Do we finally have a photograph of him?

Do we finally have a photograph of him? July 21, 2022


Greensward with Pacific Ocean
An evening view from our patio here in Depoe Bay, taken with my cellphone


The John Whitmer Historical Association — an independent organization that is more or less aligned with the former Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ) — has issued a very interesting statement:


“Smith family members and historians have long believed that a daguerreotype, or photograph, of Joseph Smith, Jr., was made before his June 27, 1844, assassination. That daguerreotype has now been found. Learn more in the JWHA Journal Spring/Summer 2022 issue.”

Purchase the JWHA Journal Vol. 42 No. 1 in PDF format ($15).
Purchase the JWHA Journal Vol. 42 No. 1 paperback on Amazon ($25)

Included is “Hidden Things Shall Come to Light: The Visual Image of Joseph Smith Jr.” Ron Romig and Lachlan Mackay present convincing evidence that a recently opened watch locket that was passed down through the Smith family contains a true daguerreotype image of Joseph Smith Jr.


Worldmark Depoe Bay
This is the complex in which we’re staying. We’re around the corner at the far end, near a little inlet (where we’ve seen a small whale). I took this photo with my cellphone shortly after sunset.


I confess that I’ve been a little bit perplexed by the fan-like enthusiasm that I’ve seen in some circles for the work of Yuval Noah Harari, and especially for his bestselling works Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.  So I was very interested in this critique by Darshana Narayanan, which appeared in Current Affairs and which was kindly called to my attention by Professor Trevor Luke:


“The Dangerous Populist Science of Yuval Noah Harari: The best-selling author is a gifted storyteller and popular speaker. But he sacrifices science for sensationalism, and his work is riddled with errors.”


Toward the S
Looking southward from in front of the place where we’re staying. Taken with my cellphone.


We were happy, yesterday afternoon, to see the fog burn off.  I hadn’t really minded it; the low visibility (i.e., beneath the cloud cover) had been pretty good anyway.  But last evening was magnificent, and it seems that today will turn out very nicely, as well.  There is a colony seals stationed on the rocks about fifty yards from our patio and rear windows, and we’ve seen spouting whales from our living room as well as while walking along the edge of the cliff on which we sit.  These are gray whales.  A more or less resident pod — they spend some time each year off the coast of San Diego and/or Mexico — they like to graze very close in by the shore, so we have excellent views of them.  Last evening, at least, we even saw a small whale in the tiny inlet right by our building.  Gray whales are approximately the same size as humpback whales, but very different in appearance.  They’re baleen whales, and they evidently feed by diving, scooping up large quantities of muck at the bottom, and straining out and consuming the small crustaceans that live in it.  They seem to graze incessantly, probably including all through the night.  There are also innumerable seabirds that live on the rocks near us.  Mostly gulls, but also what I’m guessing to be cormorants.  They’re very noisy, but one immediately begins to filter the sound out, and it’s actually just pleasant and “sea-like.”  Truth be told, we can scarcely hear them inside.


The other night, feeling tired and unambitious, we re-watched the 1997 thriller Air Force One.  It was the first time we’ve seen it in a very long while.  I had, I discovered, altogether forgotten the opening several minutes.  I was especially surprised, though, to see a young Vladimir Putin appearing in the film under the name of Ivan Korshunov, played by the great Gary Oldman (aka Winston Churchill, Sirius Black, Sid Vicious, Count Dracula, Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale, Lee Harvey Oswald, Rosenkrantz, George Smiley, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Commissioner Gordon) and spouting seemingly genuine Putinisms.  The movie suggests, and recent history seems to bear it out, that — appearances to the contrary notwithstanding — Mr. Putin actually survived his reluctant acceptance of President James Marshall’s invitation to “get off of [his] plane.”


dcp @ FAIR 2022 flyer
Of course, I won’ t be the only speaker there.  Merely the last: There will also be good and interesting speakers at FAIR this year.


The 2022 edition of the annual FAIR Conference is rapidly approaching.  It will be held in Provo, Utah, on 3-5 August.  We invite you to take part in the conference and, if possible, to do so in person.  If you can’t come in person, though — and, strictly speaking, even if you can — streaming will be free this year because of a generous anonymous donation.


The kindly folks at FAIR are apparently creating images for individual speakers in order to promote the conference.  Here above, anyway, is the one that they’ve created for me.  It allows prospective participants to steel themselves for the visual horror that they’ll behold should they elect to attend the conference or to participate online.


The exterior of the Pontificia Università Gregoriana in Rome

(Wikimedia Commons public domain photograph)


I’m really pleased to see inter-religious tolerance and religious liberty emerging — as they manifestly have over the past decade or more — as major themes in the public messages of leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They have been significant interests of mine for quite a while.  President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church — and, in his previous life, a professor at the law school of the University of Chicago, a president of Brigham Young University, and a justice of the Utah Supreme Court — is especially well qualified to address the topic, and he has done so rather frequently:


“In Rome, President Oaks continues Latter-day Saint effort to champion religious liberty worldwide: Speech at international Notre Dame Religious Liberty Summit is the latest by Latter-day Saint apostles to bring a multifaith solution to defending freedoms.”


“At a Catholic Conference in Rome, President Oaks Offers Four Ways to Strengthen Religious Freedom: ‘I call for a global effort to defend and advance the religious freedom of all the children of God in every nation of the world’”


Posted from Depoe Bay, Oregon



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