Episode 69: Author Anthony Larson and the Last Days

Mormon Author Anthony E. Larson joins John Larsen to discuss his research and writing concerning the last days.

Anthony’s Webpages:
mormonprophecy.blogspot.com
www.mormonprophecy.com

Episode 69

46 comments on “Episode 69: Author Anthony Larson and the Last Days”

  1. Swearing Elder Reply

    I appreciate Mr. Larson coming on and talking about his views on Mormonism. Even as a believer I couldn’t have bought into a lot of what he says, but I was glad to hear that he recognizes this and realizes that everyone doesn’t “get it” when it comes to his particular view of the world and universe. Even as a believer I couldn’t have bent my mind around the idea of planets moving out of their orbit and knowing that the Exodus is a myth, I can’t assign it any of the importance he alluded to.

    That said, I’m glad John and crew interview a wide variety of people from the Mormon spectrum. It’s interesting to hear these perspectives…

  2. Swearing Elder Reply

    I appreciate Mr. Larson coming on and talking about his views on Mormonism. Even as a believer I couldn’t have bought into a lot of what he says, but I was glad to hear that he recognizes this and realizes that everyone doesn’t “get it” when it comes to his particular view of the world and universe. Even as a believer I couldn’t have bent my mind around the idea of planets moving out of their orbit and knowing that the Exodus is a myth, I can’t assign it any of the importance he alluded to.

    That said, I’m glad John and crew interview a wide variety of people from the Mormon spectrum. It’s interesting to hear these perspectives…

  3. scottro Reply

    I’m only halfway through right now but this one is pretty “out there” even for Mormonism. I agree with Swearing Elder that even as a TBM I would have thought this guy was a complete nutter. All the talk of electro-magnetism based energy for the sun (not fusion reactions) and multiple planets being thrown out of their orbit is, well, hard to take seriously – that’s the nicest thing I can say.

    This felt like an episode of the radio classic coast to coast, mormon apocalypse style.

    Having said that, I do think it is interesting to have these kinds of people on the podcast, and inasmuch as they represent a contingent of mormonism it is relevant. John as always you do a good job staying even-handed.

  4. scottro Reply

    I’m only halfway through right now but this one is pretty “out there” even for Mormonism. I agree with Swearing Elder that even as a TBM I would have thought this guy was a complete nutter. All the talk of electro-magnetism based energy for the sun (not fusion reactions) and multiple planets being thrown out of their orbit is, well, hard to take seriously – that’s the nicest thing I can say.

    This felt like an episode of the radio classic coast to coast, mormon apocalypse style.

    Having said that, I do think it is interesting to have these kinds of people on the podcast, and inasmuch as they represent a contingent of mormonism it is relevant. John as always you do a good job staying even-handed.

  5. Brian Reply

    I thought that was interesting. I have some trouble agreeing with it. Like a lot of trouble.

    I can see how the church is not a huge fan of having it brought up. They like to show how Joseph was ahead of his time as far as science was concerned by picking out a few quotes. Anthony brings up quotes that show that many of the things JS said are very out of agreement with science. I like hearing the perspectives. That perspective was pretty far out, from my perspective. At least the guy is willing to come on and back up what he has to say.

    Thanks again for the podcast.

  6. Brian Reply

    I thought that was interesting. I have some trouble agreeing with it. Like a lot of trouble.

    I can see how the church is not a huge fan of having it brought up. They like to show how Joseph was ahead of his time as far as science was concerned by picking out a few quotes. Anthony brings up quotes that show that many of the things JS said are very out of agreement with science. I like hearing the perspectives. That perspective was pretty far out, from my perspective. At least the guy is willing to come on and back up what he has to say.

    Thanks again for the podcast.

  7. Glenn Reply

    An example of selective religious syncretism at it’s finest. The reported conversation between Joseph Smith and Homer Brown, where Joseph points out the big dipper, is also the same conversation where Joseph points out the location of the Lost Tribes (in space). This is exactly the kind of speculative mormon cosmology that fueled my imagination as a kid. I love it. I’m going to go pour over the Book of Abraham facsimiles again to see if I can find some further evidence for Brother Larson’s thesis. There has got to be a planet in there somewhere.

  8. Glenn Reply

    An example of selective religious syncretism at it’s finest. The reported conversation between Joseph Smith and Homer Brown, where Joseph points out the big dipper, is also the same conversation where Joseph points out the location of the Lost Tribes (in space). This is exactly the kind of speculative mormon cosmology that fueled my imagination as a kid. I love it. I’m going to go pour over the Book of Abraham facsimiles again to see if I can find some further evidence for Brother Larson’s thesis. There has got to be a planet in there somewhere.

  9. Eric Reply

    I have one word that might describe Mr. Larson, it’s wackadoo. But that’s probably what made listening to him so entertaining.

  10. Eric Reply

    I have one word that might describe Mr. Larson, it’s wackadoo. But that’s probably what made listening to him so entertaining.

  11. Ella Menno Reply

    Glenn,
    You and me both. I love “Space Doctrine”. It’s so much fun. Not that I have ever put that much stock into it, at least not to the degree that Mr. Larson (Anthony, that is) does. I had a companion on my mission who was a recent convert and they loved to hear every intricate detail of space doctrine that I could produce. It gave me a reason to go searching through Nibley, McConkie, Talmage, and the like, as well as the teachings of JS of course, for any wackiness I could find. That was delightfully entertaining companion study time! I always enjoy listening to those for whom this kind of speculation is so important. John, you assignment now is to find someone to talk about sacred geometry or numerology and mormonism. Those are some crazy subjects. Crazy in a good way. Great podcast.

    • Glenn Reply

      Here’s some space doctrine (and covenants) for you:

      D&C 88:43-62

      When I was growing up, my dad and some of his friends in the ward referenced this parable with a discussion in Fred C. Collier’s “Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets” and some other verses in a Nibley book to conclude (or to propose) that there were actually 12 planets that were created before this earth, and this earth was the 13th, and the most wicked, for we were the only earth that would crucify Jesus, and the other 12 planets know about each other and communicate with each other and have a more direct communication with God, but we are quarantined because of our wickedness. They never mentioned anything about Cylons, but if they did, it would be frakking awesome.

      • Ella Menno Reply

        Okay, try this one. The constellations are a virtual illuminated manuscript of the heros of the bible.
        http://www.meridianmagazine.com/sci_rel/060928angels.html

        Joseph Smith taught that the City of Enoch was taken up and is currently in orbit around the Earth just out of view. He gave a diagram to Philo Dibble that supposedly explains this theory. I couldn’t find one in a good enough link, Google it. So, he said the Tower of Babel was built so the inhabitants could get, not to heaven, but to the City of Enoch. Prior to the second coming the City of Enoch will collide with the Earth sending the waters to the north causing the highway to be raised out of the oceans. And the Earth will be returned to it’s place with the original 12 planets which will cause all the calamities prophesied in the Bible. Delightful!

  12. Ella Menno Reply

    Glenn,
    You and me both. I love “Space Doctrine”. It’s so much fun. Not that I have ever put that much stock into it, at least not to the degree that Mr. Larson (Anthony, that is) does. I had a companion on my mission who was a recent convert and they loved to hear every intricate detail of space doctrine that I could produce. It gave me a reason to go searching through Nibley, McConkie, Talmage, and the like, as well as the teachings of JS of course, for any wackiness I could find. That was delightfully entertaining companion study time! I always enjoy listening to those for whom this kind of speculation is so important. John, you assignment now is to find someone to talk about sacred geometry or numerology and mormonism. Those are some crazy subjects. Crazy in a good way. Great podcast.

    • Glenn Reply

      Here’s some space doctrine (and covenants) for you:

      D&C 88:43-62

      When I was growing up, my dad and some of his friends in the ward referenced this parable with a discussion in Fred C. Collier’s “Unpublished Revelations of the Prophets” and some other verses in a Nibley book to conclude (or to propose) that there were actually 12 planets that were created before this earth, and this earth was the 13th, and the most wicked, for we were the only earth that would crucify Jesus, and the other 12 planets know about each other and communicate with each other and have a more direct communication with God, but we are quarantined because of our wickedness. They never mentioned anything about Cylons, but if they did, it would be frakking awesome.

      • Ella Menno Reply

        Okay, try this one. The constellations are a virtual illuminated manuscript of the heros of the bible.
        http://www.meridianmagazine.com/sci_rel/060928angels.html

        Joseph Smith taught that the City of Enoch was taken up and is currently in orbit around the Earth just out of view. He gave a diagram to Philo Dibble that supposedly explains this theory. I couldn’t find one in a good enough link, Google it. So, he said the Tower of Babel was built so the inhabitants could get, not to heaven, but to the City of Enoch. Prior to the second coming the City of Enoch will collide with the Earth sending the waters to the north causing the highway to be raised out of the oceans. And the Earth will be returned to it’s place with the original 12 planets which will cause all the calamities prophesied in the Bible. Delightful!

  13. Michael Nelson Reply

    As I listened to this podcast, I was taken back to my childhood when my parents, with some of the neighbors from a couple of area wards, would have study groups. When the church decided to advise against study groups in the late ’70’s or early ’80’s, my folks were sad, and felt a little put upon, but they were obedient to the brethren. Although they were careful not to get too out there with doctrine, I am aware they were influenced by this sort of insider speculative doctrine. As a tribe, we Mormons are less interesting because of the suppression of this kind of interpretation of the scriptures. These are the kind of discussions that used to send me to the books to try to verify or disprove. I wish things were less correlated. We are no longer as peculiar a people.

  14. Michael Nelson Reply

    As I listened to this podcast, I was taken back to my childhood when my parents, with some of the neighbors from a couple of area wards, would have study groups. When the church decided to advise against study groups in the late ’70’s or early ’80’s, my folks were sad, and felt a little put upon, but they were obedient to the brethren. Although they were careful not to get too out there with doctrine, I am aware they were influenced by this sort of insider speculative doctrine. As a tribe, we Mormons are less interesting because of the suppression of this kind of interpretation of the scriptures. These are the kind of discussions that used to send me to the books to try to verify or disprove. I wish things were less correlated. We are no longer as peculiar a people.

  15. Ryan Reply

    Wow. Some wild and speculative stuff. I almost turned it off after a few minutes, because it sounded crazy, but I held on and was greatly entertained: celestial billiards, a planet passing very close to earth, the earth was a satellite of Saturn up until the flood, the burning bush in Exodus was an electrical discharge from said passing planet, and a weird 10 tribe theory. Utterly unconvincing but fascinating. Maybe this is a record for the number of strained naturalistic explanations for biblical miracles that I have ever heard in one sitting. But, hey, what do I know?… after all, that Immanuel Velikousky guy was actually cited in the church’s OT manual (page 28). It must be odd for Larson to be an adherent of a vein of the church’s own thought that the church itself has chosen to ignore.

  16. Ryan Reply

    Wow. Some wild and speculative stuff. I almost turned it off after a few minutes, because it sounded crazy, but I held on and was greatly entertained: celestial billiards, a planet passing very close to earth, the earth was a satellite of Saturn up until the flood, the burning bush in Exodus was an electrical discharge from said passing planet, and a weird 10 tribe theory. Utterly unconvincing but fascinating. Maybe this is a record for the number of strained naturalistic explanations for biblical miracles that I have ever heard in one sitting. But, hey, what do I know?… after all, that Immanuel Velikousky guy was actually cited in the church’s OT manual (page 28). It must be odd for Larson to be an adherent of a vein of the church’s own thought that the church itself has chosen to ignore.

  17. badseed Reply

    As many of the other comments have noted, Mr. Larson’s views seem pretty out there when judged in terms of modern day Mormonism. From my experience though this is the type of stuff that was often thrown around in early Mormonism— especially by Joseph Smith and Brother Brigham.

    Certainly contemporary LDS have a hard time with ideas like planetary fly-bys and electro-magnetic upheavals in the face of widely accepted physics and astronomy— not to mention current religious thought. It smacks a bit of Scientology.

    That said though I don’t understand though how they can dismiss things like Earth being a satellite of Saturn or Moon Qakers w/o questioning Joseph’s prophetic prowess.

    My .02

  18. badseed Reply

    As many of the other comments have noted, Mr. Larson’s views seem pretty out there when judged in terms of modern day Mormonism. From my experience though this is the type of stuff that was often thrown around in early Mormonism— especially by Joseph Smith and Brother Brigham.

    Certainly contemporary LDS have a hard time with ideas like planetary fly-bys and electro-magnetic upheavals in the face of widely accepted physics and astronomy— not to mention current religious thought. It smacks a bit of Scientology.

    That said though I don’t understand though how they can dismiss things like Earth being a satellite of Saturn or Moon Qakers w/o questioning Joseph’s prophetic prowess.

    My .02

  19. Patrick Reply

    I don’t know how to interpret these ideas. Do we celebrate this to show the breadth of beliefs within the Mormon umbrella? Or do we mock them because they are not remotely possible under any commonly accepted scientific ideas.

    I applaud Anthony Larson for being firm in his beliefs and ignoring the pointed fingers of his scorners, yet I can’t help but feel a little sad for him. It seems that he had a real following at one time but he was shut down by “The Man”, the very church he was trying to help.

    Anthony, while you didn’t convince me, I wish you happiness and contentment in your faith.

    Sincerely,

    Patrick

  20. Patrick Reply

    I don’t know how to interpret these ideas. Do we celebrate this to show the breadth of beliefs within the Mormon umbrella? Or do we mock them because they are not remotely possible under any commonly accepted scientific ideas.

    I applaud Anthony Larson for being firm in his beliefs and ignoring the pointed fingers of his scorners, yet I can’t help but feel a little sad for him. It seems that he had a real following at one time but he was shut down by “The Man”, the very church he was trying to help.

    Anthony, while you didn’t convince me, I wish you happiness and contentment in your faith.

    Sincerely,

    Patrick

  21. scott2 Reply

    i skmimmed through the comments, and i don’t think anyone has mentioned this, but when he referred to the events in the mid-90’s that caused the drop in sales of his books, he referenced vaguely to something he thought was called the October 7… was he trying to refer to the September 6?

    • scottro Reply

      Yeah, I’m almost certain that’s what he was trying to say but he couldn’t get it out.

  22. scott2 Reply

    i skmimmed through the comments, and i don’t think anyone has mentioned this, but when he referred to the events in the mid-90’s that caused the drop in sales of his books, he referenced vaguely to something he thought was called the October 7… was he trying to refer to the September 6?

    • scottro Reply

      Yeah, I’m almost certain that’s what he was trying to say but he couldn’t get it out.

  23. Joseph Reply

    I remember encountering Velikovsky as an undergrad: for a while I wanted to believe him, being a sucker for unorthodox takes on antiquity, but in the end I had to admit that the science he was using was just a souped-up version of astrology. The real question to ask of him and others like him is this: are your theories falsifiable? can I test them and see whether they actually work or not? If it cannot be false, then it cannot be true: it’s just a story, a piece of mythology that has no definite foundation in any kind of external reality. Voila Velikovsky (and modern macro-economists, lest any of us get too smug about seeing through someone else’s crazy mythology).

    Thanks for a really interesting podcast. Humans are fascinating. Our ability to produce and rationalize information is simply astounding, no more so than when we dedicate ourselves to proving nonsense.

  24. Joseph Reply

    I remember encountering Velikovsky as an undergrad: for a while I wanted to believe him, being a sucker for unorthodox takes on antiquity, but in the end I had to admit that the science he was using was just a souped-up version of astrology. The real question to ask of him and others like him is this: are your theories falsifiable? can I test them and see whether they actually work or not? If it cannot be false, then it cannot be true: it’s just a story, a piece of mythology that has no definite foundation in any kind of external reality. Voila Velikovsky (and modern macro-economists, lest any of us get too smug about seeing through someone else’s crazy mythology).

    Thanks for a really interesting podcast. Humans are fascinating. Our ability to produce and rationalize information is simply astounding, no more so than when we dedicate ourselves to proving nonsense.

  25. ed42 Reply

    As a TBM I ate up this “special knowledge”, now that I am fully committed to the scientific method I reject it.

  26. ed42 Reply

    As a TBM I ate up this “special knowledge”, now that I am fully committed to the scientific method I reject it.

  27. Third Nephite Reply

    My partner and I picked up a copy of “And The Moon Shall Turn To Blood” at Deseret Industries a few months back based on the virtues of the book cover alone. Needless to say, I got really excited about this episode.

    Like other commenters, this style of sci-fi mormonism was the only thing that kept me engaged during Sunday School throughout my teenage years. Kudos to Mr. Larson for keeping this tradition alive!

  28. Third Nephite Reply

    My partner and I picked up a copy of “And The Moon Shall Turn To Blood” at Deseret Industries a few months back based on the virtues of the book cover alone. Needless to say, I got really excited about this episode.

    Like other commenters, this style of sci-fi mormonism was the only thing that kept me engaged during Sunday School throughout my teenage years. Kudos to Mr. Larson for keeping this tradition alive!

  29. SouthernSkeptic Reply

    This stuff reminds me of John P. Pratt. He writes about an Enoch Calendar and lots of things about astromony to tie events of history together. Perhaps you should interview this guy, he could be entertaining.

    • Elder Vader Reply

      Yeah John P. Pratt is awesome, the same way conspiracy theories are awesome. I have a BIL who analyzes earthquake patterns in an effort to tie current events to the Mayan calendar. Intense stuff man. Intense.

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