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Light, Spirit, Dark Matter, and the Webb Telescope

Galaxy Filaments; a Dark Matter map spanning 10 million galaxies, made with gravitational lensing and images from the James Webb Telescope

Where Science Meets Religion by Trent Dee Stephens, PhD, for the Come Follow Me lesson September 11-17: 2 Corinthians 1-7

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

While I was on my mission, I pondered deeply the texts in my Bible and Triple Combination (Quads were not yet available back then — 1967-1969). I glued a whole bunch of thin note pages into the center and at the end of my Triple Combination so I could write copious notes. On one page in the center I wrote the following equations for light:

D&C 84:45 Word = Truth = Light = Spirit

88:13 Light = Priesthood

93:29, 36: Intelligence = light of truth = light = truth

88:6-7: light of truth = light of sun = Christ

131:7-8 spirit = matter

93:36 Glory of God = Intelligence

Teachings 352-354: mind = soul = spirit = intelligence, spirit and body = soul

Morm. Doc. 751: Spirit element = intelligence = light of truth

1 John 1:5 God = light

John 4:24 God = a Spirit

D&C 45:28: Spirit of Christ = light of truth

Rom. 13:12: light = protection against evil

Morm. Doct. p. 446: Spirit of Christ = light of truth

Abra. 3:22-23: organized intelligences = soul = spirit;

Therefore: word=truth=light=Spirit=Priesthood=Intelligence=light of truth=sunlight=Christ=mind=soul=God=spirit of Christ=spirit=matter

Facsimile 2, Pearl of Great Price, Abraham

Then there is Facsimile #2 in the book of Abraham. According to Joseph Smith: Figure 1 of the facsimile is, “Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh.” Figure 5: “Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob.” I have been fascinated by that image since I was just a little boy, but I have always wondered how the Sun, which makes its own light, can “borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash.” And what is this “grand Key…the governing power [and]… “the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam.”

Facsimile #2 is a hypocephalus, which means it was placed beneath the head of a deceased person. A number of other hypocephali, with very similar patterns, have been found in Thebes, Egypt,1 which is where Facsimile 2, also known as the Hypocephalus of Sheshonq — the name written on the hypocephalus — was discovered in 1818. I remember reading back in the 1960’s that “experts” dismissed the images on the hypocephali as being only mundane domestic agricultural scenes — of little importance as they were often made out of clay. Yes, some were made of clay, but others were made of linen, papyrus (as in Facsimile 2), wood, bronze, or gold. The fact that some were made of clay or drawn on papyrus only emphasizes how important the late Egyptians thought hypocephali to be — wanting them to be placed beneath the heads of their deceased relatives, no matter how little they had to spend on funeral arrangements. Now it is recognized that far from being mundane, the circular pattern of the hypocephalus was believed to provide magically protection for the deceased. It cause the head and body to be enveloped in light and warmth, making the deceased person divine.2

The more elaborate Late Egyptian hypocephalus (from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, 600 BC, onward) replaced the earlier cow-amulet, which apparently looked a lot like Figure 5 of Facsimile 2.3 Far from being a mundane pastural scene, in 2013, Robert K. Ritner, Professor of Egyptology at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, said that the cow, represents Hathor, the heavenly cow,4 and Michael Rhodes, Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, said that Hathor (or Ihet) was, “a personification of the original waters from which the whole of creation arose and the one who gave birth to the sun.” Behind the cow is a “standing female figure with the Eye of Horus depicted on her head and holding out a water lily in her left hand, the symbol of rebirth, here indicating the daily and annual renewal of the sun.”5 Compare that translation to Joseph Smith’s 1842 translation. Rhodes said that, “Strange, [at least at present] incomprehensible names are typical of this class of Egyptian religious documents.”

What about Figure 1, which Joseph Smith said represents, “Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time”? Current interpretations of Figure 1 state that this is Re-Atum or Amon-Re, the sun god in Egyptian mythology, the primordial god from whom all of creation arose. He is often depicted with four heads: Re (sun), Shu (light), Geb (the earth), Osiris (the next world and resurrection).6

That all brings me back to my earlier questions, “How does the Sun, which makes its own light, ‘borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash,’ and what is this ‘grand Key…the governing power [and]… ‘the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam’”? The answer to those questions may have recently emerged from modern research in quantum mechanics, the discovery of dark matter, and recent maps of the universe from the James Webb Telescope.

One option to the equation written in my Triple Combination is that it can be reduced to: light=spirit of Christ=spirit=matter. The last part of that equation comes from instructions given by the Prophet Joseph Smith to the Saints at Ramus, Illinois, May 17, 1843, “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.”7

So what type of light was Paul writing about in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “…the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them…the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”? Is this just a metaphor or is the “light” to which Paul refers the spirit, which Joseph Smith defines as being made of refined matter? Joseph Smith’s definition of spirit sounds a lot like modern science’s definition of “dark matter.”

In 1901, at a meeting of the British Science Association in Glasgow, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) described the rotation of stars within the Milky Way galaxy. He proposed that the velocity of their rotation required a much greater mass to the galaxy than could be accounted for by the stars we can see in the galaxy. Thomson thought those “dark bodies” were “extinct,” burnt out stars, as did Henri Poincaré, who in 1906 coined the term “dark matter,” or “matière obscure” in the original French, to describe them.8 We now know that dark matter is not burnt-out stars but we don’t know what it is.

Then in 1955, John Wheeler proposed foam-like strands of dark matter throughout the universe, which he called “quantum foam.”9 He proposed that clouds of the early elementswere attracted to this dark matter foam and coalesced by the force of gravity, within halos of dark matter, to form stars and galaxies.

Scientists have been struggling for over one hundred years to describe dark matter, but it is not part of the electromagnetic spectrum nor does it interact with the electromagnetic spectrum, so we have had no way of detecting it — until very recently. Now, thanks to images from the James Webb Telescope, astronomers have been able to construct the galaxy filaments predicted by Wheeler in 1955. The Dark Matter map at the beginning of this essay spans 10 million galaxies and was constructed using gravitational lensing and images from the Webb Telescope — launched 25 December 2021.

Are we seeing, for the first time, a map of the spirit matter that fills the expanse of the universe? Are we seeing a map of Facsimile 2? Perhaps the “light” described in Facsimile 2 is not the ordinary light we perceive emanating from the sun. Is it possible that this Kae-e-vanrash, or ke-ʹeban-raš, this grand keystone as revealed to Abraham and taught by him to the Egyptians, is another name for “dark matter,” or “spirit matter,” which interconnects and governs all the heavenly bodies? We are told in Doctrine and Covenants that God,

“… ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth. …Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space—The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God.”10

For a more detailed account of dark matter and spirit matter, see my book, The Infinite Creation.

Trent Dee Stephens, PhD


1. El Weshahy, Mofida and Omran, Rasha, Hypocephalus in Ancient Egyptian Religion, Journal of Association of Arab Universities for Tourism and Hospitality, Association of Arab Universities, 11:15–25, 2014

2. The British Museum website,; retrieved 8September 2023

3. Amin, Osama Shukir Muhammed, Linen Hypocephalus. World History Encyclopedia, 2016

4. Ritner, Robert Kriech, editor, The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: A Complete Edition: P. JS 1-4 and the Hypocephalus of Sheshonq, Signature Books, SLC, UT, 2013, p. 268

5. Rhodes, Michael D., The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus ... Seventeen Years Later, FARMS Preliminary Reports, Maxwell Institute BYU, Provo, UT, 1994

6. c. f. Rhodes

7. Doctrine and Covenants 131:7-8

8. Bucklin, Stephanie M., A history of dark matter, Ars Technica,, 2017

9. Wheeler, J. A., Geons, Physical Review, 97: 511-536, 1955; see also Ng, Y. Jack, Quantum foam, gravitational thermodynamics, and the dark sector, J. Phys.: Conf. Ser., 845: 012001

10. Doctrine and Covenants 88:6, 12-13

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