Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Father's Father, Worlds Aplenty, and Populating the Cosmos

I was recently alerted by Aaron Shafovaloff of Mormonism Research Ministry to an extremely fascinating article that appeared in an official LDS periodical 43 years ago.  The article was written by BYU professor Kent Nielsen, and is titled "People on Other Worlds".  It was published in the April 1971 issue of the New Era, and given its contents, I'm actually somewhat astonished that it still appears on  I include below a fairly brief and abridged snippet, but I urge you to go to where the article is found on and read it for yourself in its entirety.  It is a considerably forthright exposition of the old cosmic expansiveness of the LDS message - a cosmic expansiveness that is largely downplayed for audiences today. 

When you look up to the heavens at night and see the countless numbers of stars, it is easy to imagine other people "out there" being tested and tried and experiencing struggles and joys somewhat similar to those we are going through.  [...]  The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man. ... he was once a man like us ... God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth. ...

If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and ... God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. ... And where was there ever a father without first being a son? ... If Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? ...

He [Jesus] laid down His life, and took it up, the same as His Father had done before.
Long before our God began his creations, he dwelt on a mortal world like ours, one of the creations that his Father had created for him and his brethren.  He, with many of his brethren, was obedient to the principles of the eternal gospel.  One among these, it is presumed, was a savior for them, and through him they obtained a resurrection and an exaltation on an eternal, celestial world.  Then they gained the power and godhood of their Father and were made heirs of all that he had, continuing his works and creating worlds of their own for their own posterity - the same as their Father had done before, and his Father, and his Father, and on and on.  [...]  Being joint-heirs of all that the Father has, we may then look forward to using those powers to organize still other worlds from the unorganized matter that exists throughout boundless space.  Creating other worlds, peopling them with our own eternal posterity, providing a savior for them, and making known to them the saving principles of the eternal gospel, that they may have the same experiences we are now having and be exalted with us in their turn - this is eternal life. 

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