Why Is LDS Prophet Brigham Young's Adam-God Doctrine not Considered LDS Doctrine?
Brigham Young, a Prophet and second President of the Latter-Day Saints (hereafter LDS) Church, heralded some unique teachings while he was alive which are recorded in sermon archive books known as the Journal of Discourses.
The LDS Church's Position On Journal of Discourses
The LDS church's position on the Journal of Discourses can be found on the official website: " The Journal of Discourses is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a compilation of sermons and other materials from the early years of the Church, which were transcribed and then published. It included some doctrinal instruction but also pract ical teaching, some of which is speculative in nature and some of which is only of historical interest." If you read down a little bit further, you will find this: "Questions have been raised about the accuracy of some transcriptions. Modern technology and processes were not available for verifying the accuracy of transcriptions, and some significant mistakes have been documented. The Journal of Discourses includes interesting and insightful teachings by early Church leaders; however, by itself it is not an authoritative source of Church doctrine." (https://www.lds.org/topics/journal-of-discourses?lang=eng ) [NOTE: We will come back later to the argument made by the LDS church on wheth er or not the sermons that are related to the Adam-God doctrine were accurately transcribed.]
One of the unique teachings that he held came to be known by popularity as the Adam-God Doctrine. Interestingly, although this doctrine was taught by an esteemed LDS Prophet, it is not recognized by the modern-day Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (which operates out of Salt Lake City, Utah) as a fundamental teaching of their faith. In the LDS General Conference meeting that was held in October 1976, President Spencer W. Kimball in his speech entitled "Our Own Liahona" stated, "Another matter. We hope that you who teach in the various organizations, whether on the campuses or in our chapels, will always teach the orth odox 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 (emp. mine) ." (See the whole message here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1976/10/our-own-liahona?lang=eng ).
Are The Presidents of The Church Fallible or Infallible?
The LDS church teaches that the President of the LDS church is infallible (God's mouthpiece); yet they do not accept "infallible" Prophet/President Young's Adam-God doctrine.
The first LDS Prophet, Joseph Smith, claimed: "When did I ever teach anything wrong from this stand? When was I ever cofounded?...I never told you I was perfect, but there is no error (emp. mine) in the revelations which I have taught." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 366).
President Wilford Woodruff stated, "The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of this church to lead you astray (emp. mine) . It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the children of men astray." (Doctrine & Covenants, 1961, p. 292)
Woodruff also states: "The Lord will never allow the president of the church to teach us any false doctrine." (Gospel Principles, p. 46)
Since the LDS teach that the President of the church is infallible, why do they not receive what Young taught? (Read the Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, April 9, 1852, p. 50)
The Sermon That Started It All
In the beginning of his sermon Brigham Young says: "My next sermon will be to both Saint and sinner. One thing has remained a mystery in this kingdom up to this day. It is in regard to the character of the well-beloved Son of God, upon which subject the Elders of Israel have conflicting views." Young poses the question of who begat the Son of the Virgin Mary. He then reveals to us the answer a little later: "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."
Please do not miss these important details of his sermon. Young states that: (a) Adam was actually God, (b) God brought one of his wives with Him named Eve, (c) This is how the human race was started by God who had sexual relations with Eve, (d) He is known as Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days, and (e) He is our heavenly Father and God. Brigham Young lectures further: "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 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; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. 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 over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone." Notice that according to Young, Adam had sexual intercourse with Mary who then begat Jesus the Son of God and that He was not begotten by the power of the Holy Spirit (which contradicts the inspired testimony of Matthew 1:20). Young further states: "Again, they will try to tell how the divinity of Jesus is joined to his humanity, and exhaust all their mental faculties, and wind up with this profound language, as describing the soul of man, "it is an immaterial substance!" 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. I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.
Other Latter-Day Saint Sources That Mention The Adam-God Doctrine
T he LDS church on whether or not the sermons that were related to the Adam-God doctrine were accurately transcribed.
In the Millenial Star, Vol. 16, in 1854, on page 534: "Concerning the item of doctrine alluded to by Elder Caffall and others, viz., that Adam is our Father and God, I have to say do not trouble yourselves, neither let the Saints be troubled about that matter. The Lord has told us in a revelation which he gave through the Prophet Joseph, January, 19, 1841 - "I deign to reveal unto my Church things which have been kept hid from before the foundation of the world, things that pertain to the dispensation of the fulness of times." (Doc. And Cov. Sec. Ciii. 13.) I would like to know where you will find Scripture to prove those things by, which have never before been revealed. Some seem to feel it their bounden duty to prove everything which belongs to our faith from the Bible, but I do not, an d I will excuse you from all obligations to prove this from the old Scripture, for you cannot, if you try...If, as Elder Caffall remarked, there are those who are waiting at the door of the Church for this objection to be removed, tell such, the Prophet and Apostle Brigham has declared it, and that it is the word of the Lord." Many of the early Latter-Day Saints were hesitant to accept this doctrine as the word of the Lord, but some of them as in this case did accept it as the truth."
Another Latter-Day Saint named Wilford Woodruff wrote in his personal journal on September 17, 1854. This journal entry was written two years later after Young had preached his historical sermon in 1852 and the material was of the same topical nature with all the original misspellings : " President Young preached this afternoon and spoke upon the law of consecration and had an interesting conversation in our prayer circle the subject of Elder Orson Pratt publishing the Seer and the doctrine it contained was brought up in conversation. President Young said he ought not to have published the marriage ceremony it was sacred and one of the last testimonies attended to in the endowments and ought not to have been given to the world Brother Pratt said that he thought it was no harm as the plurality of wives and its doctrine was to be published to the world. He said he should not have done it if he had thought that it had been the least harm in it. President Young said he was satisfied that he intended no wrong in it - He said that the doctrine taught in the Seer that God had arrived at that state whereby he could not advance any further in knowledge, power, and glory was a false doctrine and not true that there never will be a time to all eternity when all the Gods of Eternity will cease advancing in power, knowledge, experience, and Glory for if this was the case Eternity would cease to be and the Glory of God would come to an end but all of the celestial beings will continue to advance in knowledge and power worlds without end Joseph would always be ahead of us we should never catch up with him in all eternity nor he with his leaders Brother Pratt also thought that Adam was made of the dust of the earth Could not believe that Adam was our God or the Father of Jesus Christ President Young said that he was that he came from another world and made this brought Eve with him partook of the fruits of the earth begat children and they were Earthly and had mortal bodies and if we were faithful we should become Gods as he was. He told Brother Pratt to lay aside his philosofical reasoning and get revelation from God to govern him and enlighten his mind more and it would be a great blessing to him to lay aside his books and go into the canyons as some of the rest of us were doing and it would be better for him (emp. mine). He said his phylosophy (sic) injured him in a measure many goods things was said by President Young that should grow up in revelation so that the principle would govern every act of our lives."
One of Brigham Young's discourses were published in the Deseret News , page 4, on June 18, 1873 that was delivered in the New Tabernacle. You can find the link here: http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/desnews3/id/143021 . It states: "How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-Day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me - namely that Adam is our father and God - I do not know, I do not inquire, I c are nothing about it. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him, and after it was made he and and his companions came here. He brought one of his wives with him, and she was called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth. Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or who ever will come upon the earth."
In the Diary of Hosea Stout , vol. 2, by Juanita Brooks, the editor, on pa ge 435: "Friday 9th, April 1852. Stormy morning. Attended conference House much crouded, did not stay in the House long after noon was not in because of the croud
Another meeting this evening. President B. Young taught that Adam was the father of Jesus and the only God to us. That he came to this world in a resurrected body &c more hereafter."
In the Women of Mormondom , 1877, by Edward W. Tullidge, on page 179: "Adam is our Father and God. He is the God "of the earth." So says Brigham Young. Adam is the gr eat archangel of this creation. He is Michael. He is the Ancient of Days. He is the father of our elder brother, Jesus Christ - the father of him who shall also come as Messiah to reign. He is the father of the spirits as well as the tabernacles of the son s and daughters of man. Adam!" A little bit down the page, it states: "Michael was a celestial, resurrected being, of another world.
"In the beginning" the Gods created the heavens and the earths.
In their councils they said, let us make man in our own image. So, in the likeness of the Fathers, and the Mothers - the Gods - created they man - male and female.
When this earth was prepared for mankind, Michael, as Adam, came down. He brought with him one of his wives, and he called her name Eve."
In the Deseret News , on July 23, 1921, Section 4:7, B.H. Roberts, one of the LDS church's historians stated: "As a matter of fact, the "Mormon" church does not teach that doctrine. A few men in the "Mormon" church have held such views: and several of them quite promine nt in the councils of the church...Brigham Young and others may (emp. mine) have taught that doctrine but it has never been accepted by the church as her doctrine (emp. mine) ."
As we have seen from the testimonies of historical LDS sources, Brigham Young did teach this false doctrine. To claim that these sermons were transcribed incorrectly by former Latter-Day Saints or that Young never gave this material is not dealing honestly with the historical sources.
In the Deseret News, Church News Section, on October 9, 1976, on page 11, entitled: "Adam-God Theory Denounced." The article states: "The importance of teaching the "orthodox truth" of the gospel throughout the Church was emphasized by President Spencer W. Kimball during the priesthood session of conference Oct. 2. He said, "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."
In conclusion, you might be a Latter-Day Saint reading through this article and be asking yourself the question, "The modern LDS church does not accept this teaching as true doctrine. Why must you keep on bringing it back up?" It is because your Presidents state d that these other Presidents and Prophets would never lead the church astray. They would never teach false doctrine. Here, we have a clear-cut example from the LDS sources themselves where Brigham Young taught a false doctrine. If you cannot trust and bel ieve him what he stated there, how can you believe and trust him on anything else?
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