For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine
The higher Priesthood contains the Key of the Knowledge of God
© Onewhoiswatching www.threewatches.blogspot.com
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2nd Tim 4:14
One of the great evidences that the Marvelous Work was to be a separate work from the foundation work of the 1830’s is the prophecy given by Paul in the above verses, that the time would come when the Saints would not be able to endure sound doctrine, but rather, they would turn away their ears from the truth and would be turned unto fables.
Obviously many of the Saints in the Meridian of Time drifted into apostasy and the dark ages followed, during that time men were unable to endure sound doctrine. However, as we have previously discussed, most if not all prophesies have a dual fulfillment. If it can be shown that Latter day Israel has not been able to endure sound doctrine following the restoration of the church in these latter days, then it provides another evidence that another great work is needed to restore true doctrine to Gods people.
We all have our opinions based on our own interpretation of the scriptures which doctrines are true and which are false. However I want to begin this post by showing that modern LDS leaders have stated publicly and privately that false doctrines have entered into the Church.
President Ezra Taft Benson once said:
“Not only are there apostates in our midst, but there are apostate doctrines which are sometimes taught in our classes and from our pulpits and which appear in our publications. The these apostate precepts of men cause our people to stumble. AS the Book of Mormon, speaking of our day, states: “..they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (Book of Mormon ref 2 Nephi 28:14 E.T. Benson ref CR April 1969 )
Not too many years prior to President Bensons statement President Joseph Fielding Smith had entered the following notation in his person diary:
“I attended sessions of meetings for the institute teachers, held in the assembly room on the fourth floor of he Church Office Building. I cannot say that I was very greatly edified. Too much philosophy of the worldly nature does not seem to mix well with the fundamentals of the gospel. In my opinion many of our teachers employed in the church school system have absorbed too much of the paganism of the world, and have accepted too readily the views of the uninspired educators without regard for the revealed word of the Lord. What to do about it I do not know. It is a problem for the Presidency to consider. It is a very apparent fact that we have traveled far and wide in the past 20 years. What the future will bring I don’t know . But if we drift as far afield from the fundamental things in the next 20 years, what will be left of the foundation laid by the Prophet Joseph Smith? It is easy for one who observes to see how the apostasy came about in the primitive church of Jesus Christ. Are we not traveling the same road?” (The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith 212. Deseret Book Co., 1972 )
Prior to that observation by President Smith, J. Reuben Clark had made the following remark:
“I tell you we are beginning to follow along the course of the early Christian Church. So long as that church was persecuted from without, it prospered, but when it began to be polluted from within, the church began to wither. There is, creeping into our midst, and I warn you brethren about it, and urge you to meet, a great host of sectarian doctrines that have no place amongst us. The gospel in its simplicity, is to be found in the revelations… we must accept them as God gave them to us and there must be amongst us a unity of the faith.” ( CR October 1944 )
Erastus Snow made this observation:
“Over fifty years have passed away since the light of the glorious gospel in its fulness began to dawn upon us, and still we are measurably walking in darkness.” (Annual Conf Report April 6 1883 )
Finally, let me share this sobering proclamation from John Taylor:
“We are getting into such a condition that if we were to meet the Lord, we could not look him in the face and the way we are going, it will soon be impossible to tell what we do believe.”
As you can see from the testimony from numerous leaders of the Church, the restored church is plagued with false teachers teaching false doctrines.
Obviously we do not have time in this post to discuss and document the countless false doctrines that have snuck into the fold since the time of Joseph Smith’s 1st commission in the 2nd Watch.
But I do want to speak about one of the most important foundational doctrines upon which I believe all other doctrines rest.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
“It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God” (Teachings, 345).
In other words, one of the foundation stones of the restored gospel is a knowledge of what kind of being God actually is. But not only do we need to understand what kind of being God is, we must come to know God. In the same sermon from which we just quoted, the Prophet Joseph further stated,
“If any man does not know God, . . . he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle” (Teachings, 344).
In His great high-priestly or Intercessory Prayer, the Savior confirmed that life eternal was to “know . . . the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [the Father] hast sent” (John 17:3).
Joseph Smith also endorsed the following teaching taught in the School of the Prophets:
“One of the three things necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation, is to have a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.” (Lectures on Faith, 3rd Lecture)
In modern revelation the Savior has stated that:
“I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and aknow what you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.” (D&C 93:19)
It seems to me that the first principle constitutes the foundation doctrine of the Gospel. It is the doctrine upon which all other doctrines are built. It sets the stage for learning additional truth. If one has a correct understanding of this fundamental doctrine one stands a reasonable chance of getting the next principle or doctrine right, and the next and so on. Conversely, if one begins with a false perception of who and what God is, it is likely that the belief system that follows will also have erroneous assumptions.
Realizing how important it is to have a knowledge of the true character of God, modern revelation tells us that the “greater priesthood” administers the gospel and holds the key of the knowledge of God:
“And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.
Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; for without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live.” (D&C 84:19-21)
Clearly, those who truly hold the higher priesthood are those who know God and can lead the Saints to him, teaching the truth about who he is and revealing his nature and character.
Having established the incredible importance of the true nature of God and having leaders who truly hold the key of the knowledge of God so that they can lead the Saints to him and protect the Saints from false teachings about God, let’s review an incredible event in LDS Church History:
According to a significant amount of historical documentation, some of which may have been suppressed for a time, it appears that on April 9th 1852 … my great great great grandfather Brigham Young shocked the church by teaching the following doctrine concerning the nature and character of God. In this sermon he declared:
“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 … (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp.50-51).
Related quotes and doctrines from Brigham Young are varied and to numerous to include in this article, among other things, Brigham taught that Adam is the father of Jesus Christ:
“When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family … I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone…. 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” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, pp.50-51).
As a descendent of Brigham Young I have had a particular interest in knowing his place in the restoration movement, who he really was and what he really taught. There is a very large 4 volume document in the Church Historical Library containing every known discourse that Brigham Young ever gave. They don’t let you make copies of it but you can go into a secure room and read it. One day I sat down and read the entire thing. It took many, many hours to read.
I was surprised at how many times Brigham taught the exact opposite doctrines that Joseph Smith taught. I am compiling a list of these contradictions and perhaps will do a post on them someday.
One of the things Joseph and Brigham disagreed on that jumped out at me as I read this volume of discourses is how they both viewed the creation story in Genesis.
Joseph Smith was a biblical literalist. He was once asked how Mormonism differs from other Christian Churches and he answered We believe the Bible. His apparent use of sarcasm was somewhat uncharacteristic but provided a poignant way to point out how most protestant religions pick and choose which Biblical verse they want to take literally.
Although this must have seemed offensive, and condescending to protestants, I think he was simply making a very important distinction… simply that Latter day Saint theology believes the Bible literally as long as it is translated correctly. We have the JST of the Bible to show us any mistranslations in the Bible an it confirms that the creation story is literally true.
The Book of Mormon and the revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants reinforce a literal interpretation and belief in the Old and New Testaments.
Joseph Smith interpreted and believed the creation story in Genesis in the literal sense. So important was the literal interpretation of the creation story in Genesis to Joseph Smith that he provided two other versions of it. One was from the JST of Genesis and the other was obtained from translating the papyrus that became known as the Book of Abraham. Both of these accounts of the creation story are published in the Pearl of Great Price. This provides two witnesses that the literal interpretation of the creation story in Genesis is true and that Adam was literally created out the dust of this earth and Eve was literally taken from his rib.
I was shocked while reading Brigham Young’s discourses to find that he discounted the creation story as a “fairy tale”.
Many members of the Church silently accepted the new Adam-God doctrine that Brigham Young taught, however, some prominent members of the church took issue with the doctrine. Most significantly, Apostle Orson Pratt, one of the greatest doctrinal scholars in the Church at the time, disagreed with the doctrine, and expressed that disagreement publicly and in private meetings with other apostles.
Pratt also published his disagreement in his east-coast publication The Seer.Pratt continued to debate the issue in public forums for months, despite being rebuked privately and publicly by Brigham Young on more than one occasion until 1860, when faced with possible disfellowshipment, he agreed to the language of a public confession as negotiated during a series of meetings among the church hierarchy.” Wikipedia
The following entry is found in the journal of Joseph Lee Robinson:
“Oct. 6th attend Conference, a very interesting Conference, for at this meeting President Brigham Young said thus… that Adam was, God our Eternal Father, this as Brother Heber remarked was letting the cat out of the Bag, and it came to pass, I believed every word … our Beloved Brother Orson Prat[t] told me he did not believe it. He said he could prove by the Scriptures it was not correct. I feared lest he should apostetize [sic] …” (Journal of Joseph Lee Robinson, Microfilm copy in LDS Genealogical Library)
Pratt felt so strongly that the Adam-God doctrine was wrong that he expressed a desire to resign his position from the quorum of the Twelve. Brigham’s response to Pratt was “No you won’t Orson, I’ll rub your ears until I get you right..”(Pg 174 Unpublished Revelations by Collier)
Although I am related to Brigham Young through my fathers side of the family, ironically, I am also related to Father Edward Bunker and his son Bishop Edward Bunker Jr. through my Mothers side of the Family. Father Bunker was a contemporary of Brigham Young. In fact Brigham Young had called Father Edward Bunker to settle parts of Southern Utah.
I believe that there is a special place in heaven for people like Orson Pratt and the Bunkers because they had the guts to QUESTION AUTHORITY. Bishop Edward Bunker was possibly the single biggest reason that the Church discontinued teaching the Adam-God doctrine.
For a number of years questions on church teachings had been agitated in the Bunkerville Ward. “Bishop Bunker had stated he did not believe Adam was our God and he had expressed his opinion that some teachings in the temples were wrong, notably part of the Lecture at the veil- That Father Bunker had the same views.” Father Bunker felt that the wrong teaching of God would negate the purpose of the sealing ordinances done in the temple… had stated that-
“the principle of adoption would be of no avail as administered in the Temple. All such work would have to be done over again.”
Bishop Bunker created quite a stir in his ward when he began challenging the Adam-God doctrine. In 1891 he made the following declaration to the Stake Presidency when they called him to task for not believing in the doctrine taught by Brigham Young:
“I do not believe that Adam is the father of Jesus Christ and the God we worship and the God of this earth…” “Pg 170 Unpublished Revelations)
After the Stake Presidency got an ear full from Bishop Bunker, they turned him over to the First Presidency of the Church. The President of the Church at the time was Wilford Woodruff.
Bishop Bunker got reprimanded by the First Presidency for challenging the official doctrine of the Church concerning God but curiously, shortly after that meeting with Bishop Bunker President Wilford Woodruff was quoted as saying:
“it was not wisdom for the Elders to contend about such matters and things they did not understand. And not to teach such things to the children in the Sunday Schools; they could not comprehend them.” (Pg 174 Unpublished Revelations)
President Cannon later said: “…it is not necessary that we should [teach] or endorse the doctrine that some men taught that Adam was the Father of Jesus Christ” (Pg 174-5 Unpublished Revelations)
Shortly after this, the Adam-God doctrine was no longer taught at all in the Church by the leaders.
A few generations later the Adam-God doctrine was virtually unknown to most members of the Church. When anti-Mormon documents would reference the doctrine some LDS apologists denied that the doctrine had ever been taught. Some have claimed that those who recorded the sermons of Brigham Young made mistakes.
In recent years, a private letter from Bruce R. McConkie to a BYU professor has been copied and made available to the general public. In it Elder McConkie made the following statement:
“Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true. He expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel.…that is something he will have to account for…. I do not know all of the providences of the Lord, but I do know that he permits false doctrine to be taught in and out of the Church… If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned. If that belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray and we will lose our souls …. This clearly means that people who teach false doctrine in the fundamental and basic things will lose their souls. The nature and kind of being that God is, is one of these fundamentals. I repeat: Brigham Young erred in some of his statements on the nature and kind of belng that God is and as to the position of Adam in the plan of salvation …. If we choose to believe and teach the false portions of his doctrines we are making an election that will damn us: (page 7)“ (page 6 of McConkie’s letter)
Despite the fact that the Adam God doctrine was taught and believed for many years, it is really quite remarkable that the Church was able to “self correct” and put down the false doctrine that suggested that Adam is the Father of Jesus Christ and the only God with which we have to do. Even more remarkable is that the correction appears to have been initiated from individual Saints in both high and low positions who had the wisdom to compare a questionable doctrine to the word of God and then have the courage to question authority and challenge the doctrine by utilizing the laws of agency and common consent.
The Apostle Paul chastened the Saints of his day for allowing members from within the Church to pervert the true Gospel of Christ and gave a strict warning not to follow anyone… not even an angel from heaven if they preach any other gospel than the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1) He later gave one of the most simple and concise definitions of the Gospel of Christ:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom 1:16)
Looking at our day the prophet Nephi observed that many of the humble followers of Christ would be led astray because they followed the precepts of men:
“They wear stiff necks and high heads; yea, and because of pride, and wickedness, and abominations, and, whoredoms they have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men…Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost. (2nd Nephi 28)
The Book of Mormon reinforces that most basic foundational belief that it is through faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved and there is no other name under heaven by which man can be saved:
“And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” (2nd Nephi 31)
If the historical documentation about Brigham Young teaching the Adam God Doctrine is true and if Elder McConkie’s statement is accurate that Brigham Young did in fact teach a false doctrine about who the true God of Israel is, it is deeply disturbing to think that a presiding officer of the Lords Church could lead us incorrectly regarding such an important doctrine. It was Brigham Young himself that expressed his concern that a President of the Church might some day lead the people astray:
“What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” (Brigham Young, January 12, 1862, Journal of Discourses, 9:151)
He also said:
“I have often said to the Latter-day Saints– Live so that you will know whether I teach you the
truth or not. Suppose you are careless and unconcerned, and give way to the spirit of the world,
and I am led, likewise,to preach the things of this world and to accept things that are NOT of God, how easy it would be for me to lead you astray! But I say to you, live so that you will know for yourselves whether I tell the truth or not. That is the way we want all Saints to live.” (Brigham Young, JD 18:248)
In previous posts I have noted that there was a difference between the “first elders” of the Church who were designated as the first laborers of the last kingdom vs Brigham Young and others who were called about five years later to serve in the quorum of the 12 apostles. They were identified as those who were not the first elders. According to latter day revelation, Brigham Young and the other members of the quorum of the twelve did not enjoy the same relationship with God that Joseph Smith and the First Elders enjoyed. In section 84 Joseph Smith and six others received an incredible confirmation of the higher priesthood by the voice of God out of the heavens… few people have ever received this endowment:
“this priesthood which ye have received which I now confirm upon you by my own voice out of the heavens…” (D&C 84:40)
In section 88 Joseph Smith and the other First Elders were promised that God would send them again into the vineyard at a later time to testify and warn the Gentiles for the last time and to bind up the law and seal the testimony and prepare the Saints for the hour of judgment with is to come, however Brigham Young and the other members of the 12 who were not among the first elders and who were not clean from the blood of that generation, were to “continue in the vineyard until the mouth of the Lord should call them…” (D&C 84:74-85)
In the general charge given to the 12 Apostles in the month of April 1835 the Oliver Cowdery provided this counsel, admonition and charge:
“You have been indebted to other men , in the first instance for evidence; on that you have acted but it is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven for yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel…. never cease striving until you have seen God face to face, strengthen your faith, cast off you doubts, your sins, and all you unbelief… Your ordination [ as Apostles] is not full and complete till God has laid his hand upon you… you have our most fervent prayers that you may be able to bear this testimony, that you have seen the face of God.” (DHC2:195-198 see also HC AD 1835 pg 195-6)
It is very important to understand that Brigham Young and his brethren of the 12 were ordained to be Apostles but their calling would not be full and complete until they had seen the face of God and been ordained personally by him..
Mary Rollins Lightner was a convert to the church who had seen an angel, she noted that Brigham Young had said to her in Nauvoo “he would give anything to have seen what I had.” (Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Autobiography, in B. Carmon Hardy, ed., Doing the Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy: It’s Origin, Practice, and Demise (Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark Co., 2007),
Susan Young Gates recorded that when asked if he had ever seen the Savior, Brigham responded that he hadn’t, and that he didn’t expect to until he died. ( Note, 1885, Susa Young Gates Collection, Box 11, Folder 1, Subfolder 1, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City )
Brigham Young was very open and honest about his own status as the President of the Church. He understood that the President of the Church did not necessarily need to be a prophet: “I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet…” (Fred C. Collier, ed., The Office Journal of Brigham Young, 1858-1863, Book D (Hanna, UT: Collier’s Publishing Co., 2006),
When responding to a skeptic that was expressing doubt that Brigham was a prophet seer and revelator he responded that he had never made such a claim:
“A person was mentioned to-day who did not believe that Brigham Young was a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. I wish to ask every member of this whole community, if they ever heard him profess to be a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, as Joseph Smith was?” (Brigham Young, Sermon, April 7, 1852, JD 6:319-320 See also a related post in By Common Consent)
One of the things that confuses people concerning the succession issue is that it appears that one can be the legal presiding officer of the Church, elected by the voice of the people without holding the key of the knowledge of God and without being a prophet, seer and revelator.
This doctrine was true in Book of Mormon times as well as pertaining to church government in modern times:
“Thou shalt not leave this place until after the conference; and my servant Joseph shall be appointed to preside over the conference by the voice of it, and what he saith to thee thou shalt tell…. For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants. For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” (D&C 28 see also D&C 20:63 102:9 )
Brigham Young states that on December 27 1847 he was “unanimously elected president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (HC 7:621 see also HC pg 82 )
As we consider the doctrines taught by Brigham Young, we must not hold him to a higher standard than what would be appropriate. It is not fair to accuse someone of being something they have never claimed to be.
Brigham Young never claimed to be the legal successor of Joseph Smith in reference to holding the keys of the kingdom or of being a prophet seer and revelator, those claims became a tradition within the Church over time. By his own admission, it appears he felt he was simply trying to steady the ark until he who had the higher authority rose up:
“The brethren testify that brother Brigham is brother Joseph’s legal successor. You never heard me say so. I say that I am a good hand to keep the dogs and wolves out of the flock. I do not care a groat who rises up. I do not think anything about being Joseph’s successor. That is nothing that concerns me” (Journal of Discourses 8:69).
Years ago I walked into Sam Wellers Book Store and saw a large poster on the wall having to do with the genealogy of the 12 tribes of Israel and I felt compelled to find out who had created it and speak with him. The book store gave me his number… we became fast friends. He is a fascinating personality that has provided me with a differing perspective of the gospel as we have studied the gospel together and debated various aspects of it during the last two decades.When I first met him he was a Jewish Mormon Fundamentalist who had worked for the Boarder Patrol and then served as a security officer at he White House. After joining the LDS church he worked as a security guard at the Washington Temple. He was also a veil worker. Eventually he joined the Allred polygamous group and took on two more wives.
Eventually it occurred to him that he had been deceived about the so-called doctrine of Celestial Plural Marriage and he left the Allred Group.
A friend of his in the Allred Group believed that I had been a bad influence on him but felt that if I would be willing to meet with Owen Allred, the leader of the group, that perhaps I would see the light and join their group. She brokered a meeting between Brother Owen and myself.
After being introduced to Owen, he quickly began speaking about the Adam-God doctrine and began quoting profusely from the words of Brigham Young out of the Journal of Discourses. I sat quietly and listened. After a while he divined that I was extremely unimpressed and he asked why the words of Brigham Young did not have more impact on me.
I replied that I use the Word of God in the Four Standard Works to measure the words of every man regardless of his position.
I quoted the statement by Joseph Fielding Smith to him:
“It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine. You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works.” ( Doctrines of Salvation 3:203)
I then said lets take the doctrine that Brigham Young thought that Adam is the Father if Jesus Christ and lets measure that doctrine against the holy and infallible word of God to see if it squares with the scriptures. I then opened the D&C to section 29 verse 34 and handed it to Brother Owen asking him to read it.
“Wherefore, verily I (Jesus Christ) say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.” (D&C 29:34)
The look on Owen’s face was priceless. Talk about a deer caught in the lights of an oncoming car! He kept reading the scripture over and over again to himself as if to see if there was another way to interpret it. I could see the wheels turning in his mind trying to come up with an answer to the doctrinal dilemma he was facing.
As he sat there confused I asked: “How can Adam be the father of Jesus Christ if Jesus Christ is the one who created Adam?
I got the distinct impression that was the first time Owen had ever read that scripture… although I was excited to review additional scriptures with him, lost interest in the discussion and had me ushered to the door.
I don’t mean to single out Brother Allred, I mention this experience with him simply to demonstrate what has been the rule rather than the exception as I have conversed with LDS Fundamentalists on doctrinal issues. They tend to be very knowledgeable when it comes to the doctrines taught by Brigham Young, John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff in the Journal of Discourses, but less knowledgeable about the holy and infallible word of God as contained in the Bible and Book of Mormon and virtually illiterate in the D&C.
I had a similar experience in an LDS fundamentalist chat board a few years ago. A fellow who considered himself to be an authority on the fundamentalist view of the everlasting covenant of Marriage (Plural Marriage) was jousting back and forth with me and I pointed out the distinction between the “Biblical Doctrine of Plural Marriage” vs the “Spiritual Wife Doctrine” that originated in Nauvoo in the 1840’s… which teaches that you must be sealed to multiple wives in order to attain the highest degree of exaltation. The former was purely for the purposes of procreation while the other was a prerequisite of the Gospel to enter into the highest exaltation.
I then challenged him to prove the spiritual wife doctrine from the Old and New Testament without using any of the teachings from the Journal of Discourses. He enthusiastically accepted my challenge and assured me his response was forthcoming soon. A few hours went by.. then a few days. Eventually he returned to the chat board with a humble acknowledgement that he could not prove such a doctrine in the word of God contained in the Bible. I could tell he was surprised at this realization.
Obviously this did not change his beliefs. My father had a favorite saying that really annoyed me when I was growing up but I have come to realize there is a lot of truth to it.
“A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”
Even many members of the restored church believe that Celestial Polygamy is a true doctrine that will be lived someday by the Saints. False doctrines have infiltrated the Saints in the latter days as was prophesied by the Apostle Paul. I have provided the testimony of several latter day Presidents of the Church and general authorities to this end. I have even provided an example of one of the most blasphemous false doctrines that was apparently introduced pertaining to the true nature of God. Thankfully the Church self-corrected and later rejected it.
This is another sign that the Marvelous Work and a Wonder did not take place in the 2nd Watch at the time the church was restored to the earth in 1830, rather it is to be a future work that takes place in the 3rd watch when the fulness of the Gospel and the fulness of the scriptures will be restored to the earth.
In closing I want to provide a most remarkable testimony from one of the early members of the restored church who really did know who God the Father and his son Jesus Christ were because he held the key of the knowledge of God and he saw them:
Brother Zebedee Coltrin is one of about 9 people that has been documented from credible historical sources as having seen God the Father and/or Jesus Christ during the Kirtland Era of the Church. Many years later, after coming to Utah, he was asked to give the following account of what happened in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland:
“At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, (the school being organized_ on the 23rd of January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from east to west, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and suppose the others did and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God…. Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; he was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He (Brother Coltrin) experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I saw Him. When asked about the kind of clothing the Father had on, Brother Coltrin said: I did not discover his clothing for he was surrounded as with a flame of fire, which was so brilliant that I could not discover anything else but his person. I saw his hands, his legs, his feet, his eyes, nose, mouth, head and body in the shape and form of a perfect man. He sat in a chair as a man would sit in a chair, but this appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in his presence, and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones. The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son and know that they exist and that they are two separate personages.
This appearance occurred about two or three weeks after the opening of the school. After the Father had passed through, Joseph told us to again take our positions in prayer. We did so, and in a very short time he drew our attention and said to us that Brother Reynolds Cahoon was about to leave us, and told us to look at him. He (Brother Cahoon) was on his knees and his arms were extended, his hands and wrists, head, face and neck down to his shoulders were as a piece of amber, clear and transparent, his blood having apparently left his veins. Upon the attention of the brethren being thus called to Brother Cahoon, the change seemed to pass away and Joseph said that in a few minutes more, Brother Cahoon would have left us, but he came to himself again.” (Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 3, 1883)
October 19, 2008
Categories: Articles by OWIW, Deep Waters, Scriptural Discussions . Tags: Adam-God Doctrine, Add new tag, Brigham Young, false doctrine, LDS, Mormon, shall not endure sound doctrine, succession . Author: onewhoiswatching Edit this entry
- Comment by Malachi on October 19, 2008 6:36 pmThis is really deep waters there brother. I have lots of thoughts going through my head and don’t really know what to respond to first.You know the church was also going though deep waters at its beginnings after they lost their prophet and his successor Hyrum. It was a really tough time. Many of the leadership refused to follow Brigham. Josephs mother and wife rejected Brigham. Apparently my ancestors followed Brigham because here I am. I”m thinking that we all would have followed Brigham to Salt Lake City and beyond.
I’m believing that even though Brigham may not have been a bonafide prophet like Joseph that God wanted him to lead the Church to Salt Lake. When I read Church history, I can’t help but notice that Brigham was being groomed to take over the leadership of the church. For example: Brigham was president of the Quorum of the twelve and had no authority in the Stakes of Zion. Yet Joseph clouded the waters and put Brigham in charge of certain aspects of life in Nauvoo. Also during the succession debates Brigham placed himself in charge over the Stake President William Marks.
Last summer I visited Nauvoo with some dear friends and we heard several stories by the missionaries about Joseph drawing a map of the route to the great Salt Lake valley and prophesying that Brigham would take the Saints there.
I believe that these stories are true and that even though Brigham wasn’t a prophet in the biblical sense that God wanted Brigham to bring the Saints west and establish them in Utah.
I have some complaints about the church politically and socially but I have to admit that while the Church has been here they have done a lot of good things. The foremost of all is the wonderful job of taking the Book of Mormon to the world. I love the Book of Mormon and I’m grateful to the church for this great work.
Just a couple thoughts, gotta go Watcher, talk to you again.
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on October 19, 2008 7:03 pmMalachiYes these are deep waters… hopefully LDSANARCHIST was not being prophetic when he said people might want to stone me…
Interestingly enough I went to Nauvoo recently also and heard the same story you heard about Joseph Smith drawing the map and prophesying that the Saints would go west… I have no reason to doubt that story as being true. I also have no reason to doubt the story about Joseph prophesying that Brigham would one day preside over the Church. That is very possibly true also.
I agree with you that it was part of the plan for Brother Brigham to preside over the Church. I could provide other scriptural reasons why I think the LDS Church represents Gods Church upon the earth at this time.
The purpose of the article was not to challenge peoples faith in the restoration of the gospel or the fact that the LDS Church represents Gods Church or to challenge the fact that those presiding over the Church have the Legal right to do so at this time.
One of the main purposes of the article is to get those who are ready, to realize that all is not as it appears and all is not well in Zion and to begin preparing their hearts and their minds for a major test that is about to take place.
As always, I suggest readers reject anything I write if it does not square with the scriptures and/or if the spirit does not testify of the truthfulness of it.
- Comment by PallasAthena on October 19, 2008 10:23 pmI appreciate the time you have taken to study these topics and now to share them with us. So far, I have enjoyed reading all you have written.I made a comment today in EQ and derailed the lesson, as is typical , the room went silent for a few awkward seconds, then after stuttering and stammering the teacher regained his composure and went on with the lesson. Afterward, I had a brother come up to me and thank me for my comment. He talked about the “whitewashed” history of the church and the doctrines that seem lost. We had a nice discussion about many doctrinal things, focusing on differences between Joseph Smith and today. The topic has been on my mind all day. What really grabbed my interest in your post is the many quotes about false doctrine in the church. In a way, it validated many things I have been feeling. While reading, I usually reference any quote that piques my interest, to put it in context. Some of your quotes were taken from a set of books that has been on my “wish list” for some time. You have given me a good excuse to buy them. Thanks
The purpose of the article was not to challenge peoples faith in the restoration of the gospel or the fact that the LDS Church represents Gods Church or to challenge the fact that those presiding over the Church have the Legal right to do so at this time.
One of the main purposes of the article is to get those who are ready, to realize that all is not as it appears and all is not well in Zion and to begin preparing their hearts and their minds for a major test that is about to take place
Some time ago, over the course of a couple months, I had been studying the topic of end time tribulation, one day I came to the definite conclusion that I did not possess the faith that would be required to weather the storm that was coming. The realization was so vivid I became very afraid, a genuine feeling of fear that I had never experience before or since. I dropped to my knees and began to pray, as I prayed many things happened, one of which was I was given the impression that the church, as it is today, was not capable of fostering the faith in me to where I would be strong enough for the “major test” you speak of. This all happened 7 or 8 years ago and in that time I have tried to be keenly aware of my own complacency and tried to eliminate it whenever I can. I find one of the best ways to do that is to challenge my own beliefs, which I do constantly. Your ideas are good for that.
By the way, I would not worry about being stoned.
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on October 20, 2008 6:57 amPallasYour following comment is the story of my life:
“I made a comment today in EQ and derailed the lesson, as is typical , the room went silent for a few awkward seconds, then after stuttering and stammering the teacher regained his composure and went on with the lesson.”
I am afraid I have caused more than my share of awkward silence from the comments I have made.
I loved hearing about your conversation with a kindred spirit after the lesson:
“Afterward, I had a brother come up to me and thank me for my comment. He talked about the “whitewashed” history of the church and the doctrines that seem lost. We had a nice discussion about many doctrinal things, focusing on differences between Joseph Smith and today.”
The life of a truthseeker can be a lonely one. It is wonderfully validating to find others who have left automatic pilot and have become self actualizing in their study of the Gospel.
I guess one of the incredible positive things about the internet is that it provides a way for like-minded people to gather (electronically) and compare notes and teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
I am reminded of the story of Elijah who lamented that he was the only one left who was not bowing the knee to Baal and the Lord rebuked him and said there were 7,000 others who had not bowed the knee to Baal
Your comment about fear and the coming test is particularly appreciated.. I think all of us that are waiting and watching for the events preparatory to the Lords return have had similar feelings.
- Comment by Joseph Owen on October 21, 2008 11:41 amWow. There is a lot to discuss here, and I don’t have time to do it right now. But consider this a placeholder in this discussion. I do agree with Onewhoiswatching that individual church leaders can be wrong about things. I do feel, however, that they are typically minor problems that are corrected in the long-run. Joseph Smith restored the gospel to a completely apostate world, and that gospel is still being filtered through prejudices, etc., that keep the full light from shining. In fact, Joseph Smith had his own prejudices through which truths revealed to him were filtered, though I believe his filters were the most minimal that I know of.There are a number of differences that I have with Onewhoiswatching, however. The most drastic is concerning the literal interpretation of Genesis. Falling back on the idea that the JST of the Bible covers everything is flawed because I have not read anywhere that the Joseph Smith Translation was a finished product, and therefore, while a helpful tool, cannot necessarily be considered the last word (an idea of the “last word” would be problematic anyway, since one of Joseph Smith’s major doctrines was that of continuing revelation). So let’s go to another source mentioned by Onewhoiswatching: the Pearl of Great Price.
Actually, there are significant departures from the Genesis account in the Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Moses most closely matches Genesis because it is re-revealing (is that a word?) to Joseph the original vision given to Moses. Even in it’s original form, however, it could be argued that this vision was only a watered-down version of creation given to a people not ready for much else. There are, however, already departures. For instance, in Moses 3:5 we get a clarification of the difference between spiritual and physical creation not found “literally” in the Genesis account (it’s there, but you have to stretch a bit).
Abraham goes even further. Not only do you have a blasphemous (according to some) departure from a singular G__ (replaced by gods), but things don’t just happen by G__ saying it, and there it is. The gods watch over things to see that they “will obey” (Abraham 4:10 as an example). This is the beginning of a suggestion that creation was more of a struggle than suggested in Genesis 1. Of course, the idea of this struggle in creation can be found in the Old Testament, just not in Genesis. I was just reading Job last night and was amazed yet again at how different that creation story is from Genesis. It should be noted that while orthodox Jews hold to the Torah (first 5 books of OT), Christian writers of the New Testament quoted more from Psalms and other prophets (Psalms and Isaiah tend to have remnants of a “creation as a struggle” idea, rather than sticking to Genesis). I could bring up that New Testament writers referred yet even more to the Book of Enoch, but that’s another discussion.
Anyway, to sum up, while I would not go quite as far as Brigham Young calling the Genesis account a fairy tale (though this would not be Brigham Young’s only example of hyperbole), I do feel that it is a very watered-down, and it times misleading, account of a process that was in fact much more complex. I could bring in Joseph Smith’s own statements in the King Follett discourse (cited by Onewhoiswatching is this post), but again, I don’t have time right now. So Brigham Young wasn’t necessarily completely off-base, though I certainly do not consider myself an Adam-God theorist. I do agree with Onewhoiswatching that anyone, regardless of their position in the Church, can be wrong, and we need to have a relation with the Spirit and with the Lord in order to not end up as Paul described, “Not enduring sound doctrine.”
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on October 21, 2008 2:29 pmThank you for your thoughts Joseph-Please let me clarify that I did not mean to imply that there were not some problems with the King James Translation of the Bible and yes, the JST of the Bible did shed huge light on the creation story. This is why I use the JST whenever possible.
My point was simply that Joseph believed that Adam was created from the dust of the earth and he provided the two accounts of the creation story in the Pearl of Great Price that provide additional evidence to that fact. Brigham clearly did not believe those versions of the creation story with regard to Adam being created from the dust of this earth.
Regarding your statement:
“the idea that the JST of the Bible covers everything is flawed because I have not read anywhere that the Joseph Smith Translation was a finished product”
Actually Joseph Smith did state that he finished it. I would refer you to the following post for that quote from Joseph Smith out of the History of the Church.
Admittedly, there are is no guarantee that what the RLDS Church published did not have flaws or missing parts of the original manuscript, although credible LDS scholar have since reviewed the publication with the original documents and apparently felt comfortable enough with it to get permission to publish lots of excerpts into the LDS editions of the Bible…. Nevertheless, the JST with everything else needs to be measured by the other scriptures and interpreted under the guidance of the spirit.
- Comment by Joseph Owen on October 23, 2008 7:01 pmI appreciate the information about the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible. Clearly I was not correct in assuming it was not finished. While I understand the copyright issues, I am surprised the more effort has not been made to make this translation more available. I suppose some of it has to do with missionary work, and a desire to continue working with a Bible familiar to people outside of our Church. I suppose it also has to do with a reluctance to give up the traditions of men. But all that is going on to another topicI still stand by my basic premise that, even in a finished state, the JST in no way constitutes the “last word” on any matter, because that would still contradict Joseph Smith’s teaching about ongoing revelation. Joseph Smith is the only religious leader I know of that deliberately left an open canon. As far as Brigham not demonstrating an understanding of Joseph’s translation, my understanding is that Brigham was barely literate. He probably hadn’t read them. His ideas seem to reflect a remembrance of Joseph Smith’s oral sermons, but he was likely familiar with all of the translation work Joseph did. But Brigham was as entitled to revelation as anyone, and I have to respect his willingness to explore ideas. I’m not willing to dismiss all of Brigham’s ideas just because he got Adam and our Heavenly Father confused. The process of how our bodies were created is still a mystery that has not been revealed to me. What exactly dust of the earth is has not become clear to me, though Jewish tradition has some pretty interesting ideas (like exactly where that dust was taken from).
What most disturbs me about Brigham’s ideas was the way he tried to force them on everyone. I was very interested by your response to a previous post about the mysteries of God. I agree with most of the other posts, but I also feel concern how the mysteries of God are discussed. I do feel strongly (and your discussion of Brigham’s Adam-God theory demonstrates this) that the mysteries of God should rarely be discussed in a way that implies that one’s authority gives one a special privilege of enforcing those ideas onto everyone else. There are some fundamentals that are, and should be, enforced because they have been clearly revealed, such as a rejection of the trinity and an understanding that the Godhead is made up of three distinct personages. Also that God is literally our Heavenly Father and that we can become like Him. Anyway, I digress. The point is, a person’s position in the Church, whether it is a general authority or a Sunday school teacher, should not be used to enforce his or her understanding of some of the less clear mysteries of God. I certainly do not believe that a public blog transgresses this principle. And I have very much appreciated what you have shared and do not see it as being disrespectful at all, but I’m impressed at how much respect you show the mysteries of God.
I am grateful that office is not used often in the Church to enforce any individual understanding of the scriptures, or to gain undue control over the minds of others. I do wish that, while certain principles should be held to by leadership in the Church, leaders would leave applying those principles in politics or other aspects of life would be left more to individuals. I don’t think we are in danger of seeing another Adam-God theory forced onto Church members. I am troubled by how far leaders are willing to go to force applications of true principles to misguided political policies. For example, yes alcohol is bad, but there is no evidence that prohibition would have ever solved that problem (I am refraining from present day examples in order to let others decide for themselves). This seems to me a more direct comparison to what Brigham Young did wrong in the example you gave, not so much that his exploration of different ideas was wrong, but that he tried to force them on others.
I was most interested in the quotes you gave about Brigham confessing that he was not a prophet/seer in the same way Joseph Smith was. I have always Brigham’s statement that was often quoted by Hugh Nibley that “prophecy is not an office.” These quotations have reinforced that idea, and even clarified it. I have been frustrated with the way things have developed in the Church where we chant “follow the prophet” to a point where it has lost it’s meaning, and we are supposed to subscribe to the idea that “seeing” and “revelating” have been confined to 15 men on the earth. While most in the Church still verbally support the idea that we can all have revelations, the actions of many seem to indicate a desire to control revelation and the Holy Ghost. This has always led to apostasy in the past. The Spirit “bloweth where it listeth” (John 3:8)
I love and respect the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. They hold the Keys of the Priesthood and of the ordinances of the Gospel. I have felt the Power of the Spirit in those ordinances when I have attended them temple, and when I have partaken of the Sacrament, or attended a baptism, as well as when I served a mission. The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve are, and must be, good men to be able to keep and preserve those Keys and Ordinances.
I also hope that more will come to understand that they cannot pass off their responsibility to seek out and gain revelation and understanding on their own, as was so well pointed out in the last post on this blog about the mysteries of God.
Thanks to anyone who made it through this long post. I don’t get to discuss these things often enough. As Jefferson once noted: “If I had had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” Thanks to everyone who has posted to this blog and inspired my thoughts!
- Comment by TheWizard on October 25, 2008 10:28 pmI’m asking in true ignorance here, but i believe I once heard a quote about what or who to follow in the event of discontent in the church line of authority. Perhaps someone can point me in the right direction. I feel like you guys are probably a bit more out of my league, and that I may be in over my head. I try to follow the spirit and to discern truth with it, but I often find myself unworthy of the spirit and lacking his guidance. I do however thank all of you for your posts here, at very least they make me think, and thinking is something we must never take for granted.
- Comment by Kepharel on November 4, 2008 3:10 amJust recently while teaching the lesson on the kingdoms of glory I had to correct the common understanding of the doctrine. that did not go down well and resulted in a 5 against 1 debate including the presidency and a visiting high councilmen. after 30 minutes of defending the truth with scriptures and the manual some of the presidency finally began to understand. i could almost see goo come out their ears at the realization.. when the high councilmen was unable to defend the false doctrine that had been destroyed within the first 30 seconds he stopped all discussion with the sarcastic question..” what is the point of this lesson exactly, why are we here?” I reiterated that the wording differed slightly from previous manuals and the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith due to editing. and that it was important that it be taught and fixed there and not by some pastor showing them the doctrine change. they somehow did not see how that was important and told me what “we expect them to get out of the lesson” we who? i challenged and made clear that the stake presidency had no authority in the matter and that his office of high councilman had no authority in it either according to the dnc. they had to live with that we made peace after he thought about it for two weeks and shook hands. your stories of Elder Pratt and Bishop Bunker reminded me of this and how important it is to speak the truth without fear and to be fluent in the true teachings from the revelations and standard works. for a long time it seemed strange that so many don’t study or understand after so many years…it drives me absolutely bonzo!!!!!
- Comment by RWW on November 4, 2008 8:42 amI had to correct the common understanding of the doctrine.What understanding are you referring to?
- Comment by Kepharel on November 4, 2008 12:37 pmTo keep it simple as it would really deserve a separate thread… the prophet in the very beginning of the lesson was doing what this thread was doing; correcting false doctrine as a result of translator word changes… mansions instead of kingdoms. i merely had them go thru the definitions of the words after the prophets correction and had them reread it. the main lesson of it has little to do with the Resurrection, but it enhances about every other doctrine we have.(again for another thread) they still understood it at a level of a primary child looking at the three circles diagram. the diagram which has done more damage than losing the book of Lehi.
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on November 4, 2008 1:43 pmDear TheWizardRegarding your question;
“I once heard a quote about what or who to follow in the event of discontent in the church line of authority.”
The scriptures warn of a great test that will come upon the church in the latter days… I believe the test in question is preceded by a great delusion sent upon Gods people…. by God.
Those who fall for the delusion will be unprepared for the test.
I am reminded of the warning by Heber C Kimball
“…for there is going to be a test, A TEST, A TEST!”
There are several apocryphal stories circulating around the church that I recall hearing over the years that assure you of not being deceived in a time of confusion, contention, crisis and in short, during the time of the great test that is coming to the Church.
One of them is of course “follow the Prophet” and you will never be led astray.
Another one is a prediction that the time will come when the President of the Church will be taken out of the way and the quorum of the 12 will become divided. The locker room council that comes with the prediction is that if you will follow the majority of the quorum of the 12, you will not be led astray.
Such are some of the fairy tales that have circulated among those who do not realize the importance of being led by personal revelation.
Let me share a secret with you that is revealed in the parable of the wheat and the tares… The test does not have to do with fixing an existing broken church. It has to do with extracting the righteous wheat from among the wicked tares in the corporate church.
Beyond that, let me share two of my favorite scriptures that have to do with avoiding deception:
JST Matthew- “And whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived, for the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Section 45- And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
Treasure up the word of God and take the Holy Ghost as your guide. I would submit to you that doing those two things will do far more in preventing you from being deceived than putting your trust in the arm of flesh.
BTW Those who choose not to treasure up the word of God but think they can receive personal revelation without paying the price to understand God and his laws are opening themselves up for revelations from very questionable sources….
- Comment by KnowledgeSeeker on December 1, 2008 5:52 pmI want to thank all who have posted and left their wizdom and understaning on and in the scriptures, and if anyone has ideas about what the test is I would like to hear what they have to say about it. In all the studying and searching of the word of God I have come to a realization that the more I lean the more i know that I know nothing, but I am always trying the spirit and have learned much by its teachings.
- Comment by GadiantonExpert on December 11, 2008 11:54 pmVery interesting comments, I’ll add a few.I’ve tried to look at Brigham Young’s comments in light of scripture, specifically Luke 3:38 “…. which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” If you re-look at Pres Young’s statement in the original post, “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 … 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. ” it begins to make more sense.
According to a scripture and LDS works program I have, Elohiym (God) and Yhovah (Lord God) were involved in the creative events of Genesis 1 and 2 (so Father was in the garden). If indeed Adam was originally a glorified person, the offspring of Celestial beings, Michael the Archangel (maybe that’s precisely what an Archangel is, already possessing a glorified body and assigned to this earth), and brought a mate with him to begin this earth, it was voluntary and necessary (for those following him to live by faith) to have his memory taken away (a deep sleep). Some change came over him that he would deteriorate and die over time, but perhaps his celestial parentage influenced his longevity (and explains the decreasing time frames of succeeding generations as those inherited traits diminished). Given what we know of DNA and of the nature of God, I have no doubt that Father is a master of DNA manipulation, and could create this change in Adam and Eve’s physical makeup. I remember a former Priesthood manual from many years ago that stated that the creation of man was figurative (I haven’t been able to find that particular manual, it must not have survived library purges). The first generations on the earth would understand faith a whole lot easier than they’d ever understand DNA, other planets, etc. The figurative creation explanation works well into living by faith.
I recall in the last few years that scientists have gone back in DNA enough to prove there was an Adam and Eve, but they can’t explain the 13,000 years difference in their ages. Maybe brother Brigham can straighten them out on that someday after the resurrection.
But President Young said at the end of the quote, “…and who is our Father in Heaven.” He never said, from this quote anyway, that Adam was father to Jesus, only that Jesus’ father was the first of the human family. If the Bible says that Adam was the son of God, I can easily accept that, and it makes President Young’s statement more understandable as our Heavenly Father is the first of the human family, even though he is Celestial in nature.
BTW, that fact that Adam is the son of God in no way detracts from the Savior’s position as the Only Begotten of the Father. It probably just means that the Savior was the only person on this earth to ever have been born of our Heavenly Father through a mortal mother. It in no way detracts from the importance of the atonement, nor of the title, Only Begotten in the flesh (getting that part from Mary, his mortal mother). It is probably how he got the power to lay down his life and to take it up again (half mortal, half Celestial).
As far as the dust of the earth, we are all made from the elements found in the earth as subsequent generations, and these substances will return to the ground to complete the cycle. Adam and Eve were just previously made up of elements, or perhaps some of the elements of this earth were used in their “change” to become mortal. I have no problem reconciling between the two issues; to me, they discuss aspects of the same event, one more scientific than the other, or one more spiritual and the other more physical. I’m confident my DNA is had in the mind of God or by some other means, and my resurrection is assured by the atonement regardless of what elements are used to reconstruct me. What I’m not sure about is whether my apparent alternate view of things will delay my return by 1000+ years.
As far as “Adam being the only God with whom we have to do,” I’m content that I’ll probably know it later than sooner. To me, it does not take preeminence over the atonement, just another mystery that I hope to clear up—some day. Perhaps if an Archangel is an embodied person, then Michael (Adam) may have had more physical contact with preparing the earth, and we owe much to him, and he may be a god in his own right, but the atonement is our only known/revealed pathway back to Father.
You may still have the opinion President Young was wrong, but the Luke verse must still be dealt with. If the Luke verse is true as I understand it, I think it clears up much about these statements. It also gives us more hope that we will follow in our Father’s footsteps to become like him, as He is in our direct linage.
I, too, apologize for the length of the comment.
- Comment by GadiantonExpert on December 12, 2008 6:42 amOops. My proofreading isn’t as good as it should be. Lineage, not “linage.” Sorry about that.
- Comment by onewhoiswatching on December 12, 2008 9:02 amGadiantonExpertRegarding your statement below;
“I’ve tried to look at Brigham Young’s comments in light of scripture, specifically Luke 3:38 “…. which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” If you re-look at Pres Young’s statement in the original post, “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.”
I would rather put the emphasis on what the truth is based on what God has revealed in the scriptures rather than on whether Brigham Young was “right or wrong”.
It is a natural tendency for all of us to want to be “defenders of the faith” but sometimes we can get derailed and our motivation ends up defending “people” rather than “principles and doctrines”.
It is important to try to understand how Brigham Young’s teaching might somehow be congruent with the scriptures as long as we don’t wrest the scriptures in the attempt.
I appreciate your allegiance to and appreciation for Brother Brigham and your desire to give him the benefit of the doubt and to try to find a deeper understanding of what he was saying and how it might be reconciled to the word of God.
I would point out two things about your comments above.
1- Luke 3:38 in my opinion, when taken in context, is saying “…which was the son of Adam, which was the son of Jesus Christ”.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that in the JST it was changed to say: “Which was the son of Adam which was FORMED OF GOD and the first man on earth”
Again, I think in context it is saying
“Which was the son of Adam which was FORMED OF JESUS CHRIST and the first man on earth”
This is consistent with the D&C which says that Jesus Christ created Adam.
(it is also interesting to note that in the literal sense, you and I and the human race on this particular planet were not necessarily begotten directly by the same being that begat Christ::
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God [the Father]; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters UNTO God [the Father].” http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/76/24#24
Is the previous verse not saying that Christ was the only begotten of the Father and that the inhabitants of all of the worlds are begotten UNTO the Father?
2- You quote Brigham Young as saying:
“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”
We need to hold the words of Brigham Young up against the standard of truth we have been given which is the Holy Word of God.
Yet according to Matthew and Alma it was indeed the Holy Ghost that mystically planted the Holy seed into Mary;
“Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/1/18,20#18
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God” http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/7/10#10
If the New Testament was wrong, surely the Book of Mormon would have corrected it AND/OR the JST would have corrected it.
Brigham taught that God the Father literally came down and had sexual intercourse with Mary. This heresy challenges the doctrine of the virgin birth and was never revealed by Joseph Smith and it is simply not supported by the Scriptures and it is contrary to the nature of God who is not a God of lust.
You also said:
“But President Young said at the end of the quote, “…and who is our Father in Heaven.” He never said, from this quote anyway, that Adam was father to Jesus, only that Jesus’ father was the first of the human family.”
I have a feeling from your wording that you are aware that Brigham Young DID teach the Adam was the Father of Jesus Christ in OTHER statements that he made;
“President Brigham Young…said Adam was Michael the Archangel and was the Father of Jesus Christ and was our God.” – Wilford Woodruff Journal, Dec.16,1869.
Who was the Saviour begotten by?…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; Michael; the Ancient of Days.” – Brigham Young, February 19, 1854, Brigham Young Collection, LDS Archives.
Referring to something having to do with DNA You stated that “Maybe brother Brigham can straighten them out on that someday after the resurrection”
My hope is that JESUS CHRIST and his anointed prophets and apostles will straighten everyone out that needs to be straightened out.
I would encourage you to first build a foundation upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is taught in the four standard works before you formulate an opinion upon the Gospel that is taught in the Journal of Discourses.
Regarding your speculations based on DNA I have no comment as I am infinitely and eternally unimpressed and uninfluenced with “science” and “scientists” and with every other aspect of the “arm of flesh”
Yes, I am still convinced that the above quotes from Brigham Young are false however, and more importantly, I am still convinced that the inspired words of Jesus Christ and his true apostles and prophets are correct.
I believe this because I have searched the words of God pertaining to this topic and I feel the Holy Spirit as confirmed them to me but I am always willing to hear someone critique my papers because I am human and subject to error and therefore I love the process of discussing these very important issues..
I therefore appreciate people like you who care enough to share your thoughts on matters like these… may you and I both be blessed in our quest for truth and our desire to be saved through the atonement of Jesus Christ..
To this end I continue
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