Great-great-great-grandson discovers only known photograph of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith

Only paintings had existed to depict controversial religious figure.

Updated: July 22, 2022 - 3:40pm

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The great-great-great-grandson of Mormonism founder Joseph Smith, Jr., recently discovered the only known photographic depiction of the controversial religious leader, according to a report from a Missouri-based historical journal. 

A writeup in the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal presents a "recently opened watch locket that was passed down through the Smith family" and that the family claims contains "a true daguerreotype image of Joseph Smith Jr."

Previously, only oil paintings had existed to depict Smith, who claimed to have encountered both God and an angel in New York State. He claimed to obtained gold plates from the angel's instruction, with writing that he translated using a "seer stone" and which subsequently became the Book of Mormon. 

Smith said he subsequently returned the plates to the angel; only 11 other people ever claimed to have seen the plates themselves. 

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