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Author Topic: Mormon Cosmology and Modern Science  (Read 1909 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 09, 2009, 06:28:45 PM »

Hello

I recently met a man who's a scientist (physics), I don't know how but we started talking about religion and he happened to be a Mormon. I was quite surprised to know that he's both a scientist and a Mormon and I asked him why he thought Mormonism to be the true religion. He said he was baptized Catholic, became an agnostic, explored some oriental religions and finally chose Mormonism. He said he thought Mormonism to be the true religion because it is entirely consistent with what he's discovered as a modern scientist, he said that Mormon cosmology has been proved by what modern men now know.

To explain my post better I will summarize the basic facts about Mormon cosmology.

To us Apostolic Christians, there is a single universe ruled by an only God who created this universe from nothing. He is the almighty God who rules all what exists.

However, according to Mormonism there is a never ending number of universes and worlds, each one ruled by a God or Gods whose power is finite and pertain only the universe under their own control. Matter, they say, was not created from nothing, it just exists and everytime a God creates a universe, he only organizes the existing matter.

According to my scientist friend this is now proved by science: that matter is eternal and can transform but does not become destroyed.

These Gods were originally men who lived in other planets like that of ours under the obedience of their own God. These men first existed as intelligences (begotten by their God and his wives, in spirit), then they were given physical bodies so that they could pass through a life of ordeals. Those men that became righteous in their justice, obedience and holiness died, resurrected and became exalted. This meant that they were able, after they progressed, to become Gods and create their own universes, where they will give life to other men whose vocation is to become Gods of their own universes, and this progression is eternal.

Our God (Heavenly Father) is today one of the most important Gods and his power is enormous. However, Mormonism also teaches that he had a Father who must be more powerful than him. This progression means that God isn't inmutable in his perfection as Apostolic Christians (and other Protestants) believe. To them God becomes more glorious everyday as his man-sons become exalted:

"My Father worked out His kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my Kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory.  He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself."

Joseph Smith (King Follet Discoruse)


My friend scientist told me that some physics experts have come to a conclusion that beside matter and energy there is intelligence and that this is the only sollution to explain why things happened and how things are governed according to the laws of physics. He said he was amazed when he read about Mormonism and learnt that they already knew this in the 1800's.

According to Mormonism, our world will come to an end. However, while Apostolic Christians and other Protestants believe that this will be an absolute end, Mormons teach that the works of God will be eternal and that other worlds will come and appear, and then finish just like ours will have an end:

35 "But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I aknow them.
  36 And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and atell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.
  37 And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The aheavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.
  38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no aend to my works, neither to my words.
  39 For behold, this is my awork and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

Book of Moses: I


He also said this is entirely consistent with science, as it has proved that planets, galaxies and stars might be born or die.


 21 I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the aworks which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
  22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the bnoble and great ones;
  23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
  24 And there stood aone among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

Book of Abraham III


I am neither a scientist nor a Mormon. It's my understanding that Joseph Smith wrote these books mixing elements of apocryphal Christian books from the first centuries with elements from early SciFi books and his own understanding of the science of his time.

However I must accept that this Joseph Smith must have been a very smart and inteligent man so that he could develop in his mind such a complicated cosmology, which is totally new and different from the naturalistic type of polytheism present in Hinduism and other forms of Paganism whose Gods represent aspects of nature.

Am I right?







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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2009, 07:52:26 PM »

However I must accept that this Joseph Smith must have been a very smart and inteligent man so that he could develop in his mind such a complicated cosmology, which is totally new and different from the naturalistic type of polytheism present in Hinduism and other forms of Paganism whose Gods represent aspects of nature.
Actually, in Hinduism, God has two aspects: an aspect that transcends nature, and an aspect that is immanent in nature. So Hinduism is not a type of naturalism.

Having said that, the type of cosmology Smith revealed has similarities to Hindu and Buddhist cosmologies, in which universes are born, exist, and pass away; and in which humans may 'evolve' into beings of immense power (beings we may call "gods").

Whether Smith's revelation was truly divine, merely human, or essentially diabolical, it does seem that Smith's revelation does try to give spiritual significance to the existence of other planets, other solar systems, and even other universes. We know that other planets exist, and we know that other solar systems exist (and perhaps other universes exist, too), and one may rightfully ask, "What purpose did God have in making those other planets with other stars? Are there intelligent beings on those planets, and how are they related to God?" Smith offers a fairly sophisticated answer to that question.
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2009, 09:10:37 PM »

Is there any material published that focuses on Mormon cosmology?  I would prefer something written by someone within the faith itself rather than from without, as many 'objective' academics in religious studies have proven themselves a bit inept at rendering a sound representation of some religious traditions.
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« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2009, 09:37:19 PM »

Is there any material published that focuses on Mormon cosmology?  I would prefer something written by someone within the faith itself rather than from without, as many 'objective' academics in religious studies have proven themselves a bit inept at rendering a sound representation of some religious traditions.
I don't know of any Mormons who have written on Mormon cosmology, but there is a book on Joseph Smith's connection to the magical/occultic traditions of his day. The author, though arguing that Smith was indeed influenced by those traditions, chooses to remain Mormon (for interesting reasons).

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View by D. Michael Quinn

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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2009, 10:03:11 PM »

Yes, I have actually already looked at that.  The author has been 'excommunicated' from the Mormon church, but I am not sure that they hold a high view of or even partake in communion as a Mystery, so the weight behind an 'excommunication' would seem a bit light.
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2009, 01:05:03 AM »

Here is a link with a Mormon hymn named If You Could Hie To Kolob which expresses some unique Mormon cosmology doctrine.
http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2004/03/if-you-could-hie-to-kolob-lyrics/  The comments are pretty interesting too, including a quote from Dallin Oaks saying LDS hymnography is one of the "best ways to learn the doctrine of the restored gospel." (This is about Kolob: http://lds.about.com/library/bl/faq/blkolob.htm)

Here is a book that might be interesting on this subject: http://www.amazon.com/Science-Religion-Mormon-Cosmology-Erich/dp/0252018958

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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2009, 07:52:27 PM »

Yes, I have actually already looked at that.  The author has been 'excommunicated' from the Mormon church, but I am not sure that they hold a high view of or even partake in communion as a Mystery, so the weight behind an 'excommunication' would seem a bit light.
Typically their version of "excommunication" is much like the Amish "shunning"--basically, the Mormons have disowned him.
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2010, 05:11:09 AM »

Yes, I have actually already looked at that.  The author has been 'excommunicated' from the Mormon church, but I am not sure that they hold a high view of or even partake in communion as a Mystery, so the weight behind an 'excommunication' would seem a bit light.
Typically their version of "excommunication" is much like the Amish "shunning"--basically, the Mormons have disowned him.

I realize this is an old thread. I came across it a couple of days ago but can't get it out of my mind. I feel I must address this.

No, the Mormons do not view communion as a Mystery. However, that is not the doctrine which makes excommunication so powerful to them. In the LDS Church, temple ceremonies are preformed which seal you eternally to your spouse, your parents, brothers and sisters, and your children. Excommunication is not just a removal of membership. It is also includes the undoing of temple ordinances. To someone who believes church doctrine, this means not being with your family in the afterlife. The idea of the eternal family is very important to them. To a believer, it is very powerful. Much more so than "shunning." I know someone who committed suicide due to being excommunicated.
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2010, 09:17:16 AM »

Yes, I have actually already looked at that.  The author has been 'excommunicated' from the Mormon church, but I am not sure that they hold a high view of or even partake in communion as a Mystery, so the weight behind an 'excommunication' would seem a bit light.
Typically their version of "excommunication" is much like the Amish "shunning"--basically, the Mormons have disowned him.

I realize this is an old thread. I came across it a couple of days ago but can't get it out of my mind. I feel I must address this.

No, the Mormons do not view communion as a Mystery. However, that is not the doctrine which makes excommunication so powerful to them. In the LDS Church, temple ceremonies are preformed which seal you eternally to your spouse, your parents, brothers and sisters, and your children. Excommunication is not just a removal of membership. It is also includes the undoing of temple ordinances. To someone who believes church doctrine, this means not being with your family in the afterlife. The idea of the eternal family is very important to them. To a believer, it is very powerful. Much more so than "shunning." I know someone who committed suicide due to being excommunicated.
Interesting, thank you. Living in Missouri, I don't see many LDS, and they tend to refrain from sharing their faith other than in the mandatory missionary work. After all, we are the reason they're headquartered in Utah.
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2011, 06:07:37 PM »

It's well known that Joseph Smith had an interest in Jewish mysticism, so it's likely that his statements about men becoming "gods" each with his own planet, has origins in Kabbalah:

"We find a most fascinating answer to this question in the Tikunei Zohar. Speaking of the verse (Song of Songs 6: 8 ), "Worlds without number," the Tikunei Zohar states: "The stars certainly are without number. But each star is called a separate world. These are the worlds without number."

The Tikunei Zohar further states that every tzaddik (righteous person) will rule over a star, and therefore have a world unto himself. The 18,000 worlds mentioned above would therefore be that number of stars, presided over by the 18,000 tzaddikim that are alluded to in the verse (Ezekiel 48:35), "Around Him are 18,000." However, these may only refer to those worlds visited daily by the divine presence, but there may be innumerable worlds for the lesser tzaddikim.

We therefore have a most fascinating reason why the stars were created, and why they contain intelligent life. Since an overcrowded Earth will not give the tzaddikim the breadth they require, each one will be given his own planet, with its entire population to enhance his spiritual growth."

http://www.torah.org/features/secondlook/extraterrestrial.html#
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 06:08:41 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
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« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2011, 06:16:57 PM »

Another good book on Mormonism is "No Man Knows My History" by Fawn M. Brodie.  Its an interesting bio of Joseph Smith.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Man_Knows_My_History:_The_Life_of_Joseph_Smith
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