Mormon prophet Brigham Young taught that Adam is God

I’ve done a series of videos on the  subject of Mormonism dealing with some  of the problems with Mormon thought and  today I’m going to be dealing with  another problem and that is the idea of  Adam God. This is taken from a blog post  that I just put up so if you want to get  that I’ll put the link to the post in  the description. Though a relatively young  religious movement, the Mormon faith has  experienced an extensive amount of  revision since its founding in the 1820s  to the 1840s by Joseph Smith. A number of  controversial doctrines were taught by  earlier leaders in the movement  especially by Brigham Young including  things like polygamy, blood atonement and  denial of inter-racial marriage. Throughout the years, many of these  teachings have been officially rejected  by the church. The problem however with  simply ignoring these doctrines as  mistaken notions of the past is that  they were taught by prophets and often  within the context of having received  supposed direct revelation from God on  these points. One could point to ideas  which are problematic in the founders of  nearly any movement. Martin Luther’s  writings on the Jews, for example, have  been disregarded by the majority of  Lutherans and John Calvin’s views on  the death penalty as a proper response  to heresy have been rejected by many  reformed Christians. However, none of  these other religious figures were  claiming that they taught such things by  any divinely revealed prophetic  authority but instead through their  interpretations of sacred scripture. They  did not set themselves up as prophets to  be obeyed, as the very mouthpieces of God  but instead simply as sinners pointing  people back to God’s revelation and  sacred writ. Such cannot be said of the  prophets of the LDS Church. 

Claims of  being a Messenger of God are pretty  common in the history of the world and  God himself for that reason has  established a simple test to examine  those individual claims. The Old  Testament presents a test for the people  of Israel in order to determine whether  or not the Prophet is true or false. The  text states this: But the prophet who  presumes to speak a word in my name that  I have not commanded him to speak or who  speaks in the name of other gods, the  same prophet shall die. And if you say in  your heart “how may we know what the Lord  has not spoken when a prophet speaks in  the name of the Lord”, if the word does  not come to pass or  come true, that is a word that the Lord  has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it  presumptuously. You need not be afraid  of him. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

A false prophet is one who falsely  claims that something was taught by  direct revelation. The punishment for  presenting this false information is  death. There is no place scripturally for  any category of a prophet who is  fallible in his proclamation. This is not  to say that prophets can ever be wrong  in any area. I’m sure that Jeremiah might  have made a mistake if someone presented  him with a complex math problem. However,  what is not possible is for a true  prophet to claim that something had come  directly from God and then to offer a  false prophecy. This leads us then to  consider a teaching of Brigham Young,  which is often referred to as the Adam  God teaching. If he is wrong and  promoting this idea which he claims to  know by revelation, this should cause one  then to question his status as a prophet.

Young taught that Adam and Eve had lived  a mortal life previous to the scriptural  account with his wife Eve. Through  obedience, they both achieved exaltation  unto godhood. Adam, as a god, received the  title “Ancient of Days” and he is also  identical with the Archangel Michael.  Adam is known as the Creator though he  is only one among many in the counsel of gods with Eve. Adam gave birth to  children including Lucifer and Jesus  Adam also fathered perhaps through Eve  or his other wives, since it is the  assumption that he was also polygamous,  the spirits which would become those who  populate the earth. Out of a desire to  give physical bodies to their spirit  children, Adam and Eve entered the earth  as the biblical figures described in  Genesis 1 through 3. They then became  parents of the physical bodies of the  human race becoming then both spiritual  and physical progenitors of humanity. Physical bodies are a necessary step in achieving exaltation to godhood and thus  it is the motivation behind the actions  of Michael / Adam and giving birth to  physical children. After his time on the  earth, Adam then ascended into heaven and  is identical with the God of Israel  forming a three-person Godhead with his  son Jesus and with the Holy Spirit and  the famous quotes that is from Brigham  Young talking about Adam God is this:

“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.”

The modern  LDS Church has repeatedly condemned this  idea of Adam God in recent years. Spencer  Kimball who was the president of the  Church officially repudiated the idea in 1976 as false doctrine. Bruce R.  McConkey in his book Mormon doctrine  similarly writes against the idea and  contends that Young’s statements do not  actually support such a teaching when  viewed in a supposed gospel perspective  page 18. He also calls it heresy in other  places. The current Wikipedia article on  Adam God contains this sentence:

The  claim that the doctrine was taught by  Young relies on a particular  interpretation of the few quotes and is  not supported by the full body of his  teaching and writings.

However, this claim  that the Adam God teaching is merely a  misrepresentation of Young’s writings is  extremely difficult to substantiate. The  theme is a rather prevalent one in Young as any one will observe, who  actually does a careful reading of his  sermons and other writings collected in  many different volumes. BYU professor  Robert Miller acknowledges for example  that Adam God teaching covers about 15%  of Brigham Young’s writing on the  Godhead. It is thus widely acknowledged  today that Adam God was indeed a  teaching of Brigham Young. Such might not  be a major issue if he simply framed  these ideas in the context of private  speculation. However even the Mormon  apologetic organization FairMormon  acknowledges that Young claimed to have  received these beliefs by revelation. Young taught Adam God at General  Conference under his authority as a  prophet and he even included elements of  this teaching in the endowment ceremony. He also stated that these ideas came  directly from Joseph Smith though that  idea has not really been proven or cannot really be.  What is clear in all of this is that  there is a divergence between Brigham  Young and the contemporary LDS Church  with which both claimed to have a position on this issue given by divine authority. They simply cannot both be right. Alright, so what are we left with?

Here this  discussion leads to basically three  possibilities. The first possibility is  this: that Brigham Young taught falsely  on this issue and the modern LDS Church  is the correct position. This is the  position of FairMormon and other  apologetics organizations within  Mormonism. However this really leads to the  necessary conclusion, biblically at least,  that Brigham Young does not actually  comport with the biblical qualifications  of a prophet. If this is the case, then  his calling is invalidated altogether  according to Deuteronomy, along with then  the rest of the LDS Church following him. The second possibility is this: that  Brigham Young taught correctly and the  modern LDS Church is wrong. This is the  position of Mormon fundamentalist groups  who have rejected the many changes in  Mormon doctrine which occurred over the  years since the founding of the Mormon  Church. Well this does lead to a number  of other issues related to Mormon  fundamentalism. One I think can at least  admire the consistency here in these  groups in holding to Young and Smith’s  early teachings. The third possibility is  this: that Brigham Young is a fraud and  so is the LDS Church. In view of the  mounting evidence against Mormonism and  Smith, it is the most logical conclusion  that these ideas have been fraudulent  from the beginning and that the claims  of both Young and modern prophets are  just that – claims. They are not divinely  revealed messages from God.