The following is excerpted from the Deseret News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
Lachlan Mackay was anticipating a variety of responses when he and his uncle, Daniel Larsen, released a new daguerreotype last week that they believe is Joseph Smith after keeping it a secret for two years.
The overall reaction was wide and mixed, he said, as they received inquiries from people in the United Kingdom, Japan and across the United States, with the highest level of interest — not surprisingly — in Utah and the Intermountain west.
“It’s kind of startling to first see something that might be a real person instead of a mythological creature,” said Mackay, a Smith descendant and member of the Community of Christ’s Council of Twelve Apostles. Joseph Smith, of course, was a real person and founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The search for any photo image of him has been going on for decades.
But there was also something Mackay didn’t anticipate.
“I was surprised at how quickly people seem to be swinging towards ‘We think it’s him,’” Mackay said. “I, of course, think it’s him. I just expected that it would take people longer to process, and most of these people have not read the paper yet.”
Mackay is referring to the spring/summer 2022 issue of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal where he and fellow historian, Ron Romig, published the details of their two-year effort to authenticate the daguerreotype before making it public.
Mackay said a statement released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regarding the daguerreotype was “a thoughtful statement.” He’s confident Community of Christ won’t release a statement saying the image is of Joseph.
“We don’t take positions on historical matters,” he said. “Our team of world church historians, as individuals, are convinced, as am I, but the church is not going to take a position.”
Mostly people have questions, which Mackay welcomes.
“I hope folks will come forward with good questions,” he said. “I think they will and some already have. … I am thrilled that we can talk about it finally after two years. I’m excited to see other peoples’ excitement and interest. I’m excited to continue learning more. This is a process.”
What steps might be taken next to validate or learn more about the image?
The Deseret News spoke with Mackay, historians and others with expertise in historic photography to ask opinions of the image and find out what else can be done with the Joseph Smith daguerreotype. Here’s what they said.
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.