The Mormon Church has released a paper saying people don't get their own planets when they die, to counter a statement in a Broadway musical.
The Mormon Church is pushing back against the notion that members of the faith are taught they'll get their own planet in the afterlife, a misconception popularised most recently by the Broadway show The Book of Mormon.
A newly posted article affirms the faith's belief that humans can become like God in eternity, but says the "cartoonish image of people receiving their own planets" is not how members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints envision it.
"While few Latter-day Saints would identify with caricatures of having their own planet, most would agree that the awe inspired by creation hints at our creative potential in the eternities," the article says.
The expectation of exaltation is more figurative and ambiguous than boiling it down to living on one planet, it says.
"Church members imagine exaltation less through images of what they will get and more through the relationships they have now and how those relationships might be purified and elevated," the article says.
The 3500-word article is part of a series of recent online pieces posted on the church website that explain, expand or clarify on some of the more sensitive gospel topics.
Past articles have addressed the faith's past ban on black men in the lay clergy and the early history of polygamy.
The series of postings have been applauded by religious scholars who say the church is finally acknowledging some of the most controversial or sensitive parts of its history and doctrine that it once sidestepped.
"The church has become fully aware that scholarship and history is a double edge sword," said Terryl Givens, professor of literature and religion and the James Bostwick Chair of English at the University of Richmond.
"They can work in the church's favour, but they can also be unsettling."
The new article doesn't mention Kolob, referred to in the Book of Abraham as a planet or star closest to the throne of God.
Kolob is mentioned in a Mormon hymn, but interpretations that it is the planet where God lives, or the place where church members will go when they die, read a great deal into an obscure verse in Mormon scripture, said Matthew Bowman, assistant professor of religion at Hampden-Sydney College.