Mormon Space Doctrine: A Necessary Embarrassment?

Kolob_CoverI was recently introduced to something called “the Kolob theorem.” It arose in an otherwise sensible Mormon discussion of astronomy and cosmology and was seamlessly introduced into the conversation alongside other theories such as the Big Bang and the multiverse. Its proponents are otherwise normal, well-educated Mormons who generally say sensible things.

The Kolob theorem is an astonishing example of Mormon space doctrine. As it was explained to me, it posits that each galaxy is the realm of a God. Our God lives on Kolob, a planet in the middle of the Milky Way. Our earth was created in the proximity of Kolob (i.e. in the middle of the galaxy) but as Adam fell, it was moved to its present position in the telestial zone (i.e. on the Orion arm). Preceding the Millennium, the earth will be returned to Kolob, which explains all of the astronomical and geological wonders that are prophesied will occur before the Second Coming.

My questions as to what will propel the earth across the millions thousands* of light years to the centre of the galaxy, and how life could possibly survive such a “journey,” were batted back with ease — wormholes. Simple! That the author’s PhD was in educational administration and not physics did not seem to matter.

This Kolob theorem stuff is utter nonsense, of course. It’s embarrassing and I find it a sad reflection of the state of Mormons and science that it seems to be fairly popular and is sold at Deseret Book. If Mormons want to learn about the wonders of the universe, they need to do it through popular science and not through this mingling of pseudo-science and scripture.

On the other hand, I can kind of understand the impulse to want to believe in this kind of stuff. I mean, Kolob is a thing after all, and most Mormons, I suppose, take such things literally. As one friend put it, it also helps explain how a corporeal God can move instantaneously through the universe (wormholes!).

So long as Mormons believe that a flesh and bone deity physically lives on another planet, you will always have this kind of space doctrine. There is a reason why such a book would not be written be a mainstream Christian. If you want Mormon theological exceptionalism, you are going to get Kolob theorems. I would prefer we partnered such exceptionalism with mystery, but that is not the Mormon way.


* PhD in ancient history not astrophysics, which is why I wouldn’t write a book on astrophysics.

Comments

  1. cookie queen says:

    Kolob. Palindrome.

  2. LOL!

  3. Hey, don’t we have a scriptural reference to wormhole description in JSH?

    43 After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.

    What else could it be?

  4. J. Stapley says:

    This is rooted in BY’s expansive analogical readings of the cosmos. But only bits and pieces. Falling sphere, okay. Adam-God, not so much.

  5. J. Stapley says:

    …also the wormwhole bit sort of reminds me of Widtsoe (who was generally extremely reasonable and wise), in his early career, linking the Holy Ghost to the aether.

  6. Yeah, this is one of the instances I wished we let the mystery of God alone. But I can’t decide which is worse, this or Visions of Glory.

  7. it's a series of tubes says:

    Kristine – throw in a little “Earth in the Beginning” to complete the trifecta :)

  8. Jenny Evans says:

    Maybe worth noting: there are 2,476 pages in the LDS standard works. Out of all those pages, Kolob is mentioned in 5 verses. That’s it. I think that’s pretty representative of its importance to our understanding of the gospel.

  9. jasonford818 says:

    Thank you for clarifying that this kind of stuff is complete BS (Bologna Sandwich).

    In the temple we learn that God organized matter. Existing matter. It does not say he created matter. Coupled with this it is clear that we as Mormons are taught to believe in a God that resides with in our space time continuum with in a physical galaxy next to a star called Kolob. Why do we limit our God so? The word God alone denotes a Supreme Being and creator of the Universe (as described on dictionary.com). He is not an organizer of existing matter. He is the creator of all that exists. He exists before and out side of the Universe. Depending upon your definition of God. God is much bigger than an extraterrestrial alien/glorified man who travels threw worm holes. Mormon cosmology has much to learn from real science.

  10. Hook 'em Horns says:

    “So long as Mormons believe that a flesh and bone deity physically lives on another planet, you will always have this kind of space doctrine”

    Hmmm…..I thought we did?

    It’s another of those weird teachings we try to distance ourselves from.

  11. Horns, well yeah. Didn’t I say that?

  12. A Happy Hubby says:

    And you have a beef with Mormon sci-fi? :-)

    The only other thought we are seeing how scriptures are made. If President Eyring said something agreeing with this, it would be on it’s way to being doctrine.

  13. On my mission I had a WML who taught investigators that the earth was placed here via 2 comets. I quit inviting him to joint teach.

    We kinda own this stuff though. We have a long history of speculative pseudo science mingled with vague and contradictory scripture.

  14. Maybe this is a way to reinforce the idea that the word “theorem” can be thrown around any old idea, without scrutiny or vetting. Evolution is “only” a theory, just like the Kolob Theorem. You have your beliefs; I have mine.

  15. “That the author’s PhD was in educational administration and not physics did not seem to matter.”

    That’s one of the main marks of pseudoscience. Someone with basically no knowledge of science throwing around a non-related PhD like it’s actually important (on the cover of the book, no less). It’s the scientific version of a false prophet–he may have authority, but it’s from the wrong source. The PhD on the cover, like false robes of the priesthood, serves only to deceive.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    For an alternative way of approaching Kolob from an earth-based, visual heavens approach, see this: https://bycommonconsent.com/2006/11/18/kolob-as-sirius/

  17. A vacuum begs to be filled, I reckon.

  18. Filled with binders and binders of photocopied talks by Alvin R. Dyer and other obscure sources and passed in hushed tones around missions. Amirite?

  19. Yourrite. It’s the “TK Smoothie Rule”: Mormonism detests doctrinal vacuums. What happens to non-reproducing resurrected beings? They get smoothed.

  20. The reason Mormonism abhors a doctrinal “vacuum” is because of its suspicion of theological “mystery” — the roots of Mormonism in the nineteenth century makes this so. Instead of mystery as an explanation for eternal concepts that we perhaps cannot know with our finite minds, the lingering Enlightenment impulse in the cultural context influenced people to think that everything could be rational according to currently understood categories.

    This invited doctrinal speculation doing just that — categorizing everything into a seemingly (at the time) rational system. And, in light of that, any theological “mysteries” were seen as a big step back to superstitious mumbo-jumbo. The result has been an extremely flawed attempt at a systematized body of doctrine (see, e.g., Bruce R. McKonkie’s Mormon Doctrine or even his father-in-law Jospeh Fielding Smith’s Doctrines of Salvation, which was complied by McKonkie, as prime examples of this cataloguing of speculative doctrine based on the impulse to categorize everything in an imitation of Enlightenment rejection of theological “mysteries”), which is ironic given Mormonism’s resistance to systematized theology (with many Mormon thinkers concluding that a systematized theology is not even possible in Mormonism given current Church leaders’ role as conduits of continuing revelation, basically resulting in a system in which there actually is no eternally fixed, set, or unchanging doctrine, aside from perhaps the Atonement of Jesus Christ, but only current teachings).

    Unfortunately, a characteristically Mormon tone deafness was also present from the very beginning in the process of filling the perceived doctrinal vacuum. No awareness seems to have been involved in any of this process — that is, the process of doctrinal speculation to fill that vacuum with pseudo-scientific theories (based in pseudo-scientific speculation of the time) mingled with proof-texted scriptural verses (verses which prompted the speculations) — of how the theories, which seemed so rational in line with Enlightenment rejection of religious “mysteries” at the time (in the mid to late nineteenth century and through the first half of the twentieth century), would sound and compare to the overwhelming and wonderful scientific knowledge that, according to ancient prophecy, would eventually fill the earth “with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea,” and of which, I believe, we are only now beginning to get the first glimpses.

    What else is the flood of scientific knowledge about the earth and heavens, physics, biology, chemistry, astronomy, and advances in every field of scientific knowledge than revelation from God, though humanity’s every intellectual and spiritual faculty, about “the glory of the Lord” — his creation?

  21. What’s sad is this might not even be the most pathetic DB publication from the last couple years, given that Lincoln Hypothesis nonsense.

  22. What I’ve always found fascinating is the insistence on naming Kolob. It’s inherent to the idea of a corporeal God that God would be *somewhere*, and it’s perfectly reasonable to assume he might have an HQ to return to after stints lounging on Perfect Beach Planet #37 or racing his gold-plated rocket car on the glass moons of Andromeda, but why name the planet/star? Why go that far? The mystical (magical?) importance JS placed on words in original languages feels so foreign to me as a linguist and translator, but of course it’s mirrored perfectly in the LDS habit of using Merriam Webster as the fifth standard work and generally acting as if doctrine can be divined from the single word choices of translators. Anyway, I find it interesting. I’ve had more than one epic battle with an editor insisting on removing all foreignness from a text while I’m insisting on maintaining some curiosity I’ve latched onto. Usually my editors are right that the reader really isn’t going to care and will just end up confused.

  23. So long as Mormons believe that a flesh and bone deity physically lives on another planet…

    Which is a disputable claim, of course.

  24. I had never heard of the Kolob theorem until this post. And I agree that we ought to look to popular science to inform our understanding of the ways of God. But, really, what popular science should we use to understand this? The popular science of today? The popular science of 100 years from now? I was born BEFORE the idea of plate tectonics revolutionized the study of earth sciences (1967), and I’m not that old. It’s shocking how recent some of our popularized notions of science are. So while the Kolob theorem feels like theological arrogance, so does reliance on what we know in current science as an explanation for the realm of the Divine. I’m personally excited to see what science uncovers about all things in the creation. I have this idea that God and His angels are up there watching us discover and yelling, “Hot!” “Hotter!” “Doh, Cold!’ “No, Colder!!” “Warmer, Yes! Warmer!”

  25. If you want a review of the book from an astrophysicist (and he may need an editor, but I’m still proud to call him my brother), I’d suggest this:

    http://quantumleap42.blogspot.com/2012/09/revisiting-kolob-theorem.html

    That’s the second of a three-part review; the third part goes into the science. (Well, 33 pages into it.) His reaction on first seeing the book:

    I only took a quick glance through the book but it was enough to make my skin crawl. There were in fact two reasons for my seemingly severe negative reaction to the book. The first was that there were critical scientific errors in the book that effectively invalidated the whole argument…[etc.]

  26. hope_for_things says:

    john f. Love your comment, thanks for sharing.

    We have an interesting dynamic of speculation mixed with revelation in the church. Without any real clear means of distringuishing between the two. Attempts to harmonize it all together and to claim certainty will continue to occur and continue to fall short. Hugh B. Brown’s wisdom seems to apply here:

    “Revealed insights should leave us stricken with the knowledge of how little we really know. It should never lead to an emotional arrogance based upon a false assumption that we somehow have all the answers—that we in fact have a corner on truth. For we do not”

  27. Parsec Nazi says:

    Earth is 30,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way. It’s a couple million light-years from the Andromeda Galaxy.

  28. it's a series of tubes says:

    So while the Kolob theorem feels like theological arrogance

    DeepThink, if you read it, it won’t feel like theological arrogance. It will feel like you are taking crazy pills of the worst, worst kind.

  29. RJH –

    Out of curiosity, what was the sensible part of the discussion you and others had about astronomy and cosmology?

  30. Hi. I am just wondering if the author/s of this blog are still members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. You seem to have so much disgust for the people of the Church. If you don’t believe it, why don’t you just leave the members of the Church alone? Nobody professes to be perfect. Faithful members of the Church are imperfect people striving to keep their covenants and become more like their Savior through the Atonement of Christ. They are trying to learn to love as He loves and often times are doing the best they can in their own circumstances. Some are further along in terms of commitment, but who are we to judge? Can you not look back at all of your posts and hear the sneering judgmental tone? I came upon this blog when researching visiting teaching. I saw your post regarding how much you dislike visiting teaching because it is not done perfectly by the members of the Church. Of course it’s not done perfectly, but what a wonderful program even if at times carried out awkwardly as we learn the true meaning and significance of service. I would urge you to read Daughters in My Kingdom, chapter 7. You can find it on LDS.org by clicking on “Resources” and then “Relief Society”. Here is the link: https://www.lds.org/relief-society/daughters-in-my-kingdom/manual/pure-religion-watchcare-and-ministering-through-visiting-teaching?lang=eng. I do not know you or any of the people who follow you. I do not know your heart, but I know the path you are taking is not according to the enticings of the Holy Spirit. Someday you will be sad about the things in this blog. But, while you have days on this earth, there is time for you to change your ways and seek the truth through prayer, scripture study, church attendance, temple worthiness and attendance, and keeping the commandments. Remember Alma’s son, commonly known as Alma the Younger. He mocked the Church members for years. Once he realized his wrongdoing, he very humbly sought forgiveness as well as confessing to those he led astray of his wrongdoing. He came to be one of the greatest disciples of Christ. Stop “kicking against the pricks” and find joy in the Atonement which allows us to overcome weaknesses and imperfections as we strive, though sometimes awkwardly or even unsuccessfully, to walk in the Light.

  31. Great comment, John F.

  32. I second Jenny!

  33. That’s it, Jenny, you’re disinvited from game night!

  34. jasonford818 says:

    @ Jenny I am not an author of this site but some people like me who is an active member, just like to pontificate in regards to the Mormon rabbit hole we find our selves in. And yes, in my opinion Kolob is a giant rabbit hole. If that offends you. Don’t read it.

  35. Prudence, is that you? No, wait, Prudence would never hide behind a pseudonym.

  36. If you want to sell copies at DB, you need this title:

    The Isaiah Theorem Code(x): Pearls of Spiritual Insight from a Man of Virtue to Combat Secularism and Restore Liberty in these Last Days of the Flood of Same-Sex Obama Smut

    with a forward by Mitt Glenn Gaskill Hancock Hamblin-Peterson III, former Institute Director and renowned EFY and Education Week speaker whose books are prized by prospective missionaries and people who like parables about bikes.

  37. it's a series of tubes says:

    Ahjeez, you win. You win all the Mormon internet things. Well played, sir!

  38. Thanks, I think that I covered all my bases.

  39. DeepThink @ 11:04, I have a similar view of the angels above cracking up about our scientific theories. I love D&C 101:32-33 which essentially states that humans aren’t gonna be able to figure out all the earth’s mysteries till well after the Second Coming. I can still be excited about scientific breakthroughs along the way, though.

  40. I just hope that john f. learns soon how to spell McConkie. Or else that he’ll start spelling that star “Colob.”

  41. oops

  42. hope_for_things says:

    Jenny,

    I understand your perspective, I had a similar one a few years back. But you honestly don’t understand BCC. You could similarly visit a blog about Hinduism or some other foreign religion and read those posts and make a surface judgement about where you think those people are getting mixed up. Your points would be completely scratching the surface and have little to no relevance to the conversations taking place.

    I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but your judgements aren’t even in the right ballpark.

  43. Simple solution: compartmentalize.

    Look to the church for guidance in living a more righteous life and discovering better ways to serve others. That’s it. Nothing more. Anything beyond these two topics is just noise.

    Knowledge on all other subjects—science, politics, education, economics, etc.—is more profitably acquired elsewhere.

    This is how I peaceably co-exist with the Kolob theorem, the three Nephites, and Quakers on the moon.

  44. Some readings of the BoA strike me as extremely Protestant, sort of the “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” mentality. Although we have a long history of (selective) literalism, many LDS are capable of recognizing that expressions of an ancient worldview in the Bible are just that. When it comes to the BoA, all of sudden, normal people go crazy with orbits, hieroglyphics, etc. It’s eternal truth of a scientific nature.

  45. Or, Ben, don’t underestimate the allure of viewing something as “secret knowledge” that you can get without any prolonged scientific study and grappling with complex information or systems, arduous years of research or hypothesis testing, or effort in analyzing observable data.

    Also, the space doctrine game, such as that on display in this Kolob Theorum, can simply be a lot of fun for people to let their imagination run wild on, especially if it has the added bonus of making a contribution to the Culture Wars by poking a finger in the eye of “secular knowledge” or “science” and attributing to the latter some kind of nefarious motive of driving people away from the political priors that religion is supposed to support, in their view. (I’m assuming that the Hilton book does this. Would love to be contradicted on that by someone who can vouch that this isn’t an element of Hilton’s presentation of his Theorum.)

  46. Jenny: In case you’re following the comments, you are likely to get some blowback (somewhat well-deserved) for your call to repentance. I hope it doesn’t force you to give completely up on us BCC bloggers just yet. This blog has a lot of different perspectives. Sometimes people gripe, other times they praise. It’s more rough and tumble than the Ensign, but not as brash as the ex-Mormon subReddit. You’ll find some amazing spiritual reflections and some funny smart alec conversations here. This is due in part to the fact that many BCC bloggers are active church members, and those who aren’t are not at war with the church, either. You might check out our posts in the Mormon Lectionary Project, for example. Or here’s a sacrament meeting talk I delivered a few weeks ago in my home ward on the atonement, something you’re interested in:

    https://bycommonconsent.com/2015/01/18/sunday-sermon-atonement/

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

  47. it's a series of tubes says:

    john, sadly, you are unlikely to be contradicted on that. Here’s another fun space doctrine one, from “Earth in the Beginning” by that noted authority, Erik N. Skousen, Ph. D. (mechanical engineer), complete with tedious and dogmatic “questions” at the end of each chapter like his more notorious relative:

    Earth was “born” in a watery womb somewhere out in space!

    “The gestation and embryonic development of the spirit globe — a living entity — occurred within a vast body of water called “the deep” (Chapt. 6)

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  48. amazing

  49. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t confess that I’ve had my fun with space doctrine as well, particularly as a missionary reading all the “secret knowledge” that got passed around the missionaries — introduced into circulation among us particularly by returned missionaries who were fresh off their stateside or Canadian missions in the wards in which we were serving. Reading that John Taylor/Wilford Woodruff dream, or that slim volume of “unpublished revelations” (that were nevertheless published in that slim volume), arkane talks by Joseph Fielding McConkie, Alvin R. Dyer, or from the Journal of Discourses. Those were heady days — full of the thrill of feeling in possession of secret knowledge!

  50. ^Anything to keep it interesting. This is why I’m a little (but only a little) confused about outrage over Joseph Smith translating the BoM by looking into a hat. You were fine with angelic visitations and gold plates but the hat is a bridge too far?

  51. GodisGreat says:

    Jenny, my advise would be to read say http://www.millennialstar.org with members of the Church that agree with you. Unfortunately, the BCC is near beyond redemption. They like to pretend some kind of purposeful faith, but have very little positive to show for the claim. Do what was said above and don’t read this garbage blog, and encourage others to also avoid it’s narcissistic anti-peon negativism.

  52. ^its, not it’s

    We’re usage snobs, too.

  53. john f. (“arkane”) has obviously gone krazy with “k” today. I guess he’s desided that “c” really is an unnesessary letter, its funktions kompletely fulfilled by “k” and “s”.

  54. It’s the German influence ;)

  55. I was born a little too late for it, but the Church seems to have enjoyed a great Modernist moment in the mid-20th century. When science and religion were, for a generation at least, perfectly overlapping magisteria. As hokey as it was, I wonder if it is preferable yet to our current progression, where the factions are back at war.

  56. “There is a reason why such a book would not be written be a mainstream Christian. ” Could we just agree that there’s a mormon fringe as well?

  57. My worry with this sort of critique (and don’t get me wrong, I despise things like The Kolob Theorem) is that Mormons unreflectively dismiss all teaching about the physical and spiritual universe beyond the Earth on which we stand merely because some authors indulge themselves in ridiculous pseudo-science, display unhelpful degrees of literalism, or take flights of speculative fancy with such propulsion that they essential reach a theological escape velocity.

    For example, I find believing that there is life on other worlds somewhere in the universe (referenced briefly in at least Moses 1:33-35) is both beautiful and entirely scientifically plausible. Incorporating the rest of the universe into our theological vision since Mormonism’s foundation is a blessing of the post-Copernican Restoration; other Christians who have similarly accepted Copernicus (ironically, with Catholics perhaps leading the way) have also speculated about the theological status of nonhuman extraterrestrial life.

    Meanwhile, I have no idea why people think it necessary that a materially-embodied God must live on some particular planet in our particular universe.

  58. Slight addendum: I suspect that a mainstream Christian would not write such a book because mainstream Christianity, while accepting modern astrophysics, often holds fast to a geocentric theology.

  59. I read some of that book, & got disgusted with it. It seem to feel that Kolob is at the center of our Galaxy. We have no proof of that.

  60. A former bishop of mine often promotes that book. I read it, and even though I don’t remember it to talk about wormholes, I do remember that it was complete nonsense. I started to write a review to share with my friends but I couldn’t finish it – I just got so tired with that book.

    RJH wrote in the OP, that “So long as Mormons believe that a flesh and bone deity physically lives on another planet, you will always have this kind of space doctrine.” It seems to be true, but I just don’t get it. Why do we insist that God lives in our observable universe? We do believe in the spirit world too, and it is definitely outside the observable universe. Yes, we do believe that spirit is matter too. But it is not of the kind of matter we can produce in particle accelerators.

    Kolob. There is symbolism in scripture. The verse 18 in Abr 3 should make it clear that the whole space part of that chapter is a metaphor (“Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits…”). We shouldn’t try to read it as an ultimate description of how the universe is. As a metaphor, it reflects the ancient understanding better. Even in the Ensign we can read that “Recent research indicates that the astronomical model portrayed here fits very well among ancient geocentric (earth-centered) notions.” (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1994/01/news-from-antiquity.p22?lang=eng,
    see also “And I Saw the Stars” The Book of Abraham and Ancient Geocentric Astronomy by John Gee, William J. Hamblin, and Daniel C. Peterson http://publications.maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/fullscreen/?pub=1098&index=3
    Another good article is R. Grant Athay’s
    Worlds Without Number: The Astronomy of Enoch, Abraham, and Moses, https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=4771 )

  61. “Unfortunately, the BCC is near beyond redemption.”

  62. “My questions as to what will propel the earth across the millions of light years to the centre of the galaxy,”
    The Milky Way is only 100,000 – 120,000 LY in diameter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way). The Solar System is about 27,000 LY from the center. At least check your science before your start spewing your pseudo-science.

  63. Ha! Fair enough. My PhD is in ancient history not astrophysics. That solves it. The pre-Millennium transit over 27,000 light years’ distance = easy!

  64. Sorry, correction: The pre-Millennium transit over 27,000 light years’ distance *into a super massive black hole* = easy!

  65. Which is why I wouldn’t write a book about astrophysics touting my PhD. Anyway, what else is “pseudo-science” in my rejection of this “Kolob theorem”?

  66. Robert F. Smith says:

    RJH, you reflected uncritically (right along with that doctorate in EducAdmin) that “Our God lives on Kolob,” The LDS Book of Abraham says no such thing.

    An embarrassing but common mistake made by careless commentators. First, read the text. Then, comment rationally upon it. That applies as much to books sold at Deseret Book, which have not undergone peer review, as it does to loose comments made on this blog.

    For serious comments along these lines by a senior Mormon physicist, see Hollis R. Johnson, “One Day to a Cubit,” Interpreter, 3 (2013):223-230, online at http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/one-day-to-a-cubit . The comments which followed dealt with the issue on the basis of real science, rather than as some “giant rabbit hole” (per jasonford818).

  67. To quote my brother again, since he’s regularly asked about the location of Kolob:

    So to ask me “Have you found Kolob yet?” is like asking me, “Have you found that one thing that is next to that other thing?” Of course my answer will be “No.” As soon as we know what that one thing is that is next to that other thing, and what that other thing is then I will know what I am looking for and then I might just be able to begin to look for it. Until then, don’t ask. (Source)

  68. I am well aware that the Kolob doctrine, if such a thing exists, is more nuanced than I stated it to be, but I am simply reflecting the uncritical assumptions made by many Mormons both about science and about sacred things. I do think you’re suggesting a distinction without a difference, however.

    Furthermore, even if the science applied to such things *is* good, it still barks up the wrong tree, IMO. Scripture that is made to conform to scientific truth has a shelf-life of a generation or two. As soon as the science changes, the scripture is un-anchored. But if we let scripture be theological and mystical and mythological and poetical, we render its truths timeless.

    How one day might be a cubit (per Abraham) is utterly uninteresting to me, but I admit that that’s a personal preference. If we are going to roll scientific dice in the game of religion, it’s true that I prefer the article you cite to the Kolob Theorem. But only just.

  69. I’m more concerned about the number of Mormons who are global-warming deniers. Now that could have some real-world consequences . . .

  70. I’m a Mormon and was always taught not limit God with my small mortal mind. God doesn’t have to follow the rules of this universe as we understand them, because he created it all. LIkewise, we shouldn’t get hung up over things we don’t fully get yet (like the second coming or what will happen to kolb). Just worry about being ready for the second coming. Everything will work out in the end. Also I would add that if scripture is the word of God and indeed it is, it will never be outdated.

  71. Chesbee, I think you should amend that to say that true doctrine will never be outdated. There are many ideas in the bible that are outdated (purification rites, capital punishment for immorality and blasphemy, inheritance rights, slavery laws, etc.). Christ declared the Law of Moses fulfilled, and it was understood not to be followed by Christians in both the Old World and New World. The Law of Moses was, by definition, outdated. Even primitive understandings of doctrine can become outdated as new revelation provides a better perspective (think of understanding sealings in Nauvoo versus the turn of the century).