Posts Tagged ‘Velikovsky’
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
“We’re going to crash,” the woman in the seat next to Manny said again. Her voice sounded like brakes squealing on asphalt. She wore a green flowered dress that reminded him of the American housewives of the 1950’s, her hair steel-wool gray. She held both arms straight out, elbows locked, a vice-grip on the sides of the seat in front of her. She’d been like that for the last five minutes, eyes closed, head down, weeping.
“Stop saying that, madam,” Manny said. He fought the urge to spew at the woman in his native Russian. “You’re getting on my nerves. The captain’s doing everything he can.” The flight from Salt Lake had been uneventful until they approached Denver. At 10,000 feet a cloud of red dust choked the engines into silence. An eerie blue glow surrounded the plane. The smell of burning ozone permeated the cabin.
The woman didn’t look up. Her lower lip quivered. She sobbed, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death.” Even the flight attendants, who took their crash seats long ago, looked annoyed at her repeated prayer and irritating crying.
The plane jolted again. The passengers lurched forward. The woman screamed. So did several others. Manny gripped the leather case tighter to his chest. His life’s research. He looked once more through the window to the stricken engine. It sputtered, and then flamed out again.
With each sputter another lurch, then another, first one side, then the other. A coughing backfire of red dust mixed with blue flame. Some of the passengers had their phones out. The man across the aisle shouted into his phone. “I love you. Tell the kids I love them.”
A boy dressed all in black with a nose ring used his phone to shoot video, first out the window, then back to the terrified passengers. “This is so cool,” he said. The girl next to him, also dressed in black, slapped at him each time he said it.
The fields outside the Denver airport turned into runway much too fast. The woman next to Manny repeated her mantra—faster now. The strange blue glow that had surrounded the wings, which shimmered when they first hit the red dust, had now disappeared.
Another lurch. This time a whoosh and a roar. Manny turned to see the left engine catch. The woman’s chants stopped. She opened her eyes for the first time, popped her head up in the direction of the now firing engine. Her mouth opened, her breath caught on a whimper.
The engine on the other side of the plane sputtered then roared back to life. Some passengers cheered. Manny felt the plane level out. The tarmac rushed by not more than a dozen feet below. He saw the big white stripes which indicated the end of the runway. Too fast. There’s no way the captain would try to land now. Surely he’ll go around and try again.
“Brace, brace,” the captain said over the intercom. This is the first they heard from the cockpit since the power went out with the engine failure. The fine red dust still rushed by the windows of the plane. Manny put his head down, grabbed his legs with his hands. His arthritic fingers screamed in pain. “Please, please, let me live to get my research to the conference,” he said in a whispered voice to no one in particular.
The voice of a pastor in the seat behind them increased in volume. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…” Stupid fool. Too much talk about death.
Manny felt the jet slam down hard on the asphalt. It bounced. Screams erupted. The plane came back down—hard. The emergency lights flickered then failed. The sound of grinding steel drowned out the screams. “Oh shit,” the boy dressed in black said. “Not cool.”
Manny clung to his legs. His knuckles screamed while the plane continued to bounce. It slid for what seemed like an eternity; then came to an abrupt stop. The grinding noise ceased. The dim lights flickered back on. The smell of jet fuel surrounded them. Passengers popped upright, heads turned first one way then the other. He saw shock on some faces, happy surprise on others. Sounds of “thank god” floated in the stuffy air of the cabin.
The flight attendants jumped up, began to open the doors. They shouted to the passengers in the emergency isle to get the wing doors open. The woman next to Manny cried again, this time happy tears. He helped her to the wing exit and through. She clung to his arm the whole way through. The flight attendant told them to jump on the yellow chute and slide to the ground. Manny jumped, moved away from the chute and looked around.
Their jet landed in a ravine, a few yards below a service road. A red and yellow fireball rocked the landscape a short distance away. A private jet had also caught some of the red dust. It was not so lucky and crashed hard. Flames shot into the red-dust-filled sky. Manny’s heart filled with grief for the unfortunate passengers.
An old pickup screeched to a halt along the top of the ravine. A young man in blue jeans and sport coat climbed out. Manny clutched the worn leather briefcase to his chest, raced up the embankment toward him. The red dust that floated everywhere filled his lungs, choked him. He wheezed his way up the steep incline, age showing in his ancient joints.
“Can you take me to the terminal right now?” The young man stopped at the sound of Manny’s voice. He stared at him as though he’d sprouted horns.
He looked to be in his early thirties, and not all that successful, if he judged by the thread-bare sports coat, worn sneakers and much abused jeans. A CU logo adorned the back window of his truck. An educator he surmised. Yet he looked vaguely familiar.
“I’ve got to catch the flight to Washington D.C. right away,” Manny said. “I’ve got important information about this red dust.”
The young man didn’t move, just continued to stare at Manny. Finally he spoke. “Are you crazy? People are hurt down there. They need help.” His voice sounded familiar. Now Manny felt certain he’d seen him somewhere before.
Manny looked behind him then back at the man. “There’s no fire. Nobody’s seriously hurt. I must catch my connecting flight.”
The young man ignored him, turned then ran down the ravine toward the plane.
Manny walked to the man’s truck, opened the door. Damn. No keys. He looked up the road toward the terminal. He’d have to walk. He slid on his way back down the ravine.
He approached the captain who looked overwhelmed. Manny grabbed his arm. “Look,” he said, “my name’s Manny Volynski. Here’s my card. I just got off that plane. Fine bit of landing, if I do say, but I don’t have time to wait for the rescue crew. Gotta go.”
The captain stared at him the same way the young man had. Had everyone lost their minds? Manny turned and hurried up to the road, determined to get to the airport.
Why wouldn’t that young man give him a ride? There wasn’t anything he could do for the passengers of the plane. Emergency services were almost there. It bothered Manny that he couldn’t place where he’d seen the man from CU before. He racked his brain as he walked.
This red dust’s not a good thing. It came sooner than he calculated. He had to get to that science conference back East. Wait a minute. David. That’s right. That’s his name. He’s that university professor from Colorado who got him thrown out of last year’s conference. Arrogant educated fool. Thinks he knows everything.
The truck roared up behind him, screeched to a halt in front of him. David jumped out, grabbed Manny by the arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”
Manny tried to shake his hand off. “I just got off a plane that damn near crashed because of your stupid comet, which, my dear professor is not a comet at all. But we don’t have time to discuss that right now, do we?”
David dropped Manny’s arm like it burned him, took a step back.
“You told people on TV yesterday we’d have some beautiful sunsets for the next few weeks.” He waved his arm in the direction of the plane. “Is this your idea of a beautiful sunset? You didn’t seriously consider what the tail would do this close to earth, did you David?”
Manny recognized the momentary look of panic in David’s eyes. He nodded his head. “Maybe you believe me now? I tried to tell you about this last year.”
The young man’s mouth dropped open. He seemed to fight for control. “Get in the truck, old man. I promised the captain I would get you back. Although why he should be worried about one crazy old goat is beyond me.”
For a prize winning scientist, this guy seemed to have fallen off the honesty cart. “This red dust is from your comet. You know it is. Why didn’t you tell people the truth yesterday?”
David’s expression morphed from annoyance to shock then concern. He started back for the truck. “Do whatever the hell you want, old man. I need to get to my lab at the observatory.”
Manny jumped in front of the truck, pounded the hood with his fist. “Didn’t you hear me? It’s too late for that. We need to get to that conference–NOW. They’ll listen to you.”
David ignored him, opened the door.
Manny ran to the door, grabbed him by the lapels. “If you don’t come clean with what you know about that comet, a lot of people will die. They have a right to know.”
David’s eyes narrowed. He pushed Manny away. “It’s too late. There’s nothing we can do. Millions of people will die anyway. Now go away.”
Manny didn’t go away. He leaned closer. David backed against the doorframe of the truck. “What was your price, David?” Manny said. “A new observatory? A seat on the NSF board?” He patted the worn leather briefcase clutched under his arm. “I have the evidence right here. I’m taking it to that news reporter you were talking to yesterday. She’ll be interested.”
For a moment neither spoke. David scowled at Manny. “Are you threatening me, old man?” He didn’t get in the truck. He didn’t push Manny away. Their eyes remained locked, neither moved. A fresh dusting of the red powder fell around them.
Manny held out his hand and caught some of the powder, then waved it at David. “Robert Blackstone isn’t paying you enough to lie about what this stuff can do.” David’s eyes grew large at the mention of the name.
“You can help save lives. People will listen to you. But communications will be cut off in a few days. You know this. We’ve got to share this at the conference before it’s too late.”
David eyed Manny’s briefcase. He licked his lips. “We’d better get you to a safe place. Get in. I’ll take you to the terminal. We can talk.” Manny smiled as the truck began to move.
Copyright 2012 Tim Malone
“It’s obvious he still doesn’t understand celestial mechanics,” said her companion, who didn’t even bother to whisper. My daughter Cynthia turned around and glared at them. I ignored the whisperers and continued with my presentation.
“It’s time for scientists of the world, starting in this conference, to acknowledge there are other forces at work in the heavens besides gravity. Electromagnetism as a source of energy is billions of times more powerful than gravity. The planets are charged bodies.”
“So now you’re an expert on unified field theory. Get off the podium, Volynsky. Just because you knew Einstein doesn’t make you a scientist.” I recognized the other Harvard delegate as Harrison Stafford, who had been criticizing my work for years.
“As I was saying before I was interrupted, the historical record is clear. Earth has suffered natural catastrophes on a global scale both before and early in recorded history. The evidence for these catastrophes can be found in the recent geological record.”
“And you’ve been proven wrong over and over again. Give it up Manny. You’re a deluded crackpot. When are you going to accept the obvious?” I had known Harrison to be combative in his writing, but never rude like this in a public forum.
I turned to the moderator of the panel. “Mr. Goldstone, will you please ask members of the audience to be respectful? I was invited to present my research to an intelligent company of distinguished scientists. Is this a demonstration of the scientific method in action?”
Although it appeared Mr. Goldstone was amused by the outburst, he turned to the audience and obliged my request. “If there is time, we will have a question and answer session at the conclusion of the scheduled presentations. Please refrain from making comments until you are recognized.”
After a short pause he turned back to me and said, “You may continue Mr. Volynsky.”
I glared at Harrison. “I know only a few of you have read my works. Yet some of you have made public rebuttals. I understand some of my claims may seem a little, uh, unusual…”
“You mean crazy,” said Harrison.
“Doctor Stafford,” Goldstone started but Harrison waved him off.
“Time will bear out my claims. New evidence will come forth proving that the planets have not always been stable in the orbits we see today. The day will come when it will be common knowledge that Venus was once a comet on a collision course with earth.”
I tried to cut my lecture short but there was so much I wanted the people to hear. If only they would listen with an open mind. The fidgeting and coughs were becoming more frequent so I concluded with what I wanted them to remember more than anything else.
“Theories – that’s all we have. We weren’t there so we don’t know. We draw our conclusions from the same record – the geology of this earth and the records of the ancient people of this world. Don’t reject the ancient records because they don’t coincide with what we see around us now. The heavens once looked different than they do today.”
I sat down to a smattering of applause, anticipating the question and answer session to begin right away. I was disappointed to hear Dr. Goldstone announce that in the interest of time, the questions would have to be held until all presentations had been made.
Leaning over, I whispered to Cynthia, “Well, how did I do?”
“You were wonderful Daddy. You always are.”
“I can’t believe Harrison was so rude.”
“I don’t think he has read any of your books.”
We waited through three more presentations that afternoon. With each successive speaker it became clearer that this conference was not at all what I had been told. What I thought was going to be a vindication of my work was turning into a forum for attacking my theories.
The last speaker sat down and Mr Goldstone announced that there would be an hour break for dinner. This was preposterous. Half the audience would leave. How was I ever going to convince the scientific community what my years of research had revealed?
We found an open table at the hotel restaurant nearby. It was crowded and noisy. I almost had to shout so Cynthia could hear. It was so nice to have her here with me. I wish her mother were still alive to enjoy this trip to the West Coast. How I missed her.
“Cynthia, I think you’re right.”
“The biggest problem we have is that the most influential people in the field won’t read my books. If they did then we could at least have an intelligent conversation.”
Cynthia nodded in agreement. “From what I can tell, they have only read what Harrison has written. It’s obvious that he didn’t read more than a few pages, if any before writing that nasty review in his Science News Letter.”
How I appreciated that Cynthia had kept up with the controversy. I could always count on her. She didn’t dismiss me like so many others. She worked hard for her PhD, but never stopped believing in my work no matter what some of her colleagues said.
“Why won’t they take the time to read the sources? It’s all there in the books.”
“Turf wars, daddy. If you’re right then they’re all crazy. They can’t handle that.”
“I know I can never convince Harrison. His mind is made up. But no scientist should rely solely on what others have said without considering the evidence firsthand. That’s irresponsible.”
“No, it’s called keeping your job. Harrison is very powerful. If he tells them to ignore your books then they better not admit to anyone that they have looked at them.”
“So I’m a heretic. OK, I can accept that. But at least give me a fair hearing.”
Cynthia sighed. “You know I love you daddy, but I still can’t believe how naïve you are after all these years. People aren’t interested in the truth. They want things to remain the same.”
“But that’s the problem. Things change. Things have changed in the past and I’ve tried to give people the evidence. Things are going to change again. History repeats itself.”
“You know that and I know that, but you’re going to have to consider the possibility that your ideas are too radical for the scientists of our day. They will never accept your theories.”
“I can never believe that. I’ve got to keep trying. I know I’m right.”
Cynthia smiled at me. “That’s what I love about you. You never give up.”
“Let’s get back to the conference center. It’s time for the Q and A to begin.”
Copyright (c) Tim Malone, 2011
I’m an avid reader of SpaceWeather.com. While it’s not as popular as Space.com, it focuses on stuff that fascinates me – asteroids, planets, comets, sunspots, auroras, geomagnetic storms and meteors. It is hosted by Dr. Tony Phillips of NASA, who is a long time participant in communicating the science of astronomy to the world.
If you go visit SpaceWeather.com, you’ll notice that Dr. Phillips is happy to post photos and videos of space phenomenon submitted by amateur observers from all over the world. They are always enjoyable and educational. He also has a table of known near earth asteroids that he keeps updated for those who follow this stuff.
Tracking space objects
There are people whose job it is to watch for these Potentially Hazardous Asteroids and notify important people if one gets too close. Of course, the media is usually all over the story when we know one is coming close and write it up in a way that generates interest. They usually throw in some element of fear of total destruction.
And just to show that we really don’t know everything that’s out there, an asteroid came within 8,700 miles the other day. That’s just slightly more than the diameter of the earth. Asteroid 2009 VA was discovered only fifteen hours before its closest approach by astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey. Luckily, it was very small.
Small objects burn up
An object the size of asteroid 2009 VA, which is a little less than twenty feet, will just burn up in the atmosphere and create a spectacular fireball as it disintegrates. The fact that it was discovered only hours before it came by should give us some cause to think. We just don’t always see the things that are coming at us in space.
I suppose if an object were bigger, say more on the scale of a small moon or planet, it would be much easier to spot in advance. I imagine the people who watch the skies for us would be able to give us months, perhaps even years of warning. Or would they? You see, it all depends on the direction from which it is arriving.
Nobody saw it coming
Just last month, an asteroid that was about thirty feet across came undetected into our atmosphere and exploded only about ten miles above the surface of the earth in Indonesia. It created quite a panic in the local area and some quick thinking individual even got it on video, or at least the trailing smoke that it left behind.
Nobody saw this one coming. It was just too small. That’s not surprising since there are so few resources dedicated to watching the skies. We have been more interested in the bigger ones, usually over 35 feet that are easier to spot. But even if we catalog all that we can find, the sun still hides a lot of them from our view.
Hard to see objects near the sun
Objects between earth and the sun are hard to spot because of the glare of the sun. Asteroids do not emit light, but reflect it from the sun. About the only way to see one between us and the sun is if we see it as a miniscule dark spot in photos taken of the sun. That’s one reason why so many amateur astronomers watch the sun.
But what about objects that are coming toward the sun from the opposite side of the solar system in such a way that makes it impossible to see until they come around or past the sun? Such objects could be quite large and we would not be able to see them until a few weeks or possibly even just days before they arrive.
Orbital telescopes watch the Sun
If you are familiar with STEREO, then you know that we have two satellites in orbit around the sun both ahead of and behind the earth. They give us a different viewing angle of the sun that is tremendously helpful in making observations. But they are designed for sun observations and are always pointed directly at it.
Canada announced that they would launch a satellite that will be the first to search for objects that are between us and the sun. It hasn’t launched yet (maybe 2010), but it is hoped that it will help us find another fifty of the little buggers that we need to be watching but can’t see from earth. These are called the Aten asteroids.
Objects hidden behind the sun
I’m sure you are familiar with the Hubble telescope, one of the greatest boons to astronomy that is used and appreciated by scientists all over the world. The images captured by the Hubble have done more to advance our knowledge of the cosmos than just about any other scientific instrument that man has imagined and created.
But what we don’t have, and probably won’t have for many years to come, is a space based telescope that allows us to look around the sun. Placed in the same orbit around the sun with the earth, but ahead or behind the earth, this would give us the ability to look beyond the sun for objects coming towards it and the earth.
The Ten Tribes are on a planet
That is of tremendous interest to me and to many who have thought about some of the teachings of the early brethren of the church in regards to the Ten Tribes and the City of Enoch. Yes, I am one of those who believe that they are off on some planet somewhere and that they will each return in time, the Ten Tribes being first.
I am not alone in this belief and have spent many years accumulating statements from early leaders of the church to support this position. However, this belief is not commonly taught or accepted today. In fact, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said it is a wholly false view of what is to be when it is paraphrased from the scriptures.
Ice shall flow down at their presence
He also said that the Ten Tribes will NOT return with ice flowing down at their presence, even though that precise phrase is used in D&C 133:26. I suspect that Elder McConkie was not familiar with the work of Talbott or Velikovsky who have explained how ice can flow between two planets in a synchronous orbit.
So the idea that the Ten Tribes are on a planet somewhere makes total sense to me. We have the word of many early members of the church who declared that Joseph Smith taught this very doctrine. The testimony of Wandle Mace is one that helps me to understand this better. He was a contemporary associate of Joseph Smith.
A portion of the earth was taken
Brother Mace said that Joseph was preaching on the subject of the restoration of all things. In the course of his remarks he spoke of the earth being divided at various times. He said, “When Enoch and his city was taken away, a portion of earth was taken and would again be restored.” He then said the same about the Ten Tribes.
Recorded Brother Mace, “These remarks satisfied me, it was no longer necessary to hunt the place on this earth where the Ten Tribes were so long hidden, for the earth was divided and taken away, and will be the first to return, as it was the last taken away. He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land.” That makes sense to me.
The Ten Tribes will return
From the 10th article of faith we read, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon this the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”
The literal gathering of Israel and the restoration of the Ten Tribes are two separate events. As we read in Section 110, the prophet holds these keys: “Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.”
Summary and conclusion
Orson Pratt taught that “…a portion of the Earth was by a miracle broken off…the Ten Tribes were taken away with it…in the latter days it would be restored to the Earth or be let down in the Polar regions.” Great changes will take place upon this earth. It will be restored and will be like it was in the days before it was divided.
Somewhere out there is a planet or a piece of this earth that is prophesied to return and be restored or reunited to this earth. The joining doesn’t have to make it one spherical unit. Think of a binary star or two planets joined together by a flow of electromagnetic energy between them. Ice will flow down when they are joined.
I’ve seen dust storms in Denver before, but there’s something different about this one. I can’t put my finger on it. It seems so…I don’t know…red. And why is there so much dust in the air anyway? It’s not all that windy right now. It looks like the dust is falling from somewhere high up in the sky. It’s not being picked up off the ground and blown around by the wind. But that’s impossible. Dust doesn’t just fall from the sky like that, especially not in the winter. What could it be…? Mesmerized, Mitch Johnson continued to watch the red dust fall as he drove towards the Denver International airport.
“And planes don’t fall from the sky like that either,” he said aloud.
Mitch’s attention was diverted from his thoughts about the weird weather when he heard what he thought was a car backfiring. He looked up and saw a plane dropping much too fast for a safe landing. He was driving to the airport to catch a flight to Washington D.C. to attend a meeting of the American Astronomical Society. He had recently been awarded a prize for his work on the effects of planetary gravity on comets and was an invited guest to present a paper on the subject. It was quite an honor for such a young astrophysicist from the University of Colorado. Well, 34 seemed young to him.
It looked like the jet engines were surging and then flaming out. He heard the popping sound of the surges a few seconds after he saw the flames. But what really caught Mitch’s eye was the strange blue glow around the nose and engines of the aircraft. “What the hell is that?” he asked aloud. It was now apparent that the plane was in serious trouble. The likelihood that the crew would be able to land the jet dead stick on final approach was looking very slim.
Mitch quickly pulled over, grabbed his iPhone out of his shirt pocket and began shooting video of the aircraft. Just as he started recording, the engines popped once again and then miraculously restarted. And not a moment too soon, as the plane was less than 1,000 feet above the ground. He continued to record the landing, hoping to catch another sighting of the strange electrical glow on the leading edges of the plane, but it was not repeated. In an amazing demonstration of deliberate control, the pilot kept the nose up as the engines came back up to speed just in time to prevent a certain crash landing.
The jet finally slammed down roughly, a ways past the normal touchdown area, bounced noticeably and careened down the runway. Denver runways are very long, but it was obvious that this plane wasn’t going to be able to stop in time. It burst into the field past the end of the runway and ended up in a small ravine a few yards short of a roadway. Incredibly, there was no fire. Mitch had been on a flight from Las Vegas to Burbank that had overshot the runway back in 2000. He could just imagine the horror the passengers and crew must be going through right now.
He put his iPhone back in his pocket and raced to the end of the runway which was less than a mile away from where he had stopped. Even though there were many vehicles headed in that direction, Mitch was able to drive to within a dozen yards of the jet. He was one of the first to arrive on the scene. Most of the passengers had already escaped down the emergency slides and were milling around. He was surprised when one of them ran up to his truck as he stopped, clutching tightly at a leather briefcase.
“Can you get me to the terminal right away?” asked an old man with wild and frantic eyes. “I’ve got to catch a flight to Washington D.C. and I don’t have time to wait around for the emergency crews.”
Mitch stared at the old man slack jawed, but only for a second. “What are you, crazy? We’ve got to see if anybody’s hurt and help them!”
The old man looked around and said, “Look, nobody’s hurt. The pilot did an amazing job and got us down safely. We all got off the plane okay and now I need to catch my flight. Will you take me or not? I don’t have time to wait for a shuttle bus.”
Now Mitch was certain that the old man was crazy. He got out of his truck and began making his way toward the plane to find a member of the flight crew. The old man was right in step behind him but Mitch didn’t stop. He ran quickly down the little ravine and approached a uniformed crew member. “Is everyone alright?” he asked when he came to a man who appeared to be the captain. Surprised, the officer whirled around and looked closely at Mitch, tying to ascertain if he was a passenger.
“I saw the landing from where I was stopped along Airport Boulevard. In fact, I got the whole thing on video. Are you okay?” Mitch repeated.
It finally registered with the captain that Mitch was neither a passenger nor rescue crew. His eyes left Mitch’s face and resumed looking around at the passengers. He was trying to determine for himself the answer to Mitch’s question. “I don’t know yet,” he said. “I’ll be shocked if nobody is seriously hurt but so far everyone seems to be off the plane and uninjured.”
“What happened?” Mitch shouted after the captain, who had turned to find the rest of his crew. He had to run after him and repeat the question.
“It’s this damned red dust,” yelled the captain. “Look around. You can see how thick it is. It got sucked into our engines and caused them to flame out. We lost them on the way in at 30,000 feet and barely got them going just in time to land. It’s a miracle. If you got that landing on video I’d like to see it. I didn’t think we were going to make it.”
The old man suddenly jumped between them and grabbed the captain’s arm. “Look,” he said, “my name is Manny Volynski. Here’s my card. I was on that plane but now I’m leaving. I don’t have time to wait for the rescue crew.” And with that, he turned and hurried up to the road on a trot toward the terminal.
The captain stared at the card for a second, looked up and stared at Manny, who was already out of earshot and then spun back to Mitch. With desperation in his voice, he asked “Will you go after him? He can’t leave until the authorities get here.” Wanting to protest but seeing that it would be helpful to the overwhelmed captain, Mitch went back to his truck without a word to get the crazy old guy and bring him back.
He sped up the road and pulled in front of the old man cutting him off. Jerking open the door, he jumped out and confronted him. “Where do you think you’re going?”
“Look, Mitch. I just got off a plane that almost crashed because it sucked up dust from your comet that is now falling all over the Western United States. We were lucky just to get out of California let alone make it all the way here to Denver. I’m going to Washington D.C. to try one more time to convince your buddies that this thing is much more dangerous than you’ve been telling people. Now are you coming with me?”
Mitch let go of Manny’s arm and stepped back with a look of shock in his expression. “How the hell do you know me and what do you mean by ‘my comet’?”
“Come on! It’s named after you since you discovered it. You’ve been all over the news telling people how wonderful it is that we will have such a close encounter with your great comet. Don’t you realize by now that this dust is from your comet? I tried to tell you about this a long time ago but you never listen to guys like me.”
It finally dawned on Mitch that he knew this old man. He was the guy that kept showing up at astronomical conferences claiming that the earth was going to be visited by a planet in the near future. Even worse, he argued that a rendezvous with this planet would bring catastrophic changes to the world and disaster for people everywhere.
Seeing that Mitch recognized him, Manny continued. “I told you that this would happen. I even tried to tell you what’s going to happen next, but you had me thrown out of the last conference. Do you believe me now?”
“Believe what, old man?” Mitch snapped back. I only believe that you’re crazy. I promised the captain that I would get you back to the plane. Now get in!”
The desperation was evident in Manny’s eyes as he almost shouted, “You of all people should believe me. You know comets and have published papers on the effects of planetary gravity on comets. This comet is so large that when it passed by Saturn, it was pulled slightly closer to the sun. It went behind the sun at a steeper angle and is now coming a lot closer to earth than you have told the media. In fact, it’s coming tail first. We’re starting to pass through the tail and you know it. This dust is from your comet!”
Mitch did some quick mental calculations and began to put things together. He had been too distracted by his preparations for the trip back East and hadn’t gone to the observatory last night. Manny could be right. He hadn’t seen the trajectory of the comet as it came from behind the sun. Perhaps this dust really was from the comet. He forgot all about the captain and the plane. Now he only wanted to get back to his observatory.
“Get in,” he said to Manny. “I need to get back to the university.”
“Haven’t you been listening to me?” replied Manny. “It’s too late for that. You don’t need to make any more observations. The evidence is all around us now. We need to get to your conference and convince all the other astrophysicists what is really going on. They’ll listen to you and the governments of the world will listen to them.”
Although he wasn’t convinced at all, Mitch realized that they still had time to catch the flight, and he didn’t want to argue with him anymore. Manny got in and they drove towards the parking garage, arriving just in time to catch a shuttle to Concourse B where the United Airlines flight to Washington DC should have been boarding. The gate was strangely vacant and passengers were crowded around the counters. They had been in such a hurry that they hadn’t noticed that no planes were boarding or taking off.
“What’s going on?” Mitch asked a traveler at the back of the crowd.
“All flights have been delayed by the dust storm. A plane from California barely made it in. Some others weren’t so lucky. Take a look at the news on the monitors.”
This was not good. How could this be happening? Mitch thought to himself. Just yesterday it had been his face up on those monitors telling the world that this comet was no cause for alarm and that we should be in for some spectacularly beautiful sunsets. Astronomers a century ago caused great panic when they announced that comets contain poisonous cyanogen gas and that earth would pass through the tail of Haley’s comet. People panicked, nothing happened and astronomers learned not to share some things.
Not at all certain that he wouldn’t be recognized, and not wanting to explain himself, Mitch ducked into a lounge area to think. Yes, he knew that this comet was different. For one thing it was bigger than any comet he had ever seen. It was almost the size of a small planet. In fact, nobody had been able to get good measurements because of the way it was approaching the sun. They were hoping to make those observations today, but he had to catch the flight to the conference. No, this was just not good at all.
“I tried to tell you, but you just wouldn’t listen.” It was Manny again. Mitch had forgotten about him with all the excitement of the cancelled flights and the news of the dust storm displayed on the airport monitors. Manny sat down next to him at the bar. “That’s not a comet. It’s a planet and it’s going to cause a whole lot more destruction before it gets to where it’s going. You can warn the people and help them prepare.”
“Prepare for what?” Mitch exclaimed. “Manny, you’re not a scientist. You are not an astronomer. You know nothing about the world we live in. We spend our lives making observations and making sense of the things that fly around out there in space. You spend your days digging old myths out of books and manuscripts that contain nothing but folk tales. There’s no precedent for all your conjecture and theory. Your ideas of an ancient polar configuration of planets could not possibly be correct.”
It didn’t look like the falling dust was going to let up soon and Manny had wanted to talk to Mitch for a long time. This had turned out to be quite fortuitous that Mitch just happened to show up when the plane went off the end of the runway. Although Manny’s wife had died years earlier, he had tried to stay close to his daughter in California. He was very proud of her. She was a research scientist and worked at the UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory. But she didn’t go in much for his theories either.
Manny was much calmer now. He sensed an opportunity to finally make his case to someone who had the background to understand what he had researched, discovered and written about over the years. He threw out an easy question. “If I can tell you what’s going to happen next and then what’s going to happen after that, will you at least consider that there may be something to these myths and theories that can help us?”
Mitch sighed. “Go ahead old man. It doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere right away. I think I already heard enough of your ideas at the last conference but I’ll listen just this one time. Hopefully they’ll let us board the plane soon. What have you got to say? If this dust doesn’t let up in five minutes, I’m going back to Boulder.”
Manny pulled a picture of his daughter out of the old worn leather briefcase that he always carried with him. It contained his charts and diagrams that he used to explain his ideas to anyone who would listen. The flight attendant told him to leave it behind when they jumped down the emergency slide but he took it anyway. “Do you see this picture of my daughter, Cynthia? She’s just like you – a scientist. She’s a seismologist – graduated from Cal Tech. She doesn’t believe me either, but she’s about to get a lot more data to study over the next few weeks than she has had in her 27 short years of life.”
As a scientist, Mitch didn’t believe in love at first sight, but there was something in those intelligent blue eyes that stared back at him from the photo. He was surprised at how deeply he felt emotions stirring within him at the sight of the beautiful girl. He had suppressed any kind of romantic feelings over the years as he dedicated himself to his work. Wait a minute…this was just a silly picture. What was he thinking?
Manny continued, “As the planet gets closer to earth, this dust we’re experiencing will be mixed with ash. Besides bringing jets down out of the sky, the dust will mix with the water supplies of the earth and cause them to be polluted. It will kill fish and will be a real problem to major metropolitan areas that will soon be without water. The ash will cause much sickness and death to anyone who is exposed to it. They must stay indoors.
“After a little while this dust is going to turn to hail sized pebbles. That will make some racket when it comes down. It will knock out power and communications systems all over the world. It will also take out most of our satellites. Think about how that will affect our way of life. Then we’ll pass though some sheets of petroleum-based material that will mix with the pebble-sized hail and catch fire as it falls through the atmosphere. Spontaneous fires will erupt all over the world, burning forests and cities alike. This is not unprecedented by the way. It was the cause of the Peshtigo fires of 1871.
“The falling debris will get larger and larger until it comes down like artillery shells. It will last for days and will wipe out the crops of the earth, burning them all up. About this time the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic activity will begin in earnest. Nobody has ever felt earthquakes like the ones that are going to be caused when the planet comes close enough that the gravitational pull rips the tectonic plates apart with a force that is indescribable. Our planet will be covered in clouds and smoke and ash that get thicker and hotter by the hour making it more and more difficult to breathe.”
“Stop!” shouted Mitch angrily. “I’ve heard enough of your doomsday prophecies. This is just a comet coming by. It’s not going to cause the end of the world and you can’t go around telling people this kind of stuff. It will cause pandemonium and mass panic. Where did you come up with all this crap? Oh wait, don’t tell me. You read it in some ancient manuscript that you believe tells the story of what really happened sometime in our past. Well, I don’t believe it and you have no evidence for all this nonsense.”
“I didn’t say it would cause the end of the world,” Manny replied. It will just cause a whole lot of destruction. The planet is not going to hit us. It is going to come up alongside us and overtake us in the same orbit around the sun. Eventually it will come so close that the magnetic poles of the two planets will align. Because the oncoming planet is larger than the earth, they will rotate at a much slower speed. When that happens, you had better hope that you are not living anywhere north of a large body of water.”
“I know I’m going to regret this, but dare I ask why?” Mitch questioned.
Manny was almost gleeful as he finished his description of the events of the coming weeks and months. “You know that right now, the centrifugal force of the earth causes a large bulge of water at the equator. When the earth slows down, where is that water going to go? Back to the poles, of course! Boy I would love to see that view from space when it happens. Think of all the water in the Gulf of Mexico. Anybody who lives in the states around the Mississippi river is going to be wiped out by onrushing water. And the same goes for the Northern California coast and the Northeastern seaboard.”
“Are you through? Mitch asked incredulously as he stood up to leave.
“No, but that’s enough for now. I wouldn’t want to overwhelm you,” said Manny. Just concentrate on what I said first about this dust turning to pebbles and the possibility of fire from the sky. You can read about all the rest of the stuff in my books. It’s all there. It’s just too bad that you haven’t read them. You could help save people.”
Mitch was sorry that he had agreed to listen to Manny. He felt like he should say something to make it clear that he never wanted see this old man again but just then a news report on the airport monitor caught his eye. Everyone was crowding around to see the live video feed of an incredible scene coming from Seattle. It looked like heavy hail was falling; only it wasn’t hail. It was sand and pebbles falling in sheets like rain. But the most shocking thing was that some of it was coming down with fire. Yes, it was fire from the sky, something he and his colleagues had said many times could never happen.
Within a few moments it was gone, but not before several fires had broken out in the city. Looking away from the TV and out the windows of the airport, Mitch could see that the red dust had finally stopped falling. Flights would soon be boarding and leaving.
“That’s just a sample of what we’re in for,” said Manny, at his side again. “The dust and hail will be back and will be more widespread with each passing hour. We’ve got a small window before travel becomes impossible. I’m going to that conference to try to make a difference. It would sure help if you could introduce me and let me present evidence from the historical record. It’s all right here,” he said as he patted his briefcase.
Mitch took a long look at Manny although he was still skeptical. He said nothing as they got in line to board the plane. He was thinking. It would be career suicide to associate himself with Manny Volynski. He could play it safe, walk away right now, and go back to his telescope at the university. In light of the events of the day, his colleagues would understand if he wasn’t at the conference. But if what Manny said was true, then what would it matter? A career is nothing compared to saving humanity.
“Come on, Mr. Volynski. I want to look at those documents in your briefcase. Let’s go save the world and that beautiful daughter of yours.”
“I didn’t think you noticed,” smiled Manny, as they boarded the plane.
Copyright (c) Tim Malone 2009 – Painting of meteoroids (c) iStockphoto
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.
Elder Talmage wrote, “Miracles cannot be in contravention of natural law, but are wroght through the operation of laws not universally or commonly recognized.” (Jesus the Christ, p. 148) In other words, what we commonly describe as a miracle such as the healing of the sick, the restoring the sight of the blind or even raising the dead, is done according to natural laws, which may only be known to God.
I accept Elder Talmage’s statement at face value. I believe there is always an explanation for miracles, even if it has not yet been revealed to us what is the real source of the miracle. For most people, it is sufficient to say, “It is a miracle. God understands how it works. That’s enough for me.” I live my life that way too, but I also make an effort to find out if there is some sort of explanation for the miracle. That’s not wrong, is it?
Can we apply this same logic to signs and wonders in the heavens from the Old Testament record and the signs that are foretold to transpire in the last days? For example, what about the miracle of the ‘pillar of fire and smoke’ that led the Israelites out of the land of Egypt in the time of Moses? Is there some explanation for this amazing sight recorded in Exodus 13:21? Isn’t it possible that God worked through some natural means to cause the pillar of fire and smoke?
What would happen if two planetary bodies came unusually close to each other? What if a large comet passed within several thousand miles of the earth? Could a pillar of fire and smoke be a description of the head and tail of the comet as seen through a darkened or cloud-filled sky? If you are like most people, you have not thought about this as it is not something that has happened in our lifetime. Comets we have seen have never come that close to the earth.
The closest measured comet since 1700 is comet Lexell at 1.4 million miles (1,403,632). By comparison, the moon is 238,900 miles and the sun is 92 million miles (92,955,810) away. There is nothing within our known written history that has recorded a celestial body coming close enough to the earth to cause disturbances or events like those that may have happened during the time of the Exodus. Or is there?
Have you ever heard the theory that the planet Venus used to be a part of the planet Jupiter? No? I’m not surprised. This is not something that is taught by our scientists today. In fact, it is an idea that was first proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky in the 1950′s and 1960′s. His work was denounced by scientists of his day, including Carl Sagan, but has gained more attention recently with the work of Dave Talbott, author of the Saturn Myth.
Why is this important? The Lord has said that he would return to the accompaniment of many catastrophic and cataclysmic changes in the heavens and the earth. I believe we are fast approaching that time, perhaps in my lifetime. I am very interested in understanding what the signs of his coming are that I should be looking for so that I may be prepared. I know, just live righteously and don’t worry about the signs of the times, right?
What do you think? Should we try to understand the signs of the times and the Last Days?