Friday, November 20, 2009

Mormons in Space

Growing up my Mom used to tell me, "Be proud of being different. It’s what makes you interesting and stand out from the crowd."

There was a time, not too long ago, when LDS leaders would regularly go out on a limb and talk about very far-reaching and speculative doctrine concerning life on other planets with gusto and conviction. The speculation didn’t always pan out, but at least it was interesting and kept young minds engaged on the possibilities. Often these days, I yearn for the return of truly unique doctrine delivered without care of how it will be viewed by non-LDS churches.

I was reminded of our bold past when I came across this article from the New Era printed in 1971:

People on Other Worlds, New Era, April 1971

This is what I’m talking about! Bring back these types of articles. Sure, most people might think we’re nuts, but many do anyway, so at least we can have some interesting and unique speculative doctrine that involves space travel and extraterrestrials. We may even use this as our primary missionary message in some parts (New Mexico comes to mind).

In a Q&A topic on the New Era from 1985, the question was asked, “Is Jesus Christ the Savior of all the worlds God created or just ours?” (You have to scroll down past the Q&A on "Petting" – and no, it's not instructional info on cat-care).

The article points out that Jesus not only died for the sins of our world, but countless worlds. I remember vividly this topic being taught to me by my parents and being discussed among the Elders in my mission. This doctrine had created awe in my young mind as I tried to understand how people on other planets could possibly believe in an alien dying for their sins on some other unknown planet. I had a hard enough time understanding what happened on my own planet. Talk about faith in extraterrestrials! How could our Earth, in all the eternities and infinite space, be the planet chosen by God for Jesus to die on? How lucky I believed we were!

So, what say ye? Do you also wish we delved into the mysteries more, at the expense of appearing odder to our neighbors? Are we better off assimilating into the common Christian masses more and more? By becoming more conforming in our doctrinal emphasis to mainstream Christianity, should our Church expect more converts?

Has Mom’s sagely advice run its course?


  1. I have long suspected that Bruce R. McConkie was not a native earthling.

  2. We've claimed Big Foot... what more do you want?!

  3. Reuben - I can't comment on BRM. The last thing I want to deal with is an abduction and alien probing.

    Karen - I remember a Gospel Doctrine teacher some time back bringing this up with a straight face. Ah, the memories! Another great example of really stretching the imagination that we don't see too much of anymore. Wouldn't it make General Conference interesting if the Loch Ness was somehow connected to remnants of a lost tribe from Kolob that had transported some native animals to Earth? I get all tingly just thinking about it...

  4. Bishop,

    We've got enough speculative and outlandish doctrine in the Journal of Discourses to last for many generations to come. If you have a craving for this kind of stuff the J o D will surely suffice. I personally think we have already outdone ourselves in this area. We need not encourage our leaders to deliver more crazy doctrine. My life is complicated enough with trying to explain indian DNA, Quakers on the moon, magical spectacles, seer stones, gold plates, visits from angels, blood atonement, polygamy, and the list goes on. My non-mo friends already think I am certifiable. Let's not encourage any more of this please.

  5. I remember hearing that our earth was the only planet evil enough to crucify the Savior!

  6. Seven - I remember the same gem from seminary. At the time, it really blew my mind to think about such things. Ah, to be young...

  7. aww.. no new posts. i was wondering if our ward was going to have a Christmas party, or has FARMS debunked the Christ-myth yet?