Today is my Reddit Cakeday;
And I always like to have something special for that so lets talk about Mormons and aliens
Now at first glance one might think that Mormonism was just about God, Jesus, and belief in an after life; but it really goes much more into every thing a person could believe in than that.
My father grew up in small town in New Mexico and when a certain set of events that made national news. In 1947, when my father would have been 8 years old, a surveillance balloon crashed, but locals claimed sightings of aliens. It put Roswell on the map as a tourist location, and drove my father to think a lot about aliens
Joseph Smith also considered life on other planets. Of course there are the famous statements about God living on or near Kolob, as well as statements by General Authorities that Quakers live on the moon, or sun but Joseph also cited that the 10 tribes lived in outer space to over 10 individuals. I’ll quote two:
June 9, 1884 – Abraham H. Cannon writes of a conversation with Eliza R. Snow: “. . . and in the course of our conversation she said she heard the Prophet Joseph once remark, `when the ten tribes were taken away, the earth was divided, so that they occupy a separate planet from this.’ This was news to me.”
I heard the Joseph the Prophet say that he had seen John the revelator and had a long conversation with him, whom told him that he John was their leader, prophet, priest, and king, and said that he was preparing that people to return and further said there is a mighty host of us. And Joseph further said that men might hunt for them but they could not find them for they were upon a portion of this planet that had been broken off and which was taken away. And the sea rushed in between Europe and America, and that when that piece returns there would be a great shake; the sea would then move to the north where it belonged in the morning of creation. (Daniel Allen, Minutes of the Parowan, Utah School of the Prophets, 17 August 1872.)
In Addition, he also talked about the city of Enoch being in outer space:
“When Enoch and his City was taken away, a portion of the earth was taken and would again be restored. Also in the days of Peleg, the earth was divided, see Genesis 10th Chapter, 25th verse.” He then referred to the ‘Ten Tribes’ saying, “You know a long time ago in the days of Shalmanezar King of Assyria when the Ten Tribes was taken away, and never heard of since.” He said, “The Earth will be restored as at the beginning, and the last taken away will be the first to return; for the last shall be first, and the first will be last in all things.” He illustrated the return by saying: “Some of you brethren have been coming up the river on a steamboat, and while seated at the table, the steamboat run against a snag which upset the table and scattered the dishes; so it will be when these portions of the earth return. It will make the earth reel to and fro like a drunken man,” quoting 24th chapter [of] Isaiah, 20th verse. When speaking of the return of the Ten Tribes, he said, “The mountains of ice shall flow down at their presence, and a highway shall be cast up in the middle of the great deep.” (Wandle Mace Journal, 1809-1890, p. 38-39.)
Some set of these quotes inspired a film maker by the name of Glen Larson, who would make a TV series about the lost 10 tribes of Israel being in outer space and trying to return to earth called “Battle Star Galactica”, which would be updated to a less religious one later on.
But Mormons and alien encounters don’t end with TV or my father’s passive interest. No, in the 1990’s there was a famous story named “Fire in the sky” in which some hicks out in the woods see a UFO and one is abducted. His name was Travis Walton, and most people don’t know, but all three of them were members of the LDS faith.
Why Aliens would capture an LDS man for some probing plagued my father’s mind, and then he found an answer in the bible…
In Daniel 4:7 it mentions “The Watchers”
This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
These mysterious watchers show up a few places in the bible and along with the confusing “Sons of God married the Daughters of Men” section in Enoch’s portion of Genesis began my father on the thoughts that Aliens from other worlds might be coming to this one to watch for when Christ returns, this Earth being key to the “Great plan of happiness”
But that’s not just my Dad’s idea. Warren Aston is a FAIR apologist and also speaks at UFO conferences:
The evidence that something is happening which defies conventional science is abundant, unambiguous, and is readily available in every category imaginable. UFO’s are a long-term, world-wide, multi-cultural reality with much more physical evidence available than most of us realise. The mounting evidence that UFO’s and aliens are real and are part of the future for all of us deserves our most serious attention and best efforts to understand it. – Warren Aston
In fact, my parents went to several church-sponsered (announced in sacrament meeting) lectures by apologists in which aliens being part of the 10 tribes or intergalactic travel was discussed (that is, after all, how I know to look up all this stuff, I was commonly brought along).
UFO’s, aliens, and belief in Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Happy Cake Day.
[Update: User “No Hidden Agenda” on reddit pointed out this article in the 1971 New Era: https://www.lds.org/new-era/1971/04/people-on-other-worlds?lang=eng. 7 years before Glen Larson would launch BSG]