Sunday in Outer Blogness: No planet for you edition!

As cool as it was when the CoJCoL-dS dumped its racist doctrines, it was clear (even at the time) that there are disadvantages to giving the keys of defining Mormon doctrine over to the quorum of the anonymous website maintainers. Officially endorsing questionable apologetics on the Book of Mormon (like limited geography) was bad enough. Now they’re repossessing your planet.

Some say they never really wanted a planet anyway, but others (including me) are understandably disappointed. (We talked about this way back when they first started floating the idea of denying the “own planet” thing.)

I especially think it’s a shame because the doctrine of eternal progression is an interesting one (that the article could have expanded on), and it’s no more ridiculous than the doctrines of other religions. But it looks like the new church essays are determined to deny anything that could embarrass the CoJCoL-dS in any way. I just hope that in the next essay they decide to deny they ever claimed that masturbation is a sin. Hey, website prophets — remember how people were laughing at Mormons for that BYUI masturbation-as-war video (* hint, hint *):

And, while Mormons who are at least 30 generally remember learning in church that the purpose of this life is to learn to become Gods of our own worlds, it’s surprisingly tricky to find quotes to back it up. It’s a tribute to the effectiveness of the church’s strategy of disseminating doctrine through anonymously-authored manuals that are updated every year (and now in anonymous web pages). Maybe the CoJCoL-dS did openly teach us this doctrine 20 years ago, but good luck proving it!!

I can understand why the CoJCoL-dS may want to de-emphasize some of Joseph Smith’s more science-fictiony doctrines — after all, it’s right there in the Mormon scripture that the sun’s light comes from Kolob. The problem is that is you want to claim that you are getting information directly from an omniscient God, it’s hard to explain why that info is so often wrong. One strategy is to give up on having doctrines, which is great, but leaves some wondering why they should be obeying the church leaders. Other religions have consistency problems as well, but Tim made a valid point about how the new essay is unfair to Christians:

I’m happy for the church to clarify its own beliefs on this doctrine but found myself frequently frustrated by their justifications for the doctrine. On the one hand the church ask that its beliefs not be caricatured (having your own planet) but it has no problem creating a caricature of Eastern orthodoxy and the early church fathers for its own benefit.

Last week’s topicthe gay agenda — is still resonating. Just Jill helpfully posted her gay agenda, and Mormon X found a pro-mutant message in the film Frozen. Both J-G W and Joseph Broom explained that the existence of successful mixed-orientation marriages doesn’t mean mixed-orientation marriage is a viable option for everyone.

Then there were some more ripples of discussion about that Ensign article about “The Lord’s Standard for Morality”. Holly Welker wrote that it promoted rape culture (what else is new?), so Dan Peterson called on faithful women to tell Holly how wrong she is. Some rose to the challenge, but they also felt the original article had some major problems. (Tangential: Here are some interesting women.)

Now for scripture study!! In this week’s Book of Mormon readings, some ancient American prophets predicted Jesus’ life in some detail but failed to predict some Mormon doctrines that Joseph Smith didn’t think of until after translating the Book of Mormon. Daniel Midgely’s Old Testament lesson was about how the Old Testament is in fact a really terrible guide for morality, contrary to Dallin Oaks’ recent claim:

Those who have used human reasoning to supersede divine influence in their lives have diminished themselves and cheapened civilization in the process.

Actually, several people objected to Oakes’ recent talk.

As a general trend, America is secularizing, including from moderate religions and the rest, largely because the Religious Right is so intent on making religion look rotten. (Plus the gospel of un-god is really convincing.) Not everyone, though — Thunderchicken wrote an elaborate allegory explaining some reasons for staying the the church. And church attendance may be increasing in some places!

In individual stories, Profet left the church largely for his kids’ sake. Andrea outlined some of the specific problems in the CoJCoL-dS. Aerin and Jen reflected on the role of Mormonism in their lives. And Knotty has had to move on from epinions.

In random stuff, “Cosmos” is coming back!! Plus we have some tasty looking recipes, a rave review for Joanne’s book.

Have a great week — and let’s all try to make this our paradise planet, since we won’t be getting our own new ones!!


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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12 Responses

  1. chanson says:

    p.s. Have a look at Hemant’s take on the planet question (with a small contribution from yours truly).

  2. Alan says:

    Ah, the King Follett Discourse. I wondered what would happen to that.

    When I was looking at the passage that removed worlds, there’s an interesting/troubling juxtaposition:

    [W]hile few Latter-day Saints would identify with caricatures of having their own planet, most would agree that the awe inspired by creation hints at our creative potential in the eternities.

    Latter-day Saints tend to imagine exaltation through the lens of the sacred in mortal experience. They see the seeds of godhood in the joy of bearing and nurturing children and the intense love they feel for those children

    While I understand the sentiment here, going from “divine potential to create worlds” to “bearing children” is very problematic. In Mormon theology, was the Earth created by Heavenly Father alone, or what is created by both Heavenly Father & Mother? Since I thought it was the former, the message I get from this passage is,

    “Men create planets. Women create spirit babies to inhabit those planets.”

    PS: “And don’t worry, there doesn’t have to be polygamy in the afterlife to create these spirit babies. Instead there are divine wombs capable of mysterious wonders.”

  3. Holly says:

    oh my god! I prompted arguments on blogs I never read! I feel like I’ve arrived!

  4. chanson says:

    @2 Yeah, half the population were never really offered the opportunity to create planets, which is why the discourse on Heavely Mother is so important.

    @3 lol. I think it represents progress simply that people like Peterson feel the need to respond to articles by women about women — and to request responses from women, rather than just dictating to women what they’re supposed to think.

  5. chanson says:

    Not to mention the fact that faithful women were willing to given their own opinions, despite the fact that they clearly weren’t saying what Peterson wanted them to.

  6. Holly says:

    @1: thanks for this link. Finally got time to read it. Yes, I have been bothered by the way so many articles conclude that the church has said, “No planet for you!” when it actually refuses to answer the question. That was one of the points I made in the piece I submitted this weekend. (It sometimes take three or four days for my stuff to get published, since they edit EVERYTHING.) The LDS essay’s whole goal was obfuscation, not answering any question definitively one way or the other.

    @4 & @5: yes, I was pleased at how many people, even if they didn’t agree with all my critiques, still felt that Callister’s article was an expression of rape culture.

  7. Suzanne Neilsen says:

    Maybe all this planet obfuscation is an attempt to distance Mormonism from the Book of Abraham.
    For these two fact exist, if one righteous priesthood holder gets something cool like 16 Cygni Bb, some other guy is getting a planetoid.
    He spends his whole life being a good little boy, and all he gets is a crummy little rock.
    But even that beats having your uterus hooked up to the production line at the spirit factory on Kolob Prime.

  8. chanson says:

    @6 A couple of other discussions linked above also pointed out that the article didn’t really answer the question or deny the doctrine.

    In my own SiOB, I decided to play up the “no planed for you!” angle because it’s lighter and funnier. I feel like I’m always on about the dishonesty of the institution of the CoJCoL-dS, so I didn’t want to focus on the obfuscation angle this time — but there’s definitely a lot that can and should be said about it. I look forward to reading your article.

    As I said a couple years ago, I think the most inaccurate part of the song “I Believe” is that it portrays a post-Hinckley-era Mormon boldly proclaiming unique LDS doctrines, rather than defensively dodging questions about them — and I think the latest article kinda proves me right…

  9. chanson says:

    @7 Yes — I think they’d actually like to silently decanonize the whole Pearl of Great Price if they could.

    I think that now the CoJCoL-dS regrets selling everyone “triple-combinations” and “quads”. It’s a small thing, but it absolutely cements in the members minds that there are four books of scripture from God.

    I think that if they’d been printing the Pearl of Great Price as a separate book all these years, they would be in a position to just stop printing it. Then (without any announcement, explanation, or fanfare (obviously)), they could start hinting that the PoGP is in the same category with the “Journal of Discourses”, and voilà! Problem solved!

  10. Holly says:

    @8: I LOVE the “No planet for you!” headline and approach–it’s very funny! It’s a really apt response to the earnest pomposity of the essay.

    the most inaccurate part of the song “I Believe” is that it portrays a post-Hinckley-era Mormon boldly proclaiming unique LDS doctrines, rather than defensively dodging questions about them — and I think the latest article kinda proves me right…

    that’s a really smart observation. Yes, I think you’re right.

    I would also say t that the fact that Elder Price knows the beliefs, takes them seriously, and does his best to “boldly declare” them, is one of the reasons he loses his faith in the whole system when it becomes clear it can’t deliver on its promises in the ways he was explicitly and repeatedly told, and which he clearly understood.

    that’s certainly been part of how things have worked for enough real-life Mormons, at least.

  11. Just Jill says:

    This quote from the section ‘How do Latter Day Saints Envision Exaltation’

    Latter-day Saints tend to imagine exaltation through the lens of the sacred in mortal experience. They see the seeds of godhood in the joy of bearing and nurturing children and the intense love they feel for those children… Church members imagine exaltation less through images of what they will get and more through the relationships they have now and how those relationships might be purified and elevated.

    I don’t know many TBMs, or other Christians for that matter, who value what they have now over what they will have through exaltation.

    I have come to think that the ‘Eternal Family’ teaching is not one of the most precious gifts the church offers; rather it is the most divisive and cruel principal of the church. This doctrine holds people hostage; it causes family members to devalue and dismiss other family members simply because they leave the church. It creates an environment of guilt and judgment instead of acceptance and love.

    I often think of my ex husband and the horrible guilt he feels because his children have ‘strayed’. Our children are three of the most amazing people in the world. They have accomplished so much and have proven to be kind, loving and generous human beings. Yet, in his opinion, because they haven’t jumped through the ‘Mormon hoops’ of missions, temple marriage or staying active, they have failed in the most important ways. He grieves because they will not be with him in the eternities. That’s so so sad to me and it doesn’t seem to emulate the quote above.

  12. Holly says:

    I don’t know many TBMs, or other Christians for that matter, who value what they have now over what they will have through exaltation.

    Exactly. 1 Corinthians 15:19: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”

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