Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Life on Mars

Life on Mars

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 11, 2012

Life on Mars.

According to a report, the astronomers at Flagstaff, Ariz., now believe, after noting the change in colors of certain sections coincident with changes in the Martian year, that brownish sections of the planet which were before supposed to be seas were simply stretches of winter-denuded soil, since at other epochs these same sections show a blue-green tint, indicating fresh vegetation. If this is correct, the conclusion that intelligent beings inhabit that planet appears very reasonable.

From what we know of life in its various forms in the part of the universe we inhabit, plants exist for the sustenance of animal life, and the various animals are made to serve man in the conquest of nature and the progress of civilization; through which means alone, man can attain the perfection necessary to enable him to continue his existence in a still higher sphere. The entire creation, as far as we know it on earth, is one chain, in which each link is dependent on the other, and all interlocked with this final end in view. We have a right to conclude that the facts are similar in other worlds, especially to those belonging to our system, which constitute our nearest neighbors in space.

If, therefore, it is reasonably certain that vegetation flourishes on the planet Mars, it is equally certain that there is animal forms of life, and that there are intelligent beings, to rule over and to govern such existences for their own moral and intellectual development.

The logic of analogy forces this conclusion.

Deseret News editorial, 24 April 1905, p. 4


[If this argument makes sense, or perhaps especially if it doesn’t, readers might profitably turn to Samuel Brown, “The Early Mormon Chain of Belonging,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 44, no 1 (Spring 2011): 1-52, or to a summary of the same ideas in Samuel Morris Brown, In Heaven as It Is On Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death (Oxford University Press, 2012),  p. 222, to understand this remnant of a very old way of viewing life, the universe, and everything, and its place in Mormon thought.]



  1. What an interesting article to look back on after a century

    Comment by Dustin — July 11, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

  2. It is, isn’t it? Such an unexpected mix of medieval cosmology and science fiction potential, for one thing.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 12, 2012 @ 6:09 am

  3. For the briefest of seconds I wondered if you were discussing the television show.

    The article mentions the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. (Oh, the view of the stars from northern Arizona/southern Utah. It’s an amazing show.) That is one of the oldest observatories in the world, just a few years old when this article was written. Almost three decades after this article was written, it was the location of the discovery of Pluto: a feat more important to those of us to whom it was (and may always be) one of the nine planets, than to our children, who just have eight.

    Comment by Amy T — July 12, 2012 @ 8:03 am

  4. Thanks for the shoutout, Ardis. That’s a great quotation. We saw some kids at the Martha Hughes Cannon documentary last night who sang your praises as a Sunday School teacher.

    Comment by Samuel Brown — July 12, 2012 @ 9:47 am

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