another round of meds to fight the virus, recently.
What I will share here, may, at times, have to be vague, but I just have to say that this has been an amazing and fun journey.
When I found and bought this photograph, it came so out of the blue. All summer I had been reading the Joseph Smith Journals almost every night, reading Church History, watching any LDS produced movie or documentary about Joseph Smith and gaining such an immovable testimony of the man. The past two years I'd struggled with things I had learned about his polygamist past (despite knowing about it my whole life, I just didn't know many details). I had the hardest time finding out things about his polygamist wives, as their names came up in his journals, but I found that doing MORE, not LESS research helped me to find peace; like how so many non mormons say that Lucy Walker was 15 when she married the Prophet, she was 17 and didn't have children until she was about 20... Helen Mar Kimbal was a young one, but she was an eternity only sealing and defended the prophet until the day that she died (saying it was a completely devoid of romance, she felt she would be alone forever, most of her anguish was over not being able to date or go to dances, but she never implied that she had a physical relationship with the prophet, his other wives that were meant to be in the future bear him children, sealed for time being the key word, MOVED into his house... Helen did not and Helen too didn't have children until she was way older!
Emily Partridge was the most open about how she had a physical relationship with the prophet, but was blunt that he was an absolute gentleman, wouldn't even touch her back or hold her hand before they were married (again, defended him until her death, going very public in a trial AFTER plural marriage was officially ended in the Church, she had no motivation to lie whatsoever about what a good man Joseph was). She bore children quite some time after Joseph Smith's death, they all did, but well past nine months since his murder (none have been proven to be his, despite them bluntly stating they'd had sexual relations).
Last October, I was driving home from work and felt sudden joy sweep all over my body, like lightning, but nothing had actually happened, I was confused; I hadn't felt the spirit THAT strong in years, I felt comfort, normal read your scriptures, just took the sacrament warm fuzzies, but this was a strong, GOOD feeling. I went home, got ready for bed, then had the impression to read the blog post, about my fave alleged Joseph Smith photograph, on the Juvenile Instructor. I always hated reading it, there was so much negativity on there, but I found the guy's ebay page; he actually still sells many old photographs, has good reviews. He knows quite a lot about old images, but now is selling an old daguerreotype, that may be of a painting, in hopes that he prove that one is Joseph Smith. Because of the Juvenile Instructor's overly critical blog post (mostly bashing that he thinks Joseph Smith is wearing the Urim and Thummin, the man is also into magic, witchcraft and is more intrigued by the magical side of Joseph Smith than anything, in my opinion), I think that he gave up. Possibly he was selling it in the thousands (back then in the 00s), for example his daguerreotype is selling for 400 grande, last that I checked, so of course he still had this with him, he had given up. These supposed Mormon Historians were positive that it wasn't him; couldn't be!- but I was like, "um... guys... this actually sounds like it has some provenance... he has a Smith Family album", unfortunately I couldn't find a way to communicate with that website (probably fortunately...). I found the owner at like midnight, early the next morning he said he still had it, I starting praying really, really hard, for a few hours he ups the price a bit, from the initial 100 dollars, but I could afford it, so I just bought it. I think it was after I'd bought it that I starting researching things, other than his face, like the type of photograph. First BIG thing was that he was a carte vista (a type of small cardstock in designs, holding a small albumen print, not patented until 1854- read "about the photograph" to find out more info about this and how it didn't disprove my image, but I had doubts until I found a CDV of Emma's 1845 photo). I will say that my anxiety in finding out that my image wasn't a daguerreotype, but a CDV had me flat out mad at myself, but it did not take long until I found all of these paper photographic images from 1844. It didn't HAVE to be a daguerreotype, to be Joseph Smith!
A couple of days after buying my image, I found out that it was either taken, or just printed (most likely), in Newark Illinois, which is where Joseph Smith, month before he dies, states that there was a political meeting there (it wasn't totally clear if he was there or not, but either way there was an LDS branch and it wasn't THAT far away from Nauvoo). That was a cool moment...
Whatever my intentions are... I can't say. I didn't intend to EVER make a youtube video, last summer, I never really like my image all that much, until I realized from the naked eye how amazingly it matched the death mask... I never thought, even the day that I found the owner and bought the image that I would OWN it... not in a million years, I was so upset and sure that the guy chucked it when the young mormon boys made fun of him mercilessly online; but if they hadn't, the owner would have never sold it so cheap, let alone to ME...
Am I planning to sell my image? Why would I do that when I haven't proven it?- if I do without a shadow of a doubt?, possibly. I have contacted the Church History department and feel that they are pretty busy, for one, and two- don't give a hoot... at all... First person blew me off because it wasn't a daguerrotype (I found Emma Smith's 1845 photograph that was a CDV literally THAT day) I could almost audibly hear a voice say,
"GOOGLE EMMA SMITH'S PHOTOGRAPH!!!" Oh, I was jumping up and down when I found she had a CDV of a photograph done about a year after he died (TEN years before that technology was patented, but it didn't matter... PAPER photographs, not daguerreotypes, could be reprinted, negatives exited BEFORE the 1840s)... which was reprinted several times and a daguerreotype of it has not been found, to my knowledge... When I emailed back about that, I just didn't hear back, even then it was an older missionary that emailed me this "blow off", forwarding this man's emails who was working in the Joseph Smith papers (so the email wasn't directed at me, but it had his email addy attached...). I was much too excited to NOT tell them the entire history of paper photography and how it was VERY possible that my image was taken in 1844, that guy wasn't going to give me the time of day, not at all...
The clothing style of my Illinois guy matched Joseph Smith's lifetime; I researched that for two weeks straight. I was positive about that, but some younger kid began emailing me (from the Church history dept) arguing about the clothes, when I sent him an 1840s image of Abraham Lincoln (with extremely similar collar, tie, everything), he began arguing about the ears, I then find the painting of Joseph Smith Senior and his SISTERS (they were photographed in their later years), showing ears that stuck out. THEN he was really excited to disprove my image by saying that the man in my image, for sure (not...) had attached earlobes (I just don't agree, my ears look just the same from the front, but clearly are unattached, since I know my own ears), the lobes are even rounded- so he just doesn't have attached earlobes, but then I find out that his sons had ATTACHED earlobes (if you see that on my "home page"- you can see that people with attached lobes don't have rounded earlobes but straight...); but the guy was just INTENT on shutting me down, his mind was CLOSED... I would counter him, he wouldn't fully read my responses, or looking at my examples, he was just angry and mean... so I told him that I knew that he was just a historian, told him that I knew he wasn't able or going to help me out (which he did say in his first email, something about how they just couldn't confirm or deny).
Good things, the Church History department emailed me a great article that I in fact quote on here, a lot. Someone who's a historian can yes, disprove an image as being Joseph Smith, but they can not prove that one is. That takes a scientist, or real forensic analyst.
Debra A. Hatfield
I grew up in Oregon, went to college in Utah and Idaho. Since college I have obtained a B.S. degree in University Studies from Brigham Young University-Idaho (2005), went to Beauty School ;P, then went back to school again over the course of many years, taking night classes, and finished an A.S. in Exective Medical Assisting from LDS Business College.