With regard the 'smart emoji wont' turn off' discussion, there are 2 sets of emojis:
#1- The app's emojis, which you turn off by unchecking the box int he Settings.
#2- Is in the keyboard, which is a separate set of emojis, but one we cannot access or turn off.
We recognize that many users do not want the images floating around in their messages. However, if you continue to type, the emoji does not load. In other words, if you don't tap on the word bubble, the image will not appear. This is how both groups - those who want, and don't want- are serviced when it comes to 'emojis'.