Here’s the gist: Joseph Smith taught (in 1843) that God and the angels reside on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, and that this earth’s destiny is to one day transform into something like unto crystal. Essentially, he taught that in this universe there are crystallized, fiery planets that are like great glass balls in space. Today, in 2020, we know that such objects really do exist in space, and that they actually are (and will be) very abundant throughout the cosmos. In fact, there are billions of them in our own galaxy right now as we speak. But back in 1843, Joseph shouldn’t have known this.
And so I submit that Joseph Smith, the self-proclaimed prophet and seer, was just that—a prophet and a seer who foresaw astronomical discoveries pertaining to glass-like worlds of crystal. See the timeline below and judge for yourself:
- 1611: KJV is published, and says: “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.” (Revelation 4:6)
- 1783: William Herschel discovers the star Eridani B
- Mar 1832: JS: “Q. What is the sea of glass spoken of by John, 4th chapter, and 6th verse of the Revelation? A. It is the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state.” (D&C 77:1)
- 1 Oct 1835: JS journal: “This after noon labored on the Egyptian alphabet, in company with brsr. O. Cowdery and W. W. Phelps: The system of astronomy was unfolded.” (Diary of Joseph Smith, October 1, 1835, p.3)
- 2 Apr 1843: JS: “The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s.” (D&C 130:6-9)
- 1910: The star Eridani B is found to be white, and the study of white dwarfs essentially begins
- 1968: White dwarf crystallization predicted
- 1992: First exoplanet is discovered—Wait, there actually are other planets out there besides those 7 or 8 other non-glass-like ones in the solar system?
- 2004: Exoplanet 55 Cancri e discovered
- 2012: 55 Cancri e thought to be a really hot, diamond planet—like the planet was made out of diamonds.
- 2013: study suggests that 55 Cancri e isn’t as diamondy as we originally thought
- Jan 2019: white dwarf crystallization confirmed, and it’s estimated that 97% of stars in Milky Way galaxy will end up as crystallized white dwarfs—So globes of crystal are very common in the universe.
The first white dwarf star was identified around 67 years after Joseph talked about God living on a fiery globe of glass or crystal; and when that identification happened, they pretty much only knew that the star’s color was white. It took about 58 years after that for scientists to theorize that white dwarfs could crystallize. 50 years after that, astronomers confirmed that white dwarfs do indeed crystallize and that, in fact, all white dwarfs eventually turn into “crystal spheres” as a part of their life cycle.
“All white dwarfs will crystallize at some point in their evolution…. This means that billions of white dwarfs in our galaxy have already completed the process and are essentially crystal spheres in the sky,”Pier-Emmanuel Tremblay, University of Warwick
I first heard of diamond-like worlds out there with the discovery of the exoplanet 55 Cancri e, which they thought was a planet made entirely of diamonds. When I later heard that scientists began casting doubt on the planet’s supposed diamond structure, I admit I was a little disappointed–the one gleaming world I knew of that supported D&C 130:6 wasn’t such a sure thing after all.
But that was before we learned about the crystalline nature of white dwarfs. 55 Cancri e or not, Joseph’s little sentence or two about glass and crystal-like worlds can still find support from white dwarfs, all of which will at some point form into hot balls of crystallized carbon and oxygen. In 1843, as Joseph claimed that there was at least one “globe like a sea of glass and fire,” there were in reality billions of them in our galaxy already.
Could he have just been a lucky guesser? Of course. But just be sure to add this one to the ever-growing list of “lucky guesses” he got completely right well before his time.
Sources and Notes
- Tremblay quote: https://www.space.com/42949-sun-crystal-white-dwarf-stars-lifecycle.html; Compare this to what Joseph Smith said: “The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire…. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon.” (D&C 130)
- More on the crystallization of white dwarfs: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/pt.6.1.20190201a/full/; http://www.sci-news.com/astronomy/white-dwarf-crystals-06805.html; https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0791-x; https://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/objects/dwarfs1.html
- More on 55 Cancri e: https://www.space.com/18011-super-earth-planet-diamond-world.html
- Image of crystallized white dwarf, “Source Credit: Travis Metcalfe, Christine Pulliam, and Ruth Bazinet, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and CfA”: http://gail.bischoff.angelfire.com/auit/wdwarf.html
- Image of 55 Cancri e: https://www.space.com/18011-super-earth-planet-diamond-world.html