Mysterious, uncorroborated planets, seer stones and ancient Egyptian papyri form a fundamental part of the doctrine of one modern day religion. The founder was only 24 years old when he published the religion’s chief sacred text, The Book of Mormon.
What Is Kolob?
According to the founder of the Latter Day Saints movement (who practice Mormonism), Kolob is the planet or star closest to the throne of God. It is considered by some followers to be an actual planet or star, and by others, to be a metaphorical representation of Jesus.
The celestial body is mentioned in the Book of Abraham, a translation of Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith, the founder of the movement. Smith allegedly acquired the scrolls from a mummy exhibition, which was on tour. He deciphered the hieroglyphics himself and regarded them as the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt. The papyri purportedly included knowledge on creation and the cosmos. Though the original papyri were believed to have been destroyed during the Great Chicago Fire, fragments were later found and examined by Egyptologists. Reports indicated the papyri Smith had translated were Egyptian funerary texts.
The Book of Abraham mentions the concept of time, in relation to the planet or star known as Kolob. In the celestial arrangement, purported by Smith’s works, one day on Kolob was equal to 1000 days on Earth. In his work, Kolob is referred to as both a planet and a star. This may have been a reflection of Smith’s lack of understanding of astronomy. Further Mormon writings assert the Earth was once located very close to Kolob, before it shifted to its current position. According to followers, Earth will return to its position near Kolob at the end of times. With the use of modern astronomy, Mormons have tried to plot where Kolob might be, but with merely speculative theories and no available proof. According to Mormon theology, there may be more to the universe, with life existing on other planets, possibly even a multiverse. Perhaps Kolob is located in an alternate universe, if not in this one.
Smith alleged Kolob was discovered by Abraham and Methuselah, a man who lived 969 years, according to the Hebrew bible. The two men were said to have used seer stones and a set of spectacles to discover the mythical planet.
In the early 1800s, sacred stones, called seer stones, were used by treasure hunters and those gifted with an ability to communicate with God. Joseph Smith had the gift of divination, and harnessed the power of the seer stones by placing a stone into his top hat, putting his face up against the hat rim, so no light could get it, and then reading the stone’s supernatural messages. The locals used to pay Smith and his father for their mystical insights. Smith allegedly used seer stones to decode the Book of Mormon, which he published in 1830. He claimed the source was written in reformed Egyptian. Scholars have subsequently discredited this claim, saying that reformed Egyptian does not exist. The location of the plates the original text was written on was revealed to Smith by an angel, he claimed. He also used his seer stones to aid in his writing of the Book of Abraham.
The producer of the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica, Glen Larson, is a member of the LDS movement. This may account for the name of one of the planets in the series, which is an anagram of Kolob, Kobol. The show included other references to Mormon themes, such as eternal marriages and a council of twelve, the name of the governing body of the movement. The storyline conveys Kobol as the planet of human origin.
Other Fictitious Planets
The LDS group are not the only ones to purport the existence of planets uncorroborated by modern science. An organization called The Unarius Academy of Science aims to link the spirit and science. The group was founded in 1954 by Ernest and Ruth Norman, and not only purports the existence of extraterrestrials, but also claims they are dying to interact with us and remind us we’re not alone in the universe. The group believe in an interplanetary confederation and in the existence of planets such as Luminus, with a 1000-year-old leader; Vixall, where robots have taken over from their creators; Anzea, where intergalactic travel has been made possible through energy beams; and Shunan, where the inhabitants are adept at psychokinesis.
With a dynamic, charismatic leader, individuals can be drawn into religious groups or cults and become enamored with concepts, which, to the outside world, may appear particularly curious. With the growing interest in abstract concepts such as spirituality, healing, the afterlife, and ghosts, as well as broader scientific concepts such as dark energy, quantum physics and the God particle, the boundaries between fact and fiction are becoming less polarized. Perhaps concepts that appear, at first glance, to be very out there are not as preposterous as we may think!