Frederick Culmer, Sr.
The Inner World
(Salt Lake City, 1886)
THE INNER WORLD.
A NEW THEORY.
BASED ON SCIENTIFIC AND THEOLOGICAL FACTS, SHOWING THAT
THE EARTH IS A HOLLOW SPHERE CONTAINING AN
INTERNAL AND INHABITED REGION.
BY FREDERICK CULMER, SR.
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.
[ 5 ]
In presenting to the world some new ideas regarding the earth on which we live, it will not be improper to briefly summarize such information we possess as bears on the foundation of my theories. In so doing, I merely gather facts well demonstrated by scientists and generally accepted at this date as truths.
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maximum weight, but there, the attraction, being counter-balanced in all directions, would obviously be nil.
THE UNIVERSAL VACUITY OF CENTRES. 7
which, however, is not in the geometric centre, but in one of the foci of a stupendous ellipse.
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to me, who am going nolens volens into the inside of the world itself, it is an idea of paramount importance.
THE UNIVERSAL VACUITY OF CENTRES. 9
by the overwhelming influence of the earth's attractive force, it would be difficult to select another phenomenon so familiar as this and yet so illustrative of the manner in which matter, from being fused into expansion that is almost gaseous, condenses into a solid during its course and before it has had time to come in contact with any solid resistance. An examination of these particles will show that during their brief flight they yet had time to assume spherical forms by virtue of their inherent attraction. But it will be seen that the contrary force of repulsion has also been at work and radiating from the centre by its inevitable law has made each one of them hollow. The internal cavity averages from one-half to three-fifths of the whole diameter of the sphere.
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to convey the workings of my mind in the most intelligent manner, I shall have to bring in matters which may not, at first, appear relevant.
THE POLAR ORIFICES OF THE EARTH. 11
men of the day; in fact, all men knew it to be false, and the theorist came near paying for his temerity with his life. The inquisitors compelled him to recant; yet he secretly added, "The world does move for all that." So I, constrained by public opinion may be driven for a moment to admit that the earth is solid, but I shall probably cling to the mental reservation that "the globe is hollow for all that." Galileo's experience was not by any means an unusual thing in that age. The man who dared to know more than his fellows fared hard, and although by research he may have proven his theories to be true, the proof was not generally found out until after his execution. But we can well understand to-day that the earth is a globe and does rotate; it has repeatedly been demonstrated beyond the possibility of a doubt, and if a man should now advance the extended plain principle he would be looked upon as a lunatic. Having accepted this truth because it had been proven, how could man be reconciled at a later date to the wonderful discovery that it was flattened at the poles? The apparent flattening at the poles as shown in the shadow of the earth on the moon is due to the openings into the interior of the earth, and it is curious enough that no learned man has been able to draw upon his imagination for such a conception. We have all read that accident has led to the discovery of many remarkable truths -- such as the law of gravitation through an apple falling from a tree. A trivial occurrence would set a man thinking until he was led to a theory perhaps at the time difficult to believe, but later it would be demonstrated and afterwards accepted by all mankind as the truth.
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outside of the frigid zone, is the reflection of the Aurora Borealis on the atmosphere of the temperate zone. I have seen the reflection of the Aurora from the hills of Scotland, the Orkneys and Hudson's Bay, but have never seen the arc of the Aurora because I have not been far enough North; but the reflection can be seen far in the temperate zone. Now when intelligence of a most unusual and wonderful nature comes rushing to my mind, the Aurora seems to be nothing extraordinary; indeed, it would seem more remarkable if there were no light, because then my theory would not have this important witness to support it. I maintain that the position of the earth during the Arctic winter (when all is dark there but for this reflected light) admits the direct rays of the sun through the Southern orifice, and his direct, refracted, and reflected light shines through the Northern orifice, and reflected on the atmosphere of the Arctic zone presents the arc of light described. And now in reference to my idea that Capt. Hall, by gaining the latitude he did, approached if, indeed, he did not enter the great gateway leading to the inner world. In describing, as well as he could, his surroundings, and turning back, as he did, when everything was in his favor for prosecuting his journey North, -- for which purpose he was commissioned with a well victualled ship and a healthy crew, who gave no evidence of having suffered much compared with others who had been nearly as far but met with greater mishaps, -- might cause some of the much interested men of the world to think he was a coward. Yet I do not think so by any means, and will try to explain my reason, and in so doing add support to my theory. When Capt. Hall had proceeded in a Northerly direction beyond the eighty-second degree of North latitude, he was surrounded with a circle of circumstances which he could not understand. and in such a position I can defy the bravest man who ever lived to overcome the desire to return to that security with which he was acquainted rather than remain in a position beyond his comprehension. I will here describe what he and his companions realized in the shape, position and geographical delineation of their surroundings. If they were on the water, their horizon would appear so near when looking forward or back, Northward or Southward, that it would consist of the slight ripples of water in their immediate vicinity; while on looking Eastward or Westward there would be no horizon, but objects would appear as far as the range of vision could extend. Their boats, if they were in boats, or ship, if they were in their ship, would appear to be at the top of a ridge upon the water, as if they were riding across the crest of a gigantic wave. Their instruments, adapted for use on the exterior of the globe, would become unintelligible, and fear would take possession of the bravest men under such circumstances.
THE POLAR ORIFICES OF THE EARTH. 13
Therefore, I place no blame, or brand of cowardice, upon a fellow man under such conditions. But it appears that Capt. Hall himself declared afterwards that had he studied the rejected theory of Capt. Symmes, (hereafter given) he would have pursued his journey, being then only six hundred miles from the place described by him as the entrance to the unknown world. While if proceeding North by land there would not appear to one's sense of equilibrium any material difference to that in the temperate zone, the gravity might slightly exceed, but not sensibly, that of the latitude of Canada. The hills and mountains or plains and valleys would not be likely to cause any astonishment to the traveller, although objects North or South would be likely to abruptly terminate, while those East and West would, as on the water, vanish in the level distance. Continuing, however, on this line of travel, the climate would sensibly change. Having entered the orifice, and travelling on a concave surface, the heat would increase rapidly and vegetation luxuriantly abound. The habitations of an ancient race of humans would soon appear, and on the ocean their shipping would soon be seen to dot the surface. Had Capt. Symmes' theory been investigated, I have no doubt that, ere this date, some proof would have been found to substantiate his idea; but it did not comprehend an inner world, -- merely a basin heated and warmed by the refracted rays of the sun, where fruits and flowers grow and herds of animals recuperate from the effects upon their system of a sojourn for a time in the Arctic regions.
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about one thousand miles in thickness, thus leaving six thousand miles diameter at the interior equator, which would cause the sky overhead to be as clear as ours, as the opposite side or antipodes cannot be seen any more than we can see ours. The atmosphere is the same as our own; is, indeed, a part of it. The openings are about one thousand miles across, admitting light and heat from the sun in due season. These large orifices produce the flattened appearance which the shadow of the earth upon the moon during, an eclipse presents to the observer, and which has caused so many contradictory ideas to be promulgated: and I call upon this appearance of the earth's shape as another important witness to substantiate my theory.
THE ALLEGED NORTH-WEST PASSAGE AND SYMMES' HOLE. 15
and even Iceland, entering the Arctic regions. Having lost its easterly momentum, it again proceeds in a westerly direction and passes southward through Baffin's Bay and Davis' Straits as the "Arctic Current," washing the Eastern shores of North America, side by side with the Gulf Stream fresh and warm from the tropical regions, the difference in temperature between points in the two streams not over one hundred yards apart being as much as 35 deg. Fahrenheit. The Gulf Stream takes its name from the fact that it proceeds from the Gulf of Mexico, carrying with it the scourings and flotsam of the ocean and depositing its jetsam, previous to its Eastward journey, on the banks of Newfoundland. Now it occurs to me as reasonable that if a water passage ever so small existed on the North of America, the great and powerful force exerted by this river trying to find an outlet to the westward on the North, would pass that way. But no such thing has yet been demonstrated. If a North-west passage existed, it would have been easy enough to have found it, for there would have been no ice to hinder navigation -- the warm Gulf Stream would always have melted it.
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a man's weight would be about the same on the concave as on the convex surface, the centre of gravity being in the globular centre of the mass forming the globe, and, of course, abiding by the law that every particle of matter is attracted towards every other particle according to its density. Therefore, to its mass centre -- not towards its geometric centre -- the earth attracts with a certain force, which we call gravity or weight, all objects within its influence according to their density, no matter which surface they be upon. Thus, man is not so dense as his size in gold, hence he does not receive so much attraction, but whether he be upon the convex or concave surface of the earth, or be passing from the one to the other, the same unfailing law holds and enables him to maintain his equilibrium. This fact once understood, it will not be difficult for the reader to realize that the atmosphere on the interior of the earth would seek the surface of the ]and, exactly as on the exterior, increasing in density as it approaches the earth and becoming attenuated towards the centre, where, for a distance, thousands of miles across, there exists a void as absolute as that of the interplanetary spaces.
THE ALLEGED NORTH-WEST PASSAGE AND SYMMES' HOLE. 17
to the known laws which govern the movement of the globe. "Symmes, in the year 1824, had the boldness to present himself before Congress at Washington for the purpose of obtaining aid and succor for his project of passing over the barrier of ice which encircles the hitherto known extremity of the globe, into the unknown world which exists beyond.
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"A generation has disappeared since Svmmes, with a hardihood and perseverance seldom surpassed, sought to have his theory accepted by l' Academie Francaise, who declared that it could not be regarded as serious, and not even considered worthy of an official report; and now to-day a certain M. Hougate reproduces the idea of this same expedition, to the research of the same scheme which had been the dream of poor Symmes, and submits his project to the consideration of our savants.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 19
I believe that our knowledge of the world and the powers found in it, is unfolded by the Father only for the carrying out of his purposes, not for the glory of man, but to develop the great principles of eternal truth as He, in his wisdom, sees fit from time to time to allow. If all that He has permitted to become known in what we term the sciences, within the last one hundred years, was to have been conveyed to man's mind at once, or in a much shorter period than it has been, it would have produced confusion equal to that of tongues at the Tower of Babel. Now let us, after reviewing the sense of his modern communications to man, -- though they are generally termed anything but what they really are, viz: revelations in the form of greater intelligence beaming upon man's darkened mind through the kindness of his maker; let us, I say, take into consideration the causes of certain effects, and we shall find the past and present more connected than we have given them credit for. We have been in the habit of referring to "the dark ages." Why have they been the dark ages? What history we have of the past assists us to find out the causes of the present, and indicates that light and intelligence which has been given to man in these latter days, is but a glimmer of that which is to come; and those who receive that light, more or less according to circumstances, only participate in the fulness of intelligence which is in the Father, from whom all intelligence is derived. Man is too prone to make the assertion that he himself has discovered, invented and is the absolute proprietor of this or that portion of intelligence, when in reality he is only the instrument chosen by the Father to convey those ideas to his fellow man. That steam, the vapor of boiling water, contains a power not only useful to man but also necessary to God, the proper time has now arrived when it should be made known to carry out his strange work; or that electricity, being fitted to convey human thoughts with instantaneous rapidity to the farthest portion of the earth is now given to us, is that we may realize the marvelous power by which He can hear our cry when humbly directed to him and by which He can as instantaneously answer our petition. In illustration, let me here give an instance from my own experience: In December, 1857, while driving before a heavy gale and thick fog
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in the Mediterranean Sea towards Gibraltar, and when all hands were in despair, believing the ship was running on a lee shore, I, being an Elder ordained by Authority from God and considering I had authority so to do, asked the Lord to cause the clouds to separate that we might see a certain point of land on the Morocco shore called "Apes Hill;" and although the tempest was raging furiously, a lane was cut through the clouds in an instant, and all hands having plainly seen what I asked for, the clouds closed again immediately. This was a remarkable instance of instantaneous answer to prayer.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 21
and distinct people. Yet if we take the trouble to examine, if we feel any interest in the subject, we shall find that even the tribe of Judah, a type of all the rest, are very particular in preserving their genealogy and do not sanction the mixing up with the inhabitants outside of their house. Although it may be permitted, yet it is under a heavy penalty, and the whole house of Israel is as exact in carrying out this principle as it ever was, excepting only those who have departed from the law of the Lord, or, in other words, apostatized. Can we, then, consider that a mighty host, the majority of that house which the Father has taken under his especial care and supervision, the purest seed of the forever blessed house of Israel, are to-day lost sight of and so divided up that he cannot find them? No such thing. There is not to-day a pure and uncontaminated drop of the blood of Ephraim, although ever so completely mixed among the nations of the earth, but it is under his especial care, because the house of Israel are the children of his love and Ephraim, his first born. The Ten Tribes of Israel are lost to the world, but not to the Father. About two thousand seven hundred years since, they went to the land of the North, a mighty host, according to the prophet Esdras; they were believers in and practicers of polygamy, a very fruitful means of increase; they have been there all this time, and have not had to contend with man-made laws opposite to the fundamental laws of life and truth given by the Creator himself. We have no figures to number from nearer than a mighty host, so cannot give any idea what may be their numbers now, but will repeat the word of the Lord given through his prophet, Joseph Smith, and recorded in the appendix of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which give some idea of the increase of this mighty host, and by that we shall find they are not now, nor ever have been, deserted by the Father. This word, given in these latter days, taken from the "Doctrine and Covenants," Appendix, Section 133, from the 26th to the 35th verse, inclusive, reads as follows:
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"And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 23
what has become of them, for they are not to be found in that land to-day. Many attempts have, at various times, been made to discover the Ten Tribes of Israel as a distinct community, but all have failed, Josephus (Antiquities xi) believed that in his day they dwelt in large multitudes somewhere beyond the Euphrates, in Asareth, but Asareth was an unknown land to him. Rabbinical traditions and fables, committed to writing in the middle ages, assert the same fact, with many wonderful amplifications. The imaginations of certain Christian writers have sought them in the neighborhood of their last recorded habitation. Jewish features have been traced in the Afghan tribes; rumors are heard occasionally of Jewish colonies in China, Thibet and Hindostan (the Beni-Israel), while the Black Jews, of Malabar, claim affinity with Israel. But none of these people would, in any but the slightest degree, fill the place accorded in the prophecies to Ephraim and his fellows.
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In the third chapter of his prophecies we find the Lord rebuking both Israel and Judah for their treachery and backsliding, yet still proclaiming His long-suffering and mercy to His covenant people He then gives command to the Prophet, saying:
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 25
Salmanaser, the king of the Assyrians, took captive, and crossed them beyond the river; so were they brought into another land.
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of the flood" until they were passed over. The point on the River Euphrates at which they crossed would necessarily be in its upper portion, as lower down would be too far south for their purpose.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 27
the Daneiper and Daniester (now contracted to Dneiper and Dnester) and the Danube. The conclusions of the writer already referred to are that Israel gradually drifted westward to the region known to secular history as Moesia and Dacia, the one north and the other south of the Danube, and called by modern English speaking people, Roumania and Bulgaria. To further strengthen his theory he claims that Moesia means the land of Moses, and Dacia the land of David (after Israel's shepherd king), and that the people of the latter kingdom were called Davi. In this country dwelt also the Getae (a Latinized form of Gad) who some historians assert were the forefathers of the Goths, of whom we shall speak again hereafter. The historian Herodotus, in recounting the conquest of this people by Darius, states that the Getae "believed themselves to be immortal; and whenever one dies, they believe that he is removed to the presence of their god Zamoxis (Zalmoxis) * * * and they sincerely believe that there is no other deity." He also states that this god left them the institutions of their religion in books. Mr. Wilson directs attention to this idea of only one God, so different to the Pantheism of the surrounding peoples, and that of man's immortality as tending to prove the Israelitish origin of the Gatae, particularly as in analyzing the word Zalmoxis he finds it to be composed of Za, el, Moses. If his facts be correct, his conclusions are warranted, but of his facts we express no opinion.
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to the coasts of the Arctic Ocean, would be about 2,800; miles, or a seven months' journey, averaging fifteen miles a day. But according to Esdras, one year and a half was consumed in the journey, which is an evidence that they were encumbered with families and cattle, who could only travel slowly and for whom many resting places had to be found where they could recuperate. It is highly probable that, like modern Israel in its journey westward to the valleys of Ephraim, they planted temporary colonies by the way, where the weary rested, and crops were raised for future use.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 29
some turned aside, declared they would go no further, and gradually wandered back through northern Europe to more congenial climes. Again it may be asked, how did this unnumbered host cross this frigid ocean to their present hiding place? On this point both history and revelation are silent. The Arctic Ocean was no narrow neck of the great waters like the Red Sea, with the mountains of the opposite shore full in view. No, it spread out before them eternally -- north, east and west, with no inviting shore in sight beyond. Yet despite all this, they did cross it; but how, we know not -- perhaps on the ice of winter, perhaps the Lord threw up a highway, or divided the waters as He did aforetime, that they passed through dry shod. But we must abide His time, when this and other secrets of their history shall be revealed.
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And they shall fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 31
that from which the above quotation is taken. He states: 'The other tribes hath the Father separated from them (the Jews); and it is because of their iniquity that they knew not of them.'
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obedience to the laws of the Almighty, through his authorized servants, they can plant and eat the fruits thereof, can build and inhabit, with no nation to make war against them, no division of feeling, no political strife, no armies to maintain. Their lives, from infancy to old age, must be as in a heaven of peace. How different to the exterior earth, so full of violence and crime!
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 33
of Abraham after him, and to Jacob, his grandson. In the blessing of Jacob to his children the promise was renewed and increased until there was no void in or even under the earth. As the dust of the earth or as the stars in heaven for multitudes should their seed increase, and the twelve sons of Jacob by his four wives, should stand at the head of the government upon the earth and control the everlasting destinies of the race of men for ever and ever. Can man imagine a more complete promise than that given by God to Israel and his seed forever, or is there any way in which man by his wisdom can find a place whereby he can be eternally saved except through this channel?
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We do not thus question in a spirit of egotism, for the writer can only go as far in this direction as the Lord will permit, and other men though they may boast of grandeur, wealth and power, can go no further. But will the ice bound secrets of the North ever be known to man? Yes, they will, when He reigns whose right it is to reign, and chooses, in His own time, to unlock the secret. In this connection, is it not exceedingly suggestive that while in every other research, be it scientific, philosophical or explorative, such singular progress has been made in the Nineteenth century; no such failure, disappointment and disaster has been met in any direction or in any pursuit as in the attempts to penetrate to the land of the North? But the world has many facilities for research and nothing has yet been able to withstand our capabilities. We may find out that which it is God's will to reveal, but when we seek, either through curiosity or hope of gain, to penetrate beyond His desires, depend upon it we shall fail in our attempts; and not until He so decrees will the ice bound regions of the North or South be opened for any purpose but to advance the eternal interests of the Almighty.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 35
part to receive in its turn, the genial warmth and light. Thus they have their days and nights, their seed time and harvest, their summer and winter; and they have their sky overhead with its clouds, rain, waterspouts, thunder and lightning. The diameter of the interior is so great that the opposite side cannot be seen, being six thousand miles distant at the equator; our moon sheds her light likewise on them, and the Polar Star is always theirs. The thickness of the earth's crust is one thousand miles, making the diameter at their equator six thousand miles, and diminishing it to one thousand at either pole.
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the Gulf Stream tells me positively I can walk from America clear through to the inner world.
THEOLOGICAL EVIDENCES OF AN INNER WORLD. 37
above the earth. Now, although the disposition of many learned men (in the world's schools) is good toward their fellows they are liable to mistakes. Not so with the man of God. To Him, then, it is fit we should look for information, to Him direct our enquiries. He has given many kind encouragements to us to enquire of Him, and there are many who believe that He is the same yesterday, today and forever, eternally and unchangeable. He can direct the mind of man to carry out His purposes, and there is no failure, the reliance on the Father for the light we need, is strength to the man of God. The denial of the infidel does not invalidate the truth, and although the world to-day is flooded with literature calculated to destroy man's belief in the ancient manuscripts translated and compiled in the collection called the Bible and dedicated to King James, yet by considering the contents of that book, and gathering from it the information contained therein, by the interpretation of the same spirit which evidently dictated its general meaning, we find it again and again asserting its right to divine inspiration without even allowing that the Christian world profess to believe it or that it is a record of the doings of God and man during the ages past. Notwithstanding the fact that our parents and preceptors have taught us to believe it implicitly, if we will reflect upon the history of the past, the occurrences of the present and prophecies of the future that are contained in its pages, we must concede that however much men may fight against it there are the connecting links of history and prophecy which we cannot sever, however much we try, and the writer believing in its divine inspiration, will call it in as an important witness to substantiate his claim to the truth of the theory. Now let us consider what that history has to do with it. It is well known to most intelligent men and women that the Apochrypha has been considered uncanonical or of doubtful origin, but why has not yet been explained to my satisfaction, unless it be that it is "the more precious parts" which have been "taken away." The Bible itself asserts that there are other books which we may consider to be as much the word of God as those which have been pronounced by inspired men canonical, and why should they be cast out or why should others be included in the collection without revelation from Heaven? The Apochrypha seems to be considered as second class matter, however, but I wish to refer to it and will call the attention of my readers to the remarks of some of the prophets mentioned therein as well as to the more canonical books, bearing in mind that the selection of canonical and rejection of uncanonical books of the Bible was attended to by those who made no pretension to inspiration. The only wonder about it is that they left so much good in the collection as they really did. However, it contains to-day some very precious truths both of history and prophecy, to some of which I wish to call your attention.
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JOSEPH IN EGYPT. 39
only ones who will obey the gospel in spirit and in truth, and although they may sin yet the inherent nobility of which they are composed will stand by them; though they may fall they will arise again and contend for the principles of truth, which they inherit. They may flounder for a time in the errors of the majority of mankind, yet such is the mercy and the justice of our Father, who has made a solemn covenant with his servants, that he would perform for them such and such things, that although they may err in heart, and also in understanding, yet He will not abandon them but will surely perform for them that which He has promised to their fathers. The Omniscient Father being able to see at the beginning of His creation that which would befall them to the end, could well make provision for their ultimate delivery, hence His attributes of mercy and justice can be dispensed to all mankind according to their deserts.
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for his dreams and for his words. And he dreamed yet another dream and told it to his brethren and said, Behold I have dreamed a dream more, and behold the sun and moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me, and he told it to his father and his brethren. And his father rebuked him and said unto him: What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying.
JOSEPH IN EGYPT. 41
[and His] protecting care over them in the times which were past, [they] became sufficiently humbled to ask for his forgiveness of [their] sins, and covenanted with Him to do better in the future. [He then] directed his servant Jeremiah to lead them to the land [in the] North, but their course at first starting was to Mount Nebo, to take these holy things with them, and thus guided by the [Almighty] they proceeded (as before in the exodus from Egypt) [with] the priesthood bearing the Ark of the Covenant before them, [with a] cloud by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night.
Frederick Culmer, Sr.
Frederick's father was a captain in the British Navy and the old salt no doubt encouraged his son to seek a career on the high seas. The boy left home at an early age and spent the first half of his life as a sailor, crossing the Atlantic twenty times, visiting San Francisco Bay on one occasion, and traveling the routes around the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn.
Before 1857 Frederick was ordained an Elder in the LDS Church. In 1867 he brought his family to America and settled in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. There he took additional wives and lived the happy life of a polygamous retired seaman. One of his sons, George Frederick, became a prominent glass merchant in Utah; another, Henry L. A., became a noted landscape painter and the publisher of the Salt Lake Daily Times.
Frederick Culmer, Sr. is known to have written at least two booklets having to do with the Mormon faith. The first of these was published in England, in about 1852, and bears a lengthy title: Fred. Culmer: Does bear his humble testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only Church on earth which Israel's God acknowledges; and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet... Culmer's second Mormon pamphlet was The Inner World, which he published at Salt Lake City in 1886.
Culmer's "Inner World"
Elder Culmer's strange views, concerning an inhabited hollow Earth, appear to have sprung from the convergence of information from three separate sources: 1. His own idea regarding the natural occurrence of hollow spheres; 2. John C. Symmes' pronouncements on the Earth's internal structure, as summarized and reviewed in an 1885 issue of Parry's Literary Journal; and, 3. Elder George Reynolds' 1883 book, Are We of Israel?
Culmer evidently did not have direct access to Symmes' writings promoting the notion of concentric hollow spheres occurring on a planetary scale. The Mormon writer bypassed the explanations provided by Symmes and other "inner world" theorists, and offered his own pseudo-scientific ideas about naturally occurring "attractive" and "repulsive" forces or "powers." In doing so, the Mormon theorist mixed up various facts and fancies explaining gravity, centrifugal force, planetary orbits, molecular bonding, etc. Had Culmer survived a few years into the twentieth century he might have gained a better knowledge of how subatomic forces operate and how they compare and contrast with gravity on a cosmic scale; but, having little or no such scientific intelligence at his command, the writer's theories bear little resemblance to modern facts and accepted models in physics.
The Mormons and the "Ten Tribes"
Elder Culmer's theoretical marriage of "Symmes' Holes" with Latter Day Saint teachings regarding the fate of the "lost Ten Tribes of Israel" is not so haphazard an affair as might be supposed by the modern reader.
In his 1962 book, Lost Tribes & Sunken Continents, Professor Robert Wauchope pays considerable attention to the lost lands and lost races of popular mythology and pseudo-science. Professor Wauchope delights in lumping Theosophists, Rosicrucians and Mormons together, as religious proponents of some rather bizarre ideas regarding pre-history, lost peoples and predicted futures. Although Wauchope does not write specifically about the hollow earth theory, he does do a good job in explaining how the fate of the "Ten Tribes" of ancient Israel are important to certain Mormon religious tenets.
While some early nineteenth century writers promoted the idea that the American Indians were the descendants of Israel's "lost ten tribes" (and thus heirs to several important biblical prophecies and promises), the founders of Mormonism explained that these same Indians are merely the offspring of a small, wandering fragment of three Israelite tribes (Mannaseh, Judah, and Ephraim). The vast accumulation of "lost Israel" was not to be found in the Americas, nor in the Near East, for that matter -- they had long ago removed to a distant and ill-defined land, somewhere in "the North."
The haziness of this religious fiction allowed the first Mormons to simultaneously believe that they were primarily the secret descendants of pre-eminent patriarch "Ephraim," that the American Indians were mostly the progeny of the "younger brother" of that patriarch, "Mannaseh," and, waiting in the far-flung wings of the world, the remainder of "scattered Israel" were yet somewhere in "the North."
As Elder George Reynolds outlined in 1883, the early Mormon teachings on this subject allowed for a portion of "Ephraim" and some other "Israelites" to be unknowingly scattered through Northern Europe, while the major body of the "Ten Tribes" were providentially hidden in the far North, behind walls of ice and snow. This imaginative scenario called for a temperate or balmy land to exist in the region of the North Pole, and exactly such a fictional paradise is supplied in the teachings of John C. Symmes, promulgated nearly a decade prior to the publication of the Book of Mormon and other saintly "revelations" concerning the fate of the "lost Israelites." When Frederick Culmer wrote his 1886 pamphlet, he likely merely re-inserted Symmes' notions into an earlier Latter Day Saint world view, from which those same notions had faded into a forgotten obscurity. That is, this is the likely truth, if the modern reader acknowledges that the first Mormons were familiar with "Symmes' Holes" and his inhabited land, beyond the icy poles.
The Mormons and "Symmes' Holes"
The first documented occurance of "Symmes' Holes" in Mormon thought or journalism may be found in the June, 1832 issue of the Independence, Missouri, Evening and the Morning Star, where "the theory of Capt. Symmes" is mentioned, in the context of a excerpt from the Poughkeepsie Telegraph. The fact that the Mormon editor took no pains to explain to his readers just what that "theory" was, indicates that the subject matter was common knowledge in 1832.
The imaginary "Symmes' Holes" at the north and south poles popped up in news reports and in works of fiction and pretensions to science, all through the 19th and 20th centuries. Symmes' claims drew the special attention of America's reading public beginning in the 1820s. His belief in polar openings to a habitable planetary interior gained the writer both widespread publicity and mockery. One of his equally imaginative readers was the writer Edgar Allan Poe, who incorporated a polar "Symmes' hole" into his 1835 tale, Hans Pfaal. Another imaginative reader may have been the first Mormon leader, Joseph Smith, Jr., who, in 1831, taught that the ten lost tribes of ancient Israel had "their place of residence... contiguous to the north pole; separated from the rest of the world by impassable mountains of ice and snow." There is no reason to doubt that some of the earliest Mormons had heard of Symmes' strange notions well before their church was founded in 1830, and that Symmes' claims, of there being habitable land at or near the north pole, were well compatible with Joseph Smith's claims for the location of the missing Israelite tribes.
All through the 19th century, Mormons were keenly interested in Arctic explorations, hoping that they would discover the hidden, balmy land of the lost Israelites, somewhere near the North Pole. When, in 1906, a book on an inhabitable inner world was published by William Reed, the Mormon editor of the Reorganized LDS Saints' Herald offered these illuminating comments:
While Mr. Reed's theory is only a theory as yet, it is one that is entirely within the range of possibilities... we have as much ground for believing that the earth is hollow, as Mr. Reed claims, as we have for believing that it is solid at the poles... The demonstration of this theory will certainly be of interest to all Latter Day Saints, because if found to be true it greatly extends the possibilities of the fulfillment of scripture. For instance, the prophecies in reference to the lost tribes of Israel. Some have already begun to doubt the possibility of their fulfillment... They have argued that the explorers have reached such extreme northern latitudes, and found no habitable land, no place where a nation could exist, and have narrowed down the unexplored area to such small proportions, according to the usually accepted theory, that it is not possible that within the Arctic Circle can be found the home of the lost tribes... what do the prophecies say? ... the Book of Mormon... says: "...the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel: and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews." ...The words of the lost tribes have not come to our knowledge yet. Where are they, and the people who have written them? Not in any known land. They have been led away, we are told. Is it not possible that they inhabit the interior of the earth? If birds and animals may migrate to the interior, as Mr. Reed holds... is it not possible that a human race could also exist there? ...[quoting the RLDS] Doctrine and Covenants 108:6: "And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord, and their prophets shall hear his voice and shall no longer stay themselves, and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep..." The tribes of Israel are to come from a north country, a land of ice...whether the earth be hollow or not; whether the lost tribes be inside the earth or on the outside, we need not doubt that all the Lord has spoken will be fulfilled.
The 1906 Mormon editorial renewed a longstanding Mormon preoccupation with promoting hollow world pseudo-science in the pages of the Saints Herald. As late as Dec. 1909 the editors were still holding out the hope of there being no physical north pole "where the lines of parallel slip off the rounded top of the world," and thus preserving "the traditional teaching" by the Latter Day Saint leaders of "the occupancy of the north land by the so-called lost tribes of Israel." If no pole could be located, then it obviously must be hidden by awesome supernatural powers (or perhaps replaced entirely by one of the polar openings to the hollow world contemplated by LDS Elder Frederick Culmer.
The location of the missing Israelite tribes had been a matter of concern for faithful Mormons ever since the publication of the first LDS scriptures in 1830. On Oct. 24, 1831, Joseph Smith, jr.'s teachings on the subject were allegedly reported by one of his former disciples, Elder Ezra Booth: "The condition of the ten tribes of Israel since their captivity... has never been satisfactorily ascertained. But these [Mormon] visionaries have discovered their place of residence to be contiguous to the north pole; separated from the rest of the world by impassable mountains of ice and snow. In this sequestered residence, they enjoy the society of Elijah the Prophet, and John the Revelator, and perhaps the three immortalized Nephites..." Booth's allegations were largely substantiated a few days later, when the top Mormon leader issued a communication from God [?] at Hiram, Ohio, on Nov. 3, 1831. The official Mormon counterpart to Booth's reporting was first published to the world as a "revelation" in the Church's Evening and Morning Star of May 1833.
Top Latter Day Saint leaders seem to have long entertained the idea that lost Israelites occupied some part of the Earth's interior. In the Aug. 15, 1872 issue of the Saints' Herald, the old-time Mormon leader, Elder Isaac Sheen is quoted as saying "I believe the earth to be a hollow sphere... years before this, and now, the general outlines of the fact of the Lost Tribes being in the north country have been testified of; both in the Bible, Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants; by ancient and by modern prophets..."
Although Elder Sheen was here speaking for himself, it must be remembered that his learned (?) opinions carried great weight in the early Reorganized LDS Church. Sheen makes it sound as though the Bible and the Book of Mormon both place the location of the "lost tribes" of Israel at or near the North Pole. However, his exegesis of these texts was conducted with the understanding that the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants offered critical insights, necessary for a good understanding of the earlier scriptures. It might be said that Sheen was viewing the Bible and the Book of Mormon through the magnifying lens of the D&C. Thus, any references found in the earlier works to a seeming northward movement of those tribes in ancient times, he took to mean a mutual agreement in scriptures that the tribes were then living somewhere beyond the Arctic ice and snows. Although Sheen is not here quoted as saying the missing tribes had entered the Inner World through an opening at the North Pole, his address implies as much, and he must have derived his conclusions either directly or indirectly from the earlier writings of Captain John C. Symmes.
The editors of the Saints' Herald felt it necessary to offer further space to an exposition upon some of these same subjects in the issue of Sept. 15, 1872. The writer (Elder S. F. Walker) made these pertinent remarks:
"Among the facts... are some that have a real bearing on the fate of the ten tribes of Israel. They, according to Esdras, went north by a long journey into a country where never man dwelt. There was no land so likely to have been unknown and uninhabited as the extreme north... About fifty years ago a gentleman of Cincinnati, named Syms, identified himself with a theory that became famous as Syms' hole. It was that the earth was "not a globe," but a series of concentric spheres, and that at the north pole was an opening into the nether spheres.
There are brethren in the church who favor this theory, supporting it by the passage in the Book of Mormon, that says a part of Israel was sent to the nethermost parts of the earth.
Mr. Syms supported the theory by certain facts... Syms' credit is that he first collected the facts that it has taken the world so long to harmonize...
So much is fact. Soon another fact will be transferred from the realm of faith to that of demonstration; that God's covenant people, driven out of his sight for their sins, hidden from the sight of men -- "lost tribes" -- haunting the centuries by the mystery of their fate, but reserved by God for the fulfilling of his repeated oath to the fathers; have somewhere in that undiscovered bourne, beyond the ice-world -- a home...
The Herald of Feb. 15, 1881 reprinted a letter written by the son of the infamous hollow-earth advocate, Captain John C. Symmes. In his letter the son makes a brief reference to reports then in circulation, that the planet was hollow and that a Hebrew-speaking people lived within its subterranean depths. Perhaps it was Elder Isaac Sheen's familiarity with such reports that led him to postulate, in 1872, that the Hebrew-speaking "lost tribes" might be hidden away within the vacuous earth. Captain Symmes lived not too far from Cincinnati in his later years and his geographic innovations were frequently mentioned in that city's press during the first half of the 19th century. The first issues of the Saints' Herald were also published at Cincinnati, which was for many years the home of Isaac Sheen. Elder Sheen would have naturally heard something of Symmes' theories, just by being in the news business in that city. However, the Elder's advocacy for "traces" of the "lost tribes" being discoverable near "the North Pole, or open sea... either on the outer or inner surface of the earth," probably reflects Mormon beliefs dating back to the teachings of Joseph Smith, jr., first published during the Kirtland period of LDS history. Whether or not Smith himself had heard of Symmes' theories at that early date remains unknown, but some of his first followers were, no doubt, familiar with the well publicized hollow-earth idea, especially as it was publicized in the 1820 novel, Symzonia, in which the inhabitants of the hollow Earth are pictured as a Hebrew-speaking people.
It is easily demonstrated that the top leaders of the RLDS Church seriously entertained the idea that lost Israelites occupied some part of the Earth's interior. While this ignorant conceit eventually faded after 1909 among educated Reorganized Mormons, it was kept alive in Utah by such LDS promoters as Elder Frederick Culmer (in his 1886 pamphlet) and, in more recent years, by Utah Elders Rodney M. Cluff and Steve Curry. Elder Curry reportedly has chartered a Russian icebreaker, with plans to fill it with faithful Mormons, in quest of the northern Symmes' hole and their lost Israelite brethren within the hollow planet.
Not all reporting of the hollow Earth theory in Utah has been so positive as the notions held by Culmer, Cluff, Curry, et al., of course. The "Gentile" Park Record for Aug. 17, 1895 called Symmes' writings a "queer theory" and typified his hollow Earth notions in these words: "some of his ideas must have originated with the king of Bedlam."
The fate of the "lost tribes" of Israel and the location of the temperate "North land," beyond the ice and snows of the North Polar region are topics rarely discussed within Mormondom today, but in 1886 a faithful LDS writer like Elder Culmer could quote John C. Symmes and George Reynolds practically in the same breath. The modern reader can only wonder if Joseph Smith, Jr. and his early associates did not also rely upon Captain Symmes' "Inner World" as the secret habitation for their "lost Israelites."