Sunday, January 23, 2011

K is for...


or Where is Kolob? 

For some reason, I didn't feel quiet ready to write this ABC.  My writing teacher calls this a Red Flag of Avoidance.  She can tell when something is being left out of writing because the author is ready to talk about it.  

I knew I wanted to write about Kolob, but where do you start?  

"If you could hie to Kolob in the twinkling of an eye and then continue upward with the same strength to fly, do you think that you could ever through all eternity, find out the generation where man became to be?"  - LDS Hymn # 284

On warm summer night, my sister and I father outside to watch a meteor shower.  My dad joined us as we gazed up at the tiny pinpricks of light.  I sat explaining that the stream of light from the meteors happened as the entered the atmosphere and started to burn.  (Correct me if I'm wrong.  My area of expertise is most certainly not science.)  My dad looked up and marveled at the stars.  He wondered out loud, "Where is Kolob?"  My sister, only 14, asked "What is Kolob?"

What, my dear friends, is Kolob?  Why is my father, an intelligent, graduate scholar and business administrator asking, "Where is Kolob?"

The answer, as usual, comes from a "Primary Answer."  No, not Pray, Read Your Scriptures or Go to Church.  The answer, of course, is Joseph Smith.

 After Joseph Smith was invited to view an Egyptian mummy expedition traveling through Kirtland, Ohio in 1835, he then arranged for the Egyptian papyri he saw to be purchased.  Joseph "translated" the documents found with the mummy and dictated what he found to scribes W. W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery in 1836.

The idea of Kolob first appeared in the 1842 edition of the newspaper Times and Seasons as the Book of Abraham.  According to Joseph, the papyri, later revealed by scholars to be an Egyptian hypocephalus, described a vision in which Abraham:

"saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God;....and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me " - Abraham 2:2-3

Joseph later explained that Kolob "signif[ied] the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God."

Later Mormon scholars, such as Hugh Nibley in The Temple and The Cosmos argued that Kolob is to be viewed symbolically as a metaphor for Jesus Christ.  Still others wonder if Kolob is a star or planet. Modern Mormon scholar Eric Skouson theorizes that Kolob is a star at the Galactic Center of our own Galaxy while scholar Hyrum Leslie Andrus maintains that Kolob is a planet.

So, the question remains...

Where is Kolob?

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