Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"The World That Then Was ..."

Other than the actual creation itself, the most notable catastrophe in Earth’s early history that also brought the Patriarchal Age to an end, was Noah’s Flood. This was the benchmark, the dividing line between two great epochs in Earth’s history. Before the Flood, the world was an astonishingly different place; after the Flood, it became the “lone and dreary” world we know today.

We learn this from the scriptures. Peter’s understanding of the change that brought an end to the most remarkable epoch in Earth’s history — the age of the Patriarchs or the Golden Age — coincides with a radical change in the Earth and its heavens. He wrote that the “old world” disappeared, saying that God

… spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; … Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store. (2 Peter 2:5, 3:6, 7.)

Thus, in the Apostle Peter’s view, the change in the Earth, wrought by the Deluge, was so dramatic that he deemed it proper to say that “the old world” had “perished,” implying that “the heavens and the earth which are now” are entirely different from those that existed prior to the Flood.

This event, this remarkably dramatic and profound change, is central to an understanding of Earth’s early history. Thus, knowing how it came about and what happened to create it are vital to our understanding of the scriptures, history and the gospel.

The division

Also critical to our view of this epoch is the enigmatic secondary change that took place soon after the Deluge: the division of the Earth in the days of Noah’s grandson. “And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided.” (Genesis 10:25.)

But to fully understand those changes, one must see them in the proper context. Only with the understanding that the Saturn myths and the Polar Configuration give us can we begin to grasp the true impact of the Old Testament narrative.

As catastrophists and mythologists labor to understand the true history of our planet, a startling and amazing view of Earth’s early history begins to emerge — one that explains the most enigmatic and baffling parts of scripture. While there are still many gaps in the narrative, leaving considerable room for further revision and adjustment, an overall picture begins to emerge that supports scriptural history and helps Latter-day Saints better understand the gospel.

In the very beginning

As elucidated elsewhere, it is most likely that Jupiter and Saturn were part of a binary sun system. Binaries are the most common arrangement known to astronomers, far more common than the single star system we inhabit today.

That parental binary also had several smaller bodies in tow, Earth being one of them. Indeed, most of the planets we know today as part of our present solar system were probably part of that original binary system. It also would have appeared as what astronomers today call a “brown dwarf” star with a relatively dim corona or photosphere. Earth and its companion planets would have orbited beneath that corona, creating a truly unique set of conditions unlike anything we see or can even properly imagine.

It was in this state that most of Earth’s pre-history took place, before Adam came to inhabit the planet. It is likely that the record in stones and bones, buried in the Earth, represent this earliest epoch. The flora and fauna of Earth’s prehistoric period are truly bizarre and foreign to our world and, likely, could not have survived the world as we know it today. It seems reasonable to assume that conditions on our planet were vastly different than those we know today, given the forms of plant and animal life that proliferated in those prehistoric days. What is likely is that the flora and fauna we see around us today represent radical adaptations of those early forms.

Celestial car crash

The real story of our world begins when our present sun, Sol, and our parent, Jupiter/Saturn binary had a close encounter with another star. It was most certainly not a head-on collision, since if the angle of incidence were that radical, none of the orbs involved would have survived intact. Rather, one sun overtook the other, much as the space shuttle docks with other satellites or the space station today. Hence, the capture of the Jupiter/Saturn binary by Sol was a rather lengthy process rather than a sudden event, thus lacking any of the catastrophic manifestations associated with later events.

But the contact was not without profound consequences. The interaction between the two primaries may have created an exchange of charge or electrical potential that gradually snuffed out the brown dwarf binary while it boosted the output of Sol. Such an exchange would explain why early traditions make no mention of the sun that is so prominent in our heavens, while they recall, at the same time, the dominant first god/planet, Saturn, emerging from the “waters” of “creation” as the photosphere fog of the binary faded, allowing earthlings to actually see Saturn for the first time. Indeed, this take on the events of the creation found in Genesis fully and understandingly explains those circumstances as no other theory can.

The original binary system remained largely intact while it began to orbit Sol. Somewhere in this period of relative calm, shortly before or after the capture began, Adam was placed on the Earth. This is so because the earliest recollections of mankind, recorded in cultural traditions the world over, including the Old Testament, remember an emerging heaven and earth that correspond to the Polar Configuration, as proposed by Talbott. It is that same configuration illustrated by Joseph Smith for Philo Dibble.

At this point in the process, Saturn and/or Jupiter became a dying star. The fire went out and the star’s photosphere or corona slowly dissipated, allowing Earth’s newest inhabitants to gradually see Earth’s companion planets, the orbs that seemed to hover above their world, in the heavens. What early mankind then saw was the nested group of planets (Saturn, Venus and Mars) slowly appearing or emerging from what seemed to be a heavenly haze or fog, sometimes referred to as “waters.”

The real creation

It is worthy of note that what is recorded in Genesis as the creation may not have been the real creation at all, but the recollection of an event that all mankind witnessed and remembered as the “creation.” This may be so because virtually all ancient cultures remembered and recorded this creation, indicating that there were many eyewitnesses to this event — an impossibility if man were placed on the Earth only after this supposed creation. The Genesis account is, likely, only one of many such recollections.

As explained elsewhere, the most meaningful explanation yet offered of the creation events, as described in the Bible, is provided by the emergence of the Earth/Mars/Venus/Saturn/Jupiter system from its original status as an independent brown dwarf, binary star system to a satellite system of Sol in a linear, polar configuration. Ancient cultures the world over, which had already descended several generations from Adam, watched and recorded those unfolding heavenly events and then recorded them as the creation.

The late emergence of the biblical creation account is even more likely when we consider that Moses is traditionally regarded as the author of Genesis. While he certainly could have received the story via revelation, what is more likely is that his account was derived from even earlier accounts (much as Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon) that reported the same things all other ancient accounts reported about this creation event.

The original heavenly order of things

Saturn occluded Jupiter from the earthlings’ point of view, so Jupiter did not yet step onto the celestial stage or into their iconographic belief system. But, Venus and Mars were clearly visible, appearing in a nested arrangement within Saturn’s limb. Much less imposing, but certainly visible, were seven small satellites or moons that orbited Saturn. These seven appeared much smaller than Venus or Mars. All these planets and moons were the original Titans, as remembered by the Greeks, planetary powers that stood imposingly above the Earth.

At this juncture, it is worthy of note that from these seven small satellites come all the traditions, practices and icons that employ the sacred number seven — seven days of the week, seven gates, seven cities, etc. Perhaps more importantly for scriptorians, these are the archetypes for the seven angels of John’s Revelation.

A solar system within the solar system

Assuming a new orbit about Sol, its new primary, the Jupiter/Saturn mini-solar system with its unusual configuration of satellites became increasingly unstable. It was just a matter of time before the same forces that caused its capture also dismantled it. That dismantling, like its original capture, was a process rather than an event. And because it was a process, mankind watched it unfold over many generations, from Adam to Noah.

The gradual dismemberment of the old binary covered a rather lengthy period of time. The same forces that brought Sol and the old binary system together now began to dismantle the Polar Configuration. The motions of Earth, Mars and Venus became more and more erratic. As they did so, a multitude of celestial phantasmagorias played out in Earth’s heavens, giving rise to the elements described above, and many more.

Myth making in the heavens

It is in the elucidation of this part of the planetary saga that Talbott has made the greatest strides. His work has shown how very many images from antiquity — iconographic and metaphoric — have their origins in the heavenly epic seen by ancient peoples the world over as the planets began their sky dance and metamorphoses. This has been the area where this author has concentrated his explanatory efforts concerning the connection between those ancient planetary powers and the gospel and the scriptures are concerned. Nearly everything his author has written has dealt with the archetypes that originated in this period of the Polar Configuration. Each of the planets became an actor in this, as yet, poorly understood drama that played itself out across earthly heavens — poorly understood because of the distortion and elaboration of traditions (myths and legends) over the millennia, because modern science can accept only what it can see and test (empiricism) and because recent generations have no familiar point of reference since nothing even remotely like those events has transpired in our time.

The roles they played

Each of the planets, which stood majestically above the Earth in that epoch, looked and behaved differently due to their position in that configuration. As a result, each was assigned a different role, attributes and character by ancient observers.
Saturn was not as active, so he remained in the background — ever present, ruling the skies, the king of heaven, the architect of all creation, the great center. He was Cronus (Kronos), the timekeeper because all else turned around him while he remained motionless in the heavens.

Venus became the archetype for female goddesses in all cultures. She was the prototypical star from which all modern star symbols are derived, a thing of beauty and wonder in the heavens. She was god’s (Saturn’s) daughter and/or wife, his invigorating power and his glory. If the goddess is female — whatever the culture — she was probably invented to depict some aspect or act of Venus. And because Venus was the most active element in the planetary saga, she has the most incarnations in myth and legend. At some point in the celestial drama, she moved away from her previous location, centered on Saturn. Hence, she (Athena) was said to have been born from the head of Zeus.

Mars had his own career. He became the archetype for all ancient hero gods. He was a warrior, a villain, a fool, a giant, a dwarf, etc. He was also the son of Saturn, because he was seen to leave or be born from within Venus, god’s wife/sister/daughter. Being the most proximate of the planets to Earth, Mars soon became the most terrifying when periodic instabilities in the Polar Configuration brought Earth and Mars close together. Mars was seen to descend toward the Earth, along the common planetary axis. As he did so, he grew from a child to a youth and then to an adult. He then receded, moving away from the Earth. This, in effect, reversed the previous process in that he once again became a child and returned to his former place in the center of Venus, the "womb" of heaven.

Elements other than planets

During these events, a flux tube of electrified plasma and elements from the atmospheres of both planets erupted into an apparent connection between the two, Earth and Mars, that changed its appearance from time to time. On one occasion, it was an awe-inspiring pillar of light, standing majestically between heaven and earth with Mars sitting atop its pyramidal shape. At other times, it became an interplanetary vortex, the mother of all twisters that oscillated in Earth’s heavens, churning up Earth’s polar landscape and all beneath it, leaving behind it the polar ice cap and the permafrost layer known today as tundra. It was the archetype of all sacred mountains (Olympus) atop which sat the temple of heaven (Saturn), god’s habitation. It was a pillar, a mountain, a ladder, a stream of water or wind, and the great celestial tree after which our Christmas trees are modeled.

Of course, there is much, much more to the story. Whole books could and will be written as ongoing research reveals more and more about each of the gods, goddesses, icons, appearances and elements that went to make up the history of the Polar Configuration.

The great change

What happened next in the history of this configuration of planets is presently the least understood part of the entire epic. For that reason, any analysis will necessarily be flawed and therefore subject to revision. Nevertheless, it is worth risking a few missteps to connect the entire story to ancient traditions — especially scriptural accounts — and the modern epic so that we may better understand our catastrophic, planetary heritage. Moreover, this segment of the planetary history supplied its own share of unique images, still more grist for the myth mill.

Over time, the same forces that brought Jupiter/Saturn into an orbit around Sol and that held Earth, Mars and Venus in the relatively short-lived, linear configuration, eventually dismembered the old binary system, allowing all the bodies in that defunct group to assume their own, individual orbits around Sol. This process is recorded in Genesis as the Great Flood and the dividing of the earth in the days of Peleg.

The end and the beginning

That final process of dismemberment began, likely, with the event known to students of the Bible as Noah’s Flood or the Great Deluge. It began with a nova-like explosion of the old binary, Jupiter/Saturn. Perhaps it was the final stage of the old stars’ death throws. In any case, the flare-up first threw out light, then copious amounts of water in the form of ice. According to Hebrew tradition, Noah and his contemporaries saw seven days of light followed by copious amounts of rain that rapidly inundated the world.

The Genesis account of Noah’s miraculous escape from the Deluge is not the only such story. Accounts from ancient cultures the world over tell of the Great Flood. Each account also tells of survivors. Thus, it may be that the Old Testament perspective that Noah and his family were the exclusive survivors may be misleading. From the Hebrew perspective, they were the sole survivors. However, from a worldwide perspective, they were only some of many. This view is supported by evidence that people from many cultures the world over saw the subsequent celestial events.

A new heaven and a new earth

In any case, when the heavens cleared, the survivors and their descendents saw a changed sky. Saturn, they thought, was dying because, rather than the featureless, shining white orb that once dominated the heavens, it had become a dark body with clearly delineated features. It now had clearly visible variegated stripes girding it, much as it does today, giving religious significance to the funerary practice of wrapping the corpse in the mummification process and a wide variety of other mythic themes.

What is more, the dying god (Osiris) now appeared to wander away from his exalted station at the center of heaven — something he had never done before, from the ancients’ perspective. This was not the simple meandering about the center axis as Mars and Venus had done previously. At this juncture, the highest god, the center, god’s house, the celestial city itself began to move — almost imperceptibly at first, then in ever increasing circles. This new movement in the sky was actually mostly due to Earth’s own erratic motions as it left its location at the common axis of planets to eventually assume a new orbit around Jupiter. This movement now revealed Jupiter (Zeus), which up to this point had been occluded by Saturn (Cronus) — hence the traditions that Zeus was Cronus’ offspring.

The seven small satellites that played a very minor role in the early part of the epoch now played a pivotal role that gave rise to numerous sacrificial traditions and rituals as they appeared to fall into Saturn (Cronus/Kronos), who was seen by the ancients to consume his “children” in flames. For example, from this event comes the pagan tradition, recorded in the Old Testament, practiced by those who worshipped Moloch (Cronus/Saturn), of burning children as sacrifices to the planetary gods, a particularly repugnant practice denounced by Israelite prophets.

Celestial battles

As Jupiter emerged from behind Saturn, a battle appeared to commence between them, with Jupiter (Zeus) throwing interplanetary lightning bolts. Thus, Jupiter seemed to come out of nowhere to evict Saturn from his throne, the center place of heaven.

Saturn, Venus and Mars left their former positions along the central axis of the polar configuration — as did the Earth as well. That arrangement ended as Saturn left the congregation of planets to assume its own orbit around Sol. Judging by ancient religious traditions, it vanished into the starry heavens (for today’s familiar stars were now visible to mankind for the first time) in the vicinity of the constellation of Orion to become the dead god, Osiris, of the Egyptians.

Instead of peace, beauty and an inspiring display in the heavens as before, there was now chaos and mayhem as the gods began to do battle with one another. Lightning bolts leaping across millions of miles of space became the weapons the gods launched at one another. The most menacing, evil icons from ancient lore emerge in Earth’s skies in this brief period of chaos. Swarms of debris became demons of destruction and darkness. Images of many-headed serpents and menacing goddesses, witches, wolves, incredible dragons and fantastic beasts, found in all the ancient religions of mankind, have there origins in greatly distorted plasma streams, debris, gases and electromagnetic phenomena that now stretched between planets as they moved in highly erratic ways.

A new god replaces the old

Jupiter now dominated Earth’s skies, appearing to stand where vanished Saturn once stood. For a time, it ruled over a chaotic heaven where Mars and Venus appeared to metamorphose wildly as these orbs did battle with one another. This period gave rise to the universal story told about the struggle between a god of light and the demons of darkness or hell led by a dragon or monster. These were the chaos hoards, evil fiends that threatened to destroy all creation as the earth trembled, heaven thundered and the skies repeatedly darkened. Jupiter was not the benign monarch, as Saturn had been. He is darker, more ruthless and war-like. Yet he battles to keep at bay the powers of darkness that seemingly threaten all creation. Indeed, he is the archetype for the angry, vengeful god of the Old Testament.

The fall

Earth, too, succumbed to the forces that wrenched the polar configuration apart. It fell into an orbit around Sol similar to that which it follows today. This dramatic change, from the perspective of earth-bound observers, sent Earth’s former neighboring planets and the seat of god or heaven itself off into the “wilderness” of distant space to become mere pinpoints of light — planeta, or “wanderers” in the heavens. Earth was then said to have “fallen” from its formerly exalted status and position near heaven or the throne of god. Indeed, the “division” of the Earth that is said in the scriptures (Genesis 10:25, D&C 133:24.) to have occurred in the days of Peleg, one of Noah’s grandsons, was this very event, thereby establishing a sequence of events: the Flood first, followed by the “division” two generations later.

The Earth was divided

There are two elements to the “division” of the Earth, providing two equally credible explanations for that scriptural statement: one is the separation of the Earth from its “celestial” counterparts, the other is the dividing of Earth’s continents by the oceans.

The ancients considered the ground they stood upon to be an intimately connected part of the collection of orbs they saw in the sky above them. Hence, in their view, when those orbs departed the sky it made good sense to say that the Earth had been divided — another way of saying it had fallen. Additionally, with the demise of the Polar Configuration, which held Earth’s oceans in tremendous tides at the poles, water rushed to the equator due to centrifugal force, raising the water levels around the globe’s girth to unprecedented levels. Include in that the tremendous volume of additional water the Flood event added to Earth’s store. Thus oceanic water levels rose dramatically worldwide in the wake of the Flood, inundating many land bridges that once connected continents, effectively changing the topography of the entire earth and creating another, new “division” of the landmasses.

Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end

The above events are remembered in the Old Testament as Noah’s Flood and the division of the Earth in the days of Peleg, while other ancient cultures characterized it as the end of one world and the beginning of another.

The profound effects of the Earth’s “fall” cannot be overemphasized. Ancient prophets sought to impress this fact upon future generations, making this motif a part of the description of Adam’s transgression, as we read in the scriptures.

The appearance of the firmament above the Earth had changed radically, as had the environment on the Earth. As if to inform us as well as Noah, the Lord swears to maintain the new order as long as the Earth exists by listing the burdensome new conditions that had not existed before, “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night …” (Genesis 8:22.) All these new conditions were imposed on mankind due to the Earth’s “fall” to its new position in the solar system.

Abbreviated life spans

Nowhere is this altered environment that came with Earth’s fall more evident than in the life span or longevity of human beings. We learn from the genealogy of Adam (Genesis, chapter 5) that the normal life span before the Flood reached many hundreds of years — almost a thousand in Methuselah’s case. But compare that to the normal life span immediately after the Flood and in the following generations as recorded in the genealogy of Abraham (Genesis, chapter 11). The life span of those born after the Flood was dramatically foreshortened to almost half of pre-Flood lengths. Furthermore, within eight generations it was down to a little over a hundred in Abraham’s case, a fraction of pre-Flood life expectancy.

No wonder the human race associated the "fall" with death. Lifespans had been drastically truncated.

Scholars and scriptorians have always been puzzled by the seemingly inordinate life expectancy of the Patriarchs and its sudden foreshortening after the Flood. Some dismissed it as a distortion of the truth. Some accepted it on faith, but still could not explain it. Only the catastrophist view of Earth history gives any meaning to the longevity rates recorded in Genesis and the records and traditions of other ancient cultures. Even accepting the likely fact that “years” before the flood were not the same time length as those we know today (since planetary close encounters have clearly altered the length of the solar year since those ancient times), the dramatic decrease of longevity immediately after the Flood and the declining life expectancy rates thereafter serve as indicators that some dramatic change was afoot in Earth’s environment to cause those declines.

Radical environmental change

What changed to bring about foreshortened life spans? There can be little doubt, from a catastrophist point of view, that the electromagnetic environment in the Jupiter/Saturn binary system was far more hospitable to life than the sterile, hostile, one-sun system we inherited. It is like comparing life in an incubator, where everything necessary to promote life is present in abundance, to survival in an inhospitable world that oscillated between cold and heat, dark and light, where life became a struggle for survival. When the salubrious electromagnetic environment of early Earth collapsed, life expectancy naturally dropped dramatically.

A more stable, but still destructive epoch

What is more, Earth’s new orbit opened the door to a new, prolonged epoch of instability. Earth and its inhabitants were not yet out of the woods — not by a long shot. While the Earth, Jupiter and Saturn apparently settled quickly into somewhat stable orbits very nearly like their present paths around the Sun, Venus and Mars entered into elongated, elliptical orbits much different from those they follow today. Those eccentric orbits, which crossed Earth’s orbit, determined that Venus and Mars would periodically pass in close proximity to one another and the Earth, generating new catastrophes in the process. This was the historical epoch with which Velikovsky concerned himself.

Beginning after the flood with the Tower of Babel incident and continuing on down to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, this new period of instability and danger also included later biblical events such as the Exodus, Joshua’s Long Day, Jonah’s ministry to Nineveh and the day fire from heaven consumed Elijah’s sacrifice on Mt. Carmel. In the biblical narrative, the last catastrophic episode that saw Earth menaced by another planet was in approximately 701 B.C. when the Assyrian army of Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem. “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they (the Jews in Jerusalem) arose early in the morning, behold, they (the Assyrians soldiers) were all dead corpses.” (2 Kings 19:35.)

Beyond the Bible

Every emerging culture from that prolonged epoch, whether Hebrew, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Chinese or Inca, left records of those events from their own perspective. Each culture — even city-states within cultures — gave different names to the same planets/gods. Thus, the same story or a similar story is told in separate cultures, using different names, deeds and settings; yet modern scholars fail to see the commonalities. For example, there can be little doubt that Homer’s epic story of the battle of Troy recorded a catastrophic event that was also reported by Old Testament prophets; or that the Exodus even was chronicled by those outside Egypt who experienced those phenomena. The trick, as Velikovsky discovered, is to correlate the two because each saw those events from vastly different perspectives.

So, it may not be prudent to assume that since Venus was said to be Aphrodite, she was not Athena as well. She was both. She was also Hera, Medussa, Pandora, Isis, Hathor, Astarte and a multitude of other goddesses — all in different guises and settings to tell some aspect of the ancient planet’s story anthropomorphically.

What historians see as transmissions or “borrowings” of knowledge and cultural traditions — one culture to another — are largely parallel accounts from different cultures of the same events, gods and conditions in antiquity. In addition, each story or cultural tradition may or may not indicate a new event or a new god or goddess. It may simply be a re-telling of the same story from a new perspective. To further complicate things, characters, events and conditions are swapped around to create even more elaborate story lines, as in modern works of fiction or modern holidays. It is a time-tested tradition, even in temple or festival rituals where dramatic rehearsals of the acts of the gods were rehearsed.

Like witnesses to an auto accident, each one tells the story differently. The task is to recreate the actual event from the various perspectives. In this case, we are trying to sort out the accounts of a multitude of planetary encounters, told by a variety of cultures, where the actors and the settings change more frequently than ever imagined. So, each mythical account has elements of truth, but none is a fully accurate retelling of what happened or who participated. Each myth, each legend, each tradition must be carefully blended with its counterparts to create a whole that tells the real story. This is a work in progress that has only just begun.

Symbolic masking and overlays

In addition to that, these periodic, catastrophic encounters between Earth and its formerly two closest neighbors in the polar configuration, Venus and Mars, generated a new symbolism and iconography, which was superimposed on the old symbolism of the Polar Configuration. This “masking” of earlier catastrophic events by later ones makes it doubly difficult to discern the symbolism of the older events and the original configuration because of similarities — all catastrophes are natural events, born of similar physical phenomena. Thus, the mythical and ritual symbolism of later events copies or mimics that of earlier catastrophes.

Cultures not destroyed in any given catastrophe tended to focus their traditions on those most recent events. Hence, various cultures reverenced gods and icons that emerged in that catastrophe, yet they also drew on older, traditional imagery with which to adorn their new gods.

Thus, the masking of older events and symbols by more recent ones and the dramatically different perspective of events recorded by divergent cultures all has a multiplying effect on early traditions, icons and motifs, causing even more variations on ancient mythic themes. Hence, any attempt to unravel the interwoven threads of cultural and religious traditions creates bewilderment and perplexity. There is such a multitude of symbolic stories and traditions — myths, in other words — that it frustrates any systematic study of these remnants of history. Anyone who attempts to sort out the cacophony and confusion of ancient mythology can be easily overwhelmed.

Skepticism buries history

As if that were not enough, add the confusion of myth, legend and religion to the disbelief and skepticism of later generations who saw nothing but peace and stability in the solar system, and you have a formula for complete dismissal of the message our ancient forebears struggled to preserve and communicate in stone, story and ritual.

These close passes ended in the 6th century B.C., leaving a tradition of planetary catastrophe that upcoming generations had difficulty understanding or even accepting. Millennia later, mankind is almost totally ignorant of Earth’s catastrophic past. Most records of those events have long since vanished. Those few records that survived, like the scriptures, have been savaged by translators who knew nothing of ancient planetary catastrophes and subsequently mistranslated references to catastrophes. Moreover, a spirit of skepticism and unbelief has taken hold of mankind that tends to dismiss anything the least bit fantastic as invention rather than fact. Hence, those few records that have survived, sacred and profane, have been almost completely stripped of their real meaning, whitewashed by ignorance and bias. Oral traditions, myths and legends have been relegated to obscurity by generations of scientists and scholars that obstinately deny that anything extraordinary has happened in our solar system — certainly nothing like the account given above.

While much information regarding the true nature of Earth’s catastrophic past still remains in the religious traditions, customs, records, architecture, rites and rituals of all cultures — carefully preserved due to its “sacred” nature — such data carries no real credibility today, even in the minds of religious believers who completely fail to examine the evidence with anything but “spiritual” eyes.

Where the Saints stand

Mormons are no exception to this rule. The founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, spent copious amounts of his precious time trying to restore and revive information about and belief in those ancient events and conditions. His notes on Egyptian texts and his use of universal, symbolically correct archetypical symbols in modern temples as well as rites and rituals true to ancient forms are moot evidence of this. Why did he spend his invaluable time doing that rather than some other, more overtly good works? Because this knowledge is vital to one’s understanding of the gospel, the scriptures, the temple and one’s religion.

Latter-day Saints who ignore that information — the vast majority of the church membership, as it turns out — do so at their own peril.

© Anthony E. Larson, 2003

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