Calling All Space Doctrine

I think I got the term “space doctrine” from our family’s long-suffering home teacher (imagine the patience of a man who would faithfully home teach a family like mine for literally decades), who once in response to a rather wacky lesson being taught, put his head on the pew in front of him and said, “once they get into space doctrine, it’s all over.”

Anyway, these are some of the more, ummm, exciting things I’ve heard over the years.

The Lost Ten Tribes are either in the center of the earth, or on the moon.

You can see the image of Jesus in the Arctic Ice Floes. (My sister Eve got to study the image in seminary, I believe. What this was meant to prove, I cannot say.)

Before the Crucifixion, God controlled the water and the devil controlled the land. (Thus, the Flood.) Afterward it reversed, and now the devil controls the water (that’s why missionaries can’t swim.) (My sister Kiskilili learned that in seminary.)

People of different races come from different Heavenly Mothers. (Another rather horrifying gem from Kiskilili’s seminary experience).

In the premortal life, spirits opted for differing levels of accountability. Those who didn’t want too much accountability chose to come to earth as animals, or even plants. (My mom reported that this was taught by a speaker at BYU Education Week, a speaker who was not invited back. I guess even Ed Week had its limits.)

At the Final Judgment, there will be a movie of everyone’s life in which all your unrepented sins will be revealed to the entirety of humanity. (That kind of freaked me out, but I held on to the hope that they’d go chronologically, and by the time they got to the Last Days, people would be tuning out and not paying much attention anymore.)

You should think hard about getting your patriarchal blessing, based on stories about 1) people who went to get them and the patriarch was unable to pronounce the blessing because the people were such wretched sinners, and 2) people who got strikingly short blessings and were then killed in car accidents on the way home.

What we learn from the story of the council in heaven is that it takes a two-thirds vote to form a new universe. (My brother Ziff reported recently hearing that one in Sunday school.)

Jesus is the Savior of all the worlds, but he came to our Earth because it’s the only planet that was wicked enough to kill him. (I learned that in seminary. Maybe extrapolating from the jarringly anti-Semitic BoM passage about how only Jews were evil enough to crucify their God?)

The devil can’t read the written word, or read our thoughts, but he can hear spoken language. So you’re safe writing in your journal, but you should be careful about praying out loud.

From a blog post years ago: Mormons don’t have art or music because those are just for churches that don’t actually have the Spirit and thus need a substitute. Even better, one of the comments stated quite sincerely that Mormons don’t have friends the way other people do, because they are such good friends with Jesus that they don’t need other friends.

Dinosaur bones exist despite the young age of the Earth because the Earth is made out of recycled planets. (To be fair, B.H. Roberts did teach this.)

Speaking of recycling, the spirits that go to Outer Darkness will get recycled eventually into—new spirits? new bodies? I’m not totally sure how it works. (I’ve heard that Brigham Young taught this, though I don’t have a source.)

My generation, the most chosen of all generations, were generals in the war in heaven. (I heard that one all the time as a teenager, though I believe the church at one point finally issued a statement officially refuting it.)

There was a little girl whose parents were killed in a car accident who had a vision of Jesus, and then identified the red-robed Jesus painting as being accurate. (Evidently that one’s not uniquely Mormon, at least the car accident part of the story, as I’ve heard it in other contexts, and country singer John Michael Montgomery has a similarly-themed song, though in his version the girl watches her parents get killed in her house.) I also heard that some apostle who’d had a vision of Jesus also identified the red-robed painting as accurate.

Women are too righteous to go to Outer Darkness; thus Sons of Perdition actually just means “sons.” (Alternately, women can’t have the same level of light and knowledge that a priesthood-holding male can, so they are never qualified to commit the unpardonable sin.)

Children born with disabilities were those who personally escorted Satan out of heaven. The devil vowed revenge, so they were born in a state in which he couldn’t get to them. (I’ve heard a lot of versions of patriarchal blessing stories which revealed this.)

The gospel isn’t actually for everyone, but only for those with “believing blood” (i.e., members of the House of Israel.) I don’t know much about the history of this, but my impression is that it used to be a bit more mainstream, though it seems to have faded in recent decades. Relatedly, baptism literally changes people’s blood who aren’t literal descendants but who are getting “adopted” into the House of Israel.

I know I’ve learned a lot more fun things, but I’ve forgotten so much. So please chime in with your own space doctrine experiences!

22 comments / Add your comment below

  1. My Dad had a Sunday School teacher who was convinced that the lost 10 tribes lived in the rings of Saturn.

    In a gospel essentials class on my mission the teacher taught in the millennium everyone will be vegetarian (lamb laying down with lion and all). He posited that what this meant was that as soon at the moment of the second coming we would all become allergic to meat. If anyone happened to be eating a hamburger at the moment of the second coming, they would begin violently vomiting, that’s how we would know it was the true second coming.

    He also taught that no one would have any blood in the millennium, it would all just dry up.

    I also learned that dinosaur bones were from recycled planets when I was in seminary. That was the day, at 14, I realized that seminary teachers don’t have some great insight about the world that I didn’t have.

  2. Sometimes I break the fourth wall in my judgement day movie. Especially when I say something funny and no one was around to hear it.

    The space doctrine I always think of was that at the second coming the earth will be purified by fire, meaning the literal ground will be burned and heated until is becomes a crystal globe and a single giant seer stone.
    Then the earth will be physically pulled away from our sun and into orbit around Kolob. This is why it will look like the stars are falling because they will streak through the sky as the planet goes whizzing through space.
    Also Kolob is at the center of our Galaxy and that’s why it looks like a black hole because it is blocked from our impure eyes.

  3. Hmm. I wonder if global warming is going to melt the ice caps and release the 10 tribes. Hmmm. I guess God wants us to get more carbon in the atmosphere so we hasten the 2nd coming!

  4. If there is going to be a movie about my life at judgment day, I want to be portrayed by Jimmy Stewart.

  5. I remember being taught the Second Article of Faith as a child. Boy, does that one seem like a whopper today, in light of the continuing revelation known as the November 2015 Policy of Exclusion.

  6. Good heavens, that’s a LOT of escorts the Devil needed. He sounds really high-maintenance.

    Aaron B

  7. I remember hearing that the second coming would be within 20 years plus or minus of the year 2000. We are about to see the sun set on that one.

    I still regularly hear in Sunday school that the Constitution will one day be hanging by a thread and the Elders of the church will save it. This is often followed by the suggestion that we are clearly almost there.

  8. Oh and don’t forget these two:

    God promised Noah that there would never be another flood, but that is because next time it will happen by fire.

    And there won’t be any rainbows in the year leading up to the Second Coming. (As a young child I wondered if this included the rainbows you see under a waterfall or sprinkler.)

  9. I’m surprised no one’s mentioned Cain = Bigfoot yet.

    My parents had a book about the Three Nephites on their shelf and it had all the stories in it.

  10. So I just read these to my husband and he had a doozy for me to share. He heard that God would never let other beings visit our planet, so stories of alien abduction stories come from people who are part of the Ten Tribes in the hollow earth and their abduction stories actually them coming up out of the hollow earth to be with the rest of us on the surface.

    Unrelated: I heard when the earth opens up for the 10 Tribes to come out, it’ll unfurl and be flat and no longer round.

  11. And how about the literal belief that at the second coming, all of the land will come back together in the great return of Pangea? Heard that one just last week.

    Rockwell, I too wondered about the rainbows in the sprinklers as a kid. I had an unhealthy fear of the second coming and obsessively looked for rainbows to make myself feel better about getting another year before all the terrible things would start happening, but was never quite sure if sprinkler rainbows counted.

  12. I heard in Relief Society once that if you induce labor the child won’t be born with all its spiritual gifts. I bet our Mormon foremothers had all sorts of interesting doctrines round birth.

  13. I heard that once that because the temple in Independence was never built, when the Millenium happens, the Lord was going to reach underneath the Salt Lake City temple, lift it up, and move it to Missouri.

    I also read somewhere (thinking Skousen here but don’t remember for sure) that before the Millenium, a giant magical water barrier will form around the American continent and only the righteous and pure in heart would be able to pass through it. The rest of the world would be super wicked, but here on this continent the righteous would gather in. Here in America we (I will of course be included because I am also from the most valientest generation from the preexistence) will live the United Order and usher in the Millenium with our righteousness.

  14. Oh yes and speaking of crazy doctrine don’t forget different races were caused by different levels of valientness in the preexistence. Clearly in the first estate white supremacists were more righteous than ghetto dwelling folk cursed with dark skin.

    And more recently there’s the one about gay people choosing to be gay…

  15. EBK, the Lost 10 Tribes in the rings of a Saturn is a new one to me! Way cool. And I love that we’re going to recognize the real Second Coming because of a sudden allergy to meat.

    Also, I had similar moments in seminary (of realizing, umm, maybe they don’t know what they’re talking about). I think the first time I experienced that was when I first learned about HF being a polgyamist, and multiple HMs.

    Orwell, ha. I grew up in Utah County, did four years of released-time, CES-taught seminary, and faithfully went to BYU Education Week every year in order to hear more doctrinal treasures from the well of speculative nonsense that is the CES. You, too?

    Starfoxy, I can’t wait to see your movie! I’m totally going to come out of my movie-watching stupor and start paying attention again when we get there. And your description of the eschaton (our earth zooming through space to Kolob) had me literally laughing out loud.

    A Happy Hubby, that’s right, I’d forgotten that the Lost 10 Tribes are also maybe trapped beneath the ice caps!

    JLM, now there’s a good theological question: do we have to play ourselves in our movies, or can we pick someone else to portray us?

    Richard_K, ouch. But fair.

    Aaron Brown, well we are talking about Lucifer himself, not just some random rebellious spirit, so maybe just a few people casting him down wouldn’t have done the trick. Though you’re right; it does appears that his escort from heaven was huge.

    Rockwell, I definitely heard that the Second Coming would be around 2000, but I never heard the plus or minus 20 years cushion. (The idea that the Second Coming was imminent has really faded since I was a kid, at least in my experience of the church, and I’m guessing some of that must have been the result of getting through 2000 without the world ending.) The Constitution by a thread thing does seem to still be alive. And I also learned the no rainbows before the Second Coming idea, but I never thought about sprinkler rainbows. That’s a really good question.

    TopHat, that’s right, Cain and Bigfoot is a classic. (I should probably mention Matt Bowman’s article on the subject, in case you haven’t seen it.) I also love Three Nephites stories. But I never heard that alien abductions stories are actually from the Ten Tribes in the center of the earth! That is amazingly awesome.

    Dog Spirit, I don’t think I’ve heard that one, though one of my sisters was taught in seminary that Pangea broke up at the Crucifixion (!)

    Moss, wow! That’s a doozy. Though as you say, there must be a whole genre out there of folklore related to childbirth.

  16. MTodd, I hadn’t heard that the Lord was just going to move the SLC temple to Missouri. Very cool. And I’m intrigued by this idea of a magical water barrier around the American continent to keep out the wicked. I wonder how that fits with Satan controlling the water.

    And premortal valiance being tied to race: ugh ugh ugh, but undeniably taught and believed for a long time. 🙁 Which is also my view of the idea that all gay people chose it.

  17. I hope you all enjoy watching my and my partner’s sins!

    Heavenly Father’s apparently going to split us up and make us both cis and straight in the next life, so we’re getting in as much snuggling as possible before he takes my boobs away.

  18. Chiming in to say I learned in seminary (around 1995ish) that the Mark of the Beast (666) is the chip that will eventually be implanted in all our hands or foreheads for buying/selling, but we as LDS won’t be able to get them. And then what will we do???

  19. Jewelfox, are you familiar with the TK smoothie?

    Sheila, I learned about the Mark of the Beast as well! There was a woman in my ward growing up who warned her kids to not ever let the school stamp their hands for any reason, in case it was that.


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