Epicurean Theology Compared to Mormon Theology

  • Does anyone here have anything more than passing knowledge of Mormon theology? What I am referring to here is that it is my understanding back some years ago when I was reading into Mormonism that there were some relatively striking ways in which Joseph Smith seems to have copied aspects of Epicurean physics. For example, I believe I have read that the Mormons hold that:

    1. There are multiple gods rather than a single pre-eminent god.
    2. That the gods have existed eternally
    3. That the universe has existed eternally
    4. The universe is infinite in size
    5. Life exists throughout the universe
    6. That the gods are not necessarily supernatural at all, in that men can become gods at some point after death and have their own planets
    7. That the universe is composed of matter and void
    8. There is no heaven
    9. There is no hell

    For example, here is the text of the Mormon hymn: "If You Could Hie To Kolob"

    1. If you could fly to Venus In the twinkling of an eye,

    And then continue onward, With that same speed to fly,

    Do you think that you would ever, Through all eternity,

    Find out a generation where gods began to be?

    2. Or see a grand beginning, Where space did not extend?

    Or view a last creation, Where gods and matter end?

    Me thinks that Nature whispers, “No man has found new space,’

    Beyond an outside curtain, Where no thing has a place.”

    3. The universe continues, And worlds and lives abound;

    Improvement and regression, Have one eternal round.

    There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;

    There was no time before time; Time has no “end” to face.

    4. There is no end to virtue; There is no end to light.

    There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to “right.”

    There are no bars to Nature, as He alone has proved,

    Or deep-set markers shaken, which gods or man can move.

    5. Our Nature is our glory; Our lives are ours to love;

    There is no fate to tame us; There is no Heaven above.

    There is no Hell below us; There is no fortune bless’d.

    And only through His vic’try, are men’s hearts brought to rest.

    So much of that has parallels with Lucretius that it would be natural to ask if Mormon theology is copied from Epicurus and Lucretius. I had not re-read this text for a while but does not the line "There are no bars to Nature, as He alone has proved, Or deep-set markers shaken, which gods or man can move..." just jump out at you as being a reflection of the opening of book one of Lucretius where he is talking about Epicurus?

    As you might expect I have reasons for asking this question, but let's defer the reasoning for now. For now, I would appreciate anyone's help in developing the facts - we can interpret them later. So the question is: "What parallels exist between Mormon theology and the Epicurean worldview?"

    I first wrote about this nine years ago (also here) and I would like to pick up the thread again. Unfortunately I am not sure that I can find my subtitled video anymore, because the mormons complained to youtube and I had to remove the video ;)

  • Ok I found my original video which I will post here for now unless and until someone complains. We're obviously not making any money from this and it is purely for academic research / fair use purposes.

    I tweaked the wording of the original hymn in this version, and applied a new set of subtitles to illustrate how little change might be needed to show the parallels:


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    Now maybe if someone could SING we could get a good version with the new words ;)