With all the controversy swirling around the Mormon church’s defiance of immigration law—specifically, its practice of sending illegal aliens out into the mission field—we thought it would be edifying to see how authorities in the Celestial Kingdom handle the problem of illegal immigration. We got in touch with Elder LaVell Tubaloth, assistant to the deputy counselor of High Celestial Border Security and arranged a teleconference during which we posed questions on various aspects of celestial immigration.
Despite the great distance between Salt Lake City and Heaven, it was just like Elder Tubaloth was sitting in the next room, though every once in a while, transmission was interrupted by buzzing static and flashing lights, which, we later learned, were spirits zooming up to their eternal reward. Elder Tubaloth looked both old and young, like a tanned Florida geezer with toned muscles and slack skin. He was wearing a Cleveland Indians baseball cap and navy blue warm-up attire.
Deep End: Just a shot in the dark here— but are you related to the great Lamanite king Tubaloth who sent Coriantumr to lay waste to Zarahemla and Bountiful, as narrated by Helaman in the Book of Mormon?
Tubaloth: Not just related, one and the same.
DE: A privilege to make your acquaintance. But where’s your war bonnet and loincloth?
T: It kills my neck to wear the war bonnet all day long, and the loincloth, though it’s handy for trips to the gents’ room, gets kinda drafty when the winds kick up.
DE: A quick question, while I have you—I never could figure out the spelling of Coriantumr. Isn’t there a letter missing?
T: I think Joseph Smith must have spilled something on his seer stone the day he translated Coriantumr’s name. In Reformed Egyptian, it’s spelled with an O between the M and the R.
DE: Thanks for clearing that up. So, you’re no doubt familiar with the sticky situation with illegal immigrants here on Earth, in particular the flak the Mormons are taking for calling them on missions. Can you give us a snapshot of the immigration situation in the Celestial Kingdom?
T: It’s a real problem, let me tell you. I wish it were a sticky situation like you have down there, because it would be nice if our illegals were sticky—we could catch ’em easier. But being spirits, they just slip through our fingers. And we have borders that stretch out forever.
DE: Where do most of them come from?
T: Quite a few from the other two kingdoms—I can never keep ’em straight. I can never remember which is the worst, the Telestial or the Terrestial. And the worst are the Sons of Perdition, who supposedly are out there drifting in darkness like parade balloons. Some days, it’s like D-Day with all of ’em parachuting in from Lord knows where.
DE: The ones you catch—do you just send them back from whence they came?
T: We got a big debate going on between two factions. Ever heard of the Iron Rod Saints and the Liahona Saints?
DE: You mean like the hard-liners and the soft-hearted?
T: That’s it, though personally, I’d say the Liahonas are soft-headed. The Iron Rods want to kick ‘em out, and the Liahonas want to forgive and forget, you know, the typical Christian attitude. Problem is, God is a down-the-line Iron Rodder, like my favorite apostle, Boyd K. Packer.
DE: Let me ask you this: How did you, Tubaloth, heap big chief of the Lamanites and scourge of the Nephites, ever get into the Celestial Kingdom?
T: I sneaked in a couple thousand years ago, and they threw me into the Celestial slammer until I wised up—must have been at least a thousand years—making me watch an endless loop of General Conference. You want to talk about torture? I’ll take waterboarding any day. But I was able to pump iron out in the yard, and several hundred years later, I’m still at it. Do you want to Indian wrestle?
DE: Another time. So it’s possible to move up to the Celestial Kingdom from one of the lower ones?
T: Depends on who you know. Hey, if they hassle you when your time has come, tell whoever’s on duty you want to talk to Tubaloth. I might be able to help out.
DE: Would I have to watch General Conference?
T: Afraid so.