Episode 188: The Adam-God Doctrine for Dummies

John, Zilpha, Heather, Brandt and Troy examine the validity and complex history of the Adam-God Doctrine.

Episode 188

107 comments on “Episode 188: The Adam-God Doctrine for Dummies”

  1. chriccha Reply

    I have yet to listen to the Mormon Fight Songs For Dummies, still I can say that this was the most complicated of all ME podcast.  Liked it!  Will listen to it again…

  2. Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

    Great podcast, even though my eyes are still crossed. I learned a lot. Thanks to all.

    I have a question about one of John’s comments. He said that one of the Book of Abraham facsimiles suggests an alternative to the idea of an infinite generational regression of gods, as taught by Joseph Smith in the King Follett Sermon and the Sermon in the Grove. I cannot locate the reference. Little help, from the panel or others?

    Maybe you meant Abraham 3:19: “I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they (sic) all.” If that’s the reference you had in mind, it seems like kind of a stretch to say that this is inconsistent with infinite regression. After all, infinite regression seems to be Mormonism’s only response to the First Cause Argument in traditional Christian theology. I’d appreciate a little more explanation. Thanks again.

  3. David Dickson Reply

    “Who’s on First” Mormon version. To bad Abbott & Costello are gone, oooooh what if they are teaching on the other side of the Vail?

    Adam-God is more convoluted than trying to do a genealogy group sheet in Colorado City.

  4. Elder Vader Reply

    I liked how the conversation first summed up the adam-god doctrine, then talked about all the theological problems that doctrinal innovation solved.  That was good.  It was also interesting to listen to several iterations of how the doctrine comes apart at the seams.  I had to back up and listen to it repeatedly, but Heather’s speculation about how Satan must have a body was super fascinating.  Thanks Heather!  

    And of course this goes into the pile of things the church lies about decade after decade.  Adam God doctrine?  Never heard of it.  Whats that?  Speak more loudly next time I’m a trifle deaf in this ear.  

    One thing that listening to Mormon Expression has done to me, that is frustrating, is I’m a lot more confident about stating things like the church lies about its history, and the brethren are in it for the money.  And when I say things like that, people assume I am lying, or they assume I am just trying to tear the church down, or that I am deceived by Satan.  

    Adam-God is a perfect example of the prophet teaching something as a prophet that is completely rejected by the church today.  The prophet will never lead the church astray.  Except…  

    Oh, and Heather.  That quote from Orson Pratt.  That was just awful.  Thanks for bringing it up, but it was painful to hear. Shudder.  

    “Because she is the mother of all living.”  — John Larsen, you are my hero, you mormon crime scene investigator you.  

    This is a tough one to untangle, but this panel did a wonderful job at untangling it.  Thanks team Mormon Expression.  

    • Heather_ME Reply

      I thought about it some more after the recording and I’m still convinced that (according to Mormon theology) Jesus and Satan had a mortal probation of their own. 

      Zilpha’s response was that Jesus is basically a special spirit who didn’t require a mortal probation to prove his worthiness to be a god.  But I think that falls into the system where only Jesus can become a god.  If that’s the case, then based on the requirement that one must be a Jesus before he is an Adam-God, the rest of us aren’t capable of becoming Gods…. including Brigham Young.  I don’t think he would concoct a doctrine that would preclude his potential to be an eternal

      So I’m back to what I was thinking before.  Under Adam-God, Jesus and
      Satan are exhaulted beings who were vying for the opportunity to be our planet’s savior so they could take the next step to being an Adam-God.

      In this case, Satan has a resurrected body.  Problem.

      Also, Jesus has 2 bodies.  His body from his mortal probation and his body from being this planet’s savior.  Another problem.

      Now that I’m an atheist I think trying to puzzle out all this nonsense as if it can / does make sense is super fun.  Mormonism is a downward spiral of weirdness.  With each turn of the spiral you find weirder and weirder stuff.

      • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

        At the risk of being superfluous, let me add another twist to the problem.

        The Holy Ghost is a god, but he’s never had a mortal probation and doesn’t even have a body, except as a “personage of spirit.” If Jesus was a special spirit, does that make the Holy Ghost an extra-special spirit?

        This podcast made me feel a little sad for old H.G. It’s like he was the only god who didn’t get invited to the party.

        Incidentally, there’s a podcast interview of Drew Briney at http://www.mormonchronicle.com/an-objective-approach-to-adam-god-teachings/

        • Elder Vader Reply

          Chaste – Here is how you solve that problem.  ‘Holy Ghost’ is an office.  Its filled by the faithful between when they die and are resurrected.  If you’re good enough in mortality you get to do an internship as holy ghost before you are resurrected, and have to go atone for another planet.  Or something.  

          • E_Menno

             I have actually heard that speculation before.  Here’s how I understood it:

            Each worthy person who goes to paradise (not spirit prison, they have to have been baptized) gets a turn as the HG.  That’s why we get so many contradictory answers to prayers and why sometimes the feelings the HG gives us are different.  

            Of course that makes baptism for the dead so much more important because if a person can’t fulfill that HG position and gets resurrected they’re stopped in their progression.  I don’t know how that would work for those who get “twinkled”.  

          • Andithe Anon

            Love that idea Elder Vader! It’s the first one to make sense in a long time. Did you read about this somewhere? Or should I quote Elder Vader 😉

        • Megan von Ackermann Reply

           Can’t wait for the podcasts – tell me they’re coming – on the nature of the Mormon God, Christ and HG (or as an irreverent friend of mine calls them – big daddy, junior, and the spook)

      • Michael Waltman Reply

        Heather you’re caught up in the idea you have to be a savior to be a God. And you taking it out of context by the idea that it’s in King Follett.

        You have to understand that Joseph asks a rhetorical question in the King Follett discourse. “Jesus what are you about to do” what I’ve seen my father do before me. THEN he answers his question by stating that Jesus had the power to take up his body again. That is the answer. It’s not that Jesus saw his Father atone for his Earth. It’s that his Father “Adam” had power to take his body up to heaven which is what used to be explained at the lecture at the veil. Taking up his body is exactly what Christ did, he just had a little intermission in the spirit world after dying on the cross but he didn’t stay dead.

        I’ve spent 3 years and hundreds of hours studying this doctrine and could line it all out for you and show you once you understand it bridges Mormonism back to the theologies at the dawn of civilization where the Sumerians who’s Gods became the 12 Gods of the Greeks, Egyptians and Romans. The Sumerians looked at their Gods as their progenitors which is the essence of Adam/God.

        • Heather_ME Reply

          I think there are several themes that run through almost all mythologies.  This one you mentioned about becoming gods is one of them.  Another is the gods having sex with mortals.  The Christian God is just one of many.

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          Wow, if you’ve spent THREE WHOLE YEARS piecing it all together then it must be true!

          Or are you more like Heather, who sees all religion as pretty much the same: Mankind trying to make sense of the mythology that has existed in all civilizations since the dawn of man?

          Regardless, I’d love for you to “line it all out” for us mere mortals who haven’t spent the hundreds of hours studying that you have.

          • Michael Waltman

            I can’t think of a day in the last year of my life where I wasn’t researching this subject or trying to find the underlying principles that are the key to understanding it. It’s been my hobby for sometime now then to listen to a podcast that is “for dummies” get it so freaking wrong is just disheartening. I like the podcast for pete’s sake it’s being recorded in freaking Utah where you are surrounded by fundamentalists and it’s a panel of atheists talking about it after reading a book over the weekend? C’mon…

            You know I listened when John and Zilpha went off on atheism and Satan and the fall a few podcasts back. They found paradoxes that riddled the myths and justly so. I just laughed because Adam/God clears up just about all the misunderstandings they had, they have that view because of modern Mormon teachings.

            True or not, I don’t know, I just find it fascinating and the coolest theology concept I’ve ever found, it’s deep yet pretty simple. One that removes a lot of the paradoxes in current Mormon theology and religion in general and accounts for a lot of the obscure things that Smith taught. This was the climax of Joseph Smith’s doctrines, I believe he was author of it and Mormonism would have more to gain by reembracing it then calling it a heresy.

            My invitation stands though, I’d be more than happy to go over the AG doctrine with Heather and show her how it ties all together and how there are even Easter Eggs of it still in the temple, hymns and teachings today 🙂 It is very much a key to unlocking a completely new point of view on man.

      • Christopher Allman Reply

        Heather, I think your point about Jesus having had to previously experienced a mortal probation was a smart observation, something that didn’t even cross my mind and I was disappointed when the panel brushed it aside and didn’t dive into it deeper, so I’m happy you brought it up again here.

        • Heather_ME Reply

           Thanks!  I’ve really loved reading about this Adam-God stuff.  It’s like a huge logic puzzle.  Granted, it’s a puzzle with no solution and is totally made up.  But it’s still fun to try to make it all “work.”

      • E_Menno Reply

         I agree with you, Heather.  I actually was taught that a person has to be a savior and an adam before becoming a god.  Where was I taught this?  In the MTC. 

        Now, for us females, I have heard more speculation.  Perhaps women don’t
        have to be saviors like Jesus, but they have to be the bearer of a
        savior, like Mary. 

        In my countless hours of study, I also had the opportunity to peruse some of the FLDS cannon.  They have a striking understanding of the Adam/God doctrine that goes way beyond what BY taught.  Probably because they have had an extra century of it’s being preached as true doctrine while the mainstream church has been trying to bury it.

        I know, it’s kinda crazy and really doesn’t square with what is now taught, but it is clear that there are remnants in the LDS branch.

        • Heather_ME Reply

           The MTC?  Holy crap!

          Interesting point about women.  Perhaps you’re right.  Maybe they do have to be Mary.  It would fit.  Since the church tells us we get to look forward to an eternity of bearing children. 

        • Elder Vader Reply

          Here’s an off-topic doctrine that I was taught at the MTC:

          To join the gadianton robbers you have to covenant with Satan.  Satan copies the temple, but instead of secret handshakes… sodomy.  

          Cross my heart, hope to die.  Our branch president walked us through a bunch of scriptures and laid it all out.  

      • Elder Vader Reply

        Or maybe there is another explanation… Satan has an ‘outer darkness body’ that got that way by eating ‘outer darkness food’.  

        In my universe of creation… that kinda means funyuns. 

  5. Christopher Allman Reply

    When I went to Byu I had a friend who worked in special collections and she told me of a book they carried  that required a temple recommend to check out. As you can imagine, this intrigued me.  I THINK the book was called ‘Adam at the Altar’ (but I haven’t been able to find that title anywhere online. However, it appeared to be a self published book). Anyway, the book was my first real encounter with the Adam God theory, aside from having heard the name. It  even contained the Adam-God version of the Temple ceremony and as a believer it made the temple make much more sense to me. So much so that I became a believer in the Adam God Doctrine. I still find it a compelling belief (within the framework of mormonism) that makes sense of and solves several doctrinal mysteries (to be sure it creates other mysteries and problems, but I think it solves more problems than it creates). While I no longer believe in Mormonism at all, if I did, I think I would still subscribe to the Adam God doctrine. I have even heard a handful of CES people allude to the fact that they believe Adam God theory.

  6. Christopher Allman Reply

    While I enjoy the Adam God theory on an intellectual level, it makes the eternities sound like hell! Having to continually found and populate new worlds with numerous wives? And even having to be a Jesus? That sounds like tough work. I would rather spend eternity taking it easy in the Telestial Kingdom.

    • Michael Waltman Reply

       Which is why the current idea of exaltation is such a sham in perspective lol. We took all the risk out of it. So who wouldn’t want to sit on a throne and send everyone else to do the dirty work while you get to have sex for eternity with your host of wives?

      When you understand Jesus’ saying that the greatest among you is the greatest servant, then not only is it implied but it’s obligatory that God has to get off his throne, fall into his creation, become mortal again and go through all the pain and suffering that a mortal world has to offer, as an extra bonus he gets to live in it for 1000 years. This is why Joseph Smith taught that some opted out of Exaltation for a lower degree of glory in the pre-existence. This is why the Abrahamic trial is required to be given to any who would obtain this glory. It seperates the devoted from the riff raff. If you aren’t willing to put your own head on the chopping block EVERY single time you want to populate a planet, then you don’t have the balls to be an exalted being.

      John W Tayler explains it the best in his General conference talk in 1886

      scripture say that Father so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten
      Son, and that no greater love can one have, but He not only gave his Only
      Begotten Son, but He so loved the word that He gave himself! Think,
      after walking through this mortal state Himself and having finally won the prize
      and had the Ancients lay their hands upon His head and confer upon Him the
      office of Adam, and after having lived in glory and grandeur, together with His
      wives, and having begotten beautiful spirit children, and having become
      a God, He so loved the Plans of the Gods and this great work that He
      was willing to come to a condition of corruption, of pain and distress again
      to start us out with these mortal bodies! Talk about love and

      Joseph when he saw the telestial kingdom said he saw it was full of righteous people that were beguiled by the cunninginess of men. What’s more cunning than to purposely change the theology given by it’s founders because it embarrasses us, then take out all the risk, leaving nothing but reward and then open it up without trial to anyone that wants it? 😀

    • Bruce MacArthur Reply

      Um founding and populating new worlds with infinite women sounds like hell? Why? Because it leaves no time for masturbating?

      • Christopher Allman Reply

        If it only involved the actual act of conception it would not be a problem, but it is everything else that sounds like hell. Being thrust onto a wild planet with only one other person who I have to raise a family with sounds very lonely and difficult. You would have to grow or hunt/gather all of your own food and medicine, make all of your own clothes, build your own tools and shelter. There would be very little for entertainment, especially before your children grew up.  If you always had to be in a place like Jackson County the weather would be a large challenge. If you only had to do this once, then maybe I can see the appeal, but  once you’ve finally accomplished everything it starts over again and again and again. While there is a certain Swiss Family Robinson romance to it, I’m sure the reality would be incredibly difficult. For me the work would not be worth all the sex. I think that the easiness of masturbation would be preferable, so I guess this is my long way of saying ‘yes, it leaves no time for masturbation’.

  7. Christopher Allman Reply

    If eating earth food would turn even an immortal God into a normal mortal being, then why would Jesus, who I would assume at Earth food his entire life, retain his half-part immortality? Despite having God as his father, wouldn’t his first taste of mothers milk make him immediately just like everyone else?

    • Michael Waltman Reply

      He was 100% mortal his entire life but had the fullness of power his Father had even to the taking up of his life again.

      Section 93. I am the Father because the Father gave me of his fullness. the Son because I made flesh my tabernacle and dwelt among the sons of man.

      He explains then he received a fullness at his baptism and goes into the record of how John witnessed all this.

      What made Jesus different was that fullness, he had power over death. Though he had advantages because he was a demigod, it was still 100% mortal and subject to death.

      This is in the King Follett discourse where Joseph asks the rhetorical. “Jesus what are you about to do” what I saw my Father do before me” IE take his body up into an immortal state. People take it out of context and think he’s referring to his father as a savior on some other planet which is a pathetic stretch

      • Christopher Allman Reply

        So, did Adam, who was actually God just mortal from having eaten the fruit otherwise have his supernatural abilities the way Jesus did? Does being fallen only make one mortal, or does it have other baggage too, that would apply to both Jesus and Adam/God?

        • E_Menno Reply

          Perhaps Adam did retain some godliness.  Remember, he lived for A LOT longer than we likely will.  He and Eve also had TONS of kids.  Being a woman,  I think my body has had enough with 3.  Eve’s body had to be part goddess in order to have that many kids.  We don’t know if Adam and Eve had other supernatural powers, but someone invented beer. 

        • Michael Waltman Reply

           All he did was transgress the law of an eternal life. Changing the status of your body from Celestial (immortal) to Telestial (mortal) is not a sin. Death is the sin that he now has to face though since he could possibly die. Dying and staying dead and separating what was to be joined forever (spirit and body) is a sin. It’s the original sin that Paul talks about but the atonement fixes that for us. Adam had power over death so when it came time to die, he just took himself up ate the fruit of the higher kingdoms and lived. But yes imagine a Jesus that lived for 1000 years walking and talking with his children and grandchildren showing them the way back into immortality first hand. That’s the plan of salvation.

          • Megan von Ackermann

            I don’t quite understand this – sin per the O.E.D is: An act which is regarded as a transgression of the divine law and an offence against God; a violation (esp. wilful or deliberate) of some religious or moral principle.
            In Mormonism as I understand it sin is definitely a wilful act – it is a purposeful violation either through omission or commission. Isn’t that part of people being punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgressions? So how can death, which is not avoidable, be a sin? Isn’t death taught as being the result of sin, not sin itself?

          • Michael Waltman

             @facebook-100000167835734:disqus Dying and staying dead is the original sin all inherit. Paul talks all about it in 1 Cor. 15 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
            22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
            The grace of the atonement covers this original sin, all will be resurrected none will stay dead. It’s this inherit potential of sin (ability to die) that infants were baptized for. But in doing that one denies the grace that comes to all man through the atonement via the resurrection and victory over death.

            It took me a while to figure it all out, ponder it, it’ll make sense. The plan was to gain a body and keep it. If you lose it because you are put in a situation where you can’t help but lose it, then God needs to even things up again, hence the atonement and grace to have it restored again even if you were the worst of humanity.

          • Richard of Norway

            It took me a while to figure it all out, ponder it, it’ll make sense.

            Michael, it makes no more sense than any of the other religious myths, and frankly leaves Buddhism answers the same question in a less logic-twisting manner.

            Ponder it a little longer. It will stop making sense in a few more months.

            There has never been a good explanation of why what Adam did was a sin, or even why sin exists in the world at all. Nor why anything in the world should be considered “sinful” when the worst possible sins (by today’s standard) have been committed by Bible-God Himself and most of the so-called prophets of history, including Moses, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and on and on!

            Wake up man. You are clearly so much smarter than all of this nonsense.

        • Bruce MacArthur Reply

          An unfortunate side-effect of mortality is that Adam’s formerly perfectly straight penis now had a gentle curve to it to remind him of his now temptable state.

      • Bruce MacArthur Reply

        First of all, Jesus was accidentally a demigod. His mother dipped him into the river Styx all except for his heel. If she had been paying attention, the crucifixion would never have worked and Jesus could have opened the long forgotten 13th seal, ushering the arrival of Ulamog the Traveler in the form of a giant Slor. Many Shuvs, Zuuls, and Nazarenes would have known what it was like to roast in the belly of a giant Slor that day I can tell you.

          • Michael Waltman

             @NightAvatar:disqus just because I can reconcile Brigham and Joseph with AG doesn’t mean I’ve left the idea on the table that it’s all totally wrong.

            I just think it’s a cooler description of who God is. I could worship a being that puts his own head on the chopping block and has the balls to come down to an Earth and procreate his children. If that is indeed how it happened then it speaks loads about the character of our Mother too. She has to make the same sacrifice. I have more respect for that than the idea that a Darwinist named Talmage theorized, that God sends everyone else down to do the dirty work and just sits back and cries like a baby when everything goes wrong. AG says God has skin in the game and tried for a 1000 years to walk his children back into immortality. He couldn’t complete it all in that time frame so he provided a savior that would have power to immortalize the rest of his children. Good stuff 🙂

            I never leave out the possibility that this could all be wrong. I chose to believe right now 🙂

    • Bruce MacArthur Reply

      I believe it is taught in certain circles that if Jesus drank his mother’s milk all his life, the milk of a virgin (well at the time her milk first let down), was almost magical and protected him from the corruption of this day. After slaying the skeleton army of Hades, he was further protected by a golden fleece that he wore while he rode his chopper from town to town helping out the locals.

  8. Christopher Allman Reply

    While it may very well be possible that Joseph F Smith was lying in reference to Brigham Young’s Adam-God Statements, I think it is more likely he was simply mistaken. Yes, he had the Church archives and yes he had been the Church historian, but the archives are large and it would be unfair to actual historians to say that is what Joseph F Smith was, despite having held that title. He had no formal training in history or library science or anything that would equip him to have a good understanding of what the archives contained. Not to mention what we now know about how memory works, ie. we tend to invent and change our memories quite a bit. So I think there is a better chance Joseph F Smith was simply unaware from the archives of how explicit Brigham Young’s earlier Adam-God teachings and that if he had encountered said teachings from Brigham himself, he chose to remember it in a way that fit more comfortably with his current beliefs rather than was outright lying.

    • Michael Waltman Reply

       Joseph Fielding wasn’t lying. He was just the worst church historian we’ve ever had, he had access to the documents but like you said wasn’t a professional researcher.

      His father Joseph F understood the doctrine and even writes about it in his Journals. He was a disciple of Orson Pratt (who opposed it) though and even though he understood it, chose not to believe it. Joseph F Smith’s journal entries in the School of the prophets in the 1870’s are one of the best sources for understanding the hierarchy of Grand Father, Father and Son. or Elohiem, Jehovah and Michael/Adam.

      They talk about Elohiem Jehovah and Adam as titles. Similar to Bishop, EQ pres etc.

      It all really ends with Talmage. He’s the one that first prints it as doctrine that Elohiem is the Father, Jehovah is Christ and Adam is Michael some other son. You won’t find those ideas in print before Talmage. So basically current Mormon theology is the brain child of a hashish smoking, darwinist named Talmage. He did infact smoke hash, admits in his journals LOL.

      Joseph Fielding & McConkie actually believe a part of the Adam/God doctrine. IE the procreative part that our Heavenly Father did eat the fruit and procreated a child. They believed the child was Michael the son of Elohiem and they left him in the garden when they procreated Eve. They then go up back to heaven to leave them to choose good and evil. However their ultimate God is a blend of Talmage & Young.

      Shouldn’t be any surprise, Israel in all it’s generations has gone whoring after other Gods. It’s the loud mouth know it alls that really look dumb in the end. It’s like a bad game of telephone except the dude at the end (McConkie) is calling out the originator of the message (Smith/Young) and saying they’re wrong and it doesn’t matter what was passed down the telephone line and distorted, the dude before me said it was false and he was a prophet. LOL fail…

  9. Jean_A_Marre Reply

    Observation then question for the panel:  It was obvious from quotes referenced during the podcast that there were several church leaders, during and after Brigham Young’s days, who not only disagreed with the Adam-God doctrine, but who also discounted it openly and tried to hide it from the general membership.  This tactic clearly worked because growing up in the church in the 80’s & 90’s I had never heard of it.  However, other doctrines/theories originated by BY persisted…namely that black people are the seed of Cain, and were less valiant in the pre-existence.  Both punitive doctrines.

    Did these doctrines pertaining to black people persist because there was little disagreement on them and no effort to discount them by later church leaders, unlike the Adam-God doctrine?  In other words, has there never been any official or public statement made to refute all of the egregious racist doctrines that BY preached?  Both my parents and my wife’s parents told us, when we were young, that blacks couldn’t have the priesthood because of “seed of cain, pre-existence, blah blah blah”.   They clearly wouldn’t have believed this if a later prophet had come out and called BS on it, as did happen with Adam-God.  Thoughts?  Oh, and my parents were both converts in the late 60s, so it’s not like that had multiple generations-worth of false doctrine handed down by word of mouth.  It was clearly taught to them.

    • Elder Vader Reply

      The seed of cain, pre-existence fence sitting doctrine was still going strong well into the early 80’s.  Alvin Dyer who was in the first presidency was giving firesides and publishing about it.  And it wasn’t just him, it was pretty widespread.  Going back to the forties and fifties (somewhere in there) there is a letter from the first presidency that was sent to a sociology prof at yale (or something) reaffirming the racist doctrine.  Anyway… not just Brigham.  

  10. Michael Waltman Reply

    Zelpha  Your quote from 1839 TPJS about Adam handing the keys (of the universe) to Christ is only contradictory if you think a subordinate is giving his superior his keys.You have to look at it in the sense of a Father giving his Son his birthright. This Earth/Creation isn’t God’s glory it’s us, his children hence he retains his status as head of the human family. The creation is just the tool thats handed down from steward to steward as the Gods advance. This is later explained by Joseph in the King Follett discourse when he explains the advancement from exaltation to exaltation of the Gods.

  11. Mike Tannehill Reply

    Wow, what a podcast! This is one I really wish I could have been in on, but the panel was chosen ages ago and there was no room for me. Some important points stood out to me I’d like ot comment on:

    1) Early on some comments are made about the Godhead being “confusing”. Some even expressing that thinking about the Godhead causes headaches. The subject is really not confusing and our scriptures clear it up nicely. In his commentary on Isaiah, in 2 Nephi  25, Nephi teaches plainly in vs 16 that we worship the Father in the name of the Son. This implies that authority and power have been placed in the Son to act in the Name of the Father.

    Coupled with this is the teaching of King Benjamin in Mosiah chapter 5 – “..And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changedd through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters…”

    Christ received Power and Authority from His Father, and excercises these in His words and in His Name. Indeed He can speak for and in behalf of the Father. He does so in D&C 29. In verse one it states “Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;..”, but by the end of the section in vs 42 it then says “…until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption, through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son.” He changes person in the same revelation! This is not so much confusing as it is a testament of the oneness of the Godhead and the divine investiture of authority that the Father has placed in the Son. (see also D&C 49:5, 28)

    Once we understand the oneness of the Father and the Son it makes the sermon of Abinadi found in Mosiah 15 very rich reading.

    2) The eating of food in no way played a part in the fall despite anything you may have read anywhere. The Fall occured because of disobedience. Christ as a glorified and resurrected being ate numerous times both among the 12 Apostles and among the Nephites. There are gnostic texts that speak of angels coming to bless Adam and Eve after they had been expelled so that they could eat the food of the fallen world, but to say that eating the food of a fallen world causes one to fall is ridiculous. It is also silly to think that the eating of Celestial food causes one to be exalted. In a reverse sense only obedience to covenants exalts us, just as disobedience caused the Fall.

    3) The need to be a Christ to be exalted: This is a ridiculous theory. Will we all need to be a Noah? Will we all need to be an Enoch? Will we all need to be an Adam? The appointment of a Savior was done based on the faithfulness of Jesus Christ in the pre-existence, and He was fore-ordained to fullfill His calling the same as everyone else. The only requirement of exaltation is that of keeping our Covenants including that of Marriage. If we are faithful we will receive our exaltation alongside our brother who was faithful to His covenants.

    4) At the 57 min mark there is an agreement among the panelists that mormons move away from Christ and place more emphasis on obedience and “who we know”. The tone of this is what is really wrong. We place emphasis on the covenants we make with and in the name of Christ, and we place emphasis on the Abrahamic Covenant that we also make in Christs name. The Savior is central to everythign we do in the Church, and He is the Key element in the Book of Mormon and in our weekly Sacrament Meetings.

    5) At 1:10 there is a short discussion over how a doctrine is introduced into the Church. Joseph Fielding Smith stated “..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. The standard works are the measuring yardsticks, or the balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.” If a Prophet wishes to declare a new doctrine He will declare it as a revelation from God, after which it will be sustained by the body of the Church. The prophet can add to the body of scripture, but such new additions are presented by the First Presidency to the body of the Church and are accepted by Commen Consent. (see D&C 26:2, 107:27-31) Until such doctrines are presented in such a way to the body of the Church they are neither binding nor the official doctrine of the Church.

    6) Christ did not have a mortal probation before His earthly one. He did not posses a physical body until after He was resurrected. All who come to this earth are those who have to do with this earth (D&C 130:5). The title of God is the same as that of Judge (Psalm 82), thus Christ and the Holy Ghost received the title of God before their exaltation as representative of their position in the Godhead as representatives of the Father.

    • iamse7en Reply

      Regarding point 2), I don’t disagree with your point that obedience leads to exaltation and disobedience leads to a fall, but Brigham Young very deeply believed that literally eating food played a pivotal role in the Fall, or in how Gods become mortal and produce mortal children. And this podcast is supposedly all about what Brigham believed (though the panelists get it wrong quite a bit). Just read Chapter 17 of Briney’s book.

      It is illegally posted here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/78873384/Understanding-Adam-God-Teachings and Ch. 17 begins on page 287.

    • Chaste_and_Benevolent Reply

      Thanks for your comments, Mike. I have a couple of questions about your sixth point:

      “Christ … did not possess a physical body until after He was resurrected.” What do Mormons believe about Christ’s physical body between the time of his birth and the time of his resurrection?

      “The title of God is the same as that of Judge.” Do Mormons believe that the term “God” is essentially the name of an office or a role — i.e., that “God” is a common noun rather than a proper noun? I think I understand the Lorenzo Snow couplet, but the term “God” seems to be used in both ways.

      “Christ and the Holy Ghost received the title of God before their exaltation.” Do Mormons believe that Christ was God (or a God) prior to his resurrection, or that he was simply a representative of God in essentially the same way as, say, an angel might be a representative of God? And at what point(s) did he and the Holy Ghost attain exaltation?

      I don’t mean to be a bother with questions. But the more I study Mormonism, the harder I find it is to get my head around it. Thanks again.

      • Mike Tannehill Reply

        Oh man, do I feel dumb now. Yes, the body he was resurrected into is the same one he had from birth till death. I really messed up my phrasing. Thank you for correcting me.

        In reference to the title of God, yes it is used both as a title and a name. In common usage I think we generally use it as a reference to the Father, but as the Savior and the Holy Gost are also Gods it is also an office.

        Mormons believe that Christ was chosen in the pre-mortal time to be the Fathers representative. He received a divine investiture of authority to act and speak for and in behalf of the Father in all things. It is LDS doctrine that we do not receive a fulness of joy without a body (D&C 93:33-34), and so we assume that Christ was “more fully God” after His resurrection, and that the Holy Ghost will one day receive a resurrection also, presumably when the work involving this world is completed.

        Thank you for asking you questions. I can see now how my comments were confusing the way I stated them.

        • Ipse Dixit Reply

          I’ve heard the “Savior as an Office” doctrine, as well as its cousin, the “Jesus received a divine investiture of authority from the Father to act as Savior” doctrine, from you and others (seminary teachers, MTC instructors, etc.) many times. It’s an interesting way of resolving the conundrum of how Jesus could act with divine power, i.e. feed the 5,000, walk on water, turn water into wine, without having already been a resurrected, exalted being. It always made perfect sense to me in that context.

          However, I’ve never heard those doctrines taught by an authoritative source, only by lay people trying to come up with an explanation for the above issue. That makes me wonder if these doctrines are official, or simple hand waving to clean up holes in LDS theology/Christology.

          In honor of the Mormon Archive, could you (or someone) provide citations to authoritative sources (scriptures, prophets, apostles, church-approved publications, etc.) explicitly mentioning and/or expounding on these two doctrines? The earlier the source, the better.

        • Bruce MacArthur Reply

          Mike, methinks you over extend yourself. There is no scripture that reveals that the Holy Ghost will be resurrected. Clearly he is General Zod. In return for his release from the Phantom Zone, he has agreed to be a bodiless General in the fight against Satan’s hordes.

          As pertains Jesus, mortality, and the office of Jesus: In Valinor, Jesus was known as Olórin. As recounted in the “Valaquenta” in The Silmarillion, he was one of the Maiar of Valinor, specifically, of the people of the Vala Manwë; and was said to be the wisest of the Maiar. He lived in the gardens of Irmo under the tutelage of Nienna, the patron of mercy. When the Valar decided to send the order of the Wizards to Galilee in order to counsel and assist all those who opposed Sauron, Olórin (Jesus H. Christ) was proposed by Manwë. Olórin initially begged to be excused as he feared he lacked the strength to face Sauron.

      • chuckborough Reply

        “Do Mormons believe that Christ was God (or a God) prior to his resurrection?” This is not the half of it. They view Him as the creator of the universe before he even had a mortal body, as just a spirit. We are told we must have a body to become a god, but Jesus was a god without a body.

  12. iamse7en Reply

    A lot of confusion among the panelists. This is why you should have had Briney (not Brinley, John) on to explain it to you. Instead, you quibble over so-called contradictions and false premises/interpretations. Brigham did not contradict himself. You are just misunderstanding him, confusing titles, conflating allegories, etc.

    Remember, the temple characters are offices. It’s confusing if you adopt Talmage’s view, makes much more sense if you adopt BY’s view…

    “Elohim, Yahovah and Michael were father, Son and grandson. They made this Earth and Michael became Adam” (Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith Journal, 6/17/1871).

    Also, the AG Doctrine does not diminish the Savior at all! It enhances and clarifies it… And the AG doctrine does not require one to be a Savior to become an Adam (though some AG adherents do believe this). Joseph E. Taylor in the 1888 Deseret Weekly News explained Joseph’s KFD statements about Jesus and his Father having power to lay down their life…. These are the condescensions of God. The Father (Ancient of Days) had to condescend on behalf of his children and become mortal to create mortal bodies, or start the process that could allow his spirit children to pass through mortality (as Michael Waltman explained above). He laid down his life, in a sense, and had power to take it up again (did not need his Firstborn’s atonement) [my commentary in brackets]:

    “I tell you more: Adam is the Father of our spirits. He lived upon an earth; he did abide his creation, and did honor to his calling and Priesthood. He obeyed his Master or Lord, and probably many of his wives did the same; they lived and died upon an earth, and then were resurrected again to Immortality and Eternal Life. “Did he resurrect himself?” you inquire. [meaning, on the earth he lived before being exalted, did he have power to resurrect himself?] I want to throw out a few hints upon the resurrection as it seems to come within the circuit of my ideas whether it ought to come within the circuit of my remarks or not. I believe we have already acknowledged the truth established that no person can officiate in any office he has not been subject to himself and legally appointed to fill. That no person in this Kingdom can officiate in any ordinance he himself has not obeyed; consequently no being who has not been resurrected possesses the Keys of the Power of Resurrection. That you have been told often. Adam, therefore, was resurrected by someone who had been resurrected. [because he had not yet been resurrected, he did not possess the keys of the power of resurrection] (Manuscript Addresses of Brigham Young, October 8, 1854)

    So, the Father and the Son both laid down their lives on behalf of their family members, but under different offices or roles. The Father had power over death and sin because he was already an exalted being. The Son had power over death and sin because (a) he was the son of an exalted being and (b) he lived a sinless life.

    Certainly the implications of the AG Doctrine are so vast and can get complex, but the underlying teaching and concept is quite simple if properly understood.

    The panel also forgot to mention the several times in which different people claim the AG Doctrine originated with Joseph Smith: 

    Did Joseph teach it privately? Either he did, or Cannon, Young, Taylor, Snow, Snow, Tullidge, Whitney, Johnson, and others are all liars.

    George Q. Cannon: “the doctrine of the plurality of God and that Adam is our Father is a true doctrine revealed from God to Joseph & Brigham… For this same doctrine is taught in some of the old Jewish records which have never been in print and I know Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young have had access to, and the Lord has revealed this doctrine unto them or they could not have taught it” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 9/4/1860).

    Brigham Young: “[Adam-God] is the doctrine taught by the ancients, taught by the prophets, taught by Jesus, taught by his Apostles, taught by Joseph Smith, taught by those who believe the same doctrine that Joseph believed in” (JD 13:250).
    And elsewhere said, “Joseph said that Adam was our Father and God” (Journal History, 5/14/1876).
    And: “President Young said Adam was Michael the Archangel, & he was the Father of Jesus Christ & was our God & that Joseph taught this principle” (Journal of Wilford Woodruff, 12/16/1876).

    John Taylor: “I heard Joseph say that Adam was the ancient of Days spoken of by Daniel. … Elijah the sealing of the fathers & when we get to God our Father we are told to approach him in the name of Jesus Adam is the father of our bodies who is to say he is not the Father of our spirits” (L. John Nuttall Papers, 1/13/1880).

    Lorenzo Snow: “[T]his doctrine [Adam-God] had been taught to the apostles by the Prophet Joseph Smith, although it had not been not made public until some time later” (MS 56:772).

    Helen Mar Whitney (plural wife of JS): “Brigham Young did not happen to be the author of this doctrine [Adam-God], and to prove the truth of my assertion, I will produce some of the Prophet’s teachings, given May 16, 1841… When the Saints first heard this doctrine advanced it looked strange and unnatural to them; it was strong meat and required a little time before it could digested; but this was owing to the narrow, contracted ideas which had been handed down from generation to generation by our forefathers. we were like babes and had always been fed upon milk” (Plural Marriage, as Taught by the Prophet Joseph, 30, 31, 36-37.)

    Benjamin F. Johnson: “[Joseph Smith] taught us that God was the great head of human procreation – was really and truly the father of both our spirits and our bodies” (Letter to G. S. Gibbs, 18-19).

    All in all, the panel really dropped the ball with this discussion because there were so many misunderstandings and misinterpretations. The Mormon Chronicle podcast with Drew Briney is a a good intro, but it would be interesting for him to delve into some of the nuts and bolts that his book addresses. People should read his book to properly understand the doctrine.

    • Kyle Harris Reply

      What you really mean is that they dropped the ball because they didn’t approach it from a faithful perspective and agree with your interpretation. 

      • iamse7en Reply

        Uhhh… No. Where in the theology of BY does it even remotely suggest that one must become a Savior and offer an atonement to become an Adam (and don’t bring up becoming saviors upon mount zion)? Nowhere. And that is what John and some of the panel were suggesting. BY’s point over and over again was that if faithful, we can become Adams and Eves and people our own worlds – nothing about Jesus already having a mortal probation or the requirement to atone for the sins of the world. They also say BY constantly contradicted himself or that the AG Doctrine is contradictory… as if BY is a child, shooting off the cuff, and not comprehending the implications of his own beliefs and revelations. I don’t care whether they take faith-promoting or destroying perspective.. I care if they are honest, and it is quite the speculative stretch to say BY’s AG Doctrine suggests one becomes a Savior before he becomes an Adam-God. Or how does the AG Doctrine “diminish” the role of the Savior? John just threw out a bunch of baseless comments. It’s clear he doesn’t understand it.

        • Michael Waltman Reply

          I agree, Brigham is very consistent with the doctrine. I’ve looked through the records we have and I don’t see where he ever contradicts himself or tries to tie being a savior into being a requirement.

          There are a lot of AG spin offs that confuse, I’ve read some of the Parawan prophet’s disciples that have taken Lilith and Cain’s story and expounded on it. I’ve read where one of the many self proclaimed “One might and strong” guys said Adam died and became the holy ghost and did go unto Mary in the spirit and she conceived. You have to really becareful and always compare to what Brigham taught, if it directly contradicts Brigham it’s someone else’s AG spinoff.

          It’s also very clear that Joseph was the author of the doctrine and that he understood it right from the beginning in the second part of the section 27 revelation which is an expounding of Daniel 7.

        • Heather_ME Reply

          I think you misunderstood the whole “must be Jesus” part of the discussion.  That was mere speculation based on ONE small section of Briney’s book.  I don’t think anyone on the panel was asserting that it was a core part of the doctrine.

          And… seriously… this is made up bullshit by Brigham Young…. and it’s not even real.  So it’s not going to fit together flawlessly and make sense. 

          Finally, it is John’s opinion that Adam-God diminishes the role of Jesus. (A figure he doesn’t even believe in.) It wasn’t a baseless comment. It was his perspective of the implications of the Adam-God doctrine. I think you’re rather presumptuous to say John doesn’t understand it.

          • Chaste_and_Benevolent

            If John or anyone else truly understands the Adam-God doctrine, they”re doing way better than me.

            Much of the basis for the A-G doctrine and all its associated speculation seems to be Mormonism’s view of the relationship between deity and humanity. Mormonism appears to view Gods and humans as being a little like people standing at different places on an escalator. Therefore everything that a God does must be acknowledged as being possible or even necessary for a human to do at some stage of the ascent.

            An escalator like that is bound to be pretty complicated. But is there really such a difference between worshiping an Elohim who is 7 steps up from us, versus a Michael-Adam who is 5 steps up, versus a Jesus who is 2 steps up?

            Thanks again to the panel and to Mike for helping me to get a better grasp.

      • LDSWarIn Heaven Reply

        No, not because he didn’t approach it from it from a “faithful” perspective, since a “faithful” perspective would be to deny it was ever taught. To try and mesh Talmage and Brigham will bring about some confusion, but if you stick to contemporary definitions of terms, all the seeming contradictions of Brighams clear right up. 

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Remember, the temple characters are offices. It’s confusing if you adopt Talmage’s view, makes much more sense if you adopt BY’s view…

      “Elohim, Yahovah and Michael were father, Son and grandson. They made this Earth and Michael became Adam” (Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith Journal, 6/17/1871).

      Yeah, that makes *much* more sense! They are “father, son and grandson” and then the father became the grandson. Clears up all the confusion. Thanks!

  13. Richard of Norway Reply

    There was reference made to a scripture nobody could quite remember, about Jesus saying he does only what he has seen the father do. The scripture reference is John 5:19

    Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 

    …or in normal English (NIV):

    Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

  14. Jared Anderson Reply

    Look forward to listening to this! What a fascinating topic. I will be glad to provide more information, but here are the basics of the distinction between “Elohim” and “Yahweh” from an academic perspective. 

    “Elohim” merely is the plural of the Hebrew “El” which means God (El is Hebrew, Allah is Arabic for the same word). Usually “gods” is rendered “elim” (“im” is the masculine plural in Hebrew). “El” was the head of the Canaanite pantheon, married to Asherah. Pretty sure the idea of an old bearded dude on a throne comes from El imagery. 

    “Yahweh” (YHWH) is the name of the national God of Israel. Most locations had their national Gods… even a city that worshiped Zeus would not worship Zeus, but “Zeus of….” Interestingly, Yahweh was not first worshiped by the Israelites but the Midianites or Kenites, who lived close to Sinai (you are beginning to put together how that developed historically. The escapees from Egypt probably discovered Yahweh worship on their way to Canaan). 

    “Jehovah” is a faulty Latinization of “Yahweh”. 

    • Heather_ME Reply

       So, basically, Elohim and Yahweh, and Jehovah have nothing to do with labeling God, God’s grandfather, God’s son, etc etc etc.  Right?  Those terms are basically different words (from different languages) for the same thing?

      A familial example would be calling your father:
      English: Father
      Spanish: Padre
      German: Vater
      French: Pere

      Am I right in saying the idea that Jehovah, Yahweh, and Elohim are different people is an entirely Mormon idea that has no basis in what the Bible actually conveys?

      • David Clark Reply

         Yes, they all refer to the same person.  In fact there are even more titles/conventions for referring to Deity in the Hebrew Bible such as “El Roi,” “El Shaddai,” “El Elyon” etc.  Notice the “El” root.  They all have different connotations, but refer to the same person/being.  In fact if you try and read the Hebrew Bible using good Talmage/endowment thinking, it’s confusing as hell.

    • Michael Waltman Reply

      Jared, a lot of this roots in Daniel 7. Joseph’s expounding of the scenes he sees unfolding there. Brief summary: God’s people are in peril, they’re being fought against by a beast, the beast beats them or wears them out, the Ancient of Days shows up and gives them their dominion back, Daniel scratches his head in puzzlement as to why this plays out that way…

      Joseph expounds the climax of him sitting on a throne as meeting in Adam Ondi Ahman when Michael/Ancient of Days will have all the keys of the priesthood given back to him, then he gives them over to Christ, which hasn’t happened yet to our knowledge.

      Can you explain Daniel 7 a bit. When I read it, it seems like Daniel is repeating his dream over again each time with more clarity.

      Is this just 3 versions Daniels dream that were floating around before the book was compiled and the redactor just merged them into a chapter as one story? Or is it one big story on it’s own pretty much untouched from the oldest versions of Daniel we have laying around?

  15. Tyson Jacobsen Reply

    I was going to eat some cannabis and get wasted in hopes of witnessing something off the wall, but THIS IS SO MUCH MORE ENTERTAINING!

    Jared, don’t blow it and get too academic!  I’m stuck on my back while I heal and I need some good laughs.

  16. Hermes Reply

    I love how Bruce R. McConkie simultaneously embraces and rejects Adam-God.  I also love how he refers to the scriptures as though they contain a single, monolithic portrait of deity.

    • Hermes Reply

       It was nice also to have the discussion of Talmage’s book (Jesus the Christ), showing where it fits in the Mormon hierarchy’s attempt to come to grips with its murky theological history.

      • Elder Vader Reply

        Yeah.  That was awesome.
         It almost makes me want to go and re-read Jesus the Christ.  Almost.

  17. Nathan R Kennard Reply

    Adam-god is a strange doctrine to many people. That even in the past it generated many arguments suggests that widespread agreement about many of its details never materialized. Interesting discussion.

  18. HappyAtheist Reply

    Whew! Let me put all your minds at rest here.  There is no Elohim, Yahovah and Michael, yadda, yadda, yadda. Briham Young was completely insane. Michael, find a new hobby and do not spend the next three years researching any of this!

    • Heather_ME Reply

       I liked your comment.  Except the new hobby part.  I get annoyed when TBMs tell me to quit explorin’ Mormonism.  🙂

      • Tyson Jacobsen Reply

        Wouldn’t that be TBA’s…no wait, that’s no good, it’s like saying I really really really truly don’t believe in fairies.  How about idealistic realists?

    • Michael Waltman Reply

      Before AG, I spent a lot of time trying to work out evolution. Too much chance and blind faith. Life spontaneously comes into being in a sterile environment where nothing existed previously… Ohhhhkayy.

      The cool thing about AG is that it throws out the creation myth. Brigham called it a stork’s tale. Once I understood that Joseph and Brigham left the 6 day creation crap in the dust and that the idea that man was a transplant here, well then the Earth could be the 5.4 billion year old planet we’ve all grown to love. And if man was a transplant, and the Gods were just coming down here to seed it and make it more abundant well then that would make sense as to why the historical record goes from cave paintings, to cave scratchings to stick men throwing spears at deers to, BAM out of no where a sophisticated writing system called Cuneiform.

      It all makes sense though if you believe man was transplanted here, taught and educated by his progenitors and was a student of culture from the beginning.

      It’s actually a good series on the history channel. Ancient Aliens or ancient astronaut theory. Everything they talk about parallels what Joseph/Brigham taught about beings coming here from another planet and procreating us. I guess people can believe in it because there is cultural evidence that it happened… The first civilization wrote all about Adam/God doctrine. More power to Joseph Smith for connecting Mormonism with it IMO.

      • Richard of Norway Reply

        So I guess you pick and choose which scriptures you wish to believe as well. For apparently man has existed exactly as long as scholars and scientists say they have (150,000+ years) and yet the FIRST MAN (Adam, err Elohim in person form) can have come into existence only 6,012 years ago. You seem to have somehow worked all of that out in your studies and made sense of it.

        How about you just take the scientific explanation and the secular view? How is that any less convincing?

        I mean, according to that History Channel doc, it sounds like human life (as we know it) could have come into existence from an alien species that just wanted to have some fun. Kind of like playing Sims. Why then involve any gods at all?

        With those views, I really shouldn’t be surprised that so many Christians are offended that Mormons claim the title. Your Mormonism barely more “Christian” than Tom Cruise’s religion, all respect to the great actor.

        • Michael Waltman Reply

           Just because they came here doesn’t mean there wasn’t a previous creation. The idea that nothing died before the fall is a modern Mormonism idea. Even B H Roberts believed in pre adamic man. The 12 blocked his publications because they were taking the theology in an entirely new direction.

          Joseph taught that the Earths are pieced together and divided and subdivided, added to, seeded, farmed and such. The entire story of Noah is a parable of how they do it. The Gods are more like sheppards than these omnipotent beings that just create everything from nothing. The garden of Eden was taken off the Earth, it was transplanted here with Adam, and will come back in the millennium. Joseph threw out the traditional creation myth, even said the Earth was a few billion years old if I remember correctly.

          Gen 6 talks about other sons of God falling into the creation and taking some of Adam’s daughters for wives. The Earths are shared. Brigham said he could explain a lot more about it all, this is most-likely what he was implying. The apocrypha is full of this stuff.

          It’s really around the turn of the 20th century with Talmage that we jumped back into the wagon of the creationism myth with other mainstream Christians.

          • Elder Vader

            Michael, you’re thinking like me 15 years ago.  And I’ve got to respect the effort.  You’re doing good work with these mental gymnastics.  Much respect bro.  

          • Megan von Ackermann

             I’m confused Michael – you say that you reject evolution because you can’t believe in an ex nihilo foundation for the universe (which, as pointed out above, actually has nothing at all to do with evolution), but you’re postulating an entire group of shepherding Gods without any theory as to where THEY come from.

            Isn’t that simply pushing off the question without addressing it? There are only a few possible scenarios – 1) the Gods themselves came ex nihilo 2) the Gods were created by an uber-God, which only makes things worse as you now have to explain how a complex being, even MORE powerful etc than even the Gods came into existence 3) the universe has always existed, which is extremely problematic because of entropy – ie the universe demonstrably changes ergo it could not always exist in this form; said change – without an external infusion of additional energy – moves from an organized state to a disorganized state (entropy) which is pretty much the opposite of what Mormonism assumes happens.

      • Kevin Johnson Reply

        Sigh–evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis.  Cuneiform did not just magically appear “BAM” as you say.  In China and Mexico writing systems were independently developed–and in all cases, even Sumaria, archeologists see a complicated progression of the complexity of symbols from pictures to the written word.  

        • numbersnumbers Reply

          Abiogenesis isn’t part of the theory evolution and I wasn’t claiming it was.  I was simply pointing out that it is possible for organic life to arise from inorganic materials.

      • numbersnumbers Reply

        Clearly, you haven’t studied real evolutionary theory.  It isn’t “chance” or “blind faith”, and life can arise from inorganic materials (abiogenesis).  All of those arguments are code words for, “I know evolution doesn’t work because I’ve never seriously researched it or been able to understand the science behind it, so I just take the word of some christian rebuttal to evolution that I read.”  

        If this is the level and amount of research you dedicate to your study of AG…

  19. Megan von Ackermann Reply

    Michael Waltman  – I’m curious about how you arrived where you are in your belief about Adam-God.

    From your description of your process and from what I can understand of your beliefs you didn’t approach your studies from a null hypothesis but you began with a set of ‘givens’ that you then worked to either prove or explain. Is that a fair assessment? And if so, would you mind listing out the things you felt, at the start of your examination, were truths.

    For example-  did you begin with the belief that the Fall was literal? Were there particular doctrines or revelations or writings that you started with as the basis on which to build your understanding?

    • Michael Waltman Reply

      I totally had to unlearn what I was taught. I got to the point in Mormonism where I threw it all on the table and figured I’d stop having people explain and expound for me since they didn’t know shit either lol.

      There was enough source records of Joseph and Brigham out there for me to start from scratch and figure it out on my own. I use Joseph more as a corner stone, if anything I found contradicted him then it was most-likely BS.

      I consumed as much as I could of Joseph’s sermons, but more importantly I got into the journals and memoirs of what people remembered 1st hand being taught by him that wasn’t always from the pulpit.

      For example how well did Joseph understand what he was talking about? How was he able to interpret Isaiah, Daniel, Paul, Moses, Abraham, John etc the way he did? From the record he schools everyone that tries to talk religion with him and he explains the doctrine so clearly to others, even those that had the Bible memorized (Orson Hyde, Wandall Mace), that they are amazed that they didn’t see it before themselves. Wandall said Joseph was like a key, he could unlock things in the scriptures and open them up in plain view in such a way he would feel almost ashamed that he had never seen it there before.

      I found this from the Brown family to put Joseph’s knowledge into perspective about the events of the Bible. Urim and Thummim = his seer stone.”After I got through
      translating the Book of Mormon, I took up the Bible to read with the
      Urim and Thummim. I read the first chapter of Genesis, and I saw the
      things as they were done. I turned over the next and the next, and the
      whole passed before me like a grand panorama; and so on chapter after
      chapter until I read the whole of it. I saw it all! Then I think of the
      sectarian priests boasting of what they know. Why I have forgotten a
      thousand times more than they know.—Spoken at the house of Benjamin
      Brown, New York State, 1832. Related by Lorenzo Brown, “Joseph Smith,
      Jr. Papers,” Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.So when I started seeing all these connections in principles from AG and what Brigham was teaching, and I was seeing them in Joseph’s teachings it all started to click together. It was always Brigham’s testimony that Joseph taught him the doctrine, he was just keeping it alive.

      • Megan von Ackermann Reply

         So it sounds like your basic assumption was that Joseph Smith was inspired by God and it is his writings and teachings that had to be explained. Did you, in your studies, find yourself rejecting anything JS had taught or did you include all of it? And did you feel that all of the accounts were reliable – without much at all in Joseph’s own handwriting we’re left in the difficult position of trusting sources that might not be accurate or that might have been edited either by the author or by later compilers.

  20. Joe Geisner Reply

    I made it to the forty-five minute mark. I try and approach things from a secularist and detached perspective, but this subject is still difficult to handle. I have a couple of random thoughts.

    The best work is still David Bueger’s Dialogue article and its free!


    John early on, said that Young mucked everything up in his theology. I would suggest Smith was no better theologian than Young. It took B.H. Roberts to make heads and tails out of both their theology. This is why Roberts is still voted the best mind of Mormonism. It sure ain’t Smith or Young.

    As for Adam impregnating Mary, this is one of those very sick teaching Fundamentalist have picked up on. The Kingston group is a prime example, but it is pervasive through most of the groups. Lorenzo Snow was big on this doctrine. He must of had the hots for Eliza, since she had been passed around by everyone else, he figured she need his loven.

    If you have a weak stomach, you may not want to read this:


    Not sure if the discussion gets into the Bunkerville Church court, but it is quite helpful in understanding the A-G fiasco. I would be happy to share the minutes.

    Now I have to go wash my mind from this nonsense.

      • Joe Geisner Reply

        Thank you Brandt.

        I am getting a bit off subject, but Brandt, if the subject of Pratt and Young interest you, you need to pick up a copy of Gary’s excellent book “Conflict in the Quorum.” Gary places this on going problem with these two in historical context.


        Also the latest volume on PPP, by Givens and Grow has much detail on this subject. If you are interested, have John send you my email and I can send you my review on the book that will appear in the next John Whitmer Historical Journal.

        • brandt Reply

          Joe, I’d love to get a copy of your review of the PPP book. Mine came about 2 weeks ago, and I haven’t had the chance to crack the cover yet. 

          My email address is brandt[dot]malone[at]whitefieldseducational[dot]org. I’ve heard many many things about the book, and can’t wait to get started.

  21. Larrin Thomas Reply

    I think Brigham Young gets a bad rap. I find that he is a source of frequent quotes I want to use in Elder’s Quorum lessons, as he often says things that fly in the face of whatever the leaders are saying today. I’m not talking about stupid quotes, but stuff that makes genuine sense. My favorite is the following: “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.”(Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 150).

     I also think the statement that he “hates women” is a bit narrow-minded, and ignores some of the evidence. I like this article about his views on women here: 
    http://byustudies2.byu.edu/shop/pdfsrc/18.3Derr.pdf In some ways he was progressive, though of course in others he was as chauvinistic as the next guy. 

    The other part of the criticism of Brigham that sounded odd to me was when talking about his humor, including the comment about not being surprised if he believed something like that. Anyone who has read discourses from Brigham Young knows that he often interjected humor. With General Conference now consisting of General Authorities competing to give the most serious, somber talk, it’s nice to see that Brigham Young had a sense of humor.

  22. HuskySouth Reply

    Has anyone seen the CNN I Report that shows a pencil sketch of Munson with his pants down as Romney vies for the crowd? It talks about how Romney’s presidential run is impacting the church and how new information (church history) will make for a more liberal Mormonism.


  23. ASonOfAhmanIAm Reply

    The “Schizophrenic nature” between Christ, Elohim, and Jehovah alluded to in the podcast can be reconciled with the doctrine of “divine investiture.”

    Neal A. Maxwell summarizes the concept:

    “Divine investiture is defined as that condition in
    which –in all His dealings with the human family Jesus the Son has
    represented and yet represents Elohim His Father in power and authority.
    … Thus. .. Jesus Christ spoke and ministered and through the Father’s
    name; and so far as power, authority and Godship is concerned His words
    and acts were and are those of the Father.” copied from: http://www.mormonwiki.org/Divine_investiture#note-0

    • iamse7en Reply

      There is no schizophrenia. The panelists were just confused. Elohim, Jehovah, Michael, Christ, etc are titles. Am I schizophrenic when I talk about my Bishop a few years ago, then I talk about my Bishop today? Someone who assumes Bishop can only refer to one person might think so, but they are two separate people. In sermons, you can find where BY referred to our Heavenly Father (and Jesus’ father) as Jehovah, Adam, Michael, Ancient of Days, and even Eloheim. You can also find places where he referred to Michael’s Father as Jehovah. Is BY this stupid, or does he understand that these names are titles or offices, and can refer to different people depending upon the context?

      • i_follow_u Reply

        So what does that make JS when he takes a name for Jesus like the “Word” (see Gospel of John, chapter 1) and “translates” it to “the gospel”? If there is any doubt the “Word” is yet another name for Jesus, please refer to 1 John 5:7 and Revelation 19:13

        JS couldn’t translate jack.

  24. i_follow_u Reply

    Forgive me if this was pointed out prior to this comment, but I usually hit these podcasts a little bit behind the curve. At about 4:10 John said, “This is what mormons secretly believe. They won’t tell you that they believe this stuff, but this what they secretly believe. Which is a stupid anti mormon trick they do all the time which is [nah-ner nah-ner] we’re going to tell you exactly what you believe.”

    Where do you think “anti” mormons get the stones to make such asertions? Um, I don’t know from quotes like this: “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.” Gordon B. Hinckley answering the question: “Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?”

    Then in general conference, GBH tells the membership that they need not worry that he (GBH) doesn’t understand the doctrines of the church. [wink, wink, nudge, nudge]

    You need to have more people like Nyal on each podcast so as to keep those types of comments in check. Additionally, I would appreciate it if you would refraid from accusing so-called “anti” mormons of using “stupid tricks” when all we’re talking about is calling out the liars when they lie. GBH is a life-long case study in obfuscation and avoiding discussions concerning “secret” beliefs.

  25. Devin_E Reply

    I loved this podcast.I think I would have eaten up this doctrine as a Mormon as I was inclined towards the more interesting doctrines than the simple teachings that the church has tried to adopt and put forward in its attempt to be mainstream.

    While I was listening, this thought came to mind: “How do we know that this isn’t a doctrine held by the church privately and publicly denied as polygamy was in the 1840-50s?”

    The church in its history and its doctrine and change anything at any time because of some simple beliefs like “prophets being able to speak as men” and “milk before meat.”

    As long as it never gives up its position of continuous revelation it will always hold onto its membership that has been convinced of its truthfulness through Mormon logic…

  26. nextgenlibrarian Reply

    Adam-God = Mormon Gnosticism: imaginative speculation about “secret” knowledge hidden from everyone but the truly enlightened, convoluted and inscrutable. It has within it a deep world-weariness, with hints of a longing for death. Apocalyptic at its core, it yearns for the ushering in of a new world order, a post-history where the true nature of existence is made manifest, and only those who really knew about it ahead of time will be around to appreciate it.

    Although I’m sure that Joseph was intensely attracted to such esoteric principles, I’m also sure that neither he nor his successors could see the logical and theological ramifications of their ideas. But this I trust: life really isn’t about transcendence; it’s about transformation of purpose from one of intense self-interest to that of communal peace and distributive justice. To put it another way, theology and religion shouldn’t be about some life to come; it’s focus should be making this life the best it can be. Why, then, would something like Adam-God matter? It only matters if your focus is 1) on a future post-mortal state of being for which NO real scientific evidence exists, and 2) largely upon yourself. Fuhgettaboutit.

  27. iamse7en Reply

    at 10:18, Heather says the Adam in the A/G Doctrine becomes
    schizophrenic, because Adam and God are talking to themselves. John confirms, saying
    it becomes very schizophrenic.

    Misinformation. Why don’t we stick to what Brigham actually
    said. If you read the Lecture at the Veil, it becomes very clear that be
    believes the three temple characters are three separate people. And elsewhere,
    Brigham said, “Elohim, Yahovah and Michael were father, Son and grandson.
    They made this Earth and Michael became Adam” (Joseph F. Smith Journal,
    6/17/1871). Also, in JD 9:148, he refers to Adam’s father as the grandfather of
    Adam’s children. It’s only schizophrenic to you because you are assuming
    Adam/Michael/Father of Jesus/Father of our spirits is 2 or more of the same
    people in the endowment story. I understand that Mormon scripture, with regards
    to God, Jesus, and so-called “divine investiture of authority” can seem
    schizophrenic, but the A/G Doctrine is not. To me, it removes the schizophrenia.
    The Church today teaches that the temple/pre-mortal “Jehovah” is Jesus Christ, but
    the early brethren mostly referred to “Jehovah” as the Father (see Boyd
    Kirkland’s Sunstone article). In fact, many times, Brigham referred to Adam as
    Yahovah Michael. It’s a title. It’s not schizophrenia. At 46:00, Zilpha points “Yahovah
    Michael” out, then concludes that to Brigham, there are not two characters as
    we have in the Temple, but just one character. John confirms, and says “this
    stuff is contradictory.” Misinformation. Brigham elsewhere said, “You may trace
    the scriptures through, and you will find that [God] is known to one people by
    one title today, and tomorrow by another, and the next day by another, and
    there he leaves it.” Yes, it can be messy for us to sort out, since titles can
    be attributed to different people at different times, but the panel portrayed
    the A/G doctrine as schizophrenic with regards to the Temple endowment, because
    Adam is talking to himself. This is misinformation. Luckily, Zilpha does try to
    correct this in that early portion. At 42:26, John also makes it clear that in
    the A/G Doctrine, Jesus is not the Jehovah of the Temple or OT. But the point remains,
    Heather and John said A/G Doctrine is schizophrenic, when it is not.

    At 34:23 John refer to some HCK quote of Adam being married
    to Mary, then say this is a contradictory point, but don’t say how this is
    contradictory. It’s not. Misinformation.

    At 38:00 you definitively state that Joseph Fielding Smith
    was lying, or lying for the Lord, to cover up Brigham’s teaching that Adam begat
    Jesus. There are many materials that are more accessible to us because of the
    Internet, and we don’t know what portion of all of these quotes in say, Briney’s
    book, were known and read by JFS. I’ve met many members who have read all of
    this stuff and still, definitively say, I am misinterpreting what Brigham
    taught. They say Brigham did not teach that the Adam in the Garden is the same
    individual who begat Jesus 4,000 years later. They subscribe to the bizarre
    Elden Watson, Two-Adam theory. They’re not lying, but seeing things the way
    they want to see it. JFS was clearly wrong, but you have no idea if he was
    lying. Misinformation. You also say that McConkie is lying, and there’s “no way
    around it.” McConkie had different points of view at different times. In Mormon
    Doctrine, he says Brigham didn’t teach it (that Adam is the father of our
    spirits and of Jesus). In his letter to Eugene England, he admits Brigham
    taught it. According to Elden Watson, McConkie then adopted his Two-Adam
    theory. He’s not lying; he’s trying to make Brigham’s teachings fit his
    paradigm, which he cannot. Widtsoe as well. Many people do this with different
    aspects in life. We are all guilty of it at times.At 56:00, John says A/G Doctrine diminishes the role of the Savior. “What’s Jesus for?” This is the greatest misinformation of all. Yes, tenets of Mormonism might “seem” to diminish the mainstream Christian view of God or Jesus when they say he cannot create out of nothing, cannot break laws, or is susceptible to fall from exaltation, etc, but the A/G Doctrine, in my mind, enhances the role of the Savior, or the condescensions of God. I don’t have the time to go through the rest of the podcast, but these were some of the areas I felt like there was some misinformation that could have been better clarified with A/G experts on the panel.

    I just think to have a discussion about A/G Doctrine, you
    need to stick to what was actually taught, rather than coming up with your own
    implications, theories, etc. There’s where the misinformation came in. That’s
    why you conclude Brigham’s teachings were schizophrenic, contradictory, or a
    hot mess. I wish you had someone who’s studied this more and longer, someone
    like Briney, to join in on the discussion.

    Lastly, apart from areas I thought there was “misinformation,”
    wanted to bring up the “royal order of saviors,” termed as “grand order of
    saviors” in Women of Mormondom.

    At 44:00, John and Heather say that A/G Doctrine says that
    you cannot become a God until you’ve been a Jesus. Yes, some A/G adherents
    believe this. I’m not sure about this. Zilpha says Brigham never taught this. Heather
    brushes it away saying Brigham didn’t comprehend the implications of his teaching.
    Heather is inferring she knows more about the A/G Doctrine than Brigham. But
    anyways, the reason I bring this up is to paste the quote that John may have
    been referencing:

    “ I say he was not made of the dust of the
    ground of this Earth, but he was made of the dust of the earth where he lived,
    where he honored his calling, believed in his Saviour, or Elder Brother, and by
    his faithfulness was redeemed, and obtained a Glorious Resurrection… I tell you
    more: Adam is the Father of our spirits. He lived upon an earth; he did abide
    his creation, and did honor to his calling and Priesthood. He obeyed his Master
    or Lord, and probably many of his wives did the same; they lived and died upon
    an earth, and then were resurrected again to Immortality and Eternal Life.
    “Did he resurrect himself?” you inquire. I want to throw out a few
    hints upon the resurrection as it seems to come within the circuit of my ideas
    whether it ought to come within the circuit of my remarks or not. I believe we
    have already acknowledged the truth established that no person can
    officiate in any office he has not been subject to himself and legally
    appointed to fill. That no person in this Kingdom can officiate in any ordinance
    he himself has not obeyed;
    consequently no being who has not been
    resurrected possesses the Keys of the Power of Resurrection. That you have been
    told often. Adam, therefore, was resurrected by someone who had been

    “ (Manuscript Addresses of BY, October 8, 1854)

    There’s much in Brigham’s teachings about us becoming Adams,
    Gods, Heavenly Fathers, etc, but nothing about us performing Atonements or
    becoming Saviors (other than upon Mount Zion, which believe is different than
    this.) But above, Brigham only says Adam lived on another earth, believed in
    his Saviour, then obtained a glorious resurrection. Nothing about becoming a
    Jesus, here. But I’m not sure. At 53:40, Heather goes into her own theory that
    to become an Adam-God, you have to be a Jesus, then Satan has a body, etc. This
    is full of such misinformation that Brigham and the other early brethren just
    didn’t teach. It’s fine to theorize and discuss, that’s what makes Mormon
    Expression good, but don’t use your own theories to conclude Brigham and the
    A/G is schizophrenic or contradictory. I think that’s where the misinformation came in.

  28. George Washington Reply

    After reading the comments for a while I decided to NOT listen to this podcast. What is needed is not intellect– what is needed is further revelation. Joseph said: “We must have revelations then, and we can see that the doctrine of revelation as far transcends the doctrine of no revelation as knowledge is above ignorance; for one truth revealed from heaven is worth all the sectarian notions in existence.” If someone is ready, they only have to read Sections 22 and 23 of the Second Book of Commandments, and all the speculation about this doctrine is dispersed. Well, until the next generation of intellects have enough time on their hands without even further revelation.

  29. Google Reply

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