Where is Everybody? p1; The Trouble With God p6; Milton Matters p9;
Where is Everybody?
‘Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s revolving, and revolving at nine hundred miles an hour. It’s orbiting at ninety miles a second, so it’s reckoned, the sun that is the source of all our power. The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see are moving at a million miles a day. In an outer spiral arm at forty thousand miles an hour in a galaxy we call the Milky Way.
‘Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars. It’s a hundred thousand light-years side to side. It bulges in the middle sixteen thousand light-years thick. And out by us it’s just three thousand light-years wide. We’re thirty thousand light-years from galactic central point. We get round every two hundred million years. And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions in this amazing and expanding universe.
‘The universe itself keeps expanding and expanding in all the directions it can whiz. As fast as it can go the speed of light you know twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is. So remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure how amazing and unlikely is your birth. And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space. ’Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.’ Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life 1983
The space-headed prophets of the Old Testament might have preached the parable that no matter how high the religious addiction to the deluded, both feet on terra firma must be firmly rooted in evidence. The parable of evidence applies equally to the highest math-wizards, waving their wands of chalk and smothering magic boards with the scrambled custard of calculations — the Scientist — not the Prophet — gave us E=MC², took us to the Moon, and the scientists — not the prophets — are sending us high-definition colour pictures of Mars.
The Mormon Church has made an astonishing contribution to astrophysics and human progress. The big-bearded Brigham Young — the second murderous polygamous prophet following the gunning down of the gold-digging magic-stone-peeping gangsta Joseph Smith — blazed a trail to the salt flats of Utah with the sacrificial fodder of pioneers, and a spiritual trail to the stars with the superficial space-dust of revelation:
‘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’ ... 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. Every planet in its first rude, organic state receives not the glory of God upon it, but is opaque; but when celestialized, every planet that God brings into existence is a body of light, but not till then. Christ is the light of this planet.’ Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 13:271
The rocket-fuel of prophecy throbbing their temples and spirit-burning their bosoms, star-struck Mormon cosmologists raced to their telescopes to ratify the prophet’s tall-hatted findings:
‘The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the earth, being six feet in height. They dress very much like the Quaker style and are quite general in style or fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally near a thousand years. This is the description of them as given by Joseph the Seer.’ Oliver B Huntington journal vol 2 p166.
God was on a rock-’n’-roll rush to reveal the highest magic-laughing-gas secrets of the universe. Mormon prophets were leading lights with their out-of-this-world ability to Babel in tongues. The steady, stay at home stick-mud prophets of the satellite sixties inspired their sheeple with supernova predictions:
‘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.’ Joseph Fielding Smith, stake conference Honolulu 14th May 1961
The Incredibly Shrinking Con Cult Corporation of Creepy Crinkly Men is a collection of likely looking clones — twelve apostles, two counsellors and a prophet propped, prodded and paraded in public twice a year at the appalling parody of General Conference under the panoply of a panoramic Salt Lake conference centre like puppets — rows of Russian-doll apparatchiks whiffing strongly of formaldehyde, waving white handkerchiefs and hawking clichés. We are the Morg. Resistance is futile.
In 2002 the BBC’s John Sweeney, who had twice crossed e-meters with the Scientologists for Panorama, penetrated the hive and infiltrated the brain of the Morg Apostle Elder Holland for This World: The Mormon Candidate
‘We’re not a cult. I’m not an idiot, you know. I’ve read a couple of books and I’ve been to a pretty good school, and I have chosen to be in this church because of the faith that I feel and the inspiration that comes. I’ve met people, and if people want to call us a cult, they can call us a cult and you can call us a cult, but we are fourteen million and growing, and I’d like to think that your respect for me would be enough to know that this man doesn’t seem like a dodo.’ Elder Holland
Why the vicious unprovoked attack on the dodo? Was the Morg conspiring a daring papal Proclamation to deny the existence of the dodo? Dodo Holland’s naked admission during the BBC probing that he had ‘read a couple of books’ renders this leading naturist a giant of Morg Intelligentsia.
At the bizarre bi-annual Morg conference of April 2012 Elder Russell M Nelson, a fiery Virgo with his moon in Uranus, and hopeless addict of the Analogy, came out of the cosmic closet to let fart a celestial clanger:
‘Yet some people erroneously think that these marvellous physical attributes happened by chance or resulted from a Big Bang somewhere. Ask yourself: Could an explosion in a printing shop produce a dictionary? The likelihood is most remote. But if so, it could never heal its own torn pages or reproduce its own newer editions.’ Elder Russell M Nelson, Thanks Be to God
We have crossed the Van Allen Belt of sanity from the stubbornly stone-hearted to the barking, howling lunar-brained delirium of a Munchkin who will say anything to keep his $80,000 a month allowance.
Or perhaps we should thank the likes of Russell M Nelson for shovelling us so much manure to feed the running horses of ripping the piss out of the Analogy. May the force be with you, Russell M Nelson.
The inkily suspicious story of a print shop and dictionary — stretched to include ‘torn pages’ and ‘newer editions’ — is a corruption of an analogy attributed to Fred Hoyle, former astronomer and mathematician at the Cambridge Institute of Astronomy, and fireside familiar radio voice of the BBC:
‘The chance that higher life-forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein.’ Fred Hoyle, Hoyle on Evolution, Nature 294: 5837 p105 12th November 1981