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artistic Facial analysis

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Facial Comparisons of Man in CDV to the Dibble Death Mask of Joseph Smith

Some have asked why there was no use of measurement of facial dimensions in the paper I was a contributor of this Winter (2023). Forensic scientist have given quick run-downs, but it was the sources in our own paper in the Anthropological Review that helped it to make sense to my brain. 


A scientific paper in 2011 titled, "Investigation into the use of photoanthropometry in facial image comparison", by Reuben Moreton and , Johanna Morley states:

"Photoanthropometry is a metric based facial image comparison technique. Measurements of the face are taken from an image using predetermined facial landmarks. Measurements are then converted to proportionality indices (PIs) and compared to PIs from another facial image... Results show that the degree of variability in facial measurements of the same individual due to variations in camera angle can be as great as the variability of facial measurements between different individuals. Results suggest that photoanthropometric facial comparison, as it is currently practiced, is unsuitable for elimination purposes." LINK

In the field of forensics, there used to be a commonly used technique called photoanthropometry, used to rule out/identify potential subjects in CCTV camera images and in photos, however it has dissolved in regards to facial analysis (useful if object of known measurement are found close-by, ex. knowing the height of a criminal photoanthropometry could be accurate and useful with objects around), according to several forensic anthropologists I know- it is not used for exclusion purposes.

Summer of 2017 I began using layers to sketch facial features in the man I thought could be Joseph, to see what lined up with 1840s Illinois Man's face and the Dibble death Mask of Joseph Smith. I will combine my personal techniques. which I did knowing the exact dimensions of the death mask could not perfectly match a verified photographic image of Joseph Smith, I had been a photographer in a studio before and learned pretty quickly how different my selfies appeared in comparison to the high quality and farther away photos of my own face looked, also being an artist- I have an eye for seeing shapes, seeing when a chin is actually flat and when it is not and is rounded (like Joseph Smith's chin; note both the Larsen daguerreotype and the Scannell daguerreotype are of men who have a characteristically "flat chin", but this is not something determined by "measuring" but by seeing shapes in shadows and knowing how that would be traced if you yourself were sketching those shadows, thus non- artists are much more easily dooped.  


I as a contributor along with Teghan Lucas and Maciej Henneberg (real, professional face identifiers) wrote and published in The Anthropological Review, January 2023 Issue, titled "A morphological comparison between a death mask of the American Prophet Joseph Smith and a photograph likely to depict him". LINK

Above I show how subjective sketch comparisons can be, and even images proven of the same individual can appear to be of a different individual, so aware of how even slight angles of the head, camera angles, distance can change the dimensions a ton.

"It is standard when conducting a facial comparison that if any anatomical differences are found between the two subjects then it must be concluded that they are not the same person. These differences do not include those that can be..." (pg. 6, "A morphological comparison between a death mask of the American Prophet Joseph Smith and a photograph likely to depict him", Maciej Henneberg, Teghan Lucas and Debra Hatfield). 

Joseph's "Bushy eyebrows" and... matching injuries... Identifying Feature!

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"The eyebrow shape is straight, however, the left eyebrow of the man in the CDV is shorter than the right brow and it tapers laterally. As well as this, the left eye lid slopes laterally partially closing the eye, while the upper lid of the right eye is consistently widely open." (pg. 8, "A morphological comparison between a death mask of the American Prophet Joseph Smith and a photograph likely to depict him", Maciej Henneberg, Teghan Lucas and Debra Hatfield)

As an artist who loves drawing faces, I am fascinated by the unique shape of their right eyebrow, both Joseph Smith and 1840s Illinois Man right brow hairs are angled in the same unique direction, simply looking at the nuances by the naked eye, no superimposition had me convinced this older looking gentleman, from a Smith Family Album, could REALLY be Joseph Smith. It is way too hard to write the details, so please see the video below as I sketch show the details (even though our paper states superimposition can be very subjective, especially sketching... it is the only way I know how to direct you to what I see!)

Joseph's "set back" Eyes, "blue (or light) eyes", "asymmetrical eyes" and major injury, Identifying Feature!!

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"The left eye is located slightly inferior compared to the right eye. The asymmetry of the eyes, the tapering of the left brow and the slope in the upper left eyelid are most likely a result of trauma to the left temple. The death mask shows both the taper-ing of the left eyebrow and the asymmetry in the position of the eyes, however, the sloping of the left upper eyelid can-not be compared as the eyes are closed. Although there is a high brightness of the photographic image on the left side of the man in the CDV, the authors are confident that the missing lateral aspect of the eyebrow is not a consequence of photo-exposure. The asymmetry of the position of the eyes on the CDV cannot be questioned." (pg. 8 of "A morphological comparison between a death mask of the American Prophet Joseph Smith and a photograph likely to depict him")

(pg. 9 continued)


"...examples of physical abuse that Joseph had endured in his lifetime and as mentioned previously, could have lead to the trauma on the left side of the face which is responsible for the asymmetry of the eye region and missing lateral aspect of the left eyebrow. Ptosis is a condition that occurs when the muscles which raise the eyelid, or their nerve supply, are damaged, namely the levator palpebrae superioris or the superior tarsal muscle (Srinath et al. 2012). Both of these muscles function to elevate the upper eyelid, thus, any damage would cause the eye-lid to fall...The man in the CDV has minor ptosis as the entire pupil is visible. The missing lateral aspect of the left eyebrow may also be a result of trauma, namely, scarring which leads to the loss of hair over the scar site."

Dr. Niles Herrod also noted possible damage to the left eye, from his notes in "In Search of Joseph" (1995, Shannon Tracy), mentioning a step deformity that could have cause the left eye to be dropped at a lower level than the right.

(pg. 10)

"The eye position in the head was not analysed as part of the standard classification system used but both MH and TL agree that the eyes are ‘set back’ in the head in both men."

Joseph's "Prominent Cheekbones"

Joseph Smith's cheekbones are very prominent in both the death mask and the painting, this cannot be denied as being a feature he had- when he was alive, as Maudsley too shaded Joseph's cheeks as being very high, as well, but when I did my sketch analysis of the painting to my Carte de Visite from the chin to the

Joseph's "Long Nose"

(pg. 7 of Morphological Comparison...) They note similarities between the shape of the death mask's nose and the nose in my image possibly of Joseph Smith,


"Nasion depression: Trace, Nose width: Medium, Nasal root: High, Septum tilt: Horizontal, Nostril position: Inferior..."

When doing sketch analysis I notice two striking things, the scar running down the nose lined up with the shadow in my image, and the line where the shadow starts is nearly exact for both images, although lighting is totally different, lighting is coming from below in my image and from the side, lighting is coming from above in the Church History Museum where the Death Mask of Joseph Smith is housed. 

Joseph's Lips

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As noted on page 7 of the paper similarities between the lips in my image and in the death mask were noted as:

"Relative lip size: Lower lip more prominent with thin upper lip

Lip thickness: Average

Upper lip shape: Flat

Lower lip shape: Flat"

"...According to our analysis, the lip thickness of both men is medium." pg. 10

Joseph's Round Chin

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pg. 7 Description of the chin notes:

"Chin shape: Round"

As an artist I traced the outline of the chin in my CDV and superimposed it onto the death mask and it is an amazing fit. I don't think any other alleged image of Joseph Smith has Joseph's chin quite like the man in my Carte de Visite (copied from a daguerreotype). 

Joseph's "retreating forehead" and "Round Chin"


"Both the unknown man in the CDV and Joseph Smith Jnr. have a  very high and broad forehead, this is further emphasized by the concave shape of the frontal hairline on the superior aspect of the head. Laterally, the hair moves more anteriorly to the temporal region. The superior border of the hairline can be seen in both the CDV and the death mask, however, lateral extent of the hair cannot be seen in the death mask.

" Cheek bones: Prominent

  Forehead height: High

  Forehead width: Broad

  Frontal hairline shape: Concave" pg. 7

"...many of the historical descriptions of Joseph Smith’s appearance are considered unreliable as many are contradictory and do not focus on anatomy. However, there were some anatomical details that were consistent in the historical record, these include: thin lips, prominent nose, oblong/oval face, large forehead without a  furrow, retreating hairline, eyes set back in the head (McCarl 1962). This list of features was investigated after the authors conducted their analysis, both MH and TL agree that the man in the CDV and the death mask of Joseph Smith have a large and retreating forehead without a  furrow. The ‘retreating’ forehead refers to the hairline being set back more superoposteriorly, which is further emphasized by the concave shape (not described in the historical records)...

"...the authors disagreed on the face shape between the man in CDV and the death mask, both the rhomboid and wedge shape allocated by the authors share similarities with the oval/oblong face shape in that they are both longer than they are wide, giving the appearance of elongation. It needs to be considered that the death mask did not encompass the entire extent of the face, just its anterior part, while the CDV, by the obvious nature of the antero-posterior projection of the entire head and face of an individual, depicted the full extent of the most lateral parts of the face..."

Below is a video, showing my raw opinions and reactions, to discovering 5 other doctors, than Joseph Lyons, agree the skull buried as Hyrum Smith was actually Joseph Smith's. 

My sketches made of the skulls of Joseph (right) and Hyrum Smith above, showing the step deformity Dr. Herrod mentioned in published his conclusions about- seeing this on both the death mask of Joseph Smith and the skull (buried as Hyrum).

Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered (and beaten) the 25th of March, 1832,

"I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a​ dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs... I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man and he fell on the door steps...

"They then seized me by the throat, and held on till I lost my breath...they had concluded not to kill me, but pound and scratch me well... They then tried to force a phial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth...

"My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and Cleansing my body, so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again... With my flesh all scarfied and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and on the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals."

Second hand accounts state that Joseph Smith permanently lost chunks of hair, he was scratched, beaten and possibly burned by the tar. Levi Hancock's journal states that he was show where the mob had pulled Joseph's hair out (several years later, so clearly the hair didn't grow back) stating, 

" "...the Prophet Joseph Smith sent for me. I went and saw him again and had a conversation with him. Heard him tell about him being mobbed in Hiram and how they pulled the hair out of his head then he showed me the place where they had pulled the hair out of."

In Dec. 1835 William Smith attacked Joseph Smith, in a heated argument over ending a debate. Joseph Smith penned a letter referring the event,

"having once fallen into the hands of a mob, and now been wounded in my side, and now into the hands of a brother...abuse, anger, malice, hatred, and rage <​with a lame side​> with marks, of violence <​heaped​> upon my body me by a brother, were the reflections of my disapointment..." 

Second hand accounts also described the result of this beating, how Joseph Smith was beaten so badly he could not sit-down or stand up without help. Suffice to say, the two worst beatings on record, that happened to Joseph Smith, happened 9 years before his death, and broken facial bones would be seen on his skull, and scars seen on his death mask, and in any real photograph of him would show specifically a "step deformity"- as noted by a Surgeon working with Shannon Tracy, in 1995. 

It wasn't until I flew to Utah fall of 2021, and spent a week researching, was I handed the popular books on artwork and possible images of Jospeh Smith and found that the skulls had been identified and verified by six doctors, this was huge- glad news to me. Some of these books were no longer in print, such as, "In Search of Joseph", Shannon Michael Tracy's first ever book- aimed at getting a 3-D model of what Hyrum and Joseph Smith looked like, which required knowing which skull was whose. He recruited two doctors: Dr. Niles Herrod (Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery) and Dr. Van de Graff (who Anatomy and Physiology at BYU, and has since passed away), with the added help of Zygote Media did computer analysis of the death masks and skulls, then made computer models using the concluded skulls and verified death masks.

Dr. Herrod noted injuries on the skull buried as Hyrum Smith, which were only seen on Joseph Smith's death mask (namely what he calls a step-deformity is seen broken and remodeled, and a flattened left cheekbone, this deformity is seen on Joseph's NOT Hyrum's death mask); Herrod also stated the bullet wound, to the left of Hyrum's nose, would have shattered the surrounding bones, or all the facial bones, as is seen on the skull buried Joseph Smith (no mid facial bones were present)  likely Joseph's Skull is a better candidate for Hyrum Smith. The common belief today is that the break on the maxilla of "Hyrum's Skull"  merely grazed and did not break the maxilla directly below the large wound on Hyrum's face, that made no sense to this Maxillofacial surgeon. Furthermore, Dr. Niles Herrod said the break in the maxilla look too fresh and lacked signs of decay, seen on all the other bone breaks of "Hyrum's skulls"; very likely it was broken day the photograph was taken, probably with a shovel as they disinterred the brother's bones, and was very unlikely to have been broken in 1844 (as there WOULD have been some decay on the break in the Maxilla, of the skull identified as Hyrum in 1928, so- it was not caused by the bullet that hit Hyrum in the face, in June of 1844, but more likely in 1928). Additionally, Dr. Van de Graff's analysis of Skull buried as Joseph's frontal bone, brow bones having such similar curvature on the death mask on Hyrum, which I have concurred with and talked about for many years (so reading this statement, four years into researching all of this, was VERY validating). 


More recently, Joseph Lyons (sixth doctor to publish the SAME findings) and his brother David W. Lyon, wrote "Physical Evidence at Carthage Jail and What It Reveals about the Assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith",  who concur with the 1995 study by Dr. Herrod and Dr. Van de Graff, that the skull buried as Hyrum, was not Hyrum's skull. 


In death, Joseph sustained major head injuries from two things: first falling head first out a two story window and hitting the ground head first, and falling on his "left side a dead man", according to Willard Richard's account (in Joseph Smith's journal, June 27th, 1844, he was his clerk, for many years) and an account by William Daniels. Secondly a man with a pewter fife was seen beating Joseph in the head with it, explaining the broken parietal bones, on the skull SIX doctors have concluded was Joseph Smith's skull.

The death masks are described on page 9, of "In Search of Joseph", Tracy makes a mistake in stating that the masks were prepared 28th of July, likely meaning June (as all accounts conclude that the masks of the slain Smith Brothers (Joseph and Hyrum), were made within 24 hours, Tracy continues,


"...between the arrival of the bodies about 3pm and the inception of the viewing at about 6:00 pm, he [Cannon] made plaster casts of the faces of the slain brothers." 

With the murders occurring around 5pm, the masks could have been made in less than 24 hours after their death. 

Below, is the 2022 Artistic Analysis, done by Debra Hatfield. I had already drawn the facial features of the man in my CDV and overlayed them onto the Dibble Death Mask of Joseph Smith and having created individual layers for each eye, brow, the nose, mouth and the facial outline, I only adjusted the location of the eye brows (more outward in my CDV, Rigor Mortis very well may have placed the brows closer together; it causes all muscles to tense up, although we do not know if this was still happening when the masks were made- might have been over) and just the outline is adjusted in size, otherwise the likeness "falls into place". Many state that Joseph's nose appears larger because of cotton balls being shoved in there, but no where was that stated, simply that the bullet holes in his chest, hip and back were stuff with cotton, as to likely keep his white clothing white as possible. 

Victor Kress Painting of Joseph Smith (1890s)

Below, I have zoomed into on Victor Kress's painting, which is the... "duplicate oil painting" Joseph Smith the third is talking about in 1910. I have an arrow in turquoise, pointing to a scar coming down from his left (our right) eye, and featured below that is my CDV zoomed in, as well, with a red circle around this matching scar, both coming downward at a 45 degree angle, from the outer corner of their left eye. 

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Body Composition

Joseph Smith was reported one month before her died, to still be "athletic", May 1844, per Josiah Quincy (he visited Nauvoo and stayed a while with the Smiths a month before Joseph Smith died, (Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past from the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883), 381.))

In BYU Studies, "Joseph Smith’s Athletic Nature", by Alexander L. Baugh:

"In fact, his physique appears to have been very similar to that of his father’s, Joseph Smith, Sr., who was reported to have been six feet two inches tall and well proportioned, weighing about 200 pounds (History of the Church 4:191; hereafter HC). Second, his body was no doubt conditioned from years of chopping wood, building fences, digging wells and ditches, and cutting down trees and removing stumps, as well as moving heavy rocks on the family farm..."

Some claim Joseph was in hiding and not "exercising" and this caused him to become severely overweight (often pointing to an 1842 oil painting, done when he WAS in hiding all summer, not long after he'd been in Liberty Jail, lost muscle and likely had simply not gained muscle back- so he was quite overweight in 1842); by 1844 Joseph Smith had been acquitted of charges that sent him into hiding in 1842. 


May 23, 1844 Joseph Smith  journal entry states that he was getting "exercise", despite drama happening- leading up to the last days of his life and subsequent murder:

"Past nine p. m, I walked a little way with D. Richards for exercise." LINK

Arnold Schwarzenegger is said to be also 6 feet 2 inches and weighed over 200 pounds. Comparing Joseph Smith to what I believe is an 1844 photograph of him, at age 38, to an screen shot of Arnold at around the same age, I do not find they are physically 100 percent similar, however, the overall shape is very similar. 38 year old Arnold always had food on the table at night, Joseph Smith- didn't, and Joseph was not TRYING to be muscular, he was just - living; when we compare the two men, Joseph is not exactly bulky, but their trapezius muscles, neck, width of their frame, there are striking similarities (that are totally lost in the other most popular alleged images of Joseph Smith- who look pretty short and or frail (let alone barely 22- or 23 (Scannell kid- cough-cough). 

It has been brought to my attention, two men online believe the man in my image is not fat enough, that Joseph was overweight and stressed before he died. I concur, he gained a lot of weight in 1842, but there was a logical reason for that to happen, and to have gone away... Spring 1839, Joseph Smith arrives in Commerce, Illinois, having lost 45 lbs, while being held in Liberty Jail, with hardly any food; massive dramatic loss of weight causes loss of muscle, which is turn lowers your metabolism. Alas, we have body memory, and Joseph's brain still remembered loving being athletic, so eventually he got there, not without a bump in the road. 1842 paintings depict Joseph with some added lbs., a belly, very well his mother, wife and everyone around him was anxious to get this very skinny man back to health, he would have gained extra weight, before gaining muscle and his metabolism back. (Source, page 393, "500 Little-Known Facts about Joseph Smith"). 


By June 1844, Joseph was more anxious than anything- than getting the Nauvoo Temple finished, which he did not live to see, and Emma Smith reported that he bathed the walls of the temple with his tears. 

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Above the two men's trapezius muscle, and biceps are outlined (Joseph's clearly are barely showing), they appear to have a similar width and angle.

Below, I superimposed the two images and find it very striking the shape of their shoulders and traps; this is not enough to confirm the man in my photograph is 6 feet 2 inches tall and incredibly buff, but both men worked out- enough to have well defined trapezius muscles. Scannell and Spiritus pictures do NOT show a well defined trapezius muscle and both likely are well below 6 feet... just sayin. 



The Scannell Kid below, traps are traced in blue and superimposed; dwarfs in comparison, to the man in my CDV and Arnold, I highly doubt he grew up pulling trees out from the trunks and carrying limestone to build the Nauvoo Temple, which Joseph was, in Spring 1844. Scannell boy looks like he's hardly old enough to go on a mission, whereas Joseph Smith was described as LOOKING 40, in 1839 (by onlookers- in Washington D.C.- on his visit there). 


Spiritus channel's image, seen below, he too looks quite a lot shorter and less athletic than the man in my CDV. 



Email me directly, with questions or answers you believe that you have, I will respond, in time. 

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