Effectively speaking, we are really on the downhill part of our clime after BRM took on blasphemies like organic evolution, eternal progression of God, and second chance salvation. Without further adieu, Elder McConkie's sixth heresy:
Heresy six: There are those who believe or say they believe that Adam is our father and our god, that he is the father of our spirits and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.The source of the Adam/God theory comes from this Brigham Young quote:
The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the scriptures, and anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone who has received the temple endowment, has no excuse whatever for being led astray by it. Those who are so ensnared reject the living prophet and close their ears to the apostles of their day. "We will follow those who went before," they say. And having so determined, they soon are ready to enter polygamous relationships that destroy their souls.
We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and Adam is their foremost servant, by whom the peopling of our planet was commenced.
Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. The thistle, the thorn, the brier, and the obnoxious weed did not appear until after the earth was cursed. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal.
Simply a Misreading?I see some major issues with the simple approach by some apologists that BY was simply misunderstood. First, BY expected his associates to accept the doctrine or at least sit back and not complain if that person did not agree. Of the well-known conflicts between BY and Orson Pratt, the Adam-God theory was contentious.
In a great article by the Journal of Mormon Thought, Volume 13 Number 2, Summer 1980, page 13, the battle lines are drawn out:
The President took issue with Pratt's acceptance of Adam's having been created out of the dust of this earth. Young maintained "Adam came from another world & brought Eve with him partook of the fruits of the Earth begat children & they ware Earthly & had mortal bodies & if we are faithful we should become Gods as [Adam] was." Apostle Wilford Woodruff recorded that President "told Brother Pratt to lay aside his Philosofical reasoning & get revelation from God to govern & enlighten his mind more...[he] said [Pratt's] Phylosophy injured him in a measure...."Secondly, BY also claimed in the Deseret News, 18 June 1873, p. 308, that he was taught the doctrine by Joseph Smith.
Pratt was not the only unwilling member to embrace certain of Young's views. Yet his calling as an Apostle placed him at the forefront of dissent. Following a strong Adam-God statement delivered during the October 1854 General Conference, one member observed, "[T]here were some that did not believe the sayings of the Prophet Brigham. Even our beloved Brother Orson Pratt told me he did not believe it."
How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me—namely that Adam is our Father and God—I do not know, I do not inquire, I care nothing about it. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him, and after it was made he and his companions came here. He brought one of his wives with him, and she was called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth. Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or who ever will come upon the earth. I have been found fault with by the ministers of religion because I have said that they were ignorant. But I could not find any man on the earth who could tell me this, although it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith.Current State of the Doctrine
Besides Elder McConkie's statements from The Seven Deadly Heresies, we have this statement from President Spencer W. Kimball from the October 1976 General Conference:
We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the Scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities 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.Now for the crux of this post. Based on my reading, BY claimed that he received this truth from Joseph Smith and by revelation. Spencer W. Kimball as successor with the appropriate keys as prophet, seer, and revelator, discredited the doctrine. My questions are (1) If Brigham Young did receive this by revelation, then where does this leave us?; (2) Does Spencer W. Kimball's use of priesthood keys take precedent?; (3) Is there any way that we can reconcile the two sides?; (4) Is it possible that we just don't know and the revelations as now received are not clear on this point? I say this under the assumption that many of our current methods of instruction are symbolic in nature (the temple).
For more information, check out fairwiki.org as a great source for other theories.