Kolob

November 15, 2006 | 97 comments
By

Some fellow who has clearly never talked to a Mormon gives a nice (mis)summation of LDS beliefs in a local paper. (Hat tip: Voldemort). Like many such, he has things to say about Kolob — a lot more, really, than I’ve ever heard at church. Is Kolob even really part of LDS doctrine any more?

If it is, it plays a spectacularly minor role. A search at LDS.org reveals the number of times that Kolob has been discussed in any doctrinal way in general conference in the past (30+? how far back does lds.org go?) years is . . . zero. (There are a total of five uses of the word — three times programs listing the hymn “If you could hie to Kolob,” once in a mention of Kolob Stake members, and once in the descriptive phrase “Well, I knew no more what was on Fox Islands than what was on Kolob.”) The Ensign in general is almost bereft of recent discussions of Kolob: There is a total of one doctrinal and one apologetic piece mentioning Kolob in any substantive way in the past 20 years, neither one authored by a general authority.

If any church doctrine or idea has died of desuetude by now, it is the idea of Kolob. Does anyone still believe (much less teach in church) the idea of Kolob? When did you last hear about Kolob over the pulpit? (Was it based on Mormon Doctrine?) Does anybody (other than anti-Mormons, and perhaps a few reluctant apologists) believe that we believe in Kolob any more?

Discuss.

Tags: ,

97 Responses to Kolob

  1. J. Stapley on November 15, 2006 at 10:23 pm

    Even the Journal of Discourses, font of all that is bizarre, has only a small handful of occurrences (and some are dismissive). Words like Jesus or Christ appear thousands of times.

  2. Clark on November 15, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    The closest to a doctrinal relavance for Kolob is in the Book of Abraham where it appears in a allegory regarding greatness and then as a star closest to God (which may or may not be allegoric) Even if one buys it as doctrine it doesn’t seem particularly significant.

    I’ve never quite understood the whole relevance of Kolob for anti-Mormons.

  3. Russell Arben Fox on November 15, 2006 at 11:39 pm

    “Does….believe that we believe in Kolob any more?”

    The only doctrinal discussion of Kolob that I can remember having ever heard over a pulpit at any level in all my years in the church was once when I was a freshman at BYU–and that was a 2 minute talk given in conjunction with a choir’s performance of “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” If I were to include all the mentions of Kolob I’ve heard in gospel doctrine or gospel principles classes, the number of times would go up slighty–but again, I can’t remember any of those being anything other than short, perfunctory recitations of statements in manuals and scriptures.

    Now, if you’re willing to get into folk doctrine, I have a couple of uncles whom I can recall spinning outlandish Kolob-related theories. I don’t know if they ever taught them in church though. I doubt it.

    I suspect Kolob, like the patriarchal order of the priesthood, like polygamy, like the King Follet Discourse and the Adam-God theory and the Three Nephites and one’s calling and election being made sure, belongs very much to a different church, a more millennial, more theocratic, more insular and pentecostal church, one which was filled with all sorts of doctrines and gifts and promises and speculations that today’s church members by and large probably believe to be true (in some sense) but I’d bet have relatively little real knowlege of and even less interest in. They’re still “on the books,” as you put it, and probably always will be. But will they ever again become living premises for Mormon thought and action? Not in my lifetime, I suspect, and probably not in my children’s either.

  4. Guy Murray on November 15, 2006 at 11:57 pm

    Well, Russell, don’t leave us hanging like that. Let’s hear the folk doctrine, since it appears there is no real doctrine.

  5. Seth R. on November 16, 2006 at 12:20 am

    Any mention of Kolob in church these days is met with an almost obligatory rolling of the eyes. It’s always a herald that the conversation has taken a turn for the absurd or at least obscure.

    Yes, we believe there is some obscure Kolob… thing… out there…

    But we don’t really have a clue where it is, what it means, or why we should even care.

  6. Clark on November 16, 2006 at 12:29 am

    Whoa, whoa, whoa Russell. The King Follet Discourse? Heavens, it wasn’t that many years ago it was printed in the Relief Society Manual. And it’s probably the most oft quoted non-canonical source in the church. Likewise with C&E which appears to still be a fairly important doctrine. When I was on my mission Pres. Hinkley spoke on it for 2 hours at a Stake Conference Priesthood session. So I think you’re including a tad too much.

  7. queuno on November 16, 2006 at 12:54 am

    Hi.

  8. Russell Arben Fox on November 16, 2006 at 12:58 am

    “Well, Russell, don’t leave us hanging like that. Let’s hear the folk doctrine, since it appears there is no real doctrine.”

    Oh, it started out with discussing how Kolob is the planet you see in the temple movie, moving on from there to spectulations about the Big Bang and the One Eternal Round and roving planets and how, on the basis of the data given in the Book of Abraham, one can look at age of the universe as indicated by redshifts in radiation and therefore determine when God became God, and where the planet He was a man on is located (not in the Milky Way; I remember that much) and so on. It was pretty far out.

    “And it’s probably the most oft quoted non-canonical source in the church.”

    Considering that “non-canonical source” could mean any old thing ever written by any general authority and/or printed by Deseret Books, I strongly doubt that, Clark. But I’ll grant that the King Follet Discourse gets slightly more and slightly better press than any of the others I mentioned; more people appear to take seriously the promise of becoming gods than take seriously the claim, for example, that our salvation depends on being organized into patriarchal/tribal priesthood units going back to Adam. I wonder, though, just what kind of staying power the discourse would have had if President Snow–or his sister–hadn’t come up with the famous couplet.

    “Likewise with C&E which appears to still be a fairly important doctrine. When I was on my mission Pres. Hinkley spoke on it for 2 hours at a Stake Conference Priesthood session.”

    That’s fascinating. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone speaking in a church meeting seriously discuss calling and elections, the “more sure word of prophecy,” etc., since perhaps a youth conference I went to twenty or more years ago. I’d love to hear what President Hinckley said. (Part of me is doubtful, however, that the C&E he discussed was the one I’m thinking of; I can come up with three different meanings I’ve heard attributed to the concept of “having one’s calling and election being made sure,” and two of those involve pretty conventional operations of the Holy Ghost which I suspect most everyone in the church believes in. It’s the last one which I’m doubtful of.

    But hey, at least we agree that Kolob (thankfully) isn’t on most members’ radar screens.

  9. Locke on November 16, 2006 at 2:16 am

    Let’s not torpedo the churches theological roots now. Discussion of these nature is part of who we are as a church. We have seperated ourselves from these topics due to poltical correctness and the inherit danger. These were matters honestly of frequent discussion and is unfortunatley becoming less and less frequent, which is to me an indicator or people’s lack of general interest in the scriptures and ardent interest in “friends” or any some reality tv series. These discussions have always been frowned upon as discussion topics during our sabath meeting, as they should, but pondering of this nature is healthy and normal in the development of someone who is trying to know God. Thier is a difficult balance that must be kept that can only be achieved by someone who has the spirit…unfortunatley most people we hear ranting about such subjects are those who are far from familiar with said topics. Those who ponder like moses are often warned only to speak to those “that believe” and more importantly rooted in the foundation of the gospel.

  10. ed johnson on November 16, 2006 at 2:18 am

    Pres. McKay mentioned Kolob during his October 1969 GC address:

    The solar system and our ventures into space always have been of great interest. In June 1965, we watched with fascination the launching of Gemini 4 with Astronauts James McDivitt and Edward White. I was especially interested in the space walk of Edward White, who had personally visited me on July 18, 1963. At that time I quoted to Astronaut White the lines of our hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” which tells of the grandeur and eternity of God’s creations in space. Major White was so interested in the poem that he asked for a copy of it so that he could read and study it when he reached his home…..

    Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints always have known through revelation of the numberless creations of God. They are taught that somewhere out in that great expanse of space is the great star Kolob that we sing about in the hymn “If You Could Hie to Kolob.” Abraham of old was shown in vision these kingdoms, and he said: “And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
    “And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.” (Abr. 3:2-3.)

  11. Jonathan Green on November 16, 2006 at 7:50 am

    I mentioned Kolob in a sacrament meeting talk a couple months ago as a possible (but probably unproductive) response to people who say that our church is just like every other church. People laughed.

    I think the quote Ed provides exemplifies the role of Kolob in Mormon thought, which I don’t think will change very much. Having Kolob in the Book of Abraham helps move astronomy and cosmology out of the realm of possible threats to faith and into the category of scientific examination of God’s grandeur. As per Nate’s thoughts on the theology of horses, Kolob is one indication that rocket science will not require a rocket theology.

  12. Mark Butler on November 16, 2006 at 9:23 am

    I agree that the name Kolob is obscure and hardly worth mentioning in gospel doctrine class. However, it is canon, and one may learn more about the governing principles of astrophysics from a careful examination of the related passages in the Book of Abraham than from any other source. So I would hope that science types would have some sort of passing interest, even if it doesn’t reach the doctrinal radar of the non-scientifically inclined.

  13. ifly4fun on November 16, 2006 at 10:11 am

    My reason for not being to concerned with Kolob is this; I don’t think the Lord, when I go for my final PPI (Personal Priesthood Interview) with Him will even ask about Kolob. But,as per David O McKay, he will ask ; 1. How was my relationship with my wife.

    I used to be really into studying the “deep doctrines” but it did not help me We are told that “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Our Knowledge of those things will not save us. It is how well we know the Savior. Through serving him we come to know Him. It is that simple. That is how we have His Image in our countenance

  14. Nate Oman on November 16, 2006 at 11:10 am

    RAF: Whoa! I realize that you lust after the fleshpots of Lutheranism but are you really so eager to jettison KFD and the patriarchal order of the the priesthood?!? In some sense the priesthood stuff is alive and well in temple work. All of that name extraction and temple work, after all actually is about something, namely the sealing of the human race into a single patriarchal unit back to Adam. It doesn’t seem to be slakening off. As for the death fo KFD theology, I would point out that not only is it in the scriptures but it gets taught in church, at least in every ward that I have been in for the last ten years or so. (Of course, I have been a teacher in just about every ward that I have been in for the last ten years or so, and I make sure that KFD makes regularlly appearances.)

    For the record, I believe in Kolob, although I am not sure entirely what that means.

  15. John Mansfield on November 16, 2006 at 11:11 am

    The Pearl of Great Price is a thin volume, and Kolob is found therein, so it will be somewhere in our minds as long we continue carrying four books of scripture around.

  16. Rob on November 16, 2006 at 11:41 am

    This is a great question, and no clear way to answer. Even if one were to performa content analysis of all the sacrament meeting talks given in North America over the period of a year, how would you determine what variables were responsible for the content of those talks? How would you determine the significance of whether or not Kolob shows up as a topic of a talk or gospel doctrine lesson? Without a clear cut way to study this, our answers seem to just betray our own personal biases.

    So, here’s mine. Kolob is alive and well. Not enough people talk about it, as well as the other topics that Russell brought up, because most of us are pretty pathetic when it comes to our LDS scholarship. Most of us don’t follow Joseph Smith’s injunction to think deeply about these things. We rush from meeting to meeting, or through our busy lives, with scarcely a thought of these things. We comfort ourselves in this lifestyle by convincing ourselves that fulfilling our calling and doing our home teaching (two activities the scriptures mention almost as much as Kolob) are more important than obtaining the saving knowledge that we are required to obtain if we are to reach exaltation. Most of us don’t even know what exaltation means. And we talk about how its much more important to know Jesus, than to know this obscure stuff from the Pearl of Great Price.

    To which I ask, how well do you really know someone if you don’t know where they live?

    How can you answer the where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going questions without Kolob?

  17. Starfoxy on November 16, 2006 at 12:04 pm

    Re #2: I tend to think that Kolob is so fascinating for anti- and non- mormons because it is so anti-climactic. The thought process goes something like this: Since God has a tangible body he can’t be everywhere and nowhere all at once. Therefore he must be someplace, and surely we would think of somewhere suitibly outlandish for him to live- at the center of the Sun, on a spaceship, at the bottom of the ocean, in another dimension, or in the SLC Temple. But no, we think he’s just on some planet out there near a star we’re told is called Kolob. I think that a much more convoluted, or complicated answer would, to their eyes, blend with our beliefs so much better.

  18. Rob on November 16, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Another thing that’s so great, is that we actually get to see an illustration of Kolob. This should make us take a second look as well. I mean, where besides the Book of Abraham do we get scripture as graphic novel?

  19. cchrissyy on November 16, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    If it’s anti-climatic, let me irreverantly credit the name for that. “Kolob” just sounds… I don’t know, not special, powerful, godly enough. It’s too short and rhymes with “blob” whenever I hear it.

  20. Clark on November 16, 2006 at 1:44 pm

    Russell, I wasn’t at the conference due to illness, but I was told that it was rather deep and a fairly straightforward sense of C&E. I’d also note that while Elder McConkie is falling a bit out of favor, he writes a lot on the topic. Indeed he has several long sections in his Doctrinal New Testament Commentary on it. I’ve heard it discussed fairly regularly. So I’m surprised you’d see it falling out of favor.

    Likewise with the KFD. As I mentioned, it was a two week course of study only around 10 years ago in Relief Society. And I probably would say it is the most discussed non-canonical work. Although I’m open to what you think beats it. Perhaps the Lectures on Faith, although I think the KFD beats it. (I just rarely hear LoF discussed at church)

  21. Clark on November 16, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    BTW – in this discussion someone ought mention the whole Kolob = Siris theory. (It’s in the comments, not the discussion of Rhodes)

  22. Bored in Vernal on November 16, 2006 at 2:17 pm

    I agree with Locke (#9) and Rob (#16).

    I love “the mysteries” and consider them important to my eternal salvation. I also love the concept of Kolob (I did name my blog after it.) I think the key to understanding Kolob is to recognize the symbology behind it. I noted in the article cited by Kaimi that the journalist falsely accused Mormons of not believing in symbols. That was the statement that most bothered me. Notice that many Mormons responded to this article to correct his several falsehoods, but none took on this horrible untruth about us not believing in symbols! In fact, one LDS commenter seemed to agree!

    If we don’t understand the use of symbols, we will be totally lost with respect to temple worship, the scriptures, and many other aspects of our doctrine. In fact, I believe most personal revelation comes in the form of symbols. In our modern day society we are ill-equipped to interpret symbols and therefore miss what is being revealed.

    An interesting exercise as regards the understanding of Kolob is to look at the Egyptian hypocephalus and note what the area denoted as figure 1 represented to the Egyptians. Compare this to Kolob as a symbol. This is cool and more fun than watching Friends any day! Such an exercise may not make us kinder to our spouse as ifly4fun recommends (#13) but it deepens our understanding of Deity and brings us closer to God. “Hieing to Kolob” is our journey to become close to the Creator and to reach the heart/midst/center (Hebrew word QLB).

    I’m sorry that Kolob has gone out of fashion.

  23. Russell Arben Fox on November 16, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Nate,

    “…the fleshpots of Lutheranism…”

    That’s got to be the first time that phrase has ever been used by anyone. Someone page Garrison Keillor!

    “In some sense the priesthood stuff is alive and well in temple work. All of that name extraction and temple work, after all actually is about something, namely the sealing of the human race into a single patriarchal unit back to Adam.”

    Emphasis on in some sense. What I hear taught about the temple is increasingly Christological, not patriarchal, with a focus on the eternal (nuclear) family rather than eternal (extended) Israel. Though I’ll admit this one is also probably comparatively more present in our thinking than Kolob. It’s still way down on the list of doctrines, though. (Do fathers still give their children patriarchal blessings? Anywhere? I cannot remember having heard of a single instance in my lifetime.)

    “As for the death of KFD theology, I would point out that not only is it in the scriptures …”

    Sans any prooftexting? If so, you’re a deeper reader than I am.

  24. John Mansfield on November 16, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    Starfoxy, my wife had an experience as a missionary very much like you describe. She was street contacting, and a belligerent man hoping to quickly establish that the missionaries had nothing to tell him challenged “You want to tell me about God? OK, where is he? Just tell me that.” “You really want to know where God is?” “Yeah, tell me.” “Kolob.” The answer underwhelmed him but also messed up his position, and he left disgruntled.

  25. Ivan Wolfe on November 16, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    The existence of Battlestar Galactica will make sure the Kolob never dies, even if it makes people think its called Kobol….

  26. Russell Arben Fox on November 16, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    Rob,

    “We comfort ourselves in this lifestyle by convincing ourselves that fulfilling our calling and doing our home teaching (two activities the scriptures mention almost as much as Kolob) are more important than obtaining the saving knowledge that we are required to obtain if we are to reach exaltation.”

    You know that I’m just as sympathetic to a radical application of the principles of consecration and holiness to everyday life as you are. However, I think we differ on how that is supposed to happen. I don’t know if I was ever a real fan of Mormon exotica, but over the past several years I’ve really come to believe that a righteous society, a just and Zion-like society, is more dependent upon communal acts like home teaching than in the indepedent acquisition of the “saving knowledge” you mention.

    “And we talk about how its much more important to know Jesus, than to know this obscure stuff from the Pearl of Great Price. To which I ask, how well do you really know someone if you don’t know where they live? How can you answer the where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going questions without Kolob?”

    Paul seemed to do pretty well without it (1 Colossians 1:16-20, Ephesians 3:14-19, etc.).

  27. Mike Parker on November 16, 2006 at 2:51 pm

    The problem with Kolob is that so little is known about it — and the little we do know is rather vague — that what we think we know is often just the speculations of the generations of Saints who have come since the publication of the Book of Abraham. So much of what passes for “Mormon doctrine” is really just supposition.

    The same goes for the nature of the premortal existence and exaltation. What does it mean to become a “god”? Do we make our own planets? Do these planets have their own savior who is our own firstborn son? What is the nature of “eternal increase”? We don’t know anything about these things, yet that hasn’t stopped us from endlessly speculating about them, and these speculations becoming “folk doctrine,” and then being quoted by people like Lee Thomson in his (her?) attempt to ridicule us.

    Personally, I think this recent backing away from some of the more obscure passages in our scripture is a reasonable attempt to get us on solid doctrinal footing. We should be spending more time on the atonement, the blessings of the priesthood, and other things we really know something about.

  28. Kevin Barney on November 16, 2006 at 2:53 pm

    I for one hold to the Kolob = Sirius theory, which Clark mentions.

    In LDS scholarship, there are two different approaches to this, both of which are reflected in the pages of John Gee and Brian Hauglid, eds., _Astronomy, Papyrus, and Covenant_, which is volume 3 in the FARMS Studies in the BoA series.

    One approach is to understand the astronomy of Abraham 3 as reflecting scientific reality as it really exists, and therefore to relate it to modern heliocentric astronomy. This approach is taken by Michael Rhodes and a scientist whose name escapes me at the moment.

    The other approach is to read the BoA as an ancient text and therefore to see the astronomy it describes as ancient, geocentric astronomy (and thus not necessarily correlating with the real universe as we understand it today). This is the approach taken by Gee, Daniel Peterson and William Hamblin in a competing essay in the volume.

    I personally prefer the Gee, Peterson and Hamblin approach to this issue.

    (Also, I very much enjoyed singing “If You Could Hie to Kolob” and other songs while sitting in the corner choir seats of the Kirtland Temple at my first MHA a number of years ago.)

  29. jimbob on November 16, 2006 at 2:56 pm

    “My reason for not being to concerned with Kolob is this; I don’t think the Lord, when I go for my final PPI (Personal Priesthood Interview) with Him will even ask about Kolob. But,as per David O McKay, he will ask ; 1. How was my relationship with my wife.”

    That’s an awfully good way to not concern yourself with much doctrine at all.

    “If any church doctrine or idea has died of desuetude by now, it is the idea of Kolob.”

    I didn’t have time to read all 101 comments on the linked thread. Is the consensus that desuetude does apply to church doctrine? I’ve been batting that idea around in my head for years, and can’t come to a principled answer I’m comfortable with in all situations.

  30. Aaron Shafovaloff on November 16, 2006 at 2:58 pm
  31. Russell Arben Fox on November 16, 2006 at 3:08 pm

    Clark,

    “I wasn’t at the conference due to illness, but I was told that it was rather deep and a fairly straightforward sense of C&E.”

    I wish I could believe that you and I and President Hinckley could all authomatically assume complete mutual agreement as to just what the words “a fairly straightforward sense of C&E” actually mean, but I seriously doubt that. Was he talking about advancing in righteousness from baptism through temple marriage and then on to feeling the spirit of Christ present in every moment of one’s life? Or was he talking about personal visitations by the resurrected Savior and guarantees of exaltation to select couples who have received their second anointing at the hands of the prophet in the holy of holies of the temple? Hey, if it was the latter, or ever remotely like unto it, then I’m totally blown away; that would have been an amazing sermon to hear. But until I see a transcript, put me down for suspecting it was more like the former.

    “I probably would say it is the most discussed non-canonical work. Although I’m open to what you think beats it. Perhaps the Lectures on Faith, although I think the KFD beats it.”

    Are you only talking about non-canonical works and statements authored by or at least associated with Joseph Smith? That’s different than what I was talking about (any number of famous and oft-repeated statements from Presidents Young, Grant, Snow, McKay, Kimball, or Hinckley are probably far better known than the KFD). But even with Joseph Smith, I’m not sure that’s an accurate claim; his statements on teaching people correct principles, on friendship being the soul of Mormonism, and a half-dozen other non-canonized statements, probably are better known than the KFD.

  32. Doc on November 16, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    I just don’t understand those who feel threatened by Kobol. While I agree it is likely minutiae that have little to do with my eternal salvation, God lives somewhere. The name was revealed in the POGP. Interesting yes, threatening, I don’t see it. The antis jump all over it and some of us with rather weak constitutions want to then bury it as though their criticism really even matters. We are giving the critics WAY to much power and too much credit for weak arguments and distortions.

  33. Doc on November 16, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    whoops, I meant Kolob, BG slip.

  34. Eric James Stone on November 16, 2006 at 4:13 pm

    OK, I’ll bite.

    I believe in Kolob. I know very little about Kolob, of course, because little has been revealed. Perhaps because there is little known about it, and perhaps because it’s not of much importance to the Church’s three-fold mission, it doesn’t get discussed much in General Conference or Church magazines. So what? Unless I missed some revision to the Book of Abraham, Kolob is still found in our scriptural canon. (Of course, people’s speculations about Kobol are not doctrine, but they never were.)

    Frankly, I’m a little flabbergasted that there would be any question over whether Kolob is still doctrinal. Why would it not be?

  35. Equality on November 16, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    12: “one may learn more about the governing principles of astrophysics from a careful examination of the related passages in the Book of Abraham than from any other source.”

    Now, I don’t care who you are–that’s funny. I’m sure Kip Thorne reaches first for his Book of Abraham whenever he is confronted by an especially difficult problem in astrophysics. Oh, wait, he’s ignorant of the marvelous insights into astrophysics that Abraham’s words “translated” by Joseph Smith in the 1830s provide. Which, I guess, means that any of us who have read the Book of Abraham know more about astrophysics than Thorne, or Hawking, or Drake, or Rappaport…

    I think it’s statements like this one that make people question whether you are for real or are playing some sort of uber-Mormon caricature, Mark. And aren’t you just quoting BRM (without attribution) on this?

  36. Hank on November 16, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    Russell Arben Fox,

    I\’m a little confused about what you mean in comment #3 where you said:

    \”I suspect Kolob, like the patriarchal order of the priesthood, like polygamy, like the King Follet Discourse and the Adam-God theory and the Three Nephites and one’s calling and election being made sure, belongs very much to a different church, a more millennial, more theocratic, more insular and pentecostal church, one which was filled with all sorts of doctrines and gifts and promises and speculations that today’s church members by and large probably believe to be true (in some sense) but I’d bet have relatively little real knowlege of and even less interest in.\”

    Are you saying that these are a sort of “folk” theology or something like that? Or are you just saying that members today, for the most part, don’t know/understand them very well? I think what is confusing me is your inclusion of the Adam-God theory with the rest of those. I think the Adam-God theory is in a class of it’s own.

    Also, I don’t think that the topics of Patriarchal Priesthood and the KFD have been abandoned at all. While some may not be familiar with the KFD itself, I think the principles taught in it are very well known, accepted and still thriving today. What about Patriarchal Priesthood do you think is misunderstood, shunned, forgotten (or whatever you meant by mentioning it) ??

  37. Last Lemming on November 16, 2006 at 4:36 pm

    I’m sure Kip Thorne reaches first for his Book of Abraham whenever he is confronted by an especially difficult problem in astrophysics. Oh, wait, he’s ignorant of the marvelous insights into astrophysics that Abraham’s words “translated” by Joseph Smith in the 1830s provide.

    Kip Thorne grew up in Logan. He is not ignorant of the Book of Abraham.

  38. mistaben on November 16, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    ifly4fun (#13),

    My experience has been that when I’m studying the basics in the scriptures, the deep doctrines fairly often LEAP off the page, leading to periods of intense page-flipping, prayer, listening, and writing.

    Clark (#20),

    Another place Elder McConkie mentions the C&E doctrine is in every 4th verse he wrote for a hymn, whether he wrote the other verses or not. See “I Believe in Christ” and “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice.” The 4th verse of “I Am a Child of God” also touches on this.

  39. Gina on November 16, 2006 at 5:00 pm

    A moment I regret is when a friend who was not Mormon happened to pick up my hymnbook and flip through the pages. She landed on “If Ye Could Hie to Kolob” (incidentally, one of my favorite hymns ever). “What is Kolob?” she asked. “It’s the planet where God lives.” I answered without much thought. And I immediately completely regretted it, because it sounds so bizarre, and we know so little about it, and it just seemed to seal forever in her mind how strange Mormons are.

  40. Doc on November 16, 2006 at 5:26 pm

    Gina(#39),

    Here is the thing, It is only wierd if we allow ourselves to be wierded out by it. As others have surmised, we teach that God has a body of Flesh and Bone and therefore has to be somewhere, the name happens to have been mentioned in an obscure scripture. We know next to nothing about it and it is not at all important doctrinally. That is all you have to explain to your friend. Of course, we can’t stand that anyone would ever even concieve the idea that we are wierd so then Kolob becomes this distorted dark secret in the closet that we must not mention unless we are unenlightened backwoodsmen. I ask you this, by rejecting the possible idea of Kolob out of hand, who is really behaving unenlightened.

  41. Equality on November 16, 2006 at 5:32 pm

    “Kip Thorne grew up in Logan. He is not ignorant of the Book of Abraham.”

    Ahh, that explains why he is one of the world’s leading scientists. The Book of Abraham. Not all that silly stuff he learned at those “wordly” universities.

  42. Russell Arben Fox on November 16, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    Hank,

    “I think what is confusing me is your inclusion of the Adam-God theory with the rest of those. I think the Adam-God theory is in a class of it’s own.”

    You’re right, now that I think about it; Adam-God has been–for all intents and purposes–formally repudiated by the church leadership, whereas none of the rest of the matters I mentioned have been. So it does belong in a different category, like blood atonement: a teaching that is on the books, that can be reconstructed, but which actual barriers exist to its teaching in the church. No such barriers exist Sunday School teachers who want to draw a lot of meaning out of doctrines and statements like the KFD, or regarding the patriarchal order, the second anointing, Kolob, polygamy, etc. Still, I think it’s pretty obvious that, insofar as that church leadership and church publications are concerned, all of these have been at least partially re-interpreted, left alone for decades, pseudo-officially downplayed, or otherwise relegated to second (third?)-tier doctrinal categories.

  43. Beijing on November 16, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    I must read too many feminist sites, or maybe it’s the doctrine-from-the-hymnbook connection, but your post reminded me first and foremost of the Mother in Heaven doctrine.

    Is there significantly more mention of Heavenly Mother in those official sources where you found mention of Kolob so scant? If not, is there a reason to believe that the Kolob doctrine has died of desuetude but the Mother in Heaven doctrine hasn’t?

  44. Kingsley on November 16, 2006 at 8:22 pm

    Equality is a devastating thinker. Look how he frames his powerful arguments. Those quotation marks around “wordly” [sic] are dagger sharp. The irony is just withering, devastating. Soldier on, brave warrior of science. Soldier on.

  45. jimbob on November 16, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    “Ahh, that explains why he is one of the world’s leading scientists. The Book of Abraham. Not all that silly stuff he learned at those “wordly” universities.”

    I think you’ve set up a straw man, Equality. Mr. Butler is not arguing that the BoA, by itself, teaches us about the minutae (sp) concerning space and the universe like, say, a Hawkings treatise. His stated point is instead that the BoA teaches us about the “governing principles” more than any other book. I’m not sure I have an opinion on whether he’s right or wrong, but thought you should focus your arguments there, instead of poking fun at points he’s not making.

    I think it’s also worth pointing out that his comment fits other issues in the gospel for a believing member. For example, we know that God created the Earth through certain “governing principles,” but we aren’t particularly clear on the specifics of how that was done, which means evolutionary theory isn’t necessarily contrary to the creation account in Genesis. This is not unlile how we know some basics from the BoA about planets and universes, but don’t know much of the specifics of how that works, which means that most of, say, Hawkings theories aren’t incongruent with it.

  46. Hank on November 16, 2006 at 8:55 pm

    “Is there significantly more mention of Heavenly Mother in those official sources where you found mention of Kolob so scant? If not, is there a reason to believe that the Kolob doctrine has died of desuetude but the Mother in Heaven doctrine hasn’t?”

    I don’t think that doctrine “dies” simply because we don’t think it is talked about enough. Are we making up some kind of quota that must be met; certain doctrine must be mentioned from the pulpit a certain number of times w/in a certain space of time in order to maintain it’s status of accepted doctrine??? I would think that doctrine remains doctrine until it is officially declared to no longer be doctrine. Also, nothing becomes doctrine unless officially declared to be such in the first place. Even when the church has apparently “backed away” from something (which really just means it doesn’t talk about it anymore, doesn’t it?) it doesn’t mean it dies and is no longer doctrine. Usually it’s done for the sake of quelling controversy and speculation, and not to pretend it was never doctrine and hoping it just goes away.

  47. Matt Thurston on November 16, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    The responses here are very interesting. I guess I don’t understand what the difference is between having faith/belief in Kolob or faith in the Plan of Salvation, or Eternal Marriage, or Baptism for the Dead, etc. Why are we so quick to distance ourselves from one by calling it speculative folklore (even if it came from the prophets), and continue to embrace the others?

    Such distinction seems very random to me. Either all revelation is true revelation, or it is all open to interpretation. Most of the responses here seem to discount some revelation, and embrace other revelation. Many of the same responders would then find fault with someone questioning the divinity of the Word of Wisdom, or the historicity of Book of Mormon. What’s the difference?

    Case in point, Mike Parker (#27) says:

    The same goes for the nature of the premortal existence and exaltation. What does it mean to become a “god”? Do we make our own planets? Do these planets have their own savior who is our own firstborn son? What is the nature of “eternal increase”? We don’t know anything about these things, yet that hasn’t stopped us from endlessly speculating about them, and these speculations becoming “folk doctrine,” and then being quoted by people like Lee Thomson in his (her?) attempt to ridicule us.

    Personally, I think this recent backing away from some of the more obscure passages in our scripture is a reasonable attempt to get us on solid doctrinal footing. We should be spending more time on the atonement, the blessings of the priesthood, and other things we really know something about.

    I’d agree with your first paragraph, but why is the atonement and the priesthood (the “things we really know something about” from your second paragraph) any less speculative than premortal existence, exaltation, and your other examples?

    This all feels very slippery to me. Oh, and you’d all be Mormon heretics if you were living in the mid 19th Century. :) Now, you are “enlightened.” What will 2080 Mormons be saying about your folk doctrines?

  48. J. Stapley on November 16, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    Beijing: Is there significantly more mention of Heavenly Mother in those official sources where you found mention of Kolob so scant? If not, is there a reason to believe that the Kolob doctrine has died of desuetude but the Mother in Heaven doctrine hasn’t?

    In the JD there is only one occurrence of either “Heavenly Mother” or “Mother in Heaven.” The idea is discussed a lot more frequently though, in different terms. lds.org has about 25 occurrences. This does not include the 184 occurrences of “Heavenly Parents” (you can thank the proclamation for that).

    It is true that some strains of modern Mormonism obfuscate or obviate Heavenly Mother (e.g., Ostler). However, there is a lot more regular and obvious connection to the idea than for something like Kolob.

  49. Aaron on November 17, 2006 at 2:26 am

    “What will 2080 Mormons be saying about your folk doctrines?”

    “Those crusty, neanderthal Mormons actually believed traditional Mormon doctrine!” (Insert futuristic Mormon scoffing here.)

  50. Clark on November 17, 2006 at 2:40 am

    Emphasis on in some sense. What I hear taught about the temple is increasingly Christological, not patriarchal, with a focus on the eternal (nuclear) family rather than eternal (extended) Israel.

    Really? While I think the nuclear view of exaltation was fairly prevalent and popular in my youth I see if anything a fairly significant move away from those views to a view where we are community gods and don’t get our own little universe. I favor a middle position myself. But I’m kind of suprised you’d say the above.

    Of course in an other sense it make perfect sense to emphasize the Christological aspects of the endowment sense they are so prevalent. (And if one reads the endowment in terms of Rev 2-3 and the Christology there then one tends to see even more Christology)

    I’d say though that there is more evidence within the endowment itself for the Christological readings than the “extended Israel” readings. Indeed, depending upon how one takes the sense of “extended Israel” I’d see that as the minority through most of the historical views I’ve read. (It’s hard to call BY’s view to be extended Israel, for instance – extended Israel seems more like how modern theologians who reduce reliance on non-canonical sources put things. Say Robinson for instance)

  51. JKC on November 17, 2006 at 9:31 am

    “fleshpots of lutheranism”

    You mean, like, a hot dish potluck?

  52. Last Lemming on November 17, 2006 at 10:18 am

    Ahh, that explains why he [Kip Thorne] is one of the world’s leading scientists. The Book of Abraham.

    No, it’s the fact that he grew up in Logan. :-)

    I’m not claiming that Thorne has used the Book of Abraham to guide his research. I’m merely setting the record straight concerning his familiarity with its contents.

  53. Equality on November 17, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    44: Kingsley, thank you for the sincere compliment. It is most appreciated.
    45: jimbob, fair enough. He didn’t specifically say that the Book of Abraham concerned itself with minutiae concerning space and the universe. Mark Butler’s quote was this:

    “one may learn more about the governing principles of astrophysics from a careful examination of the related passages in the Book of Abraham than from any other source. So I would hope that science types would have some sort of passing interest, even if it doesn’t reach the doctrinal radar of the non-scientifically inclined.”

    On its face, this seems a ridiculous statement. And I don’t think I have set up any strawman in arguing against it. It’s absurd. Just what “governing principles of astrophysics” are found in the Book of Abraham? Butler says that the BoA will teach a person more about these governing principles “than any other source,” so I don’t think it is a straw man for me to characterize his assertion as a statement that the BoA is superior to whatever may be gleaned from scientific sources that ignore the BoA.

    Butler’s second sentence indicates that he thinks “science types” (which I am assuming would include folks like Thorne and Hawking–or do you not think they are “science types”?) should find the BoA’s passages relating to “astrophysics” (assuming these can even be identified) to be of at least “passing interest.” Butler is the one who seems to suggest that scientists ought to use the BoA to gain a better understanding of the “governing principles of astrophysics” since, accroding to Butler, the BoA is superior to “any other source” on the subject. I didn’t set up a straw man. If the BoA contains better information on the governing principles of astrophysics than any other source, then someone should show it to the scientists and be able to show them what they are missing. By the way, the fact that Thorne is aware of the BoA but does not use it to guide his studies actually strengthens my point.

    I’d like to know: what knowledge about “astrophysics” is found in the BoA that is superior to what has been obtained through scientific processes and is found in the scientific literature on the topic? Butler’s words track very closely with a quote from Bruce R. McConkie to the effect that Abraham knew more about astronomy than any modern scientist. I don’t believe it and I don’t think it’s a rational belief to hold, given the total lack of evidence to support it. But, I’m open: prove me wrong. Show me where the BoA offers superior knowledge in the field of astrophysics than, say, Galactic Astronomy by James Binney (for starters).

  54. Margaret Young on November 17, 2006 at 1:24 pm

    Years ago, there was a fascinating article on the Book of Abraham and Pythagorean astronomy in _BYU Studies_ (I think). Too bad I can’t remember any more about it than that. Wait! This is the computer age! I can google! Here’s a long link:
    http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/dialogue&CISOPTR=7663&CISOSHOW=7603&REC=6

  55. Craig V. on November 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm

    Perhaps, if you’ll forgive the musings of a Presbyterian, dismissing the writer of the news article as an anti-Mormon isn’t the best response. I’m not claiming that the author isn’t anti-Mormon or that the article represents a responsible attempt to understand Mormonism. I would suggest that there is something to be learned from this article about how Mormonism is viewed by those outside of the LDS church.

    I’m an Evangelical, and we are accused of all kinds of evil. In particular, many seem to believe that Evangelicals are arrogant and self-righteous. It would be easy to dismiss such beliefs as anti-Evangelical. After all, it’s pretty clear to me that the people that make up my church community are not noticeably more arrogant or self righteous than those I’ve met outside of my community. If I dismiss such beliefs, however, I miss an opportunity for self reflection and growth. It is better for me to ask why it is that we are viewed this way. What are we as a community doing that fosters such beliefs? In asking those questions I do two things: I love and respect those who are offended by my community and I grow by addressing that portion of criticism that hits the mark. In short, it may be that those who strongly disagree with me and even oppose me see my faults more clearly than I do.

    So what can be learned from this anti-Mormon article? You are better judges of this than me but let me suggest that the author is assuming that, relative to most who claim to be Christian, Mormons believe some pretty strange things. Furthermore, it is assumed that the LDS church is not always forthright about its teachings. You can, with cause, dismiss such assumptions as merely the rhetoric of those who are against you. It may be more constructive, however, to exercise some self examination and determine why such views seem right to those outside of your community. I believe, as I argued on another thread, that the die of desuetude approach creates an environment where these assumptions grow.

  56. J. Stapley on November 17, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    You are better judges of this than me but let me suggest that the author is assuming that, relative to most who claim to be Christian, Mormons believe some pretty strange things.

    This is actually pretty absurd. We all believe in strange things: virgin birth, resurrection, walking on water, etc. Plus you get the fun stuff like the rapture.

  57. Ardis Parshall on November 17, 2006 at 2:58 pm

    Craig V. (55) – I’ve fast grown to appreciate your comments and to watch for your name in the Recent Comments box. Not only do you write things worth reading, but I can almost see you on tip-toes to be careful you don’t rub a prickly Mormon the wrong way by careless wording.

    I did startle, though, on reading “Furthermore, it is assumed that the LDS church is not always forthright about its teachings.” The church seems to do everything short of hiring skywriters to put its teachings before the public. I don’t understand where this evangelical assumption comes from — yet I do realize you’re reporting the assumption accurately, since so much of what bothers me about evangelical writing and Temple Square protesting is the approach of “Let me tell you what you REALLY believe.” Why do people on the outside assume they know more about what goes on on the inside than insiders?

    We don’t have one set of books for insiders and one set for outsiders, so why is there any confusion at all about church teachings? Why don’t evangelicals give us the benefit of the doubt when it comes to acknowledging that two Mormons may hear the same teachings and arrive at different conclusions? or that teachings from long ago may understandably be different from current teachings? or that oddballs on the fringes may do and say things that don’t at all represent what believers in the center recognize as church teaching? Aren’t those variations pretty standard in any religious system?

    Those are really merely rhetorical questions to express my frustration at evangelical assumptions — what more can we do to be forthright about our teachings than flooding the earth with missionaries, conference sessions, the Book of Mormon, visitors’ centers, and all the other things we do to present our teachings to the world?

  58. jimbob on November 17, 2006 at 4:07 pm

    “I’d like to know: what knowledge about ‘astrophysics’ is found in the BoA that is superior to what has been obtained through scientific processes and is found in the scientific literature on the topic?”

    I think you’re pinpointing my distinction with this question. If the BoA is assumed correct, then we ostensibly know more than any other group or scientist about the “governing principles” of the cosmos, in that we understand the source of their orgin and movements–at least in very broad terms. That’s what science doesn’t yet purport to know and which the BoA is appears to elucidate. Again, I haven’t thought this out far enough to agree or disagree, but I believe that this is the argument you should be focusing on.

  59. Mike on November 17, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    LDS folks are some of the most committed people to outward obedience to the Laws of God I know. I respect them for that very much. Many brothers of my Christian faith today see Jesus as a License to live immoral and still go to heaven.

    Somewhere in between a HUGE point was missed

    Many are confused about how extremely clear GOD is about who receives eternal Life and who gets eternal Hell.

    No LDS will argue that only a richeous man enters heaven. And that God says in the bible unless your richeousnes surpasses the pharisees you cannot earn eternal life.

    HERE IS THE KICKER-
    No Man, no matter how many works he performs can ever ever ever be made right before a perfect and Holy God.
    Works never make-up for sins. Ever

    Witnessing & Evangelism doesn\’t make us holy, Good works don\’t make us better in God\’s sight, NOT one good work counts towards our sin problem.

    A Sinful man has to go to hell unless his sin is removed by another. Unless all of sins are completely obsolved. Unless a sinful man trades places with a perfect man.

    Get it? It\’s not Jesus + Good works = Eternal Life. Jesus fulfilled the whole law completely. Man can dop nothing to earn eternal life except to trust in Jesus\’s sacrafice. We can only bank on his works not any of ours.

    Where do works come in? They are NOT for salvation but they are so that GOD\’s glory may shine through your life. Get it?

  60. JKC on November 17, 2006 at 4:36 pm

    Mike,

    I think you’re right about the roles of works and grace. The grace of Christ is what saves; works are just the outward manifestation of the mighty change of heart that takes place when one accepts Christ. I don’t get it, though; are you saying that Mormons don’t believe this? Most Mormons I know believe this. Our own scriptures teach that “man can not merit anything of himself” and that “it is only in and through the grace of God that we are saved.” If there are Mormons think that their works are getting them into heaven, then they don’t understand their own doctrine.

  61. Jonathan Green on November 17, 2006 at 4:59 pm

    Equality, you’ve made your point. About four or five times now. Please give it a rest.

  62. g.wesley on November 17, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    has anyone yet mentioned the recent monograph, “the kolob theorum”? a definite must-read.

    much of this discussion reminds me of brooke’s final chapter in refiner’s fire on leaving mysteries alone.

    and russell #26 (“…Paul seemed to do pretty well without it), didn’t paul also mention his apoclytic visions and cosmic journeys, presumably to ‘where god lives.’

  63. Craig V. on November 17, 2006 at 5:22 pm

    J. Stapley, I agree that we all have beliefs that seem strange in some context. The key here is that the claim to be Christian sets up certain expectations, rightly or wrongly, about what a community believes. To get a sense of this, imagine that a group moves into your neighborhood and calls itself Mormon, proselytizes Mormons and yet holds views that Mormons traditionally don’t hold. Suppose further that this group claims to be the true Mormon church.

    Ardis, I can’t speak for all Evangelicals, but I do think it is arrogant and wrong for me to presume that I know more about what it means to be Mormon than do Mormons. I suspect that the second assumption I mentioned has a different source. For lack of a better analogy, I think some see the institutional LDS church much the same way that they would see a marketing campaign. For what it’s worth, a lot of people see Evangelicals the same way (and more often than I’d like to admit, we deserve that label). So there’s an inclination to not totally trust what’s said in the same way that none of us put great trust in the claims that are made for Pepsi. As far as what can be done, at the risk of beating a dead horse, that’s why I’ve concentrated in other posts on the importance of acknowledging both the good and the bad in your history, of being quick to take responsibility where you have wronged others and of clearly acknowledging and repudiating past teachings that are no longer held. Marketing campaigns don’t do this.

  64. Equality on November 17, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    61.: Jeepers, Herr Green, I only posted twice.

  65. Hank on November 17, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    RE: Mike #59

    “No LDS will argue that only a richeous man enters heaven………Get it?”

    ?????? I’m not sure that I do get it actually…. I’m LDS and I will in fact contend that only a righteous man (person), as opposed to an unrighteous person, can enter heaven (dwell in God’s presence).

    “HERE IS THE KICKER-…..Works never make-up for sins. Ever”

    I don’t agree. Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, works such as repentance do “make-up” for sins because he has promised to forgive us.

    “Good works don\’t make us better in God\’s sight, NOT one good work counts towards our sin problem.”

    On the contrary, I think that good works most certainly improve our standing in the eyes of God. I consider repentance (forsaking sins, and making wrongs right so far as we are able) a “good work”, and because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, I believe that does count towards our sin problem.

    “Get it? It\’s not Jesus + Good works = Eternal Life. Jesus fulfilled the whole law completely. Man can dop nothing to earn eternal life except to trust in Jesus\’s sacrafice. We can only bank on his works not any of ours.”

    Mike, I understand the need for God’s grace, we are hopeless cases without it, but I think you are ignoring the need for repentance and the responsibility we all have to do our part in working out our salvation. We most certainly will be judged according to our works. What does it mean to be judged according to our works if our works do nothing for our standing before God???

    Here are some verses emphasizing the importance of repentance and our works.

    II Corinthians 5:10 – For we must all appear before the ajudgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, baccording to that he hath cdone, whether it be good or bad.

    Revelations 20:12-13 – 12. And I saw the adead, small and great, bstand before God; and the cbooks were opened: and another book was opened, which is the dbook of life: and the dead were ejudged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their fworks. 13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and adeath and bhell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

    I Peter 1:17 – And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear;

    Acts 3: 19
    19 ¶ Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

    2 Cor. 12: 21
    21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.

    Luke 24: 47
    47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

  66. J. Stapley on November 17, 2006 at 5:49 pm

    To get a sense of this, imagine that a group moves into your neighborhood and calls itself Mormon, proselytizes Mormons and yet holds views that Mormons traditionally don’t hold. Suppose further that this group claims to be the true Mormon church.

    That is fairly easy to imagine as there were RLDS missionaries to Utah in the 19th century that caused quite a stir. However, if there were thousands of Mormon denominations and one held beliefs substantially different than the LDS Church and claimed divine primacy, I imagine that I wouldn’t focus on caricatures of odd miscellanea.

  67. Jack on November 17, 2006 at 5:52 pm

    Jonathan,

    Maybe Equality is over-doing it a bit, but isn’t his/her question at the heart of the issue? With respect to astronomy, what kind of treatise are we dealing with in the BoA? Should we approach it as did Galileo the Bible–setting it aside as a scientific treatise but upholding it as a valued religious document?

    I’m not sure where I stand with regard to Mark’s thoughts, though it seems to me that–if nothing else–the “astronomy” portion of the BoA is used as a metaphor of the realm of intelligences–and that (speaking of the metaphor) perhaps from a geocentric PoV.

    Still, the question remains, if there is such a metaphor than does it hold true with regard to “governing principles?” Maybe Mark is on to something–don’t know.

  68. g.wesley on November 17, 2006 at 6:04 pm

    you can download the ‘kolob theorem’ (yes theorem not theory) here: http://www.hickmanmuseum.homestead.com/Hilton.html

  69. Craig V. on November 17, 2006 at 6:17 pm

    J. Stapley,

    “However, if there were thousands of Mormon denominations and one held beliefs substantially different than the LDS Church and claimed divine primacy, I imagine that I wouldn’t focus on caricatures of odd miscellanea.”

    Nor would I, and hopefully I haven’t. If someone does, though, my recommendation is to not be too quick to dismiss them as anti.

  70. J. Stapley on November 17, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Nor would I, and hopefully I haven’t. If someone does, though, my recommendation is to not be too quick to dismiss them as anti.

    Agreed. But coupled with disdain, reference to antagonistic sources and topped with a prayerful urge that they change from their misguided ways and voila: anti.

  71. Margaret Young on November 17, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    WHAT IF the Bible were given to us to actually change our hearts and to show us an example of one who bore persecution without returning it–though he had the power to do so? What if its words have actual power to cause a transformation–meaning, for example, that the Lord’s Prayer can effect a change of heart as the words come into and from us? What if the scriptures were given NOT so we could improve our verbal competition and prove our right-ness, but so that we could actually become something greater than worms and slugs? What if we were to find out upon our deaths that this life has been just a pre-school, an education in compassion, a way to help us mature as individuals and as communities? Would it matter where God dwelt, as long as He dwelt somewhere and His light and influence could be imbibed, embraced, and celebrated? Would it matter that one was a Presbyterian, another a Catholic, and another a Mormon?
    Ah, I gotcha with that last one, didn’t I. What if what matters is godliness–God’s and ours? Truth is eternal, but the human institutions which all hold some degree of truth also hold some degree of falsehood. Discernment matters, but nothing matters as much as charity. After we die, we will not be asked which religion we belonged to or what date we proclaimed Jesus as our personal Savior. Whether or not we truly became Christians will already be engraved on our souls by the one who has engraved US in the palms of His hands.

  72. Hank on November 17, 2006 at 6:42 pm

    “Agreed. But coupled with disdain, reference to antagonistic sources and topped with a prayerful urge that they change from their misguided ways and voila: anti.”
    Comment by J. Stapley — 11/17/2006 @ 6:21 pm

    Exactly!!

    BTW J. Stapley, how do get posts into italics??

  73. MikeInWeHo on November 17, 2006 at 8:29 pm

    re: 68

    Must resist….urge….to make comment about Nancy’s book title…..

  74. MikeInWeHo on November 17, 2006 at 8:44 pm

    OK, sorry about that. Now I actually read most of The Kolob Theorum. It’s highly speculative stuff, and imo a bit of an embarassment to all Mormons. I can see why Church PR steers well clear of all of this. Kolob is in the center of our galaxy? Isn’t there a huge black hole there?

    On the other hand, it would be way cool (and very Battlestar-esque) if true.

  75. Gary on November 18, 2006 at 2:28 pm

    Six reasons why Kolob isn’t dead.

  76. Kevin Barney on November 18, 2006 at 7:06 pm

    Foir anyone who is interested, I just now posted on the Kolob as Sirius theory at BCC:

    http://www.bycommonconsent.com/2006/11/kolob-as-sirius/#more-2236

  77. Left Field on November 18, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    I suppose that I should weigh in on this, as a former member of the Kolob Stake. After the stake was divided, the president of the new stake quipped that although we didn’t live in Kolob anymore, we were now “nigh unto Kolob,” which is even better.

    I don’t see the concept of Kolob being abandoned. It’s still there in the scriptures. It’s just that it was never really very central or very well understood. It’s kind of like Gog and Magog for Christians in general. There it is in the Book of Revelation, but most Christians probably don’t think much about it and I doubt it’s a topic that comes up much except perhaps in some of the more fringy elements of Christianity. Gog and Magog doesn’t belong in a one-page summary of Christian belief, and including a paragraph on the subject would certainly give a false idea of its importance for Christians.

    Kolob or Gog and Magog might belong in a disussion of interesting beliefs that some might see as a little odd, but they have little to do with the heart and soul of mainstream belief. Anyone that would focus on such topics to explain what makes belivers tick is either ill-informed or is deliberately painting a distorted picture.

  78. Marcus on November 20, 2006 at 12:05 am

    i agree with Left Field, the idea of Kolob is certantly not essential to our salvation, therefore it was left aside for a time until the time comes when we will need that knowledge

  79. a random John on November 21, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    When I was about 14 the Centerville Utah South Stake had a Youth Conference. Mark Eubank, the weatherman, spoke. He claimed that prior to the fall the earth orbited Kolob and that when Adam fell the earth fell out of its orbit around Kolob and somehow arrived at our sun and began orbiting it.

    That is the only time I can remember hearing Kolob discussed over the pulpit. Even at 14 I was shocked. Not at the idea of Kolob, but the way in which it was used.

    And you thought Mark Eubank was goofy because he wears a white jacket on days when he is predicting snow…

  80. Jamal on November 21, 2006 at 7:46 pm

    I think somebody made brief reference to the Hebrew root QLB. Don\’t know Hebrew, but do know closely-related Arabic. Q-L-B is the Arabic root for \”heart\”, along with various words having to do with turning things over (\”Inqilab\” – uprising and I believe also used in Farsi to describe the Iranian Revolution, \”Maqluub\” – upside down). K-L-B on the other hand is dog. Perhaps in the style of 16th century \”translators\” I could pull all these meetings out and call Kolob \”The Revolutionary Heart of the Upside Down Dog\” Star?

    Utterly meaningless trivia, but perhaps somebody else will enjoy the curiousity of it as I do :)

  81. Gary on November 21, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    a random John,

    What’s “goofy” about the idea “that prior to the fall the earth orbited Kolob and that when Adam fell the earth fell out of its orbit around Kolob” to its present position in our solar system?

  82. J. Stapley on November 21, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    What’s “goofy” about the idea “that prior to the fall the earth orbited Kolob and that when Adam fell the earth fell out of its orbit around Kolob” to its present position in our solar system?

    I know that you were asking the question to random John, but if I may…the goofiness is probably the result of the idea having no support and much to contradict it. Kind of like that Rob guy’s post at BoJ today arguing that the lost ten tribes are a hyper-technologicaly advanced people that live at the center of the earth.

  83. Matt W. on November 21, 2006 at 10:25 pm

    J.- little do you know the rest of us are blogging to you from the center of the earth…

    Cut Gary some slack, he’s the biggest giant down here and when you upset him it causes tsunamis and eathquakes up above…

    Seriously, Gary, I’m grateful you post about this stuff, reminds me what’s so fun about space doctrine.

  84. a random John on November 21, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    Gary,

    I think that the number of laughs I got out of reading the exchanges you linked to is evidence enough for me that it is goofy. At least it is funny to me, I’m guessing you find the exchanges exasperating rather than funny. I’m sure you think I’m going to be struck down at any moment, but the idea that the earth was made to look like it has been in this solar system for billions of years but only placed here about 6,000 years ago, and the mechanism for that transportation was triggered by biting a fruit implies that God’s sense of humor is a little too mean spirited for my taste.

    Oh, and we happened to get a moon thrown in as a bonus at some point along the way, with lunar day that is locked to the moons orbit of the earth.

  85. Matt W. on November 21, 2006 at 11:56 pm

    ARJ,

    Those are some pretty broad and sweeping statements.

  86. a random John on November 22, 2006 at 12:17 am

    Matt W,

    How so? Adding a bit of detail to your comment might allow me to respond meaningfully.

  87. Matt W. on November 22, 2006 at 1:03 am

    1. I don’t believe Gary has ever made any comments in regards to strikin ganyone down.

    2. The Mormon Religion is big enough for both points of view.

    3. How do we know the earth looks like it’s been in the solar system for billions of years? Compared to what? It is safe to assume such, but that doesn’t discount other, even totally bizarre, posibilities.

  88. Gary on November 22, 2006 at 2:11 am

    Matt W.,

    I agree with and appreciate your comment.

    J. Stapley,

    Surely you mean “no [scientific] support and much [scientific evidence] to contradict it.” Now, if that’s what you mean, I agree with you that it’s goofy—just like the idea that Jesus Christ is the physical, earthly Son of the Eternal Father in the most literal sense and just like the idea of His literal Resurrection from the dead—“no [scientific] support and much [scientific evidence] to contradict it.” But see also the paragraph below.

    a random John,

    Admitedly, it is not known how many Church members and leaders support the ‘earth-created-near-Kolob’ view today. However, reading a Church President’s endorsement of that view in the March 1997 Ensign has established it as a legitimate possibility in my mind. And no, actually I do not think you’re going to be struck down at any moment.

  89. a random John on November 22, 2006 at 12:13 pm

    Matt W.,

    1. Very true. I was being lighthearted, and I don’t think that Gary is judgmental. In fact, I’ve problem demonstrated myself to be the judgmental on in this exchange.

    2. I should hope so. Including my view that it is a bit goofy.

    3. If the earth had undergone a drastic change such as interstellar transport 6,000 years ago I would think there would be some evidence of this. Instead I find no scientific evidence of this and plenty that the earth was formed in its current orbit, that plants and animals having been living and dying here for millions of years. Why would God form it in a way that it only looks like it is old and has always featured death? Furthermore in contrast to the resurrection, I see very scant religious evidence of this possibility (especially given some of Brigham’s other ideas about outer space) and no real theological need for it. It isn’t a very useful concept, more of an oddity.

  90. Austin F. on November 22, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    In late 1999 Elder John M. Madsen spoke to my mission about Kolob. He said that the earth was once in orbit with Kolob (whatever that means), but when Adam fell, the earth was expelled from that orbit and placed in its current orbit around the sun. He hypothesized that when the earth is celestialized it would return to its former heavenly orbit with (not around) Kolob. It’s still alive and well in his mind.

  91. Ryan on February 18, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Kolob is one of those doctrines where not much is written (cannonized), so not much is discussed. But Kolob is a beautiful topic because it not only stretches the mind out of finite levels, but also it is a powerful and magnificent type and symbol of Jesus Christ. Kolob is very much a central part of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

  92. Christian on February 18, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    “If the earth had undergone a drastic change such as interstellar transport 6,000 years ago I would think there would be some evidence of this.”

    It’s an interesting mental exercise. Which evidence specifically would you expect? The only one I could think of that we should be able to pick up would be a possible change in radioactive bombardment.

  93. Christian on February 18, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    The doctrinal significance of Kolob is that it locks in the fact that God is real and physical. That there’s an actual star that’s near to where God *lives*.

    I think that CS Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” offers the best explanation for why this would strike so many Christians — including many LDS folks — with a case of the nervous giggles. Look at what the minister says when invited to actually come and meet God.

  94. Kolob Dude on February 27, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    I love the mysteries of the Church. It all makes sense to me. Hey God has to live somewhere. He probably watches football, but not on Sunday. lol.

  95. Kryptoss on July 16, 2007 at 6:01 am

    The reason Kolob is not discussed in any great length in the LDS Church is because not many will get to see it. The LDS Church does not want to get peoples hopes up and have those hopes dashed as they find out they will only get the Terrestrial or Telestial kingdoms.

  96. B. A. Baker on July 23, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    \”If You Could Hie to Kolob\” is a Mormon hymn that was written by William Wines Phelps, a prominent early Mormon. The music is taken from a well-known folk tune known as Dives and Lazarus. It is hymn number 284 in the hymnal for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    According to Chapter 3 of the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price (part of the canon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), Kolob is the great star that is nearest to the throne of God

  97. needsanothername on September 14, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Perhaps I\’m missing something here – people are speaking of kolob as if there is some great and deep doctrine that has yet to be uncovered … verse 3 seems very clear with no ambiguity. Although it has been interesting reading the various comments, I suggest that this simply is not one of the deep doctrines of the gospel.