Questions Astrologers Avoid Like Cancer

by Terry J. Moyer

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    (file with Palm-reading, Phrenology, Tea-leaf Reading, Numerology, and Dr. Mugwump’s Miracle Snake-oil Medicine)

    Astrology, once the domain of Babylonian magicians and Himalayan gurus, has arrived in the 20th-century suburbs. You see zodiac names on belt buckles and bumper stickers and medallions. You hear horoscope hypes in the top ten records. Zodiac magazines, charms, earrings, bracelets, patches, potholders, license-plate holders, calendars, and other assorted rubble sell like never before. Alas, even seminary students seem to know “which sign they were born under.”

    So far, no problem. Everyone enjoys a harmless fad, if it doesn’t go too far.

    Unless. Unless you start to believe that it’s something more than a fad. For the plain facts are that astrology is—

    1. An ancient form of magic.

    2. Absolutely without objective evidence or scientific support.

    3. A rotten way to make life’s decisions.

    4. Satan’s counterfeit for real prophecy.

    5. All of the above.

    Astrology books are full of scientific-sounding nonsense and claims that it is an authentic science or an art. Daily horoscope articles are filled with broad generalities so that what is said about Pisces could be true for everyone who has ever lived. Meanwhile, astrologers have found that astrology fans and their money are soon parted. Paraphrasing P. T. Barnum, “There’s an astrology fan (sucker) born every minute.”

    But let’s get down to some specifics. Here are 25 darts to throw at the overinflated windbag of astrology, questions to give fits to your local authorized horoscope hawker.

    1. Astrology is based on the idea that the Earth is at the center of space, with the sun, moon, planets, and stars revolving around it. If astrology worked under those false ideas, why does it now work under a completely different concept?

    2. There is a slight wobble in the Earth’s axis, which has moved the starting point of spring (scientists call it the vernal equinox) out of its ancient position in Aries and almost through Pisces. The astrologers tell us that the sun is in Aries when in fact it has left Aries and is getting close to Aquarius. How then does Aries still influence people?

    3. Astrologers claim that the only constellations of stars that influence our lives enough to matter are the 12 constellations of the zodiac, through which the sun, moon, and planets appear to pass. Why so? Orion has brighter stars than the constellations of the zodiac and is closer to the path of the sun, moon, and planets than large parts of many zodiac signs.

    4. Astrologers tell us that there are 12 signs of the zodiac. But many star atlases show 13 constellations along the path of the sun, moon, and planets. (The 13th constellation is Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer.) Why do Sagittarius and Scorpio influence our lives, but not Ophiuchus?

    5. The constellation Leo the Lion is supposed to cause some people to act like a lion: proud, kingly, as one in authority. What if the ancients had named that group of stars Lulu the Lamb? Would those stars then make people timid?

    6. Astrologers claim that the sign of the zodiac that is rising over the horizon at the moment of your birth is vitally important in determining your whole future. Why that sign? Why not the one directly overhead at the time or the one just setting? How does the ascendant sign manage to cancel out the influence of the other zodiac signs that are nearby?

    7. People at or near the poles have the sun above the horizon for up to six months at a time. The moon remains in the sky for two weeks nonstop. Some planets are above the horizon for months at a time without setting. Shouldn’t people born in northern Finland or southern Argentina (in latitudes approaching the poles) be drastically different from other people since they live where such unusual circumstances occur?

    8. The ancients knew nothing of Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto but were supposedly able to make accurate horoscopes anyway. In those days Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto apparently had no influence on people’s lives. Why then do most astrologers today include these planets in their horoscopes?

    9. And what of asteroids? Astrologers do not plot the location of such bodies on their horoscopes. Yet most of the asteroids in our solar system exert far more gravitational influence upon the Earth and its people than even the nearest stars. How can astrologers overlook bodies up to 500 miles in diameter so close to the Earth?

    10. Then there’s Pluto. At great distance from the Earth, this tiny planet nonetheless is said to have great influence on the fate of humans on faraway Earth. If Pluto can influence us, why not the moons of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, all of which are closer to Earth and many of which are larger than Pluto? How can astrologers omit the influence of these bodies from their horoscopes?

    11. Astrologers tell us that light radiations from distant stars and planets influence the decisions we make. But the stars near the horizon are weaker than those overhead, having more atmosphere to pass through. Why then is the weaker light of the ascendant sign on the horizon more important in our lives than the stronger light of signs overhead?

    12. And what of light curved by Earth’s atmosphere and gravity? In the morning the sun, moon, or planets might be seen as if in the ascendant house above the horizon when in fact they are still below the horizon in the zone of another house. How could an astrologer be accurate if he charted the sun in one house above the horizon (the all-important ascendant zone) when it was actually below the horizon in a different house?

    13. It is obvious that the sun and moon exert a great influence on life on Earth, as with the tides, for instance. Taken separately, either the sun or the moon has more influence on tides than all planets and stars combined. Why then don’t horoscope charts give vastly greater consideration to the influence of the sun and the moon?

    14. The Milky Way galaxy runs through the constellations Gemini and Sagittarius. With billions more fairly close stars in these two constellations than in the other signs of the zodiac, why are Gemini and Sagittarius considered by astrologers to have pretty much the same degree of influence as the other signs?

    15. If gravitational influences from distant stars and planets are so important, wouldn’t major sources of gravity variations on Earth influence one’s horoscope? Wouldn’t people near the great Mesabi iron ore deposit in Minnesota be more influenced by the Mesabi than by the very faint and vastly distant stars in the sign of Pisces?

    16. And if radiation from distant stars can impel a person to a given fate, what of the folks near the atomic test site in Nevada? Were they born under the sign of the mushroom?

    17. Or consider the consequences of walking on the moon! Since the moon supposedly has a vast influence on people’s destinies at 239,000 miles distance, shouldn’t Neil Armstrong have turned into a super-looney-moony-lunar-moonchild from having walked on the moon?

    18. Then we have the problem of identical twins. Twins born minutes apart will have almost identical horoscopes and supposedly almost identical influences from the stars. Why then are some twins so dissimilar in temperament, interests, and achievements?

    19. And what about babies born in hospital delivery rooms where no light of sun, moon, planets, or stars can penetrate? And doesn’t each doctor, nurse, table, chair, wall, bed, or vase of flowers exert more gravitational influence on the newborn babe than all the stars in the ascendant sign combined? Could it be that a baby is actually born under the sign of Oscar the Obstetrician?

    20. For that matter, why do the stars choose the moment of birth as the time to decree a baby’s future? Would it not be more helpful if the stars were watching as the genes and chromosomes were sorting out the newly conceived child’s eye color, sex, and dimples?

    21. Which brings us to the matter of actual changes that have occurred in recent history. For example, today we have far fewer infant deaths than in times past. Is this because of the influence of stars and planets, houses and horoscopes? Or is it the result of hard work by dedicated scientists and doctors?

    22. And what of those scientists and doctors? How many professors of astronomy, medicine, chemistry, and physics believe in horoscopes and astrology? Why is it that the best-educated people find astrology to be a silly myth?

    23. In every attempt to verify it as a true science, astrology has failed. Whether by astronomers, physicists, psychologists, demographers, or even astrologers in controlled tests using the scientific method, astrology has failed. The cases of correct predictions are no more than might have occurred from shrewd guesswork. Why, after thousands of years of trying, can horoscope experts produce not one reliable piece of evidence to support their claims?

    24. In the Lord’s church today there are 68 General Authorities, including men whom we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators. Not one of them believes in astrology. There are approximately 185 Regional Representatives, about 970 stake presidents, and some 6,000 bishops. It may well be said that not one of these thousands of priesthood leaders, or their wives, or their counselors believes in astrology. Nor do the hundreds of patriarchs, mission presidents, institute teachers, seminary teachers, or presidencies and general boards of auxiliaries. If astrology is true, how can the leaders of the Lord’s church unanimously dismiss it as another of Satan’s tiresome counterfeits?

    25. And finally, this: The prophets of God, both anciently and in modern times, have denounced astrology as merely another of Satan’s frauds. Through Moses, through Daniel, through Isaiah and Samuel, the Lord spoke out against astrologers, magicians, soothsayers, and observers of times.

    In modern times the Saints have repeatedly been warned to place their faith in God and in his priesthood and to shun Satan’s works. How can Latter-day Saints seriously believe in astrology when the Lord and his prophets have denounced it? What need have we of horoscopes when we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and patriarchal blessings, and prophets, and scriptures? Of what interest is pottage to those who are heirs to the birthright?

    What Do the Scriptures Say about Astrology?

    Leviticus 19:31 [Lev. 19:31]: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.”

    Deuteronomy 18:9–14 [Deut. 18:9–14]: “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.

    “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

    “Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

    “For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

    “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.

    “For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”

    Isaiah 8:19–20: [Isa. 8:19–20]: “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to [hear from] the dead?

    “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

    Daniel 2:27–28: [Dan. 2:27–28]: “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;

    “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.”

    2 Kings 23:5: [2 Kgs. 23:5]: King Josiah “put down the idolatrous priests, … and … them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets.”

    (See also Robert J. Matthews, “What the Scriptures Say about Astrology, Divination, Spirit Mediums, Magic, Wizardry, and Necromancy,” Ensign, March 1974, p. 26–28.)

    Illustrated by Ralph Reynolds