Mormon visitors from outer space


I was looking for a quote today that goes something like this: “The only beings to visit our planet are those who were once inhabitants here”  (Update: Jeremy at the Seerstone provided the scripture as D&C 130:5). My search landed me on an article in the New Era from 1971 by Kent Nielsen.  Like Truman Madsen who just passed away, Dr. Nielsen is an emeritus professor of philosophy from BYU.  The article is entitled, “People on other worlds,” and is still fascinating although it was written almost forty years ago.

After a brief review of the basic cosmological configuration of our planetary neighbors, we are introduced to the simple math calculations used to deduce that we are not alone in our universe.  There are uncountable billions and billions of stars and galaxies throughout space.  If only one star in a million should have inhabitable planets, that would give us over 100,000 systems in our galaxy alone.  Galaxies like ours exist in the billions.  We are not the only life in this universe.

People on other worlds

Even with the advances of science in discovering planets around other suns that conceivably could harbor conditions favorable to human life, we simply have no way of knowing that there are any people out there besides us.  Or do we?  Latter-day Saints have known for over 170 years about the existence of people on other worlds.  In fact, we also know that people from other worlds visit the earth and have been doing so for many years to deliver important messages.

Can you imagine the impact it would have upon civilization if our scientists announced that they have detected an approaching spacecraft from outer space?  How would we be prepared for the visit of extra-terrestrial beings?  I suspect that Latter-day Saints would take it all in stride.  After all, we claim to have been the recipients of such visits for a long time.  No, the visitors did not require the use of a spacecraft to reach our planet.  Their method of travel is currently beyond us.

Prophets taught of other worlds

Brigham Young said, “…there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity.”  The Apostle Paul knew that God had created other worlds.  He wrote, “God…hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds.”  Moses and Enoch revealed more in the Pearl of Great Price:

The Lord said to Moses, “The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works.”  Enoch said, “And were it possible that man could number the particles of the earth, yea, millions of earths like this, it would not be a beginning to the number of thy creations…”  Joseph Smith’s witness is similar.

God created countless worlds

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! 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.”  What an amazing testimony!  But wait, there’s more.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man. … he was once a man like us … God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth. …If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and … God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. … And where was there ever a father without first being a son? … If Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also?”  Now that is deep doctrine!

Purpose of all these worlds

We don’t seem to talk much about this doctrine any more – that God was once a man as we are now.  We tend to focus more on the idea that man can become like God.  We are not alone in this teaching as it gives hope and motivation to many people besides Latter-day Saints who believe it.  But the idea that God was once like us and passed through a period of mortality and testing is a bit much for some people to accept.  President Hinckley even downplayed it in a news interview.

Nevertheless, as far as I know, it remains a basic fundamental doctrine of our church that helps to explain the purpose of life and all the potential inhabitable worlds that have been created.  The worlds were created specifically to provide a home on which the posterity of the Gods could be tested and proven.  Yes, we believe in multiple Gods, but limit our worship to our own Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ his son.  We just do not teach about other Gods in our curriculum today.

Believed but not taught

I have often wondered about this unique way we have of doing things in our church.  There are many things which we believe and are written about in historical sermons of former priesthood leaders.  And yet, we do not include them in what we teach to investigators, new members, or even long-time members for that matter.  However, just like the idea of a mother in heaven we do occasionally sing about our distinctive beliefs.  A favorite hymn contains these words:

“If you could hie to Kolob
In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward
With that same speed to fly,
D’ye think that you could ever,
Through all eternity,
Find out the generation
Where Gods began to be?”

We are Gods in embryo

We are of the race of Gods.  We are of his species.  God looks likes us.  We look like him.  He has two arms, two legs and a head with two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth.  As Jesus said, “If ye have seen me, ye have seen the Father.”  We are his sons and daughters and he loves us.  The people who populate the other worlds out there are also his sons and daughters and look just like you and me.  There are no green, bug-eyed monsters.  They are also of the race of Gods.

The people who are out there are in different stages of their existence.  Like us, some are passing through a temporal period.  Others are living in worlds that have been celestialized and yet others inhabit a lower kingdom of glory.  This process of living and dying and being resurrected has been going on forever.  I can’t fathom that with my limited mortal brain but I know it is true.  You and I are a part of that process of seeking to be like God and to inherit a glorious exaltation.

Space travel to the earth

Could a person from outer space ever come to visit the earth?  Any Latter-day Saint knows the answer.  Of course, visitors from outer space can come to earth!  They’ve been doing it for many thousands of years.  God and angels visited Adam.  They visited prophets in the Old Testament and Apostles in the New Testament.  The Book of Mormon has numerous accounts of angelic visitations and of the visit of Jesus Christ to the ancient American people.  It is quite common!

In the spring of 1820, God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ visited the boy prophet Joseph Smith in upstate New York.  Angels came to deliver keys of the priesthoodto Joseph and Oliver in the Kirtland temple in 1836.  In our temporal existence we may not be able to travel to worlds beyond out own solar system but other beings in advanced phases of existence are not so limited.  When Moroni appeared to Joseph, he saw “a conduit open right up into heaven.”  Awesome!

Communication from space

Scientists have been listening for communication from space for years but they have yet to hear anything to indicate intelligent life.  On the other hand, Latter-day Saints are very familiar with the process of receiving messages from outer space, transmitted by means that transcend beyond the normal method of communication.  This is more than a future possibility.  It is a present fact!  Beings from outer space have been making great efforts to communicate with us every day.

They have been sending messages that are filled with wisdom and great intelligence.  These are messages that come from superior beings, who have evolved way beyond our limited mortal capacities to think and to understand. They live in dimensions that we cannot begin to fathom.  But they are willing to share with us knowledge that will transform our lives if we will just listen and apply what they say.  Their intelligence is far beyond ours and yet is beneficent and kind.

They are coming to visit us

What’s even more astounding to realize is that these same intelligent beings will be visiting us very soon.  The millennium is simply a period of time when earthly civilization will be brought under the government of superior beings from another world who will visit earth frequently to direct our affairs.  “Christ and the resurrected Saints will reign over the earth during the thousand year period.  They will not probably dwell upon the earth but will visit it when they please…”

But these beings who come from outer space, or another world, will not be aliens.  They will be our brethren, who have lived upon this earth in mortality.  What’s more, we expect a return of portions of this earth that have been broken off in times past when cataclysmic events sheared off that portion of the earth on which they resided.  First the Ten Tribes, then the City of Enoch and last the portion that contains the Garden of Eden.  Don’t believe it?  Look it up in our history!

Summary and conclusion

The earth has received many visitors from outer space over the years.  They do not come in spaceships and they do not wear spacesuits.  They come from a plane of existence that we can only dream about and not yet comprehend.  These are intelligent and magnificent beings that are glorified and exalted in their appearance and in their character.  They love us.  We are their children and their brethren.  They have come to bring us messages of great joy if we but listen.

Visions of angels and Gods from other worlds are not something that I have experienced but I know such things have occurred.  The influence of these beneficent beings fills the immensity of space and dwells here among us.  These Gods have given us gifts that help us communicate with them.  One of these gifts is the gift of the Holy Ghost.  It is real and is the means by which God reveals truth to the mind and heart of man.  Of this I and millions of others are unique witnesses.

11 Responses

  1. I used this concept a few years ago, when teaching the Doctrine and Covenants, to my seminary students. It truly is a profound belief of Mormonism, that we accept extra-terrestrial beings, as fact.
    tMDg

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  2. Indeed. Can’t wait to meet one and someday be one!

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  3. Timely post since we just had the creation lesson in Spencer’s Gospel Principles (or is it Essentials?… I can never remember) class on Sunday. You’d have to know Spencer but he summed it up in his witty way which was something like:

    Do Mormons believe in aliens? Yes. Are they little green men with big eyes? No.

    Simple as that, right?

    Very interesting!

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  4. I think the passage you were looking for was D&C 130:5 – “There are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it”

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  5. That’s it! A big cyber thank you, Jeremy! And I think that just goes to illustrate that the answers can always be found in the scriptures. I was looking beyond the mark. I knew it was Joseph, but I was pouring through TPJS and GospelLink without success. There’s something about built-in human fuzzy logic that computers can’t match. I can now respond to a private email from several weeks ago that focused on this idea. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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  6. Marvelous truths here! Thank you Tim for this wonderful article. It illustrates the beauty of God’s eternal plan, and the vastness of His glory in a simple and truthful way.

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  7. Thanks for the plug, Tim.

    Clever way of teaching this principle. However, I have often wondered if righteous MORTALS from other planets would have ever been given the opportunity to visit our Earth. Our planet is known to be the most wicked of all of God’s creations, wicked enough that we would kill our Lord and Savior. That said, isn’t it plausible that with greater light and knowledge from the Spirit, the inhabitants of other more righteous planets may have harnessed the power of lightspeed travel (or something even more complicated that we cannot even begin to fathom) and visited our globe from time to time.

    Now, I’m no UFOlogist, but there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that throughout history unexplained sightings have been reported. Can they all be swamp gases or weather balloons? And what about the Renaissance paintings with UFO’s conspicuously painted thereon? I know I’m going out on a limb here, but could these sightings be explained as some sort of institute class from some super-righteous planet that simply wanted to teach the events of the Atonement by actually visiting the spots where it occurred?

    At some point science and religion must coincide. If my theory is correct, you all owe me a Coke.

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  8. Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

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  9. While it’s true the Lord has created worlds without number, we have no indication that they have passed their first estate and are living in temporal conditions such as are found on earth. What’s more likely is that the angels there inhabit worlds of a spiritual nature.

    The scriptures indicate that those spirits chosen to be born on this earth were present at the war in heaven. Those who chose to follow Christ passed their first estate and received material bodies. Since this is the planet on which the Lord performed the atonement and resurrection, which redeemed all of creation, it is quite likely that this is the first of his planets to experience life in this second estate.

    Of course, I’m basing this on the fact that the Lord doesn’t waste any time in accomplishing his ends, but prepares for every need in advance. That means he wouldn’t waste any time between making his promise to be our Savior and fulfilling it.

    So it’s quite possible that all life on other worlds is not as earth-bound as ours. In other words, we’re probably dealing with spirit worlds, worlds inhabited by angels who are not confined by an imperfect human body.

    As for all those interesting ideas about alien visitors flying around in advanced vehicles: sorry … last time I checked angels don’t need spacecraft to get around. Provided they have authority from the Lord, they can be anywhere in a twinkling of an eye.

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  10. [...] to be a hit 19. Shades of grey and relative truth 20. Walt Whitman – the great American poet 21. Mormon visitors from outer space 22. A website for the average Mormon 23. Thoughtful discussion of controversial topics 24. 2012 the [...]

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