Hi from Kolob! Why E.T. might be a Mormon (probably not an Evangelical)

According to some estimates, there are billions of inhabitated planets in the universe, and maybe even tens of billions of “earth-like planets”  in our galaxy alone.

Mormon scriptures are in accord.  We believe that there are unumerable  inhabited planets created by God. In Moses 1:33-39: God tells Moses:

33 And aworlds without number have I bcreated; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the cSon I dcreated them, which is mine eOnly Begotten.

34 And the afirst man of all men have I called bAdam, which is cmany.

35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I aknow them.

. . .

38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no aend to my works, neither to my words.

39 For behold, this is my awork and my bglory—to bring to pass the cimmortality and deternal elife of man.

For me these are some of the most intriguing and powerful descriptions of God.  They are at the heart of Mormon ideas of the purpose of life and the relationship between man, God and creation.

When you consider that there are over 100 billion galaxies and tens of billions of earth-like planets in each of those galaxies you are really talking about an unimaginably large number of worlds like ours.

Later in the Pearl of Great price, Abraham sees a vision of the greatest of these worlds: Abraham 3:2-3

2 And I saw the astars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;

Evangelicals and others are quick to laugh at references to a planet Kolob. In a recent blog conversation I had with a few Evangelicals and I was told that the Mormon belief in the planet Kolob was simply unbelievable.

I really have no idea what Evangelicals think about extra-terrestrial life aside from these sorts of comments,  but given the scientific evidence of other worlds, the evidence for extra-terrestrial life is far stronger than the evidence for a worldwide flood or any number of biblical accounts.

I do think, however, that christian thought is generally earth-centric.  If no one is saved without knowing about Jesus while alive, it looks like the infinitely vast majority of God’s creation is just out of luck, or out of touch. If traditional Christianity hasn’t been able to effectively penetrate the Indian subcontinent, how can we expect it to penetrate the depths of the Milky-way?

Mormon thought seems to take into account of the cosmological reality a bit better than what I know of Evangelical thought.  Am I wrong?

P.S. here is in an interesting related discussion from Parchment and Pen, an evangelical theology blog.

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113 thoughts on “Hi from Kolob! Why E.T. might be a Mormon (probably not an Evangelical)

  1. I’m only going to throw out this thought before I go to bed…

    Mormons can accept intelligent life on other planets, yes, but can they accept non-humanoid intelligent life?

    If a short, squashy, wrinkly creature like E.T. shows up, doesn’t that bork the Mormon understanding of what it means to be made in the image of God? And oh man, don’t even get me started on if they don’t have gender like we do.

    I’ll digest your questions in full tomorrow, Jared.

  2. Jared,

    As an FYI, the link to the blog on reclaiming the mind is not working. It’s got the http reference in there twice.

    As far as this question… interesting topic. My gut reaction is

    1) Some evangelicals (like me if I am an evangelical), defer the answer to live on other planets as “I don’t know”. There’s definitely “scientific evidence” for other potentially earth-like planets. I wouldn’t call it evidence necessarily, more like a solid theory. Unless it’s something verifiable and repeatable, I’m not sure we can call it truly scientific evidence.

    2) Even if there are other planets, he’s how I personally would look at that
    a) life may exist and God may have decided to create other life on other planets. Doesn’t change on iota on our existence and what we’re supposed to do. Or what Christ is or has done for us.
    b) doesn’t mean at all that God (Jahweh) is a physical humanoid being living on one of them.

    I do agree that a lot of people just laugh at the concept, which isn’t helping anyone or doing anyone any justice. CMP just posted another article titled “I Don’t Believe a Snake Talked but I Do Believe Aliens Seeded Our Planet”. Some of the questions raised obviously resonate with the “is there life outside of earth” question.

    You can read my opinion on that over there as well. I think it’s an interesting concept and discussion. Doesn’t mean I believe it. Personally… ditto on the Kolob thing. It could exist. It could have life on it (humanoid or not). I don’t believe I have sufficient Biblical evidence to suggest God (Jahweh) physically lives on it. But feel free to show me the Biblical evidence.

    Long “gut reaction” maybe. I’ll ponder it some more.

    In Him
    Mick

  3. Mormons already believe that animals, plants, and even the earth itself have a “spiritual form.” God created all things spiritually before they were physically, after all.

    We also believe in a hierarchy (of sorts) of “intelligences” as suggested in the Book of Abraham. So it’s not much of a jump to posit a sliding scale of intelligence/spirit underlying other creations in the universe. I’ve heard Mormons be perfectly OK with the notion of whales or dolphins being “as intelligent as humans.” So I don’t think it would be THAT much of a shock to the system.

    Coping mechanisms are already there.

  4. The correct hyperlink to Reclaiming the Mind is here. And btw, I’m really not surprised to see that Truth Unites… and Divides guy doing the whole “LOL Kolob” routine. He referred to a video clip from The God Makers earlier in the thread in a positive light, which I called him on. There is no excuse for evangelicals to be using the works of proven liars like Ed Decker in their assessments of Mormonism, especially not when you have the word “truth” in your handle.

    Oh, and I see he’s also a fan of “Mormonism sez God had teh sexxorz with Mary!” I hate dumb people.

    The word “Kolob” sounds kind of silly, and I certainly wouldn’t want to sing it as a hymn, but I actually don’t object to the notion of intelligent life on other planets. I adored C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, which dealt with the notion of life on other planets and explored the issue of how God might save them if they needed saving.

    Personally I would expect Christ’s atonement here to cover salvation for life on all other planets as well, but Lewis seemed to posit that other planets would need their own atonements. If aliens actually showed up, it would be interesting to know if they believed in any sort of dying-and-rising God religions themselves, but either way, I think Christian theology would adapt to the new information.

  5. Mick,

    I fixed the link, thanks for the heads-up.

    Mormons don’t really believe that God lives on Kolob, just that it is closest to where he is at.

    What I am in awe of is how unimaginably large the universe is and how ridiculously small-scoped most of out thoughts about it is. This is because we are understandably focused on ourselves, unable to fathom the sheer magnitude of the universe (or even our solar system), and we have such little information about God (if we assume that scripture is all we have that is definitive on the subject).

    Whatever theory that explains how God works in this vast universe, with its undoubted infinite variety of life is going to sound crazy.

    I like Niels Bohr’s observation about a theory attempting to explain the reality of sub-atomic particle physics.

    “We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.”

    I think the same thing probably applies to how God works. Its going to sound crazy to us. The only reason the traditional notions don’t sound crazy to the traditionalists is that the ideas are so common.

    The Mormon belief of a huge hierarchy of planets and life. Worlds forming and coming to an end in an eternal cycle. God controlling it and/or observing it. Eternal Intelligences forming into spirits and progressing into tangible beings and perhaps to godhood over eons of time. This may just be crazy enough to be in some weird way correct.

    Maybe Evangelicals could take a cue and come up with their own crazy theory.

  6. Jared

    unable to fathom the sheer magnitude of the universe

    AMEN to that. I’m a little of a star gazer when I can. Nothing like the heavenly skies from a Utah mountain top in the summer… except maybe in Switzerland 😉

    See my little calculation on the reclaiming the mind blog.. how does 80,000 years to the closest star in the (currently) fastest human-made interstellar satellite (Voyager 1) sound to you ? Pretty darn big if you ask me.

    Some quotes gave me some frowns / creeps. I don’t know how to react to them.. but given time I’m sure I will

    Eternal Intelligences forming into spirits and progressing into tangible beings and perhaps to godhood over eons of time Makes me think of Buddhism, Hunduism, Hare Krishna, etc. Sounds like re-incarnation until a “heavenly state” is reached. Too Nirvana-ish for me to be sure I can rhyme it with Christianity of a creator, fallen man and resurrection.

    Evangelicals could take a cue and come up with their own crazy theory I think we/they have one.. it’s called “We’re alone” 😉

    In Him
    Mick

  7. Mormons can accept intelligent life on other planets, yes, but can they accept non-humanoid intelligent life? If a short, squashy, wrinkly creature like E.T. shows up, doesn’t that bork the Mormon understanding of what it means to be made in the image of God?

    It wouldn’t be a problem for me in the least.

    Although we believe that our Heavenly Father and Jesus have bodies (whereas evangelicals believe that only Jesus does), there’s a lot about that fact that we don’t know. Has our Father always been corporeal? Would his body look the same to the hypothetical E.T. as it does to us? What kind of atoms is it composed of, if it’s composed of atoms at all? What is its connection with the space-time continuum? There’s so much speculation involved, that certainly a theology can be made that’s consistent with both LDS teaching and nonhumanoid intelligent life.

    As far as Kolob goes, I don’t know if that’s something to be thought of literally, figuratively, metaphorically or what. But even if thought of literally, is the concept all that foreign? If Jesus Christ has a physical body, and many evangelical thinkers agree that he does, presumably he would have to be closer to some star or planet than others, would he not? The physical nature of the post-ascension Christ is something accepted at face value by most Mormons, but something that many evangelicals don’t seem to speculate about too much.

  8. Can Heavenly Father morph his arm into a machine gun, or make it stretch really long?

    If he could, would He want to?

  9. I liked Trigun, but I can’t say it was my favorite sci-fi series. I enjoyed Outlaw Star better (though I’ll freely acknowledge Trigun is an artistically “better” show). And of course, no one unseats Cowboy Bebop as the reigning champ of anime sci-fi in my book.

  10. Ugh, Cowboy Bebop, you and my husband both. Man-Faye, tell them what I think of Cowboy Bebop.

    Trigun and Samurai Champloo were both favorites for me as far as anime goes. I watched about half of Fullmetal Alchemist and it was so emo it hurt.

    I haven’t heard of Outlaw Star, I’ll have to ask my husband about it when he gets home. He’s a walking encyclopedia of anime.

  11. Note, I didn’t say Outlaw Star was good, or quality. Just that I liked it. Probably for similar reasons that my dad occasionally enjoys just kicking back and watching Chuck Norris films.

    Samurai Champloo was pretty good. But the ending went a little weird I thought.

    Faye’s outfit = Fail.

    Spikes afro = Win.

  12. My husband is home now and he says Outlaw Star was terrible. Not that I always agree with him—he has a better chance of converting me to Mormonism than to Cowboy Bebop—but I tend to use him as a guide. Do you mean you enjoyed it in a so-bad-it’s-good kind of way? I felt the same way about Ultraviolet.

  13. Nah, believe it or not, I’m not always that much of a snob.

    Sometimes a I just like a good dumb fun kind of movie. Doesn’t challenge me at all, turn brain off, enjoy… that kind of thing. Like the movie Willow way back when. Dumb acting, disjointed plot, but fun anyway (and nice soundtrack).

    I’ve been known to watch dumb action flicks on Sci-Fi too on occasion.

    Being pretentious 24-7 is rough. Gotta be off-duty once in a while.

  14. Seth! Jack! That’s enough: there’s a post on this blog for that kind of talk; you dishonor yourselves by discussing here what rightly belongs there.

  15. At least I’ve got the excuse of having served a mission in Japan. So when I grab an anime title, it’s kinda legit.

    And I do always watch in the original Japanese, if possible.

  16. I almost regret bringing up any sci-fi related topic.

    At least we aren’t talking about whether Jesus will have polygamous brides from Kolob as well as earth.

  17. See, now you’re being a snob again.

    Agreed. Except with Wings of Honneamise, which I grew up with back in the days before they even came subtitled, and you had to read a synopsis to understand what was going on. So the Japanese in it just sounds right to me, and English would bother me because the voices would be wrong.

    But anything new I’m going to watch dubbed every time. at least with animation. That is, when I watch anime, which is almost never.

  18. Makes me think of Buddhism, Hunduism, Hare Krishna, etc. Sounds like re-incarnation until a “heavenly state” is reached. Too Nirvana-ish for me to be sure I can rhyme it with Christianity of a creator, fallen man and resurrection.

    By the way, this is a gross misrepresentation of Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s not even accurate, not to mention it misses the point completely.

  19. I adored C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy, which dealt with the notion of life on other planets and explored the issue of how God might save them if they needed saving.

    I agree that the Space Trilogy is absolutely fantastic. Any of you who have not read it, shame on you.

  20. I really think the English voice actors for Trigun were much better anyways.

    Kullervo, I saw that you had Till We Have Faces as one of your favorite books on your Facebook page. That is probably my favorite book ever.

    That Hideous Strength is high on my list as well.

  21. Hmm… on the whole Sci-fi stuff.. I’m a reader.. don’t watch TV much and on top of that.
    1) Grew up outside of the US so 50% of those shows don’t ring a bell.
    2) Not a big fan of anime, which would account for the other 50%

    So it’s all over my head at this time. 😉

    Kullervo
    By the way, this is a gross misrepresentation of Hinduism and Buddhism. It’s not even accurate, not to mention it misses the point completely.

    I wasn’t trying to give a complete representation of either. But having
    1) Spent quite some time in China
    2) Having a lot of people from India working with me
    3) Having spent almost 20 years between RC and becoming a “renewed Christian” and in that period having dabbled with everything from Buddhism, confucius, exo-genesis, etc…

    Where am I wrong ?

    And I mean fundamentally wrong. I am very well aware there’s different interpretations on the meta-physical or physical state of Nirvana (or Nibbana). I agree there’s different schools of thought on this in the Mahayana and Theravada schools of Buddhism. Even within Hinduism there’s different interpretation on what one needs to do, etc… Whether it’s ascetism, yoga, love for Ishwar in certain strains of Hinduism, ….. All those are indeed debated.

    The fundamentals I’m referring to is the whole cycle of Samsara which is present in both Buddhism and Hinduism, and can be “broken” by some “action” to reach a higher state. Called Bodhi in Buddhism or Moksha in Hinduism.

    If it does take a cycle (like in Jared’s original post) to reach a state of “godhood” (or theosis), where does this fundamentally differ from the concept of breaking the cycle of Samsara to reach a state of Bodhi / Moksha ? (not debating whether it can be achieved in a physical or meta-physical sense).

    I definitely don’t intend to be rude, but this is the second time you have informed me I’m plainly “wrong“, yet didn’t help on how I can be corrected. I am more than willing to admit I have a wrong interpretation, but please be so courteous as to explain to me where I am wrong or which books I should read to get a better understanding. I would call that a Christian approach to teaching, correcting and exhortation.

    Until such time… sorry.. I think I’ll stick with my understanding 😉

    In Him
    Mick

  22. I agree that Mormonism is similar to Hinduism in some respects. Which I actually think is a good thing.

    Of course it is very far from it in other respects.

    For example Mormonism describes in a linear progression, rather than a recurring cycle.

  23. But once you get to the level of God Jared, things change a bit. Now you start talking about the “Eternal Now” and other notions of God being somehow outside time.

    It’s almost like Mormonism posits two different views of time. There is the linear version that applies to us. Then there is the circular, endless, eternal, and always present version that God apparently experiences in some way.

    Like a dual-nature universe or something.

  24. I see your point Seth. I am just going on one of the only “official” post-Joseph first presidency statements on the subject which says.

    “Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.”

    http://eyring.hplx.net/Eyring/faq/evolution/FP1909.html

    Mormon scripture, which I cited above, gives intriguing picture of cyles of worlds coming in and out of being.

    Hard to know how to correspond with current scientific understanding of physics. Does this correspond to the cycle of universe coming into being (big bang theory) expansion, inflation etc. or does it correspond to individual planets within the current universe. Impossible to know.

    I think its telling how God essentially tells Moses in the Scripture, step-off, the other worlds are really none of your business. (Whether you think the Book of Moses and Abraham are authentic or made up by Joseph, I think you have to admit that they are pretty brilliant in their religious insight)

    Science also posits up to 22 more dimensions than we experience to consistently explain particle physics.

    What this means to me is that we don’t really know what the $?*#( is really going on in the big divine picture. If God can see and hang out in multiple dimensions we just aren’t going to grasp this with our 4 dimensional understandings.

    However, I think we can imagine and grasp what it means to be eternal beings, what it means to progress and grow and become and progress and that that is solidly part of God’s life as he observes us.

    Mick and Kullervo

    I have some sympathy with Kullervo’s point that Hinduism is far from Mormon belief on this front (I think that is his point). The progression element of Mormonism is really diametrically opposed to the concept of achieving Moksha, Bhodi, Nirvana etc. Mormons are not hoping for a melding into the eternal reality, they hoping for a progression within their current identity. The Mormon concept of unity with God entails feeling, pain, and owning the extremely powerful wants and desires that the Buddha felt were necessary to eschew to become free from the ephemeral suffering of the world. Mormons believe suffering is real and even important in the progression and that escape from suffering through change in perspective is almost the opposite direction.

    I do, however, think that even though the goals of Moksha and Exaltation are totally at odds, I don’t believe that some of the methods and lifestyles proposed by Hindu’s and Buddhists are not important vehicles for gaining a more divine perspective in the Mormon sense.

  25. Mick:

    I think the difference between a cycle that leads to a heavenly state and a cycle that must be broken to achieve a heavenly state are irreconcilably different. I’m not saying you fail to understand samsara, but inasmuch as you represent samsara as something that leads to enlightenment, you have completely missed the point. Samsars keeps you away from enlightenment.

    Jared C:

    No, I wasn’t thinking about Mormonism at all. But progression through multiple lives or progression through a single distinct eternal identity are, in my opinion, only semantically different. The difference between eternal progression in Mormonism and samsara in the Dharmic religions is that eternal progression leads you to the ideal state, whereas samsara is actually the very thing that keeps you away from the ideal state.

  26. Kullervo

    Good differentiation. I can appreciate that argument.

    Progression vs a cycle that needs broken. Good point.

    If I inasmuch as you represent samsara as something that leads to enlightenment , I gave indeed a wrong representation. Samsara is the cycle, one needs to do “stuff” (very loosely interpreted here) to reach a state of enlightement. I think I tried to clarify that in my previous post.

    The fundamentals I’m referring to is the whole cycle of Samsara which is present in both Buddhism and Hinduism, and can be “broken” by some “action” to reach a higher state. (my own quote from previous post)

    I do understand and agree that Samsara needs to be “broken” to reach “enlightenment”. We can have a whole treatise on what causes Samsara and what needs to be done according to the different religions or streams within those, but I don’t think that’s this thread. More than willing to start one somewhere else though 😉

    I’ll have to digest what it means really on how you depict “linear progression” within Mormonism. I still can’t quite rhyme it biblically.

    In Him
    Mick

  27. Well, most of the progression is is pretty hidden in Mormonism. There is not a very detailed description of it in scripture.

    This life is a time to experience and learn but we will have a lot of time after wards to sort things out and grow.

    I think this idea makes more sense than, bang! we die are judge and Christians are instantly heavenly beings that partake in the divine nature.

  28. Interesting… purgatory anyone ?? 😉

    All kidding aside. Wether it makes more sense to us or not, I’ll defer to Paul in Corinthians and Ephsesians. I do read it more as a bang thing when Christ returns. Question obviously is what happens in between ?

    Augustine and Gregory of Nyssa both talked about some stage in between death and glorification. I believe Tertullian did as well, but still haven’t gotten a copy of his book on “treatise of the soul”… it’s somewhere on my long list 😉

    Definitely food for a separate thread. I may start my own blog and make a case for “purgatory”. Or would that sound too Roman Catholic for this audience 😉

    In Him
    Mick

  29. I’ll try to write something up over the weekend. Won’t be anything as good as you guys, but hey.. just getting started on this whole blogging thing

  30. Pingback: Purgatory « Exemplo

  31. I may start my own blog and make a case for “purgatory”. Or would that sound too Roman Catholic for this audience

    I think there are some striking similarities between the concept of purgatory (as I understand it) and that of the LDS “spirit prison.” There are differences, too, but I usually find similarities more interesting.

  32. Eric, you oughta head over to Mike’s blog post listed above on “Exemplo” and have a look at it. I was planning on weighing in when I had a moment to spare.

  33. The subject of this thread reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, which we watched again tonight. You know, back when M. Night’s movies were actually scary and well-done. I like how the alien invasion winds up restoring the main character’s faith in God.

  34. Uggggh! Signs was teh lame. Sorry. I mean water?! Seriously?! A bunch of high-tech—but not quite smart enough to put on some waterproof clothing—aliens choose the 2/3 water-covered earth to invade and start things out by tromping through dew-covered corn fields. Not to mention strolling around in 95% humidity Brazil. Maybe they should have first invaded an REI, shoplifted some GoreTex. It would have been better had Shyamalan ended it with a kid waking up from a bad dream: show’s over, no totally incongruous ending.

    Signs was so disappointing that I don’t even bother to put it in italics. Take that!

  35. Brian,

    It seems you are having trouble suspending disbelief. You better work on those skills. I worry what you are going to rationally question the believability of next.

    Next thing you know you will find yourself no longer believing that Jesus was a polygamist.

  36. Yes, I am aware that the following two things about the movie were lame:

    (1) The water thing
    (2) Aliens have the technology to navigate the galaxy but they don’t bring basic tools for breaking down wooden doors and navigating their way out of pantries?

    I knew some snob was going to complain about one of those two things, but I didn’t think it would be you, BFF.

    However, if you can suspend your disbelief on those two factors (and what movie doesn’t require some level of suspended disbelief?), it was a fantastic movie. The horror comes almost entirely through what is implied and not what is seen, the dialogue is great, the actors all hit it out of the park, and how many movies have “God does exist and everything happens for a reason” as their ultimate message?

    And that little girl who plays Bo… OMG soooooo cute! I love the part where she says “they’re dancing on TV, like this” and she does this cute little dance.

    So yeah, I think Signs was pretty much awesome. The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs were all great. The Village started out well, then went downhill in the middle and ended pretty disappointing, but was at least somewhat redeemed by having a really awesome soundtrack.

    Lady in the Water and The Happening were rightfully just as terrible as everyone says they were. M. Night Shyamalan is a one-trick pony and we’ve seen his one trick.

  37. I don’t remember Signs very well, except it scared the hell out of me.

    When The Sixth Sense came out, my wo-Mo (super religious, as in, “WHOA! Mormon”) boyfriend said it contained the gospel truth and cried a little bit.

    I was like, “Dude. You’re embarrassing me.”

  38. SIGNS </b completely rocked ! (notice I put it in italics AND bold 😉

    I promised an entry on Purgatory earlier. As some of you figured out I started by own blog. Posted the Purgatory question over there. So feel free to read it. Sorry that it got inadvertently thrown over here. I figured out how to turn that off so it shouldn’t happen again.

    Be gentle on the technical stuff of the blog and focus on the content. I’m only starting to figure out how this whole blog thing works. I’m working on the layout, since I think it’s open for improvement. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    In Him
    Mick

  39. Katie: I’m dying, that story is so funny. Sixth Sense is a truly awesome film, but gospel truth?! This guy didn’t get all choked up by Slim Jim commercials too, did he?

    BFF: The problem is that Shyamalan writes stories that ask—nay, demand—the reader to stay intelligent throughout. It’s like he’s daring us, “You are smart, but I am smarter: watch closely and scrutinize everything or you will be outsmarted.” It’s one thing to suspend disbelief and agree to jump into somone else’s universe; it’s another thing when that new universe breaks its own rules. This is opposed to movies like The Transporter, where we suspend disbelief and we suspend scrutiny because the director doesn’t ask us to remain intelligent—he only asks us to be entertained and wowed by an oil-drenched, bike pedal shod martial artist beating the snot out of ten guys. And that is entertaining.

    The solution is for Shyamalan to stop writing and only direct from now on. He’s a great director, even if his movies tend to move a little slow.

  40. BrianJ ~ he only asks us to be entertained and wowed by an oil-drenched, shirtless, bike pedal shod martial artist beating the snot out of ten guys.

    Fix’t.

    I’m so glad Hollywood is sexualizing men now as well as women. Yay progress!

  41. Jack: good fix. btw, my favorite part in that movie is when he knocks on the door, then kicks it in just as the guy looks through the peephole. Cracks me up every time. I’m laughing right now just thinking about it.

  42. This guy didn’t get all choked up by Slim Jim commercials too, did he?

    I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put it past him. He was always crying over something–especially me. 😉 I was a bad girlfriend, I won’t lie.

    “You are smart, but I am smarter: watch closely and scrutinize everything or you will be outsmarted.”

    I agree, Brian. Some of Shyamalan’s films are super pretentious (Lady in the Water, anyone?), a la : “I am so deep and allegorical I’m going to make a movie about the importance of stories and call my lead character Story and she’s going to live deep inside a pool…but you won’t be able to get what I mean by that, will you?”

    That bugged me.

  43. The self-indulgence of Lady in the Water was nearly obscene. The movie was contrived and stupid.

    I did like the guy that only worked out one side of his body though.

  44. was that like a little cupcake-like little girl or a little apple-like little girl? ’cause it makes a difference.

  45. When I was watching it Sunday night, the part where Mel Gibson is trying to look under the pantry with a knife and the alien claws under the door made me jump. My husband laughed at me, but I don’t care, I think it’s fun to be scared.

  46. They actually go a good job of ramping up the emotion in that scene. Making you forget all of the other alien movies you have seen and actually imagine what it would like to see a real alien on TV.

    Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor, he really sells you. He is almost a good an actor is he is a rapper.

  47. Well-made scary movies are some of my favorite things in the world. Unfortunately they’re also a fairly rare occurrence. Too many horror movies seem to confuse “blood” and “nudity” with “scary.” And I so don’t get all of those American remakes of Japanese horror films. They’re usually very scary, yes, but they never make any sense.

    Jared, I like Joaquin Phoenix too, and having had a daughter with a cleft palate, I notice now that he looks like he was born with a cleft lip and possibly palate. Funny how you pick up on stuff like that after your kids have it.

  48. So movies about “scary stuff” aren’t the problem. I’m fine with ghosts and whatever. I’m even okay with eerieness and surreality. Gore doesn’t bother me that much (my favorite war movies are full of it anyway). But when the movie is actually supposed to scare me… then it works. Well. And I don’t really like it.

  49. Loved the clip. By far the scariest part in the movie was when Gibson sees the Alien in the cornfield.

    There was gospel truth in signs. When Gibson talks with Pheonix about there being two types of people in the world, he was describing those with faith and those without. The whole movie wasn’t, but that part was true.

    Maybe that’s the difference between Mormons and no-Mo’s. Mormons try to find the truth existent in all things and accept it. No Mo’s feel no such obligation.

  50. There was gospel truth in signs. When Gibson talks with Pheonix about there being two types of people in the world, he was describing those with faith and those without. The whole movie wasn’t, but that part was true.

    Lame. False dichotomy. Faith is a hell of a lot more complicated and nuanced than that. Try again.

    Maybe that’s the difference between Mormons and no-Mo’s. Mormons try to find the truth existent in all things and accept it. No Mo’s feel no such obligation.

    Bullshit.

  51. Wait, that was, like, thirding and fourthing. And you just can’t third your own second. You need to log in as a sock puppet at least of you want to do that shit.

  52. Kullervo: what MadChemist said about Mormons is so wrong that the rules no longer apply; Jared is free to third his own seconds and even second his own fourths. Oh, and I third his second.

  53. Oh, okay. Do we have to go in numerical order, or can we just, skip? And do we have to stick to integers? Can I -i(e) your third? What about absolute value?

  54. When it comes to calling bullshit I think you can apply the principle:

    “by the mouths of two or three witnesses”

    or alternatively, three times by the mouth of one witness.

  55. If you guys are going to go all Simon Cowell on MadChemist, I guess it falls to me to be Paula Abdul.

    The scene where Gibson explains to Phoenix about people who think there are no coincidences is certainly one of the most moving moments in the movie. One of the things I just adore about this scene is that, with Gibson is being so serious in his explanation, Phoenix’s eyes light up and he tells the anecdote about the drunk girl he almost made out with at a party, and how he manages to not be kissing her while she was throwing up because he had turned to take a piece of gum out of his mouth.

    Now THAT’S gospel truth. When you’re trying to explain something meaningful and deep and the person you’re talking with applies it to something trivial and stupid.

    Maybe that’s the difference between Mormons and no-Mo’s. Mormons try to find the truth existent in all things and accept it. No Mo’s feel no such obligation.

    Yeah, there’s not much help for you here, MadChemist. This was way overboard. Mormonism has made some kind ecumenical statements about seeking truth in different religions, but many, many non-Mormons and non-LDS religions do likewise. It’s also arguable that many Mormons ignore truth simply because it contradicts what the church teaches. Things really aren’t black and white.

    Now, who wants to be Randy Jackson and call everyone “dawg” a lot?

  56. I’ll be Kara DioGuardi and say that while MadChemist’s comment was emotionally moving–it sure pissed some people off, anyway–it lacked true artistry.

  57. “Now THAT’S gospel truth. When you’re trying to explain something meaningful and deep and the person you’re talking with applies it to something trivial and stupid.”

    err….miraculously avoiding kissing a girl while she is vomiting. . . that is is the kind of miracle I appreciate.

    Not at all trivial, an experience like that could scar you for life.

  58. Once upon a time, I played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at Utah State University. It was a TERRIBLE production if I do say so myself (which, rest assured, I don’t).

    To add insult to injury, the guy that played Romeo got really bad stage fright…and every night right before the scene where we were supposed to kiss, he would puke backstage.

    It was a sad time.

  59. And for the record, I don;t actually think Mormons really try to find the truth in all things and accept it. They don;t look for truth everywhere. They look to the Church for truth, and they look everywhere else for object lessons.

    I would believe that Mormons looked for truth everywhere if they ever came up with a piece of truth that was uniquely from an extra-Mormon source, instead of just looking for ways to read Mormonism into everything and patting yourselves on the back for being so effing open-minded.

  60. I don;t actually think Mormons really try to find the truth in all things and accept it. … They look to the Church for truth, and they look everywhere else for object lessons.

    I agree, Kullervo. My friend Laura Craner refers to this phenomenon as “Mormon-ing” stuff. She refers specifically to literature analysis when she talks about it, but I think Mormons do this with everything, not just books.

  61. I should add, I think most people do this; look for “evidences” in the world at large that support their particular worldview and filter out stuff that doesn’t. So it’s not a strictly Mormon thing.

  62. I should add, I think most people do this; look for “evidences” in the world at large that support their particular worldview and filter out stuff that doesn’t. So it’s not a strictly Mormon thing.

    I think you’re absolutely right–it’s definitely not uniquely Mormon. But Mormons have a lot of scripts about it in which they talk about gleaning truth from every source, which is absolutely not what they are doing.

    Some individual Mormons might, don’t get me wrong.

  63. “I sure hope you’re not speaking from experience, Jared.”

    No, but I have to admit the near-puke-in-the-mouth thought scares me more than alien invaders.

    “My friend Laura Craner refers to this phenomenon as “Mormon-ing” stuff. She refers specifically to literature analysis when she talks about it, but I think Mormons do this with everything, not just books.”

    Yeah, I thought DH Lawrence could be a Mormon until I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

    “I should add, I think most people do this; look for “evidences” in the world at large that support their particular worldview and filter out stuff that doesn’t.”

    The phenomena is a funny way of closing your mind, you are open to seeing similarities in the way you believe in other systems and then use that to confirm your own system rather than open your mind to alternatives.


    dawg

  64. Like I said, I imagine there are plenty of individual Mormons who do in fact glean new truth from extra-
    Mormonic sources. But the “finding truth everywhere and learning from it” script that is part of the Mormon framework refers to a completely different phenomenon.

  65. Personally, I really love that everyone–even (or especially) Mo’s–has at least a little bit of Methodist in them…The ol’ experience+tradition+reason+scripture=Truth!

    Now I haven’t seen Signs, but I dare someone to prove that Methodism can’t apply.

    (I will reject your answer if you say that aliens defy reason.)

  66. Especially Mos, and it’s no accident. I think Mormonism has pretty intense Methodist roots.

    I was going to say something snotty but I think the Wesleyan Quadrilateral (or whatever it is called) is an extremely sound concept. So I actually have nothing snotty to say about it.

  67. Interesting Mormon Beliefs:

    1. Mormons believe god was a man and then Aliens made him a God.

    2. Mormon “god” lives near a planet/star called Kolob.

    3. That God got basically physical with Mary. So she was not a virgin.

    4. Jesus and Satan are brothers.

    5. Black people are black because they stayed neutral and didn’t decide between Jesus or Satan so they were cursed with black skin by Elohim.

    6. The also believe Native Americans are Israelites.

    7. That Joseph Smith is a descendant of Jesus.

    8. That when they die, they will become the God of their own planet.

    9. That you need to know the secret Mormon password which is a handshake of some sort for when you meet Elohim (God), Jesus and Joseph Smith.

    10. That you are more likely to get into the celestial kingdom if you have at least 10 wives not just one.

    11. It is a Mormon tradition to baptize the dead.

    12. They believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri in the USA.

    13. That dinosaur fossils were created by Satan to deceive the world about the truth of creation.

    14. Satan controls all the water in the world.

    15. Jesus was married and he had more than one wife and a bunch of kids.

    16. That only Mormon men can perform miracles and only the men but the women could receives these miracles.

    17. They wear weird white underwear/ spiritual armor.

  68. spinoza,

    Even assuming those all were mainstream Mormon beliefs – which most of them are not…

    Who cares? What’s wrong with any of those beliefs?

    Here’s another quote for you:

    “CHRISTIANITY:
    The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
    Makes perfect sense.”

    What is familiar is not regarded as weird. What is unfamiliar is easily mocked – it’s the same argument 1800s Americans used in demonizing all the “yellow-skinned chinks” from the Orient. If you can paint them as “other” it’s not hard to go the next step and paint them as subhuman.

    You sir, are nothing more than the latest installment of long line of ignorant bigots peddling misinformation, fear, and disgust.

  69. I mean, to the extent that he is trying to make perfectly clear that from a historical Christian perspective, Mormonism contains many teachings that are heretical, spinoza is not that far off the mark. Although he is completely missing what Seth pointed out, i.e., that a number of those beliefs are now de-emphasized or have been tacitly set aside by he Church, to the point that a survey of Mormon believers would probably nor give you a 100% agreement with that list.

  70. I don’t know… for some reason his item #13 gives me the impression that he’s probably an atheist and not an Evangelical.

    Or if he is an evangelical, he’s kind of a dumb one.

  71. I don’t know… for some reason his item #13 gives me the impression that he’s probably an atheist and not an Evangelical.

    Or if he is an evangelical, he’s kind of a dumb one.

    Ah, good call. and #13 is not even true, really. I don’t know any Mormons who believe that, or any Church leader who has taught that. That’s one that is usually leveled at YECs, which Mormons aren’t really.

  72. His #14 is amusing. I’ve never even heard that, not in Mormonism or evangelical Christianity. Satan controls all of the water in the world? What is he, Poseidon?

  73. It actually is an existing Mormon folk doctrine based off some remarks Joseph Smith made during Zion’s camp.

    I think the prohibition on LDS missionaries swimming may have its genesis here. Although you could probably find a lot of other acceptable reasons why missionaries shouldn’t be bothering with swimming.

  74. Satan controls all of the water in the world? What is he, Poseidon?

    Apparently.

    Chapter heading for D&C 61: On their return trip to Kirtland the Prophet and ten elders had traveled down the Missouri River in canoes. On the third day of the journey many dangers were experienced. Elder William W. Phelps, in daylight vision, saw the destroyer riding in power upon the face of the waters.

    This “satan controlling the waters” bit is popular among the missionaries because it is often used to justify the rule against swimming.

  75. You and me, Seth, on the same wavelength. Though I thought it was the reference I cited above that was the source. Haven’t heard the Zion’s Camp story.

  76. Wow. Just when I thought you people couldn’t get any weirder…

    I can think of much better reasons for missionaries to not be swimming than fear of Satan’s literal control over the water.

    Oh, and spinoza left my favorite Mormon folk doctrine off the list: Bigfoot = CAIN!

  77. I don’t know if it can be properly called a folk doctrine, Seth. No, D&C 61 does not say “Satan controls the water,” but it certainly makes an explicit connection between the Destroyer, the water, and a lot of destruction.

    It may be a heterodox interpretation of scripture, but you can’t just casually dismiss it.

  78. Oooohhh…Georgetown. Someone’s smart :-).

    (I usually have to explain that I’m at the other George when people ask where I go.)

    I had no idea we were in such close proximity. I’m still temping in the House, by the way, if you and your lovely family want to be tourists and do a Capitol tour.

  79. Eenteresting. We probably should do that before we move away. But it might not be practical, what with finals rapidly approaching, and the dreaded bar this summer.

    It doesn’t help that you’re at one of three “George” schools in the same metro area. People often mistakenly say I go to George Washington, but as a snooty Georgetowner, I never hesitate to correct them and point out my school’s innate Jesuit superiority.

  80. Oh I can guarantee a quality tour in less than 90 minutes (after May 2nd, when I’m free again). I’m pretty much a pro. (Also, I can get you tickets to the other stuff in the city over the summer if you’re interested…in case you need to escape from BarBri…)

    Yeah, I have to say the “other” George precisely because Mason is at the bottom of most people’s lists when think of DC schools. But while we may not have your Jesuit holiness, or GW’s pretentiousness, I do get that little thing I call “in-state tuition.” muahahaha

  81. /sigh

    It’s my aunt’s retirement party in Washington D.C. this weekend. She’s a colonel in the Air Force, works at the Pentagon. My father and sister and sort-of-probably-future-Catholic-stepmother are flying out to DC for it.

    You two are making me jealous that I’m not going with them.

  82. I know I’m late to the party but wanted to add my $.02 to the devil/water thing. The destroyer as described in D&C 61 is not neccessarily the devil. Other scriptures talk about destroying angels and that could be the case here.

    The account from Zions Camp is a story and IIRC relates how Joseph Smith fell in a river and he felt the powers of the devil trying to hold him under.

    Nevertheless, missionaries staying away from water these days is more likely rooted in practical reasons: drownings, boating accidents, and as my mission prez. once quipped when asked about the devil/water doctrine: “The only devils at the beach missionaries need to be concerned about are the ones in two-piece bathing suits.”

  83. Pingback: Purgatory | Exemplo

  84. Pingback: Purgatory | Life of a Belgian in Texas

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