The Forgotten Commandment: Watch the Heavens!


4,742 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2007

The Forgotten Commandment: Watch the Heavens!

Part I – The Commandment

Section 84 of the Doctrine & Covenants is a pivotal revelation for Latter-day Saints, or should be.

The preamble to this section says, “The Prophet designates it a revelation on priesthood.” In it, the Lord explains some of the roles of priesthood bearers, including a thorough explanation of missionary work and how it might be carried out.

 “And this revelation unto you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the world, and the gospel is unto all who have not received it.” (verse 75.)

This makes it plain that this “revelation” is not only a disclosure of information, but it also carries a “commandment.”

In the process of explaining this mandate to teach the gospel, the Lord touches on an aspect of priesthood responsibility that is entirely overlooked in the church today when he gives this added command. “Nevertheless, let the bishop go unto the city of New York, also to the city of Albany, and also to the city of Boston, and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things. (verse 114.)

Reading carefully, we see that this directive carries two parts. The first, is to teach the gospel: “warn the people … with the sound of the gospel.” The second is to tell them “of the desolation and utter abolishment” that might befall them.

Clearly, the first directive refers to missionary work, a mandate church members have heeded and apparently fulfilled rather well, given the remarkable growth of the church in the latter half of the 20th century. But, the second reference seems quite vague. What is the “desolation” referred to? What is “utter abolishment?”

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘desolate’ as “barren or laid waste … without inhabitants, deserted.” It also defines ‘abolish’ as “to do away with, to put an end to.”

Since the Lord applied these terms to three major American cities, a rather grim picture emerges. Without equivocation, God seems to be talking about reeking havoc in a catastrophe great enough to entirely wipe the cities of New York, Albany and Boston off the map, complete with all their inhabitants, if they do not accept the gospel.

But that is not all. To clarify and amplify, God reiterates the commandment. “And verily I say unto you, the rest of my servants, go ye forth as your circumstances shall permit, in your several callings, unto the great and notable cities and villages, reproving the world in righteousness of all their unrighteous and ungodly deeds, setting forth clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination in the last days.” (verse 117.)

So, we learn that this mission was not exclusive to Bishop Whitney; verse 117 extends this commandment to all priesthood holders, “the rest of my servants.” We also learn that they should visit not just the three cities first named, but many others also, “the great and notable cities and villages.”

Then, the Lord repeats his charge that they teach about possible, impending destructions, “the desolation of abomination.”

This presents a problem for today’s priesthood bearers. Which of us can even begin to explain the “desolation” and “utter abolishment” the Lord referred to? What do those terms mean? What could cause such devastation?

While every general conference of the church has one or more talks about the vital importance of missionary work, where are the talks explaining or elucidating the second part of the commandment: teaching “clearly and understandingly the desolation of abomination?” More importantly, we must ask why this part of the commandment has not been acknowledged? How is it that we have focused so well and appropriately on missionary work without also teaching the other half of the equation, the promised devastation?

If we’ve not been instructed in these things or discovered them for ourselves, how are we to teach them, as we were commanded to do? How are we going to teach something we do not understand? In that case, how are we going to fulfill the Lord’s charge to teach it at all, let alone do so plainly?

As a matter of fact, any discussion of prophetic destructions has been almost completely banned from our discourse in the church. Over the last half-century, the subjects of prophecy and catastrophe in church discussion have become increasingly taboo. Where once they were central to our very character as Latter-day Saints, they have been almost completely marginalized in our day and age.

Our instruction manuals for teaching in the church almost entirely skirt around the subject of the last days and their associated destructions. The subject is almost never addressed from the pulpit, and even then it is treated in such an oblique manner as to avoid any substantive handling of the subject.

Yet, given the wording of this section, it would seem that we are under as great an obligation to teach about the impending destructions as we are to do missionary work.

So, let’s reverse this trend. Let’s more fully perform our duty as priesthood bearers. Let’s look at this once again to see if we might regain some lost ground and thereby properly fulfill this commandment from the Lord.

One might begin by asking, what is the “desolation and utter abolishment” of which the Lord spoke? What is the “desolation of abomination in the last days” that all priesthood bearers, “the rest of my servants,” are herein commanded to “set forth clearly and understandingly?”

A clue to those questions lies a little further on in that section. “For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms; I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.” (verse 118.)

The keywords in these verses are “rend their kingdoms,” “shake the earth” and “the starry heavens shall tremble.” Anyone schooled in the nature of planetary catastrophes that have punctuated Earth’s past and the prophetic metaphors they gave rise to will recognize what the Lord intended. These same metaphors have been used by the prophets to describe numerous episodes in Earth’s past when the entire world came to the brink of destruction-episodes such as Noah’s Flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Exodus and numerous other such widespread catastrophes.

The references are subtle but unmistakable. The metaphors “desolation of abomination,” or “desolation and utter abolishment” are coded expressions for planetary catastrophes of the most devastating kind where nature goes on a rampage, where almost all the works of mankind crumble in worldwide earthquakes while oceanic super-tsunamis rush in upon continents, wiping vast areas of the globe clean of any vestige of life, all as the heavens appear to reel about as a result of our planet’s wobbling on its axis of rotation.

As if to put a lock on his meaning, God added this unmistakable declaration. “For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people.” (verse 119.)

It is the powers of heaven that wreck destruction and havoc on the Earth, a frequent scriptural theme.

And just to clarify, the Lord says that there is nothing unusual to see in the heavens just now, “ye cannot see it now.” But the time will come when we will all see and know what the desolation of abomination is. That is, “yet a little while and ye shall see it.”

Finally, as a warning against dismissing the importance of this knowledge and its conveyance, the Lord said, “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-

“Which Vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.” (verses 54 and 55)

Make no mistake. Ignoring or dismissing this aspect of our priesthood callings by failing to obey the Lord’s commandment in this regard has brought condemnation upon us all. Perhaps not coincidentally, these are the very verses President Ezra Taft Benson quoted when he counseled church members to repent of their doubt and pride, saying also that the whole church was under condemnation.

Part II – Watch the Heavens

To assure the reader that the above is not a strained interpretation of a few obscure and selected verses, we should take a moment to learn why the Lord might want his priesthood to understand the cause and nature of planetary catastrophes.

In all ancient cultures, the priestly class dominated the religious life of any culture, including the symbolic center of their religious tradition: the temple. All ancient cultures had temples wherein the priestly class administered rites and rituals of salvation, whether or not they had the true priesthood.

We learn from Abraham that this was certainly true of the Egyptians. “Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations …. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham ….” (Abraham 1:26, 27.)

We know from archeology and research into the Egyptian religion that they not only had temples, but they performed resurrection rituals, much as we do in our temples today. Thus, as Abraham implies, they obviously sought to imitate true priesthood orders and rituals. (See Hugh Nibley’s extensive writings on this subject.)

Some temples were elaborately constructed edifices, such as the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Others were merely groups of standing stones, such as Stonehenge. In the Americas, pyramids were the temples of choice, as were the ziggurats of Mesopotamia. Native Americans in the southwestern United States constructed kivas. All these are easily identified as temples because of the rituals practiced therein.

But the temples weren’t only ritual centers. They were observatories, and their architecture abounds in astral alignments. Research has shown us that they assiduously tracked the movements of the heavenly bodies. As we have seen, they were absolutely obsessive about fixing and tracking the points where these bodies rose over the horizon, most especially the Sun during the summer and winter solstices.

A fundamental part of priestly responsibility was to watch the skies by tracking the movements of the Sun, the Earth, the Moon, the planets and the stars, which they accomplished with a variety of ingenious methods.

Most common among these ancient sky watchers was the practice of aligning stones or architecture such that the first rays of light from the Sun as it rose in the morning would fall on a well-marked spot on another stone or marker within a building. Thus, they could track the Sun’s rising on the horizon throughout the year as it varied, moving slightly more north or south each day until it reached its most extreme positions at the winter and summer solstices. This, then, was a simple but effective way of ascertaining that the Earth, not the Sun, was moving in its normal, prescribed path. Any deviation would easily be discerned.

This proclivity has long puzzled archeologists and anthropologists. Why did the ancients seem preoccupied with astronomy? Why did they track the movement of astral bodies? Why was astronomy so important to them that they practiced it and incorporated it into their most sacred shrines, their temples?

This was as true of God’s authentic prophets and priests as it was of the pretenders. We learn this from Abraham, for example. “But the records of the fathers, even the patriarchs, concerning the right of Priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands; therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers.” (Abraham 1:31.)

This notion is further confirmed when Abraham is shown stars and planets through the Urim and Thummim. It seems to be God’s desire that the prophets have an intimate knowledge of things astronomical. But to what end, if not to watch for irregularities in the skies?

This is reflected in our modern temples, where astral symbols abound, as they also did in ancient temples. This was and is information about the Sun, the Moon and the many stars or “great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven”-the very icons we find adorning the walls of our sacred temples.

But, what does astronomy have to do with religion and priesthood? It’s really quite simple.

God always warned the world’s inhabitants of impending planetary disasters. The scriptures are replete with such accounts. Adam and Noah warned of the coming Great Flood; Abraham warned Lot to flee Sodom and Gomorrah; Moses warned the Israelites, Pharaoh and the Egyptians of the plagues that would shortly befall them; and Samuel the Lamanite warned the Nephites of the destructions to accompany the crucifixion of the Savior.

Not only that, there are an even greater multitude of warnings regarding identical destructions and devastations in the last days, before the second coming. John wrote extensively in his Revelation. Isaiah, Malachi, Zechariah, Habakkuk, Nahum, Joel and even the Savior himself told of these planet-wide catastrophes as a “desolation of abomination.” Hence, there are a multitude of past and future warnings from the prophets in our scriptures of the “desolation and utter abolishment” that awaits the world in our day, just as they occurred in the past.

 It is only natural, then, that God would charge his priesthood with the sobering task of watching the heavens to discern any change in the motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon or the planets. Alterations in any of those would likely portend trouble.

So, this is the easily discernable reason why all ancient cultures, including those led by prophets, were so invested in watching the heavens. Any deviation in the movement of the stars or planets meant almost certain disaster for Earth’s inhabitants. So, tracking them was the sure way to know at the earliest possible moment if something went awry.

A rather practical, down-to-earth approach for such an esoteric discipline as astronomy, wouldn’t you say?

Since modern astronomy denies the possibility of any deviation in the orbits of the Earth, the Sun and the other planets in our solar system, they are left with no basis for understanding the ancients’ preoccupation with the heavens. They chalk it up to superstition, and that’s where it ends.

But ancient and modern revelation, along with all the texts left behind by other ancient cultures, repeatedly and compellingly insist that the order of the heavens was altered in historic times, in spite of the insistence to the contrary by modern science.

The prophets repeatedly spoke of a change so great, so sweeping that it completely alters both the heavens and the Earth. “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. … Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth ….” (2 Peter 3:7, 13.) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Revelation 21:1.)

This principle is most clearly enunciated in latter-day revelation. “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth.

“For old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth ….” Doctrine and Covenants 29: 23, 24.)

All this being true, then it only makes sense that God would want to reestablish this practice of watching the heavens among his priesthood in the latter days. And knowing this explains why the priesthood was assigned the duty of “watchmen” in the “watchtowers.” While a watchtower in a fortress or walled city might be useful in spotting an army of approaching foes, an astronomical observatory might effectively be thought of as a “watchtower” and the priesthood as “watchmen” where the possibility of planetary disorder exists.

Hence, the Lord implores his people, and especially those ordained to the priesthood to “Watch, therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matthew 24:42.)

Also, “Gird up your loins and be watchful and be sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, for he cometh in an hour you think not.” (Doctrine and Covenants 61:38.)

This, then, is a duty traditionally assigned to God’s priesthood bearers. That he would again restore this assignment to the priesthood in these latter days is perfectly natural and in harmony with the ancient pattern. That means that this is information and understanding that every latter-day priesthood holder should master, as we have been commanded, in order to fully discharge our sacred duties.

Not only can we better fulfill our callings through this study and practice, this information will further enhance our gospel understanding to a considerable degree, allowing us to better understand the scriptures, the words of the prophets and the symbolism of our temples. This is true because the symbolism that dominates the gospel actually originated in ancient astral events.

 Part III – The Reiteration

Lastly, in order to better understand the 84th Section, we must turn to the 88th Section, where the Lord reiterates in much more detail what he gave in the earlier revelation. Read this revelation with the counsel and commandment of the 84th Section in mind to bring greater clarity and meaning to the Lord’s expressions.

Let’s review Section 88 verse by verse, beginning about half way through.

“77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.”

God here referred to the same commandment he already gave in Section 83, as will be plainly seen as we proceed.

“78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand ….”

This is the very instruction needed to prepare a teacher to explain what the desolation of abomination is, how to watch for it and how to explain it. While we are presently doing a good job of teaching gospel principles and law, we have fallen down in the other two named categories: theory and doctrine. Otherwise, the knowledge of these planetary destructions would be common among us. Since they are not, this is prima fascia evidence of our ignorance.

And what are those things that we have failed to study and fully understand?

“79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass … and the judgments which are on the land ….”

 You see, it is in studying the “things both of heaven and in the earth” that we discover the changes wrought by past planetary catastrophes, because those changes are explicit in ancient history or “things which have been.” Of course, by studying “things which are,” we find a basis for comparison with the past. In so doing, we learn that our world and its heavens are vastly different than they were. Additionally, in studying “things which must shortly come to pass,” we learn that coming planetary disorder will be nearly identical to past catastrophes, giving us yet another basis for comparison and a vivid idea of what the future holds for this world when planetary disorder once again nearly destroys our planet, causing “desolation and utter abolishment.”

“80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.”

This is the heart of the matter. We cannot be fully prepared to “magnify the calling” we’ve been given if we have not prepared ourselves with this vital knowledge, which we now utterly lack.

“81 Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”

This is a restatement of the mission: We must “clearly and understandingly” tell them of the “desolation and utter abolishment” that awaits this world.

“84 Therefore, tarry ye, and labor diligently, that you may be perfected in your ministry ….”

Without this knowledge of planetary catastrophe, we cannot be “perfected” in our knowledge. And we cannot properly teach if our knowledge is incomplete or incorrect. Hence the Lord’s counsel to “tarry” while we “labor diligently” to learn these concepts.

 “… to go forth among the Gentiles for the last time, as many as the mouth of the Lord shall name, to bind up the law and seal up the testimony, and to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment which is to come; …”

Notice here that this mission to teach of planetary catastrophe is not only necessary to teach the nonmembers or “Gentiles,” it is needful “to prepare the saints for the hour of judgment.” Thus, this mission is as much to the members of the church as it is to potential converts. This is the second part of the commandment, which we have completely overlooked.

“85 That their souls may escape the wrath of God, the desolation of abomination which awaits the wicked, both in this world and in the world to come.”

Just to clarify that both sections 84 and 88 are talking about the same things, notice that the Lord once again cites the “desolation of abomination,” while yet further defining it as the “wrath of God.”

And here’s the payoff. So that we might be certain of what he’s talking about, the Lord describes the desolation’s most prominent elements.

“87 For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.”

It is these variously described, symbolic elements that are seen to comprise the effects that accompany a planetary disaster.

In Section 84, he cited another such symbolic, yet very real, element. ” I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens shall tremble.”

It is the comprehension of these metaphors, and the many other symbolically described elements, that are crucial to one’s understanding of the very things we’ve been commanded to teach, that is “set forth clearly and understandingly.” It is these elements of planetary catastrophe that we must master in order to teach them to others.

“88 And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people.”

The Lord said the same thing with more obscure language in Section 84 when he said, “For, with you saith the Lord Almighty, I will rend their kingdoms.”

That is to say, first comes the priesthood’s warning, then comes the destruction. It’s the same pattern followed throughout world history: God calls a prophet to warn the people of impending disaster and call them to repentance. That done, the promised destructions are poured out.

For good measure, the Lord then lists many more elements of a planetary encounter.

“89 For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand.

“90 And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

“91 And all things shall be in commotion; surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people.”

Again, it is these natural phenomenon that constitute the prophesied desolation.

Next is an entirely metaphorical narrative that cannot be understood until one is thoroughly schooled in the prophetic tradition that arose from past planetary calamity. It is coded language, symbolic allusions to very real things that will be seen and heard.

“92 And angels shall fly through the midst of heaven, crying with a loud voice, sounding the trump of God, saying: Prepare ye, prepare ye, O inhabitants of the earth; for the judgment of our God is come. Behold, and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”

It is in the decoding of such metaphors or symbolic language that a corrected view of ancient planetary catastrophe becomes vital. With it, we can see what such allegorical declarations truly mean.

Now comes the “piece de resistance” of this revelation.

“93 And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.”

It is this “great sign” that is the cause of these overwhelming natural phenomenon that will sweep the Earth.

Some have supposed that since the word “sign” is used here that there would be some stunning, symbolic manifestation in the heavens that would signal the onset of the destructions. But, the training and education that comes with studying past planetary encounters tell us otherwise.

Joseph Smith explained in more explicit terms what that “great sign” would be.

 “There will be wars and rumors of wars, signs in the heavens above and on the earth beneath, the sun turned into darkness and the moon to blood, earthquakes in divers places, the seas heaving beyond their bounds; then will appear one grand sign of the coming of the Son of Man in heaven.  What will the world do?  They will say it is a planet, a comet, &c.”  (History of the Church, 5:337.)

Of course, the entire world will call this sign a planet or a comet because that’s exactly what it will be-a planet-sized orb that also looks and behaves like a tremendous comet.

And just so there are no loose ends to this exposition, make note that Joseph connects this “sign” with all the same devastating natural destructions as the two revelations we’ve been considering. That can lead to only one, inescapable conclusion: The planet or comet is not only a sign, it is the very agent-the single cause-of all the natural destructions that are part of God’s desolation.

 Epilogue

 After all this exposition, these points are worth making one last time: It is the Lord who decreed that the priesthood’s role is to be the conservators and expositors of this knowledge among church members. Not only that, they were charged with watching the heavens for deviations that might portend renewed catastrophes.

Sadly, present-day priesthood holders not only do not understand these things, they are inclined to discount and suppress them, thinking they are too fantastic or bizarre to be credible. Most elders in the church know nothing of the simplest aspects of astronomy, thinking it something entirely and completely foreign to the gospel of Christ. Yet, a survey of teachings by general authorities from Joseph Smith on forward has revealed that these subjects have been amply treated and clarified in this dispensation, to say nothing of the preponderance of evidence found in our scriptures and the other records we have from the past.

Today’s priesthood holders have no concept of such a mandate from the Lord, even though it is plainly stated in latter day revelation. Neither have they properly searched our scriptures, otherwise these things would have been self evident. Therefore, today’s priesthood holders are unable to comply with the Lord’s mandate to teach these truths “clearly and understandingly.”

Perhaps its time we stopped treating prophecy and prophetic imagery as the redheaded stepchild of the gospel. Maybe it’s time we reversed our course by taking seriously this commandment. By admitting our oversight, we can begin to correct it.

Remember God’s counsel: “And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-

“Which Vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.” (Section 84:54, 55.)

Will we allow this to continue?

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The Great and Abominable Church


2,575 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2002

The Great and Abominable Church

Many surprises await the serious student of scripture and ancient history-revelations about our past and the true nature of the world we live in.  Most surprising, however, is the revelation that all is not as it seems in our culture and its most fundamental institutions.

For example, in the Book of Mormon we read about “a great and abominable church” seen by Nephi in his great revelation to emerge after the time of the original apostles and continue on up into the time of the Gentiles.  (Nephi 13:26.)  This vile institution is named disparagingly in both the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine & Covenants.  The natural conclusion is that Latter-day Saints should be able to identify it and thus avoid its dastardly influence.

However, as it turns out, the exact identity of this “church” is a matter of some conjecture and confusion among Latter-day Saints.  Most interpret Nephi’s statements to refer to the Catholic church.  However, that assessment may not be accurate since the great and abominable church was said by him to have “dominion over all the earth,” something well beyond the dominance of the Catholic church.  Others have argued that governments in general fill the bill of the “great and abominable church” for reasons that will become clear further on.

On the one hand, a careful reading of these scriptures indicates that Nephi simply spoke is general terms with the intent of depicting the division between good and evil in the world as churches.  “Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil …”-a point well made and easily understood. (1 Nephi 14:10.)

On the other hand, it appears that Nephi also intended to warn us of a specific institution in the world that would have a recognizable history and agenda.  He indicated that it would evolve as a religion.  Hence, it would be in a position to do considerable spiritual damage so that it would “blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men.”  (See Nephi 13:26.)  Seemingly, any institution with such a history, sweeping influence and a despicable agenda should be easy to spot.  But the confusion among Latter-day Saints regarding this “church” indicates that this is simply not the case.

This begs the following questions:  How are we to guard against the wicked influence of an institution we cannot readily identify?  Is it possible, even likely, that this “church” is working its vile influence among the Saints today?  Does Nephi’s warning to us, the Gentiles, that we should avoid the trap, “that great pit,” that this institution might present to us goes unheeded since we do not seem to know which institution and ideas to defend ourselves against?

Clearly, a more careful analysis is in order so as to determine what this “church” might be and what harmful doctrines it may be imposing upon us.

To begin with, we must go back in history to see if we might thereby learn the nature and origin of this “church” and how it manages to “blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men” in order to understand how it might insinuate its distorted ideas and values into our lives.

Additionally, what the Book of Mormon prophet foresaw as a “church” may appear to be an entirely different institution in our eyes.  Thus, the organization we seek may not appear to us to be a church at all, judging by a reading of all references to it, even though that word used by Nephi to designate it might also be appropriate, given its historical development from the true church. 

Let’s look at history to possibly learn more about this “great and abominable church.”

It is well understood by Latter-day Saints how the primitive church ceased to function in its purity when revelation ceased after the death of the early apostles.  History indicates that what was once the true church metamorphosed into the Catholic church, still preaching some tenets of the true church, but having denied much that is “plain and most precious.”  Hence, many have sought to show that the Catholic is the “great and abominable church,” but that may be an oversimplified, partial truth, as we shall see.

Moving forward in time, we see that the Catholic church grew to dominate Western cultures.  It came to be the universal church that largely governed the Holy Roman Empire.  Thus, it can be correctly argued that the church also became a form of shadow government, ruling all the empires of the West for centuries thru the Papacy.

This condition endured for centuries until a handful of reformers decided to challenge the precepts and practices of the mother church.  The Reformation, as this confrontation and religious schism came to be known, gave rise to numerous protesting groups or churches in Christianity, hence the term Protestant.  These new churches, even when taken together with the Catholic, fall short of the malevolent church we seek since they still fall short of a worldwide institution.

Yet, there was one institution born during the Reformation that deserves our special attention, one that declined to call itself a church yet has all the earmarks of a religion.  The tactic employed by this group was to denounce religion as anathema to logical, rational thinking and investigation.  This group proclaimed that all religion was misguided, that it was a blight on the quest for knowledge since religion employed faith rather than intellect.  Their group, they proclaimed, would avoid any such stigma by distancing itself from religion altogether.

Ironically, this newly born institution, which refused to call itself a church, took on many characteristics of a religion, or church, as we shall see.  As its adherents went about organizing this new institution, it evolved much as the other protesting religions with its own dogma, catechism and priesthood.

This institution is orthodox science.

Naturally, the implication that science might be part of Nephi’s “great and abominable church” might be shocking and outrageous to some.  Nevertheless, as we shall see, such may well be the case.  Normative science, as an institution, fits Nephi’s description in that it pervades all societies and cultures worldwide and it contradicts and disparages all the basic tenets of the true religion, all the while making it difficult for the faithful to understand vital parts of the restored gospel.  And while the search for knowledge is noble and proper, what passes as science, in too many instances, is actually institutionalized ignorance.

More analysis is necessary to establish the case in point.

History reveals that science began in the Renaissance as an alternative philosophy to religion, a reactionary rebellion opposed to the intellectual repression of the dominant orthodox church.  Galileo’s struggle with ecclesiastical authorities to prove that the Earth was not the center of the universe is a quintessential example.  In effect, it can be said that science was simply one of several Protestant movements, born in the Reformation, all of them giving rise to modern religious institutions.

Science, however, sought to convince the world that it was not a religion but a philosophy.  However, in practice, as an institution, science began to operate much like a church.  When one looks closely at science as a belief system and at its satellite institutions, it looks remarkably like a religion.  Hence, Nephi’s decision to call this new institution a “church” was accurate.

The similarities between the science church and normative religion are striking.  Consider, for example, that this new movement ultimately copied the organization it diverged from when it established its education and training arm: universities.  Education had formerly been the responsibility of the church clergy.  One had to be educated to become a clergyman and vice versa.  Today’s universities, the incubators for our young scientists and scholars, began life in the Renaissance as the educational arm of the church-seminaries, in effect-and they still carry remnants of those religious trappings.  Indeed, seen from this perspective, the role of the university is to indoctrinate or inculcate the precepts of the science church. 

As the result of its origins in arcane religious orders, the terminology used in modern universities still hearkens back to its roots.  For example, graduates don the robes, caps and gowns that can be traced back to ancient monastic and sacerdotal orders.  It is for this reason that Dr. Hugh Nibley, a former BYU religion instructor once asked in his opening prayer in a convocation exercise that God might forgive those attending for wearing “the robes of false priesthood.”  Additionally, upon graduation, universities bestow ‘degrees,’ a term still used in many religious orders today, such as Masonry, to designate the rank or status of practitioners.

We call those who teach in these institutions of higher education ‘professors’ rather than teachers because they originally did far more than teach; they professed a belief and faith in things metaphysical or spiritual to the initiates or students.  Those who enroll in universities are said to ‘matriculate,’ the word coming from the Latin ‘mater’ or mother, meaning that initiates had enrolled in the ‘mother’ church.

The science church established its own dogma or doctrine, which it promulgates through the universities.  It found its ‘catechism’ in Uniformity or Gradualism as well as Natural Selection or Evolution.  Its sacrament is Rationalism and Empiricism; the tenets of the Newtonian universe became its articles of faith.

Latter-day Saints should readily recognize that all of the above named theories stand in direct contradiction to many tenets of the restored gospel.

As a further example of science as a church, those who fail to adopt or contradict the science church dogma find themselves shunned or excommunicated from the scientific community, just as in religion, no matter how inspired or workable their theories.  The example of Halton Arp, a Nobel Prize winning astronomer, demonstrates the process.  In spite of his elevated status in the scientific community, when Arp brought forth evidence that contradicted some of the fundamental tenets of astronomy he was systematically denied telescope time and barred from teaching his views in any effective forum.

Oddly, since science rejected the Catastrophism of religion, it had no eschatology until the nuclear age dawned.  The atomic bomb and the nuclear holocaust it foreshadowed became science’s eschatological vision of a world-ending cataclysm and nuclear winter brought on by mankind’s super technology.

Still more odd, the religionists immediately agreed, thus abandoning their historic Catastrophist views, rooted in Holy Scripture, wherein God was said to be the agent of latter-day destructions.

The “Big Bang” hypothesis is simply the science church’s version of creation.  The Unified Field Theory is science’s Holy Grail, which is just as elusive and ephemeral a prize as the religious/mythical grail.

An objective examination of history thus reveals that the religion of science, having spread its influence world-wide, crossing every cultural and ethnic boundary, is clearly a candidate for the scriptural “great and abominable church.”  But the primary reason it qualifies is because it contravenes and contradicts the precepts of the restored gospel at almost every turn-much more so than the tenets of any other religious denomination.  Additionally, as we have seen, it emerged from the Reformation along with most of the other Christian sects.

As alluded to earlier, the basic doctrines of science are badly flawed.  Past Eschatus issues have delved somewhat into these faulty theories.  Catastrophism teaches us that gravity is not a constant, that the sun is not a thermonuclear engine, that there was no ‘big bang’ to start creation, that the galaxy and the universe are organized and powered by electrically charged plasmas, that our solar system did not coalesce out of raw matter circling the sun, that geologic history did not occur over “billions and billions” of years, as we have been taught, and that the world and its heavens have changed dramatically in historic times, just to name a few precepts.  Any Latter-day Saint who fully embraces the fundamental doctrine of the restored gospel knows that Evolution or Natural Selection is a flawed concept.  Thus we see, in summary, that on almost every count the fundamental doctrines of the science church are false.

By holding on like grim death to baldy flawed axioms in the face of mounting evidence against them, orthodox science does great harm to all mankind.  As in Galileo’s case where the Catholic church opposed a truly enlightened view of the evidence, holding on instead to its flawed dogma, now it is orthodox science that impedes progress by creating vacuous, ad hoc theories to explain phenomena that do not fit its doctrine while either utterly ignoring evidence that contravenes its doctrine or summarily dismissing it without consideration.  It is the science church that now stands in the way of progress.  Thus, the science church fulfills the scriptural prediction that it would “pervert the right ways of the Lord” and “blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men,” fully qualifying it as the great and abominable church of which Nephi wrote.

Sadly, modern Mormons have been largely reconciled to science, generally accepting the doctrines of the science church as fact-something that would have horrified early Saints.  Mormons have accommodated the apparent conflict between science and revealed religion by living with a glaring dichotomy to which most turn a blind eye-a clear case of doctrinal denial.  On the one hand Latter-day Saints profess a belief in the gospel while at the same time accepting as fact the dogma of the science church that contradict those beliefs, leaving modern Saints with a kind of intellectual and spiritual schizophrenia that blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts, just as Nephi said it would.  No wonder he warned us so stridently about this “church.”  It has done precisely what he warned us it would do, corrupting the Saints’ understanding of the gospel, causing them to disregard, to one degree or another, the revelations from God.

Make no mistake.  This is not a diatribe against learning or discovery, nor is it a condemnation of the restored gospel and the religion that champions it.  It is a denunciation of Saints who allow themselves to fall into the trap laid by the science church.  This is a harangue against science as an institution, an obdurate organization that enshrines tenure and the status quo which that practice promotes, that uses a peer review system that stifles new approaches to problems and new ideas.  Not only does it not promote the dispassionate inquiry it so mightily proclaims, it works diligently against it by suppressing anything beyond its established, but flawed, paradigm.

That is not the way to enlightenment.

True science can have no conflict with revealed religion, as so many latter-day prophets and apostles have declared.  Yet, orthodox science continues to wage war with the Saints, demeaning and contravening gospel precepts at every turn.  The science church has become as intractable and detrimental as the church from which it disengaged.  It certainly qualifies as Nephi’s “great and abominable church” in every respect.  Clearly it is a fraud perpetrated on the entire world.

So, Nephi was right.

As “children of the light,” Latter-day Saints would do well to heed Nephi’s warning, to oppose the “great and abominable church” now that we have identified it.  We may oppose it by not letting it mould and shape our paradigm, by opposing its dogma and criticism of us.  Rather, we should test all theorems by the standard of the revealed gospel.

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The Lost Tribes


1,586 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2002

The Lost Tribes

Jesus was often called a “Galilean” in his day, according to the gospels. That is likely so because he was raised in Nazareth, a city proximate to the Sea of Galilee in an area in Northern Palestine that was known as Galilee or Samaria. Anyone from that area could rightly be referred to as a Galilean.

The practice of calling people from that area “Galileans” was widespread, apparently—certainly more common than calling them Israelites. The name seems to have followed groups of people who migrated from Northern Palestine sometime before the time of Christ to an area south of the Black Sea in what is presently modern Turkey. Evidence of this is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, which he addressed to “the churches of Galatia.” (Galatians 1:2.) Clearly, the Galatians were Galileans who had brought the place-name of their homeland with them, subsequently lending it to their new locality.

Therefore, it should be no surprise to learn that, much earlier, these people were an identifiable group known to both the Romans and the Greeks before them. The Romans called the people from the Galatia region “Galatae,” a Latin pronunciation. Since Galatia was also proximate to the ancient Greek city-states, the Greeks also recognized them, calling them “Keltoi,” a Greek derivation of the same word.

It is in these two variations that we find a whole new slant on history and the destiny of the biblical Israelites.

What is not generally recognized is that derivations of this same place name can be found in Europe. In his letters to Rome describing his campaign against the barbarians in Europe in 58 B.C., Julius Caesar wrote, “All Gaul is divided into three parts.” Indeed, the “Gallic” tribes he found there are known to us as Gaels who spoke Gaelic. Also known as Kelts, from the Greek “Keltoi,” they are now called Celts. Evidently, the Galileans had done considerable wandering.

This etymological trail leads us to a remarkable conjecture. Did ancient Israelites living in Northern Israel/Palestine migrate northward in large numbers into Europe anciently, long before the time of Christ, intermingling with the native peoples living there, giving the place name of their homeland, Galilee, to each locale where they settled and to themselves as Galileans?

One of the more enduring enigmas of ancient history is the disappearance of the so-called Lost Tribes—most of the House of Israel. While it is well known that there were once 12 tribes of Israel, today we find only two: Judah and Levi, who are collectively called Jews.

The question is, where are the other ten tribes?

The Old Testament relates that at the death of King Solomon, Israel split into two nations. The tribes of Judah, Levi and some of Benjamin occupied Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom. The other ten tribes occupied the Northern Kingdom. Each territory had its own king, and the inhabitants considered themselves the rightful heirs of the name Israel.

The northward migrations began in Isaiah’s time, when the Assyrian king Sennacherib invaded Israel from the northeast. The people living in Northern Israel could choose to stand and fight, or they could seek refuge from the Assyrian juggernaut by migrating northward.

Still later, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar also invaded Palestine. Once again, it is likely that large numbers of Israelites fled northward rather than face the invading Babylonians who went on to conquer and deport all the Jews in Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom to the northern extremity of Babylonia.

Finally, many Jews who were later freed from their exile by a more beneficent Babylonian king chose to migrate northward rather than return to Jerusalem.

Could it be that these three were the migrations that found their way into Europe? Curiously, there is yet another etymological clue that supports this view.

Anciently, Jews or any of the Israelite tribes were properly called Hebrews. Interestingly, ancient Egyptian letters use that very name, confirming our thesis. Called the Amarna tablets after the site where they were discovered in middle Egypt in 1887, they were written to the Egyptian pharaoh Akenaten by vassal kings in Palestine. (See Tel el-Amarna Letters in the Bible Dictionary in the L.D.S. King James Version of the Bible, p. 780.) Some of these letters from rulers in Canaan (Palestine) speak of invading marauders from the east desert, calling them “Habiru”—a name clearly related to our word “Hebrew.” Thus we see that as early as the 14th century B.C., Israelites were identified as Hebrews.

Apparently, Galileans, fleeing first Assyrian and then later Babylonian armies, migrated northward to settle in Europe after detouring around the Black Sea—some through the Caucasus on the east where they came to be called Caucasians, and others across the Bosphorous Straits and modern Istanbul on the west where they could follow the same route into the heart of Europe that the Orient Express takes today.

Interestingly, as we look north and west from the Middle East in the directions where the Ten Tribes likely fled, we find many place-names and people that use some form of the root word Habiru or Hebrew.

In the far north of modern Russia we find a region called Siberia. Once again, the root ‘iberia’ or ‘iberiu’ is prominent, indicating that many Hebrews may have migrated there. Notably, some historians place the Lost Tribes in the area of the Volga River in the Russian Steppes where it is likely that the inhabitants named their city Samara after their homeland Samaria. Additionally, their ruling aristocracy spoke fluent Hebrew. More than 700 inscriptions in the Crimea suggest Hebrew origins, and Hebrew burial tombs have been traced as far north as Sweden where 19 of 22 Hebrew tribal symbols have been found in the area occupied by Germanic tribes. (Church News, May 15, 1982, p. 10.)

From the city Tarshish (Tarsis), home of the Apostle Paul on the southwest coast of modern Spain, we learn that the Celts in that locality called themselves “Iberiu,” a name strikingly similar to the Habiru of the Amarna letters and our word “Hebrew.” Indeed, France, Spain and Portugal occupy a peninsula that is called Iberia to this day, derived from the name of the people who inhabited the region. In fact, the people who live there were historically called Celtiberians, a combination of the two names the Israelites brought with them: Kelts (Galatae, Galileans) and Iberiu (Habiru, Hebrews).

And they persisted in their westward migration. The last bastion of Celtic culture in modern times is Ireland—the furthermost westerly bit of real estate in Europe—whose ancient name is Hibernia, another derivation of Hebrew (Iberiu).

All these similar sounding names cannot be mere coincidence. Clearly, the migrating Galileans also took the name “Hebrew” with them, subsequently using it as a root word for many place names where they settled on the European continent.

If such were the case, then one might expect to find Hebrew words in the many European languages. And so it is.

Linguistic research done by Dr. Terry M. Blodgett, a Latter-day Saint whose doctoral dissertation, “Phonological Similarities in Germanic and Hebrew,” delineates a dramatic “Semitic Sound Shift” that occurred in the Germanic languages (German, English, Dutch and Scandinavian) between 700 B.C. and 500 B.C.—precisely the time frame for the three northward migrations of Israelite tribes detailed previously.

Dr. Blodgett compares the Germanic language changes with ancient Hebrew and finds similarities between the two that are more than coincidental.

“At the same early period of history identified previously, the Germanic dialects added many new words to their vocabularies which were not Indo-European in origin. Approximately one-third of all Germanic vocabulary is listed in the etymological dictionaries as being of unknown origin. A comparison of these words with Hebrew vocabulary reveals that these words are similar to words in Hebrew.” (Church News, May 15, 1982, p. 10.)

There were several identifiable migrations of Hebrew-speaking people into Northern Europe, according to Dr. Blodgett, and it was that sudden influx of Hebrew-speaking people that was the likely cause of the Germanic Sound Shift.

In fact, there may be many ethnic groups names and place names in Europe that are Hebrew in origin but used in a Germanic syntax, a predictable effect of the blending of the two languages which reverses the order of the Hebrew words. For example, “son of Isaac,” in Hebrew (Ben Isaac) becomes “Isaac’s son” in English. Joined and abbreviated over time, the name became “Saxon.”

The word ‘British’ may be a combination of two Hebrew words: brit, meaning ‘covenant,’ and isha, meaning ‘man’—brit-isha or British.

The conclusion is inescapable. When Joseph Smith sent out the first missionaries to a foreign country, they went to the British Isles because “England is rich in the blood of Israel”—not an idle comment since those wandering Israelites have been moving westward ever since they entered Northern Europe over two millennia ago.

Of course, a prophet of God would know these things. It only makes sense that a restoration of the true gospel in the last days would take place among descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) who would be compelled by subtle, spiritual urges to settle in their “land of promise.”

Hence, we now see new meaning in the words of Joseph Smith when he wrote, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent …” (The Articles of Faith, #10.)

So, if you are of European descent, the next time someone asks you where the Ten Lost Tribes went, you can say, “You’re lookin’ at ’em!”

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A Matter of Time


1,519 words

© Anthony E. Larson, 2003

A Matter of Time

Search as much as you like, you will find little archeological or historical evidence to confirm much of the Old Testament. If you are a student of the scriptures, then you have undoubtedly been frustrated by this fact.

Early hopes of religionists, Latter-day Saints included, that biblical archeology and scholarly research would vindicate the Old Testament as accurate history have been repeatedly dashed.

Some of the first work done by 19th century Egyptologists was to create a comprehensive, chronological record of Egyptian history. Archeologists and historians decided that since it seemed to be the most complete chronological record of ancient history, as well as the oldest and the most long lived, Egyptian history could be used to create a complete, chronological timeline. It would thus function as a yardstick to correlate events in all the other contemporary ancient cultures in the Middle East and the Mediterranean—including those of the Hebrews or the Israelites—into a unified, seamless historical overview.

The sad reality was, though, once the Egyptian timeline was firmly established, scholars and historians found that archeological evidence seemed to contradict the historical timeline of the Old Testament at almost every turn. There seemed to be no evidence of the major events of Israelite history, as recorded in the Bible. There was little or no data confirming the existence of the Israelite nation in Egypt, no evidence of the Exodus or the conquest of Canaan in the relevant archeological strata.

For example, when Kathryn Kenyon excavated the site of ancient Jericho, she found a city with massive walls that had crumbled due to a sizeable earthquake. This was strongly suggestive of the biblical narrative that tells how the Israelite army, under Joshua’s leadership, took Jericho after its impressive city wall fell. But because of the conventional archeological dating of artifacts found at the site, Kenyon surmised that the fabled walls of Jericho fell hundreds of years before Joshua’s arrival, casting considerable doubt on the accuracy of the Old Testament as history.

In fact, these types of findings led many archeologists to doubt the historicity and the validity of a large part of the Bible. Most historians and scholars today consider most of the Old Testament to be conjured or borrowed history, if not mere mythology.

Frustrated religionists, Christians and Jews alike, were left with little historical or archeological evidence to support the sacred record. The advent of modern science and scholasticism had been no help. Archeology would be no friend to religion. It was as if the Old Testament Hebrews or Israelites never existed—a disturbing state of affairs.

Then a quiet revolution began.

A few maverick historians and archeologists suggested that their colleagues had, as one researcher put it, “been looking in the right places, but in the wrong time.” That is, they saw glaring flaws in the accepted chronology of ancient history.

These unorthodox scholars, such as British archeologist and historian David Rohl, sought to create a new chronology, one less arbitrary and more accommodating of strong historical and archeological evidence for inter-cultural correlations that were rejected in the old, rigid chronological scheme. Rohl and others suggested egregious errors in the Egyptian timeline had, in effect, dislocated and distorted other histories—including the Hebrew. They recommend that documented connections or correlations in the historical and archeological record should be allowed to speak for themselves instead of forcing an illogical, rigid chronology on all ancient history.

The result is a fascinating, insightful chronological and historical revision.

The happy news for Latter-day Saints and religionists everywhere is that by allowing heretofore discounted correlations between Egyptian and Hebrew histories to stand alone, irrespective of any ‘established’ chronology, we discover that much of the long sought for evidence of the validity of the Old Testament record has been right under our noses all the time.

For two centuries no evidence was found for the Israelites when looking in Egypt in the strata of the 19th Dynasty. Amended chronologies now suggest that the Israelite sojourn in Egypt be placed in the 12th and 13th dynasties. With that revision, we suddenly find a wealth of archaeological evidence corroborating the biblical account—some very revealing of ancient events, people and situations. The orthodox timeline prevented us from seeing them because the dating created an illusion of history that was really a dislocation in time, in most cases by hundreds of years.

Evidence of the Exodus, perhaps the most impressive event in Hebrew history, has been lacking in profane history for this very reason.

In the old chronology, Ramases II was thought to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus, if there was one at all. There was little evidence for a large population of Hebrew slaves, for ‘plagues’ that swept the Nile Valley or for the decimation of the Egyptian armies, as the Old Testament relates.

In the new chronology, the Exodus occurred toward the end of the 13th Dynasty. Pharaoh Tutimaeus, or Didimose, emerges as the ruler whom Moses confronted. Thus, the corrected chronology gives new meaning to Josephus’ quote of the Egyptian scholar, Manetho, when he writes, “Tutimaos: in his reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us.”

The “blast of God” in the time of Tutimaos (Tutimaeus or Didimose) can now be seen as the Exodus plagues.

What is more, the Exodus story suggests that Egypt was left defenseless since Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the Red Sea. So, the Amalkites that did battle with the Israelites, who were on their way to Canaan, went on to easily conquer Egypt and became known to history as the barbarous Hyksos.

The new chronology allows a reassessment of the archeological and historical record, offering many fascinating historical details and creating a much more complete picture of Hebrew history in Egypt.

Egyptian history and archeology now confirm that Joseph became a vizier under Pharaoh Amenemhat III, and the Egyptian Labyrinth at Hawara with its thousands of storerooms was nothing less than Joseph’s administration center for the distribution of grain during the famine.

Near Tell ed-Daba in the Nile delta region, archeologists excavated a large city beneath the city of Ramesses, mentioned in Exodus 1:ll. This city, which was called Avaris, anciently, had a large Israelite quarter. A magnificent palace with 12 pillars was excavated there and is thought to be Joseph’s. Additional evidence for that conclusion was a tomb found in the palace garden with the desecrated remains of a twice life-size statue with a uniquely Hebrew hairstyle—likely a statue of Joseph, the most powerful Hebrew in Egyptian history.

Further, death pits discovered at Avaris attest to the deaths of the Egyptian first born during that plague. What is more, immediately after this disaster, the remaining population left the city en masse—a startling corroboration of the Israelite Exodus following a terrible pestilence.

The same historical revision reveals evidence for the later Hebrew Monarchy in Palestine during the time of Saul, David and Solomon, which had been completely discounted under the old chronology. It now shines forth to illuminate the Old Testament accounts of that era and give it a historical context that has been utterly lacking heretofore.

As it turns out, the Amarna letters, clay tablets found at Tell el-Amarna over a century ago, record the correspondence of the famous Pharaoh Akhenaten with rulers in Canaan, and contain information about the Israelite conquest of that area following the Exodus. They paint a more complete picture of a tribal Palestine that corroborates the biblical picture described by the prophet Samuel.

Indeed, they tell of a king named Labayu, meaning “the great lion of Yahweh,” who shows scant respect for Pharaoh in his communiqué to that Egyptian potentate. The career of Labayu in the Amarna letters is strikingly similar to that of Saul, who was also known as the “great lion of Yahweh.” Thus, we reach the astounding conclusion that we have had in our possession a letter from Saul to Akhenaten, warning off an Egyptian Pharaoh, for over a century without recognizing it for what it is.

Moreover, the Amarna letters yield dozens of names recognizable to scholars as equivalents to familiar, prominent biblical characters of that era. Ayab is Joab, commander of David’s army. Dadua is a form of the name David, and Yishuya is Jesse (Yishay in Hebrew), David’s father.

We can now also see that instead of reigning in the impoverished Early Iron Age where conventional chronology puts him, Solomon is now seen to rule in the Late Bronze Age, a period of wealth and prosperity in the Levant. His contemporaries in Egypt were Haremheb and Seti I. An ivory piece excavated at Megiddo, which the Bible tells us was built up by Solomon, depicts a king on his throne flaked by two sphinxes with his queen before him. This could very well be Solomon and the Egyptian queen (I Kings 3:1) since Solomon is said to have had a throne flanked with lions.

Naturally, conventional historians and archeologists hotly contest such notions. The reputations of some eminent scholars and well-established academic careers are at stake in this debate.

Any Latter-day Saint wishing to better understand the characters found in the Old Testament and the history of God’s dealings with Israel and its prophets would do well to inform themselves of the revelations coming from these avant-garde archeologists and historians working on the revision of ancient history and its chronology.

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Bringing Stan Tenen and The Meru Foundation to the Attention of all LDS [alternate title: Doing what4anarchy’s Job]


Some Background Information

what4anarchy and I have a running joke—at least, I think it’s funny; he isn’t all that amused—where every time he mentions the name Stan Tenen, I can’t help but chuckle. The joke is that over the years he has mentioned Stan so many times in conversations—in fact, I’d say that in pretty much every conversation we have it is fairly guaranteed that he will mention Stan—that I kid him that Stan is his prophet, that he is engaging in Stan worship or prophet worship.

Now, although he has mentioned him to me for years, it still took what4anarchy awhile before he actually got a Stan Tenen video in front of me; and despite my teasing, I did watch it. But I think I was really tired from working and ended up falling asleep, not remembering everything/anything, etc.

Well, to his credit, what4anarchy kept after me and got another media production in front of me: a Meru Foundation dvd. This time I was awake. Although it was still the same tall, long-haired Jewish guy at a white board lecturing in a small classroom setting that I had seen earlier, I didn’t fall asleep. My kids did not appreciate that I was spending hours watching this guy talking about “weird” things. They wanted to see a “real movie,” an “entertaining movie,” not some “boring” movie.

It struck me that my young, inexperienced children were defining the word “boring” to mean anything that engages the mind to think deeply, whereas anything that disengages it so that they don’t have to think things through, but only receive visual and audio stimulation, is “exciting.” My own definition of those two words would be quite the opposite.

As I said, this time I was awake.

Afterward what4anarchy asked me what I thought and he wanted to know if I “got it.” Well, I got it. And here’s what I thought:

MY THOUGHTS

Now, before I begin, you need to understand that what4anarchy and myself part company when it comes to “striving with the masses.” (By “the masses” I’m referring to a strictly LDS audience.) He will continually strive with them, trying to open their minds. I will give them the time of day, but the instant I see a closed mind, I shut my mouth and say nothing more. But he will attempt to bait them again and again, hoping for a bite in which some more truth important to the gospel can be thrown in. In fact, he even uses Stan as bait. Stan. Before hearing Stan Tenen speak (without sleeping through it) that didn’t impress me. Now it does. You see, Stan Tenen is on a whole ‘nother level than your average church-going member.

Mental laziness

We LDS (in general) are mentally lazy, just as all of us Americans (in general) are mentally lazy. Stan cannot be watched and comprehended without engaging the mind. So, in my estimation, trying to open up Stan to a LDS is a futile effort. It is like trying to get young, inexperienced children to watch a guy at a white board talk about geometric shapes. They ain’t going to do it! Even if you force them to sit and watch, they will be thinking of other things and will learn absolutely nothing. There is no way children can do it. Adults can do it, but children can’t, unless they are above average in maturity.

And that’s basically what I told what4anarchy. “Yes, Stan and The Meru Foundation research is amazingly pertinent to a study of the restored gospel, despite he being a non-LDS Jew. You know it and now I know it. It will benefit us, but there is no way LDS can be shown this and they’d be interested. It doesn’t come from Salt Lake. It’s about the Hebrew language (not the English language in which the modern prophets of God speak, if you get my drift.) Stan’s a mathematician, not a theologian. This is scientific, not religious. They’ll never go for it.” Etc., etc.

So why am I doing it? Because I inadvertently mentioned Stan in a recent comment on this blog and since I’ve now let the cat out of the bag and since what4anarchy was really the man to talk about Stan but he’s too busy to do it, I guess I’ll do it just to do it and get it over with. But I don’t expect anyone at all to actually be interested in him.

Why Meru Foundation Research Is Important

Stan found a fundamental gesture language in Hebrew, which contains both the one and the infinite all locked together. Using the gesture language alone, he has been able to uncover secrets of the Universe and about God, things which only temple-attending LDS should know. When a temple-attending LDS (that doesn’t sleep through sessions) takes what Stan Tenen and The Meru Foundation have discovered and learned using this gesture language, and then super-imposes it upon the restored gospel knowledge base, suddenly new “mysteries of godliness” open up to view. To those LDS who never access Tenen’s work or who never study Hebrew in the way he has done, revealing the hidden “gesture language,” they will remain perpetually in the dark concerning these other mysteries.

Personally, I think that is as it should be. But in case there are some interested in learning more about Stan and his work, click any of the following video links to open up a new window and see some of the free video nuggets he has allowed out. Then, if you are still interested, go into his web site and dig deeper. Good luck!

The Videos

All of these are on Google video:

A Good Introductory Video

First Light: An Overview of Meru Foundation Research (30:36)

The “Extreme Kabbalah” Series

Hebrew, Ayin to Tav (1:31)

Geometric Metaphor in Torah (1:10)

Genesis is Woven (1:18 )

Genesis in Base-3 (1:31)

Framing Meru Research: Reconciling the Irreconcilable (1:35)

Finding Geometry in Genesis (4:07)

Bible Math: Wreaths, Baskets, Braids, and Knots (2:35 not currently available)

Bible Literalism (1:16)

Bible Codes (1:57)

Beyond Babel: The Gesture Alphabet of Genesis (1:14)

All Letters are from Yud (1:59)

Modeling Genesis (1:47)

Mind–Hand–World (1:31)

Logic and Hierarchy of Genesis (1:45)

Literal Meaning in the Bible (1:22)

Hebrew Flame Letters (1:18 )

Vortex Flame Letters: Separating Sense from Nonsense (1:25)

A Universal Mode of Life (3:58 )

Torah and Pi (2:05)

Torah: A Universal Constant (1:34)

Toku K’varo: The Hand Unifies Mind and World (2:29)

The Tree of Life (2:29)

The Meditation in Genesis (1:52)

The Letter-Text of Genesis as Creation (1:44)

The Letter Bet (1:21)

The Hand of Genesis (1:46)

The God of Abraham (3:58 )

The Genesis Torus (“Donut”) (1:18 )

The First Word of Genesis and the Bible Codes (1:53)

Solving Babel: Universal Gesture Language (1:24)

Self-Reference in Genesis and the Alphabet (1:20)

The Letters of Genesis: A Natural Unfurlment (1:31 on YouTube)

Hebrew, Greek, Arabic Letters from Genesis (1:11 on YouTube)

Introducing Hebrew Gesture Letters

Dance of the Hebrew Letters (34:34)

Next Stan Tenen article: A note from Stan Tenen

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

The hollow earth theory, the plasma model and Mormon theology


I haven’t thought or spoken about the hollow earth theory in six to eight months. When I understook to write a draft article on this topic on the last day of November and then decided not to publish it, as I wasn’t happy with what I wrote, I was surprised to receive an email the very next day (December 1st) from one of the hollow earth researchers I mentioned in the article. So, I’m taking it as a sign 😉 that this subject needsto be addressed now.

However, I’ve been at a loss as to what to say about it. I’ve re-written my draft article several times now, trying to get the words right. You see, we’ve all been taught that the solid earth theory is fact, so mentioning the hollow earth theory is sure to stop people from reading or paying any more attention to this blog. How can I address a topic “so obviously incorrect and absurd” and still retain any credibility? And yet, I can’t help myself, I must mention it. There are future articles I wish to get to which can only be understood if a person understands the evidence for the hollow earth model.

Yes, you read correctly. There is evidence, lots of it, TONS OF IT, that the hollow earth theory is correct and that the solid earth theory is false. Being the curious cat I am, I investigated both models and found that the evidentiary scales tipped waaaay in favor of the hollow earth theory. But it is not my intention to present the evidence in this post. There’s too much of it. The two top hollow earth researchers I mention below have each written a 600 page book on the topic. I’m listing them so that you can get the research presented in detail, purity and at full strength, instead of the diluted version I could offer.

Now, let me tell you what I believe. I believe that the Earth, the moon, the planets, their moons, the Sun and the stars are probably all hollow spheres, with inner suns most likely at their centers. I believe that polar openings likely exist on all these globes. I believe that the conditions for life are naturally contained within each sphere, on the inner surfaces with the inner suns shining, and not on the outer surfaces, with an outer Sun shining. This is similar to how we build houses, to be inhabited on the inside, people living within the walls of the house, not outside of those walls, exposed to the elements. In like manner, all these worlds, including ours, are made as habitations for God’s children and his other creations.

Nephi said, “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.” (1 Ne. 17: 36)

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon said, “For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—that by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (D&C 76: 23-24)

So, when I look out at those other worlds, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, etc., which mainstream science tells me are too harsh to contain life, as the outer surface is unfit and as there is no inner surface, for, the scientists tell me, they are all solid or liquid or gas balls, I think of the above scriptures that tell me that worlds are created to be inhabited and that there are inhabitants on the worlds that are (present tense.) This is a major contradiction to the mainstream science I’m receiving.

But then along comes the hollow earth model which corrects the errors and suddenly the scripture makes sense. There are inhabitants on these worlds, living on the inner surfaces of these spheres, bathing in the light of inner suns. What, did you think Joseph and Sidney were shown non-local, extra-solar system worlds that were inhabited and that the Lord skipped over the “uninhabited” local planets? Surely not! Prophets are shown only what pertains to them and their sphere of existence, they are shown what pertains to their locality. They were shown the worlds that exist in this solar system and referred to the inhabitants of these worlds. (I’ll write more on this later in another article.) So, men living in the moon (see here and here) or people living in the Sun may not be just crazy 19th century Mormon ideas.

Speaking of our immediate locality, the Earth, I believe that the Lord has plenty of places to hide people, plants, animals and things. He can place them on the Earth, in the Earth and under the Earth.

The Lord said, “And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.” (Moses 6: 63)

I believe that if the solid earth theory were true, it would reveal or bear record of the stupidity of the Lord. Think about it. What an incredible waste of space, what an incredible waste of material, to have such large (inhabited) spheres completely filled with matter, so that man walks on and uses only a minute fraction of it. The thought of God accumulating all that matter into a solid ball just so that there is enough gravity for man to walk and run on less than .0001% or so of it is just plain crazy. If we take into account the supposed uninhabited worlds just floating around for no purpose whatsoever, it becomes an even greater waste and an even crazier concept. God has got to be smarter than that.

I believe that God is smarter than that, and that he has created hollow spheres (shells) that can be inhabited by men on the outside surfaces, inside surfaces and even within the crusts of those shells.

The over-reliance by mainstream scientists on the relatively weak energy of gravity as the sole cause of all that is seen requires lots of mass to accomplish everything, whether we are talking about huge balls of matter called planets or huge balls of matter called “black holes.” As they discount the role of plasma discharge (electricity) in creation, everything takes billions and billions of years and requires lots of mass to accomplish anything. Because of the disconnect of the role of the much more powerful energy of electricity, scientists can’t, or won’t, accept a hollow earth theory, despite the fact that the evidence in favor of it is overwhelming. In truth, there is very little propping up the solid earth theory, other than the blind belief of virtually everyone on the planet.

The hollow earth and plasma models both confirm, correct and complement each other. When looking at plasma cosmology or plasma geology through a hollow earth theory lens, you see the hollow shell, inner suns and polar opening that most likely are there. When looking at plasma mythology, you recognize archetypes that obviously refer to inner earth regions. When plasma cosmologists talk of galaxies “giving birth” to new galaxies by ejecting quazars from their poles, or planet/stars “giving birth” to new planets by polar ejection, the polar holes of these objects come firmly into view via the hollow earth model. When looking at the hollow earth model through a plasma lens, you see that the inner sun is not the standard, mainstream model, but an arc lamp suspended at the center of the vacuum that exists within the shell of all these worlds. When hollow earthers talk of how planets/stars were created in rotation, you get the deeper understanding of a whirling vortex of electrically discharging plasma, throwing the matter out to the sides, leaving matter “stuck” in the very center, to become the inner sun, and creating polar markings (holes), just like a concretion. (I will come back to concretions, in a moment.)

Mormon theology also confirms, corrects and complements both the hollow earth and plasma models. When either model is viewed through the lens of Mormon theology, suddenly the hand of God stands out like a sore thumb and all things start to bear witness that “the Creator made me!” In other words, it appears that everything is a construct and not a coincidence. With these views we suddenly are able to see that concessions no longer need to be made to mainstream scientists and that LDS can now accept their scriptures EXACTLY as they are. Suddenly creation can happen quickly, planets can be hollow, electro-gravity can be a possibility, legendary, mythical stories can contain actual truths, the Lord can literally hide 10 tribes of Israel on planet Earth, worlds can be inhabited, dinosaurs can still exist (I’ll address this in another post), the location of the divisions of the Spirit World can now be known, etc., etc.

The rest of this post presents two hollow earth researchers: one non-member, one LDS. As I wrote above, each one has written a 600+ page book: one a printed book, one an ebook. Each one presents a plethora of evidence in favor of the hollow earth. And each one does so without the benefit of the plasma model. (Imagine what they could have done had they been aware of the plasma model!)

Hollow Earth Researcher #1: Non-LDS Jan Lamprecht

Lamprecht’s book, Hollow Planets, a 600+ page tome, is a feasibility study of possible hollow worlds. It asks the question, “Could the planets Mercury, Venus and Earth be hollow?” His web site url is the following:

www.hollowplanets.com

[2012 update: the above web site now hyperlinks to the archive.org snapshots of the site since it is no longer works.]

Lamprecht, at one time, attempted to organize an expedition to the north polar opening. He has since abandoned that effort due to the political climate in his home country. Although Lamprecht no longer updates his web site, nor does he give interviews anymore, as he is devoting his full time to the situation in South Africa, his web site still stands and the book is still available for purchase. There is still plenty of freely available information on the web site about his research, such as chapter summaries of his book (in the table of contents), reviews, interviews, news items, etc.

[2012 update:  There is now a video of Jan Lamprecht giving a lecture on the hollow earth theory on YouTube, which I will embed into this post.]

Hollow Earth Researcher #2: LDS Rodney M. Cluff

Another hollow planets researcher, this one LDS, is Rodney M. Cluff, who has written an ebook entitled World Top Secret: Our Earth is Hollow! Cluff’s web site is the following:

www.ourhollowearth.com

I have looked over Cluff’s research and writings extensively and his take on the hollow earth theory is very convincing. He tries to tie everything back to the scriptures. The evidence he cites for polar openings and a hollow earth, including earthquake calculations, etc., is weighty. Despite the fact that he does not appear to be cognizant of the plasma model, which allows for easier explanations and corrections of erroneous, mainstream asumptions, his logic is hard to argue against, at least from an LDS perspective. He and others are currently trying to organize an expedition to find the north polar opening.

It is not my intention to present all the evidence that these researchers have dug up, evidence which indicates that Earth and other planets probably are hollow. You can read their web sites, purchase their books and come to your own conclusions. Cluff has a page in which he summarizes some of the data that can be a good primer. He also has The Smoky God online, which can be freely read. The Smoky God is a book about a man (Olaf Jansen) who claims to have gone with his father to the inner surface of the planet when he was but 19 years old.

The Concretion Link

Now, I said I’d talk of concretions. Concretions tie the plasma model to the hollow earth model. Here is how:

Recent pictures of Saturn’s moon Iapetus, taken by the Cassini probe, show a few puzzling things. One is a very large crater on such a small moon, that, had it been formed by impact, should have destroyed the moon. Another is the strange darkness and brightness of the terrain, the leading half being extremely dark and the trailing half very bright. But perhaps most bizarre of all is the very tall and very long equatorial ridge that is found there.

Many people have tried to explain these anomalies in interesting ways. For example, when the pictures first came out, Richard Hoagland of EnterpriseMission.com put out a six part paper, attempting to show that the evidence indicated that Iapetus was not a naturally made moon, but was an artificially modified moon, or moon spacecraft. However, it may not be necessary to go to such extreme thinking in order to account for these new pictures.

In one of the Thunderbolts Pictures of the Day (TPOD), called Equatorial Ridge of Iapetus, a comparison is shown between the picture of Iapetus, with its curious equatorial ridge, and concretions, which are found on Earth. Some of the TPODs that talk of concretions include “Blueberries” Could Redefine Martian Geology, Blueberries on Mars, China’s Stone Eggs and Martian “Blueberries” in the Lab.

Geologists identify “concretions” as spheroidal masses usually occurring in sedimentary strata. They are often composed of minerals different from the primary constituent of the stratum in which they lie. Many concretions are formed from carbonates, but others of iron ore or silica are not uncommon, and still other varieties occur as well. Formations identified as “spherical concretions” can be as large as 10 feet in diameter. They are often layered like an onion. Inside their spherical shells, some are hollow, others contain crystals, sandstone, or even petroleum. (“Blueberries” Could Redefine Martian Geology, TPOD, March 28, 2005.)

Some other defining characteristics of concretions are an equatorial ridge*, polar markings and the inside being pressurized, so that when you cut into one that contains oil, it spurts out under pressure. Plasma science can easily explain concretions as electrically formed spheres. Plasma discharge is totally scalable, so that you can make something a micron in size and also the size of a galaxy, just by having the same ingredients and environment and using more electricity. Thus, an Earthly concretion and Iapetus may have more in common than astronomers think. In fact, they may have been formed by the same electrical process.

The most curious aspect, though, of concretions, are the polar markings and that many concretions are hollow. If concretions (and Iapetus) were made within a “whirling vortex of electrically charged plasma,” the tendency would be to create hollow spheres with polar markings (or openings), depending upon the amount and type of material, the size of the sphere, and the greatness of the electrical discharge. An example of what happens when material is spun rapidly can be seen in one’s washing machine. Pack the machine full of clothes and then watch what happens to the position of the clothes when on the spin cycle. Inevitably, you will see clothing clinging to the inner surface of the spinning tub and clothing clinging to the post in the middle of the tub, and the gap between the two locations will contain no clothes.

Plasma discharge creates spheres in extremely high speed vortices and it does so quickly, not requiring exhorbitant amounts of time to form materials into shape. All that is required is sufficient energy, or a sufficiently large discharge, and a planet can be formed, just like concretions, in a layered manner, as a hollow sphere with either polar markings or polar openings. Additionally, there is the tendency to have material form into a ball or sphere at the very center of the larger sphere. So, if concretions are, indeed, formed by plasma discharge, and if they were scaled up, you could get a hollow sphere the size of Iapetus, our own Moon, the Earth, Saturn, Jupiter, the Sun or any of the other globes we see.

Now, this has already been demonstrated in the laboratory, using plasma discharges. Concretion-like spheres have been created and many of them are hollow with polar markings, or depressions. As stated above, plasma is scalable, so making planets and stars in this way is not outside of the limits of possibility.

End Note:

* Iapetus appears to be the only celestial object we’ve seen so far with an equatorial ridge. However, that doesn’t mean that other planets and moons do not have a ridge, only that we haven’t seen it, yet. (Here on Earth, there is the mid-ocean ridge that spans the breadth of the globe, though it does not hug the equator like the ridges of Iapetus and concretions do. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that its current position and length, 50,000 miles long, hasn’t changed since the Earth was first formed. For all we know, it is the original equatorial ridge.)

Next Plasma Theology article: Monson and his constipated physics redux; or, how electric gravity makes hollow earthers happy

Previous Plasma Theology article: Special Comet Holmes James M. McCanney Broadcast

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