Former prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Brigham Young once said, “Adam is our father and our god, and the only god with whom we have to do.” A more recent apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, declared that Brigham Young falsely taught that Adam was the “father of spirits” and that this was false doctrine. According to him, anybody who believes this should be excommunicated.
Some people take this to mean that Brigham Young, speaking as the prophet of God, and declaring this doctrine with the infallibility-invoking precursor “thus saith the Lord,” must have taught false doctrine. So he was a false prophet.
But Bruce R. McConkie was not denying the truth of the Adam-God doctrine. He was merely saying that Brigham Young’s opinion of the prophecy, that Adam was a father not only to the human race but to their spirits, was erroneous. Brigham Young never said “thus saith the Lord” with regards to that opinion.
When Brigham Young said “thus saith the Lord,” he merely said that “Adam is our father and our god, and the only god with whom we have to do. I just read the entry for Adam-God in Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine and I assure you that this apostle was not rescinding the Adam-God doctrine. He defends it quite plainly in his compendium of LDS theology.
To understand how Latter-day Saints believe that we can become “gods” you MUST understand how Adam is our father and our god. Let me explain.
First of all, there is a patriarchal priesthood order that binds all humans. Priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God. And one of the powers of the priesthood is to deliver messages to and receives messages from God. When I say God with a capital G I mean Heavenly Father. This is the man who talks to Adam and Eve up until the Fall. After the Fall, all manifestations of deity are Jehovah, or Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ is our high priest according to Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews.
So what exactly is a high priest? You see, ancient Jews believed that in order to talk to God you had to go to your high priest. They didn’t just pray to God like everyone now does. The high priest was their intercessor before God.
But Jesus, as our presiding high priest, is an intercessor that doesn’t have to offer sacrifice for himself before he offers sacrifice for others. And this he only had to do once when he died on the cross. Before Jesus was anointed as the Messiah, Jews were looking for a human sacrifice to end the practice of sacrificing lambs. Jesus was the Lamb of God (or Lamb of Heavenly Father).
So when Jesus is your high priest you can talk to God whenever you want. That is why we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. We don’t have to go through a mortal human being who has the high priesthood. Jesus is our presiding high priest.
And Adam is our presiding high priest under Jesus. But we’ll get to that in just a second.
Jesus is a member of the Godhead and is one in purpose with Heavenly Father. He is God’s son literally in the flesh and he is also God a.k.a. Heavenly Father’s firstborn spirit. We are all his spirit brothers. Jesus, as our eldest brother, has the power to act in the name of the Father in a perfect way. Like they are the same person. This is called divine investiture. He can speak as if he is the Father. He and the Father are one. That is why he is a member of the Godhead, along with the Holy Ghost. Jesus, like the Holy Ghost, and ultimately like the Father, is fully God in and of himself.
So what does this have to do with Adam? Well, Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus was Jehovah in the Old Testament. Jehovah is the name of the preexistent soul of Jesus. We all lived with God in the preexistence. And Jesus, or Jehovah, was a god even in the preexistence. While Heavenly Father overlooked the creation of this Earth and presided over it, Jesus did the actual work. Heavenly Father, the one true God, has created worlds without number. But he let his firstborn spirit, Jehovah (Jesus Christ), create OUR Earth. And Michael the Archangel helped him.
Now here is the catch. Adam was Michael the Archangel in the preexistence. So Adam literally helped Jesus do the manual labor of creating our Earth in the preexistence. Adam also had a taste of godhood in the preexistence.
Furthermore, as former prophet and president Lorenzo Snow taught, Latter-day Saints believe that “as man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.” Joseph Smith plainly taught that our God, our Heavenly Father, once dwelt on an earth with a body of flesh and bones. Many anti-Mormons claim this means that God used to be a Mormon on some other god’s planet and gained exaltation from some other god and became our God. But this is simply not true.
You see, there is only one God the Father who created worlds without number and who let Jesus and Michael create this Earth and who will eventually allow all his spirit children who are saved in the highest degree of celestial kingdom to have their own spirit children who inhabit their own worlds that they will create under the direction of the one God the Father (just like Jesus and Michael created THIS Earth under the direction of the one and only God).
In the King James Version (and even in the Catholic Douay-Rheims Version) Revelation 1:6 reads “[Jesus] hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father…” I substitute “And” with “Jesus” because if you read the verse before, they are clearly talking about Jesus. Many false translations of the Bible make this read “unto Jesus and his Father” or “unto Jesus’s Father” or something along those lines. But the King James Version got it right. Jesus can’t be making us kings and priests unto himself and his own Father. They are talking about a Father of God the Father!
Anti-Mormons claim Latter-day Saints thus believe, because of our interpretation of this scripture, that we believe there are other gods who appointed our God. For Joseph Smith taught that if God the Father of Jesus had a father, then he probably also had a father. There was never a father without first being a son of another father. But this does not mean that the one and only God had a father who was a god!
You see, the ancient Greeks believed 3 different cosmogonies: first, that the very first god was time itself like a river flowing; second, that the very first god was eternal time who is more like a pond which we throw rocks in to cause ripples; and third, that the first gods were primal matter and love. Most Greeks knew that primal matter, earth, hell, and love were the primordial gods. And they were created by Father Time of the first cosmogony who mated with a goddess that he created named Ananke, or inevitability. Inevitability was the mother of all primordial gods.
So what does this paganism have to do with Christianity? Well, Latter-day Saints believe that we have a Heavenly Mother just like we have a Heavenly Father. In Genesis 1:27, God creates mankind in the image of God — male and female. You see, males and females were part of God’s plan from the very beginning. In the beginning, God was a spirit surrounded by nothing. He knew everything because he knew that he existed and that’s all there was to know. But in order for God to learn everything he knows now, he had to learn it. We’ll get to that in just a second.
First, when God was just a spirit surrounded by nothing he already had the morphology of a human being because human beings were part of God’s plan from the beginning. And he already had a wife because husbands and wives (i.e. males and females) were part of God’s plan from the beginning. But God had no actual beginning. Primordial godhood goes back in time forever. There is an eternity in the past just like there is an eternity in the future. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And there are infinite eternities in the one, eternal round of God’s existence. But you can imagine time not existing? Time, in a way, is God’s father. And time itself is now an exalted being — a god. So the LDS doctrine of patriarchal priesthood forces Christians in the latter days to reach out to ALL exalted beings. Including Adam.
Now, remember I said that in order for God to know everything he knows now he had to learn it? God spent an eternity watching everything in time so he could know everything that was going to happen. And God, a spirit, had to learn everything about mortality by becoming a mortal. This is where Adam’s high priesthood comes into play.
We are all spirit children of the one and only God. And Mormons believe that spirit cannot be created or destroyed. We were in the beginning with God, just like Jesus (John 1:1, Doctrine and Covenants 93:23,29). There really is only one spirit, and that is God. And we are spirit children of God. We don’t remember being God, but we do remember being with God once he put us into our respective spheres. Otherwise there is no existence. God becomes his spirit children because they were created from Him. We descended from God. We are divine in nature. And we have a divine potential. We can return to live with God. To be in God’s presence we must be like him.
But first we have to pass through mortality. And God himself had to learn about mortality by BECOMING Adam. If you read the account in Genesis carefully, Adam was the only person on the Earth for a short while. While we all already existed in the preexistence, the Bible’s creation story begins “in the beginning” (Genesis 1:1). Adam was the man that Heavenly Father was and THIS EARTH was the earth he dwelt on — not some other god’s earth. Adam quickly gained a companion. Male and female was mankind created — in the image of God. God is male and female. We have a Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother.
Now, we talked about how Adam, or Michael the Archangel, tasted of godhood in the preexistence. He helped Jesus create this Earth. And, as God’s first son on the Earth in the beginning which happened in the beginning of time according to Genesis 1:1 he roamed the Earth simultaneously with God and Heavenly Mother creating spirit children in the preexistence. But Adam was Michael in the preexistence. Michael helped create this Earth BEFORE the beginning. You have to understand this circular logic to fully grasp the Adam-God doctrine. Put it this way: The grand beginning is still happening because it took an eternity. We have our agency in this life, and God in the beginning is watching us and learning everything that has happened and is going to happen. The grand beginning, which lasted an eternity, is currently happening but at the same time it has ALREADY happened. God ALREADY KNOWS what’s going to happen. The Bible many times mentions God’s foreknowledge. He is an eternal being. And he acquired this eternal nature from his father — time itself.
Adam is the son of God almost more than Jesus, because Adam had no earthly father AND no earthly mother.
Finally, to fully grasp the Adam-God doctrine, read 2 Nephi 2:25, 26. Jesus comes in the MERIDIAN of time, though he is the FIRSTBORN spirit. Jesus was literally the first spirit-man. God, a spirit, BECAME Jesus by CREATING him. Jesus was foreordained FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD to be the redeemer. So the life of Jesus was in God’s mind from the very beginning. That is why Jesus is our presiding high priest. That is why we pray in the name of Jesus to talk to God.
Adam is the presiding high priest under Jesus because the FALL, which led to the multiplication of man and the creation of mankind — the human race — was also foreordained from the foundation of the world. In the beginning, God created the Earth (i.e. Jesus and Michael created the Earth), and formed Adam from the dust of the ground.
Adam is our father in the sense that he is our literal father by virtue of ancestry. He is our god because he is an exalted being (literally a god) who is presiding high priest under Jesus. And he is the only god with whom we have to do because he is the god that brought sin into the world and caused mankind to come about. God BECAME Adam and learned everything there was to know about mortality. God became Jesus as Jesus was the first spirit-man. We were all in the beginning with God so thus God became all of us too. There is only one spirit, or rather there WAS only one spirit in the beginning but the works of God continue and worlds and lives abound. We can someday have our own spirit children and create our own worlds under the direction of the one and only God.
The only point Brigham Young was mistaken about was that Adam was the father of spirits.
2 Sundays ago was General Conference so there was no church. I decided to go to Catholic Mass with my mom (who is still Catholic). The priest said during his homily that Christians are obligated to vote for pro-life candidates. When deciding who to vote for, he said, we should examine our conscious.
This makes me wonder if it is a sin to vote for Hillary Clinton. I wanted to vote for her but I happen to know she is an anti-life, pro-choice extremist. I really liked Bill Clinton because he said abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” But Hillary believes in abortion on demand for any reason. She argues that minors should have their privacy protected by not obliging parental notification of an abortion. She agreed with Obama that fetuses who survive an abortion should not be given medical attention. Her vice-president, Kaine, voted against a bill that would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks pregnancy. Hillary Clinton is not like Bill Clinton when it comes to abortion.
Not that I’m Catholic. I’m very much Mormon. But our church is against abortion too!
Anyway, I don’t know if I can vote for Donald Trump because he wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood offers non-abortion services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings that should not be defunded. But I do think they should make it illegal for someone who works for Planned Parenthood to even mention an abortion to a patient who is just coming in for information that will help them in their state of pregnancy. The patient should have to ask specifically for abortion information. And tax money should never fund an abortion.
Hillary Clinton is for repealing the Hyde Amendment which makes it illegal to fund an abortion with taxpayer money. Medicaid can’t pay for an abortion. Medical can’t pay for an abortion. AHCCCS cannot pay for an abortion. But Hillary Clinton wants to change that. That is why I simply cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, sin or not. She wants ME to pay for an abortion!
Donald Trump is not exactly pro-life either. He believes in exceptions for cases of rape and incest. But a Catholic who examines their conscious should probably vote for Donald Trump. I don’t know if I can vote for him because he’s said some offensive things about Mexicans (I’m Mexican). But I have heard him in his rallies saying that he loves Mexicans — the legal ones. I’m one of the legal ones so I try not to get offended when he says things about Mexicans that are illegal and slips up and refers to them simply as Mexicans.
It would take great humility on my part for me to vote for Donald Trump. But I think that’s what I have to do after hearing this pro-life homily at Catholic Mass. I wish the LDS Church would talk about abortion more. I was pro-life when I was Catholic and I’m still pro-life now that I’m Mormon. I think the Catholic teachings on life and abortion are truth that the LDS Church should adopt.
Anti-Mormons argue that the Book of Mormon couldn’t have been divinely translated because it makes the same grammatical mistakes as the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible. They ask why a book written in the 19th century has the same type of language used in the 1700s. Did Joseph Smith use a KJV Bible to write the Book of Mormon?
It is true that the BOM has many passages where the language mirrors that of the KJV. This only can add to one’s testimony that the BOM must be holy scripture. But why does it make the same mistakes?
If language is rendered a certain way in the KJV, we should assume that that was the correct way to render it. The KJV is the greatest piece of literature in Jacobean English and perhaps in all of English. Some contest that language is rendered a different way in other pieces of literature of the time. None of these were as great as the KJV.
Critics admit that the introduction to the KJV contains no grammatical mistakes. If you read that introduction, you’ll know that the KJV was composed under his majesty’s special command. There is no room for errors in the KJV. If something appears a certain way in the KJV, we should assume it was the authors’ intent and that it was the correct way to translate.
So why does the Book of Mormon language mirror KJV language? Because God wanted us to see it as just as great a piece of literature as the KJV! FairMormon defends the faith by saying, “…we do not claim to know why the Lord chose to reveal the Biblical passages in that manner.” They claim that the BOM passages were revealed in the same manner so that both books would be heavenly sealed together.
Anti-Mormons try to discredit the First Vision by bringing up the fact that there are multiple accounts of this vision. In one version, only Jesus Christ appears to Joseph Smith. In another version, Joseph Smith simply sees a bunch of angels. How could this vision be true if Joseph Smith lied about what he saw?
If you do your research, you’ll find that the sources for the multiple accounts were merely hearsay. Somebody wrote in their diary that Joseph Smith said this or Joseph Smith said that. Faulty evidence.
But there’s another explanation even if you take the hearsay at its face value. You see, I am schizophrenic and I have had visual hallucinations. On one particular occasion, I saw a hologram of an old, white man talking to me. This imaginary personage claimed to be Ezra Taft Benson. In one of my accounts of this incident, I was completely convinced that it really was Ezra Taft Benson. In another account, I believed that this personage was God appearing to me as a hologram. In a third account, I said that the personage was a complete stranger.
I really did have this visual hallucination. But I have 3 different accounts of it. Joseph Smith wasn’t a schizophrenic like me. There is absolutely no evidence that Joseph Smith had a mental illness. He saw God the Father and the Son and the forces of evil tried to stop him from producing an accurate account.
You see, there is another visual hallucination I had that I tried to write about but I felt like I was going to have a heart attack and I thought I could hear Satan telling me he would stop me from writing an accurate account by giving me a heart attack if I attempted to write it. I feel Joseph Smith had similar experiences. Satan tried to make him look bad by making him slip up when saying what he saw.
I testify to you that the First Vision really did happen. I testify that God the Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith as described when he wrote his definitive account of what happened. True doctrines such as God the Father having a body of flesh and bones are based on this vision. Why would a church base doctrine on a false vision? The Holy Ghost has revealed to me that the First Vision was real.
There were several witnesses of the golden plates of the Book of Mormon who later went back on their word and said they didn’t really see the plates. Why did they do this? And could the Book of Mormon be true even if they did rescind?
Joseph Smith Told Them to Lie
It’s possible that Joseph Smith felt like he was a prophet and wanted to write a book about Jesus Christ visiting America. But, in order for people to believe his book, he had to convince people that he had found some golden plates on which the book was written. So, it is suggested, he wrote the book himself and then asked several people to lie and say they saw the golden plates of which he spoke of.
I believed this hypothetical scenario for a while when I first joined the church. My Catholic friends would ask me, “How could you believe this book when it wasn’t really written on golden plates engraved upon by ancient Americans?” I told them that I believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he had the authority from God to write a book and that God told him to lie.
The Book of Mormon is a beautiful book. It’s like crack-cocaine for a well-schooled Christian. There are many interpolations from the Bible. I really feel like it’s the Hip-Hop version of the Bible, meaning that it “sampled” the Bible much like Puff Daddy samples old, classic songs. Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon really knew the Bible pretty well.
They Sort-of Saw the Plates
When they asked the witnesses how they could lie about seeing such a thing, they responded that they had only seen the golden plates through the eyes of faith. This means they prayed with Joseph Smith and they had some sort of hallucination.
Hallucinations can be very religious experiences. Just because they had a vision in their mind doesn’t mean the vision wasn’t of God. In my early years as a member of the Church, I had no problem with the idea that maybe Joseph Smith handled these plates strictly through the eyes of faith. And, as he translated this book that he could only see through vision, the words were beamed into his head from God.
It’s Still a True Book!
Nowadays, I believe the Book of Mormon is literally true. After studying creationism and creation science and the theory of intelligent design, I came to the conclusion that the Book of Genesis was literally true. Then, God prompted me to fully examine the Book of Mormon and determine if it was also literally true.
The first doubt I had was that it couldn’t have been engraved upon golden plates. Nobody did that in ancient times. But then I researched and found out that they found ancient scripture engraved on metal plates in some caves. This makes it more plausible that the ancient inhabitants of the Americas, who came from the Middle East, recorded scripture in a similar fashion.
The second doubt I had was that the ancient inhabitants of the Americas couldn’t have come from the Middle East. But genetics research has shown that there are similarities between Native Americans and Middle-Easterners.
I want to bear my testimony by saying that I know the Book of Mormon is a true record that was written on golden plates that were found and translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Many anti-Mormons claim that we believe that our God was once a man on another god’s planet. Allegedly, we believe he became a god by being a good Mormon, and we too can become gods of our own planets by being good Mormons. This is not true!
Let me explain what Mormons actually believe. Romans 8:17 says that Christians are joint-heirs with Christ. What is a joint-heir? It is someone who inherits something equally with all the other joint-heirs. So being joint-heirs with Christ means that we will inherit, to an equal degree, whatever it is that Jesus inherited from God the Father. And it was godhood that Jesus inherited from God. In John 8:58, Jesus calls himself “I am,” which is God’s name in the Old Testament. He is claiming to be God!
So we too will inherit godhood from God the Father. Just like Jesus, if we are faithful Christians and receive all the saving ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we will return to God’s presence. If God is everywhere, and we are with God, then we are everywhere too. Being in God’s presence makes you god-like.
It doesn’t mean that you will become a god over your own planet like anti-Mormons claim. You will still be subject to the one and only God. But God will share the secrets of eternity with you. You will be all-knowing just like God is. God wants to share everything he has with us for we are his beloved children.
So if we can be like God, was God once a man. Well, yes. But he wasn’t a man on another God’s planet as anti-Mormons claim. You see, in the beginning, God was just a spirit surrounded by nothing. God knew everything because he knew that he existed and that’s all there was to know. So the Bible is correct in declaring that God always existed and was always an all-knowing being. But we know through latter-day revelation that, in order for God to know everything he knows now, he had to learn everything. He had to progress.
In order for God to learn everything about mortality and the human condition, he created a body for himself and dwelt on an earth that he created similar to ours. He learned everything there was to know about being human. And then he created our world and the billions of souls that would be born here. Our God didn’t have another god who gave him a body of flesh and bones. God learned to make for himself a body of flesh and bones all by himself.
Mormons do believe that there are many gods because many Christians have accepted the saving ordinances of the LDS Church and have been exalted to become god-like. But they are under God, even though they are gods themselves. It doesn’t mean we believe that there are many gods who each have their own planet. There is only one God who makes worlds without number. Our God is the god of all the planets in existence. There is only one God.
What makes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints different than other churches is that we offer the priesthood to all males. I would like to discuss this blessing.
Today, in Elders Quorum, we discussed living a life like Jesus’. I mentioned that magnifying your priesthood calling is a step in the direction of imitating the life of the Savior.
Practicing the priesthood means acting in the name of God, our Heavenly Father. Jesus did this all throughout his ministries among the New Testament peoples and the Book of Mormon civilizations.
In the Old Testament, all males of the tribe of Levi were to have it. In the New Testament, Jesus allows even Gentiles to have the priesthood. In the latter-days, God wanted all males who join His church to have this authority.
The priesthood brings us closer to God because it allows us to act in His name.
I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.