Gordon Monson: Are aliens flying all around us? Beats me. But it’s a question for Latter-day Saints, for Congress, for all of us to consider.

The truth is out there or up there or somewhere.

(NASA) Earth from the Apollo 10 mission in 1969. A congressional hearing this week considered whether UFOs are zipping around the planet.

Do you believe alien life exists? Do you believe beings, in one form or another — perfected, exalted, damned — exist on other planets? Do you believe in worlds without end, all God’s creations? Something else’s creations? Is there a Kolob-like planet out there with your name on it? Are there billions of Kolob-like planets with billions of names on them? What and where is Kolob anyway? If everybody everywhere lives forever, lives through the eternities, where do they all go, where do they all live? And do they ever interact with one another, with … us?

So many questions, so much space, so much time.

If you take religion out of the equation, do you believe UFOs are flying through and around Earth’s airspace, occasionally being actually seen by … you know, humans? Are they friends or foes? Are we all going to die at the hands of smart and angry E.T.s? Or are they our pals? Or is it all just a bunch of bull?

Phony home.

[Salt Lake Tribune data columnist Andy Larsen examined UFO sightings in Utah. Read his story here.]

Beats me. I did cover Dennis Rodman back in the ‘90s and Bill Walton in the ‘80s. Here’s what I do know: Any number of mind-blowing possibilities shouldn’t be ruled out.

Can we, as humans, religious or otherwise, be so arrogant as to believe that we are the only creatures roaming the vastness of a gazillion galaxies?

It’s heavy, man, heavy.

Congress is on the case

(Nathan Howard | AP) An audience member wears a UFO pin during a congressional hearing on UFOs, Wednesday, July 26, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Watching witnesses answer questions and talk about their experiences with unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP) during a congressional subcommittee hearing in Washington on Wednesday was mostly a load of blah-blah-blah, mixed, though, with some moments of good lord, everybody run for your freaking lives! The problem with that last part is, there’s no place to run.

We’re all stuck here, for the time being at least, on this terrestrial orb, and if there really are extraterrestrials buzzing around, there could be a threat to our existence for one very logical reason: If aliens are visiting us, that means they’re more advanced in technology and intellectual firepower — and who knows what other kinds — than humans. They found us, right? We didn’t find them.

Are they exalted heavenly beings or just elevated little green women and men with weaponry that looks like something out of a bad 1950s cartoon?

In the subcommittee hearing, there was a whole lot of discussion about transparency, the need for it, space information shared not just among government officials but also with the public.

Hear, hear.

The three witnesses were Lt. Ryan Graves, a former Navy F-18 pilot; David Grusch, a former senior officer with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; and David Fravor, a retired Navy commander. They all made statements and answered questions about their knowledge of — or experiences with — UAPs.

“UAPs are in our airspace, but they are grossly underreported,” Graves said, describing the stigma that comes to those willing to make public claims. He articulated instances when pilots saw UAPs making movements that are beyond our presently known technology.

Fravor said he encountered an odd object while flying on a training session from the USS Nimitz off the coast of San Diego in 2004 that was “far superior” to any flying tech the military had at that time.

“It rapidly accelerated and disappeared,” he said. “The incident wasn’t investigated.”

He added that the capabilities of the object enabled it to move so quickly that, had Navy jets engaged with the object, there was “nothing we [could] do about it. Nothing. … We have nothing that can stop in midair and go in the other direction. Nor do we have anything that can come down from space, hang out for three hours and go back up.”


They said many pilots on the commercial and military sides have seen UAPs, and they complained about a lack of proper procedures for reporting such encounters without facing a derisive backlash that could harm their careers. More importantly, they indicated that such UAPs, whether they are earthly or otherworldly, do pose a threat to national security.

Grusch is certain, based on the information he’s seen and that has come to him, that the government has in classified locations possession of UAPs.

Is this kooky talk? What are we supposed to make of it?

UFOs seen in Utah

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

If you’re a scientist, what’s your take? If you’re a Latter-day Saint or a Catholic or a Baptist or a Buddhist or a person of any other faith, how would such revelations fit into your personal belief system? Years ago, I interviewed a number of Utahns who said they had seen what they referred to as UFOs. Their tales were interesting on the one end and haunting on the other.

One individual said when he went to lunch during an otherwise routine day, he saw a flying saucer hovering over 300 West in Salt Lake City. A rancher in a rural stretch of eastern Utah said he not only saw an unusual spacecraft but also alien creatures moving around his house. A woman said she had an extraterrestrial encounter while driving with her son in a car in Salt Lake County one night, seeing a flash of light and suddenly both of them were knocked out. When they came to, they were resting in their beds back at their home. She wasn’t sure what had happened in the interim.

(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

It’s easy to chuckle at stories like these. I will say, though, that the people I talked to seemed like regular folks, salt-of-the-earth types, some of them deeply religious, who were seeking neither compensation, nor attention for recounting their experiences. If anything, they were hesitant to talk about them.

The witnesses sitting before the congressional panel this week appeared credible to me. I mean, who would dare lie in the halls of Congress? Um, hold it, let me rephrase that. If they are truth-tellers, does that mean it’s slam-dunk evidence of alien or extraterrestrial or celestial life? Would that be the biggest news ever told?

What say you?

What is Kolob?

(Department of Defense via AP) An unexplained object is seen at center as it is tracked as it soars high along the clouds, traveling against the wind in 2015.

A notable comment made by Grusch, a whistleblower who came out weeks ago with statements that the Pentagon is keeping significant secrets, when he was asked about aggressive alien or nonhuman activity he’s witnessed, whether it’s fact or fiction, is difficult to blow off, laugh at, or ignore.

He said: “I can’t get into specifics in an open environment, but the activity that I personally witnessed … is very disturbing.”

OK, everybody freak out now. Or don’t.

Believe it. Or don’t.

Rewatch the film “Independence Day.” Or don’t.

Say a prayer. Or don’t.

Send up a cry for help to Kolob. Or don’t. (Kolob, by the way, is a celestial place or planet or star mentioned in Latter-day Saint scripture nearest to where God lives.)

Do any of those things or none of them.

There are, however, three things we all can and should do: 1) we can demand that the government discloses what it knows about aliens and alien crafts, if anything; 2) we can hope, if extraterrestrials really do exist, and if they’re probing our humble planet, that they’re cool dudes and dudettes who have both a sense of humor and happy dispositions; and 3) we can realize that earthlings are as much a global threat to other earthlings as any force from outside our planet, and learn to take care of Mother Earth and make adjustments to simply get along with one another on the rock we call home.