Tag Archives: Mormons

Mitt Romney is a Mormon

This is a Note for People Who Don’t Care that Mitt Romney is a Mormon
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 10:37pm ·
I am writing this note more in the mode of my conventional politics point of view than in the scope of my radical political positions and proposals. This is for people like me who regardless of what they believe about a whole myriad of subjects do believe also in being informed about the upcoming presidential election. Mitt Romney could be the first Mormon President of the United States. He is certainly trying to be just that. Here are some facts, thoughts and ideas about the fact that the apparent Republican Party nominee is a Mormon. I think it is a matter worth discussing. One issue I am going to come back to at the end of this note is the distinction between Mormons and Mormonism in a broader sense and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints often known as the LDS. Most mormons and all the famous Mormons listed at the start of this note are LDS Mormons.

There are a good number of famous American Mormons such as Donnie and Marie Osmond who still appear separately and together on television in a variety of little and not so little venues and have been on television for quite a few decades, Marie Osmond was interviewed by several major networks when Dick Clark died. Then there is the Julianne Hough, who has recorded several hit country songs starred in the recent film Footloose, appeared in Burlesque and along with her brother Derek Hough who is currently dancing with Maria Menounos on Dancing With the Stars has been very successful on that hit dance show. There is the long time sportscaster Steve Young former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. The very controversial political commenter and talk show host Glenn Beck is also a Mormon.

In political life there are already prominent Mormons in government such Orrin Grant Hatch, as the senior United States Senator for Utah he is typical of most successful politicians in and from Utah in being a Mormon and a member of the Republican Party. Very competent as a congressional operator, Hatch served as the chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1993 to 2005. Earlier posts include that of chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee from 1981 to 1987. He currently serves as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and outside Congress serves on the Board of Directors for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Hatch is of course in Romney’s party which controls the House of Representatives under leadership not notably Mormon on either side but in the Senate where Hatch serves the majority he opposes is led by a Mormon.

Harry Reid does not match Hatch’s background and neither matches Romney’s very closely. Reid is well dug in against many of the Conservative Republicans to whom Mitt Romney would owe his election. Reid was not reared in Utah’s conservative Mormon heartland nor in Romney’s eclectic background. Actually, he was raised agnostic and he and his formerly Jewish wife with the experiences of imigrant parents both converted more or less together to very marriage conscious institution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in college. Mormons have other holy books and a living prophet and so in the Bible at least can find real support for sacred beliefs usually assigned to the left or right of politics in our age and not adhereing to such Modern lines. Reid said in 2001: “I think it is much easier to be a good member of the Church and a Democrat than a good member of the Church and a Republican.” He cited the concern for the needs of human beings in much the way liberals of conventional Christian backgrounds often have done in such speeches. In 2007, Ried spoke to tens of thousands of students at Brigham Young University linking Democratic values to Mormon values. In Utah there is among the conservative community little dolubt that marriage between men and women and the procreation of children are very important to the church and society and that Mormons should defend the secular traditions which underly its celestial marital instituions. A great number of Republican Mormons in Utah have doubted Reid’s faith because of his statements that the LDS church’s backing of California’s Proposition 8 to ban same sex marriage had wasted the political and other resources. Reid is from Nevada where Mormons are numerous but his coming from a background in the politics of regulating casinos adds to his being a distinct from the ideal centered in a section of Utah society that some might feel Hatch represents well. How much Romney would interact with both or either of these men is currently hard to say.

The Mormons are in general very Americanist. That does not mean they are not also true and legitimate Americans but only that they also aspire to and keep track of a wide variety of measures of their importance to America and America’s importance to them. Note the following passage from a Church publicationa not entirely unusual:
“Ronald Reagan truly admired the Latter-day Saints. His administration included more members of the Church than any other American president, ever. Three of us, David Fischer, Gregory Newell and I, served on his personal White House staff. Richard Wirthlin was his chief strategist. Ted Bell served as Secretary of Education, Angela Buchanan was Treasurer, Rex Lee was Solicitor General. His White House included Roger Porter, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Beal, Blake Parish, Jon Huntsman Jr., Dodie Borup and Rocky Kuonen, and there were many other Latter-day Saints throughout his Administration. President Thomas S. Monson served on a Presidential Commission on Volunteerism. Others were ambassadors. LDS senators and representatives were held in special regard, and the Tabernacle Choir was his special inaugural guest.” -Stephen M. Studdert, Special Assistant to President Reagan
Source: “President Reagan respected Church,” Church News

Although students of the Bible and upholders of many aspects of ancient Judeao-Chrsitian principles the Mormons are a distinct religion. Their early founders as such a new religiom were men such as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young who were mostly US Citizens all or most of their lives. This young church is influenced by the opinion of strangers more than an older religion would be an d there have been many people who have called Mormonism American Islam. I have studied them a good bit and think that the differences between them and Moslems are overall greater than the differences between both traditional Christianity and Islam and the American variants of Christianitythey were reacting to at the founding and Islam. But because of the role of polygamy, nationalism and and some ficxtionalization of peripheral historial events some Christians have cast them in a Muslimist mode and that has had some influence on the young religion. They have a process of succession for a living prophet in almost every Mormon church (meaning the whole communion and not the congregation). That means that for the large LDS church such a man is powerful figure in our society whom most Americans scarcely know exists. Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, its chief living revelator and prophet. He has held this office since 2008. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often referred to as the LDS Church or Mormon Church. Monson’s presidency is headquartered in the largest city built largely by Mormons — Salt Lake City, Utah. The LDS or Mormon Church reports a worldwide membership of 13,000,000 as of June 25,2007, with over 6.8 million residing outside the United States. It is the fourth largest religion in the United States. According to statistics released by the Church, 47% of its members live in the United States and Canada, 36% in Latin America, and 17% in other parts of the world. This central Mormon Church is not the only Church in Mormonism and has denounced polygamy for historical reasons and there are other communions not in union with Monson which have not done so and also have other differences with Monson’s much larger church. Church is growing by about 300,000 members per year, worldwide. The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints seeks to publicize its central belief that Jesus is the Christ. Monson and the LDS assert that Church doctrine revolves around Christ’s atonement as the defining event in world history. Their doctrine is in fact by technical analysis a kind of syncretism of modern (19th century) popular science, varied pagan traditions, Islamic influences in Freemasonry and real study of the Christian and Jewish Scriptures and traditions. This is all recast in terms of American history and archaelogy. Mormons such as Monson see this as a restoration of something lost restored through the prophet Joseph Smith; and continued through the voice of succeeding prophets and leaders of the Church and say that doctrine rests upon the principles taught by the Savior during His ministry; relayed through ancient prophets as recorded in scripture; . The doctrines of Christ are believed to be eternal. Currently Mormonism is finding many ways to influence the world including the Marriot Hotel chain, Glenn Beck and non LDS Mormons such as the fictional Hendricksons of Big Love on HBO and the actual people in the show Sister Wives on TLC. Mormon missionaries are a powerfully active force in the world. Monson was born August 21, 1927 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Mormon American parents G. Spencer and Gladys Condie Monson. He grew up in a fairly typical Utah Mormon background and lifestyle during that upbringing he received ordination to what Mormons call the priesthood as almost all Mormon young men do. In 1945 Thomas Monson joined the US Naval Reserves. In the year 1948 he reached three significant milestones, he graduated cum laude from University of Utah, became professionally associated with the Mormon publication the Deseret News and late in the year on October 7, 1948 he married Frances Beverly Johnson. The Mormons lack the formal distinction between clergy and laity which most Christian communions and many other religions employ and yet resemble the most clerical and organized religions in much of their level of structure and organization. Monson continued an established rising and climbing in this structure as in 1950 he became bishop of Sixth-Seventh Ward of Temple View Stake in Utah. and relatively shortly thereafter in 1955 June became counselor in stake presidency, Temple View Stake, Utah. 1959–1962. Among other duties undertaken he served as president of Canadian Mission headquartered in Toronto, Canada and then really reached the upper ranks when he was ordained an Apostle on October 10, 1963 at age 36. He became clearly in line to succession to his office in 1985 November 10 Called as Second Counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson. 1994 June 5 Called as Second Counselor to President Howard W. Hunter. 1995 March 12 Called as First Counselor to President Gordon B. Hinckley. 1997. His other personal distinctions include the University of Utah’s Distinguished Alumnus Award., long service as a member of the National Executive Board of Boy Scouts of America and receiving several distinguished Boy Scouts of America Awards. Monson served on President Ronald Reagan’s President’s Task Force for Private Sector Initiatives. Other awards include: the Minuteman Award from the Utah National Guard, Continuum of Caring Humanitarian Award by Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph Villa. Distinguished Utahn Award from Salt Lake City and Utah Valley Management Society Chapters. Distinguished Public Service Award from Washington, D.C. chapter of BYU Management Society and others.

Now in the larger Mormon context there are the raids on Mormon polygamous compounds which have made the news. Interviews with Oprah Winfrey and others have made people aware of the better and worse parts of the lifestyle experienced in some of these places. HBO ran a series called big Love about the fictional Hendricksons played by Bill Paxton, Jeanne Triplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin as the spouses. Amanda Seyfried plays the eldest daughter. The show is at times thoughtful, sexy and clever in exploring modern polygamy in a media world where it is never touvhed upon. On the other hand it is a times hateful bitter and heavy-handed bashing of polygamy and Mormonism through explotive sripts. A reality show called Sister Wives shows a real family on TLC living as a polygamous family and perhaps is at times as falsely cleaned up as Big Love is overly and bizarrely dirtied in some episodes compared to so many measures. But it is still real peopleliving a life together. Mitt Romney’s father grew up on a compound where polygamy was common if not really legal down in Mexico. However Mitt Romney’s father was from a monogamous home.

I am not sure if I will write about Mormonism or Romney’s faith a great deal more or not at all. But for some of you who may not know very much about the religion this may be a start to discussing the question intelligently. It is no real answer to say that it will not affect how you vote. I believe a Mormon could earn my vote and have voted for people of varied faiths. No Mormon has yet appeared on my ballots as I am not a Republican and this primary was closed in Louisiana. But whoever I vote for I want to know something about. So this is something about Mitt Romney — he is a Mormon…

Some thoughts about marriage in America

The US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has held that Proposition 8 which outlawed same-sex  marriage was unconstitutional and that this  is because heterosexual couples and same-sex couples were identical.  The judge ruled that the ban on homosexual unions was simply a kind of persecution which is at once entirely unmerited and simply cruel. There will be a lot of controversy as this goes through appeals and makes its way to the Supreme Court. But it does raise issues related to marriage and particularly polygamy that I wish to discuss here. I am going to point out a couple of my own posts where I have touched on issues relating to marriage, sexuality and the varied crises and have in one of them at least touched upon polygamy. However, the issues covered in this post do not require a close reading of these posts.  

 1. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/why-i-dare-to-advocate-radical-change/

I start with this post above because I think that it is vital that we recognize how far away from any ideal of marriage that has been proposed by the Christian faith in it its most idealistic and monogamous we really are.  If polygamy could be achieved for a portion of the many who are having children and expressing their sexuality with no reference to that ideal then it would be progress in terms of social and cultural nearness to both the spirit of Christ and the life of the gospel. That does not mean that there are not real risks and nothing that can be lost which is valuable and precious.

The link below is one in which I have discussed both the nature of human sexuality and also how it relates to social development and royalism.  We must find a way to address sexual reality. That is especially true for those of us who have the kinds of ideals that relate to humanism, Christianity and Judaism. It is imperative that we become conversant with reality again.

2. https://franksummers3ba.wordpress.com/2010/04/20/monarchy-and-royalist-culture-in-america-past-present-and-future-part-3-3/

I am a Christian and Christianity has never been the most polygamous religion. However, it has never been as completely anti-polygamous as it currently has almost entirely become. The Roman Catholic theologian Tertullian argued against the common and theologically supported practice  of priests (some of whom were celibate even then) commonly marrying two wives and especially sisters. When Tertullian was later disciplined for other reasons it is possible that in part it was because of the portion of the church which believed polygamy was an important part of the Christian tradition for some men in leadership both royals and some clerics especially. But there were few Christian royals (not none) in the third century. This is just part of the picture: Charlemagne who was able to add the filioque procedit   phrase to the Western version of the creed was an open polygamist as were all of his sons. 

One issue that I think has to be discussed if one is going to discuss polygamy at all reasonably is that one has to begin to visualize it in order to understand it and discuss. Where it has been so universally illegal for so long it is not so easy to visualize. I want to include some film and television references that deal with varied and complex glimpses of polygamy and make it possible to see where the institutions of plural marriage have found their way into American viewerships and audiences.  Here are some worth watching:

1. One Night With The King: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0430431/

The first link is to a film that tells the Biblical story of Esther.

2. The Other Boleyn Girl: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467200/

The second link is to  a film telling the story of Henry VIII and his women.

3. King David: http://www.amazon.com/King-David/dp/B000JGD264/ref=pd_vodsm_B000JGD264

The third link is to the telling of the story of King David which is extremely important to both Judaism and Christianity.

4. Big Love: http://www.hbo.com/big-love

The  fourth link is to a fictional family trying to restore and modernize Mormon polygamy. It is complex, muddied by multiple perspectives at times but I think it is a good show nonetheless.

Then I want to show some examples of contracted relationships between Americans in our history and present.  These are real lives past and present that matter to those who live them quite a bit. As a committed son of Louisiana I am pleased to discuss one of the institutions that expressed polygamy in a new and workable way tied to old traditions. Take a chance to look at this and I may return to it later and have actually touched upon this before in other posts. Clearly the social realities of the quadroon ball are very far from where we are now. But if you take a global perspective it is entirely clear to me that  they were often superior values and ideals from which we could still benefit some day.

The Quadroon Ball:

I. http://www.frenchcreoles.com/CreoleCulture/quadroons/quadroons2.htm

II. http://www.nathanielturner.com/livesandtimesofquadroons.htm

I also wonder how it would feel to be this young woman in the next video and be aware of all that is disastrous in our sexual realities in the world and still have one’s lifestyle just barely outside the criminal. I think it is horribly tragic.

Modern polygamy in the Mormon tradition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANXeiyGx7To&feature=related

It is to be remembered that if you are reading this blog you are reading the blog of someone who wants to change and reform the government and not either escape or limit it into insignificance. I think that governments of the States of the Union and of not yet existing institutions I have proposed would have a vital role to play in making any polygamous domestic institutions work.  It is not entirely clear to me whether the current king of Thailand can be said to ever really have entered into plural marriage. I have not confidential sources and the public sources that I have seen indicate all sorts of contradictory things. It is perhaps a powerful sign of anti-polygamy in the United States that the only true Oriental King to have been born to the rights of an American citizen is part of the possible complete dismantling of an institution so valued in Thailand. However, it may be that it has been a slightly concealed part of his life. To see something about the history of the royal polygamy of Thailand see the next link:   http://www.1stopchiangmai.com/articles/dara/

One thing to understand that is really vital is that those of us who would rather not lie, murder slaughter innocents wholesale or proceed blindly into the future have competitors and opponents who would  like to have all these thing happen routinely and others who would like most of them to happen often. We can still recognize that polygamy is something less than the best and highest forms of monogamy and acknowledge it has a role to play in the survival of anything that can be called civilization.

I will make on of my personal revelations here in this post. I have been married only once and to only one person. Although I am involved with Christian ministry I am not a regular churchworker and not reaping rewards that would cause me to greatly limit my romantic life on that basis alone. Given the actual realities of my life I think it is true that I have had a very limited sex life outside of the seven years of my marriage. However, I have dated a lot. I have sometimes had more than one girlfriend who knew each other. In a few of those instances I have dated two women who were lesbians and attached to each other. I would not flatter my self so much as to say that had polygamy been legal I might have married those gals, certified one as a covenant mistress and one as her maid or whatever else. But it has been an issue in my actual life. I am getting old and tired and mean and in every way less eager to marry but I feel personally that  I have been harmed as well as in the lives of my friends.  

There is so much more to discuss. Polygamy has dark potentials and sides that must be resisted and that is why government has a role to play. I am not interested in persecuting homosexuals but I do think commitments between wives or ladies and maids in royal harems meets the needs of those who really need commitment and maintains marriage between a man and a woman.  I do not want a world where all monks and canons are presumed homosexual. But I do believe homosexuals who care for each other can find civilized happiness as part of such groups. We must find ways to embrace sane civilized options that are imperfect and build again. We live in a world where ruin and deliberate evil  combine to threaten more than most people can imagine. Life will not be improved by further simplifying a too simple society nor by pretending same-sex couples are capable of marriage to each other as heterosexual couples are  capable of contracting such unions.

Some Thoughts about Science Fiction….

I am writing a science fiction novel on Facebook on an account named Summers Progress. In it I feature a number of my own inventions. Perhaps none of them will see the light of day outside that fictional universe. I am not sure. I see people casually discussing what amounts to surrender to the Taliban. From a scientifc progress point of view this is quite different than delivering Iraq to the influence of an Iran which is at least eager to compete in science no matter how much else I may find reprehensible in its regime.

In recent months we have had  the new Star Trek movie introducing a new young cast and we have had the release of GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra on our movie screens. I think people are hungry to believe in a new and better future. The role of Science fiction in shaping the dreams and hopes of young people is a complicated one which we cannot easily fully analyze and understand. But it does play a role. I hope that as the world struggles with all its current problems it can still make time to perfect its dreams of the future. Perhaps in some ways those are blueprints of many future policies. 

This post first appeared on my Facebook page on March 27 of this year.

This is the kind of topic that I will surely have to revisit and take in small pieces in other notes if this series is long enough. However, there is a place somewhere in the wide universe for an overstretched brief personalistic essay about the future generally. Maybe this is the time and space for such an essay I have taken the lense of science fiction and have ended up focused on really a small part of the future itself. Howver, the future itself is still my topic.

I often or even usually have a strong or weak religious and spiritual element in these Facebook Notes. I usually do not single out religious groups by name for the purpose of distinguishing them from the point of view I am taking. However, in this case I am taking the somewhat unusual course of discussing both Christianity and science fiction and how they relate to our apprehension of and planning for the future. I think that I have a decently adequate basic nonadherent’s understanding of the following three religions: The Church of Jesus Christ Scientist (Christian Scientists), The Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints (Mormonism) and the Scientologists. I can assure any of you that I would be happy to influence thinkers in any of these groups but that I am not taking a position which is anywhere particulary near to the orthodoxies of any of these religions. Indeed it is I believe within the range of Catholic and Orthodox Christianity.

I do believe that Space is within the meaning of the heavens and heaven as are other things which Jesus indicated when he said that “The Kingdom of God is within you”. I do believethat Jesus as a fully human man was a poet, a liturgist, a prince, a lector, a rabbi and among other outstanding achievements he created a body of achievement that could be classified as science and engineering — all his human attributes do not detract from his claim to divinity. Nor do they answer the poetic ambiguity in the verse from the epistle “Though he was at one with God he did not claim equality with God as something to be grasped at…”. I do believe the Scriptures I cal the Sacred Scriptures have a call on us to care for the Earth, for our fellow man, for our families and (that at the state) we have now reached Space colonization is exigent in order to fulfill those obligations. Nonetheless, I do not intend this note to be primarily a religious or Scriptural Facebook Note.

One way in which I subject my own talents in predicting the future to public scrutiny is that I play a variety of viewable online games in which prediction is a vital skill. These games include fantasy football at NFL.com, the NCAA Bracket Challenge on Facebook and various kinds of online Texas Hold ’em Poker. I am not the very best but my play is fairly respectable. Outside of online gaming I have demonstrated other signs of function in the current technological milieu. I have earned a couple of degrees, some licenses, some commisions and certifications and they all demonstrate that I am not drawn towards futurist endeavors because I cannot find anything I am able to do anything worthy in the present. Nonetheless, I would proudlyidentify myself as a humanist rather than a scientist.

I have thought about the future a great deal. It seems that a lot of people have. We all express a certain faith in the future everytime we put milk in the refrigerator, puchase stock, go on a job interview or call someone to set up any kind of date, meeting or get-together. In fact probably nobody reading this really thinks that the known universe will cease to exist in the time it would take an ordinary person to read to the end of this note. In that sense faith in the future seems pretty universal.

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BRINGING A BABY INTO THE WORLD AND HELPING THE BABY MAKE HIS OR HER WAY IN THE WORLD IS A GREAT ACT OF FAITH IN THE FUTURE FOR A NORMAL OR BETTER THAN NORMAL PARENT.

However, beyond simply believing that life will go on for somebody or something somewhere, most of us think we ourselves have some continuity beyond this throbbing or fleeting instant we call the present. I am writing about the future in a bit more specific way than this however. I am trying to discuss the future as a kind of grand subject.

I like to think about forming the shape of the human and earthly future as well as trying to influence it myself. I am deeply unhappy about many signs of how the future may turn out. However, I am also very optimistic about what is possible. A decent number of historians and antiquarians read futuristic literature and science fiction. Certainly, I have read a great deal of history and seen a lot of antiquities. However, science fiction and futuristic writing have played a big part in the formation of my mind and the filling of the time I have had available to read. It is tru that Styar Wars is a science fiction classic franchise and big money in our time which is set long ago and is full of Biblical and royalist allusions to past societies. But it outlines launches, gravity wells, spaceships, linguistic analysis, imaging systems and countless other things which were new with seeds and roots in the time Lucas began the series andwith fruit and flower in the future as far as we are concerned. A substantial minority of science fiction is set in the past in that sense but in a cyclical sense still maps a reality technicaly set more or less in our foreseeble future. Star Wars is actually less, as some of it is not anywhere near our technical capacity.

One of the intersting things about Michael Crichton the writer of books such as Andromeda Strain, Terminal Man, Jurassic Park and State of Fear is that he was a medical doctor. This is why his series ER was so sound in so many ways. There is an authenticity in his imagined science because he was able to live and function in the world of real science in his time. While a devout Roman Catholic, I belong to a struggling old secret society which gives a particular double interpretation to some scripture passages as coded preservations ofsome amazing achievements of Jesus in science and engineering. For us Jesus’s lofty goals and the ideal on which he founded his church are more and not less credible because of the other ways in which he exerted leadership and showed genius in his world. In a certain minimaly similar way writers like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Crichton have some increased appeal as writers of their type of imaginative fiction because they could do real science in the real world.

We often find science fiction refereshing because it is devoid of some of the reminders of religious, national and familial obligations which surround is. That is true even for those who generaly are and seem to be pushers of family, nation and religion with their incumbent obligations. People such as I am still enjoy Dune’s vacation from the Roman Catholic Church to the Orange Catholic Bible. In instances where they are similar there is still no actual Orange Catholic community that either the Protestant House of Orange or the Catholics of our own time have to actually get along with. However, to notice that sense of fictional escape is not to say that tradition, religion and hard nosed reality have nothing to contribute to both the making of science fiction and to its enjoyment by its readers.

It has been also on the promise of really remaking the future that leaders as diverse as Adolph Hitler, Mao Tse Tung (Mao Zhe Dong), Vladimir Lenin, Lech Walensa and Thomas Jefferson have made their claims. Not all to the same dgree but to a greater degree than most leaders who have not lived in the last ten centuries. Contrary to the vast body of modern opinion I would argue that in many ways almost everyone born in the last thousand years shares a basic sense of desperation and insecurity that was far from being the norm prior to that time. Humanity spent a great deal of its early formative period expanding at a walking pace across and from Africa, across Europe and Asia and then across the vastly long journey of the Americas to Patagonia. Then there were crude and slow crafts and dogs and horses that brought in Australia and remote lands and mountains not safely reachable before then. Then the vikings in the tenth and eleventh century to a degree far greater than any history book will ever tell visited large and small islands in all four hemispheres (East and West, North and South) often leaving there only slaves and captives often of mixed ancestry from varied culture with whom some of their genes and technology were mingled. They also drove waves of refugees in ships from burning towns ro new islands in almost every part of the world. All of this happened before 1492 and the age of Discovery. Since about 1100 the Earth has been a fairly old and settled place as far as hunmanity goes. The mythical and infinite earth of great undiscovered creatures and lands with unknown and incaculable potential really died in about 1100. Since then all leaders of all places have sort of known that many of the happiest and most hopeful options for their descendants were foreclosed and that we all had entered a phase of negotiations (whether lethal or peaceful) with other humans. Most humans have never lived on the edge of the unknown lands but their existence did affetct allhumans at some level. Their experience did define the possible for leaders everywhere. Population control, vertical integration, oppression, xenophobia and tedium always had to compete with the whispers of the wild and undiscovered world and the vast genetic and historic cultural ties which linked all humans to the process of discovery. There have always been serious planners and as long as there were truly unpopulated lands around their plans could be different. Since then we live in a different human experience than formed us and only serious colonization of the solar system can address that basic change in a way that preserves some of the best of who we are for the future.

Both adventure and resources await our species throughout the solar system. There is little doubt in my mind that we damn ourselves quite seriously if we fail the challenge of securing access to both the adventure and the resources. Yes, I believe God has given the Moon and Mars to Earth’s people as part of our manifest destiny to colonize. It is part of becoming who we are meant to become.

If we had self sustaining and vibrant colonies on the Moon and Mars trading with Earth. Peopled by growing populations and settlers then our lives would resemble that of our human ancestors for long ages past. Most of us would not go to space and would not live their but we would know that we were living in a world of expanding possibilities. Inddeed it would be better than much of the past because almost all could see that were were bringin life where no life had been before. Being both sane and optimistic would again be really possible. The prospect of interstellar travel right now is a near impossibility. The possibility of interstellar travel in the future of a moderately badly run human society with real colonies on the Moon and Mars is substantial. The possibility of interstellar travel in the future of a society descended from us if we have a few centuries of colony driven development on the Earth, the Moon and Mars is very hight indeed. Once honest people can say to their children that our species is on its way to colonizing the worlds around as many stars as it seems right and convenient to colonize then our whole frame of reference will have changed for what the Human race is about and can expect.

We find science fiction in Dante’s Inferno and the rest of the Divina Comedia where the pilgrim with his guide takes a single path down through the center of the Earth where the pits of hell are deepest and the follows the same line past the center of gravity as down becomes up. Now he follows Beatrice through Purgatory to the high mountainous realm of heaven. The science of understanding gravity in a sphere is the central device. We find science fiction in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when Dr. Frankenstein freed from the Medieval prohibition against dismembering corpses is able to put his monster (named Adam after the man God made) together form spare parts and give him life. We find science fiction in bits and pieces in old Greek mythology.It reaches some heights in Jules Vernes fictional depths as Captain Nemo adventures in 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. There is a poetic wildness to science fiction in CS Lewis’s Perelandra Trilogy named for its second book. But while I read all hese things I also read the vast body of more hard-core genre science fiction.

CS Lewis wrote of the various reasons for writing science fiction. On class of novelists and short story writers he chose to distinguish from himself were the “engineers” who tried to tell stories set around the use of potentialy useful future technology. Arthur C. Clark who wrote 2001: A Space Oddyssey made famous by the great Hollywood film was many things but certainly he was an engineer writer. His hard science fiction told of communications sattelites, space stations, moon landings, computers of the type we call artificial intelligence and other things before they existed. Besides deiscovering shipwrecks, at least one of which was full of treasure, he wrote many novels and short stories. His treatment of starships in 2001 is sort lost in the presence of working portals, one of which was left on the moon at the dawn of mankind. But in several of his novels he describes human s seeding the stars in ships that travel fro hugely long periods of time run by computers which retrieve crews from suspended animation and then help them rise to new function when they reach the star. He may even discuss the use of frozen embryos in providing the bulk of the population base. This is very far from Star Trek’s warp drive or Star War’s hyperdrive or Dune’s Spacefolding Guildsmen.

I have never published a novel and most of the of the ones I have written could be classified as unfinished. However, I have written several set in the period when the solar system is being colonized. A future I feel should be our focus of attention. I have set one or two in the period when human civilization well established in the whole or much of the solar system is invaded by interstellar aliens. I have written very lirrle about humans going to other stars. Partly this is because I feel science fiction ought to entice us into the right future when it is engineering science fiction and our thoughts should be on colonizing the sloar system. However, in my view of the future I have a pretty good idea of how starships ought to come into play.

The most important factor about interstellar travel initiated by the human race is that it would be by far the best if it came after about 500 years of intense development of the Solar System. When there are thousands of operatiing populated spaceships, a dozen or more space stations and large factories and ports on the Moon and Mars fed by Lunar and Martian farms and with labor and finace experienced in space then interstellar travel and starships will have a different appeal than they can as we live in a world where perhaps none of the things listed above will ever happen. I believe we can begin to envision many of the steps we have to undertake. I have included some drawings and illustrations that I have posted in the Crater Cap Concept Colony Group as milestone on that projected road.

Humanity must perfect the colonization of craters in varied situations.
Robotic ships on Mars starting the process will be a kind of simple practice for interstellar colonization as well as being the basis of much of the future economy.
Craters will become huge complexes of cities and farms in some cases. But robots can start the all-important capping process.
Eventually systems like my catapult idea would tie Earth to continuos and efficient launches into space just as imports fom space colonies and prodution for space in space will create a huge part of the economy.

What we need to do to get to be a species that lives engaged with the universe of our perception is first to dwvlope this solar system. This process will of course vastly impact our societies and culture. Not doing it is already having an impact. I believe this process can involve creation of entire Earethly eco-systems in canyons. It can be largely humane and part of a larger blossoming of human culture. One of my new Facebook friends Shaun Waterford is developing (and has largely developed) asystem of underwater habitats. I think colonizing the Moon and Mars can lead toa great synergy and cross-fertilization of ideas with those who want to explore the great potential of responsibly colonizing the pelagic ocean floor, seamounts and underwater coastal flats. Most problems will be different between spae and the sea. However, a huge number of problems will be the same, similar or have complimentary solutions. So what could life in space be like?

A view from above of a mature crater cap colony. The white sheet is the uppermost of numerous layers in the crater cap. It allows the features to be studied from space. The blue discs are solar power centers. The two railways intersect with a single airlock on the surface sheet. The colony has almost no profile, farms, towns and mines are below the surface.
If colonization is centered in craters there will still be plenty of astronomical observatories, laboratories, pipelines and spaceports which allow the colonists to have an exposure to their unearthly surroundings which over a lifetime amounts to something we can scarcely imagine. However, in the Crater Cap Concept Colonies life could be very much like earth except that it would be lived in an earthly ecosystem and by earhtly pople under conditions of one sixth or one third gravity. There is norassurance it will be well done but if it were done well life could be pretty good there. Good in the minds of ordinary folk who are not as interested in science fiction as I am — is a possibility in space colonies.
Using entranceds to mines that radiate from the crater with its central fertile fields and pure cliff dwellings that draw from traditionms such as the Anasazi and Nabateans beautifula nd functional residences with extra safety from breached caps would not use the fertile floors of the crater colonies. Each country and colony could devlope a unique architecture i each miniature world that a crater would constitute.
Many animals could adapt to life in these crater colonies. Chickens could roost high on the walls and fly though the pressurized air in low g. with their aerating feet and droppings they would help in the phese of turning the floors of regolith into real soil.
Larger crater rims would have parks around some of the more massive foundations of the cap. These parks would be outside themain warm and wet circulation of airin the colony.
This would enable a cooler driier microclimate to make for a more pleasantly diverse living environment.
Fish living in bodies of water on the moon and mars would be able to fill a normal idf assisted ecosystem. Then children vould carry emergency vaccum suits in sealed cans as a weight when venturing into this wilderness area. They would benefit from the incidentla weight training. Adults might be allowed to determin e their own risk and decide to use the suit/weight cases or not.

There is of course a lot more to the future than we can address by looking to space colonization. I am very much aware that John Hope Franklin has died this week. He was a black man and a scholar of African American History as well as being an active leader and scholarly planner
of the civil rights movement. John Hope Franklin died at ripe old age. However, the possibilites for collaboration between various groups and peoples would be much more promising if we were colnizing space and greatly increasing real and potential resources. Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.” Frankilin spent a great deal of time trying to figure out ways for varied people to live together in a way that seemed more abundant to him. There is no guaranty that we will act wisely and fairly in a world of objective abundance but objetive abundance is part of what all people of goodwill should be working towards.

Science fiction is one of the arts of our own time and place. We are invited by it to look at what we can do and how e can do it. I do hope though that because somuch of our fiction is interstellar we are not distracted fro the great adventure in our solar system which really is calling to us and which will shape much of our destiny.

The End