Recently I’ve been browsing and playing through a Mormon hymnal that belongs to my loved-one. There’s a hymn in there named If You Could Hie to Kolob with text by William Phelps and set to an old English melody arranged by Ralph Vaughn Williams. I love the melody, but the Mormon lyrics are a mystery to me. I assume some Mormons are familiar with this hymn, and also familiar with the whole Kolob story. So, I’m asking:
What is Kolob? Where is it? Who lives there? How does it fit in with Mormon theology?
Thanks, Jodi. I’m hoping for more details. I looked through the Encyclopedia of Mormonism but there isn’t an article there about Kolob. Is Kolob a strong Mormon belief? Or is it in the realm of “speculative” theology?
Is it considered to be an actual physical location in the universe? Or is it similar to the Catholic view of Heaven as not necessarily a physical point in time and space?
I am sure the current leadership wish they could make Kolob disappear. You will notice that it is never talked about at general conference. Kolob has been moved into the sidelines and has a lot of speculation about it. According to Joseph Smith and my own research it is suposed to be a real physical place. No galaxy was mentioned but it is out there (lol). Many mormons seeking meat love to speculate about the exact astronomical possibilities of finding Kolob. Joseph Smith also said that man could find Kolob if he reached a certain point of intellectual development. Unfortunatly this is were my memory begins to fail me but I am sure you can find more. Kolob is what mormons believe this world will become after Jesus comes again. A perfected planet. SO if you manage to find Kolob I am sure immigration would be limited to those who have already obtained that level of perfection.
Yeah and when you are done with that translation you should check out the translation of the same pictograph by egyptologists. You have to remember no rosetta stone is smiths time no one could translate but lucky us modern egyptologists have produced correct translations. The modern mormon apologetics say that Joseph Smith wasn’t translating rather using the pictures as a medium to recieve revelation from god. The pearl of great price scrolls were also found and turns out they were a good ole book of the dead. The mormon apologetics use the above rational to reason away this as well.
Traditionally Kolob is the star that the planet the Mormon god’s physical body lives on orbits. This is another of the jell-o issues of Mormonism. Many Mormons today find it an embarassing teaching and either ignore it or reduce it to a more symbolic than literal meaning. Or it could possibly be that place Cpt. Kirk visited in the Star Trek movie where Spock’s brother is looking for God.
More commonly apologists say the actual “book of Abraham” was lost in the fire, and the recovered bits are not what Smith was translating. It’s amazing how the evidence always seems to magically disappear, the gold plates, the book of Abraham. Of course they don’t really have an answer as to why the gliphs Smith included with the book of Abraham are from the recovered papyrus which is a pagan funneral document from roughly the first century.
It’s interesting that Smith incorporated findings and hypotheses from contemporary science into his theology. The possibility of other suns having other planets became a radical idea after Copernicus; see the unfortunate case of Bruno. If the earth was not the center, and if other stars had other planets circulating them, then it made sense to suppose that these other planets had intelligent beings on them, and it remained in the realm of possibility that some of these intelligent beings on other planets were related to us humans in some way.
In a sense, you could say that Smith was the first theologian to speculate on the religious implications of extra-terrestrial life – and not just “religious implications” of a minor sort, but quite earth-shaking. And if the universe were infinite (as people like Bruno hypothesized), then perhaps the number of intelligent beings is infinite, and perhaps their lineage (backwards in time, and forwards into the future) would be infinite too.
As I noted above, it’s quite likely that other people in the West did speculate, but they didn’t make their speculations part of the basis of a new Christic theological structure. Smith actually incorporated the multi-world universe discovered by science, into his theology, complete with (newly discovered) scriptural support.
For someone to do today, what Smith did back then, they would have to ‘discover’ until-now-hidden scripture that refers to quantum mechanics and evolutionary theory, in a way that could fire up the spiritual aspirations of a significant portion of the American population. (I’m sure someone will be up to the task, one day.:rolleyes:)
BTW Smith also is said to have talked about life on the Earth moon. According to some sources, he was fairly descriptive, saying the people there are tall, dress like Quakers and live for a thousand years. There are many articles on this around the internet, and I believe it is mentioned in LDS documents, though I can’t at the moment give chapter and verse. Recently I read an article by a Mormon apologist who suggested that we aren’t in position to completely dispel this claim of Joseph Smith, Jr, because our expeditions to the moon explored only very small parts of it, so it is possible we missed the moonmen.
The idea of beings on the moon is ancient, and one can interpret such an idea literally, or spiritually. How is the notion of spiritual beings (demons, angels, ghosts) living on the earth, unseen, radically different than the notion of a similar environment existing on the moon? If in fact other planets exist – as science had discovered – then why couldn’t those planets (or stars, even) be inhabited by spiritual beings? Smith simply made some very logical arguments, extrapolating the earthly spiritual environment, towards planetary and cosmic conclusions.
There is some evidence that Smith Sr also made such comments. There is a testimony of a certain Oliver Huntington who claimed that at his patriarchal blessing Smith Sr, the founder’s father, told him that he would someday preach the “gospel” to the inhabitants of the moon. Here’s a link to a short defense against this story:
I am certain these men weren’t talking about our moon, but some other undiscovered moon with life on it. There is always the possibility there is a moon somewhere in the universe that has life on it and when we discover it we will all understand what Joseph was talking about. Until then we just need to accept these sayings with faith.
It is no different with the Lamanites. We have never found any actual Lamanites, but it is obvious there must be some because the Book of Mormon says there were. When the moon men and the Lamanites are found, we will understand what a great prophet Joseph was, but this will probably not be made known until the great winding up scene.