Criticism of Mormonism/Online documents/For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife)/Chapter 10

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Response to "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 10 - Prophesies

A FairMormon Analysis of: For my Wife and Children (Letter to my Wife), a work by author: Anonymous
Chart LTMW prophesies.png

Response to claims made in "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife"): Chapter 10 - Prophesies

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Response to claim: "Joseph’s prophecy was mistaken in two ways: he did not live to be 85 years old and Jesus did not return in 1890"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Joseph Smith..."I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written—the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old." ... Joseph’s prophecy was mistaken in two ways: he did not live to be 85 years old and Jesus did not return in 1890.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

First of all, D&C 130 states "if thou livest until thou art eight-five years old," so there was no prophecy that Joseph would live to reach the age of 85.

I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. (D&C 130:14-15).

However, if the reader will continue further in that passage, they will see how Joseph Smith himself understood the revelation, unfiltered through note-takers or critics who wish to explain his meaning:

I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face (D&C :130).

Thus, even Joseph Smith was uncertain exactly what this prophecy meant.

Jump to Detail:

Question: Did Joseph Smith prophesy that Jesus Christ would return in 1890?

Jesus Christ stated that no mortals or angels would know when He would return

It is important to realize that while Jesus Christ resided on the earth he stated that no mortals or angels would know when He would return:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36).

Because we do not know, we need to constantly be ready for his return, for "in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).

In February 1835, Joseph Smith is reported to have said that "fifty-six years should wind up the scene"

Joseph Smith did make several interesting statements about seeing the Savior. B.H. Roberts in History of the Church notes the Prophet's remark in 1835 when he is reported to have said that,

...it was the will of God that those who went Zion, with a determination to lay down their lives, if necessary, should be ordained to the ministry, and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last time, or the coming of the Lord, which was nigh—even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.[1]

In Feb 1835, fifty six years in the future was February 1891. This would be shortly after Joseph's 85th birthday (he was born 23 December 1805).

Joseph made continuous reference to this date in light of a revelation which he reported. It is recorded in D&C 130:14-17, and it is clear that the revelation leaves the exact date of Christ's second coming much more uncertain. Whatever Joseph meant or understood by "wind up the scene," it must be interpreted in light of the revelation as he reported it, and the conclusions which he drew from it.

This particular revelation is a favorite of anti-Mormon critics. They have misquoted it, misreported it, misinterpreted it and misexplained it. Most often they simply do not complete the quote, making it appear that the Prophet said something he didn't.

Joseph acknowledged as he recorded this revelation that he didn't understand its meaning or intent

The revelation is reported in abbreviated form, and Joseph acknowledged as he recorded it that he didn't understand its meaning or intent:

I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following: Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter. (D&C 130:14-15).

Many critics end the quote at this point, and then they hope the reader will assume that the statement is a prophecy that the Savior would come in the year 1890 or 1891, since the Prophet Joseph was born in 1805. (Other critics do not even bother to cite D&C 130, and simply rely on the quote from the Kirtland Council Minute Book of 1835, reproduced in History of the Church.)

Joseph expresses his uncertainty: "I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time"

However, if the reader will continue further in that passage, they will see how Joseph Smith himself understood the revelation, unfiltered through note-takers or critics who wish to explain his meaning:

I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face (D&C :130).

The actual content of Joseph's prophecy--if personal opinion can be said to be prophecy--does not occur until the next verse:

I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.(D&C 130:17.)

Without a doubt, Joseph's belief proved correct. The Lord did not return to the earth for His Second Coming before that time.

At least twice, as is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph saw the face of the Son of Man

But there are other aspects of fulfillment that should also be considered. We do not know when it was that the Prophet earnestly prayed to know the time of the Lord's coming. The context, (verse 13), shows that it may have taken place in 1832 or earlier. At least twice, as is recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph saw the face of the Son of Man. D&C 76:20-24 and D&C 110:2-10 both record appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ, either of which may constitute fulfillment of the Lord's prophetic promise. He may also have seen the Lord's face at the time of his death in 1844, as he pondered in D&C 130:16.

Joseph made reference to the incident on at least two other occasions, and indicated that his belief was not that the Lord would come by the time of his 85th birthday, but rather that the Lord would not come before that time, which of course was a correct prophecy.

In the History of the Church:

I prophesy in the name of the Lord God, and let it be written--the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old.[2]

Again, Joseph Smith doesn't say the Lord will come then, but that He will not come before that time. The return to his age 85 shows that all these remarks derive from the same interpretation of his somewhat opaque revelation from the Lord, who seems determined to tell his curious prophet nothing further.

Joseph denies that anyone knows an exact date

Later, Joseph Smith again prophesied on the subject of Christ's coming:

I also prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that Christ will not come in forty years; and if God ever spoke by my mouth, He will not come in that length of time. Brethren, when you go home, write this down, that it may be remembered. Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that He would come. Go and read the scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers.[3]

This remark was made on 10 March 1844. It echoes a teaching given through Joseph in the Doctrine and Covenants in March 1831:

And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is nigh at hand—I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes. (D&C 49:6-7, emphasis added)

Thus, from the beginning to the end of his ministry, Joseph Smith denied that a man could or would know the date of the second coming of Christ. (Joseph's remarks may have been instigated by the intense interest among religious believers in William Miller's prophecy that Christ would return by 1843.)


Response to claim: Joseph Smith "said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Oliver B. Huntington...recounting a teaching by Joseph Smith.

“Nearly all the discoveries of men in the last half century have… contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a prophet. As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they live to a greater age than we do – that they live generally to near the age of a 1,000 years. He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.”

Author's sources:
  1. Joseph Smith - The Young Woman's Journal, vol. 03, no.6, March 1892. http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/YWJ/id/11651

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: The author has stated erroneous information or misinterpreted their sources

If Joseph Smith did indeed say this, he was only reflecting a popular belief of the time. In the 1800s, the idea that the moon was inhabited was considered scientific fact by many. William Herschel was the preeminent astronomer of his generation. He had discovered Uranus, and was also of the view that the moon was inhabited. [4]

On 23 August 1835, Richard Locke published the first article in the New York Sun of what purported to be reports from Herschel's observations. Over a total of six installments, Locke claimed that Herschel was reporting lunar flowers, forests, bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tailless beavers who cooked with fire, and (most provocatively) flying men with wings:

They appeared to be constantly engaged in conversing, with much impassioned gesticulation; and hence it was inferred, that they are rational beings. Others, apparently of a higher order, were discovered afterwards. . . . And finally a magnificent temple for the worship of God, of polished sapphire, in a triangle shape, with a roof of gold. [5]

Jump to Detail:

Question: Did Joseph Smith state that the moon was inhabited, and that it's inhabitants were dressed like Quakers?

This is not a quote from Joseph Smith, but rather a late, third-hand account of something that Joseph is supposed to have said

The source for this claim is not Joseph Smith himself; the first mention comes in 1881 in Oliver B. Huntington's journal, who claimed that he had the information from Philo Dibble. So, we have a late, third-hand account of something Joseph is supposed to have said. [6] Hyrum Smith [7] and Brigham Young [8] both expressed their view that the moon was inhabited.

A patriarchal blessing given to Huntington also indicated that "thou shalt have power with God even to translate thyself to Heaven, & preach to the inhabitants of the moon or planets, if it shall be expedient." [9]

Huntington later wrote an article about the concept for a Church magazine:

As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph Smith] said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do -- that they live generally to near the age of a 1,000 years.

He described the men as averaging nearly six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style. [10]

So, it would seem that the idea of an inhabited moon or other celestial body was not foreign to at least some early LDS members. It is not clear whether the idea originated with Joseph Smith.

In the 1800s, the idea that the moon was inhabited was considered scientific fact by many

However, it should be remembered that this concept was considered 'scientific fact' by many at the time. William Herschel, the discoverer of the planet Uranus, died in 1822. Herschel argued "[w]ho can say that it is not extremely probable, nay beyond doubt, that there must be inhabitants on the Moon of some kind or another?" Furthermore, "he thought it possible that there was a region below the Sun's fiery surface where men might live, and he regarded the existence of life on the Moon as 'an absolute certainty.'" [11]

Other scientists announced that they had discovered "a lunar city with a collection of gigantic ramparts extending 23 miles in either direction." [12]

The 1835 Great Moon Hoax added to the belief in lunar inhabitants

In addition to these pronouncements from some of the most prominent scientists of the day, a clever hoax in 1835 only added to the belief in lunar inhabitants.

John Herschel, son of the famous William, went to South Africa to study stars visible only in the southern hemisphere. This was the cause of considerable public interest, given Herschel's involvement. (William Herschel was the preeminent astronomer of his generation. He had discovered Uranus, and was also of the view that the moon was inhabited. [13]

On 23 August 1835, Richard Locke published the first article in the New York Sun of what purported to be reports from Herschel's observations. Over a total of six installments, Locke claimed that Herschel was reporting lunar flowers, forests, bison, goats, unicorns, bipedal tailless beavers who cooked with fire, and (most provocatively) flying men with wings:

They appeared to be constantly engaged in conversing, with much impassioned gesticulation; and hence it was inferred, that they are rational beings. Others, apparently of a higher order, were discovered afterwards. . . . And finally a magnificent temple for the worship of God, of polished sapphire, in a triangle shape, with a roof of gold. [14]

These reports were widely believed and caused a minor sensation. They were carried in the Painsville Telegraph, adjacent to Mormon Kirtland. [15] The Sun eventually hinted that the matter was a hoax:

Certain correspondents have been urging us to come out and confess the whole to be a hoax; but this we can by no means do, until we have the testimony of the English or Scotch papers to corroborate such a declaration. [16]

Popular belief in lunar inhabitants persisted for decades after the hoax

No more than this was forthcoming, and the Painsville Telegraph made no mention of the possibility of a hoax. Popular belief in lunar inhabitants persisted for decades. Herschel initially found the episode amusing, but he eventually grew frustrated with having to continually explain to the public that the whole matter was a hoax, with which he had nothing to do: he would later refer "the whole affair as 'incoherent ravings'". [17]

In a private letter, Hirschel's wife indicated how skillfully the hoax was carried out:

Margaret Herschel was more amused. She called the story 'a very clever peice of imagination,' and wrote appreciately..."The whole description is so well clenched with minute details of workmanship...that the New Yorkists were not to be blamed for actually believing it as they did...." [18]

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make

Church publications did not shy from embracing later scientific findings on the matter:

1856

Desert News noted:

Proof that the Moon is not Inhabited.

“Dr. Scoresby, in an account that he has given of some recent observations made with the Earl of Rosse’s telescope, says: ‘With respect to the moon, every object on its surface of 100 feet was distinctly to be seen; and he had no doubt that, under very favorable circumstances, it would be so with objects 60 feet in height…. But no vestiges of architecture remain to show that the moon, is, or ever was, inhabited by a race of mortals similar to ourselves….. There was no water visible….”[19]

1880

“As there is no air nor water on the moon, but very few changes can take place upon its surface. There can be no vegetation and no animals, and although many astronomers have brought their imaginations to bear upon this subject, and have given us descriptions of the beautiful scenery upon its surface, and have even peopled it with inhabitants, we have every reason to believe that it is as barren and lifeless as an arid rock."[20]

Modern prophets and general authorities will sometimes cite newspaper articles or books to illustrate the points which they wish to make. In doing so, they are not endorsing such articles or books as being prophetically correct in all particulars. Rather, they are using the science and information of their day to enhance their preaching of the gospel.

LDS doctrine was not provincial, since it provided for "worlds without number" (Moses 1:33) created by Christ. These worlds held those who would require the gospel, since by Christ "the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God." (DC 76:24)

Information given to the 19th century Saints by the authorities of the day were consistent with these doctrines, and so they believed them, and occasionally mentioned them in a religious context. As always, prophets and believers are products of their time. Biblical authors, for example, clearly accepted a geocentric (earth centered) cosmos, with a flat earth and heavens supported by four pillars. Like the authors of the Bible, modern prophets are generally beholden to their era's scientific concepts, except where corrections in those concepts are needed to permit the gospel to be understood and applied. This does not mean, however, that prophets of any era do not receive revelation about matters of eternal significance.


Response to claim: Brigham Young said, "with regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

“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. It was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets' and so will this earth when it is celestialized.”

Author's sources:
  1. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 13:271.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Brigham clearly offered his opinion: "Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is." We are not sure why the author includes this statement as a "false prophecy." Brigham was reflecting a popular belief of that time.

Jump to Detail:

Question: Did Brigham Young actually teach that the sun and the moon were inhabited?

Brigham Young speculated that the moon and sun were inhabited: he was clearly expressing an opinion

Brigham Young taught that the moon and sun were inhabited,

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 is clearly expressing an opinion, and there is no evidence that he is making a prophetic declaration concerning extraterrestrials. He even goes out of his way to indicate that this is what he "rather think[s]," and asks his congregation to consider what they think. He also says that he would want to know if an idea he has is false—even including his religion. These are not the sentiments of a man convinced he must be right by divine gift of prophetic omniscience.

It is particularly ironic that Brigham's remarks were focused on the fact that no one knows much about anything, and so humility is appropriate on most questions. Critics have taken this wise stance, and have tried to invert Brigham's intent—changing him from an advocate of humility before the unknown into a doctrinaire know-nothing who is certain of absurdities. The critics might do well do follow Brigham's example.

Brigham Young made the following statement in 1869:[21]

It has been observed here this morning that we are called fanatics. Bless me! That is nothing. Who has not been called a fanatic who has discovered anything new in philosophy or science? We have all read of Galileo the astronomer who, contrary to the system of astronomy that had been received for ages before his day, taught that the sun, and not the earth, was the centre of our planetary system? For this the learned astronomer was called "fanatic," and subjected to persecution and imprisonment of the most rigorous character. So it has been with others who have discovered and explained new truths in science and philosophy which have been in opposition to long-established theories; and the opposition they have encountered has endured until the truth of their discoveries has been demonstrated by time...
I will tell you who the real fanatics are: they are they who adopt false principles and ideas as facts, and try to establish a superstructure upon, a false foundation. They are the fanatics; and however ardent and zealous they may be, they may reason or argue on false premises till doomsday, and the result will be false. If our religion is of this character we want to know it; we would like to find a philosopher who can prove it to us.

The context for Brigham's remarks, then, are that new ideas and truths are often mocked or rejected by those who cling to older ideas. And, were he to have such an idea, he would want to know.

He then says:

We are called ignorant; so we are: but what of it? Are not all ignorant? I rather think so. Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon? When we view its face we may see what is termed "the man in the moon," and what some philosophers declare are the shadows of mountains. But these sayings are very vague, and amount to nothing; and when you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows.

Brigham goes on to speak about inhabitants of the moon. In context, his point is clearly that no one;&mdasheven experts—knows very much about the universe. There are many things (such as whether the moon is inhabited) about which no one of his day could speak clearly.

It then becomes very clear that Brigham is expressing his personal views, not laying down divine truth from on high:

Brigham's point remains that no one knows very much about such things

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 is obviously expressing his opinion, but his point remains that no one knows very much about such things. To reject a novel idea simply because it is new—such as Mormonism—is irrational. All true ideas were once new, and treated with suspicion.

William Herschel—the preeminent astronomer of his generation and the man to discover Uranus—was also firmly of the belief that the sun was inhabited.[22] One author wrote:

Herschel was not a raving amateur. A gifted astronomer, he discovered Uranus, and was the first to realize that sunlight included infrared light as well as visible light. His sister, Caroline, became famous in her own right for discovering comets, so he did not lack for intelligent conversation. He just had his own theories. Herschel believed that life existed on every celestial body in the universe. He was aware that the sun people saw was too hot to support life. He just assumed there was something underneath that burning atmosphere. When he observed sunspots, he believed that they were openings in the atmosphere, or perhaps mountains, and that if people could get a close look at the planet beneath, they would be able to spot signs of life. Herschel was not alone in his beliefs - as more information on the sun turned up, astronomers speculated on how it would affect life on the surface of the sun, and what kind of life might survive in those environments.[23]

Church publications did not shy away from embracing later scientific findings on the matter

Church publications did not shy away from embracing later scientific findings on the matter:

1856

Desert News noted:

Proof that the Moon is not Inhabited.

“Dr. Scoresby, in an account that he has given of some recent observations made with the Earl of Rosse’s telescope, says: ‘With respect to the moon, every object on its surface of 100 feet was distinctly to be seen; and he had no doubt that, under very favorable circumstances, it would be so with objects 60 feet in height…. But no vestiges of architecture remain to show that the moon, is, or ever was, inhabited by a race of mortals similar to ourselves….. There was no water visible….”[24]

1880

“As there is no air nor water on the moon, but very few changes can take place upon its surface. There can be no vegetation and no animals, and although many astronomers have brought their imaginations to bear upon this subject, and have given us descriptions of the beautiful scenery upon its surface, and have even peopled it with inhabitants, we have every reason to believe that it is as barren and lifeless as an arid rock."[25]


Response to claim: Joseph Fielding Smith said, “We will never get a man into space"

The author(s) of "For my Wife and Children" ("Letter to my Wife") make(s) the following claim:

Joseph Fielding Smith said, “We will never get a man into space. This earth is man's sphere and it was never intended that he should get away from it. The moon is a superior planet to the earth and it was never intended that man should go there. You can write it down in your books that this will never happen.”

Author's sources:
  1. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1954, vol.3, p.203

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

Again, why does the opinion of Joseph Fielding Smith (offered well before he was the President of the Church) count as a "false prophecy?" He felt that the Lord did not intend for man to leave this planet, and he expressed his opinion on this. Ironically, the Apollo 12 astronauts presented Joseph Fielding Smith with a Utah state flag that they had carried to the moon and back when they visited Salt Lake City.

Jump to Detail:

Question: Was Joseph Fielding Smith issuing a prophecy when he said that men would never walk on the moon?

This was not a prophecy - it was his opinion that reaching other worlds and discovering that Christ was also their savior would eliminate the need for faith

Joseph Fielding Smith wrote that "it is doubtful that man will ever be permitted to make any instrument or ship to travel through space and visit the moon or any distant planet."[26]

According to Smith's grandson, Joseph Fielding McConkie, who actually heard him express this idea,

He reasoned that because the atonement that Christ worked out on this earth applies to all the creations of the Father, that our getting to other worlds and discovering that they had the same Savior and the same plan of salvation would dispense with the necessity of our accepting the gospel on the basis of faith"[27]

Therefore, Joseph Fielding Smith assumed that we were not meant to reach other worlds since Christ's atonement applies to all worlds, and discovering this upon reaching other worlds would eliminate the need for us to accept the gospel on the basis of faith.

Attempting to make this is a "prophecy," or a declarative statement of Church doctrine is improper, for the following reasons:

  • President Smith was not the president of the Church when this statement was made. Only the President of the Church, sustained by his counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve, may declare new official doctrine.
  • The statement merely expresses doubt about the idea, clearly an expression of personal belief or conclusion.
  • Latter-day Saints do not believe in the doctrine of prophetic infallibility.

Latter-day Saint doctrine allows prophets their own opinions and views, which are not regarded as either infallible or binding upon Church members. Only Jesus Christ was perfect; LDS prophets follow the biblical model of being fallible men of their time called by God to accomplish his purposes. So safeguard against the foibles or mistakes of individuals, God uses the united voice of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve apostles to establish official doctrine and interpretation.

No one need trust a prophet's word alone on any issue—either of great or small importance. All members are encouraged to seek their own revelation from God, and to accept and act on the truth that he reveals to them by scriptures, by prophets, and by the Holy Ghost.

On 14 September 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts presented to President Joseph Fielding Smith a Utah state flag that had traveled with them to the moon

From the Deseret News, 14 September 1971:

Some 20 general authorities met the spacemen and President Harold B. Lee of the First Presidency told the explorers that "We watched, listened and prayed for you. We're glad you're home safely."

Scott responded and said the crew had looked forward to visiting "the mountains of Utah" and had brought a gift back from the moon.

He handed President Joseph Fielding Smith a large piece of white cardboard upon which was mounted the insignia Apollo 15, a color photograph taken on the moon and a small flag of Utah.

Scott said the small cloth flag, a few inches square, was carried by the astronauts during their enitre journey to and from the moon and also during their travels across the lunar surface in their Rover auto.

President Lee gave to each of the astronauts a white volume telling the story of the Church with the names of the astronauts stamped in gold.[28]

On 14 September 1971, the Apollo 15 astronauts presented President Joseph Fielding Smith with a Utah flag which had traveled to the moon.


Notes

  1. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 2:182. Volume 2 link
  2. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:336–337. Volume 5 link
  3. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:254. Volume 6 link
  4. Holmes, 464.
  5. Moore, New Guide to the Moon 130–131; cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 16.
  6. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 13–14. off-site
  7. Hyrum Smith, "Concerning the plurality of gods & worlds," 27 April 1843; cited in Eugene England (editor), "George Laub's Nauvoo Journal," Brigham Young University Studies 18 no. 2 (Winter 1978), 177. off-site
  8. Brigham Young, "The Gospel—The One-Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:271-271.
  9. Patriarchal Blessings Books 9:294–295.
  10. Young Woman's Journal (1892) 3: 263.
  11. Patrick Moore, New Guide to the Moon (W.W. Norton & Company, New York: 1976), cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," Sunstone 7 no. (Issue #5) (September/October 1982), 15. off-site
  12. Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 15.
  13. Holmes, 464.
  14. Moore, New Guide to the Moon 130–131; cited by Van Hale, "Mormons And Moonmen," 16.
  15. Painesville Telegraph (11 September 1835).
  16. New York Sun 16 September 1835; cited by Alex Boese, "The Great Moon Hoax," museumofhoaxes.com off-site
  17. Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder (London: Harper Press, 2008), 199.
  18. Holmes, 465, (italics in original).
  19. Deseret News 6 (1856): 134d.
  20. ‘Quebec,’ “The Moon”, Contributor 1/9 (June 1880): 193-5, from page 195
  21. Brigham Young, "The Gospel—The One-Man Power," (24 July 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:270.
  22. "...in 1795 [Herschel] published one of his most extraordinary papers, 'On the Nature and Construction of the sun', with the Royal Society, suggesting that the sun had a cool, solid interior and was inhabited by intelligent beings." [Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder (London: Harper Press, 2008), 199.]
  23. Esther Inglis-Arkell, "Astronomers once thought there was life on the sun," io9. (20 December 2013)
  24. Deseret News 6 (1856): 134d.
  25. ‘Quebec,’ “The Moon”, Contributor 1/9 (June 1880): 193-5, from page 195
  26. Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions [1st edition] (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957), 2:190-191 (italics added)
  27. Joseph Fielding McConkie, "On Second Thought: Growing up as a son of Bruce R. McConkie," as quoted by John W. Redelfs on his blog The Iron Rod, Aug 19, 2005.
  28. Hal Knight, "3 Apollo Astros in S.L. For Busy One-Day Visit," Deseret News (14 September 1971).