Looking to the Future


I think often about the future. I suppose most people do. We wonder what things will be like next year or ten years from now. We’re probably looking for a sense of security and stability so we can move ahead with our everyday lives. We want things to be the same or better than they are now. We make plans, hope for the best and then go on to the next thing, whatever that may be.

Like many of you, I get a sense of where people are by what they post on Facebook. I have lots of friends who posted predictions of doom and dread if their guy didn’t get elected. Now that the election is over, they’re either silent or their predictions have become more gloomy. I can only imagine the silent ones are waiting for the many terrible things they predicted to start happening.

I’m not trying to be disrespectful of those who foretold awful things. After all, they’re my friends for a reason. We were classmates long ago, were work associates, attended church together or met online through common interests. I’m grateful that most of my family members are cautious like me. We read what others are saying and then encourage each other in our plans for living.

Seeking Stability in Life

I spent fifty hours this past week in formal classroom training, preparing to become certified in a work-related skill. I am very grateful my employer paid the cost of the training. It’s not cheap. That says two things to me. One, my employer believes I’m worth the investment, but second and more important, my employer believes his business will continue and will need my services.

It takes a lot of faith to be a small business employing hundreds of people in today’s uncertain economy. You depend on your customers to keep buying your products and services. You depend on your suppliers to come through when you need them. You depend on your employees to do what needs to be done to deliver the goods or services that make your business succeed.

In short, you trust that the business world will remain the same or get better going forward. You depend on certain conditions being stable in order to carry out your business plan. Stability is the name of the game in making plans and being successful. We like and seek after stable people and stable companies in our lives because we can depend on them. We want our world to be solid.

A World of Uncertainty

And yet we live in a world of uncertainty. We are reminded of this every day when surprises come up that cause us to stop and think. Don’t get me wrong. Surprises can be good. We like surprises like an unexpected refund check, a bonus for doing a good job or when a new friend tells you about an opportunity that would be just right to advance your mutual interests.

We don’t like surprises that cause us to have to scale back our daily operations or cancel plans for expansion. Perhaps an anticipated demand for our products or services does not materialize. Maybe new legislation causes us to incur unanticipated expenses to meet regulatory compliance. The cost of goods rises because the raw material becomes scarce. All are outside our control.

I guess that’s why people seek power to control their environment because they want to have that stability. That’s why we invest so heavily in our elections, both monetarily and emotionally. We want our guy to get elected because he will help maintain or improve conditions for us. But isn’t that the wrong way to go about seeking control over our lives, by investing in someone else?

Things Beyond our Control

Ultimately, we have very little control over things. We can’t control the weather. We can’t control natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, volcanos or wildfire. There are those who say the late hurricane that hit the New Jersey area just before the election was caused by human-induced climate change. They also say it shows how much we need big government.

Of course there are those who say it was a warning from God, just like they have said all the natural disasters we have experienced or read about lately are warnings from God. It seems like any natural disaster can be turned to promote your own view of things, whether you believe we need to band together to reverse climate change or band together to prepare for terrible times.

I think that’s where all this doom and gloom talk is coming from among some of my friends. Like me, they believe that awful things beyond our control are going to happen as we get closer to the end of world as predicted in the Bible. But I guess your reaction to the recent election depends on what you consider awful. A comet or meteor coming close to the earth is awful.

White Horse Prophecy

I’m not worried that my guy didn’t get elected. I’m a little sad for him and his family. He has invested so much over the past six years of his time, money and energy. It must be disappointing. But he’ll bounce back. He’s a good man. That’s why I voted for him. But I am concerned about some of my friends who now bemoan the end of the world is closer because he wasn’t elected.

I can’t go with that as a legitimate cause and effect thing. There are some who say Romney was supposed to win because of the “White Horse Prophecy” and that the Elders of Israel will be the only ones to save the constitution when it will hang by a thread. If you’re Mormon like me I’m sure you’re familiar with these ideas. They have been a hot topic of online discussion lately.

Saying that Romney was destined to win seems a bit much to me. Also claiming that America has sealed its fate because he was rejected is just plain wrong. That’s putting too much faith in a man who championed a different path to prosperity that we all seek. Mitt Romney is a good man who espouses principles I believe in but his rejection is not a harbinger of the end of the world.

The End of the World

Back to the idea of what is really awful, and specifically an oncoming comet or meteor. When Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 hit Jupiter in July 1994, we got a firsthand look at a comet smashing into a relatively close-by planet. We all watched with fascination, went “ooh” and “ahh,” and then went about our lives. It was just too far way to think it could possibly happen here at home.

We have the same reaction when we read about earthquakes or hurricanes that happen in some other part of the world. We think, “How awful for those people who experienced the devastation but it doesn’t affect me so all is well.” We follow the news for a while but see that for most people, life goes on. They survive. We are jaded to the idea that something worse could happen.

But what if next week astronomers announced that they have discovered a new comet or planet coming towards the earth? How would we respond? In fact, don’t we invest a lot of money in our scientific community just so they can watch the heavens for us and warn us of impending doom? Whether you know it or not, we do pay scientists to keep a lookout for large celestial objects.

Watch out for Comets

Why do we do this? Has it happened before? Has a planet or comet ever threatened the earth in our past? We are fascinated with disaster movies like 2012, Armageddon, Deep Impact or the old classic which I hope will be remade someday, When Worlds Collide.  We love to joke about the end of the world coming on Dec 21st this year to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar.

If you’re a Mormon, you are especially susceptible to stuff like this because the end of the world is a part of our theology. We have been taught and believe that terrible calamities will come upon us as we get closer to the end times. Many of us believe we are living in those times now, in spite of the fact that each succeeding generation has been taught this since the church began in 1830.

We rely on those same scientists who teach us about our past to also watch for threats to our world and assure us that all is well. We look to them for the stability and security we seek. How comforting it is to know that the earth has never been threatened by another planet. Everyone knows that comets don’t come too close. They only pass by and make beautiful sunsets, right?

Signs of the Times

If you’ve read any of my past essays you know how fascinated I am by the signs of the times as foretold in the scriptures and by recent prophets. I have long enjoyed reading and studying the books of Gerald Lund (The Coming of the Lord), Duane Crowther (Prophecy – Key to the Future), David Ridges (65 Signs of the Times) and Anthony Larson (The Prophecy Trilogy).

I have focused more in my studies on the cataclysmic events that will occur in the great and dreadful day when the Lord makes his appearance. Yet those things will all happen suddenly, within a few weeks or months. Stars will fall from the sky, the sun will be darkened, the moon will turn to blood and the sea will heave itself beyond its bounds with terrible earthquakes.

But there are so many other preliminary signs that we can watch for before the great and terrible day arrives. For example, did you know that all nations of the earth, including America, are destined to fail before the Lord returns? Are the times of the Gentiles now coming to an end? Many people seem to think so, or so I read on the blogs and Facebook posts of my friends.

The Collapse of America

Internal wars will cause the collapse of the government of the United States. Quoting Brigham Young who was apparently quoting Joseph Smith, “Mobs will increase until the whole government becomes a mob, and eventually it will be state against state, city against city, neighborhood against neighborhood…” Hmmm…are states that want to secede a beginning?

“A terrible revolution will take place in the land of America, such as has never been seen before; for the land will literally be left without a supreme government, and every species of wickedness will run rampant.” No, that’s not Glen Beck, that’s Joseph Smith. He said the government would be utterly overthrown and wasted; specifically that Congress shall be broken up as a government.

I’ve written previously about this subject and got a lot of comments. I feel even stronger about this now. Wilford Woodruff said, “The American nation will be broken in pieces like a potter’s vessel…” Orson Pratt said, “State will be divided against state, city against city, town against town, and the whole country will be in terror and confusion; mobocracy will prevail…”

Times of the Gentiles

The big question is, “Will this occur in our day or is this years and years into the future?” I don’t know. I hope I don’t live to see the destruction of America but I know it is prophesied by the Savior in Third Nephi chapters 20 and 21. We just studied those as a church a few weeks ago. If the “remnant of Jacob” goes through America, he will “tear in pieces” (3 Ne 20:16 & 21:12).

I’m not trying to be fatalistic or pessimistic. I believe in this great nation, but it is not as great as it once was. The days of America’s greatness may be past. Are the days of the Gentiles over? Will we ever see America rise to its former state again? There are many millions who believe we are a great people but that we are on the wrong path, one that may now be irreversible. I agree.

There’s a lot happening in Israel in the last few days. It has defended itself against Syria and Gaza and as expected, is portrayed as the aggressor in the media. It always seems to be so. To me, one of the very last signs that the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled is when the Gentiles turn en masse against Jerusalem. I’m watching the events unfolding in Israel with great interest.

Come unto Christ

In spite of what I’ve just reviewed – internal wars, collapse of America, the remnant of Jacob tearing in pieces (Micah 5:8) – I am still optimistic. I am satisfied that the Lord continues to work with his people. He is calling to you and to me to come unto Him. He reaches out to us each day, quietly whispering to our souls to complete our preparations to be in His presence.

I go about my work trusting that the Lord will provide and he does. I try to treat other people with kindness, knowing that the Lord wants me to follow His example in this area. I patiently wait upon the Lord, asking each day if I am ready to meet Him. I am not and I know it. The Lord tries our souls, burning into our very being the idea that He is the source of our hope and peace.

I rejoice in these days, even though I know they are days of sadness for many in America. The coming of the Lord draws ever closer. I watch the signs with earnest anticipation. I invite you to watch with me. Be aware of the signs. Study them. Know what is prophesied. The Lord will be our rock in these difficult times. He will provide stability and security. He has promised peace.

Not Your Typical Disaster Fiction


“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

The Ambush


“I don’t think Manny knows what he’s talking about,” whispered the astronomer from Harvard.  I could hear her clearly even though she was five rows back.

“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.”

“About what?”

“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

It came from behind the sun


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.

When prophets need to know


I have a deep personal interest in the anticipated social response to the upcoming movie, 2012.  While it looks to be great entertainment from the fertile mind of Roland Emmerich, I am fascinated by the idea of how our society will react to some sort of a major catastrophic cataclysmic event like that depicted in the film.

I don’t go in for conspiracy theories that the government of the United States has a secret plan for the survival of the race.  I am certain that we have plans in place to ensure the continuity of the government in event of nuclear war or some other disaster, but the survival of the citizens of this country is a whole different matter.

A wise investment

As I get older, I take the idea of having a usable stockpile of food and water much more seriously than when I was younger.  We have dipped into our food storage several times over the past few years as the grip of a tight economy has reached into our personal finances.  But I value my food storage for a different reason.

I am convinced that the day will come, in my lifetime, that we will not be able to leave our homes for extended periods of time in order to go out and buy food.  It could be due to a flu pandemic or perhaps social unrest, but I am more inclined to think that it will be from some sort of a plague that will keep us indoors for weeks.

A prophecy of plagues

Now there’s a word that you don’t hear thrown around much these days.  Do I mean a plague like the kind that decimated Europe during the middle ages?  No.  How about a plague like the kind that caused so many deaths at the end of World War I – the 1918 flu pandemic?  No, I’m thinking of a different kind of plague.

Perhaps turning to the scriptures will bring it to a better light.  Let’s take a look at Revelations chapter eight. There are several references to plagues contained in the next few chapters but verse seven describes the beginning of the plague to which I refer now.  What things fall to the earth when the first angel sounds his trumpet?

Hail and fire and blood

I’ve written about this previously, but my interpretation of the phrase, “hail and fire mingled with blood” is this:  The hail is actually small stones or meteorites.  The fire is a sticky, burning petroleum-like fluid found in the tail of comets. It is also known as naphtha, a volatile and flammable liquid mixture of hydrocarbons.

The blood is a description of water of the earth mixed with a red dust that is some form of ferric oxide.  This red dust is water soluble, looks just like blood when it hits the water, and is highly toxic to life.  In addition, it is irritating to the skin and can cause a plague of microbes, insects and vermin to rapidly propagate in heat.

Writings of Anthony Larson

If this all sounds familiar, then you have read either the works of David Talbott, Immanuel Velikovsky or my friend and fellow blogger, Anthony Larson.  My wife and I met with Anthony last week to talk about collaborating on a book idea that has been brewing in my head over the past little while as my wife has been recovering.

I like Anthony because he’s a bit of a controversial figure in the church.  He has written and published five books on the subject of the events of the very last days.  His explanations of the scriptures pertaining to the last days are not the orthodox and standard answers you will find in the commentaries of today’s LDS scholars.

The prophecy trilogy

In fact, his writings have been denounced by scientists at our religious institutions of higher learning, such as BYU.  That doesn’t deter me.  I’m grateful for the gift of agency and the fact that the Lord allows us to choose what we want to believe about the scriptures, even if they don’t jive with conventional accepted teachings.

Is this a dangerous approach to learning?  I don’t think so.  The Lord tells us to prove all things and hold fast to that which is good.  I have been pondering what I have read in Anthony’s books for about twenty-five years since I first read his prophecy trilogy back in the 1980’s.  I have also prayed about what he has written.

Other inspired men

Now that may seem a little odd, different or downright dangerous in our LDS culture.  Why would you pray about what someone has written who is not a general authority?  Why, that’s unthinkable, preposterous even! Don’t you know that you are on the road to apostasy if you listen to someone besides an apostle?

Yes, men can be deceived and we can all point to examples throughout history where good people have been proven fools to follow after the interpretations of the scriptures by men who were not authorized to speak on behalf of the Lord.  But that brings up an interesting question that I wonder if you have ever considered.

Some prophets are experts

Where do prophets turn when they need to know something about which they are not experts?  For example, when our apostles want to know facts about something in the medical world, I’ll bet they consult with Russell M. Nelson, another of our apostles who just happens to be a medical doctor and renowned heart surgeon.

When they want to know something about the interpretation of law, there are several excellent choices among Elder Oaks, Elder Cook or Elder Christofferson.  For nuclear physics, they turn to Elder Scott.  For managing a university, we have President Eyring, Elder Oaks, Elder Holland and Elder Bednar, all great educators.

Turning to the experts

But what do they do when they want to understand astrophysics?  To whom do the Brethren turn when they need help interpreting and explaining the events that are starting to concern and even frighten more and more of the world’s population, as the end times draw to a close?  Who will help our leaders explain all these things?

Why, they turn to the professors of astronomy at BYU of course.  Or, if they’re not particularly fans of that institution – gasp! – then they turn to the smaller faculty at the University of Utah.  I’m sure there are a myriad of faithful LDS scientists who can provide the needed background to explain meteorites and other scary things.

Turning to the Lord

You may ask, “Can’t they just turn to the Lord in prayer and receive the necessary knowledge to guide the people when the catastrophes that are prophesied to happen begin to come to pass in earnest?”  Of course you know they can.  The Lord can and will “do nothing but he revealeth his secret to his servants the prophets.”

But we are taught and believe that the Lord requires us to do our homework before he confirms to our hearts and minds that what we have studied and determined on a given subject is correct.  The apostles are no different from you and me when it comes to the right to receive revelation, though they understand the process better.

Experts can be wrong

The problem with turning to the experts in Astrophysics is that the most of them do not subscribe to the views of ancient prophets on the subject of how the planets and stars behave.  Things were different back then and there is no written record of how things really were.  They prefer to use current observations for their facts.

Yes, the idea that the heavens have always been the way we see them now is very much in vogue even among our LDS scientists.  The idea that the planets in our solar system could have once been in a different configuration sometime within the last four thousand years even is unthinkable and has no scientific basis for proof.

Summary and conclusion

Yep, Tim’s gone off his rocker.  He is claiming that scientists are wrong.  He’s gone off the deep end and thrown his cap in with the crowd of crazies who believe in planet X and that 2012 is the end of the world.  No, I don’t believe that, but I do believe that Anthony Larson has made more sense of things than most scientists.

So until an apostle or prophet comes out and says that Anthony Larson is wrong in his interpretation of the scriptures, I have decided to join forces with him and have committed to write and publish a work of fiction based on his research.  Call me crazy but I’m looking forward to the ride.  Stay tuned for the exciting adventures.

Red Sky


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

%d bloggers like this: