It is well known among Mormons that critics of the church accuse Brigham Young of teaching a doctrine that stated Adam, the first man, was the god of our spirits. Often we hear that Brigham Young was misquoted or the quotes were taken in context.
I came across a number of quotes today by Brigham Young regarding this doctrine. If it was a single quote, I can see how members of the Church could use the defence that is was misquoted or out of context. Given the number of references to the principle, it would seem that this was something Brigham Young believed and taught. Not only that, but he claimed it to be true doctrine.
How much unbelief exists in the minds of Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me – namely that Adam is our father and God ..Then he said, ‘I want my children who are in the spirit world to come and live here. I once dwelt upon an earth something like this, in a mortal state. I was faithful. I received my crown and exaltation…I want my children that were born to me in the spirit world to come here and take tabernacles of flesh that their spirits may have a house, a tabernacle…’ (Brigham Young, Deseret Weekly News, June 18, 1873, page 308)
Who was the Savior 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. (President Brigham Young, Feb. 19, 1854, Brigham Young Addresses, 1850-1854, Vol. 2, by Elden J. Watson, sheet 179 (in chronological order), Historical Dept. Church, Ms d 1234, Box 48 Fd. 11 )
Some have grumbled because I believe our God to be so near to us as Father Adam. There are many who know that doctrine to be true. (Brigham Young, October 7, 1857, Journal of Discourses 5:331).
Some years ago I advanced a doctrine with regard to Adam being our Father and God…It is one of the most glorious revealments of the economy of heaven… (President Brigham Young, in the Tabernacle, General Conference, October 8, 1861, 10:30 a.m.; Brigham Young Addresses, 1860-1864, Vol. 4, by Elden J. Watson, sheet 134 (in chronological order), Historical Dept. Church, Ms d 1234, Box 49 fd 8 )
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 and obeyed his master or lord, and probably many of his wives did the same, and they lived and died upon an earth and then were resurrected again to immortality and eternal life. (Brigham Young, October 8, 1854, Brigham Young Addresses, 18509-1854, Vol. 2, by Elden J. Watson, sheet 221 (in chronological order), Historical Dept. Church, Box 49 fd 12)
These aren’t all statements made in an interview with Mike Wallace or Larry King; some are statements made by the president of the Church during General Conference.
So, why was it dropped? President Kimball declared it a false doctrine in the October 1976 General Conference.
We warn you against the dissemination of doctrine which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.
If President Hinckley came to General Conference and announced a doctrine that was not in the scriptures, would we be able to use President Kimball’s admonition to denounce it as false doctrine? This isn’t like revealing a new practise (such as plural marriage) or stopping an old practise (such as withholding priesthood from Blacks); this is revealing a new doctrine.