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Monday, March 02, 2009

Earth will be rolled back into the presence of God

According to a 1997 Ensign article, Brigham Young taught that "when the earth was framed and brought into existence and man was placed upon it, it was near the throne of our Father in heaven....  But when man fell, the earth fell into space, and took up its abode in this planetary system....  This is the glory the earth came from, and when it is glorified it will return again unto the presence of the Father, and it will dwell there, and these intelligent beings that I am looking at, if they live worthy of it, will dwell upon this earth."  (As quoted by Andrew Skinner, Ensign, March 1997, 22.)

Confirmed in current manual

The Prophet Joseph Smith, according to the current Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society manual, confirms that earth was not always in its present solar orbit and will return to its previous location before being celestialized. Said the Prophet: "This earth will be rolled back into the presence of God and crowned with Celestial Glory." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p.258.)

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have this image in our minds of the Earth hurtling through space. But I'm not convinced that that will be the case. I like the idea of the Earth rolling back in the same sense that the heavens will be rolled as a scroll. It's an opening up of a grand revelation--one that will enable the entire Earth and it's inhabitants to dwell in the presence of God.

Jack

3/02/2009 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jack: The idea you suggest is one thing, but the above post quotes Brigham and Joseph describing something else. Even so, you are entitled to your opinion.

3/02/2009 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the Joseph Smith quote need be interpreted that strictly--and thankfully that's the one that was included in the priesthood manual.

The Brigham Young quote? Probably yes. But his cosmology seems to reflect the prevailing ideas of his day--nothing wrong with that. I love BY. But even so, I'm not uncomfortable with the idea that a prophet should have some wiggle room for speculation.

Jack

3/02/2009 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Jack: Are you saying you know better than Joseph's contemporaries what he meant? Even after some 170 years?

3/02/2009 08:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No and yes--on some things. On the one hand, no one knew Joseph--the man--better than his closest associates. On the other, like the early apostles who didn't understand Jesus, I don't think Joseph's contemporaries understood him very well. Joseph was indeed a lonely man because of his knowledge. But some of that knowledge has become a little clearer to those of succeeding generations--those who have had the privilege of viewing his contributions within a larger restorative context than what was had 170 years ago.

Jack

3/02/2009 09:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just ran across your blog. Here's a quote from Galileo for you to ponder: "I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our sense, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them."

Faith is important and admirable, but it is not the only means that we can discern truth.

3/02/2009 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Anthony E. Larson said...

I can't let this one go by.

As all prophets are wont to do, Joseph and Brigham were using the symbolic language of the ancients. It's not one we're very familiar with. In fact, we know nothing of it because that part of ancient tradition has been systematically suppressed in our culture. We tend to make literal what the prophets intended to be symbolic. Conversely, we make symbolic what they intended to be literal. Thus, because of our ignorance of traditional prophetic symbolism, we misunderstand the expressions of our own founding prophets, who were true to that tradition. It's the same symbolic tradition that's on parade in our temple rituals, the ones for which nobody has an explanation. Prophecy, temple symbolism, the iconic or metaphoric language of the prophets is all a mystery to us. So, we attach sympathetic, metaphysical and spiritual meanings to their statements.

That perspective compels me to point out that none of these comments hits the mark where our prophets' statements are concerned. These observations betray a woeful lack of comprehension about the words of our prophets and our scriptures.

3/03/2009 12:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary- I largely agree with Anthony. Additionally, you are forcing a lot of your assumptions into that Joseph Smith quotation. You're forcing meaning onto 'rolled back' and 'celestialized' based on your interpretation of other quotations that are not necessarily inherent in Joseph's own words. To declare the finality of such a forced interpretation is dangerous when there are other possibilities.
-Brady

3/08/2009 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

.
Brady: The above post does not "declare the finality" of anything. However, there is evidence that the first three and fifth Latter-day Prophets (Smith, Young, Taylor, and Snow) all taught that earth was framed near the throne of God and fell to this planetary system when man fell. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (p.258) contains 16 words that confirm that idea. In the absence of any apostolic interpretation to the contrary, it appears that today's apostles and prophets (who unanimously approved the current manual) agree.

3/08/2009 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with Anthony--even though he may be right in some respects. 'Just a little too fundamentalist for my taste.

Jack

3/10/2009 10:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve EM said...

I don't think even BKP or BRM would concur w/ Gary on this one.

3/11/2009 08:51:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Steve EM: Assuming you are correct (which I doubt), why do you suddenly agree with either one of them?

3/11/2009 10:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gary- My point was regarding your interpretation of JS. You can start citing anybody new you wish, but I was just pointing out that the way you interpret that specific quote on its own seems constrained.
-Brady

3/14/2009 07:37:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Brady: The first paragraph of the above post quotes Brigham Young, Joseph's associate. The way Brigham interprets Joseph reflects what he learned from Joseph. John Taylor and Lorenzo Snow were also Joseph's associates. They taught similar doctrine, which demonstrates the accuracy of Brigham's interpretation. None of these men had a "constrained" view of Joseph's teachings.

3/14/2009 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve EM said...

Gary,

Hope you are well. My comment stands on its own, your flawed sequitur aside regarding what I guess is my rejection of evolution deniers as false prophets? Or is it because I’m Evangelical Mormon?

3/14/2009 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anonymous: Regarding your comment just now, on his "Official Statements" page, Mel Tungate quotes what he calls the "1910 First Presidency Statement on Evolution." The title is spurious because there was no 1910 First Presidency statement on evolution. The quoted comment did not originate with the First Presidency (as explained here).

3/23/2009 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Steven: Regarding your comment last night, be assured that you and I can trust those ideas taught by Joseph and Brigham which are currently published by the Church in its magazines and curriculum. And, in the future, please try to comment as per my comment policies "without looking for flaws in the Church or its leaders."

3/24/2009 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Anthony E. Larson claims there are "dozens of other comments by early General Authorities" which are "entirely absent from this discussion" and therefore "this discussion is vacuous" (i.e. lacking intelligence or stupid).

Thanks, Anthony, for pointing that out.

4/02/2009 05:30:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Love it or hate it, but I have to say that I agree with Gary on this one. Perhaps I am a literalist, but so be it. We will find out eventually!

This reminds me of the Kolob Theorom, an interesting speculation by a member that seems to go along with what you state here. Of course, it is just a theory.

Isn't it great that we have such Gospel knowledge to ponder?

6/02/2009 06:21:00 PM  

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