Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Larson’
Denver Snuffer doesn’t need my help. He is controversial enough on his own to get all kinds of attention from members of the LDS Church. But when he wrote recently that a new star would soon appear, troubling all the world, and that it would be a sign that he was the Lord’s servant, I felt certain we would read some news articles, or at least see a mention or two by LDS Bloggers.
Except for this thread on New Order Mormon, there was nothing. Nada. How often do you read a prediction or prophecy about a major astronomical event about to come to pass, especially one that will trouble all the world? He writes that the entire world will see this new star and will wonder what it means. His claim that the star is a sign of his status with the Lord is…unusual.
Here’s what he wrote: “When the Seed of the Woman was born, a new star appeared in the heavens. In like manner, when the Lion of Judah returns, as with his first coming, there will be a new star seen. All the world will note its appearance and shall be troubled at its meaning. When it makes its appearance, you may know His return is soon upon the world. You may also know by that sign that He has given to me the words I have faithfully taught as His servant.”
Dealing with Nutcases
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I don’t think Denver is a nutcase. Jim Harmston is a nutcase. Warren Jeffs is a nutcase. Even Sterling D. Allan is a bit of a nutcase, based on some of the stuff on his website. Anyone can write about the church, things of a religious nature or whatever they want, and post it online for public consumption, for whatever reason they want.
There are lots of people out there who write about Denver. They have plenty of opinions about what they believe he has said, usually based on what someone else wrote that he said. Sadly, it’s been my observation that very few people have actually taken the time to read his books or study his blog consistently. There’s a reason for that. He’s very prolific. After all, he is a lawyer.
For some reason, many people who write about Denver lump him into the category of nutcase, similar to how we might think of David Koresh. Nothing could be further from the truth. Denver has made it clear that he does not want a following. He does not want people to hang on his every word and he has repeatedly called himself a fool, even writing that we mustn’t trust him.
Comets and Meteors
Six months ago, I taught the Gospel Doctrine class about the signs of the Second Coming of the Lord. Again, anyone who reads my blog knows that this is one of my favorite subjects. As I prepared for that class, I was surprised to learn that a new star will appear at the time the savior is soon to return. Now maybe you already knew this, but I didn’t. It really stood out in my mind.
So you can imagine I paid attention when Denver wrote the same thing on his blog the other day. What kind of star it was that appeared at the birth of the Savior is a matter of conjecture. Some say it was a supernova, others that it was simply a comet. But according to the Book of Mormon, it was unusual in that it caused a night without darkness. Will the same thing happen in our day?
We’re expecting several comets in the near future. One this week made its appearance in the Northern hemisphere. A brighter one is projected to make its appearance later this year. Comets are really no big deal. They happen all the time, relatively speaking. This year is a little unusual to have two, along with the close passes by all the meteors and the one that exploded over Russia last month.
A Night of No Darkness
I’m going to assume that the star in question is not going to be mistaken for a comet. That leaves the probability of a Supernova. Don’t go thinking for a second that the astronomers will see this thing any sooner than you or me. But you can be sure the media will be all over their favorite science pundits looking for an explanation for this one. The last one was hundreds of years ago.
I should clarify for my science-minded friends. There have been more recent supernova, most notably SN1987A, but you probably didn’t hear about it because, although it could be seen with the naked eye, it was not very bright. I think Denver’s new star we’re talking about will be much brighter and probably much closer. I suspect it will cause a night with no darkness here on earth.
Is the idea that this new star will cause a night with no darkness just a guess? Of course it is. But I’ll claim it as a thoughtful guess. Otherwise, there is just nothing significant enough to make the whole world take notice. The Lord knows this amazing thing is going to happen soon. It has been foretold in scripture. But why would Denver decide to announce it on his blog last Sunday night?
Verify Statements with the Lord
I’m going to go back to that statement by Denver that we should not trust him unless we verify for ourselves that what he has written or said can be confirmed by the Holy Spirit to our souls. I was skeptical when I first started writing about Denver a year ago. In fact, if you go back and read my first essay, I was a little bit upset. Denver turned my world upside down for a while.
However, with each subsequent reading of his books, and I have read most of them several times now, I became more and more convinced that he was the real deal, meaning that his claims to have been ministered to by the Lord were legitimate and that the Lord asked him to write at least his first book. Don’t call me a Snufferite. I’m just convinced that Denver is a servant of the Lord.
Now, that’s a huge claim that we usually reserve for the men that we sustain as prophets and as apostles in this church. I also use it for Stake Presidents, Bishops, High Priests Group Leaders, Elder’s Quorum Presidents and humble home teachers. In fact, I consider any man or woman who seeks to do what the Lord wants them to do, to be a servant or maidservant of the Lord.
The Warrior Planet Mars
I find it interesting that there is current conjecture in the news about a comet that may possibly hit the planet Mars next year. In fact, one of the comets (ISON) coming by the earth later this year will also pass close to Mars, but not as close as comet Siding Spring next year. As you can tell, even though I am not a scientist per se, I love to follow astronomical and cosmological news.
Immediately upon the announcement of these events, the speculation began that should the comet hit Mars, it could possibly throw it out of its orbit, even if just a little bit. What do you think popped into my mind as soon as I read that? I wondered if perhaps that little red planet might somehow make it way a bit closer towards the earth sometime in the next few years.
To me, this is exciting news. But then, I thought people would get excited when Shoemaker-Levy disintegrated and impacted Jupiter back in 1994. Ho-hum. Didn’t happen here. Didn’t affect me so no big deal. But what if, just what if, that little red planet does start to meander on over here? Could it possibly affect us and make some sort of interruption in our daily lives?
The Lion of Judah Returns
Well, my regular readers know the answer to that one. I am a fan of Velikovsky, Anthony Larson and the alternative view of cosmology known as the Electric Universe. I subscribe to the theory that at one point in time in the recent history of the world, approximately 747 BC to 687 BC, the planet Mars menaced our planet, caused great destruction and terrified the people of the earth.
I also believe something similar will happen again as part of the prophesied destruction of the latter days, just prior to the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only this time, instead of coming as the Babe of Bethlehem in mildness and meekness, he will come as the Lion of Judah, full of fierceness and vengeance. The Lion of Judah will open the book and loose the seven seals.
The Lord uses natural means to accomplish his great designs. The destruction of the last days is not without purpose or meaning. We have lived in cosmological peace for so many thousands of years that we are totally complacent about the possibility of catastrophic calamities coming to the earth again. I am certain good people will return to God in times of distress that now approach.
Seeking After a Sign
And now to Denver’s claim that we may know by this sign that he has faithfully taught the words the Lord has given him. I confess that when I first read that I thought of the scriptural phrase, “It is a wicked and adulterous generation that seeketh after a sign.” Why should we need a sign to know if Denver was fulfilling his assignment from the Lord? Can’t we just ask him directly?
The answer, of course, is that you can and should ask the Lord directly to know for yourself if what Denver has taught is the truth. And not just generally overall, but even about specific things that he has shared. The same applies to everything we hear from our prophets and apostles. We should ask the Lord if what they have taught is true. We do not believe in prophetic infallibility.
In this case, because so many people have ignored or mocked Denver, I suspect the man feels that he has not been effective in fulfilling his assignment. This sign may not come in the next few years. It may not come until many years from now. Somehow, between now and then, like in the Book of Mormon, I suspect Denver will be even more persecuted by those who are in power.
Denver has no Spokesman
Denver has written that nobody speaks for him. I can’t help it if I come up second in a Google search for Denver Snuffer. I’ve only written a few essays in an effort to understand what I’ve read over the past year. That’s how I learn. I read, I write, I share. You read, you comment and I adjust my thinking as necessary. You don’t know how much I appreciate dissenting viewpoints.
I don’t mind you telling me I’m investing an inordinate amount of time in studying the writings of Denver Snuffer. Really I’m not – maybe just a few hundred hours over the past year. Like you, I have a regular life in which I work, I travel, I spend time with my family and I fulfill my calling for the Stake Presidency. It’s just that I’ve gotten so much satisfaction out of Denver’s books.
Like I said at the beginning, Denver doesn’t need anyone to defend him. I hope I’m not causing him distress by all these essays on his books. I have a half dozen more planned along with a whole bunch of other stuff that the Lord keeps giving me. Do you get like that when you write – you just can’t stop because the more you write, the more the ideas flow for future articles?
An Entirely Different Subject
I’d like to conclude this little essay with a request for some help in understanding a website and book I ran across a few years ago. The website is Elliaison.org and the book is The Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I suppose it’s not entirely unrelated since what Denver has invited us to do is to converse with the Lord through the veil. Has anybody else dealt with these people?
Has anybody else read it? If so, what did you think of it? I thought about doing a book review but still need to finish a couple of others in the queue, most notably Mel Fish’s Healing the Inner Self. The book seems to be based on what these folks have learned from Denver’s first book and then shortened it down to the point where you can ask the Lord three specific direct questions.
In prayer, ask “Have I made my calling and election sure? Wait for a response. If negative, ask “May I have your promise that I will be exalted and receive all the blessings of eternal life right now?” If negative, ask, “What do I need to ‘become’ to be worthy of this promise?” Wait for it… The idea is that this is supposed to be the quickest way to having your calling and election sure.
Bear Witness of Parting the Veil
There’s a lot more that goes before and after that little paragraph found on page 61 of the book. I did some fasting and temple preparation about a year ago and put it to the test. What I got was “No, No, and You need more time.” I found it kind of frustrating. “Time for what?” I asked. No answer. “Seasoning” was all I could come up with. Sigh. I put the book aside until recently.
I’m thinking of reading Denver’s first book again. This will probably make the fifth time. I wish I could talk to the man personally. I’ll bet many people have chatted with him about this in the past. But I’m a Southern California boy and he’s in Salt Lake so there you go. I get up to SLC about once or twice a year and usually only because I’m passing through to Brigham or Logan.
I’m convinced we can and should have sacred spiritual experiences where we are able to part the veil, receive instruction from divine messengers and be allowed to bear witness that this is what the Lord wants us to do. I’ve had enough encounters with the dark spirits in my life. How I long for the further light and knowledge that comes from conversing with the Lord through the veil.
Thirty years ago, I encountered a book that changed my life. It introduced to me a unique way of interpreting and understanding prophetic phrases. Passages of scripture that previously mystified me with their obscurity became clear as day and have maintained that clarity ever since. I know of no other book that has impacted my thinking about the last days quite like Anthony Larson’s first book in the Prophecy Trilogy …And the Moon Shall Turn to Blood… The Very Last Days.
As I read the book for the first time I had numerous “ah ha” moments that caused me to open the scriptures to annotate them with new insights. Even after dozens of subsequent readings, I still get that same feeling of wonder each time I read it again. At 136 pages it only takes a few hours to read. For me, the insights from pondering the ideas presented continue for days. The book has led me to a multitude of discoveries about the history of this world and our future world events.
I always wondered why some things described in the scriptures seemed like magic. I knew God was not a magician and wondered if there couldn’t be a logical explanation for such things. Although I picked up the book because of my interest in the last days, I was surprised to learn how the miracles of the Exodus may have come about and how they can explain the prophesied events of the end times. In the process I was introduced to the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky.
Controversial Theories of History
Even after thirty years of discussing this book with others, I still find the majority of people I encounter have never heard of Immanuel Velikovsky, the author of Worlds in Collision, a best-selling book first published in 1950. The public bought millions of copies. The academic and scientific community denounced it as pseudoscience and declared war on Velikovsky. Carl Sagan ridiculed Velikovsky at a famous 1974 science conference and in his TV show Cosmos.
I think the reason Velikovsky was denounced so vociferously was because he used biblical sources to supplement his other, more accepted histories to put forth his theories. That and the fact that he claimed Venus was ejected from Jupiter in the recent past. Carl Sagan especially had a field day with that one. I won’t get into the science arguments here. Just be aware that a large part of Anthony’s book is based on the idea of close encounters between Earth, Venus and Mars.
Even though both Velikovsky and Anthony Larson present their books as theories, because the ideas are so radical, they are attacked by those who supposedly know, based on science that such things could never be. If you are married to the idea that science has all the answers then you will find this book infuriating. If you are open to the possibility that what we currently accept as fact, even laws of the universe, may in fact also be theories, then you will gain much from this book.
Last Days Foretold
How much do you think about the prophesied events of the last days? If you’re like most people, it’s probably very little to not at all. Yet I suspect that within a few years, it’s a subject that will be on everyone’s mind, perhaps night and day. Why? Even though I’m in the latter part of my time here on earth, I am confident I will see some of the cataclysmic events foretold in the scriptures fulfilled before I die. When these things start happening, the whole world will change.
Social upheaval, economic collapse, government failure, breakdown of the communication and transportation infrastructure and all kinds of other events we worry about can all be explained without any reference to unusual cosmological or geological happenings. But when you throw in earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, plagues, new comets, showers of meteorites that are not predicted and all kinds of other unforeseen events in the earth and sky, people tend to panic.
In order to understand what is about to take place, Anthony Larson takes us back to the times of the Exodus as he examines the pillar of fire and smoke with a unique explanation. Once you have accepted this basic premise of his book, all the subsequent material, as fantastic as it may seem, comes into focus. In fact, if you can agree to this key component of the theory, you are in for a whole new world of possibilities about how the world works and what will soon come to pass.
Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism
I suppose the most objectionable part of the theory to readers of a purely scientific mind is the idea that the world has not always been the same. The prevailing belief of today’s scientific community is that the same gradual, almost imperceptible changes occurring in the earth around us today are the result of eons of the same slow forces at work. The argument is that lofty peaks, deep canyons, prairies, islands and great continents were all caused by gradual uniform forces.
Catastrophism, as opposed to Gradualism, purports that geologic changes come from sudden, dramatic upheavals. This implies that when change comes, it is catastrophic in nature. Up until the time of Darwin in the mid 1800’s, catastrophism was supported by science. The geologic record supports catastrophic change. The scriptures support catastrophism (2 Pet 3:3-4). It is difficult for modern thinkers to accept because we simply have no recent evidence to support it.
The cataclysmic events of the very last days have been dismissed by many in the scientific community because of this very reason. They are consumed with the idea that “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” However, we are taught and believe that the heavens and the earth of old have changed and they will change again, probably within the very near future. The earth shall reel to and fro. There shall be a new heaven and a new earth.
Close Encounters of the Planetary Kind
The fundamental criticism from the scientific community against Velikovsky, and by extension Anthony Larson, was that its celestial mechanics were irreconcilable with Newtonian celestial mechanics, requiring planetary orbits which could not be made to conform to the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of angular momentum. In other words, there’s no way a large planet can come close to the earth before gravity pulls them apart (look up Roche Limit).
Velikovsky conceded that the behavior of the planets in his theories is not consistent with Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation. He proposed that electromagnetic forces could be the cause of the movement of the planets, although such forces between astronomical bodies are essentially zero as far as science can currently detect. This is another idea that will be helpful to readers of Anthony’s book in order to understand the events of the very last days.
The bottom line revelation and premise of the book is that our world in the past was visited by planets knocked out of their observed orbits. When they came close, they wrecked devastation upon the earth. I won’t give away the details in Anthony’s book. It is fascinating to read and ponder, especially if you are looking to make sense out of the many obscure phrases that the Lord uses in reference to events that are prophesied to come to pass just prior to His return.
Cataclysmic Events Prophesied
I have some favorite sections in the Doctrine and Covenants I like to read to remind me of the coming prophesied cataclysmic events we will all experience. I note they were all received early in Joseph’s years as the first prophet of this dispensation. They contain language that can make one uncomfortable, especially if you don’t like to think about upcoming end of the world stuff.
September 1830 – Section 29:8-28
|Nov 1831 – Section 133:10-74|
February 1831 – Section 43:17-35
March 1832 – Section 77:6-15
|March 1831 – Section 45:15-75||
Dec 1832 – Section 88:87-116
Verse 93 in section 88 has always intrigued me: “And immediately there shall appear a great sign in heaven, and all people shall see it together.” It makes reference to Matthew 24:30, where the Savior taught his disciples, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven… and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
Joseph further elaborated on the Savior’s great sign. “. . . then will appear one grand sign of the Son of Man in heaven. But what will the world do? They will say it is a planet, a comet, etc. But the Son of Man will come as the sign of the coming of the Son of Man which will be as the light of the morning cometh out of the east.” Joseph’s interpretive statement has been hotly debated.
Signs of the Times
James Burgess recorded some additional detail as Joseph spoke: “So also is the coming of the Son of Man. The dawning of the morning makes its appearance in the east and moves along gradually. So also will the coming of the Son of Man be. It will be small at its first appearance and gradually becomes larger until every eye shall see it.” Very interesting wording, I think.
And from LeGrand Richards, 1951: “While I was president of the Southern States Mission, one of our missionaries wrote in from Florida and said, ‘President Richards, I have been reading about the signs of the coming of the Lord. When the sun darkens and the moon ceases to give its light and the stars fall from heaven, everybody will know that he is coming.” His answer:
“The newspapers might announce some great phenomenon in the heavens, misplacement of planets, that have caused this consternation, and scientists will have their explanation to make of it. Unless they have faith in the Living God, unless as Jesus said, they can read the signs of the times, they may not know anything about what is going on in the world.” In other words, it may not be such a good idea to trust what the science pundits are saying when it comes to this stuff.
The Grand Sign
I’ve thought a lot about this great sign or grand sign referred to by Jesus and the prophet Joseph and how we will perceive it when it happens. I think Joseph and LeGrand Richards nailed it. We will rely on our scientists to explain what is happening and take their word for it that it really is nothing unusual. Their explanations will be so logical that we would be foolish to doubt them. Or so they would have us believe. But those who have studied the signs of the times know better.
Joseph gave us a little insight into the timing of the grand sign. It really is one of the last things to happen before the Lord returns. He said that no one will see “the sign of the Son of Man … until after the sun shall have been darkened and the moon bathed in blood.” He also taught us that “The devil knows many signs, but does not know the sign of the Son of Man, or Jesus.”
Yet we know that “all people shall see it together.” OK, I think it’s obvious that it’s some sort of celestial manifestation. How else could everyone see it at the same time? I just can’t imagine it could be anything other than an approaching planet that looks like a comet just as Joseph said. I wonder what the world would be like if another planet came close to the earth. Could it happen?
And could the earth survive such a close encounter? If two planets came that close together, they would have a tremendous destructive force upon each other. Besides the electromagnetic interaction between the two planets, the gravitational forces would cause the tectonic plates to shift with violent movements. Volcanic activity would explode wherever the plates met. Surely the last days will be a day of burning as smoke and fire cover the earth with tremendous heat.
Think about what would happen if two large planets came close together. The rotation of the planets would change. The magnetic poles would align. The earthquake at such a movement would be tremendous. It would look like the stars were falling from the sky. The oceans would throw themselves beyond their normal bounds for miles and miles inland. Eventually they would race towards the other planet and stand up as if in a heap drawn by the magnetic embrace.
Does all this sound familiar? “The earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man … the stars shall … cast themselves down …” Or this: “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven …” And this: “The heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble …” My favorite: “He shall command the great deep and it shall be driven back into the north countries …” These and many more scriptures are examined and explained in Anthony’s first book of his trilogy.
The Beginning of the End
It all starts with the approach of a large comet or a small planet with a tail. Of course, by the time you start hearing about all this, it will be too late. You’ve only got a few weeks or months left, depending on how soon it is discovered and announced. There is a lot that will happen before this great and dreadful day. That’s why I love prophecy. The Lord has given us so many signs.
Call me crazy for trying to marry what I know about science, astronomy and cosmology with what I believe from the scriptures about the last days. I am convinced that the Lord uses natural means to bring about his purposes. “Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wrought through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized (Talmage).”
In other words, I think it’s plausible and beneficial to look for natural explanations for the signs of the last days, especially as they relate to the great and dreadful day. I’m thinking we’re going to be hearing and reading a lot more about this in the years to come. I know we’re not there yet but I for one intend to keep looking for those signs in the sky above and in the world around me.
Watch for these Signs
Anthony writes about each of these signs in his book. He does not attempt to put them in any chronological order. Note that none of these can be attributed to man. Some may attempt to ascribe them to global warming, but as we advance in the Lord’s agenda, it will become more and more obvious that there is no other explanation other than what we find in the scriptures. Yet I suppose until they actually see the Lord, some will continue to say it’s all due to natural causes.
1. Plagues, pestilences and famines, 2. Signs and wonders in heaven and earth, 3. Disasters, earthquakes and tornados, 4. Great hailstorm will destroy crops of earth, 5. Sun shall be darkened, 6. Moon shall turn to blood, 7. Earth shall reel to and fro, 8. Trumps shall sound both long and loud, 9. Great deep rolled back into north countries, 10. Great earthquake such as never before, 11. Return of the lost ten tribes, 12. Return of the City of Enoch, 13. Earth will be cleansed by fire, 14. New heaven and new earth
I don’t know about you but this stuff fascinates me. I want to know what to look for as the end of the world approaches. I am grateful the Lord has revealed it in advance. He loves us and has forewarned us. The adversary is doing all in his power to discredit the warnings, mainly through the opposition of the theories of science. Remember, scientific laws discovered by man are incomplete. There is so much we don’t understand about how God works through natural means.
The Prophecy Trilogy
I think you can tell I am excited by Anthony’s book. As I wrote in the beginning of this essay, it has made a profound difference in my life. It has changed my relationship with the Lord. It has strengthened my testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. What’s even more exciting is that this is only the first book in a trilogy of additional insights and revelations from Anthony. If you think this book is exciting, wait until you read the next two books in the Prophecy trilogy.
Besides being influenced by Velikovsky, Anthony subscribes, as do I, to the theories of the Electric Universe. Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with my references to Dave Talbott and Wal Thornhill. If you have not heard of the Saturn Myth, look it up. If you want to know how Anthony has applied it to LDS theology, continue to read the other works in the prophecy trilogy. Each of the three books are about 150 pages in length and well written.
Beyond the prophecy trilogy, Anthony has authored two additional books about the last days that again, offer a unique perspective on revelation. One is a commentary on that very book entitled The Plainest Book: Revelation. The other is entitled Parallel Histories: The Nephites and the Americans. If you want to learn more about things happening in America today, and things yet to happen in this great nation before the return of the Lord, read and ponder this wonderful book.
Summary and Conclusion
I love Anthony’s books. I have read them over and over. I have read every entry on his blog and every article he published in other sources. I have attended his seminars, both in person and over the Internet. There is no doubt that he is controversial. He is also extremely confident that what he shares is helpful, strengthening and uplifting to members of the LDS church and others. I am one who happens to agree, even though I have read plenty of well written opposing viewpoints.
I feel so strongly about what I have learned from Anthony that I have committed to write a work of fiction based on what I have learned from him, from Velikovsky and from proponents of the Electric Universe. I have spent the last several years learning to write fiction. In my opinion, it is much more difficult to write good fiction than it is to write essays like these. My personal goal this year is to write each month two essays related to the last days and two chapters of fiction.
Thanks for reading my review. You can read others on Amazon, Goodreads and on Anthony’s website. In fact, you can read the first few chapters online for free. Anthony’s books sold well when they were first published. I believe they will see a resurgence of interest in the coming years. Yes, they are strange and unusual. Yes, they are controversial, even among the LDS community. But are they worth your time to read? Yes, I enthusiastically endorse these books.
Links to Anthony Larson’s materials:
Videos – http://youtube.com/user/toeknee1943/
Website – http://mormonprophecy.com/
Blog – http://mormonprophecy.blogspot.com/
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/keystomormonprophecy
Scribd – http://www.scribd.com/anthonyelarson
I had not intended to write this review, but could not resist because the impression to share was so strong. I had intended to review chapter three of Passing the Heavenly Gift, but that can wait. I finished Proof of Heaven a week ago and did not feel the desire to review it as I do with this book. Proof of Heaven can stand on its own, already reviewed by many people. Visions of Glory has also been reviewed in several places, but the negative reviews are too dismissive for me.
I’m not going to say my review is negative, and I am going to recommend you read it, but I’m going to offer a few words of warning. There’s just something strange about this book that I can’t put my finger on at the moment. Maybe by the time I finish the review it will be clearer. The negative reviews on Amazon and elsewhere declare that Spencer was deceived. I’m not going to go that far. I believe Spencer was sincere when he described what he said he saw.
Visions of Glory combines two of my favorite topics – Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and the Last Days. Like several of the reviewers, I was fascinated with the first third of the book as he describes what he learned in his first two NDEs. I had little problem with what he offered and found myself nodding my head in agreement with some of his descriptions. The spirit burned in my heart as I recognized and understood that Spencer had shared some wonderful truths with us.
LDS Blogging on Last Days
I don’t doubt that Spencer did indeed experience the NDE’s as he described them. But I am just blown away by the detail in the last two thirds of the book in his third NDE. Cedar Fort’s wording on the cover that this is “one man’s astonishing account of the last days” causes me to immediately think, “Well, that’s just his interpretation.” And indeed, that’s the first warning I’m going to offer. These are just one man’s views of the Last Days. Mine are certainly different.
With John’s recent passing, Spencer, not his real name, has contributed more to John’s blog, now maintained by others. You can get a better feel for Spencer there by reading his contributions as he answers questions put to him by readers. It kind of reminds me of the early days of Denver’s blog in which he was much more interactive with his readers. Having a popular blog in the LDS community can be burdensome because so many readers are at different levels of understanding.
In any event, after reading Spencer’s book (it really is his even though John wrote it), you can interact directly with him on the Unblog. Although I found Spencer’s description of some of the events of the last days to be fascinating, my focus has been different. What I would like to ask about, he would not be able to answer. I am more interested in how the widespread destruction is caused and how to interpret the events from the Books of Revelation, Daniel, Joel and others.
Invasion of America
Those who have read essays from my early years of blogging know my interest in the books of Anthony Larson, known as the Prophecy Trilogy. In there, you’ll find a description of the pillar of fire, for example, that is radically different from what Spencer describes in his book. You’ll also find much more reference to the cosmological causes of the great destruction that is to take place before the coming of the Lord, which are barely mentioned in passing by Spencer.
Now, I hate to go “out there” but I want to make a point that there are multiple claims of how the great destruction is going to come about. Spencer notes that there are many nuclear explosions, most caused by internal radicals, not by the foreign invaders. I read that part to my wife. She said it sounds like someone watched “Jericho” or “Revolution” and had a bad dream. I must admit I have never read anyone else talking about floods in Salt Lake as one of the signs of the last days.
Are you familiar with Denise Mendenhall, daughter of LDS author Doug Mendenhall? She lives without a veil. She gave a talk at Confetti Books in Feb of 2012. I have a recording of the event. In it she relates how the Lord told her to share that he is going to cause a huge EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) to hit the earth which will wipe out all technology based on the use of electricity and electronics, which is just about every means of modern communication and transportation.
Civilization will be Destroyed
Here’s my point. We’ve got Spencer claiming there will be a huge earthquake that will destroy most of the West Coast, cause massive flooding in Utah and precede an invasion by a large body of foreigners who take over the country. I’m not sure I understood the explanation for the flooding but I thought Spencer was describing the return of Lake Bonneville. He related that everything south of Point of the Mountain was under water as far as the eye could see. Strange.
So in addition to the huge earthquake, which is prophesied in the scriptures, without the floods, we’ve got Denise sharing that there will be a huge EMP and Anthony Larson pointing out that the great destruction of the last days will be caused by Earth’s close encounter with another celestial body. Spencer writes in his book that the earth passes by a huge planet on the journey back to God’s presence but that it has absolutely no effect on the earth or the inhabitants.
Although Spencer and Denise both claim that their visions of the end times are from the Lord, I’m going to go with what I have long held that the destruction of the last days, including the massive earthquakes, tidal waves and volcanic activity, are caused by the return of the Ten Tribes, who Joseph said were taken from the earth. This is in direct contradiction with what Spencer claims in his book – that they are living in deep caverns long hidden under the ice.
Celestial Mechanics and Time Travel
This is all conjecture and fun to think about but back to the point of this review. I offered one warning about Spencer’s book at the beginning. Here’s another: How is it possible that God could tell three different people, one of them a prophet, that the destruction of the last days will be caused by three different things: a massive earthquake, an EMP and a planet coming up alongside the earth? Could they all be correct? Well, actually I suppose they could be.
Imagine for a minute that you put aside what science teaches about celestial mechanics. Let’s assume that somehow a large planetary body could come close to the earth. Let’s further assume you accept the alternative theories of cosmology known as the Electric Universe in which plasma and electricity have greater influence than gravity, then yes, I suppose an EMP could accompany the earthquakes and other prophesied destructions found in the scriptures in rich abundance.
My apologies if my ramblings don’t make sense. I have tried to provide links to previous essays that might help if you haven’t been a regular reader of my blog. In Visions of Glory Spencer is clear that he has little to no background in technology. He marvels at the things he encounters as he becomes a translated being. I suppose his description of the portals will be the most difficult for scientifically minded people to accept. After all, he’s talking about time travel at that point.
All the Hot Mormon Topics
A few questions I am still pondering: Why such detail about the destruction in and around Salt Lake and little to none of the rest of the world? Why did they have to go to Cardston first before they went to Missouri? Why is the appearance of the Lord in the Conference Center to a select few not mentioned anywhere in prophesied events of the last days? Is the invasion of America by a foreign military a part of the events foretold in the scriptures? Why didn’t the plague kill more?
Is the book an exciting read? Yes, I couldn’t put it down. You’ll encounter plagues, earthquakes, floods, foreign invasion, changes in weather (kind of like Global Warming without the politics), changes in constellations as the earth travels through space, the return of the Ten Tribes, the long walk to Missouri, the building of the New Jerusalem, the gathering of the elect by the 144,000 and much more. But as some reviewers have written, it reads like a piece of good LDS fiction.
That is probably unkind. I don’t know Spencer. From everything I’ve read he is a kind soul. I would not have the courage to share what he has shared specifically because I know so many people would be inclined to mock. I have read the glowing reviews of others who said this is the most life-changing book they have ever read. Others have written that the Holy Ghost testified to them it is true. I’m not going to go that far. Perhaps I simply was not ready to receive it as such.
Inspiration for LDS Fiction
Some of my readers may know I am writing a trilogy of fiction based on the works of Immanuel Velikovsky and the Electric Universe cosmological views of Wal Thornhill and David Talbott. I have taken the opening chapter of Anthony Larson’s book, And the Moon Shall be Turned to Blood and have expanded it into what I hope will be an interesting and exciting story about how events could possibly happen in the very last days just prior to the return of the Lord.
My first book ends with the return of the broken off piece of earth containing the Ten Tribes. In fact, that’s the whole premise of the first book – that a planet will come close to the earth, cause huge widespread destruction and eventually position itself just above the magnetic North pole. In my second book I plan to write about life on Earth after the destruction of civilization and how we pick up the pieces. I confess I planned to write about the walk to Missouri to build up Zion.
As I read through the last two thirds of Spencer’s book I made mental notes about how I could expand this scene or that scene and incorporate it into my book. If I ever publish the first and find the anticipated satisfaction in its reception for which I hope, I’ll write about the return of the City of Enoch and again, the destructions that accompany yet another piece of Earth coming home. In my third book, I will write about what happens when the Lord does finally return.
One Man’s View
Most people don’t think about this stuff. None of us really has any material clue about how this is all going to come down, especially the timing and sequence of events. I like reading books like Visions of Glory because it gives me food for thought about how future events could possibly happen. Do I consider it a work of fiction? I’m not sure. Did the Holy Ghost reveal to me that what Spencer claimed he saw really will happen that way? I confess, no, I can’t say that.
I reiterate the point that Cedar Fort makes on the cover – this is one man’s view of things. He claims he was shown this in vision. At one point he made some reference that this may all be symbolic. At other times he was emphatic that he knew he was going to participate in these events at some future point in his life. I don’t know any translated beings but if you know Spencer in real life, maybe you should stick close to him to see if he is changed someday.
Please don’t be upset with my review if you feel I am mocking sacred things. I’m not. I have been a long-time reader of John’s blog. I have deep reverence and respect for those who have spiritual gifts that I don’t have. I suppose I am too caught up in making a living and relying on technology to do it. I spend every day working with routers, switches and wireless access points, servers, fiber-optic Internet connections and all kinds of things to keep the electrons flowing.
Technology for a Zion People
That’s why when I read in Spencer’s book how communications were cut off and yet there were some pockets of cities with electricity, I had to wonder why he claimed there would be no Internet. Wouldn’t that be one of the first things society would want restored once they had electricity? Even if it were just a small network in the local city not connected to the outside world, I am positive any civil authority would want that re-established as soon as possible.
He also mentions that the church had communications systems intact. OK, how did they do that? He never describes the fate of satellites, yet I believe in one case he noted the foreign invaders had some sort of GPS. The church relies heavily on the Internet and satellites to communicate with stakes all over the world. I realize that later on Spencer implies that they could keep in touch via their white seer stones but this is in the beginning, right after the big earthquake.
Spencer’s book is not about technology. It’s about becoming a Zion people. That’s why it fits in so well with John’s focus on the Unblog. It takes so many of the beliefs unique to Mormonism to levels that I confess I had never dreamed. Why would the Lord reveal such detail to Spencer that he hasn’t revealed to the prophets? Or if he has, why have they chosen not to discuss it, share it and teach us about it? Spencer doesn’t claim to be a prophet, but he sure shares amazing detail.
Fiction based on Dreams?
Final warning: John relates that as Spencer shared his visions he was impressed to tell Spencer about similar visions from other members of the church in our early history. Spencer claims he had never heard of them. Yet as I read Spencer’s visions I immediately called them to mind. Am I unique in that I knew of these things when a man with three advanced degrees had never heard of them? One could make an argument that the book was written from these previous visions.
The other visions and dreams are included in the appendix. The whole idea of going to Cardston first is based on a letter from Sols Caurdisto who toured the temple before it opened in 1921. The destruction of the cities of the East Coast that Spencer related the Angel showed him could have come directly from John Taylor’s 1877 dream, also included in the appendix. The 1884 dream of the plagues and Charles Evans dream of schools in New Jerusalem appear in Spencer’s narrative.
My conclusion: This is a fantastic book, a very enjoyable read. I recommend you read it. Don’t let my worldly skepticism deter you from gleaning wonderful truths shared about how the spirit world around us operates. But when it comes to how the events of the last days are going to go down, make sure you compare what you discover with what you already know from scripture. Then ask yourself as I did, “Has the Lord ever revealed such specific detail to anyone else?”
Note: Since I mentioned my book, you may be interested in reading a few chapters. It is tentatively entitled “Red Sky.”
Is there such a thing as orthodoxy in Mormonism? And who has the right to proclaim what is orthodox in our religion that should or should not be believed? I understand and accept that the men I sustain as leaders in the LDS Church have the right to determine and enforce what should be taught in the classrooms and declared from the pulpits of that worldwide institution.
But many things I attribute to Mormonism the religion, are not taught today in the LDS Church. Does that mean the Mormon religion and the LDS Church are two different things? Consider the recent General Conference address from Elder Donald Hallstrom, “Converted to His Gospel through His Church.” He is obviously declaring the Gospel is not the same as the church.
The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, the doctrines that teach how we can be saved and live forever in a state of happiness, redeemed from death and hell. On the other hand, the church is the institution organized and established by the Lord through Joseph Smith in 1830 that has undergone a tremendous number of changes over the years.
Religion and Church
Although it embraces both, in my mind, our religion is something altogether different from the gospel and from the church. I suppose that’s dangerous ground. If you think about it, I’m saying what I believe to be truth is not limited to what the LDS Church declares to be truth today. That is indeed dangerous ground. It invites speculation that the Church limits us in some way.
At one time we taught that we embrace all truth. Yet some things we taught as truth in the early days of the church are no longer found in our official curriculum. I’m not talking about plural marriage, blood atonement or restricting the priesthood. I’m talking about things like the reality of evil spirits, catastrophes of the last days and the literalness of D&C 93:1.
I feel a debt of gratitude to three men whose views have changed my life. Although they do not want or care for the attention, I would like to acknowledge them, their ideas and their work. Each has worked tirelessly to bring their beliefs to light and I for one have benefited from their work. They illustrate the idea that something from the early days of our religion has been lost.
Jan Graf – Reality of evil spirits
I first met Jan at a time in my life when I was troubled by many things that would not go away. There is no other way to explain it concisely. Because of his ideas and explanations of things, I was able to make them go away. It’s that simple. What he teaches about how to remove distress is nothing new or different. It is simply the application of the principle of forgiveness.
But what is unique, unorthodox and controversial about Jan’s skill in helping people find peace are his beliefs about what causes stress in our lives. It is the idea that evil spirits are real, can be found in the world around us and are very active in afflicting and tormenting us. That is a very common belief in the early days of Mormonism but hardly ever taught in the church today.
I was so excited about the amazing results in my life from what he taught that Carol and I went to St. George to interview him and talk about writing a book. Because what he does is so easily misunderstood, he asked that I not pursue my project. Out of respect I dropped the idea but continue to refer people to him I know could benefit from his stress-reduction technique.
Anthony Larson – Latter-day catastrophes
A long time ago I ran across a book that got me genuinely excited about how the last days are going to unfold. It was not told from a social, political or even religious perspective but from a cosmological view that could only be described as unorthodox. Anthony Larson explained for me how the signs and prophecies of the scriptures are descriptions of natural events.
What he explained in his trilogy of prophecy books was not thought to be so unusual in the early days of Mormonism. We were at one time considered an Adventist church, preparing intently for the forthcoming return of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though his books are based on scripture and statements of early Mormon leaders, today they are considered unorthodox.
I have written many essays about his beliefs and interpretations of scripture. I have attended his seminars, read each of his books multiple times and had many dialogs and conversations about how he interprets myths of the past. I’m in the process of writing a fictional account based on the now unorthodox but one-time common beliefs of this visionary, prophetic man.
Denver Snuffer – The Second Comforter
I was recently introduced to the writings of Denver Snuffer, a man who claims to have received the Second Comforter and was asked by the Lord to write about it. That’s an amazing claim and obviously very unorthodox in our modern LDS church. He has generated a lot of controversy. Some have called him apostate or dangerous and said he should be excommunicated.
I have almost finished reading Denver’s eight published books. I have written previously that I would withhold judgment until I finished them all but I think I have made up my mind. Denver’s advice that we read his books in order has merit. I read them in reverse order. That may have been a mistake, but I survived because I read most of the “alternative views” previously.
I have decided I like Denver, or that I can at least accept and trust what he has written. Just as I have with Jan Graf’s and Anthony Larson’s writings, I have pondered and prayed about what I have learned. I am not dismayed or taken aback by his latest book as some others have been although I confess an initial misunderstanding of how he defines the sealing power.
I suppose I need to change my bio on Twitter, Google Plus and here on my blog. Because of my acceptance of the beliefs of the three men I have described, I guess I can no longer claim to be an orthodox Mormon. What’s more, I am discovering I am unusual in my church because I have long believed and taught that we can seek and should strive to have “spiritual experiences.”
After years of sharing some of my sacred experiences online, engaging in dialog about the reality of personal revelation, I have come to the conclusion there are many within our church that do not experience communication from the spirit world like I thought everybody did. That sounds weird, doesn’t it? “Spooky,” an embarrassing unorthodox belief, some would say.
Perhaps that is why there are two conflicting cultures within the LDS church today. On the one hand we are encouraged to share our testimonies, which are supposed to be based on personal sacred events. On the other hand, the subtle message is being communicated that we must keep our spiritual experiences to ourselves, because they are “too sacred” to share.
Orthodoxy seems to be all about what is appropriate and acceptable as the norm. As I wrote at the beginning of this essay, I accept and sustain the right of the leaders of this church to direct what is preached from the pulpit and what is taught in the classroom. The church is a place of order. It is a magnificent, effective organization that does tremendous good.
The meetinghouses, the temples, the missionary force, the humanitarian effort, the welfare system, the lay ministry, the willingness of the members to sacrifice and serve each other all attest to the goodness of this organization. But there is something more to our religion than just the church and our activity within it. There is something intense and personal.
That something today is unorthodoxy. It is our individual efforts to commune with God. It is our testimonies, our spiritual experiences, our determination to study, understand and internalize what we believe. It is developing our ability to hear and respond to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It is our participation in the ordinances and adherence to the covenants we make.
In short, it is being different from the world and even from many within the church who are not willing to pay the price of obedience and sacrifice that inevitably bring the promised blessings. The church is not the same as the gospel and the church is not everything there is to our religion. There is so much more to Mormonism but you have to be willing to be unorthodox to see it.
Two weeks ago Carol and I traveled to Provo from our home in California to attend a unique symposium on the subject of prophecy and the last days. The presenter was Anthony Larson, an LDS author and publisher of five books on the subject. I read Anthony’s books back in the 80’s when they were first published and again over the last year after he and I started corresponding.
Anthony has a unique view of cosmology that incorporates many of the writings of Velikovsky (Worlds in Collision) and of David Talbott (The Saturn Myth). Some of his most recent work embraces the discoveries of Anthony Peratt and the Birkeland currents. Anthony Larson brings an LDS perspective to these theories, adding relationships between ancient history and prophecy.
Report of the Provo symposium
Anthony claims that there is a connection between scriptural accounts of catastrophic events and the irregular motion of planets in our solar system as recorded in ancient myths. He connects errant heavenly bodies with the signs of the last days. He teaches that Earth’s ancient planetary history has had a distinct effect upon the language of the prophets and Gospel interpretation.
Observing the attendance at the symposium, I believe interest in the events of the last days has increased, or at least it has among Latter-day Saints. The event was organized and sponsored by Doug Mendenhall of Publishing Hope, a small LDS book publisher out of Mt. Pleasant Utah. Doug is known for publishing a book about his daughter’s illness and visit to the spirit world.
Authors want to sell books
Carol attended the Friday night introductory lecture but did not sit with me through the all-day symposium on Saturday. Based on her expression of interest, I thought the material would only be interesting to guys like me who are into theoretical explanations of cosmological events. But I was pleasantly surprised to see an equal mix of men and women listening intently to the lecture.
The Aspen room of the Provo Marriott was packed with over 200 attendees who paid a small fee to cover the cost of renting the room. I can’t imagine that there was enough profit other than to pay for Anthony’s travel and accommodations. I did see a lot of his books going out the door from the back table so I think his motivation is mainly to educate people and promote his books.
The material is a little advanced
Anthony loves to study, write and to share what he has learned with others. That was obvious to those who were in attendance. He was very comfortable at the podium and had no problem with keeping our attention for hours on end. He has a command of his material and presented it in an interesting manner with PowerPoint slide shows and videos with his own musical compositions.
At times he was passionate about defending his material and unless you know a little about what he has had to deal with over the past fifteen years, you might not understand why. As you can imagine, Anthony’s theories are not orthodox and not embraced by the majority of the Latter-day Saint community. In fact, he has been labeled a crackpot by some academic scholars at BYU.
More than just interesting material
I consider myself extremely conservative, orthodox and typical of most Latter-day Saints when it comes to what I teach and share in any official capacity in the church. In other words, when I teach a class or speak from the pulpit, I am a stickler for teaching only what the Brethren have said is appropriate and authorized. I make every effort to know and teach only current material.
You probably know where I’m going with this. What Anthony teaches is not something that you are going to hear in your gospel doctrine class and probably not from the pulpit. It is considered way out there. I would put it in the class of interesting to know but not essential to either our salvation or exaltation. Anthony feels otherwise, or so he expressed in his Friday night lecture.
We need to study on our own
We are so concerned in the church with teaching only the basics of the gospel that we rarely talk about the things that Anthony presented. He gave us quote after quote from the early Brethren, including Joseph Smith that laid a case for his claims of impending cosmological catastrophism. The evidence was methodically presented, allowing the audience time to absorb and understand.
Anthony’s material consisted of a series of separate lectures, each focusing on one aspect of his research and each presented logically and systematically. He laid the evidence out there and then expressed his opinions and conclusions, leaving the audience to determine on their own if they agreed or not. He often paused and reminded us of the importance of studying this on our own.
Teachings based on the prophets
He did not teach that the end of the world is imminent. In fact, he said the exact opposite and backed up his view with many evidences from statements of prophets of the past. He clearly taught that we must first look for the one grand sign that the Prophet Joseph taught would be the harbinger of the coming of the Son of Man. The whole world will see this approaching planet.
That was surprising to me. Had he aligned himself with the Planet X theorists who claim that the end of the world is closely tied to the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, I probably would have packed my laptop up and walked out. But he didn’t. He was very careful to point out that we need to base our understanding of the last days on what the prophets have taught on the subject.
Anthony’s viewpoints are fairly unique
So I continued my note taking and filled five pages with point after point that demonstrated a lifetime of research and collection of evidence to support his theories and conclusions. Anthony has no qualms about acknowledging that he is alone in what he is teaching. He knows that there are very few in the church or the world who agree with what he says, let alone understand it.
He has been misunderstood and maligned by those who have not studied his material or attended one of his lectures. As I wrote in a previous essay, I had never met Anthony but intended to go with an open heart and an open mind. I came away convinced that he is right about most of the things he is teaching. I agree with his conclusions and appreciate all of the supporting evidence.
Cosmological connections to the temple
I wish I had a chance to sit down one on one with Anthony and ask him to clarify what he meant when he taught Friday night that this material is so crucial, even central to our salvation and our exaltation. I have not yet made that leap and neither has Carol. Of all the things she heard, that was the one statement that made her feel that she could dismiss or ignore the rest of his lecture.
He taught some things about the temple and connections with cosmology on Saturday afternoon that are far beyond my understanding. I had trouble absorbing it but took lots of good notes and will study it out for myself as he suggested. I think he could write a whole new book about what he taught but it would have to be presented very carefully with the detailed supporting evidence.
Endorsement of the symposium
And that’s the problem with teaching anything that is deep or advanced in this church or among the LDS people. There are wackos out there that start teaching their theories of the end of the world and then they are suddenly claiming that God told them to re-introduce polygamy. Let me make it clear that Anthony is very adamant in advocating that we follow the prophet of our day.
As one who has now studied Anthony’s material over many years, both what is contained within his published books and more recently with what he has placed online, may I offer my heartfelt endorsement and recommendation that you go and listen to what he has to say. He is offering two additional symposia this weekend in Arizona – Snowflake on the 8th and Mesa on the 9th.
Carol and I are flying up to Salt Lake on Friday to attend a gospel-related symposium on prophecy and cosmology. In other words, it is a seminar about Armageddon and the last days. It is being held at the Provo Marriott in the Aspen room. Attendance is expected to be several hundred. I am encouraged by the interest in the subject and by the very idea that such an event is being held.
Let me explain why. A few years back in the LDS Church, there were a number of people in Utah who started holding gospel study groups in their homes to discuss doctrines that were not being taught in depth in the regular church meetings. One of those doctrines was Armageddon and the events of the last days. You could say that some participants were just a little obsessed.
Gospel study groups in the home
You may recall that the Manti group formed out of a gospel study group that met in the home. For those who don’t know, that was the forerunner of yet another polygamous split-off called the TLC started by James Harmston. It was a sad period in the history of the church because it was also about this time that several outspoken LDS intellectuals were excommunicated for apostasy.
This was also the time that Bo Gritz was running for president and was promoting his ideas of being prepared for the impending collapse of the current socio-economic order. He taught there was a secret conspiracy and new world order being planned and that we should do all we could to resist it. His encouragement of paramilitary preparation was very popular in Utah and Idaho.
The decline of church firesides
The response of the church to the Manti group, the intellectual apostates, and those who went so far as to quit their jobs and hide in the mountains with large supplies of ammunition and food, was to send out a letter to all priesthood leaders warning them of the dangers of people holding study groups in their homes. President Packer also referred to this in General Conference.
The result was that there was an immediate decrease in firesides held throughout the church. I noticed it and so did a lot of others who enjoyed a group gospel discussion outside of church. It is unfortunate that the stimulating intellectual growth that comes from a group setting discussion was curtailed as the result of a few individuals who went too far and led others to apostasy.
I can understand the response of the Brethren in doing what they did. Their duty is to protect the church and to see that the doctrines taught are pure. The unintended result was the demise in legitimate intellectual dialog. I guess what I’m saying is that gospel doctrine classes don’t meet the needs of some individuals when it comes to wanting to increase their gospel knowledge.
I have missed the firesides that we used to have growing up where we talked about the last days and the signs of the times. I confess that I’m a little bit unorthodox when it comes to wanting to know more about Armageddon. I don’t think I am obsessed but my interest is keen, especially as events that I see as being fulfillment of the signs of the times become more and more abundant.
Exploring ideas together
That’s why I am so excited about this symposium and would invest the time and money to travel from California to Utah to attend this two-day event. Now don’t go thinking that I’m following after one of those individuals that is trying to lead the people of the church astray. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anthony Larson is a respected author and authority on the subject.
I have read all five of his books and all of his essays over the years and can tell you that he is in no way advocating anything other than loyalty to the church and to the Brethren who lead it. He does, however, have some rather unique views on what is prophesied to happen in the very last days as the advent of the Savior draws nigh. It has to do with an unorthodox view of cosmology.
I think such a symposium like this can be held again because of the way that the Internet has filled the vacuum for intellectual gospel discussion. The church has embraced new technology and is encouraging members to speak out through all aspects of the new media in sharing the message of the restored gospel. Those with common interests have found each other online.
It is true that a subject like Armageddon can bring out the whackos among us. I have seen this on several of the online discussion groups, blogs and websites. It is also a subject about which mainly guys are interested. Carol finds it boring and is only attending the Friday evening meeting as a courtesy to me. She is spending Saturday taking pictures on the BYU campus.
What is unique about this symposium is that Anthony Larson is considered a crackpot by some in the LDS academic community. His ideas are unorthodox, unproven and in fact, go against what modern science teaches about cosmology. But that’s what I like about him and his ideas. He has studied this out in detail all his life. Isn’t he entitled to some inspiration on the subject?
So I’m going to give him a fair chance. I’m going to hear his ideas out and consider what he has to say on the subject. I have an advantage in that I have already invested dozens of hours over the years in reading and understanding his published material. But still, I have never met the man nor have I seen what kind of individuals attend his symposia. I may be in for a shock.
Preparing for Armageddon
Academic symposia in the LDS community are not new. Sunstone and similar groups have held such events continuously over the years. I am not a Sunstone kind of person. I find that some of the material they publish is not faith promoting. Independent thinking is encouraging, but not at the expense of loyalty to the prophets and apostles who lead the true church of the Lord today.
I am confident that what I hear from Anthony Larson this Friday and Saturday will in no way cause me to feel any less inclined to follow the Brethren. I do expect to have my understanding of the cosmological events of the last days increased. After all, haven’t the prophets always warned us to watch and be ready that we may be prepared for the days when the Lord returns?
Note: I have also written a report of the symposium
In our Institute class last night we began to study the Book of Abraham. The instructor covered the origins of the book in short order. None of the students had any questions about the papyri or the mummies or the translation process or the discovery of the fragments. Neither did I as I have written about this previously. The Book of Abraham contains much unique LDS doctrine.
Note the facsimile above. It is a print from a woodcut that Joseph asked an early member of the church to make. It has accompanied the Book of Abraham each time it has been printed. It is simply fascinating and depicts Abraham being sacrificed on the altar by the priest of the Pharaoh. He was saved by the angel.
Even though Abraham was in Chaldea, many miles away, the government and religion of Egypt were dominant in the civilized world at that time, about 2000 B.C. The world had been inundated by the flood some 400 years earlier so there were not a lot of people on the earth. One of the descendants of Ham, one of the sons of Noah, settled Egypt. The name Egypt signifies that which is forbidden. So the line of Cain had been preserved through Egyptus, the wife of Ham.
The early heavens were different
I have been anxious to reread the Book of Abraham so although we only covered chapter one last night, I moved ahead in my readings through chapters two and three. I stopped excitedly on chapter three, verse five because I read this in a different light than I have ever done before. First let me share the verse and then I will share why I was so excited when I read it. The exciting part for me has to do with what I learned as I recently reread the works of Anthony Larson.
And the Lord said unto me: The planet which is the lesser light, lesser than that which is to rule the day, even the night, is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years. (Abraham 3:5)
This is the Lord talking to Abraham. What is the planet which is referred to in this verse? What does He mean, “the lesser light?” Is he referring to some far-away planet or star? We can surmise that the greater light is the sun, but I believe the lesser light refers to a mini-star that used to reside above the Earth, roughly in the region of the North Pole. It was very close to the Earth and took up a large portion of the sky. “It standeth above the earth.” That is very clear.
The cause of the great flood
This is fascinating stuff. What would have been the effects of having a large planet or mini-star standing above the earth? Were they somehow joined by some sort of electromagnetic pull or attraction? Did the larger planet revolve more slowly, perhaps according to the Lord’s time? We know that a day with the Lord is a thousand years with man. Perhaps that can help explain why men lived so many hundreds of years back in the early days in the time of the patriarchs.
I wonder also if the planet was at one time very close – so close that the water of the earth was pulled up towards the north pole. Wouldn’t that be a logical explanation for the cause of the great flood if the planet moved off to stand further away from the earth? All the water that was in the Northern regions of the earth would have come down and deluged civilization. The end result would be that the waters of the earth would be more like they are today.
And where did the city of Enoch go? Isn’t it possible that when the Lord says he took it unto his bosom that he raised up a large portion of the earth and that it was also hovering about the earth for a little while? That would explain why the inhabitants of the earth tried to build the tower of Babel. They wanted to get to the city of Enoch that was just out of reach in the heavens. We read about that in Moses chapter seven in our institute class a few weeks ago. Fascinating stuff!
The works of Anthony Larson
The only person I have ever read that understands this is Anthony Larson. Perhaps you have heard of his books, the Prophecy trilogy. The Internet is an amazing thing. We can get to know people that we would never have been able to meet otherwise. I mentioned Anthony’s books in a post back in January. He responded to my post and we began an email dialog that has been most rewarding. If you have not read the works of Anthony Larson, I highly recommend them.
I admit that the stuff I am proposing is not standard orthodox LDS teachings. As far as I know, my interpretation of Abraham 3:5 is not taught in seminary or institute classes. There is no way to prove these ideas but they make so much sense to me. I guess we may have to wait until the Lord chooses to reveal all things someday before we will know if it just might have been this way. I am indebted to Anthony Larson for proposing it, but I accept it as being what happened.
You can read more about Anthony and his amazing interpretations of the scriptures on his website. He offers free email newsletters and has a wealth of information that he is willing to share with anyone who is interested. He is no crackpot. I have read the majority of his stuff and find him to be completely rational and highly intelligent. I consider him a man ahead of his time. I believe we will see the day when his theories are proven correct and fully justified.
Summary and conclusion
What does any of this have to do with our salvation? Is knowing and understanding what is contained in the Pearl of Great Price critical to our happiness? You’ve got to admit that the contents of the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham are not understood or appreciated by any other church. They do not know of it or accept it if they do. Nevertheless, the doctrines in these scriptures are fundamental to our theology that adds so much to our lives.
I submit that the material found in the Pearl of Great Price is also not understood by the majority of the members of the LDS Church. There are some fundamental doctrines there that are found nowhere else in our scriptures. Most notably, the idea of the pre-earth life or our premortal existence and a more complete understanding of the creation of the world and the fall of Adam than what is found in the Bible. I for one am so grateful for additional revelation!
A new image from the far side of Mercury was released by NASA today. It was taken by the Messenger probe that flew by last week before it begins an orbit of Mercury in a few years. It has been sending back a wealth of data about the planet that was not previously known. This image was one of the first of the far side.
Scientists are puzzling over this strange spider shape formed by a set of radiating troughs at the center of Mercury’s huge Caloris impact basin. The troughs might be stretch marks formed when the ground here expanded, but their relationship to the crater near the center is uncertain. In other words, the experts have no clue what could have caused this spider-like formation.
I was especially excited to see this image today and I’ll bet Dave Talbott was too. To me, it confirms a theory about the electric universe that modern science has completely rejected. This picture looks exactly like what happens when an electric arc is discharged on a planetary scale. Equally exciting is the electric arc blistering and cratering that is evident in the photo. I know, any astrophysicist will tell me that my interpretation of the photo is completely erroneous.
Now what has all this got to do with LDS theology? I’ll just share one tantalizing tidbit of information in a drawing that Joseph Smith shared with Philo Dibble. The Prophet said that in the drawing the sphere marked “A” represented the earth, and that the Ten Tribes were on the sphere marked “B”. He did not state the purpose for sphere “C”, but others have thought it to be the location of the City of Enoch.
Strange stuff, huh? I’ll bet you’ve never seen this drawing or read it’s explanation before. Now what happens when large planetary bodies come in close contact with one another? An electric discharge of course – an arcing of electric plasma between the two planets, which leaves marks exactly like those seen in the photo of the far side of Mercury not seen before today. Exciting!
Again, why is this important to you and me? In the last days we know that the Lord will return. Upon his return, there will be a great sign in heaven that all will see. The prophet Joseph said that sign will be a star or a comet. We know that the City of Enoch is prophesied to return as well as the Ten Tribes ‘from the North’. Who knows, perhaps the return of the Lord will be accompanied by the return of one or more planetary bodies that all on the Earth will see.
I know, this is all very strange and very unimportant for our salvation. We need to be focusing on preparing ourselves spiritually for the coming of the Lord. But to me, it’s nice to theorize about the meaning of some of the scriptures and prophecies that give us clues as to the what will happen when he comes. No, it’s more than nice. The Lord commanded us in section 61 to be watchful and sober, looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man. (v38)
If, like me, you find this fascinating and would like to learn more, I invite you to visit Anthony Larson’s website, Mormon Prophecy where he has a wealth of material about this and many other fascinating explanations for prophesied events of the last days.
I’m going nuts with this embedded video thing. It adds so much to my blog. Anthony Larson made a 27-minute video some twenty years ago called Joshua’s Long Day. It is a telling and intrepretation of the events surrounding the day that Joshua commanded the earth to stand still in Old Testament times. Did it really happen? Watch the three part series and find out.
You can also go direct to Anthony’s YouTube channel.
Part one (8:14):
Part two (8:10):
Part three (7:42):