Forty days before November 13, 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith predicted this as the exact day when the largest meteor storm in history would erupt like fireworks across America. The great Leonid storm occurred just two and a third years before the visit of the Lord Jesus Christ and His messengers to the Kirtland Temple on April 3, 1836. A hypothesis that can be tested is whether other important events in the Restoration, such as the First Vision, might also be closely preceded by a spectacular event caused by a comet.[i]

The Amazing 1833 Meteor Storm

Every thirty-three years the small comet Tempel-Tuttle speeds close to the Sun and part of the comet is burned off into a debris field which continues around the Sun in its own slightly different orbit. Because their orbits so closely intersect the earth’s orbit, a debris field can directly collide with the earth for a few hours. The resulting meteor storm can be as intense as 200,000 meteors per hour. This exponentially more intense steam of meteors that is possible for the Leonids compares with a “good” meteor shower of ten meteors per hour.[ii]

Even though the Tempel-Tuttle comet is small, its exact orbital intersection with the earth’s orbit can result in a spectacular meteor storm as a debris field from a previous visit to the inner solar system collides head on with the earth. The Leonid meteor shower is the only annual shower where meteor storms can occur.

An illustration of the comet Tempel-Tuttle debris fields each in its own slightly different orbit that created the relatively small yet still amazing 2001 meteor storm.

In 1833, the debris field from an earlier orbit of the comet collided with the earth at speeds of up to 160,000 mph creating the most impressive meteor storm in modern history. Forty days before the Leonid storm arrived, Joseph Smith had predicted that “forty days shall not pass, and the stars shall fall from heaven.”[iii]

Joseph Smith wrote in his journal that “this event was a literal fulfillment of the word of God and a sure sign that the coming of Christ is close at hand.” He then distinguished this meteor storm as not being the same one predicted in Revelation 6:12-13 when “the Sun will become black, … the moon like blood and the stars fall to the earth.”

When it is realized that many prophesies fall into this category of having multiple fulfillments of a given prophesy, such as these meteor storms discussed by Joseph Smith, the difficulty of correctly interpreting prophesies without the aid of a modern Prophet and Seer becomes clearly evident.[iv]

It is, as it were, that the equations governing possible solutions in the “prophesy fulfillment programming logic” just had the number of required variables for their solution multiplied and made much more complicated if not insoluble.[v]

 

More variables in a mathematics problem require more equations and are much more complicated to solve.

Prophesy Fulfilled on April 3, 1836 in the Kirtland Temple

Joseph Smith’s interpretation of the 1833 meteor storm as a “sure sign that the coming of Christ is close at hand” was validated when the Lord Jesus Christ and His prophetic messengers appeared just two and third years later in the Kirtland Temple to bestow priesthood keys on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

Only a little more than two years after the magnificent meteor storm of 1833, Jesus Christ Himself appeared in the newly dedicated Kirtland Temple with accompanying messengers transmitting to Joseph and Oliver the keys of the priesthood so that “all mankind may be saved,” living and dead. (Articles of Faith 3)

Baptist Minister William Miller, many other ministers and an estimated hundreds of thousands or even millions of Christians throughout America suffered a “Great Disappointment” when Christ did not come in 1843 or 1844 as Miller had calculated from prophesies in the Bible. When the 1833 meteor storm happened, Miller was convinced that it was the last major sign that was necessary to occur before the Millennial Second Coming of Christ.

 

Do Comet-caused Signs Precede Pre-Millennial Visits of Jesus Christ?

Is it possible that other comet-caused signs have preceded preliminary visits of Jesus Christ before the Millennium and might precede future visitations? Can such a hypothesis be tested using the small set of well-documented impressive comet visits to the inner solar system?[vi]

If the 1833 storm was a sign of Christ coming to earth as Joseph Smith declared, then there is a well-documented fulfillment of that sign in the Lord’s 1836 visit to the Kirtland Temple. And, as a double bonus, Halley’s Comet then reappeared in the inner solar system in 1835, traveling along its 76 year orbit, within the same Hebrew year as the Lord’s visit in April 1836.[vii]

Two comets, two testimonies.

King Mosiah and Alma OR King Noah and Amulon?

There are many superstitions and false ideas associated with comets and whether some of them may have any meaning as a sign and wonder in the heavens or they do not. If there is a true sign in heaven scheduled by the Lord such as the case of the 1833 storm, how would we keep from being deceived by those who call an irrelevant sign a true sign, a true sign irrelevant or those who misinterpret a true sign? In the case of William Miller, he was right that the sign was a true sign, but he then failed to interpret it correctly and confusion and disillusionment followed.

The best situation would be to have a prophet-king like Mosiah who was also a Seer and his High Priest, Alma, who was a great prophet. The Nephite leader Ammon, describing King Mosiah said “I can assuredly tell thee, O king [Limhi], of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. [and] the same is called seer.”[viii]

“A seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.”

Righteous King Mosiah was able to translate the record of the Jeredite prophet Ether using a Urim and Thummum.

“But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.” (Mosiah 8:13, 16-17)

However, what if instead, the king was more like King Noah with his chief high priest Amulon? King Noah and Amulon rejected Abinadi’s testimony, burned him at the stake, and continued to speak lying words to their people as they reclined upon their chairs ornamented with pure gold. (Mosiah 11:11) Chances are that a comet which is a true sign would be declared by them as not a sign at all or the sign of some irrelevant event. Or a false sign would likely be declared to be a true sign and used as an excuse to expand further the power of this unrighteous king and his priests.

A Bright Comet during Emperor Nero’s Reign

Nero was the emperor of Rome in 60 AD. “If even half of the things written about Nero are lies, the rest is more than enough to make him a very nasty person. Historians report that a comet appeared over Rome during Nero’s rule. No sooner had the comet turned up than some court soothsayer told Nero that it was a bad omen.”[ix]

Roman Emperor Nero ordered many executions because of the comet in the sky—interpreted by his priests as a very bad omen.

“Whether Nero believed the soothsayer or not, he did ask what sort of bad event the comet portended. The imperial wizard replied that it meant that some prominent person would die. It was pretty clear to Nero that the most important person in Rome was the emperor, and what better excuse for a palace coup than this strange celestial sign?

“So, just to keep way ahead of any potential plotters, Nero simply rounded up any and all prominent citizens who might not feel kindly toward him and had them all slaughtered. The soothsayer was absolutely right. The comet came, and a lot of very prominent Romans died.”

Halley’s Comet and Genghis Khan

“Let’s skip forward a few centuries. The year is A.D. 1222, and Genghis Khan is working his magic on the Eurasian landmass. Actually, he pretty much left the land alone—it was the population he was hard on. He had already depopulated much of northern China.”

Genghis Khan’s Mongol empire in 1294 AD.

“As he moved against the nations of the Middle East and Europe, a fairly spectacular comet appeared in the sky. As usual, some entrails were read, some bones were shaken—and guess what? The shaman-in-chief announced that the comet portended someone’s doom. … Genghis Khan knew just what to do. The comet meant bad news for others, and Genghis Khan was more than willing to oblige. … Genghis used the comet as an omen for killing almost everybody. No one really knows what the final death toll was. Again, the comet became an omen for a self-fulfilling prophesy.”[x]

Fortunately, in this article I am not trying to disentangle the reactions to comets by tyrants of the past. This study is analyzing comet-to-event year proximity patterns of other bright comet-caused, easily visible events similar to the 1833 Leonid meteor storm or the 1835 Halley’s Comet. The comet-caused events would need to arrive just before important Restoration events, as predicted and interpreted by the Prophet and Seer Joseph Smith in the example of the 1833 storm and the 1836 visit to the Kirtland Temple by the Lord Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias and Elijah. 

Is There a Bright Comet that Closely Preceded the First Vision?

Besides the Kirtland Temple visit, the other preliminary visit of the Lord Jesus Christ during Joseph Smith’s lifetime is the all-important First Vision. Is there is a very bright comet just before 1820?

The answer is “Yes!” On all of the “Great Comet” lists is Comet Tralles, a very bright comet that appeared in July of 1819, within the Hebrew year before the First Vision.[xi]

Did the Great Comet of 1819 announce the First Vision in 1820?

The First Vision: An Experience Different from Any Other

President Gordon B. Hinckley explained the importance of the “glorious First Vision.”[xii] [xiii]

“Joseph, when he was 14 years of age, had an experience in that glorious First Vision that was different from any other recorded experience of any man. At no other time of which we have any record have God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord, appeared on earth together.”

The Father and Son appeared together in 1820 to usher in the Restoration of the Gospel before the Millennial Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“How truly remarkable was that vision in the year 1820 when Joseph prayed in the woods and there appeared before him both the Father and the Son. One of these spoke to him, calling him by name and, pointing to the other, said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith–History 1:17). Nothing like it had ever happened before. One is led to wonder why it was so important that both the Father and the Son appear. I think it was because They were ushering in the dispensation of the fullness of times, the last and final dispensation of the gospel, when there would be gathered together in one the elements of all previous dispensations. This was to be the final chapter in the long chronicle of God’s dealing with men and women upon the earth.”[xiv]

“A Grove Called Sacred”

From President Thomas S. Monson:

“Pray fervently. With God, all things are possible. Men of the Aaronic Priesthood, men of the Melchizedek Priesthood, remember the prayer of the Prophet Joseph, offered in that grove called sacred. Look around you and see the result of that answered prayer.”[xv]

No one has declared more powerful testimonies of the First Vision than President Thomas S. Monson. The magnificent rolling forth of the Church and Kingdom of God on earth in our day is the “result of that answered prayer” in “that grove called sacred.”

President Monson quoting Joseph Smith’s account:

“While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by … these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’

“Joseph reported that he knew he must either put the Lord to the test and ask Him or perhaps choose to remain in darkness forever. Early one morning he stepped into a grove, now called sacred, and knelt and prayed, having faith that God would give him the enlightenment which he so earnestly sought. Two personages appeared to Joseph—the Father and the Son—and he was told, in answer to his question, that he was to join none of the churches, for none of them was true. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us the principle of faith—by example. His simple prayer of faith on that spring morning in 1820 brought about this marvelous work which continues today throughout the world.”[xvi]

First Vision from Afar

From Elder Neil L. Anderson in the October 2017 Conference.

“Recently, while visiting the Provo City Center Temple, I admired a painting entitled First Vision from Afar. The painting depicts the light and power from heaven as the Father and Son visited the young Joseph Smith.

“While not making a comparison with the very sacred event that ushered in the Restoration, I can imagine a similar visual that would reflect the light and spiritual power of God descending upon this general conference and, in turn, that power and light moving across the world.”[xvii]

“First Vision from Afar” in Provo City Center Temple

Scheduled Before the Foundation of the World

The First Vision and the Restoration of Priesthood Keys during the visit of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Temple were certainly events essential to God’s great plan for the salvation of this world. They are key events of “the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world through Christ.” (Alma 22:13)

I believe that the First Vision in 1820 and the visit to the Kirtland Temple in 1836 were scheduled on the Lord’s calendar before the comet-caused signs were set in synchronized motion to arrive before those events.

To precisely schedule and engineer the two very bright comets (1819 and 1835) plus the small yet spectacular “Leonid storm” comet of 1833 with its orbit and debris fields perfectly aligned could not happen by chance. The comet before the First Vision in 1820 came in 1819. Halley’s Comet and the debris field cloud from Tempel-Tuttle arrived in 1835 and in November of 1833 respectively, being one and two year proximities before the Lord’s visit in 1836.

The typical distribution of bright comets or spectacular comet-caused events of about one per decade during the 1800’s and the 1900’s does not match the distribution of these three comet-caused possible signs closely clustered just before the Lord’s preliminary visits in the Sacred Grove and the Kirtland Temple.

Death, Gloom and Doom vs. Glad Tidings of Great Joy

If signs caused by comets are found to be closely associated with events of the Restoration, perhaps comets’ reputation would not be one of death, gloom and doom. Perhaps they would not be as much associated with manipulative tyrants such as Nero and Genghis Kahn.

Samuel the Lamanite prophesied and Nephi recorded the fulfillment of wonderful positive signs such as the night without darkness and the new star at the birth of Christ, as well as negative signs such as the three hours of horrendous destruction in ancient America at the crucifixion of Christ caused by the mightiest storm the Nephites had ever known.

The First Vision is the epitome of hope for our world as the “restitution of all things” in the last days began to come forth. The visit of the Lord Jesus Christ restoring Priesthood power and keys in the Kirtland Temple gives hope for the gospel and ordinances of salvation to be extended to all people everywhere, living and dead. (Acts 3:21)

If comets were more recognized as oft times being a source for signs accompanying great positive events, perhaps they would be also known as bringers of “glad tidings of great joy.” (D&C 128:19, Alma 13:22)[xviii] Perhaps their bad reputation of doom and gloom can be rehabilitated.[xix]

A great picture of Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, that was visible in daylight especially from southern latitudes.

“I will Show unto You a God of Miracles” (Mormon 9:11)

Studying the correlation of important sacred events and predictable solar system phenomena such as bright comets, I think we can see clearly compelling evidence of the hand of God, who is a God of miracles.

According to Samuel the Lamanite, “many shall see greater things than these, to the intent that they might believe that these signs and these wonders should come to pass upon all the face of this land, to the intent that there should be no cause for unbelief among the children of men” (Helaman 14:28)

 

Notes: 

[i] Donald K. Yeomans, “Great Comets in History,” NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CalTech, 2007.

[https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?great_comets]

“A relative few comets are so visually impressive as to be termed “great comets”. Just the right set of circumstances must occur. Far from the sun, the solid portions of comets, which consist mostly of water ice and embedded dust particles, are inactive. They are not large enough to be seen with the naked eye. However, when near the sun, the icy cometary surfaces vaporize and throw off large quantities of gas and dust thus forming the enormous atmosphere and tails that make comets so visually striking. It is the fluorescing of these gases, and particularly the reflection of sunlight from the minute dust particles in the comet’s atmosphere and tail, that can make these objects so visually impressive. However, this activity by itself does not insure that a comet will become a great comet. An active comet can only become great by making a particularly close approach to the sun so that it produces enormous quantities of gas and dust or by making a close approach to the Earth so that its tail can be easily viewed. In either case, great comets must be seen in a dark sky.

“While applying the appellation “great comet” to a particular cometary return is a subjective process, the following Table is an attempt to list the great naked-eye comets that have been reported. With the single exception of periodic comet Halley, all the tabulated comets have passed through the inner solar system either for the first time or the intervals between their returns are measured in thousands or millions of years.”

“Great Comet,” wikipedia.org, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_comet]

“A great comet is a comet that becomes exceptionally bright. There is no official definition; often the term is attached to comets such as Halley’s Comet, which are bright enough to be noticed by casual observers who are not looking for them, and become well known outside the astronomical community. Great comets are rare; on average, only one will appear in a decade. Although comets are officially named after their discoverers, great comets are sometimes also referred to by the year in which they appeared great, using the formulation “The Great Comet of …”, followed by the year.

“The vast majority of comets are never bright enough to be seen by the naked eye, and generally pass through the inner Solar System unseen by anyone except astronomers. However, occasionally a comet may brighten to naked eye visibility, and even more rarely it may become as bright as or brighter than the brightest stars. The requirements for this to occur are: a large and active nucleus, a close approach to the Sun, and a close approach to the Earth. A comet fulfilling all three of these criteria will certainly be spectacular. Sometimes, a comet failing on one criterion will still be extremely impressive. For example, Comet Hale–Bopp had an exceptionally large and active nucleus, but did not approach the Sun very closely at all, yet it still became an extremely famous and well observed comet. Equally, Comet Hyakutake was a rather small comet, but appeared bright because it passed extremely close to the Earth.”

[ii] Bruce McClure, “Keep watching for Leonid Meteors,” November 17, 2017.

[http://earthsky.org/tonight/leonid-meteors-before-dawn-november-17]

“The illustration above depicts the 1833 Leonid meteor shower, said to have produced from 100,000 to 200,000 meteors per hour! This old woodcut, published in 1888, shows what the Leonid shower might look like in a year that this shower erupts into storm, bombarding the sky with hundreds of thousands of meteors.

“That happened last in 1966, when North Americans enjoyed a Leonid storm numbering 100,000 shooting stars per hour. Since then, the Leonids have put on some stunning displays, but nothing to match the 1966 shower.Will there be a Leonid storm in 2017? That’s one prediction we can make with a fair amount of certainty, and the answer is no. No storm or heightened meteor activity is anticipated for the Leonid meteor shower in 2017. That’s because the parent comet of the Leonid shower is not nearby. The comet takes just over 33 years to orbit the sun. Its last perihelion (closest point to the sun) was February 28, 1998. Its next expected perihelion is May 20, 2031. So we’ve got awhile to wait for the next Leonid storm! When they’re not storming, the Leonids are a modest, though reliable, shower. In a dark, moonless sky, you might see up to 10 to 15 meteors per hour. The absence of moonlight will undoubtedly enhance the view of this shower in 2017.”

Ronald P. Millett,”1833 Meteor Storm: A Precisely Synchronized Sign and Wonder,” Meridian Magazine, January 4, 2017.

[https://ldsmag.com/1833-meteor-storm-a-precisely-synchronized-sign-and-wonder/]

“Shortly before dawn on November 13, 1833, the greatest meteor storm in modern history was visible over North America with hundreds of thousands of bright meteors per hour. Not only was it a fulfillment of a specific prophesy that Joseph Smith had made, but this storm may have also been one of the signs of the establishment of the Church and Kingdom of God as prophesied in the Book of Revelation.”

“Here is an account by Philo Dibble of a very specific prophesy by Joseph Smith that was fulfilled in the magnificent Leonid meteor storm of 1833.

“On one occasion Joseph was preaching in Kirtland, sometime in the fall of 1833. Quite a number of persons were present who did not belong to the Church, and one man, more bitter and skeptical than others, made note with pencil and paper of a prophecy uttered on that occasion, wherein Joseph said that ‘Forty days shall not pass, and the stars shall fall from heaven.’ ”

“Continuing to quote from Philo Dibble:

“Such an event would certainly be very unusual and improbable to the natural man, and the skeptic wrote the words as a sure evidence to prove Joseph to be a false prophet. On the thirty-ninth day after the utterance of that prophecy, a man and brother in the Church, by the name of Joseph Hancock,… and another brother were out hunting game and got lost. They wandered about until night, when they found themselves at the house of this unbeliever, who exultingly produced this note of Joseph Smith’s prophecy and asked Brother Hancock what he thought of his prophet now that thirty-nine days had passed and the prophecy was not fulfilled. Brother Hancock was unmoved and quietly remarked, ‘There is one night left of the time, and if Joseph said so, the stars will certainly fall tonight. The prophecy will all be fulfilled.’ The matter weighed upon the mind of Brother Hancock, who watched that night, and it proved to be the historical one, known in all the world as ‘the night of the falling of the stars.’ He stayed that night at the house of the skeptical unbeliever, as it was too far from home to return by night, and in the midst of the falling of the stars, he went to the door of his host and called him out to witness what he had thought impossible and the most improbable thing that could happen, especially as that was the last night in which Joseph Smith could be saved from the condemnation of a ‘false prophet.’ The whole heavens were lit up with the falling meteors, and the countenance of the new spectator was plainly seen and closely watched by Brother Hancock, who said that he turned pale as death and spoke not a word.”

[iii] Joe Rao, “See the 2017 Leonid Meteor Shower at Its Peak: What to Expect,” space.com, November 16, 2017.

[https://www.space.com/38804-leonid-meteor-shower-2017-peaks-now.html]

“Earth meets these meteors head-on because they are traveling through space in a direction opposite to that of our home planet. As a result, they streak through our sky at ultraswift speeds of up to 45 miles per second (72 kilometers per second). About half of them leave visible trains that, in the most extreme cases, can persist for many seconds.”

“Metoer FAQs,” American Meteor Society,

[https://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-faq/]

“3. How big are most meteoroids? How fast do they travel?

“The majority of visible meteors are caused by particles ranging in size from about that of a small pebble down to a grain of sand, and generally weigh less than 1-2 grams. Those of asteroid origin can be composed of dense stony or metallic material (the minority) while those of cometary origin (the majority) have low densities and are composed of a “fluffy” conglomerate of material, frequently called a “dustball.” The brilliant flash of light from a meteor is not caused so much by the meteoroid’s mass, but by its high level of kinetic energy as it collides with the atmosphere.

“Meteors enter the atmosphere at speeds ranging from 11 km/sec (25,000 mph), to 72 km/sec (160,000 mph!). When the meteoroid collides with air molecules, its high level of kinetic energy rapidly ionizes and excites a long, thin column of atmospheric atoms along the meteoroid’s path, creating a flash of light visible from the ground below. This column, or meteor trail, is usually less than 1 meter in diameter, but will be tens of kilometers long.

“The wide range in meteoroid speeds is caused partly by the fact that the Earth itself is traveling at about 30 km/sec (67,000 mph) as it revolves around the sun. On the evening side, or trailing edge of the Earth, meteoroids must catch up to the earth’s atmosphere to cause a meteor, and tend to be slow. On the morning side, or leading edge of the earth, meteoroids can collide head-on with the atmosphere and tend to be fast.”

“Joseph Smith: Prophets of the Restoration videos,” lds.org, retrieved 11/28/2017.

[https://history.lds.org/article/joseph-smith-video-downloads?lang=eng]

[iv] Ronald P. Millett, “Multiple Prophecy Fulfillments: Our Need for a Modern Prophet and Seer,” Meridian Magazine, September 25, 2017.

[https://ldsmag.com/multiple-prophesy-fulfillments-our-need-for-a-modern-prophet-and-seer/]

“The spectacular Leonid meteor storm of 1833 over the United States was widely interpreted by Christian ministers as being a sign of the imminent Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith testified that there are multiple fulfillments of prophecy about both the sign of the stars falling from heaven and the coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. These multiple fulfillments make discerning the signs and events of the Lord’s coming much more complicated. The need for a modern prophet and seer to correctly interpret prophesies and their fulfillment is strikingly evident in this example.”

[v] “Systems Of Equations Substitution Method Worksheet How To Solve Systems Of 3 Variable Equations Using Elimination,” Free Printable Worksheets, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[http://www.fts-e.info/systems-of-equations-substitution-method-worksheet/systems-of-equations-substitution-method-worksheet-how-to-solve-systems-of-3-variable-equations-using-elimination/]

[vi] “Great Comet,” wikipedia.org, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_comet]

Donald K. Yeomans, “Great Comets in History,” NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, CalTech, 2007.

[https://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/?great_comets]

[vii] “Halley’s Comet,” wikipedia.org, Retrieved 11/28/2017.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley%27s_Comet]

“American satirist and writer Mark Twain was born on 30 November 1835, exactly two weeks after the comet’s perihelion. In his autobiography, published in 1909, he said, I came in with Halley’s comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together. Twain died on 21 April 1910, the day following the comet’s subsequent perihelion. The 1985 fantasy film The Adventures of Mark Twain was inspired by the quotation.

Halley’s 1910 apparition is distinct from the Great Daylight Comet of 1910, which surpassed Halley in brilliance and was actually visible in broad daylight for a short period, approximately four months before Halley made its appearance.”

[viii] Gale Boyd, “Urim and Thummim: Joseph Smith and Seer Stones,” Mormonhub.com, November 11, 2014.

[https://mormonhub.com/blog/faith/joseph-smith/urim-and-thummim-explained/]

“A seer stone is a facilitator for judgment, learning, or translation of languages. Seer stones in the Bible were used mostly for judging; seer stones in the Book of Mormon were used mostly for translating languages. Seer stones could only be used by seers called of God and operated by God’s power. A seer stone has been promised to each of those who become co-heirs with Christ as they are exalted. It conveys knowledge from God.”

“The Urim and Thummim were also used to translate unknown languages, as indicated in the Book of Mormon. The Nephites had in their possession a large, inscribed stone and 24 inscribed plates, a remnant from an earlier, destroyed society they later called the Jaredites. No one could read them until they were delivered to King Mosiah, who was a prophet and seer. Mosiah translated the plates by using Urim and Thummim, which the Nephites called ‘interpreters.’ ”

[ix] Douglas Campbell and John Higgins, “Tales of the Comet,” “Digressions and Fantasies Concerning the Good Dr. Halley and the Wondrous Reappearance of his Celestial Namesake,” Hunter House: 1986.

[https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Comet-Douglas-M-Campbell/dp/089793038X]

“Friend or Foe,” amazingspace.org, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[http://amazingspace.org/resources/explorations/comets/lesson/facts/Fact2/index_nf.html]

“Some people in ancient times thought that a comet was a curse. To save himself from the “curse of the comet,” Emperor Nero of Rome had all possible successors to his throne executed.”

[x] Douglas Campbell and John Higgins, “Tales of the Comet,” “Digressions and Fantasies Concerning the Good Dr. Halley and the Wondrous Reappearance of his Celestial Namesake,” Hunter House: 1986.

[https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Comet-Douglas-M-Campbell/dp/089793038X]

“Halley’s Comet, Wikipedia.org, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley%27s_Comet]

“Some claim that Genghis Kahn was inspired to turn his conquests toward Europe by the 1222 apparition.”

Christopher M. Cevasco, “Halley’s Comet – Part 3 (12th-15th Centuries,” Retrieved 11/24/2017.

[http://christophermcevasco.com/2011/07/22/halleys-comet-part-3-12th-15th-centuries/]

“Moving on, then, to the 13th Century, it has been claimed that Genghis Khan was so inspired by the 1222 apparition of Halley’s Comet that he came to think of it as his own personal star and saw it as a sign that he should turn his Mongol hordes toward Europe. This might be anecdotal, but it makes for a nice story!”

“The Mongol Empire, 1294,” slideshare.net, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[https://www.slideshare.net/abirmingham/mongol-rule-in-china-persia-russia-strayer-work]

[xi] John E. Bottle, “The Bright-Comet Chronicles,” Harvard.edu, 1998.

[http://www.icq.eps.harvard.edu/bortle.html]

“COMET C/1819 N1 (GREAT COMET; O.S. 1819 II). Period of naked-eye visibility spanned the month of July; T = 1819 June 28. Also known as “Comet Tralles”. Spotted on July first in the evening sky, a little to the north of the sun, the head being of about zeroth magnitude. Comet crossed eastern Auriga and was visible at both dusk and dawn for several weeks. At the end of the first week of July, at first magnitude with a 7- to 8-degree tail. Comet faded rapidly as it moved toward the northeast, almost pacing the sun. At mid-month, situated in Lynx, an object of third magnitude with a short tail. In the last few days of July, the comet’s brightness rapidly approached the naked-eye threshold.”

“Great Comet of 1819,” Wikipedia.org. retrieved 11/24/2017.

[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Comet_of_1819]

“The Great Comet of 1819, officially designated as C/1819 N1, also known as Comet Tralles, was an easily visible brilliant comet, approaching an apparent magnitude of 1–2, discovered July 1, 1819 by Johann Georg Tralles in Berlin, Germany. It was the first comet analyzed using polarimetry, by François Arago.”

[xii] “LDS Media Library,” 11/24/2017.

[xiii] John C. Lefgren and John P. Pratt, “Oh, How Lovely Was the Morning: Sun 26 Mar 1820?” Meridian Magazine, 9 Oct 2002.

[http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/meridian/2002/vision.html]

“Two researchers working independently have come up with evidence pointing toward a date for the First Vision. Detailed weather reports coupled with maple sugar production cycles point to the compelling possibility.”

“From President Gordon B. Hinckley: Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. It was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life.”

[xiv] Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain,” RS/Priesthood Lesson 1: “The First Vision,” ldsliving.org, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[http://www.ldsliving.com/JS-Lesson-1-The-First-Vision/s/4992]

“And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. It must do so if Moroni’s promise to Joseph is to be fulfilled. This work is unique and wonderful. It is fundamentally different from every other body of religious doctrine of which I know. When Jesus walked the earth, He said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). Joseph, when he was 14 years of age, had an experience in that glorious First Vision that was different from any other recorded experience of any man.”

[xv] Thomas S. Monson, “Be Your Best Self,” April 2009 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/be-your-best-self?lang=eng]

[xvi] Thomas S. Monson, “The Prophet Joseph Smith: Teacher by Example,” October 2005 General Conference.

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/the-prophet-joseph-smith-teacher-by-example?lang=eng]

[xvii] Neil L. Andersen, “The Voice of the Lord,”

[https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/10/the-voice-of-the-lord?lang=eng]

[xviii] “Now, what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those that bring glad tidings of good things, and that say unto Zion: Behold, thy God reigneth! As the dews of Carmel, so shall the knowledge of God descend upon them!” (D&C 128:19)

“Yea, and the voice of the Lord, by the mouth of angels, doth declare it unto all nations; yea, doth declare it, that they may have glad tidings of great joy; yea, and he doth sound these glad tidings among all his people, yea, even to them that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth; wherefore they have come unto us.” (Alma 13:22)

“Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that my servant Jared Carter should go again into the eastern countries, from place to place, and from city to city, in the power of the ordination wherewith he has been ordained, proclaiming glad tidings of great joy, even the everlasting gospel.” (D&C 79:1)

[xix] “C/2006 P1,” Wikipedia.org, retrieved 11/24/2017.

[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C/2006_P1 ]

“Comet McNaught, also known as the Great Comet of 2007 and given the designation C/2006 P1, is a non-periodic comet discovered on 7 August 2006 by British-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught using the Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope.[3] It was the brightest comet in over 40 years, and was easily visible to the naked eye for observers in the Southern Hemisphere in January and February 2007.”

RPMNote: This comet was much brighter than the planet Venus (Comet is -5.5 compared to -4.4 for Venus—almost 3 times brighter). The comet had an orbital period coming inward toward the Sun of an estimated 6.5 million years. Its outgoing period is estimated at 92,600 years. What if such magnificently beautiful comets such as Comet McNaught heralded wonderful, positive events coming in the last days, declaring “glad tidings of great joy,” instead of the “death, gloom and doom” traditionally associated with comets?”

“Astronomy Picture of the Day,” NASA.gov, November 17, 2013.

[https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap131117.html]

“The Magnificent Tail of Comet McNaught”

Image Credit & Copyright: Robert H. McNaught

“Explanation: Comet McNaught, the Great Comet of 2007, grew a spectacularly long and filamentary tail. The magnificent tail spread across the sky and was visible for several days to Southern Hemisphere observers just after sunset. The amazing tail showed its greatest extent on long-duration, wide-angle camera exposures. During some times, just the tail itself estimated to attain a peak brightness of magnitude -5 (minus five), was caught by the comet’s discoverer in the above image just after sunset in January 2007 from Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. Comet McNaught, the brightest comet in decades, then faded as it moved further into southern skies and away from the Sun and Earth. Within the next two weeks of 2013, rapidly brightening Comet ISON might sprout a tail that rivals even Comet McNaught.”