"Mormon Answers" to Questions About LDS Beliefs:
Do Mormons Believe in Weird Science Fiction Stuff?
Some critics have created confusion about LDS beliefs by claiming that we think God is an alien or that our worship is based on ideas about other planets. Is "Mormonism" based on science fiction themes? This page seeks to reply to questions on this topic and clarify what our beliefs are. This is one of several pages in a suite of "Frequently Asked Questions about Latter-day Saint Beliefs." This work is solely the responsibility of Jeff Lindsay and has not been officially endorsed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes incorrectly called the "Mormon Church").
Mormanity is my LDS blog, in operation since 2004. Numerous issues have been discussed there. Join the fray! Or visit the other blogs on my blogroll there.
For related information about Mormon views and science, see my LDSFAQ page, "Questions about Science and Mormon Doctrine."
Unfortunately, it's pretty clear that you've seen, read, or heard sermons based on the "The God Makers" - a work of yellow journalism that has been condemned by many non-Mormons for the gross distortions of truth. ("God Makers" is the classic source for the truly disgusting treatment of LDS religion as having "Sci-Fi" overtones.) Some of the attacks in God Makers are really sickening - much like some of the things Hitler's press said about the Jews to justify their persecution. The film and the movie have little influence on Mormons - except to insult and infuriate some - for they know that we don't do fortune telling or Satanic rites or worship aliens or practice homosexuality in Temples or engage in the occult. I hope you will get to know something real about Latter-day Saints and the restored Gospel of Christ, which is not another Gospel, but a restoration of the original Gospel (our view, of course - not yours).
There are no true "sci-fi" aspects to deal with. This comes from a distortion in The God Makers that could equally well be turned to distort the message of Christ himself. Using the approach of The God Makers, I could condemn you and me as Christians for believing that an "extraterrestial" being "placed genetic material on this earth" and developed a man named Adam, then used "cloning" to make a woman. This extraterrestial being later came down to try out humanhood, where he was killed but used his "extraterrestrial power" to "reanimate" his body and then "levitate" back to his "extraterrestial base" (heaven). With equal fairness, I could say that Christians worship this "extraterrestial alien" by pretending to chew on his body and drink his blood in an occult rite called "communion." If you buy that, then I guess our religion does have "sci-fi" overtones. Here's a suggestion: visit some LDS meetings, read LDS scriptures, get to know some LDS people - and then tell me if you really see a "sci-fi" twist that disturbs you. I think you won't. (I must admit that there are some fanatic Mormon Trekkies, but I hope they'll get over it! :) )
We believe Christ is real and has a resurrected body, and that he can be and is someplace. That place is not generally here, for which we are said to worship "extraterrestrials." Seems like a silly argument to me. Anyway, I welcome your comments. But please, LDS doctrine is not the weird nonsense that The God Makers presents. It's thoughtful and worthy of careful study - and based on my intellectual and spiritual quest for understanding, I can say it's true. I can also say there are plenty of questions for which I don't have clear answers - but I can say the same about the Bible, thermodynamics, U.S. history, and the Chicago Bears - none of which is sufficient for me to reject them as false (o.k., maybe the Bears ...).
"Did God (the everlasting I AM) come from another planet near a star called Kolob and populate this planet by procreation with his celestial wife?"
Abraham wrote that he received instruction on astronomy from God. He saw many planets and stars. Abraham 3:9 (LDS Pearl of Great Price) indicates that there is a major star named Kolob near the throne of God. It does not say that the throne is on a planet. Kolob and planets are not an important part of LDS theology. Earth and heaven are. What "The God Makers" does is to utterly distort LDS teachings to suggest we believe in extraterrestials and sci-fi stuff. You could attend hundreds of sacrament readings and read thousands of LDS talks without getting any of the "sci-fi" stuff because it is not what the Church is about. We do believe that God is real. We believe the Bible when it says that Christ, who is one with God, received a physical body and was resurrected and showed his immortal, resurrected body to others (Luke 24: 36-39). He is omnipotent, and his influence is everywhere, but there are actual places where actual beings actually reside, and heaven is an actual place. The throne of God, based on Abr. 3, is somewhere, and that somewhere has a large star nearby. Again, this kind of "realness" bothers a lot of people, but it really shouldn't.
NOWHERE in LDS scripture and official LDS doctrine (the LDS canon and statements issued by or approved by the First Presidency - not wild remarks attributed so a lone church leader) is any explanation given of how God creates spirit children or where they reside.
What about this idea of a "celestial wife of God?" LDS scripture makes no clear reference to this and we certainly worship no one but the Father (there is no "goddess worship" in LDS theology). However, there is the rarely discussed understanding that God is truly our Heavenly Father and that He is not a single parent. We do believe that we have "heavenly parents" and that God is the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9), that we are his "offspring" (Acts 17:28,29), that Gen. 1:26,27 can be taken literally (let us make man in our image, male and female), and that marriage is instituted of God and can endure past the grave. (Though the ordinance of marriage, like baptism, is one that must be performed on earth, prior to the resurrection - these relationships and ordinances apparently must be done and ironed out before we enter eternity. Afterwards, there is no changing in these eternal relationships - no marrying and giving in marriage.)
An "official" source on this topic is found in a recent First Presidency proclamation on the family, from Sept. 23, 1995, part of which I quote here:
We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
All human beings--male and female--are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally....
We do believe that marriage and family relationships can be eternal. Many people outside the Church get a real kick out of saying we believe in eternal sex and pregnancy, but official LDS doctrine does not justify such claims, while it does not explicitly rule them out. We don't know anything about this and there is no need for God to reveal such details at this time. The things of God are sacred and need to be spoken of with respect and caution. As for this life and this planet, sex is also considered a sacred, life-giving process that needs to be treated with caution and respect, permissible only under the covenant of marriage. It is not something for mockery. If it does exist between an eternally sealed husband and wife in the next life, I will not be offended, though I am sure that some people would absolutely croak.
Aliens? Yeah, a number of anti-LDS authors have been making bucks - I mean books - and movies saying that we believe that God is "an extra-terrestrial being" or alien and that the "extra-terrestrial" Moroni gave the plates to Joseph Smith. Well, if God and angels exist and are somewhere and that somewhere is not the earth (or not usually the earth), then, by golly, I guess they are "extra-terrestrial beings." But those are earie words grossly misapplied to describe our belief in a personal God who has not chosen earth as His heavenly headquarters. What with Congress, network TV, and swimming fashions being what they are, I'm not sure many heavenly beings could stand this place for long.
Now if the anti-Mormons are saying that they are holier than we are because they worship someone who is not "extra terrestrial," i.e., someone or something supernatural that is stuck here on this planet, then the primary candidate might just have to be the old Prince of Darkness himself. Given their tactics and distortions, maybe there's something to that theory. After all, I often wonder just what it is that possesses these people. Personally, I'll take with the extra-terrestrials any day over the earthly forces.
Wrong! Russell C. McGregor and Kerry A. Shirts take the words right out of my mouth on this one:
[T]he idea of God as merely the God of this little planet is a silly anti-Mormon caricature that comes right out of the first-grade textbook of the Ed Decker School of Nonsense Polemics.... The real "God of Mormonisn" says this about his creation: "worlds without number have I created; and ... by the Son I created them" (Moses 1:33).
(McGregor and Shirts, "Letters to an Anti-Mormon," FARMS Review of Books, Vol. 11, No. 1, 1999, p. 131)
Tough question. Respect and admire, yes; worship, no. Brother Card is one of my favorite science fiction writers and a very cool Latter-day Saint, and I'm glad you like him!
Questions about Science and Mormon Doctrine (Mormonism) - another LDSFAQ page by yours truly.
Did God Create the Universe out of Nothing? - A discussion of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo by Blake Ostler.