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Finally, A Photo Of Joseph Smith, Jr.?

Dan Larsen
Renee Bright/KUER

In March 2020, a daguerreotype thought to be of Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the LDS Church, was discovered in the effects of a direct descendant. If it is the genuine article it would be the first and only known photo of Smith in existence. Why does that matter?

Would a photograph actually change the way people think of him?Smith is one of the most influential figures in American religious history — and a deeply polarizing character. Church faithful see him as divinely inspired; others, a charlatan. According to journalist and historian Jana Riess, this newly-discovered photograph offers both groups justification for their opinion. We’ll talk about where the photo came from and how — or even if — an image can influence our impressions.


  • Lachlan Mackay, historian and member of the Council of Twelve Apostles in the Community of Christ.
  • Jana Reiss, journalist and historian. @janareiss
  • Peter Fetterman, photography collector and gallerist.

Smith/Larsen daguerreotype courtesy of Daniel M. Larsen. Find Lachlan Mackay and Ron Romig's article here.

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