Saturday, August 2, 2008

I See… BYU New Guinea, BYU Alaska

Any decent, patriotic reader of this blog knows about BYU-Provo, BYU-Hawaii, and BYU-Idaho. But have you heard about BYU-New Guinea and BYU-Alaska? Of course not. Why not? Because they exist only in the Mormon Third Eye’s long view of the past. If US President James Buchanan, however, had been able to impose his executive powers on the Saints, we’d all be flying across different parts of the Pacific to attend General Conference. He wanted to send us there.

In 1857, amidst the throes of the great Utah War, President Buchanan decided he had had enough of those filthy Mormons and their polygamous ways. The troops he sent out to quell an invisible insurrection were being terrorized by hit-and-run Mormon mountain men. He was also in the midst of working a deal to buy Alaska from the Russians. His motto was, “if you can’t beat them, banish them.” So, he took a careful look at the expanse of Alaska as the perfect no-man’s Mormon land.

Meanwhile, another respected explorer tried to persuade Buchanan to ship the Saints off to the island paradise of New Guinea, which was actually the northernmost tip of Australia until the Ice Age put ocean between them. Fortunately for us, common sense made a cameo appearance in his administration, and it was decided that such moves were too expensive and impractical to implement.

Technically, I have nothing against either location. In fact, both places meet all the revelatory required conditions for a latter-day Zion; they are mountainous, far away, and seemingly god-forsaken rough neighborhoods to make a living- kind of like the Utah desert that used to stretch across the Wasatch range before the Saints arrived.

Alaska has Mt. McKinley and really hard, cold land for most of the year. Imagine, however, the pristine beauty of a bustling Mormon metropolis with a sparkling white temple, all majestically resting in long shadow of North America’s highest mountain.

New Guinea is also a rugged mountainous paradise overwhelmed with jungles and swamps just as challenging as desert. Furthermore, there are over 850 different languages spoke on the island. Could there be a better place to put a Missionary Training Center?

The pattern is clear. So why didn’t we go? Because God didn’t say so.


  1. Very nice. At Marisa's family reunion we named our subdivision of the family BYU-W for the Washington extension!

  2. I am grateful I didn't have to go to Alaska to meet you at BYU-Alaska! Brrrrrrrr..... as if the winter we got engaged wasn't cold enough!!

  3. Carson,

    If I was you, I'd be real careful about homesteading a BYU-W in Washington. The last guy to recommend an alternate location for the Saints, explorer Walter Gibbons (he was rooting for Port Moresby, New Guinea) ended up joining the church, serving a mission to Hawaii, then being excommunicated for selling priesthood offices throughout the islands.

    Hmmm... Let's see, you are a member of the church, went on a mission to a strange land... I think as long as you don't start selling callings in your ward, I guess you will be ok.

  4. What about forgiveness for money? I've been considering that to pay back some student debt if you know anyone that might be interested ;-)

    I hope I don't get struck by lightening though...