Monday Morning Theological Poll: Planetary Paragon Edition

Note: This week’s poll comes to you by way of suggestion from another BCC perma (her name rhymes with Schmarylon).
What is the status of salvation for God’s worlds without number?

Justify your answers below. And, if you like, offer suggestions for future polls. Maybe I’ll like it or something.


  1. I love these Monday polls. But have not got the faintest idea how to answer this and will return to baking cookies. CQ.

  2. Wondering says:

    Mine is a vote of appreciation for good humor. The truth is “I dunno” and don’t need to and don’t need to pretend that I do. Heck, I don’t even need to wonder, but I do need more laughter in my life and appreciate finding it wherever I can.

  3. Kent Gibb says:

    I voted that they all have their own Saviour. Why? How strong would your testimony be if you had to depend on a saviour who, according to your prophets, came to another world and died for your sins? I think it would be pretty difficult to grasp knowing some alien world had a person born there to die for my sins on a totally different world.
    How does this work with Jesus being the “Only Begotten in the flesh”? The Saviour of that world would be the only begotten in the flesh ON THAT WORLD.
    Interesting question.

  4. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Right, Kent. Imagine being on Earth, believing that someone on an alien world died for your sins, with no idea where that other world was (or even evidence that there were other worlds with human-like beings). You would be viewed as some crackpot that the missionaries should avoid. Or, imagine our Church leaders preaching that there were other Prophets on other planets, and then starting to quote them in the next General Conference. Suddenly, the focus on using the full name of the Church would get lost.

  5. I’m kinda on the fence on a Saviour for each or a Saviour for all. Satan believes that he is God of this world because he gave the fruit to Eve&Adam, like he’d seen done in other worlds. So in other worlds, the fruit was given or taken without his interference and a Saviour provided. I lean toward a Saviour for each, ours being a bit harsh til He got to be mortal and gained a better understanding of empathy.

  6. I voted for each universe having its own Savior. I just can’t see Jesus Christ being the Savior for all planets in all times. This is a cycle that repeats, yes? You can trot out a quote from a GA saying that He is, but all of those statements feel like projections to me instead of revelation.
    So even with the “How hard would it be to believe in a Savior from another planet” at least it would still involve having the Savior be from the same Grand Council in Heaven that you attended vs. some other one. You just happened to not go to the planet where Lucifer was cast down to.
    So that’s where I’d really draw the line: one savior per grand council.

  7. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    It seems like a single Savior for all worlds would require those on other worlds to have a much better comprehension of the Heavenly universe than we do, here. More would have been needed to be revealed to them, I suppose.

  8. Joseph Smith (maybe with help from WW Phelps?) put the vision of D&C 76 into poem form in 1843. It includes these stanzas:

    And I heard a great voice bearing record from heav’n,
    He’s the Saviour and only begotten of God;
    By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made,
    Even all that career in the heavens so broad.

    Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last,
    Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours;
    And, of course, are begotten God’s daughters and sons
    By the very same truths and the very same powers.

  9. Questions like these seriously shake my testimony. I don’t mean to be condescending or obnoxious here…but it almost makes me angry that people -leaders, GAs, etc.- even pretend to have an idea about how this all works. Even stuff that church members generally accept, like the degrees in the Celestial Kingdom, seems no more knowable than the answer to this poll. I often sit in church meetings and roll my eyes at the ridiculous things people claim to know or understand. It would be great to just turn off my brain and enjoy the mystery and wonder of it all…but the level of certainty expressed by so many in the church just makes me more frustrated and skeptical of ALL of it.

  10. I voted for “They’re all saved by our Saviour, but they think he has their likeness.” Although I suppose I could have just voted for “They’re all saved by our Savior.” But really, why shouldn’t they think that he looks like them? Didn’t God create man in his own image? And if God has made worlds without number, and peopled them with his children, they’d all look like him (and her.) All the beings that God interacts with, I mean. No doubt there are lots of different animals, birds, and insects on the different worlds than what we have here, but all the people would basically be the same. A little taller or shorter, slightly different skin and hair colors, but basically “human.”

    And Jehova would appear occasionally to their prophets, so they would know first off, that he exists, and secondly, that he looks like them. And eventually he would reveal to them that he atoned for their sins and was crucified in a different place at a different time, (or that this would happen in the future, depending on the timeframe when he actually spoke to them, as in Before Crucifixion and After Crucifixion) and therefore, they could experience a remission of their sins and be resurrected, too. Eventually, when the civilization on that particular “World Without Number” reached spacefaring capabilities, he might reveal that the Atonement and the Crucifixion happened on a different planet, but it would still be valid for them.

    Well, that’s how I imagine it, anyway.

  11. east of the mississippi says:

    I’m with Iris…

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Some say once you’re gone you’re gone forever, and some say you’re gonna come back.
    Some say you rest in the arms of the Saviour if in sinful ways you lack.
    Some say that they’re comin’ back in a garden, bunch of carrots and little sweet peas.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.

    Some say they’re goin’ to a place called Glory and I ain’t saying it ain’t a fact.
    But I’ve heard that I’m on the road to purgatory and I don’t like the sound of that.
    Well, I believe in love and I live my life accordingly.
    But I choose to let the mystery be.

    Everybody’s wonderin’ what and where they all came from.
    Everybody’s worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go when the whole thing’s done.
    But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be.
    I think I’ll just let the mystery be

  12. Reminds me of this post, which taught me the term “space doctrine”.

    I haven’t decided yet which to vote for.

  13. Jesus created all of the worlds. He is their Lord. He has had plenty of time to visit anywhere he has wanted since his death. Presumably he can be anywhere anytime (including past, future) he wants, so no one would have to believe in a savior who hadn’t lived on their planet, since he can live on them all for as long as he wants.

  14. it's a series of tubes says:
  15. I’m squarely in the “one Savior per world” camp, but my family is super divided on this one.

  16. “It isn’t Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It’s you. We shan’t meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
    “But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
    “Are -are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
    “I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

  17. I like the last option. All the aliens get a technological head start from God so they can develop wormhole warping travel or whatever so they can make it to Earth and have their ordinances done before the Second Coming. They really need to step on it, though, and shift their focus from probing us to probing our sacred spaces. I’m looking forward to a dramatic increase in alien encounters in the next few decades!

  18. I think what also leans me toward “one per world” is the idea that there could be a female Saviour.

  19. Skeptic,
    I apologize. I certainly don’t know how it works and I’m skeptical that the options I imagine (or steal) for a web poll are likely to contain all possible explanations. God is bigger than my imagination.

  20. kamschron says:

    I voted for I voted for “They’re all saved by our Saviour, but they think he has their likeness” because it seems like a better match than the other choices for the idea of Christ performing “acts of redemption in other worlds,” as the 1985 New Era answer suggests.

    I only remember being taught the 1976 answer, that the atonement on our earth applies to all the others. I know of at least one person who was already an adult when she learned that the setting for the events of the Bible was our own planet. Maybe the way she imagined it as a child is similar to the way that it actually has been taught on other worlds.

  21. Okay, I voted, tongue firmly in cheek, for “They have to come to Earth to receive saving ordinances (hence alien encounters)”.

    Now I need to find evidence to back my theory…

  22. D&C76 seems to imply that Jesus is the one and only Jesus. On the other hand, some stuff from the Nauvoo period suggests lots of Jesus persons, it’s a little inconsistent in various ways. The logic of one Jesus seems to lead to the “most wicked of all worlds” paradigm describing our own little blue world. So maybe just one Devil too . . . . I was too confused to vote.

  23. If there is only one Savior, I’d lean toward multiple incarnations, it’s hard to imagine a world that doesn’t have an actual savior to witness and look to, that just feels incredibly unfair – so whether the same Jesus or multiple saviors, I think each earth ought to have the savior born and live among them.

  24. I’m not sure if I’d go so far as to say that each planet would have its own Savior – after all, if we Earthlings manage to get off of our little rock and colonize other worlds, I wouldn’t expect each of those new worlds to suddenly need a new Savior.

    But I do rather expect that each iteration of the plan – each instantiation of a new race of sentient beings on their own world – would have a Savior who lived among them associated with them. I am aware that this conflicts with several points of scripture and their elucidation by General Authorities – I rather think that on this subject we have been mistaken. After all, there are statements by other General Authorities as well as other of our sacred texts that point in the other direction.

    So I voted for each world has its own Savior, even though I think that it’s slightly more complicated than that.

  25. Read the Urantia Book for answers to this poll.

    n.b., the Urantia Book is far more internally, both cosmologically and theologically consistent than BOM, at least in my recollection, although It has been many years since I read it. Nevertheless the answers to the question in this poll are directly addressed.

  26. I’m going with #5. Sing with me!
    “Jesus loves the little Klingons!
    All the Klingons on Kronos!”

  27. My thoughts on this are on the lines of Steve LHJ – the savior must incarnate on every world that he saves. I do think, though, that it is pretty clear from Section 76 that Jesus is the savior and redeemer of many worlds. Since the Prophet indicated in some of his Nauvoo sermons that the office of savior is one through which all the Gods must progress, I ended up voting ‘There’s one Savior for each universe, but not each world.’

  28. Stephen Fleming says:

    Thomas Paine’s critique of Christianity on this issue from Age of Reason:
    “From whence then could arise the solitary and strange conceit that the Almighty, who had millions of worlds equally dependent on his protection, should quit the care of all the rest, and come to die in our world, because, they say, one man and one woman had eaten an apple. And, on the other hand, are we to suppose that every world in the boundless creation, had an Eve, an apple, a serpent, and a redeemer? In this case, the person who is irreverently called the Son of God, and sometimes God himself, would have nothing else to do than to travel from world to world, in an endless success of death, with scarcely a momentary interval of life.” Vol 1:41.

  29. Aussie Mormon says:

    My answer is which ever one aligns better with “one saviour per council in heaven”.

  30. nzaccanelli says:

    Option #8: One Jesus fulfilled one limitless atonement across all the inhabited planets to ever exist in the multiverse at the same time. Meaning the same Jesus lived and died on all the worlds to ever exist all at once.

    “The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics holds that there are many worlds which exist in parallel at the same space and time as our own. The existence of the other worlds makes it possible to remove randomness and action at a distance from quantum theory and thus from all physics.”

    – Many-Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, 2002,

    While I prefer this non-linear solution to the problem there are still some interesting questions to follow-up on. For example, whether or not Jesus was somehow simultaneously, uniquely, aware of every world (and the unique souls of each) during his mortality. I would argue he was.

  31. I will confess, this isn’t something I’ve thought about much, so now it’s bending my brain. I remember hearing in seminary some years ago that other worlds were/are saved by our Savior, but there’s certainly no reason to think my seminary teacher would know any more than anybody else. I did love the Dawn Treader quote a few posts ago! It makes sense to me.

  32. Moss: From your mouth to God’s ears!

  33. nzacanelli, I love your creative idea. Quantum physics and faith, why not?

  34. Aren’t we assuming a bit much to think that every world has had its own council in heaven? How do we know that the result of each council would have been so similar to ours? I mean, I recognize that I’m bumping up against traditional LDS theology pretty hard here, but…like, really? Worlds without number and they’ve all had councils with results just like ours? Seems pretty boring for God…

  35. Ryan Mullen says:

    Stephen Fleming, that quote is money.

    nzacanelli, your MWI interpretation could also give significance to the the vast interstellar distances in the universe: the events around each star would be completely uncoupled from the events around others. Each inhabited planet could then be an independent instantiation of the plan, each with its own Savior. The “worlds without number” created by Jesus all being quantum parallels of Earth rather than planets orbiting distant starts in our own universe. Oops, I think I just became a “We each get our own planet in the resurrection” Mormon.

  36. If man now is, as God once was, how was the God who once was a man saved by the future Son that he had after he was God?

    Answer — He had his own Savior, he was not saved by his Son who hadn’t existed yet, and who existed on a yet-to-be-created world, and it’s not difficult to figure out the rest from that.

    Follow-up questions that are implicit in the answer: But I thought the atonement of Christ on this world is infinite and covers the entire universe and worlds without end?
    Follow-up answer: That’s correct. The atoning process the Father experienced in his own mortal probationary state will indeed continue worlds without end, as he has continued and has his children will continue because of it. The impact and effect of it will continue on into eternity, but that doesn’t mean that each world does not need a Savior, nor does it mean that each world is not made possible because of what our Savior in our mortal probation accomplished.

    Most importantly, God is one God, and when the full weight of this is actually understood spiritually, all are united in the same purpose. When God invites us to be one with him through his son he means exactly that. There is no qualifiers, “ya, but you’ll be lesser and always unequal”. God entails the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost, but I believe it also entails a Heavenly Mother, and even farther, entails all the generations of God that ever have and ever will be.

    That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.

  37. Unless the people of other worlds are far more righteous than those of this world, which is possible, I think they might find it hard to have faith in a God who lived and died on another planet. But the Nephites of later years were asked to believe in a Messiah coming to a place on the other side of the world, a place they only knew of from ancestral stories, and many believed on the words of their scriptures and their prophets so maybe it would not be so hard to anyone willing to test out faith.
    We at least know Jerusalem exists. We can see the Temple Mount with its massive supporting stones. We have archeological proof of some of the events in the Bible. We know the apostles preached in Europe and India and North Africa. We see the Christian communities descended from those of two thousand years ago. So maybe people on other planets receive physical proofs of a Messiah born on another planet.
    And maybe time and space simply work differently in other places.

  38. Where’s out resident cosmologist weighing in?

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