The topic of Joseph Smith’s multiple wives is one that has been controversial for some in the Church, and so has the question of whether or not he had children with those wives. But new DNA research has shed some light on these questions.

For more on Joseph Smith’s wives, read the Church’s Gospel Topics essay, “Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A century-old question about whether Josephine Lyon was the child of founding LDS prophet Joseph Smith Jr. from a polygamous marriage to her mother was addressed Saturday during a session on the concluding day of the 51st annual Mormon History Association Conference that convened this year at Snowbird’s Cliff Lodge.

And in another of scores of sessions during the two-day event, scholars presented their impressions of the Council of Fifty minutes, a recently released document from the Nauvoo, Illinois, period of LDS history.

DNA researcher Ugo A. Perego presented his findings supporting the conclusion that Joseph Smith was not the biological father of Josephine Lyon, who was born Feb. 8, 1844, in Nauvoo, four months before the Mormon leader’s martyrdom at Carthage, Illinois.

Perego, who holds a doctorate in genetics and molecular sciences from the University of Pavia in Italy, has for years studied the DNA of the family of Joseph Smith, among other figures in Mormon history.

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