One of the most striking concepts revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith can be found in the first chapter of the Book of Moses.
33 And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.
34 And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.
35 But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.
38 And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words. (Moses 1:33-35, 38)
These scriptures are most commonly read in the church to mean that before this earth was created there were innumerable other similar inhabited worlds that God created. In fact the header in this chapter reads: Many inhabited worlds seen.
Then to add to the mix, we can throw in this insight Joseph taught near the end of his life:
It is the first principle to know that we may converse with him and that he once was a man like us, and the Father was once on an earth like us (King Follet Discourse, Wilford Woodruff Diary)
So the basic idea as most read these passages is that there have been innumerable inhabited worlds (which are generally thought to be planets as opposed to the figurative worlds on the same planet) and that God, the Father of Jesus Christ, was a mortal on at least one of them.
If that isn’t enough to set us apart doctrinally as a peculiar people I don’t know what would be. But while these statements open grand new vistas for us, they also bring up a lot of new questions. Here are some of the issues that interest me:
1. Who were the inhabitants of all those other worlds?
2. Did each world have a savior of its own?
3. Who was the Godhead for each world?
4. How similar was the human plot of each world?
5. How similar was the animal and plant life of previous worlds to ours?
I’ll spend time exploring these questions over several posts to come. In my next post (which I’ll publish tonight as well) I’ll start with the first question. This ought to be fun!