Episode 88: Pricey Pearl 6 – Abraham 2-3 (Kolob?!?)

July 13, 2015

Episodes

Episode 88: Pricey Pearl 6 – Abraham 2-3 (Kolob?!?)

I don’t know what else to say. Kolob is a real thing. I’m still in shock. You’ve just got to hear this one to believe it.

“Drink” Count – 4

Not even an entire beer (but plenty of insanity)

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41 Comments on “Episode 88: Pricey Pearl 6 – Abraham 2-3 (Kolob?!?)”

  1. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    Facsimile 2, in all its glory:

    Reply

    • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

      And again, Egyptologists are very familiar with this type of imagery. It’s called a hypocephalus, and it was common for this to be placed under a deceased person’s head. Just the sort of thing you would expect to find with some mummies. (You would typically not expect to find lost scripture written by the very hand of Abraham on the same scrolls, I’m just saying.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocephalus

      Here are some explanations of what this particular hypocephalus really says:

      Probably the big highlight is a special appearance by Min, a fertility god (Figure 7, said by Joseph Smith to be “God sitting upon his throne”; God has a massive boner.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Min_(god)

      Reply

    • St. Ralph Says:

      Was this allegedly from the papyrus scroll remnant?

      Reply

      • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

        I don’t think this part of the scrolls still exists, but yes, this image was said to have come from them. Joseph Smith’s (first) wife, Emma, donated the papyri to a Chicago museum some years after Joseph died, and that museum burned in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The entire papyri were presumed destroyed, but some fragments turned up later in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The original of this facsimile was lost, though, if I’m not mistaken.

  2. Duke of Earl Grey Says:

    In case you’re wondering, no, I can’t help you understand this mess. I can’t explain a thing in the first part of that chapter. It’s Egyptian to me. (It’s not Egyptian to Egyptians, but that’s neither here nor there.)

    Abraham 3, especially together with Facsimile 2, is probably as crazy as it’s going to get, I’m sorry to say. Kolob is where Mormons give Lord Zeno of Scientology a run for the money. I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who tried to ask church teachers and seminary teachers what we’re supposed to make of all this, without ever getting a satisfactory answer. The church’s pat answer seems to be, “That’s not pertinent to your salvation.” Which begs the question, why is it taking up space in the scriptures? But that sort of question is too irreverent to deserve an answer, I guess.

    But Mormons love the mention of Kolob here. It kind of represents all the great mysteries of God we may never understand in life, but we’ll learn about after we die, no doubt. It gives hope that there WILL be interesting things left to learn, because for now going to church is so damn boring. It represents the Mormon ideal of eternal progression. There’s even a popular hymn about it, “If You Could Hie to Kolob”:

    On occasion, I used to try to explain the existence of this chapter. I thought the whole point of it was the last few verses, where the important stuff is. Everything leading up to that, as far as I was concerned, served no purpose whatsoever except to be a drawn-out, tortured metaphor God was using with the intent of making one simple point: just as one star is greater than another, so one spirit is more intelligent than another, and he’s the smartest smarty of the bunch. He used terrible logic and way too many verses to get to that point, though.

    As I said, the last few verses give us our money shot. This is the grand reveal. Everyone who ever lived on Earth was once a spirit, or an “intelligence” only. Our spirits are co-eternal with God, having always existed. (Evangelical Christians hate that part.) We also learn here the purpose for the creation of the Earth, to “prove” us, to see if we’ll do anything the Lord commands us to do, no matter how objectionable to our better common sense. We also retread the idea of Jesus and Satan each proposing to be sent as the Savior, and Satan being the sore loser. The “first estate” is that pre-Earth life, or Pre-Existence, as we usually call it. We apparently all “kept” our first estate by siding with Jesus in this War in Heaven, so hooray, we got to come to earth to take on our fleshy bodies, the “second estate”, where if we suck up to God sufficiently, we’ll get glory added upon us forever. Those poor bastards who followed Satan get to spend eternity as fallen angels, never getting a body, never progressing further.

    Reply

    • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

      There is actually a particular racist idea tied to this chapter, though it’s not in the text this time. The scriptural curses of God on black people, mentioned previously, started to fall out of fashion in the church as an explanation for the Priesthood Ban, not because of more enlightened views towards black people, heavens no, but just because it didn’t make sense anymore to Mormons that God would punish all these people for something their distant ancestors did.

      So in order to justify the Priesthood restriction, a new theory was proposed. Black people must have been fence-sitters in this War in Heaven. They didn’t reject Jesus, no, but they didn’t stand up to Satan, either. So God let them come to Earth, but doesn’t want them anywhere near his Holy Priesthood. So isn’t that neat and tidy! God’s not punishing the entire black race for what Cain did, or what Ham did, or what Canaan did, or whoever was supposed to have done what. The fact they were born black shows they must have done something wrong before they were ever born. This is what the church taught for many years. After 1978, the church quietly dropped the subject, but they didn’t repudiate the teaching itself until about a year or two ago. They still haven’t actually apologized for the Priesthood Ban, so they’re tacitly admitting it was ordained of God, but they just won’t own up to any of the prior justifications.

      Reply

    • saintralph343 Says:

      Do you know if the first and second estates are elaborated upon elsewhere? They seem to be mentioned no more than in passing in Chapter 3 and I don’t blame David for having no idea what is being discussed. I had heard the terms and know vaguely what is meant, but I don’t even know how I know that.

      Reply

      • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

        No, this is all we get from the scriptures themselves. The rest of the elaboration was by church leaders later on. The phrase “first estate”, however, is from the King James Bible (surprise!) It’s in the Epistle of Jude, verse 6: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” So if there was a “first estate”, it stands to reason there must be a “second estate”, right? I’m sure thoughts like thrilled Joseph Smith when they occurred to him.

    • emma Says:

      No wonder the creators of South Park love Mormons. Even they couldn’t top this video.

      Reply

    • johanges Says:

      Interesting “racial” mix in the video. As far as I can see, all participating choir members appears visually to be of Western European origin, with maybe two men and one woman of Asian or Pacific origin. I failed to find anybody who could be labeled Lamanite. (Obviously this is just a casual visual evaluation. I’m sure the choir is in reality more diverse.)

      Reply

      • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

        When I was at the MTC (“Missionary Training Center” for you no-mos), I was in a choir that was performing for the visit of three apostles at a fireside which was being recorded. They specifically invited any non-white missionaries to move up closer to the front so the camera operators could get a better shot of them.

    • Tina Says:

      Great MoTab clip, Duke! I have known TBMs who love this hymn for its supposed profundity. As David clearly illustrates in his reading, one man’s lunatic rantings are another man’s “deep doctrine.” P.S. Given its length, I always thought that hymn ought to have a verse that said, “There is no end to this song!” 🙂

      Reply

    • Hal in Howell Says:

      The hymn, If You Could Hie to Kolob, is based on the English folk tune, Dives and Lazarus (Rich Man and Lazarus), used by Ralph Vaughan Williams in his composition, Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus (1939). The tune is also quoted in RVW’s English Folk Song Suite. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQoP9iLwoos

      Reply

    • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

      Intellectual Reserve Inc., the arm of the church that holds copyrights on its (so-called?) intellectual property, apparently requested the removal of the video of “If You Could Hie to Kolob” I linked to above, so let’s try another link:

      Reply

  3. colddodger2015 Says:

    Some of the biggest Lolz of the show. As funny as Kolob was, I laughed pretty hard when you told Abraham to put his telescope rocks closer to his eyes.

    Duke’s intelligent commentary notwithstanding, Mormons usually avoid anything that has to do with defending he Book of Abraham from a scholarly perspective (obviously because they can’t), but there are a few members who get degrees in Egyptology just to come up with absurdly complex rationalization a that make it appear there might be room for faith in this stuff (though plainly there is not), and a few more who use their arguing points to defend the book.

    The Book of Abraham has been the death knell of many Mormons’ testimonies for good and obvious reasons. But, you’d be amazed how far faith will go to stay alive. There are Mormons who think if they can find the vaguest parallel in any ancient literature somewhere that mentions Egypt in some way, then it counts as evidence for the book.

    The Book of Abraham is beloved by Mormons mostly for the last several verses of chapter three. From this Mormons derive the doctrine of the Premortal Life. We lived with Heavenly Father as spirits before we came to earth. Our spirits are fundamentally eternal, without beginning or end. The noblest and greatest of us were chosen before we were born to be in leadership positions here on earth (if you are born into the Mormon church, that means you were one of the noble and great ones: how great is your calling! Don’t screw it up!)

    There was a big family council before the world was where it was decided that an earth would be made to test us to see if we would keep all things whatsoever the Lord our God would command us. Our first big test was whether or not we would accept this plan (our 1st estate). Those of us that chose this plan would receive physical bodies and proceed to be tested on earth (our second estate). The rest of them (Satan and his angels, I’m looking at you) would not have glory with those who kept their first estate. And those who keep their second estate (those who pass the tests of earth and keep the commandments of God) shall have glory added upon their heads forever and ever.

    The One like unto God is Jesus Christ, but before he had flesh and blood. He was just a spirit like the rest of us. For a depiction of the spirit body, turn back to Ether chapter 3 in the Book of Mormon. Spirits look just like their bodily counterparts in Mormon doctrine.

    Hearing you rapid fire all those ridiculous names really hit home for me. They don’t make any sense, and what’s worse: this is supposed to be a translation of an Egypitan scroll and none of those purported names actually existed in any era of Egyptian history in any form — not even close. Although, if you give a Mormon apologist enough leeway, he will dance in circles around you until you become so confused you either back away or accept his premise.

    It can be very confusing to the rank and file members of the church who know little more than what the official church manuals teach them. If one of the smarter members seems to able to defend the Book of Abraham from critic’s attacks, the rest just trust that there must be something going for the book and believe in it (at least the important part: the end of chapter 3).

    There is a huge us/them complex in the church. Critics are seen at best as unwitting tools of Satan to oppose the truth and at worst as sinners who have consciously made a pact with Satan to destroy the truth. Anytime the evidence agains the message starts to get too hot, the us/them switch gets flicked in even measure to balance it out. There’s no convincing a Mormon against his will. Good luck trying.

    Reply

  4. Dave Hubble Says:

    In reference to the whole First Estate/Second Estate stuff… basically, god was ‘knowing” all his wives in heaven and creating a bunch of spirit kids… that spirit form is the First Estate. Then, Jesus/Jehovah (god’s firstborn spirit) and Lucifer ran their political campaigns to be the Savior of earth (or universe, depending on who you ask), there was a big war in heaven, and 1/3 voted for Lucifer, and were cast out of heaven… these spirit kids “lost” their first estate. They will be thrown into outer darkness after the world ends… The Second Estate is receiving a mortal body. Those who voted for Jehovah were rewarded with a Second Estate. Incidentally, another 1/3 were undecided with their vote, and so still got to come to earth, but as black people.

    Reply

  5. 4blockhead Says:

    Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    Moses 6:12 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

    Abraham 3:4 And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.

    Therefore, humanity ages are limited to 1000 years. No one can live longer than 1000 years without making god a liar according to Genesis 2:17. Smith wanted his canon to be internally consistent, according to his definition of consistency.

    Brigham Young’s extensions to the cosmology, including planetary assembly lines around the star Kolob:

    http://jod.mrm.org/17/139

    Reply

    • Tina Says:

      And I think it’s no coincidence that the Earth was supposedly created in six days, and each day represents a millennium to us. The Bible with its “seven seals” also seems to have some reference to a millennium as some special, mystical unit of time. I’m pretty sure Joseph Smith was going for that connection. Still, now that we know humans have existed for tens and even hundreds of thousands of years, and that the earth is billions of years old, none of that makes a lick of sense.

      Reply

  6. Leslee Says:

    Oh it’s so hard to listen to. But you do a great job with some crazy-ass material! I look forward to hearing if you do some more research. You’re just at the edge of the rabbit hole. And why do some people believe it? Well, I can’t speak for my great-great-great grandparents, but for their 6+ generations of descendants, it all comes down to indoctrination from birth. I listen now and I can’t believe I just took it in stride for so many years (and that so many of my family and friends still do).
    Man, you MUST do a reading of the temple ceremonies. Please, please, please!! Especially the Initiatory and Endowment ceremonies. All the secret passwords and handshakes. PLEASE!!

    Reply

    • Sker Says:

      As fun as the commentary would be, it’s not a good idea to maintain any good will or semblance of neutrality.

      If you want to see the temple ceremony, check YouTube. I’m sure its there in many places.

      Reply

  7. Clint Kimball Says:

    I just have to put this out there. I swear this is not a spoiler, unless of course David Michael intends to read all the millions of discourses of Brigham Young, which I pray to the Flying Spaghetti Monster he never subjects himself to.

    In Mormon theology, or at least old Mormon theology, the sun is a” celestialized” earth. That is, the sun has already been cleansed and exalted and sanctified, just like is going to happen to earth at the end of the millenium after the second coming of Jesus. That’s why it shines so bright – that’s what celestialized God matter does. Oh, and it is still inhabitated by exalted celestial beings, just like we lowly opaque mortals aspire to be some day, which is why we work so hard to avoid coffee and masturbation.

    Reply

    • Clint Kimball Says:

      Oh, and the moon is inhabited too. There’s also that. The moon people live a thousand years and dress like quakers. Joseph Smith didn’t include this in his scriptures, but he taught it. I shit you not.

      Reply

      • Tina Says:

        Inhabited by Quakers, no less
        I could look up the exact quote, but I’m quite sure that’s what Joseph Smith taught.

    • johanges Says:

      The inhabited Sun: “So it is with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain.”
      –Brigham Young, July 24, 1870, Journal of Discourses 13:271.
      http://jod.mrm.org/13/268#271

      (It must be really annoying to sleep there. Hard to find a dark room.)

      Reply

    • alexiafigg Says:

      OMG! I totally remember my dad explaining this to me over a bowl of ice cream late one night. (Oh, and he’s an actual college professor) It sounded weird but not weirder than other things like perfect bodies resurrected looking just like us. Just like us only shiny. Sure. I totally buy that. (Uh, Right…)

      I think the real takeaway here is just that since god’s day is a thousand years long he totally wasn’t lying about that you’ll die today thing back in the garden.

      Reply

  8. dagnyc Says:

    I was so disappointed when I went to the temple and they didn’t tell me what any of the secret things meant on those facsimiles that say they can be learned in the temple. I went back over and over. Never ever learned what any of them meant. I read Nibley. Nothing. I then learned about the Second Endowment, Calling and Election Made Sure. Maybe if I got that I would learn these secrets. See it’s addictive. He lured people in with promises of higher secrets.

    Reply

    • Duke of Earl Grey Says:

      I once heard someone suggest that one of the little squiggles in box 8 looks kind of like a bipedal snake talking to the squiggle next to it, which looks vaguely like the Venus symbol used to denote the female, which itself is adjacent to a squiggle which looks like an inverted Mars symbol, denoting the male. (Though apparently, use those astrological symbols came along centuries later than this text, possibly even millennia later.)

      We can see the lengths this person went to to try to find some meaning in what they were told was something important. They could even start to see in these ancient Egyptian symbols something recognizable from the temple, in this case, Satan offering the forbidden fruit to Eve, for her to give to Adam.

      Reply

  9. Kolob...OK, we're going to stop... Says:

    David’s reaction upon first reading about Kolob will go down in history as the best moment in podcast history. (Approx. 18 minutes in) Can’t stop laughing…

    Reply

  10. Phil Says:

    I don’t think most Mormons believe in the Book of Abraham, simply because most Mormons haven’t read the book of Abraham. It’s the polar opposite of the Book of Mormon as far as promotion. It’s not taught to the youth, it’s not covered by the missionary discussions.

    Mormonism is like the TV series Lost, it presents so much ridiculous crap, people just stick around hoping there will be a final episode that convincingly ties everything together.

    The BOA is an extra lame episode, one that frustrates the producers, and makes viewers change the channel.

    Reply

  11. Dave Hubble Says:

    Phil, I respectfully disagree… The BOA represents the Glen Beck faction of Mormonism. Evolution? Crazy talk! Kolob? It’s the grand secrets of heaven! in my uber-conservative family growing up, things like the Book of Abraham, Kolob, etc were the best part of our faith… Factor in that my parents are deeply anti-scientist… they were Fox-Tea Partiers before there was such a thing. My old man will talk all night about the wonders of Kolob if you let him. There is a significant faction of deep doctrine loving mormons. You can find them in every ward.

    Reply

    • Phil Says:

      Yes there is a wide variety of belief between different families, wards, states etc. it would be interesting if David invited the missionaries back and asked them to bear their testimony of the Book of Abraham. (But only if he takes them to dinner, these poor youth are oftentimes very innocent)

      Reply

  12. BaronBytes Says:

    Stars have rotations speeds, coming from how they form, so they have a day of some sort. But a thousand Earth years for a day seems pretty slow. The sun’s rotation is about 25 earth days. And for comparison the Black Hole at the center of the galaxy rotates at 84% of the speed of light.

    Reply

  13. Dave Hubble Says:

    St. Ralph… now you’re talking about “white holes”… something mormon’s can support… speaking of which, I’ve heard some deep doctrine mormons think that black holes are proof of Outer Darkness 🙂

    Reply

  14. dkswagger Says:

    Here’s another podcast wrestling with the meaning and purpose of chapter 2. It’s hilarious – http://infantsonthrones.com/the-new-book-of-abraham-chapter-2/

    Reply

  15. lj Says:

    And of course the moon rotates too.

    Reply

  16. lj Says:

    “Time is time.” Also not true, for which, see Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

    Reply

  17. lj Says:

    These names, “kaukab,” kaukabīm,” etc., sound like they are probably Hebrew. In Arabic, at least, “kaukab” means “star,” and although I do not know Hebrew, I know that the “īm” suffix pluralizes the word.

    Reply

  18. Kelly Says:

    I live close to Kolob…Kolob canyon that is in southern utah. You should definitely visit. It’s beautiful!

    Reply

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