We Wouldn't Know the Almighty From Adam

There doesn't come along a subject more fit to WONDER about than the person and character of God. In His intercessory prayer, didn't Jesus say "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent"? I believe we're at a hard place right now in our understanding of who He is, as a church, because of a lot of reasons.

I used to think that once Joseph Smith got the ball rolling with the Restoration, knowledge of sacred things would continue to increase steadily until everything there was to know would be known - which would mean we should be pretty advanced at this point in time. I no longer think so. I think the foundation was laid broadest and deepest by the Seer of seers, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and that Brigham Young finished laying that foundation. Those were the days when sore trials and hard doctrines had left only the most spiritually substantial members on the threshing-room floor. These were more able to bear the meat of the Gospel. 

Fast-forward to the 20th century and our sore trials as a Church had passed, and so did the hard doctrines. The gospel sent forth was sweet milk for hungry masses, simply served and easily tolerated. I don't blame leaders and authorities for their having to set aside the meat - even renouncing it for the sake of the babes. They did what they had to do to fulfill the mission of the Church, which was their mandate. The meat was still there, after all, for any who hungered after it enough to dish it up on their own. I don't doubt there will come again the sore trials and the hard doctrines. But until then...I'm in favor of keeping the buffet open to the meat-eaters, hence this post about Adam-God.

A very brief Wikipedia-like summary of what we understand Brigham Young to have taught about Adam is that he was once a mortal man who was resurrected and exalted and had numerous spirit children. He then came as Michael to form the Earth and brought Eve (one of his wives) with him to Earth, where they became mortal by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden so that they might provide fleshy tabernacles for their spirit children (hence Adam calling Eve "the mother of all living" even before she had given birth to any children on earth - all the spirits waiting to be born WERE her children. Excuse me if I roll my eyes every time I hear someone try to explain this one during Mothers' Day talks, inaccurately). 

Adam laid down his life much as Christ would (he, also, had power over death), then he and Eve returned to their heavenly thrones where Adam serves as our God. Later, Adam returned to the Earth to the ancient prophets, and to become the literal father of Jesus. During the 19th century and very beginning of the 20th century, the Adam–God doctrine was taught in LDS Church meetings, sung in church hymns, and featured as part of the church's endowment ceremony. Now it is practically heresy to even speak of these things in church because it is not (lower-case "d") doctrine - meaning that it simply isn't taught through official channels (which this blog is not, in case you were wondering).

The folks I've come across point out certain aspects of what Brigham Young taught regarding Adam-God that they find "problematic." None of them amounts to much, I find. In fact, after all is said and done, the only one in the room making any sense at all is good ole' BY, who it is rumored to have been spoken of by Hugh Nibley as a far better theologian than he is given credit for (still looking for the original source for that, if anyone knows where I can find it).  

- Resurrected beings cannot die, you say? We'll address that.

- We are taught that Jesus Christ is Adam's superior, you say? There's an answer for that, too... and to many of the other things that appear to be difficulties at first, and even second, glance. 

This is just the springboard. Stay tuned.

In the meantime...what say ye?