Jews in Space and Mormon Moon-Folk
In what appears to be a dogmatic offshoot or misinterpretation of the hollow earth belief, is the idea that this hollow was created when a portion of the earth was removed by god. There were apparently more lost Tribespeople of Israel inhabiting this terrestrial chunk, which was now lost somewhere in space. It is currently unclear whether or not this particular bit of folklore was official revelation, or just Smith’s intimate musings, however it certainly interesting to take note of.
“I heard Joseph Smith preach baptism for the dead…. I heard him say, ‘the Ten Tribes were not on this globe, but a portion of this earth had cleaved off with them and went flying into space, and when the time comes when the “earth reels to and from like a drunken man and the stars from heaven fall,” it would join on again.'”
“The Prophet Joseph [Smith] once in my hearing advanced his opinion that the Ten Tribes were separated from the Earth; or a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off, and that the Ten Tribes were taken away with it, and that in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions. Whether the Prophet founded his opinion upon revelation or whether it was a matter of mere speculation with him, I am not able to say.”
Perhaps related, or at least tangential to his belief in an Israelite colony in space, is Joseph Smith’s conviction that the moon, sun and stars were inhabited as well. “‘Inhabitants of the Moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the Earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker Style & are quite general in Style, or the one fashion of dress. They live to be very old; ...generally, near a thousand years.'”
The Patriarch of the church even seemed confident that through either the power of god or science, that within that same generation of the early church, Mormon missionaries would actually be preaching their gospel off planet! “In my Patriarchal blessing, given by the father of Joseph the Prophet, in Kirtland, 1837, I was told that I should preach the gospel before I was 21 years of age; that I should preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and – to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes.”
Decades before Jules Verne and the commonly acknowledged birth of science fiction, Joseph Smith Junior must at least be credited with a wonderfully active imagination.
These beliefs seem to have survived at least into the days of the main church’s second leader and namesake of the Mormon college BYU, Brigham Young.
Young waxed on topic at some length regarding this topic:
“Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon?... When you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the ignorant of their fellows. So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain.”
In other words, the only conceivable purpose for a planet would be for god to inhabit that planet with sentient beings which then require His salvation. If there is any confusion as to whether or not this was indeed considered doctrine and not just ignorant conjecture, Brigham even doubled down on statements such as that when he said, “I have never preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture.”
Once more, unless clarified by current Mormon leaders, then the beliefs discussed thus far should be referred to exactly as Brigham suggested; Mormon scripture.
It should come as no great shock that this was a common belief at the time given that the Mormon’s canonized Book of Abraham, explicitly refers to a celestial body Kolob, as nearest the throne of God.
Mormons today generally consider it to be the literal residing place of their god. In addition, Mormonism also preaches a plurality of gods; an idea that through spiritual perfection, heterosexual human couples can themselves become gods, each couple managing their own planetary, Genesis style creation in turn. “Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species, and they were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth.”
An infinite process, which has been going on for untold eons.
A sort of interstellar, Manifest Destiny meets Divine Panspermia, so to say.
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.... It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know... that he was once a man like us.... Here, then, is eternal life – to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves... the same as all Gods have done before you...”
Despite what many Mormons today would preach, and what they themselves likely believe, the faith is not monotheistic. This belief in an infinitely expanding, factory-line intergalactic god nursery is what would be more accurately categorized as monolatrism; the devotion to a single god, while neither acknowledging or denying the existence of other, sometimes greater divine beings.
Fans of Battlestar Galctica may already know that the show’s creator, Glen Larson was himself LDS, and that he obviously encoded Mormon symbolism and theology into the show’s narrative. The twelve lost ‘colonies’ that record their history in Egyptian-like hieroglyphics, the ‘gods’ were once humans that somehow perfected or advanced themselves to a god-like status, and all of whom originated from a planet Kobol. The parallels are simply too many to lay out here,
but by this time BSG fan or not, one should be able to appreciate that Mormon archetypes are certainly far out enough to have inspired one of the most successful science fiction shows of all time.