I’m old enough to remember the moon landing, 50 years ago today. And I’m old enough to admit that I thought humanity would be much farther along in exploring our nearest neighbor than we are. But I’m encouraged by recent activity — it feels like we are close to going back and going back permanently. If I’m right, then it won’t be too long before members of the church are on the moon, eventually on a permanent basis.
So, I’ve been wondering, in a somewhat lighthearted vein, what will life be like for church members who are on the surface of the moon?
Here’s some thoughts and questions:
- The most immediate need will likely be for the sacrament. Because it is basically food, it shouldn’t be too hard to procure, since bread and water will be part of what is sent with any astronauts. The church members who have already been to space (Don Peterson, Don Lind, Jake Garn and Rick Searfoss, IIRC) may have already faced this. Anyone know? I suppose the bread available may not have been very bread-like — and when bread is eventually produced on the moon or in low gravity, it may not be what we’re used to!
- I don’t imagine the word of wisdom will be too much of a problem. It is generally accepted that astronauts need to maintain excellent health. Of course, alcohol will still likely be used for celebrations and tea and coffee will likely still be available, so church members will still need to find polite ways of declining. On the other hand, humans are quite inventive, and I won’t be surprised if inebriating substances and illicit drugs become available. But this isn’t any different from here on earth, and if anything keeping the word of wisdom might be easier on the moon.
- Water seems like a major issue. If someone decides to join the church on the moon, will baptism be possible? I assume it will, since water would be recycled after the baptism. I wonder if the fluid dynamics of water in low gravity will make baptism more difficult? Do you have to hold someone under the water longer to give the water enough time to cover them? And, since we’re wondering, is it possible to baptize someone in microgravity?
- Another potential problem would be garments, at least I assume it might be a problem under a space suit (I assume astronauts where whatever the like inside pressured cabins). At some point, when astronauts regularly have to be in spacesuits for long periods of time, will garments be suitable? Or will we need garments of another material to match the requirements of working in a spacesuit?
- And since we’ve discussed garments, what about the Temple? Clearly we won’t have a Temple on the moon or in space anytime soon — there won’t be a need for it until humans are living there permanently AND there are enough church members to justify it. But what about when there are a few living there more or less permanently? The cost of a “temple trip” will be, well, astronomical.
- Beyond the problems above, I suspect that there might be some benefits. Many astronauts report what is called the “overview effect”—the experience of looking at the Earth from space and the feeling of unity and awe that it inspires. Astronauts claim that this is a spiritual experience unlike anything else they have experienced.
What do you think? What might life for church members on the moon be like? Or will past church leaders be right that we’ll never go there (which we might interpret as never settling there permanently)?