February 26, 2007

Adam-God Theory

Q. Brigham Young taught the Adam-God theory (I've read the Journal of Discourses, and it was not taken out of context, etc). But the LDS Church does not teach those things today.

Brother Brigham also said that everything that he said could be considered scripture.

So, is the Adam-God theory true? If so, why does the church today teach that it isn't? If it isn't true, then why did Brigham Young teach it as doctrine?

A. This post is to answer the Adam-God theory.

I've done a search in Brigham Young's Discourses and found nothing under "as good as Scripture". I did a search under "good as" and found nothing to do with Scripture. So I can only look at the idea of what if some prophet claimed his comments were as good as Scripture. This does not make them such. Something as good as done, isn't done, either. Firstly I will quote the following from the prophet Harold B. Lee in regard this point.

"It is not to be thought that every word spoken by the General Authorities is inspired, or that they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost in everything they write. I don't care what his position is, if he writes something or speaks something that goes beyond anything that you can find in the standard church works, unless that one be the prophet, seer, and revelator --please note that one exception--you may immediately say, "Well, that is his own idea." And if he says something that contradicts what is found in the standard church works, you may know by that same token that it is false, REGARDLESS OF THE POSITION OF THE MAN WHO SAYS IT [my emphasis]." (Stand Ye in Holy Places" by Harold B. Lee 15:162:6).

To make real Scripture for the church, a prophet must present all his words as coming to him by revelation in his office as prophet for the church, and that God has said these should become established doctrine. He will then call upon the membership to sustain it as being Scripture. And the sustaining must be unanimous. Upon acceptance it will then be placed in the Standard Works (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price). There has of recent decades been 3 additions made to our Scriptures by this process (D&C [Doctrine and Covenants] 137 and 138, and Official Declaration 2). The church is a democratic theocracy. Meaning that while it is directed by Christ, it is done by the ACCEPTANCE and to the level of the Saints (members) as a whole. No individual member, regardless of his position, has a right to decide what is true for everyone else. Thus it is called "The Church of Jesus Christ [theocracy] of Latter-Day Saints [democracy]. According to the prophet Harold B. Lee the only real Scripture we have are the Standard Works. If some members regard all sorts of other things as Scripture, be that to them. And if any man propose his words or anyone else's to be Scripture (other than the Standard Works), that is his opinion. I've never heard it presented at conference that I am to sustain all comments by GAs (General Authorities) and/or all manuals as Scripture. Only that I accept GAs as holding certain positions. Scripture for the church is only that written in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. So we are looking at Brigham Young's statements purely as speculative theory of a church member, if not supported by Scripture. And if in opposition to Scripture then they are false (as Harold B. Lee also stated concerning ANY person within the church having doctrine opposed to Scripture). Of course the catch 22 is that if Harold B. Lee is incorrect that makes him correct, as he was the prophet when it was quoted in an Institute Manual. Having laid that aside, let's move on to the question.

I have read the statements of Brigham's that you mention. My first response was that it was very clear that he was saying Adam to be the Father of Jesus Christ's body and our spirit body. And I thought that for a long time. However I have since found some statements that have changed my mind on the matter. Also I think I should throw in a fairly official statement on it.

When a prophet, Spencer W. Kimball made the following statement at general conference.
"We hope that you who teach in the various organizations, whether on the campuses or in our chapels, will always teach the orthodox truth. We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine." Kimball, Spencer W. "Our Own Liahona." Ensign (Nov. 1976), p. 77-79.

This was a plain statement that current GAs disagree with the doctine of Adam being God, and that they feel Brigham Young's statements are misunderstood.

The question you have posed as to why Brigham taught it, I assume to be in the interest of truth. Therefore the question becomes, "was Adam really our Heavenly Father"? Which will be answered by Scripture lastly. But in the interest of hopefully laying aside ALL your concerns, it is a good question as to why someone with such revelatory ability and knowledge would beleive something so obviously contrary to Scripture, if he did?

Here I should make you aware of surrounding beliefs that, I believe, would have influenced and concerned Brigham Young while making these statements. He was speaking against thinking created by Protestant/Catholic teaching. They, generally, totally condemn Adam and Eve as disgusting beings who are totally responsible for our present predicament. To them all would have been wonderful had Adam and Eve followed simple instructions. I have seen Protestant publications that draw Adam as a truly evil character. Brigham, therefore, is presenting what a wonderful and important character Adam actually was. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and Paul the Apostle all suffer from the same problem. They were the first of a new breed. And they didn't realise that you must be extremely careful with how you put things. People take them completely out of context of your thinking. They knew what they meant, when they said things. But it sounds different to us.

Typical Opinions Brigham Expressed:-

"Now hear it, 0 inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days, about whom holy men have written and spoken-He is our father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do." Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 50. (1852)

However in the very NEXT paragraph he stated, "It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael..." Any illusion that he was proposing Adam (Michael) to be Heavenly Father (Eloheim) is tossed out here. But for better understanding let's proceed anyway.

To try and understand what Brigham must have meant in the first bit I will present some possible ideas. Adam is a god, as are all who accept and follow the gospel of Christ in its fulness (John 10:35). And as he is the first parent in fallen flesh, and we are cut off because of the fall, he is the only god with whom we have to do patriachally (as to get to the Father we must go through the Son, not patriarchally).
Eve was one of his celestial wives, looking backward (ie she now being one of his celestial wives). He brought her with him. But she wasn't one of his celestial wives at the time he brought her.
He is the Ancient of Days, being our first father to live a life of years here (as stated in D&C 27:11).
Of course these are only assumptions of his intent, as he isn't available for comment.

Brigham said "When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he [Christ] took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve....

"Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven....

"Now, remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost." Journal of Discourses. vol. 1, pp. 50-51.

Heavenly Father is the father of the human family (while Adam can be regarded so also).
Heavenly Father was also a character in the garden of Eden when talking to Adam and Eve (I'll quote Brigham on this soon)(even though Adam lived there permanently at the time). So it could be that we should be reading Brigham's statements based on his assumption of the knowledge of the hearers. Others propose that there were errors in recording by those writing his talk down. Either way the following adds insight.

Reading these quotes of Brigham bellow makes it very clear what he thought of Adam and God, and Adam to Christ:-

"We are all the children of Adam and Eve, and they are the offspring of Him who dwells in the heavens, the Highest Intelligence that dwells anywhere that we have any knowledge of."

"The greatest desire in the bosom of our Father Adam, or of his faithful children who are co-workers with God, our Father in Heaven, is to save the inhabitants of the earth" Discourses of Brigham Young. 2nd ed., p. 94.

"How has it transpired that theological truth is thus so widely disseminated? It is because God was once known on the earth among his children of mankind, as we know one another. Adam was as conversant with his Father who placed him upon this earth as we are conversant with our earthly parents. The Father frequently came to visit his son Adam, and talked and walked with him; and the children of Adam were more or less acquainted with him, and the things that pertain to God and to heaven were as familiar among mankind in the first ages of their existence on the earth, as these mountains are to our mountain boys." Discourses of Brigham Young, 2nd ed., p.159

"Our Lord Jesus Christ-the Savior, who has redeemed the world and all things pertaining to it, is the Only Begotten of the Father pertaining to the flesh. He is our Elder Brother, and the Heir of the family, and as such we worship him. He has tasted death for every man, and has paid the debt contracted by our first parents [Adam and Eve]." Discourses of Brigham Young, 2nd ed., p.40.

Now consider the following Scripture references:-

Jude 1:9 "Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee."

D&C (Doctrine and Covenants) 78:15-16 "That you may come up unto the crown prepared for you, and be made rulers over many kingdoms, saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Zion [Jesus Christ], who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman; Who hath appointed Michael [Adam] your prince, and established his feet, and set him upon high. and given him the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One, who is without beginning of days and end of life."

D&C 29:34 "Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created."

Luke 3:38 "Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God."

Moses 6:22 "And this is the genealogy of the sons of Adam, who was the son of God, with whom God, himself, conversed."

It is obvious from these latter collections that 1. Brigham Young didn't think Adam was our Heavenly Father or the father of Jesus Christ. And 2. (and most importantly) that the Scriptures oppose such a concept.


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