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Joseph Smith’s descendant believes he’s found the first photograph of the Prophet

An 1842 oil painting of Joseph Smith by David Rogers is compared to a daguerreotype discovered inside the Smith/Larsen watch locket by Dan Larsen.
Portrait, Community of Christ/daguerreotype, Dan Larsen

What did Joseph Smith look like?

His death mask, paintings, and descriptions of his physical appearance provide some clues of the appearance of the first president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

But no verified photograph or image of Joseph Smith has ever been found—until now?

A descendant believes he has found a daguerreotype of Joseph Smith, according to Lachlan Mackay, a member of Community of Christ’s Council of Twelve Apostles who oversees the Joseph Smith Historic Site in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Community of Christ, formerly called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the second-largest religious body to trace its origin to the revelations of Joseph Smith.

“For me, it’s pretty significant. I no longer have to guess at what he looked like,” Mackay said. “It is consistent with the period and everything we can find, it is consistent with the period for having been made in Nauvoo, and the fact that it has this Smith family provenance, that is really what sets it apart from the other daguerreotypes of Joseph, which it seems like one pops up every other week, and most of them are very easily ruled out. With this one that has not been the case.”

The discovery and findings were announced Thursday in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal ( and a news release.

Read the rest of the article at Deseret News, including a statement from the Church that no definitive conclusions can be drawn regarding the photo’s authenticity.

▶ You may also like: These one-of-a-kind depictions of Joseph Smith might surprise you

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