Adam-God Doctrine or Theory?


By Rick Brunson

=====================================================

~Part 1 - Q&A~


Perhaps no doctrine taught throughout the history of the Church has caused as much controversy and as much confusion as the so-called "Adam-God theory."  Certainly no doctrine within the Church has been more misunderstood by its members.  So what exactly is the Adam-God theory?

Before we can answer this question, we must first establish certain truths regarding Adam and Eve. Part-1 of this 3-part series will ask a number of questions. This is intended to invite the reader to ponder certain concepts in their hearts. It must be noted that much of the information presented in this article will be new to the honest Church-going member. Perhaps it will even be new to those who may already be familiar with certain aspects of the Adam-God theory. Because of this, we must understand that the things discussed in this article cannot be fully understood without the aid of the Spirit. If at any time the reader feels inclined to disagree with any of the conclusions drawn in this article, I would encourage the reader to take a moment to ponder these questions and come to their own conclusions, rather than simply dismissing these concepts because they may be new.


With that introduction, we turn to our questions.

What type of body did Adam have in the Garden of Eden before the fall?


We have 3 choices:

      1. Mortal
      2. Translated
      3. Immortal (which can be broken out into three sub-categories):
        • Celestial body
        • Terrestrial body
        • Telestial body


Each of these possibilities will be discussed below.

Could Adam have been Mortal before the fall?

No. Adam would have lived forever in the Garden of Eden had he not partaken of the forbidden fruit.  Lehi stated:

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. (2 Ne. 2:22)

This tells us that Adam would have lived forever.  Therefore, Adam was not mortal before the fall.

Was Adam Immortal?

Yes.  President Joseph Fielding Smith said:  "Adam and Eve...were yet immortal beings in the Garden of Eden and before death entered the world."[1]

President Smith also stated: “After the fall, which came by a transgression of the law under which Adam was living, the forbidden fruit had the power to create blood and change his nature and mortality took the place of immortality, and all things partaking of the change, became mortal”[2]

We can therefore conclude that Adam was an immortal being before the fall.

If Adam was immortal before the fall, would it have been possible for him to have been a translated being, like the 3 Nephites, or John the Revelator?

No. Translated beings are not immortal.  This is evident by what Jesus said to the 3 Nephites: 

And ye shall never endure the pains of death; but when I shall come in my glory ye shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye from mortality to immortality; (3 Ne. 28:8)

Translated beings have not yet tasted of death, while immortal beings have.  You cannot become immortal without first dying and being resurrected.  Translated beings have neither died nor been resurrected.[3]

**Conclusion - We know that Adam was not a translated being in the Garden of Eden, but was an immortal being.**

How Was Adam Created? / How did Adam get his Immortal Body? 


Was Adam's physical body created in the Garden of Eden, or was he created before being placed there? 

Moses 3:15 and Abr. 5:11 both state that Adam’s physical body was placed in the Garden of Eden.  Therefore, Adam’s body was created before he arrived in the Garden of Eden.

What does it mean to be created from the dust?  

The phrase “created from dust” is figurative.  LDS scholar Cleon Skousen wrote:

“The Lord originally told Moses precisely what it meant to be made from the dust of the earth.  This is a technical phrase.  It meant to be "born...by water, and blood, and the spirit which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul" (Moses 6:59)”[4]

This tells us that Adam was not literally created out of dust, but was rather born of a woman.  This was made clear by President Brigham Young who said,

 "He [Adam] was made as you and I were made and no person was ever made on any other principle."[5] 

This was also confirmed by King Mosiah who said, “ye were created of the dust of the earth” (Mosiah 2:25).  In other words, you and I were created the same way that Adam was created.  Elder Bruce R. McConkie said,

"Mortal men are born into mortality, meaning that the spirits from pre-existence come into tabernacles which have been created from the dust of the earth through the normal birth process."[6]

If we were created from the dust of the earth (i.e. through the birth process), then Adam was also created the same way we were.  He was born of a woman.  

**Conclusion - We know that before arriving on this earth, Adam was born of a woman.  Therefore Adam was born somewhere other than our earth.**

Was Adam Born Immortal?


We know that Adam was born of a woman before being placed in the Garden.  We also know that Adam was immortal in the Garden of Eden.  So was Adam born as a mortal like us, or was he born immortal?

You may come to your own conclusions as well as I can.  However,
the Lord has never indicated that it is possible for someone to be born immortal.  If it were possible, then you and I could have theoretically forgone this mortal estate, and been created immortal from the beginning.  Since the Lord's whole purpose is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:39), we can conclude that if there were an easier way for us to become immortal, the Lord would have chosen that path in the first place.  Even during the millennium, when the earth will be elevated to a terrestrial state, everyone born at that time will be born mortal, and will undergo death.[7]  In order to receive an immortal body, everyone must go through the exact same steps as Brigham Young indicated above.  Adam therefore must have been born as a mortal like us. 

Where was Adam born?

If everyone goes through the exact same steps, then Adam was born as a mortal like us, on a telestial earth much like ours.  Brigham Young stated:

"Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not from the dust of this earth."[8]
           
How Did Adam Become Immortal?

We know that Adam was born as a mortal, and we also know that by the time he was placed in the Garden of Eden, he was immortal.  What happened in between?

To answer this question, we must ask how you and I will become immortal. Everyone becomes immortal by living on an earth, dying, and receiving their resurrection.

Is there more than one way for you and I to become immortal?

 No.  Each of us must be born mortal, die, and be resurrected.

Is it the same for everyone?  Does everyone have to be a resurrected in order to be immortal?

Yes.

How then, did Adam become immortal?

Once Adam was born as a mortal on another earth, he lived and died there, and was after resurrected to an immortal body.

When Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden, did he have a Telestial, Terrestrial, or Celestial resurrected body?

Eve was Adams wife while they were in the Garden of Eden.  Can Telestial or Terrestrial beings be married?  No. 

Therefore, Adam and Eve were both resurrected to the highest degree of the Celestial kingdom and they each had a Celestial body by the time they entered the Garden of Eden. 

What Do We Know About Immortal Beings?


Adam, an immortal being, did not have blood in his body before the fall

The LDS Bible Dictionary (under “Fall of Adam”), states: “Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood.”

Since immortal beings do not have blood running through their veins, what fluid do they have?

Immortal beings have a spiritual fluid running through their veins rather than blood.  Such was the case with Adam.  President Joseph Fielding Smith stated:

“A spiritual [or immortal] body is one which is not quickened by blood, but by spirit. Before the fall Adam had a physical, tangible body of flesh and bones, but it was not quickened by blood. The partaking of the forbidden fruit caused blood to exist in his body and thus the seeds of mortality were sown and his body then became temporal, or mortal, subject to the vicissitudes of mortal change.”[9]

Can mortal bodies have spirit children?  And can resurrected beings produce physical mortal bodies?

Elder Melvin J. Ballard said:

“men and women who keep the commandments of God…will come forth with celestial bodies...and unto them through their preparation, there will come spirit children. I don’t think that is very difficult to comprehend. The nature of the offspring is determined by the nature of the substance that flows in the veins of the being. When blood flows in the veins of the being the offspring will be what blood produces, which is tangible flesh and bone; but when that which flows in the veins is spirit matter, a substance which is more refined and pure and glorious than blood, the offspring of such beings will be spirit children. By that I mean they will be in the image of the parents. They will have a spirit body and have a spark of the eternal or divine that always did exist in them”[10]

This doctrine originated from Joseph Smith:

"Joseph [Smith] had previously taught that resurrected beings will have "spirit in their [veins] & not blood"[11]  The implication is that if your body is not resurrected, your children will be born flesh and bones, but that if your body is resurrected and has spirit in its veins your children will be spirits."[12] 

Such was the case with Adam.  Apostle Samuel O. Bennion said:

"When Adam and Eve were first placed in the Garden of Eden they had resurrected bodies, in which there was no blood.  A spiritual fluid or substance circulated in their veins instead of blood.  Consequently, they had not power to beget children with tabernacles of flesh, such as human beings possess.  The fall caused a change in their bodies, which, while it rendered them mortal, at the same time gave them power to create mortal bodies of flesh, blood and bone for their offspring."[13]

Resurrected persons have a spiritual fluid running through their veins and will therefore produce spirit children. They cannot produce mortal bodies.  Persons with blood running through their veins will have offspring with flesh and blood. 

Could Adam and Eve therefore have spirit children before being placed in the Garden of Eden?

Yes.  It would have been physically possible for them to have spirit children because they had resurrected celestial bodies with spiritual fluid running through their veins.

Did Adam and Eve have spirit children before being placed in the Garden of Eden?

Adam stated, "she is the mother of all living" (present tense).  More of this possibility will be discussed in part-2 of this article.

Problems Our Heavenly Father Faces With Providing Mortal Bodies for His Spirit Children:


How is it possible for resurrected Celestial beings to provide mortal bodies for their spirit children? 

Remember, resurrected beings with spirit running through their veins can only have spirit children.  It therefore requires a mortal body, someone who has blood running through their veins to produce offspring of flesh and blood. 

How then does God provide mortal bodies for his spirit children?

In the case of our earth, Elohim placed Adam, an already immortal resurrected person, on the earth, and had him fall from his immortal state, to a mortal state.  When Adam fell, the spirit that ran through his veins became blood, and therefore his offspring would now be flesh and blood.  It was in this way that God provided physical bodies for his spirit children.

It therefore seems like the only way a resurrected celestial being can provide mortal bodies for their spirit children is to have someone with a resurrected body fall and become mortal.

Does it make sense that God would ask someone else who has a resurrected Celestial body to do something that He is capable of doing himself?

No.

Does it make sense that God would have somebody else provide mortal bodies for his own offspring?

No. 

Before being placed in the Garden of Eden, it is very likely that Adam had spirit children of his own.  Does it make sense that Adam would fall to provide bodies for someone else’s spirit children, rather than doing it for his own spirit children?

No.

What can we conclude from these questions?

A resurrected being will have spirit children with his eternal companion.  They now are faced with the problem of providing mortal bodies for their spirit children.  They decide to place themselves on an earth where they can choose to fall.  When they fall, their bodies are changed from immortal to mortal, making it possible to provide bodies of flesh and blood for their spirit children.  This is what happened to Adam and Eve.

***Conclusion: Adam is the Father of both our spirits and our mortal bodies.*** 

This is the Adam-God Doctrine.  As we shall see in part-2 of this series, Brigham Young taught this doctrine publically for over 20 years.  He was not misquoted as some have suggested.  Neither was he misunderstood as some have suggested.  Before we turn to his quotes on this subject however, we must first clarify a few more issues regarding the creation account.

Who then are Elohim and Jehovah?

They are Michaels Patriarchs.  Jehovah is Michael's Father, and Elohim is Michael’s grandfather.  (It is important to remember that Jehovah, in the creation account, is not Jesus.  It is Adam's Father.  Jehovah is a title.  It can be applied to more than one God under different circumstances.  Later, in the Old Testament, this title would also be applied to Jesus.)  President Joseph F. Smith recorded,

"Elohim, Yahovah, and Michael were father, Son, and grandson.  They made the earth and Michael became Adam."[14]

If Adam is the father of our spirits, is he also the father of Jesus Christ’s spirit?

Yes.

How did Adam father the physical body of Jesus?

Once Adam fell, he lived and died on this earth.  Since he possessed the keys of resurrection from his previous earth, he was able to be resurrected and return to his former celestial state.  He was then able to overshadow Mary in the Meridian of time.

Will we have to go through this same process? 

Yes.  If we are resurrected to the highest degree of the celestial kingdom and are able to have spirit children of our own, we must fall to provide physical mortal bodies for them.  Brigham Young said to a group of Elders, "you [will] get the privilege of being an Adam on an Earth"; and also said to a group of Sisters "You will become Eves to earths like this."[15]


~Part 2 ~ Quotes from General Authorities

Part-2 of this series will examine various quotes from General Authorities who taught and believed this doctrine.  We begin with Brigham Young. Here are a few of the statements he made regarding this Adam-God doctrine:

"Adam…had begotten all the spirits that were to come to this earth, and Eve our common mother who is the mother of all living, bore those spirits in the celestial world…Father Adam’s first begotten in the spirit world, who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written."[16] 

"He [Adam] is the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, both body and spirit: and he is the father of our spirits, and the father of our flesh in the beginning.  You will not dispute the words of an Apostle, that he is actually the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the father of our spirits….He is not only the father of our spirits, but of our flesh, he being the founder of that natural machinery through which we have all obtained our bodies… the God with which we have to do.  I tell you simply, he is our father; the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the father of our spirits….I say he was not made of the dust of the ground of this earth, but he was made of the dust of the earth where he lived, where he honored his calling, believed in his Savior, or elder brother, and by his faithfulness, was redeemed, and got a glorious resurrection….I tell you more, Adam is the father of our spirits.  He had lived upon an earth; he did abide his creation, and did honor his calling and priesthood, and obeyed his master of Lord, and probably many of his wives did the same and they lived and died upon an earth and they were resurrected again to immortality and eternal life….Our spirits and the spirits of all the human family were begotten by Adam and born of Eve…. I tell you, when you see your Father in heaven, you will see Adam; when you see your mother that bore your spirit, you will see mother Eve."[17] 

"Adam was an immortal being when he came  to this earth.  He had lived on an earth similar to ours.  He had received the priesthood and the keys thereof, and had been faithful in all things, and had gained his resurrection, and his exaltation and was crowned with glory, immortality and eternal lives, and was numbered with the Gods, for such he became through his faithfulness."[18] 

"Now hear it, O 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. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later... When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. 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... I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and overrighteous of mankind. ... What a learned idea! 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, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation."[19]

"The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ—Who is He?  He is Father Adam—Michael—the Ancient of Days."[20]

While the above quotes are in no way a complete list of Brigham Young's teachings on this subject, they do give us an idea of what he taught.  One might ask, "Where did Brigham Young get this information?"  If you asked Brigham Young this question, he would tell you that he learned it from none other than the Prophet Joseph Smith.  He stated on more than one occasion:

"Joseph [Smith] said that Adam was our Father and God."[21] 

"It was Joseph's doctrine that Adam was God."[22]

Furthermore, Wilford Woodruff wrote:

"At a meeting of School of the Prophets,  President Young said Adam was Michael the Archangel and he was the Father of Jesus Christ and was our God and that Joseph taught this principle. He [Brigham Young] said that our God was Father Adam.  He was the Father of the Savior Jesus Christ - our God was no more or less than Adam, Michael the Archangel."[23] 

Brigham Young would also tell you that this information was confirmed to his soul by the Holy Ghost: 

"How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which is revealed to them, and which God revealed to me – namely that Adam is our father and God…I could not find any man on the earth who could tell me this, although it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith."[24]

In fact, Brigham Young felt so strongly about the truthfulness of this doctrine that he had it taught in the temple as part of the endowment session. The below is taken from the Journal of  L. John Nuttall, scribe of Brigham Young.  It compromises the former Lecture given at the veil of the temple:

Adam... was made of the dust of the earth but not of this earth.  He was made just the some way you and I are made, but on another earth, 
Adam was an immortal being when he came on this earth; he had lived on an earth similar to ours; he had received the Priesthood and the keys thereof, and had been faithful in all things and gained his resurrection and his exaltation, and was crowned with glory, immortality and eternal lives, and was numbered with the gods for such he became through his faithfulness. 

And had begotten all the spirits that was to come to this earth.  And Eve our common mother who is the mother of all living bore those spirits in the celestial world.  And then this earth was organized by Elohim, Jehovah and Michael, who is Adam, our common Father. 

Adam and Eve had the privilege to continue the work of progression,  Consequently they came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in.  And when Adam and those that assisted him had completed this kingdom our earth he came to in, and slept and forgot all and became like an infant child

Adam and Eve, when they were placed on this earth, were immortal beings of flesh, bones and sinews.  But upon partaking of the fruits of the earth while in the garden and cultivating the ground, their bodies became changed from immortal to mortal beings, with blood coursing through their veins as the action of life.  ...

Father Adams oldest son Jesus the Savior, who is the heir of the family, is father Adam’s first begotten in the spirit world, who according to the flesh is the only begotten ad it is written.  In his divinity he [Adam] having gone back into the spirit world, and came in the spirit to Mary and she conceived.  For when Adam and Eve got through with their word in this earth, they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit world from whence they came.[25] 

Why is this doctrine not taught in the church anymore? Part-3 of this series will attempt to answer this important question.


~ Part 3 - Pearls Before Swine ~

Adam God Teachings Go From Doctrine…

Brigham Young made it very clear throughout his presidency that these truths regarding Adam should in fact be considered doctrine.  For example, after giving his famous Adam-God discourse in 1852 he said,

“Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.”[26] 

Brigham Young also went on record as saying,

“I know just as well what to teach this people and just what to say to them and what to do in order to bring them into the celestial kingdom, as I know the road to my office. It is just as plain and easy…. I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture.”[27]  

“If there is an Elder here, or any member of this Church, called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who can bring up the first idea, the first sentence that I have delivered to the people as counsel that is wrong, I really wish they would do it; but they cannot do it, for the simple reason that I have never given counsel that is wrong; this is the reason.[28] 

With Brigham Young’s death in 1877 however, these doctrines regarding Adam were rarely taught.  LDS scholar Rodney Turner stated,

With the passing of Brigham Young, the subject of Adam’s identity, beyond that revealed in the standard works of the church, was seldom discussed. … However, with the turn of the century, the Church came under fire from various protestant ministers and “Mormon haters” for, among other things, its belief in the “Adam deity” of Brigham Young.  It is then that we find such leaders…speaking forth in defense of the official doctrine of the Church.”[29]

As one might expect, once the enemies of the Church got ahold of these teachings during this time period, they mockingly spread the word.  As a result, a new generation of church members were hearing these teachings for the first time.  This caused a great deal of confusion and even contention within the Church, and was also preventing many new converts from joining the Church. 

Therefore, Church leaders at this time could go one of two ways.  They could either state firmly that Brigham Young’s teachings were true, or remain silent in hopes that the flame would die out on its own.  They decided to do the later.

The Doctrine is Hushed

The reason behind this decision comes strictly from the Lord’s council as recorded in Matthew:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matt. 7:6)

Brigham Young’s teachings, while intended only for the faithful Saints, were also heard by the enemies of the Church.  Rather than casting more pearls, Church leaders attempted to retrieve these pearls and cast them before swine no longer.  In fact, Brigham Young may have agreed with this decision towards the end of his life.  On more than one occasion he said,

“And I can truly say that I believe, if I am guilty in any one point in my walk before this people, it is in telling them things they are not worthy of—that I have given unto them things that they could not receive.”[30] 

“And I will say, as I have before said, if guilt before my God and my brethren rests upon me in the least, it is in this one thing—that I have revealed too much concerning God and his kingdom, and the designs of our Father in heaven. If my skirts are stained in the least with wrong, it is because I have been too free in telling what God is, how he lives, the nature of his providences and designs in creating the world, in bringing forth the human family on the earth, his designs concerning them, etc. If I had, like Paul, said—“But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant,” perhaps it would have been better for the people.[31]

In any event, this would be the route the new Church leaders would take.  For example, in 1897, Ephraim Nye (President of the California mission), wrote a letter to the First Presidency wanting clarification on the teachings of Adam-God after some of his missionaries came in contact with an anti-Mormon Minister.  Apostle Franklin D. Richards wrote President Nye back as follows:

“Dear Brother: On receipt of your letter…I conferred with Pres. Joseph F. Smith, and we concluded to present the matter to the Council of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles…. The council did not deem it wise to lay out any line of procedure in which to deal with the subject, but felt that it is best to avoid bringing it up, and do the best we can and as the Spirit may suggest when it is thrust upon us.

“…This like many other points of more advanced doctrine, is too precious a pearl to be cast before swine.  But when the swine get hold of them, let us rescue them by the help of the Spirit as best we can.  Thinking it may be convenient to you to have President Young’s sayings on that subject, I enclosed a copy from his sermon in the first Volume of the Journal of Discourse.”[32]

President George Q. Cannon also stated in 1898:

“Concerning the doctrine in regard to Adam and the Savior, the Prophet Brigham Young taught some things concerning that; but the First Presidency and the Twelve do not think it wise to advocate these matters.  It is sufficient to know we have a Father – God the Eternal Father, who reveals Himself by His Holy Spirit unto those who seek Him; and that Jesus Christ is His Son, our Redeemer, the Savior of the world.”[33]

In addition to retrieving our pearls from swine, perhaps there was a second reason why this doctrine was hushed during this time period.  To understand this decision made by our former church leaders, we have to understand that not everyone within the Church was at the same level spiritually.  The Church at this time saw a considerable increase in size from the presidency of Brigham Young, and with this growth came new challenges of feeding everyone spiritually.  In a sense, the Church still faces this same obstacle today, which is why we only hear the basics (milk) of the gospel in our general conferences.  Giving the deeper mysteries (meat) of the gospel to those who are not spiritually ready to receive them would only confuse the learner. We are told that we are to receive the gospel “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little” and “unto him that receiveth I will give more” (2 Ne. 28:30).

For each of these reasons, the doctrine was hushed.  No doubt this was an inspired decision.  However, this did not mean that Adam-God teachings did not linger and continue to surface among Church members who did not understand these concepts.  As time passed, more and more people were pressing the current Church leaders to speak up.

To “Don’t be Concerned” 

Finally, church leaders did decide to speak on the subject.  They simply counseled the Saints to not be concerned with Adam’s identity.  For example, President George Q. Cannon said,

“I was stopped yesterday afternoon by a young man, who wanted to know whether Adam was the Father of our Lord and Savior—whether he was the being we worshipped, etc. Now, we can get ourselves very easily puzzled, if we choose to do so, by speculating upon doctrines and principles of this character. The Lord has said through His Prophet that there are two personages in the Godhead. That ought to be sufficient for us at the present time.... Concerning the doctrine in regard to Adam and the Savior, the Prophet Brigham Young taught some things concerning that; but the First Presidency and the twelve do not think it wise to advocate these matters.”[34]

Also, Wilford Woodruff said to the Saints in 1895:

“Cease troubling yourselves about who God is; who Adam is, who Christ is, who Jehovah is. For heaven's sake, let these things alone. Why trouble yourselves about these things?... God is God. Christ is Christ. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost. That should be enough for you and me to know. I say this because we are troubled every little while with inquiries from Elders anxious to know who God is, who Christ is, and who Adam is. I say to the Elders of Israel, stop this.... We have had letter after letter from Elders abroad wanting to know concerning these things. Adam is the first man. He was placed in the Garden of Eden, and is our great progenitor. God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are the same yesterday, today, and forever, that should be sufficient for us to know.”[35]

These statements were a clear push to encourage the Saints of that generation to not concern themselves with these things. As one might imagine, this did not satisfy this particular group of Church members in the least and probing questions continued to follow.

To Mystery

Therefore, President Joseph F. Smith stated in 1910:

“Whether the mortal bodies of man evolved in natural processes to present perfection, through the direction and power of God; whether the first parents of our generation, Adam and Eve, were transplanted from another sphere, with immortal tabernacles, which became corrupted through sin and the partaking of natural foods, in the process of time; whether they were born here in mortality, as other mortals have been, are questions not fully answered in the revealed word of God.”[36]  

Here, President Joseph F. Smith defined the doctrines pertaining to Adam as “questions not fully answered in the revealed word of God.”  And in a sense, he was correct.  After all, these teachings were not found in the scriptures.  Rather they were given to the Saints by the Lord’s Prophet, Brigham Young.  On a second occasion, President Smith wrote:

“It is certainly unwise for the Elders or any other member of the Church to advocate doctrines that are not clearly set forth in the revealed word of God, and concerning which, in consequence, difference of opinion exist. No good can come from it, but on the contrary, much evil may result….

“What is called the Adam-God doctrine may properly be classed among the mysteries. The full truth concerning it has not been revealed to us; and until it is revealed all wild speculations, sweeping assertions and dogmatic declarations relative thereto, are out of place and improper.…

“As to the personality and position of [Adam] … these are matters immaterial at the present time, and are at best but an unprofitable speculation.”[37]

Here President Smith labeled the Adam-God teachings as a “speculation” and “mystery.” Again, in a sense he was rightit was a mystery to those who did not understand it.  Unfortunately, not even these statements satisfied all Church members and many continued to press the First Presidency for a further explanation.    

To Theory

Therefore, in 1912, President Joseph F. Smith issued an official statement which labeled the Adam-God teachings as theory:

“Speculations as to the career of Adam before he came to the earth are of no real value. We learn by revelation that he was Michael, the archangel, and that he stands at the head of his posterity on earth. (D&C 107:53-56.) Dogmatic assertions do not take the place of revelation, and we should be satisfied with that which is accepted as doctrine, and not discuss matters that, after all disputes, are merely matters of theory.”[38]

In 1940, President Joseph Fielding Smith went even further by saying,

“The Lord has not seen fit to tell us definitely just how Adam came for we are not ready to receive that truth. …The time will come when we shall be informed all about Adam and the manner of creation, for the Lord has promised that when he comes he will make all these things known.”[39]

To “Not Official Doctrine”

Years later, still being pressed by Church members, Church leaders went a step further and labeled it "not official doctrine."  For example, Elder B.H. Roberts said,

“Brigham Young and others may have taught that doctrine, but it has never been accepted by the Church as her doctrine, and she is not in any way responsible for it.”[40]

This statement is 100% accurate. While Brigham Young may have labeled it as such, the Church never issued any statement labeling it as “official Church doctrine.” However, Church members at this time were not interested in whether or not it was Church doctrine; rather, they wanted to know whether or not it was true. Nevertheless, church leaders remained quiet on that issue except for a few occasions.[41]

To False Doctrine

When even these statements did not satisfy church members, Spencer W. Kimball finally stated in 1976,

“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.”[42]

Again, this quote is worded very carefully in my opinion.  President Kimball stated that the Adam God theory was not in accordance with the scriptures.  He is correct.  The scriptures do not teach this doctrine.  President Kimball also denounced the Adam-God theory and cautioned against false doctrines.  The debate continues, however, as to whether or not President Kimball ever labeled Adam-God as false doctrine. 

Although there have been other General Authorities who have since denounced Brigham Young’s teachings, this statement from President Kimball has been the last word on this subject from any President of the Church.

In short, Adam-God progressively moved through each of these stages:

·         From being labeled as doctrine by Brigham Young
·         To being hushed
·         To “don’t concern yourselves”
·         To mystery and speculation
·         To theory
·         To not official doctrine
·         To false doctrine

The reason for this progression?  Church members constantly demanding further explanation from the Brethren.   Some Church members have been outraged upon learning of these changes in doctrines for the first time, and some have even left the church because of it.  Many in and out of the Church have labeled our prophets “liars,” “uninspired” or “apostate” for changing the churches stance on Adam-God.  However, there are many of us who share a different opinion:

The Holy Ghost Teaches Truth

Those who have demanded throughout the years that the First Presidency state plainly whether or not the Adam God principle was true or false need to keep in mind that it is the Holy Ghost who reveals truth, not human beings.  In Jesus’ day, Jesus refused to reveal his identity to anyone.  Many times his enemies would come up to him and demand Jesus to tell them plainly whether or not He was the Son of God.  Jesus would reply, “If ye had ears to hear, ye would hear.”  This left his enemies outraged and they only continued to ask him this same question. 

Jesus’ followers on the other hand, did not need Jesus’ testimony to know whether or not He was the Son of God.  They had the Spirit to bear witness to their souls.  Jesus did not even reveal his divinity to his own Apostles.  They had to find out from heaven like everyone else:

[Jesus] saith unto them [His Apostles], But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matt 16:15-17)
The Holy Ghost in this instance was a much more powerful testimony than anything even Jesus himself could have said regarding His divinity.  And so it is with all truth.  Those who demanded the truth concerning Adam’s identity from the lips of the First Presidency were skipping steps.  They were bypassing the Holy Ghost.  On the other hand, Church members who had the Holy Ghost bear witness to their souls of the truthfulness of the Adam God doctrine do not need the First Presidency to confirm whether or not what they learned is true.  In fact, this group does not even see the need to ask the First Presidency because of this witness from the Spirit.  On the other hand, those who do need confirmation from the First Presidency have not had the confirmation from the Spirit; for if they did, they would not need to constantly ask them for an explanation. 
Because the First Presidency has remained quiet on this issue, we must find out on our own whether or not it is true.  Just like anything else in our lives, the Spirit will either testify to our souls of its truthfulness, or it will cause us to have a “stupor of thought” if untrue.[43]  Parts one and two of this series can be a valuable aid to someone who desires to know for themselves what was taught, and ultimately what is true.  However, these doctrines are not for everyone; for not everyone within the Church is spiritually ready to learn these things.  It is for this very reason that I purposely did not put a link to this article anywhere on my website: I simply did not want just any church member to stumble upon it.  This means that in order for a Church member to read this article, he or she would have had to have actively searched for it.  Those who fall into this category have likely been prepared by the Lord to learn some of these truths and make a decision on their own.

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Notes:



[1] Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:115
[2] Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:77 emphasis added; See also Journal of Discourses 1:280-284
[3] Furthermore, translated beings cannot have children (neither mortal nor spirit children (McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, p. 644) while celestial immortal beings can have spirit children.
[4] Skousen, The First 2,000 Years p. 24
[5] Journal of Discourses 3:319
[6] McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 2:471
[7] While they will not lay their bodies in the ground when they die, death will still be present during the Millennium.  When the mortal has lived until the "age of a tree", they shall be "changed in the twinkling of an eye," which means they shall die and be resurrected instantly.  See D&C 101:30-31; Isaiah 65:20; McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, p. 644
[8] Journal of Discourses, 3:319
[9] Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:5
[10] Ballard, Crusader for Righteousness, p. 211
[11] Wilford Woodruff account of 20, March 1842 discourse
[12] Words of Joseph Smith, p. 270
[13] Liahona, The Elders Journal 6:33
[14] Joseph F. Smith Journal, 17 June 1871 entry; Church Archives.  (A-G 83
[15] Journal of Discourses 4:271;  Journal of Discourses 8:208
[16] (Discourse delivered by Brigham Young, Feb. 7, 1887, as recorded by his secretary and scribe, L. John Nuttall, in the L. John Nuttal journals under date.) (AGM 100-01)
[17] (M.A.B.Y., Oct. 8, 1854) (AGM  83-84)
[18] (Brigham Young, John Nuttall Journal, Feb. 7, 1887) (AGM 87)
[19] Journal of Discourses 1:50-51
[20] Brigham Young, Feb. 19, 1854 Church Archives (A-G 75)
[21] (Brigham Young, Journal History of the Church, May 14, 1876; also L. John Nuttall Papers, B.Y.U. Library.)
[22] Minutes of Quorum meeting held in the Historian's Office April 4, 1860, Brigham Young Papers, Church Archives. (AGM 137)
[23] (Wilford Woodruff journal.  Dec. 16, 1867/Feb. 19, 1854) (AGM 104)
[24] (Deseret News, 6/18/1873, p.308). Emphasis added.
[25] L. John Nuttall Journal, 1:18-21, Feb. 7, 1877 (A-G 142-44)
[26] Journal of Discourses 1:51
[27] Journal of Discourses 13:95.
[28] Journal of Discourses 16:161.
[30] Journal of Discourses, 7:238.
[31] Journal of Discourses, 8:58.
[32] Richards Family Collection, Franklin Dewey Richards Letterbook, CHO.
[33] In first Sunday School Convention, 1898, p. 88.
[34] Proceedings of the First Sunday School Convention of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 1898
[35] Woodruff, Millennial Star, (April 7, 1895), 57:355.
[36] Joseph F. Smith & E.H. Anderson, "Editorial," Improvement Era (1910), 13:570
[37] Joseph F. Smith, Letter to Edward Bunker, Feb. 27, 1902
[38] Improvement Era, March 1912, p. 417
[39] The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, (June, 1940), 21:147
[40] Deseret News, July 23, 1921. 
[41] See for example Roberts, “Our Father Adam,” Improvement Era, September 1902, Vol 5, No. 11; Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 55, 67, 71; Smith, Man, His Origin and Destiny, p. 346-347; Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:8; Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:90-92, 96-106; Peterson, Adam:  Who is He?, p. 13; McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, under “Adam-God Theory.”
[42] “OurOwn Liahona,” Ensign (November, 1976).
[43] D&C 9:8-9