Of all the vices that entangle a man, perhaps none
is as unholy as jealousy. Jealousy, the "green-eyed monster", dwells
in the deeper regions of sin because the source of its existence
is unbridled covetousness growing out of pride and insecurity. However,
in the case of jealousy, what is a vice in human nature is a virtue
in the divine nature of God. Though among men jealousy is a ravaging
and soul-destroying cancer, in God it is a righteous zeal, based
upon His covenant love for His own people, which seeks to protect
a love- relationship and avenge it when broken. The godly zeal which
the Lord has for those whom He has chosen is an attribute worthy
of all praise and adoration.
The fact that He is a jealous God was one of the
first characteristics that the Lord made known to Israel after He
had redeemed her out of the slave market of Egypt. She became His
love and possession, and He demanded from her a love and devotion
that would extend to no other.1
I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee
out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of Bondage. Thou shalt
have no other gods before me...for I the LORD thy God am a jealous
God (Ex. 20:1,3,5).
Thou shalt worship no other god; for the LORD,
whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God (Ex. 34:14).
Throughout Old Testament history the Lord taught
Israel that He was the only God with whom they had to do. For her
to worship and serve another would be sheer adultery and whoredom:
And yet they would not hearken unto their judges,
but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves
unto them (Judges 2:17).
In the New Testament we find the same teaching.
The New Testament writers shared the Lord's jealousy over His covenant
For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy:
for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you
as a chaste virgin to Christ (II Cor. 11:2).
While throughout the flow of Bible history we see
God proclaiming that He alone is to be worshiped, at the same time
we find prophets who were not of God taught the contrary. True prophets
would never be found teaching the people to worship another god
- whether is was a stone idol, and imaginary god dwelling in heaven,
or a deified man. They knew that it was Jehovah who had redeemed
Israel out of Egypt and that He alone is God. Inspired by God's
Spirit, they knew the mind of the Lord: that He would give His glory
to no other. Therefore, when these living oracles of God spoke as
prophets, they were moved to proclaim, "Thou shalt worship the LORD
thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve."
In light of this insistence upon the exclusiveness
of the true God, we can understand the test of a prophet that Moses
taught the children of Israel. By applying this timeless test, people
throughout all ages may detect the false ones:
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer
of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and the sign or
wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, let us
go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve
them; thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or
that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD proveth you, to know whether
ye love the LORD your God with all you soul. Ye shall walk after
the LORD your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and
obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him. And
that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death;
because he has spoken to turn you away form the LORD your God,
which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out
of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the
LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the
evil away from the midst of thee (Deut. 13:1-5)
These words tell us that though a man might exercise
miraculous powers, he could not be a prophet of the Lord if he sought
to lead the people away to a strange god. Any prophet who advocates
the service and worship of another god is not a mouthpiece of the
Lord, is false, and, under the theocratic nation of Israel, was
to be slain.
Holding fast to these truths let us now turn to
Brigham Young, a man who claimed for himself the station and office
of prophet of God. Recent history records the lives of few men who
have possessed the leadership qualities that Young exhibited. For
thirty years he presided as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator over the
Mormon Church, a people claiming to be led by prophets of God as
in the days of ancient Israel. On the basis of this claim the Mormons
have always regarded themselves as the only true Church on earth
today.2 Their priesthood claims sole possession
of the authority or power needed to act on behalf of God,3
and they consider all other "Christian churches" to be in a state
of apostasy, who at best teach a partial truth about the gospel
of Christ.4 Now if Brigham Young, Mormon prophet
from 1847 to 1877, were a false prophet all along, then the claims
of those who have sought to derive their priesthood authority through
him are empty and void.5 If Brigham taught false
doctrine, that cuts the ground from under Mormonism's claim of latter-day
prophetic revelation and the Mormon Church is not divinely led.
Acknowledging this to be true, LDS Apostle Orson Hyde stated:
To acknowledge that this is the Kingdom of God,
and that there is a presiding power, and to admit that he [Brigham
Young] can advance incorrect doctrine is to lay the axe at the
root of the tree. Will he suffer his mouthpiece to go into error?
Any boast of prophetic guidance would be worthless
if that guidance were false. John Taylor, Mormon Apostle and later
President, admitted also this to be the case: "If that mouthpiece
[Brigham Young] has not the power to dictate I would throw all Mormonism
The Mormon Church must base the truth of her claims
on the authenticity of Brigham's calling. Yet, we shall see that
Brigham Young, who presided over the Mormon Church longer than any
other man, did indeed advance false doctrine that focused worship
on a god other than the Lord God of Israel.
Adam-God first proclaimed
It stormed heavily on April 9, 1852, but the people
turned out for the sessions of the Spring LDS Conference that were
that day. Each session of the six-day church conference was filled
to capacity. Those desiring the best seats lined up outside the
doors hours before they opened. At times, because the crowds were
so large, many male members would leave the tabernacle to allow
more room for the women to attend.
At 6:00 on the evening of the ninth, all LDS male
members gathered together in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for another
session. The house was full. After the usual introductory exercises,
Mormon Prophet and President Brigham Young began to address his
brethren upon various subjects. He instructed them concerning the
place recreation and amusements should occupy in their lives and
concerning the principle of tithing.
Then, after a moment's pause, the Mormon Prophet
took up his next topic. The question was, Who begat Jesus Christ
in the flesh? This was a hot issue. There had been no little dispute
about it among the LDS Elders, and there were opposing views. As
a Prophet and mouthpiece of God, Brigham Young stepped forward to
silence all erroneous opinions and to declare with finality the
true answer to the inquiry.8
First, he repeated the fundamental Mormon doctrine
that the Father and Son each has a physical body of flesh and bones.
Next, he set forth Mormonism's belief that God the Father in a pre-existent
period, begot every spirit that would come to this earth. Then Brigham
looked out over the vast audience and boldly commanded all of his
hearers, whether near or far, Mormon or non-Mormon to take heed
to his next statements:
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.9
After declaring that Adam was the God of this world
and the Father of its inhabitants, Brigham then addressed the original
inquiry concerning the savior's birth:
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.... 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 whole truth as far as I have gone...
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. I will repeat a little anecdote. I was in conversation
with a certain learned professor upon this subject, when I replied,
to this idea - "if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it
would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give
the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children, to be palmed
upon the Elders by the people, bringing the Elders into great
difficulties." Treasure up these things in your hearts. In the
Bible, you have read the things I told you tonight; but you have
not known what you did read.10
Having made this response, Young concluded his
comments with another reference to tithing. The Mormon choir then
sang a hymn and Elder H. G. Sherwood gave the closing benediction.
Few of the Latter-day Elders who filed out of the
Tabernacle that night missed the meaning of what their prophet had
just announced. Upon returning home that evening, Hosea Stout, the
prominent Mormon pioneer, recorded the following in his daily journal:
Friday 9th April 1852. - Stormy morning. attended
conference House much crowded, did not stay in House long. after
noon was not in because of the crowd. - Another meeting this evening.
President B. Young taught that Adam was the father of Jesus Christ
and the only God to us. That he came to this world in a resurrected
body &c more hereafter.11
Samuel Rogers, who also was present that night,
similarly noted the content of Brigham Young's discourse:
April 16 1852, Conference commenced on the 6
and continued untill the 11, it was heled in the new tabernacle,
adjourned untill the 6 of next October we had the best Conference
that I ever attended during the time of the Conference President
Brigham Young said that our spirits ware begotten before that
Adam came to the earth, and that Adam helped to make the Earth,
that he had a Celestial boddy when we came to the Earth, and that
he brought his wife or one of his wives with him, and that Eave
was allso a Celestial being, that they eat of the fruit of the
ground untill they begat children from the Earth, he said that
Adam was the only God that we would have, and that Christ was
not begotten of the Holy Ghost, but of Father Adam...12
Denial Adam-God was taught
As we consider Brigham Young's claim that Adam
is God, it becomes clear that he was a false, uninspired prophet.
This teaching not only runs counter to what has been revealed in
the Bible, but it is also branded as false doctrine in modern Mormonism.
LDS Apostle Mark E. Petersen, one of Mormonism's doctrinal authorities,
Some dissidents would have us believe that Adam
is our God and that we have nothing to do with any other God,
which, on the face of it, is ridiculous. To say that Adam is God
is, of course, opposed utterly and completely to the scriptures
as well as to our Articles of faith.13
Spencer W. Kimball, Mormon Prophet, also denounced
the teaching that Adam is God:
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... 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.14
These and most other Mormon General Authorities,
while denouncing the doctrine that Adam is God, avoid or deny the
fact that Brigham Young himself was the major exponent of this doctrine.
In his book, Adam Who Is He?, Mark E. Petersen tries to rescue
Mormonism's second prophet from teaching false doctrine by maintaining
that Brigham Young was misquoted in the address in question. On
pages 16-17 of his book, Petersen sets forth as evidence for his
defense as reference in which C. C. Rich supposedly stated that
Brigham was misquoted in this sermon. Petersen claims that Rich
was present on the ninth of April and was therefor in a position
to note the misquotation which later crept into the published account
of the discourse:
Elder Charles C. Rich, of the Council of the
Twelve, was present on a day when President Young gave an address
that was wrongly reported as saying that Adam was Deity. In the
copy of the Journal of Discourses that he had, Elder Rich referred
to the misquotations as it appears in the Journal of Discourses,and
in his own hand he wrote the following as the correct statement
made by President Young: "Jesus our elder brother, was begotten
in the flesh by the same character who talked with Adam in the
Garden of eden, and who is our heavenly Father." (This signed
statement is in the hands of the Church Historian.) Some of the
reporters at the Tabernacle in those days were not as skill as
others, and admittedly made mistakes, such as the misquotation
of President Young as above, which was corrected by Brother Rich
and which has caused some persons in the Church to go astray.
The erroneously reported statement has been mistakenly made to
read: "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." (JD, 1:51) On the face of it the mistake
is obvious and was quickly noted by Elder Rich, who was present
and heard the sermon. Hence the correction that he made.
What seems to be a good case made by Petersen crumbles,
however, upon cross examination. C. C. Rich, who Petersen claims
"was present and heard the sermon," was in reality not even in Salt
Lake City on that day! Rich left San Bernardino, California, on
March 24, 1852, for the Great Salt Lake.15 He
did not reach his destination until April 21. Under this date, the
LDS Journal History records:
April 21, 1852: Elder Chas. C. Rich and thirteen
others arrived today in G.S.L. from California.16
In the May 1, 1852, issue of the Mormon Deseret
Weekly the following announcement was made:
Elder C. C. Rich arrived on Wednesday, the 21
of April, in company with 13 others... direct from San Bernardino.17
Hosea Stout, in his journal, also noted the event:
Wednesday 21st April 1852 Engaged as yesterday.
Gen Rich and some 15 others arrived today from California by the
South rout all well.
Furthermore, not only was C. C. Rich absent on
the ninth, but the reference which Petersen claims was written by
C. C. Rich "in his own hand" was in reality written and signed by
his son, Ben E. Rich, many years after the sermon was delivered!18
Whether Mr. Petersen was deliberately seeking to
suppress the facts or not, the truth is that there is no evidence
whatsoever that Brigham Young was misquoted. As we shall see, Young
came under much criticism from outside and from within the Mormon
Church for teaching that Adam was God the Father. If he had merely
been misquoted, Brigham simply could have corrected his hearers
and accusers. Instead, however, Young continued to affirm and preach
this doctrine against all opposition.19
These facts have forced other Mormon writers to
maintain that Brigham was quoted correctly, but that he has been
misinterpreted by his hearers and readers. Realizing the implications
of one of their prophets teaching false doctrine on such an essential
matter as who God is, these LDS apologists insist that Brigham Young
did not mean to say that Adam was deity. Characteristic of this
argument are the following statements made by the tenth Mormon President,
Joseph Fielding Smith:
In discussing the statement by President Brigham
Young that the Father of Jesus Christ is the same character who
was in the garden of Eden, I maintain that President Young was
not referring to Adam, but to God the Father, who created Adam,
for he was in the garden of Eden, and according to Mormon doctrine
Adam was in his presence constantly, walked with him, talked with
him and the Father taught Adam his language. It was not until
the fall, that the Father departed from Adam and from the Garden
In regard to Brigham's statement that Jesus was
begotten by "the First of the human family", Smith states that this
is referring to the God and creator of Adam, who was the "first
of the human family", being its "progenitor".21
Brigham's statement that Adam is "our Father and
our God and the only God with whom we have to do" is interpreted
to mean that Adam, being the first man, is the patriarchal head
of the human race, and in this regard he could be considered a god.
In no way would these later Mormon writer believe that Brigham is
identifying Adam as God their heavenly Father and the Father of
Jesus in the flesh.22
Young's statements become plainer
It must be admitted that Brigham's statements in
the 1852 discourse can be taken in more than one way. However, it
again needs to be asserted that both Brigham's friends and his opponents
had understood him to mean that Adam was God and was the Father
of Jesus Christ in the flesh. He simply could have corrected the
misinterpretation, but he didn't. Instead, 25 years after his original
"Adam-God" sermon, we find that the Mormon "Revelator" continued
to declare in no uncertain terms that Adam was the Lord God Almighty.23
During a discourse given on Sunday night, February
19, 1854, Brigham Young again addressed the question of who begot
Jesus Christ in the flesh. Speaking of Christ, he asked:
Who did beget him. His Father, and his father
is our God, and the Father of our spirits, and he is the framer
of the body, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who
is he. He is Father Adam; Micheal; the Ancient of days. Has he
a father? He has. Has he a mother? He has. Now to say the Son
of God was begotten by the Holy Ghost, is to say that the Holy
Ghost is God the Father, which is inconsistent, and contrary to
all the revelations of God both modern, and ancient. I silenced
this erroneous doctrine a year ago last fall conference. It was
I think when a dispute arose among some of our best Elders, as
to who was the Father of the Son of Man pertaining to the flesh.
Some contended it was the H Ghost, and some that it was Elohim.
When I spoke upon it in this stand before a conference of Elders,
I cautioned them when they laid their hands upon people for the
gift of the H Ghost, according to the instructions of the Savior,
to be very careful how they laid hands upon the young women for
if it begat a child in the days of the virgin Mary it is just
as liable to beget children in these last days.24
While Brigham in his discourse of 1852 may have
been unclear, in this 1854 address there is no question about his
meaning. Here Brigham distinctly names Adam as God the Father. Wilford
Woodruff, Mormon Apostle and later Church President, had not doubt
about what Brigham meant. Referring to this discourse under the
date of February 19, 1854, in his journal, Woodruff recorded:
He [Brigham Young] said that our God was Father
Adam He was the Father of the Savior Jesus Christ - Our God was
no more less than ADAM, Michael the Arkangel.25
It should be noted that Brigham identifies Adam
as the "Father of our spirits."One of Mormonism's fundamental doctrines
is the belief that God the Father was married and that he and his
celestial wife in a pre-existent period had begotten every spirit
that would come to this earth. These spirits then enter into individual
infants who are born physically upon the earth.26
By referring to Adam as the Father of our spirits, Brigham was clearly
identifying him as the being whom Mormons address as "Heavenly Father".
On June 26-28, 1854, a special General Council
of the authorities of the LDS British Mission convened in London,
England. The council minutes show that Brigham's doctrine of Adam
being God was not readily received by some of the members there.
After the introductory exercise, Mormon Elder Thomas Caffall rose
to state the affairs of the Southern LDS conference. Among other
things he reported the following:
...some of the officers have not met in council
for three years. They are lacking faith on one principle - the
last 'cat that was let out of the bag.' Polygamy has been got
over pretty well, that cloud as vanished away, but they are troubled
about Adam being our Father and God. There is a very intelligent
person investigating our principles, and who has been a great
help to the Saints; he as all the works and can get along very
well with everything else but the last 'cat', and as soon as he
can see that clearly, he will become a 'Mormon'. I instructed
him to write Liverpool upon it.27
Elder Joseph Hall followed with a report of his
district's progress. Despite the non-Biblcal nature of the Adam-God
doctrine, those in his area were willing to receive it as truth:
Relative to the principles recently revealed,
we have not the least difficulty. If Adam's being our Father and
God cannot be proved by the Bible, it is alright.28
On the final day of the council Elder James A.
Little rose and made the following remarks:
I believe in the principle of obedience; and
if I am told that Adam is our Father and our God, I just believe
Mission president Samuel W. Richards followed with
a concluding exhortation concerning the Adam-God doctrine:
Concerning the item of doctrine alluded t 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... 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 IS THE WORD OF THE LORD.30
Apostle Pratt opposes Young's Adam-God
Though Richards and most of the other Church authorities
accepted their prophet's declaration as the word of God, there was
one member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles who openly opposed
Brigham in his views. That man was Orson Pratt. Under the date of
September 17, 1854, LDS Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded in his
journal the details of a confrontation between Young and Pratt.
Pratt had been writing and publishing a monthly periodical which
contained doctrine contrary to the Mormon President. When Young
declared some of Orson's doctrines to be false, Pratt retaliated
against the prophet by voicing his disbelief in the Adam-God doctrine:
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 & made this brought Eve with him
partook of the fruits of the Earth begat children & they ware
Earthly & had mortal bodies & if we were faithful we should become
Gods as He was. He told Brother Pratt to lay aside his Philosophical
reasoning & get revelation from God to govern him & enlighten
his mind more...
This dispute between the Mormon Prophet and his
Apostle continued for several years. Because of his disbelief in
the Adam-God teaching and in other doctrines of Young, Pratt was
for years upon the point of being severed from the Church.31
In October of 1854, the Mormon Church held it's
semi-annual Conference. The session of October 8 was help out of
doors in the open air. The congregation, which numbered in thousands,
heard Brigham Young deliver what was perhaps the most colorful discourse
ever presented in the history of the Mormon Church. Addressing this
immense gathering upon the subject of the identity of God, Young
made the following statements:
...my text is in the Bible and reads as follows:
"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only
true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent." I will now put
another text with this and then offer a few remarks. It is one
of the sayings of the Apostle Paul:"For though there be that are
called Gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be Gods many
and Lords many) but to us there is but one God, the Father of
whom all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by
whom are all things, and we by him." This God is the father of
our Lord Jesus Christ and the father of our spirits...
Now if you believe what you have heard me say
you will believe there are Lords many, and Gods many; and you
will believe that unto us, the inhabitants of the earth there
is but one God with whom we have to do...
You and I have only one God to whom we are accountable,
so we will let the rest along, and search after the one we have
to do with; let us seek after him, the very being who commenced
But let us turn our attention to 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
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 to his calling and priesthood, and obeyed his master or
Lord, and probably many of his wives did the same and they lived,
and died upon an earth and then were resurrected again to immortality
and eternal life...
I reckon that Father Adam was a resurrected being,
with his wives and posterity, and in the Celestial kingdom they
were crowned with glory, immortality, and eternal lives,with thrones,
principalities and powers; and it was said to him it is your right
to organize the elements; and to your creations and posterity
there shall be no end...
Our spirits and the spirits of all human family
were begotten by Adam and born of Eve.32
At no previous time had Brigham gone into as much
detail concerning Adam as he did during this discourse. While the
Mormon prophet had formerly taught that Adam was the God and Father
of Jesus Christ and the father of men's spirits, he had never expounded
upon Adam's pre-earthly course of life as he did during this 1854
to fully comprehend the implications of Brigham's
statements concerning Adam's pre-earthly development and advancement
from stage to stage, it is necessary to understand the Mormon doctrine
of "eternal progression." Mormonism's fifth President, Lorenzo Snow,
summarized this doctrine with his aphorism:
As man is, God once was; As God is, man may become.
The doctrine of eternal progression states that
God the Father was once a man who lived, died, and was resurrected
upon an earth similar to ours. By his faithfulness to the commandments
of his God he progressed and advanced from degree until he was crowned
with exaltation, or Godhood. Having become God, he was then given
the privilege of creating this world and being the Lord over it.
He and his wife then begot the spirits which would later enter into
the fleshly tabernacles which he would form for them. In a discourse
in September of 1856, Brigham, Young described this progression
to exaltation which God the Father had passed through:
...our father in heaven is exalted and glorified.
he was received His thrones, His principalities and powers, and
He sits as a governor, as a monarch, and overrules kingdoms, thrones,
and dominions that have been bequeathed to Him, and such as we
anticipate receiving. While He was in the flesh, as we are, He
was as we are. But it is now written of Him that our God is as
a consuming fire, that He dwells in everlasting burnings,...God
is the Father of our spirits; He begat them and has sent them
here to receive tabernacles...33
This same doctrine of eternal progression teaches
that men today, if faithful as their God was, will continue on the
road of progression until they too are exalted and crowned with
Godhood. They will then not only receive eternal life, but they
will as Gods be given "eternal lives" or the power of eternal increase.
They will then have the ability to organize a world and to be the
progenitors of the spirits of its inhabitants. In a discourse delivered
during a special conference in August of 1852, Brigham, Young described
After men have got their exaltations and their
crowns - have become Gods, even the sons of God - are made Kings
of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power then or propagating
their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations
with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them
to organize the elements, and then commence the organization of
Having an understanding of the Mormon concept of
eternal progression, we can now clearly see the implications of
Brigham Young's statements in his 1854 General Conference discourse.
When he stated that Adam "was a resurrected being", he meant that
Adam had lived, died, and had been resurrected upon another earth.
By stating that Adam "in the celestial kingdom...was crowned with
glory, immortality, and eternal lives", he was saying that Adam
had attained to exaltation and was therefore a God. In his statement
that "our spirits and the spirits of all the human family were begotten
by Adam", he was claiming, in no uncertain terms, that Adam was
Heavenly Father. In short, by applying these statements to Adam,
Brigham meant that prior to the organization of this world Adam
had advanced along the road to eternal progression and was exalted
to Godhood. He would therefore be our Father and our God and the
only God with whom we have to do.
Throughout the lengthy address which was delivered
in the open air that day, according to the Deseret News Brigham
"held the vast audience as it were spellbound".35
Wilford Woodruff believed Brigham's address to be "the greatest
sermon ever delivered to the Latter-Day Saints since they were a
The Journal of the Southern Indian Mission
also noted Brigham Young's address, stating that it was a "discourse
equaled by none".37
Though many were favorable impressed with Brigham's
statements that afternoon, there were nevertheless some who opposed.
Joseph Lee Robinson, who attended the conference, noted that Orson
Pratt was among them.
Attended conference, a very interesting conference,
for at this meeting President Brigham Young said thus, that Adam
and Eve were the names of the first man and woman of every earth
that was ever organized and that Adam and ever were the natural
father and mother of every spirit that comes to this planet, or
that receives tabernacles on this planet, consequently we are brothers
and sisters and that Adam was God, our Eternal Father. This as Brother
Heber remarked, was letting the cat out of the bag,...but behold
ye there were some that did not believe these sayings of the Prophet
Brigham, even our Beloved Brother Orson Pratt told me he did not
believe it. He said he could prove by scriptures it was not correct.
I felt very sorry to hear Professor Orson Pratt say that. I feared
lest he should apostatize.38
While Pratt was publicly denying the doctrine of
the Church President, others who trusted their prophet's counsel
and doctrine were adopting his revelations into their own writings.
On January 9, 1855, during a social party in the Great Salt Lake
City, Eliza R. Snow 39 recited the following from
a poem she had written:
Father Adam, our God, let all Israel extol, and
Jesus, our Brother, who died ...40
Shortly after this a new edition of the LDS Church
hymn book was printed. Among the hymns contained in the book was
one which confessed Adam along with the other two members of the
We believe in our God, the great Prince of his
race, The Archangel Michael, the Ancient of Days, Our own Father
Adam, earth's Lord as is plain, Who'll counsel and fight for his
We believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, who in love,
To his brethren and sisters, came down from above, To die to redeem
them from death, and to teach To mortals and spirits the Gospel
We believe in the Spirit most holy, that's given
From God our great Father, who dwells high in heaven, To instruct
and enlighten, to comfort and cheer- Tongues, dreams, visions,
healings proclaim it is here.41
In the spring of 1856 another confrontation erupted
between Young and Pratt over the position of Adam. Under the date
of March 11, 1856, Samuel Richards recorded in his journal the events
which transpired between the two that evening:
Evening with the Regency in the Upper Room of
the President's office,... A very serious conversation took place
between Prest. B. Young and Orson Pratt upon doctrine. O.P. was
directly opposed to the Prest. views and very freely expressed
his entire disbelief in them after being told by the President
that things were so and so in the name of the Lord. He was firm
in the Position that the Prest's word in the name of the Lord,
was not the word of the Lord to him. The Prest. did not believe
that Orson would ever be Adam, to learn by experience the facts
discussed, but every other person in the room would if they lived
Brigham's statements, that Pratt would never be
"Adam", suggest that the two were again disputing over the subject
of the first man. Wilford Woodruff, who was also present that night,
noted this indeed was the issue discussed.
I spent part of the day in the committee room
and met with the regency in the evening...the subject was brought
up concerning Adam being made of the dust of the earth and elder
Orson Pratt pursued a course of stubbornness and unbelief in what
President Young said that will destroy him if he does not repent
and turn from his evil way For when any man crosses the track
of a leader in Israel and tries to lead the prophet... he is no
longer led by him but is in danger of falling.
A few months after this event, Brigham Young's
first Counselor, Heber C. Kimbell, publicly sustained the Church
President as the Prophet of God whose doctrines were inspired:
Just think of your position; you have heard the
teachings and instructions of President Young, and his instructions
are the word of God to us, and I know that every man and woman
in this Church who rejects his testimony, and the testimony of
those that he sends, rejects the testimony of God his Father.
I know that, just as well as I know that I see your faces today.43
Because rejecting Brigham's word was rejecting
God, Orson Pratt was walking on thin ice. According to Wilford Woodruff,
Pratt's Church membership was on the line:
President Young made some remarks about Orson
Pratt and said that if he did not take a different course in his
philosophy..he would not stay long in this Church.44
Opposition to Adam-God intensifies
Brigham's opposition did not consist of Orson Pratt
alone. Apparently there were a number of Mormons who were muttering
their disbelief. It was to this group that the prophet addressed
the following remarks during a discourse delivered on October 7,
Some have grumbled because I believe our God
to be so near to us as Father Adam. There are many who know that
doctrine to be true... Now, if it should happen that we have to
pay tribute to Father Adam, what a humiliating circumstance it
would be! Just wait till you pass Joseph Smith; and after Joseph
lets you pass him, you will find Peter; and after you pass the
Apostles and many of the Prophets, you will find Abraham, and
he will say, "I have the keys, and except you do thus and so,
you cannot pass"; and after a while you come to Jesus; and when
you at length meet Father Adam, how strange it will appear to
your present notions.45
Nevertheless, it was the Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt
who was the real thorn in Brigham's side, and it was inevitable
that the President would seek its removal. In 1860 Young gathered
his Apostles to consider the case of Orson Pratt's remarks.
After the Mormon General Authorities assembled
in the President's office on the evening of January 27, Brigham
read to them various doctrinal statements written by Pratt. He followed
by expressing his disbelief in these doctrines. Wilford Woodruff
then confessed his trust in Young:
...it has ever been a key with me that when the
Prophet who leads presents a doctrine or principle or says thus
saith the Lord I make it a point to receive it even if it comes
in contact with my tradition or views being well satisfied that
the Lord would reveal the truth unto his Prophet whom he has called
to lead the Church before he would unto me, and the word of the
Lord through the prophet is the End of the Law unto me.46
One by one the Apostles expressed their faith in
their prophet and sought to lead Pratt to a confession and repentance.
The stubborn Apostle did not budge, however. Having no confidence
in the prophet's declaration, Pratt refused to confess what he believe
to be false:
I must have something more than a declaration
of President Young to convince me. I must have evidence. I am
willing to take President Young as a guide in most things, but
not in all.... President Young said I ought to make a Confession
But Orson Pratt is not a man to make a Confession I do not believe.
I am not going to crawl to Brigham Young and act the hypocrite
and confess what I do not believe.... President Young condemns
my doctrine to be false. I do not believe them to be false...
I will not act the hypocrite. It may cost me my fellowship But
I will stick to it. If I die tonight I would say O Lord God Almighty
I believe what I say.
The Apostles stood amazed. After a moment's pause
Apostle John Taylor tried to convince Orson of his error. Wilford
Brother Orson Pratt, I wish to ask you one or
two questions. You see that the spirit and doctrine which you
possess is entirely in opposition to the First Presidency, the
Quorum of the Twelve, and all who are present this evening, and
it chills the blood in our veins to hear your words and feel your
spirit. Should not this be a Guidance to you that you are wrong...
Every man in this room who has a particle of the Spirit of God
knows that President Young is a Prophet of God and that God sustains
him and He has the Holy Spirit and his doctrines are true...
Various other Apostles testified that Orson was
in error. President Young then closed by stating the importance
of following God's Prophet. The meeting was dismissed; Pratt made
It must have been a sleepless night for Orson,
however; the following day saw a change in the disposition of the
Apostle. Wilford Woodruff noted this in his journal:
I spent the day in the office. I met with the
Twelve in the prayer circle. Orson Pratt met with us. He did not
dress but said he wanted to be in the society of the Twelve. He
seemed much more soft in his spirit then he had been.
Quite unexpectedly, Orson Pratt on the next day
confessed from the Tabernacle stand that he was in error. Woodruff
informs us of the event:
Sunday I met at the Tabernacle. Orson Pratt was
in the stand and quite unexpected to his brethren he arose before
his brethren and made a very humble full confession before the
whole assembly for his opposition to President Young and his brethren
and he said he wished all the Church was present to hear it. He
quoted Joseph Smith's revelation to prove that President Young
was right and that all was under obligation to follow the Leader
of the Church. I never heard Orson Pratt speak better or more
to the satisfaction of the People, than on this occasion.
At issue: Is Young teaching false doctrine?
Strange and fickle as it might seem, however, within
a few months Pratt was again openly opposing Brigham! On April 4
and 5 the Church Authorities again convened to discuss Pratt. Though
the subject of Adam was not the major issue during the January 27
meeting, it was brought up often during these sessions.
On April 4 in the Church Historians Office Pratt
told the quorum members that he did not find the Adam-God doctrine
to be supported by Joseph's revelation:
I would like to enumerate items first preached
and published that Adam is the Father of our spirits... When I
read the revelation given Joseph I read directly the opposite.
Brigham later responded to Orson's attack by appealing
to his own prophetical calling:
It is my duty to see that correct doctrine is
taught and to guard the Church from error, it is my calling.
Orson spurned this statement; still believing that
the Mormon prophet could err in doctrine even when he was acting
as a prophet. With Brigham absent on the following day, Mormon Apostle
Orson Hyde answered Pratt by affirming that to charge the prophet
with advancing false doctrine was in reality undermining the entire
truth and foundation of their religion. God's prophets cannot advance
false doctrine. Therefore, to acknowledge that the prophet Brigham
was indeed advancing false doctrine would be to acknowledge that
he was not divinely led. This would destroy their claim to be the
Kingdom of God. Hyde insisted on this implication:
To acknowledge that this is the Kingdom of God,
and that there is a presiding power, and to admit that he can
advance incorrect doctrine is to lay the axe at the root of the
tree. Will he suffer his mouthpiece to go into error? No. He would
remove him and place another there. Brother Brigham may err in
the price of a horse,... but in the revelations from God, where
is the man that has given thus saith the Lord when it was not
so? I cannot find one instance.
Pratt expressed his total disbelief in Brigham's
doctrine regarding Adam:
In regard to Adam being our Father and God...
I frankly say, I have no confidence in it, although advanced by
Brother Kimball in the stand, and afterwards approved by Brigham...
I have heard Brigham say that Adam is the Father of our spirits
and he came here with a resurrected body, to fall for his own
children, and I said to him it leads to an endless number of falls
which leads to sorrow and death; that is revolting to my feelings,
even if it were sustained by revelation.
Orson Pratt's central argument was that Young's
doctrine contradicted the Scriptures. Joseph Smith claimed to have
restored the pure version of the Genesis creation narrative in his
inspired revision of the earlier chapters of the Bible. This "inspired"
revision later became part of Mormon scripture, entitled the Book
of Moses. In the following verse Joseph's account of Genesis distinctly
implies that Adam was not the God and Father of Jesus Christ:
And he called upon out father Adam by his own
voice saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they
were in the flesh. And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn
unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of
all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the
name of Jesus Christ... and now, behold, I say unto you: This
is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine
Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time (Moses 6:51f.,
These and other passages in Joseph's Book of Moses
teach that the Father of the only begotten son, Jesus Christ, spoke
to Adam in the Garden. that clearly indicates that Adam was not
God the Father. It was to this fact that Orson Pratt appealed:
One [revelation] says that Adam was formed out
of the earth, and the Lord put in his spirit, and another that
he came with his body, flesh and bones, thus there are two contradictory
revelations. in the garden it is said that a voice said to Adam,
in the meridian of time, I will send my only begotten son Jesus
Christ, then how can that man and Adam both be the Father of Jesus
Christ? It was the Father of Jesus Christ that was talking to
Adam in the garden. Young says that Adam was the Father of Jesus
Christ both of his spirit and body in his teaching from the stand.
The apostles answered Pratt by reassuring Brigham's
divine calling; he was God's mouthpiece. The thought that a prophet
of God could advance false doctrine chilled their blood. It was
the duty of all to set aside any personal opinions and to be subject
to the pronouncements of their divinely led leader. Wilford Woodruff
As our leaders are inspired to talk, they are
inspired oracles, and we should be as limber as a dish cloth.
Hyde, the President of the quorum of the Twelve
Apostles, later in the session asked his brethren what should be
required of Orson Pratt. George A. Smith, Church Historian, responded
by suggesting that Orson acknowledge Brigham as a prophet and inspired
man. Smith assured that if Brigham was indeed the Church President,
he would be a inspired man. On the other hand, if Orson Pratt were
correct in his doctrines, which were declared to be false by Brigham,
then all would have to conclude that the man whom they had thought
was God's prophet was in fact not divinely led. Smith told Hyde
that Pratt should,
...acknowledge Brigham Young as President of
the Church in the exercise of this calling. But he only acknowledges
him as a poor driveling fool, he preaches doctrines opposed to
Joseph, and all other revelations. If Brigham Young is the President
of the Church he is an inspired man. If we have not an inspired
man, then Orson Pratt it right.
Pratt's January confession sermon was then revised
for publication. Shortly after this the meeting came to a close.
It was agreed that the proceedings of the sessions would be kept
silent. Brigham and Pratt assured each other that no more would
be said concerning their disagreement, and though Orson still disagreed
with the prophet's teachings, it seemed that Brigham would not take
any drastic action. In a few months, however, Orson received a mission
call which would remove him from the Salt Lake area to the eastern
Young's Adam-God meets continued opposition
All opposition did not cease with Orson Pratt's
removal. This time, though, the attack came from a group outside
the LDS fold - the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints.49 Believing the original teachings of
Joseph Smith to be true, the Reorganized Church immediately spotted
the contradiction in Brigham's doctrine of Adam becoming God. In
the November and December issues of their True Latter-Day Saint
Herald, the RLDS Church printed a lengthy refutation of Brigham's
Adam-God doctrine. This article uses the same arguments and quotes
the same scriptures as Orson Pratt did earlier that year when he
contended with the Utah prophet. The Herald sought to overthrow
the words of the living prophet by appealing to the written word.
The True Latter-Day Saint Herald saw clearly
that Brigham Young was teaching false doctrine though he claimed
to be acting as a prophet. They also clearly realized the implications.
The man whom many looked to as being the successor of their martyred
prophet was in reality a false prophet who taught as the word of
God the imaginations of his own heart. Seeing by this that the Utah
faction was not of God, they urged Utah Mormons to return to the
The article in the Herald caused no small
stir when it reached Utah. In his diary under the date of February
3, 1861, John D. Lee, adopted son of Brigham Young, recorded the
Eving attendd Prayer meeting & instructed the
Saints on the points of Doctrine refereed to by the true Latterday
Saints Herald & their Bombarding Pres. B. Young for Saying that
Adam is all the god that we have to do with & to those that know
no better, it is quite a stumbling Block...50
The Utah authorities held to the revelations revealed
by their prophet. Some even claimed to have received for themselves
a revelation that confirmed what the Living oracle had spoken. In
a notebook that contained several personal revelations which he
believed God had personally revealed to Him, Heber C. Kimbell, counselor
to Brigham Young, recorded the following:
April 30, 1862, the Lord told me that Adam was
my father and that he was the God and father of all the inhabitants
of this earth.51
Though assailed from outside and from within the
ranks of his own people, Brigham Young continued to set forth his
belief in the doctrine. Speaking in the Tabernacle on the morning
of October 8, 1861, Young remarked:
I will give you a few words of doctrine, upon
which there has been much inquiry, and with regard to which considerable
ignorance exists. Br. Watt will write it, but it is not my intention
to have it published therefore pay good attention, and store it
up in your memories. Some years ago, I advanced a doctrine with
regard to Adam being our father and God, that will be a curse
to many of the Elders of Israel because of their folly. With regard
to it they yet grovel in darkness and will. Is is one of the most
glorious revealments of the economy of heaven, yet the world holds
it [in] derision. Had I revealed the doctrine of baptism from
the dead instead [of] Joseph Smith there are men around me who
would have ridiculed the idea until doomsday. But they are ignorant
and stupid like the dumb ass.52
A year prior to this statement Brigham stated that
the only thing of which he was guilty was that he had revealed too
much truth to the people.
...if guilt before my God and 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 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.53
Nevertheless, as the years passed Young was still
emphatically claiming that Adam was God the Father. In fact, he
asserted this revelation in terms stronger than he ever had before.
On June 8, 1873, Brigham again addressed his audience concerning
Adam, and the week following he had his discourse published in the
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... The Christian world read of, and think
about, St. Paul, also St. Peter, the chief of Apostles. These
men were faithful to and magnified the priesthood while on the
earth. Now, where will be the mystery, after they have passed
through all the ordeals, and have been crowned and exalted, and
received their inheritances in the eternal worlds of glory, for
them to be sent forth, as the Gods have been forever and ever,
with the command - "Make yourselves an earth, and people it with
your own children?"... Oh fools, and slow of heart to believe
the great things that God has purposed in his own mind... Adam
came here and got it up in a shape that would suit him to commence
business. What is the great mystery about it? None, that I have
seen. The mystery in this, as with miracles, or anything else,
is only to those who are ignorant. Father Adam came here, and
then they brought his wife. "Well". says one. "Why was Adam called
Adam?" He was the first man on the earth, and its framer and maker.
He with the help of his brethren, brought it into existence Then
he said, "I want my children who are in the spirit world to come
and live here. I once dwelt upon an earth something like this,
in a mortal state. I was faithful. I received my crown and exaltation.
I have the privilege of extending my work, and to its increase
there will be no end. I want my children who were born to me in
the spirit world to come here and take tabernacles of flesh..."
The opposition was still present, and there were
still those who disbelieved in the sayings of their leader. It is
interesting to note in this sermon that Brigham does not grieve
over any misquotations or misunderstandings of his previous statements
concerning Adam, but rather he laments over the disbelief which
existed among his brethren. During all the years Young never claimed
to be misquoted or misinterpreted. Instead, he appealed to his divine
calling as proof of the truth of this statements.
Young also did not shy away from claiming that
his teachings were the Word of God. He did not believe his doctrine
to be just his personal opinion, which could be wrong. On the contrary,
believing himself to be a prophet of God, he declared all of his
sermons to be revelation, directly from the Lord:
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. The Lord is in our midst. He teaches
the people continually. I have never yet preached a sermon and
sent it out to the children of men that they may not call Scripture.
Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon, and it is as
good Scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of
Brother Orson Hyde referred to a few who complained
about not getting revelations. I will make a statement here that
has been brought against me as a crime, perhaps as a fault in
my life. Not here, I do not allude to anything of the kind in
this place, but in the councils of the nations - that Brigham
Young has said "when he sends forth his discourses to the world
they may call them Scripture." I say now when they are copied
and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in
this Bible, and if you want to read revelation read the sayings
of him who knows this mind of God...55
There is no room for thinking that Brigham was
expressing what he believed to be merely his own opinions. No. He
rightly believed that when a prophet of God acts as a prophet, he
speaks the truth.
Young firm to end on Adam-God
As we come to 1877, the last year of Brigham Young's
life, we find him still teaching what he had first taught 25 years
before. The setting for this discourse is in the home of Brigham
Young. There appears to be evidence that part of this address was
to be used as the lecture before the veil in all future endowment
...after supper went to Prest Young's... Prest
Young was filled with the spirit of God and revelation and said...
"In the creation the gods entered into an agreement about forming
this earth & putting Michael or Adam upon it. these things of
which I have been speaking are what are termed the mysteries of
godliness but they will enable you to understand the expression
Jesus made while in Jerusalem. This is life eternal that they
might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou
hast sent. we were once acquainted with the Gods & lived with
them but we had the privilege of taking upon us flesh that the
spirit might have a house to dwell in. we did so and forgot all
and came into the world not recollecting anything of which we
had previously learned.
We have heard a great deal about Adam and Eve,
how they were formed & some thing he was made like an adobie and
the Lord breathed into him the breath of life, for we read 'from
dust thou are art and unto dust thou shalt return'. Well he was
made of the dust of the earth but not of this earth. he was made
just the same 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 he 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 begotton 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 when 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
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 it, and slept
and forgot all and became like an infant child. it is said by
Moses the historian that the Lord caused a deep sleep to come
upon Adam and took from his side a rib and formed the woman that
Adam called Eve - this should be interpreted that the man Adam
like all other men had the seed within him to propagate his species,
but not the woman. she conceives the seed but does not produce
it, consequently she was taken from the side or bowels of her
father. this explains the mystery of Moses' ark sayings in regard
to Adam and Eve. Adam & Eve when they were placed on this earth
were immortal beings with flesh and bones, and sinues, but upon
partaking of the fruit 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 Adam's 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 as it is
written. (In his divinity he having gone back into the spirit
world and come in the spirit to Mary and she conceived for when
Adam and Eve got through their work on earth they did not lay
their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit world
from whence they came."
I felt myself much blessed in being permitted
to associate with such men and hear such instructions as they
savored of life to me.56
At one minute past 4:00 P.M., on August 29, 1877,
Brigham Young died. He presided over the Mormon Church longer than
any other man - 30 years. Though many continued to believe in Adam
as their God, the doctrine was largely buried along with Brigham.
Rather than publicly preaching this doctrine, the Church authorities
sought to avoid controversy by remaining silent.
The present dilemma and the true way out
As time went on, not only did the Adam doctrine
cease to be preached, but it began to be denied. Most LDS General
Authorities even denied that Brigham had ever taught it. Being far
removed from the time in which the second Mormon President expounded
the teaching, these apologist were safe in dismissing his remarks
as being misquoted or misinterpreted. Those who continued to believe
the Adam-God teaching were soon to be excommunicated from the Church
for believing it. Books and articles were written to denounce the
Adam-God theory These books quoted against the false doctrine the
precise verses that Orson Pratt and the Reorganized Church had employed
against Brigham a hundred years before.57 There
were no admissions that Brigham had taught it. Instead, there were
An examination of the evidence, however, will admit
to no other conclusion that that Brigham Young did teach that Adam
was Heavenly Father, the Father of men's spirits as well as the
Father of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Brigham Young, one of recent
history's most prominent religious leaders, did indeed advance a
doctrine that was to focus worship on a strange god. The doctrine
that he taught for over 25 years was false doctrine and the LDS
Church admits this today. It has, in effect, sided with Orson Pratt
and has adopted his arguments and views as being right. However,
in doing this it has unknowingly admitted that Brigham was not an
inspired prophet of God. It is caught in the words of one of its
own Apostles, George A. Smith:
If Brigham Young is the President of the Church
he is an inspired man. If we have not an inspired man, then Orson
Pratt is right.
The implications certainly are obvious. The claims
of the Utah LDS church utterly collapse when they claim to be the
only true church and the sole possessor of God's authority.
The Mormon, furthermore, faces the dilemma of being
unable to be certain that his present prophet is advancing in true
doctrine. Perhaps the present teachings of the living prophet will
be tomorrow's false teachings of a dead prophet. Perhaps the present
revelations which the modern President claims to have received will
be swept under the carpet as was the revelation concerning Adam
that Brigham Young claimed to have received from God.
Today's Mormon cannot hide behind a testimony that
the living prophet is advancing in correct doctrine. His testimony
holds no more weight than the strong testimonies which past members
had concerning the truth of Brigham's Adam-God teaching. In reality,
no Mormon can test assured and have confidence that his prophet
is not uttering the imaginations of his own heart. Even when he
speaks as a prophet and is sustained and defended by his fellow
Apostles, he still cannot be fully trusted.
This frightening dilemma in which the Mormon finds
himself is not peculiar to him or his people, but is the snare in
which all men find themselves when they put their trust in men.
To trust the arm of flesh is really to have no hope at all. One's
faith can be only as firm as the object upon which he places his
trust. To place one's confidence upon erring flesh is to lack firm
footing and roots:
Thus says the Lord, Cursed is the man who trust
in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns
away from the LORD. For he will be like a bush in the desert and
will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes
in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant (Jer. 17:5,6).
God invites all men today to place their trust
in Him directly through His Son, Jesus Christ. Unlike a false prophet
who teaches the people to follow a strange god, Jesus can be fully
trusted to lead us to His Father. By His death, Christ has secured
a place in the presence of God for all who place their trust in
him. Those who trust Him can be absolutely sure that He will never
Even as this article was being prepared for its
publication, Mormon Apostle Mark E. Peterson was busily revising
his book. "Adam Who Is He?" Because of previous exposure
of the deception concerning Peterson's statement on pages 16 and
17 of his book (quoted under heading: Denial Adam-God Was Taught)
they were forced to "correct" what was apparently one of Peterson's
strongest arguments alleging that Brigham Young was "misquoted".
As you recall, Peterson went to great lengths about the "misquotation"
and the proof of that being a "signed statement" of C.C. Rich. But
since it was clear that neither assertion was factual, Peterson
changed the paragraphs in question to read as follows:
Elder Charles C. Rich was not present on the
day when President Young gave an address that was wrongly reported
as saying Adam was our Father in heaven (see JD 1:51). The sermon
was delivered April 9, 1852, and Elder Rich returned April 21.
In a copy of the Journal of Discourses Elder Ben E. Rich, son
of Elder Charles C. Rich, referred to the misquotation as it appears
in the Journal of Discourses, and in his own hand corrected the
statement to read as follows: "Jesus our Elder Brother, was begotten
in the flesh by the same character who talked with Adam in the
Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven." In this same
statement Ben E. Rich wrote "As corrected above is what Prest.
Young said, as testified to me by my father, C.C. Rich." (This
signed statement is in the hands of the Church Historical Department).
Some of the reporters at the Tabernacle in those
days were not so skilled as others, and admittedly made mistakes,
such as the misquotations of President Young as above, which was
corrected by Brother Rich and which has caused some persons in
the Church to go astray.
On the face of it the mistake is obvious. We
find in Genesis 2:15-16 and 3:8-9 that God walked and talked with
Adam in the Garden of Eden.
Mark E. Peterson Adam Who Is He?
(1979 Edition) page 16-17
It is quite interesting to compare this version
with the one that was quoted in this booklet because we see a complete
turning around of the facts, but an attempt to stay with the argument!
The "strength" of Peterson's argument (such as
it was) was based on the "fact" that C.C. Rich was present at the
delivery of the sermon and thus able to "correct" the "misquotation".
Since we know, and Peterson admits that C.C. Rich was NOT present,
the whole basis of the argument is now totally missing. Who cares
what Ben E. Rich wrote in his copy of the Journal of Discourses
several decades later (remember he wasn't even born until 1855)
especially when he was quoting a man who was not even there?
- Calvin, in his exposition of
the second commandment, explains this beautifully: The Lord very
frequently addresses us in the character of a husband... As he
performs all the offices of a true and faithful husband, so he
requires love and chastity from us; that is, that we do not prostitute
our souls to Satan. As the purer and chaster a husband is, the
more grievously he is offended when he sees his wife inclining
to a rival; so the Lord, who has betrothed us to Himself in truth,
declares that he burns in the hottest jealousy whenever, neglecting
the purity of His holy marriage, we defile ourselves with abominable
lusts and especially when the worship of His deity, which ought
to have been most carefully kept unimpaired, is transferred to
another... since in this way we not only violate our plighted
troth, but defile the nuptial couch, by giving access to adulterers
(Institutes, II, viii, 18).
- The Doctrine and Covenants, on
of Mormonism's scriptures, states that the Mormon people are "the
only true and living Church upon the face of the whole earth".
- Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt wrote
that all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority
to administer the sacraments: But who in this generation have
authority to baptize? None but those who have received authority
in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints: all other
churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and
any person who receives Baptism or the Lord's Supper from their
hands will highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most
corrupt of all people. Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing
less than the "whore of Babylon" whom the Lord denounces by the
mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth
by their fornications and wickedness. And any person who shall
be so wicked as to receive holy ordinance of the gospel from the
ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down
to hell with them, unless they repent of the unholy and impious
act (Orson Pratt, The Seer, Washington ed., p.255).
- Joseph Smith claimed that in
the spring of 1820 Jesus Christ appeared to him in a vision and
instructed him to join none of the Christian denominations, "for
they were all wrong and all their creeds were an abomination and
their professors were all corrupt." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph
Smith 2, verse 19).
- Mormon Prophet Spencer W. Kimball
was ordained an Apostle under the hands of Heber J. Grant. Grant
was likewise ordained by George Q. Cannon. Cannon was ordained
to his apostolic office under the hands of Brigham Young. Similarly,
every one of the present Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church
has received his ordination through Brigham Young. If Brigham
was false, then all those who were ordained through him lack the
very priesthood which they believe Brigham had. A break in one
link causes the entire chain below it to fall to the ground; so
a break in the Mormon priesthood succession breaks off the transfer
- "Misc. Minutes" unpublished ms.,
Brigham Young Collection, Church Archives, Salt Lake City, p.1.
- Ibid., pp.6-7.
- Believing himself to be a prophet
of God, Young declared that it was his gift and calling to teach
true doctrine and to guard the members against heresy: What man
or woman on the earth, what spirit in the spirit-world can say
truthfully that I have ever gave a wrong word of counsel, or a
word of advice that could not be sanctioned by the heavens? (Journal
of Discourses, Vol. 12, p.127). It is my duty to see that correct
doctrine is taught and to guard the Church from error, it is my
calling ("Misc. Minuets", unpublished ms., B.Y. Collection,
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses,
Vol.1 , p.50. According to Mormon theology, Adam is Michael the
archangel and the Ancient of Days, Cf. Doctrine and Covenants,
- Ibid., pp. 50-51.
- Diary of Hosea Stout. Copied
from typed transcript. B.Y.U. Library, Special Collections, Provo,
Utah. The spelling, grammar, and punctuation in this quotation
as well as in all others cited herein have not been changed from
- Journal of Samuel H. Rogers,
Vol. 1, p. 179. Copied from the original located at B.Y.U. Library,
Special Collections, Provo, Utah.
- Mark E. Peterson, Adam Who
Is He? (Deseret Book, 1976), p.14.
- Spencer W. Kimball, Deseret
News, October 9, 1976, Church News Section, p.11).
- Leonard J. Arrington, Charles
C. Rich (B.Y.U. Press, 1974), p.173
- Copied from microfilm of original.
B.Y.U. Library, Special Collections, Prove, Utah.
- Copied from Deseret Weekly,
microfilm, B.Y.U. Library.
- Copy of the original Journal
of Discourses volume on which statement was made is located in
the Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City. For photo reproduction,
see Bob White, Where Does It Say That?, p.77.
- Faced with the fact that Brigham
Young made no attempt to correct his statements, Mormon scholar,
Rodney Turner, was forced to admit that Brigham was quoted correctly:
Was Brigham Young misquoted? It is the writer's opinion that the
answer to this question is a categorical no. There is not the
slightest evidence from Brigham Young, or any other source, that
either his original remarks on April 9, 1852, or any of his subsequent
statements were ever misquoted in the official publications of
the Church... In light of Brigham Young's attitude toward the
errors of others, and in view of the division created by his remarks
concerning Adam, it would be stretching one's credibility to the
breaking point to believe that he would have remained silent had
he been misquoted. (The Position of Adam in Latter-day Saint Scripture
and Theology, M.A. thesis, B.Y.U., pp.45-46; thesis is presently
restricted from viewing or reading).
- Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers
to Gospel Questions, Vol. 5, p.123.
- Ibid., pp. 122-123.
- See Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon
Doctrine (Bookcraft, 1966), pp. 18-19.
- In his thesis, Rodney Turner
similarly discounts the possibility that Brigham was being misinterpreted:
It is true that the original discourse of April 9, 1852, could
be taken in more than one way; and if he had never mentioned the
subject again, his actual meaning would be a moot point. However,
he did mention the subject again, many times. Therefore the likelihood
of misunderstanding him, in view of his subsequent statements
through the years, becomes more remote (The Position of Adam,
- Brigham Young Papers, Feb. 19,
1854, call number Ms. F219 #81, Church Historian's Office, Salt
- Copied from microfilm of journal
located at B.Y.U. Library, Special Collections, Provo, Utah.
- See Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon
- Millennial Star, Vol. 16, No.
31, August 5, 1854, p.482.
- Ibid., p.483
- Ibid., Vol. 16, No. 34, August
26, 1854, p.530.
- Ibid., pp.534-535.
- See T. B. H. Stenhouse, The
Rocky Mountain Saints, p.492. Photo reproduction of original
available through Modern Microfilm Co., Box 1884, S.L.C., Utah
- Brigham Young Papers. Oct. 8,
1854, call number Ms. d 1234, Church Historian's Office, Salt
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses,
Vol. 4, p.54).
- Ibid., Vol. 6, p.275.
- Deseret News, Vol. 4, No. 31,
October 12, 1854, p.2.
- Journal of Wilford Woodruff,
October 6-8, 1854.
- Journal of the Southern Indian
- Joseph Lee Robinson Journal,
copied from typed transcript located at B.Y.U. Library, Special
- Eliza R. Snow was a plural wife
of Joseph Smith and was later married to Brigham Young.
- Millennial Star, Vol. 17, No.
- Sacred Hymns for the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1856, 11th ed., p. 375.
This hymn has been deleted from present LDS hymnals. In the 20th
ed. there appeared a hymn titled, "Sons of Michael, He approaches."
In the second line Michael was described as the "eternal" Father.
In today's edition this has been changed to read the "ancient"
- Diary of Samuel Whitney Richards,
copied from typed transcript at B.Y.U. Library, Special Collections,
Provo, Utah, p.113.
- Journal of Discourses, Vol.
- Wilford Woodruff Journal, December
29, 1856. Typed from microfilm of original.
- Journal of Discourses, Vol.
- The minutes of this session
are found in the Wilford Woodruff Journal, under the date of January
- The council minutes are located
in the Brigham Young Collection, Miscellaneous Papers, Church
- The entire Orson Pratt-Brigham
Young affair cannot be underestimated. The controversy which raged
between the two shows that Brigham was teaching that Adam was
God. From the charges that Pratt made it is clear what Brigham
was teaching. Furthermore, it is significant that Young made no
attempt to correct a misquotation or misinterpretation. On the
contrary, he defended his doctrine, and continued to assert it.
Importance should also be placed upon the remarks of the other
Apostles who rallied to their Prophet's defense. They replied
to Orson that a prophet of God cannot advance false doctrine,
therefore all should accept the President's statements. They rightly
understood the biblical emphasis that a prophet of God cannot
advance false doctrine about God and that he would be inspired
to teach the truth. They also realized the implications of Orson
Pratt's statement. If Brigham was advancing false doctrine, then
he would be a false prophet. Only a false prophet advances false
doctrine. To charge Mormonism's prophet with teaching false doctrine
would be to undermine Mormonism's claim to be a divinely led people.
- The Reorganized Church at this
time was known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Later they attached to themselves the title of being the "Reorganized"
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Mormon factions
has its headquarters in Independence, Missouri.
- A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries
of John D. Lee (The Huntington Library, 1955), Vol. 1, p.293.
- Sacred History, Solomon F. Kimball
Papers, Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City.
- Manuscript Sermon, "A Few
Words of Doctrine", Brigham Young Collection, Church Historian's
Office, Salt Lake City.
- Journal of Discourses, Vol.
- Ibid., Vol. 13, p.95.
- Ibid., p.264.
- L. John Nuttall Journal, pp.20-24,
copied from original at B.Y.U. Library, Special Collections, Provo,
- See Mark E. Peterson, Adam
Who Is He?