Independence, MO—Top LDS scholars are now saying that Joseph Smith Jr. was most likely of African descent—he was black.

“New genetic research performed on a piece of the prophet’s hair has allowed us to make this conclusion,” says Dr. John Hekkasmart, geneticist at BYU. “It’s the same mitochondrial DNA method that allowed us to show that the Book of Mormon is false.”

Dr. Shannon Reyes, a professor of social science at BYU, points to subconscious racial bias as the reason for traditional Caucasian depictions of the faith’s founder. “The early Church was predominantly white, and it was therefore natural for them to succumb to their biases and depict Joseph as a white man,” says Dr. Reyes. “But,” she continues, “Saying he is white is coming from a place of cultural prejudice rather than a place of historical accuracy.”

One member from the Spanish Fork 12th ward added, “There are no photos of him, so maybe he was black. Who knows, maybe he was actually a woman. Wouldn’t that change some perspectives?”