I have a dear friend whose husband of two years (a recent convert just before their engagement) has turned against the Mormon Church and no longer believes… in particular in Latter-day prophets. Much of this stems from things he feels the early prophets said or did that are just too much for him to believe. One example is the Adam-God theory from the Journal of Discourses. I hadn’t even heard that theory…. as I have steered clear of anti-Mormon literature–knowing how twisted it can be. But now, I have someone I care about very much being challenged by such thoughts. For now she isn’t buying into it…but is still disturbed by some of the questionable things Joseph Smith or Brigham Young might have said or done. Sometimes, they were acting as men…and sometimes it was just a process of growth and learning in early church days. How can I best help those I care so much about as they struggle with these issues? Hoping you can help!!
Don’t you really believe that when a prophet of God makes a statement that we may have a hard time understanding that the problem lies with our lack of understanding rather than with their status as a prophet? How easy it is to judge another, especially if he is no longer here to defend himself. The enemies of the Church are very adept at taking things out of context and promoting them in a light in which they were never intended. These bold declarations denouncing the words of the prophets come from only two sources–either ignorance or maliciousness. And many of them are so blatant that even with the kindest intentions they cannot be attributed to ignorance alone.
Further, I think that it would be well to point out, as I’m sure you know, that the things of God are understood ONLY by the Spirit of God that moves upon a person. So the first place to look for a solution to the problem of those who disagree with the words of the prophets is in the direction of the worthiness of the person with the problem rather than in the direction of the inspiration of the prophets.
With that prelude, let’s address what the enemies of the Church have touted as the Adam-God theory. That concept can be easily generalized as the man-God theory. For as it is with Adam, so it may also be with others.
First the question, can any man become a god, or become as God? That question was recently asked by someone and is listed on the Ask Gramps site under the title, “How can the Mormon Church believe that human beings can become gods?”
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High (Psalms 82:6).
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13).
The very purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ is to prepare our Father’s children to grow up into an eternal adulthood–to become like their Father in Heaven. That Adam could be considered as the god of this earth is in no way contrary to the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, nor to the concept of unbiased reason.
There is a fundamental point that has been missed by all the protestant churches, and that is that the incomplete and rather sketchy account of the creation given in Genesis (which is the only creation account that the sectarian world will admit to) contains the remnants of two creation accounts–the spiritual creation, which occurred first, and then the physical creation. In the spiritual creation Adam was the first man on the earth, the first flesh also, as we read in the Pearl of Great Price, in Moses 3:7 —
And I, the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless, all things were before created; but spiritually were they created and made according to my word.
The creation account given in Genesis 1 is of the physical creation, in which Adam and Eve come last. We relate the foregoing to point to Adam’s key role in the creation of this earth. The prophet Brigham Young did not somehow “go overboard” in expanding on the creation account. He was merely commenting on that which was revealed in the Holy Scriptures, and undoubtedly on that which God revealed also to him as a prophet.
We need to accept the words of the prophets, and if they appear to us in any way illogical or difficult to believe, we need to examine our own selves rather than to set ourselves up as judges of the prophets.