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References: Mormon vs Biblical Teachings about God
Bible quotations are from the New American Standard version. For information on sources of Mormon quotations, see the section, "Mormon Documents".
1. The Mormon church teaches that "God is only one of many gods", because human beings can progress to become gods and godesses in the celestial kingdom (see: Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball , pp.28, 51-53).
- Mormon founder Joseph Smith describes the creation of the earth: "And they (the Gods) said, 'Let there be light'...And the Gods pronounced the dry land...And the Gods organized the earth...And the Gods planted a garden in Eden" (Pearl of Great Price, Abraham 4:3,10,25; 5:8). A reference to a plurality of 'Gods' occurs at least 43 times in the book of Abraham.
- According to Joseph Smith: "The doctrine of a plurality of Gods is prominent in the Bible. The heads of the Gods appointed our God for us...you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves...the same as all Gods have done before you" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.370-372, 346).
- Mormon Apostle and leading apologist Bruce McConkie states: "Three separate personages---Father, Son, and Holy Ghost---comprise the Godhead...As each of these persons is a God, it is evident from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us...these three are the only Gods we worship" (Mormon Doctrine, p.576-577).
- Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt wrote "there are more gods than there are particles of matter" (Journal of Discourses, vol.2, p.345).
- Mormon Prophet Brigham Young wrote: "How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods" (Journal of Discourses v.7, p.333).
2. The Bible consistently declares that there now is, always has been, and will ever be only ONE God:
- "the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him" (Deut. 4:35).
- " I am the first, I am also the last and there is no God besides Me" (Is. 44:6, 48:12, 45:14,21-22).
- "there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him" (1 Cor. 6:6).
- "I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like me" (Is. 46:9).
- "...before me there was no God formed, and there will be none after me!" (Is. 43:10).
- "For when God made the promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself" (Heb. 6:13).
- "Thou alone art the LORD; thou hast made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it" (Neh. 9:6).
- there are many additional verses: including Isaiah chp. 45-49, 1 Tim. 1:17.
In some biblical passages, God does refers to Himself in the plural (Gen. 1:26, Is. 41:22-23), which orthodox Christians believe is consistent with the biblical concept of the Trinity.
The Bible occasionally refers to 'gods', in two other contexts:
- In the context of denouncing pagan polytheism: "For even though there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God" (2 Cor. 8:5-6). See also: 2 Chron. 2: 5-6 and Is. 41:23. These passages are often misconstrued by Mormon missionaries to argue that the Bible is only talking about the God of this planet and not 'gods' of other worlds. However, the Bible makes no reference whatsoever to other actual 'gods' anywhere in the universe.
- The Bible uses the word "Elohim" in a figurative way to refer to men carrying out a God-like function or holding God-like authority over others (Ex. 21:6; 22:8,9; Ps. 82:6). For example: "He [Aaron] shall be as a mouth for you, and you [Moses] shall be as God to him" (Ex. 4:16).
3. Mormon theology contends that Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Gods. This teaching is related to the testimony of Joseph Smith, who in one version of his first vision, stated that he saw two separate personages (the Father and the Son) in the form of men:
- "When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other 'This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!'" (Joseph Smith History 1:17).
Other Mormon writers expound on the significance of this description:
- Bruce McConkie states: "There are three Gods...separate in personality, united in purpose, in plan, and in all attributes of perfection" (Mormon Doctrine, p.270).
- James Talmage states: "This [the Trinity] cannot rationally be construed to mean that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are one in substance and person" (A Study of the Articles of Faith, p.40)
- Heber C. Kimball stated: "The Holy Ghost is a man; he is one of the sons of our Father and our God" (Journal of Discourses, vol.5, p.179).
4. The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is an established tenant of orthodox Christianity, having been stated in most of the recognized creeds. Based on the reconciliation of many different scriptures, all of which must be true simultaneously, God is described as the Trinity, one God with three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Although not succinctly stated in a single scripture text, this concept of God's nature is consistent with the entirety of the Bible. It asserts that three divine persons share the same essence (are one and the same God). They are all coequal, coeternal, and of the same nature. A few of the many relevant passages are given below:
Regarding God the Father, the Bible emphatically states:
- "The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!" (Deut. 6:4, Mark 12:29).
- " I am the first, I am also the last and there is no God besides Me" (Is. 44:6, 48:12, 45:14,21-22).
- "the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him" (Deut. 4:35).
Yet, both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also identified with, and act as, God:
- "In Him [Jesus] all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).
- "He [Jesus] is the radiance of His [God's] glory and the exact representation of His nature" (Heb. 1:3).
- "But of the Son He [God] says, Thy Throne O God is forever and ever" (Heb. 1:8).
- "Thomas answered [to Jesus] My Lord and My God" (John 20:28).
- Jesus claimed: "I and the Father are one", meaning in essence (based on the Greek construction). Some Mormons would argue this just means 'one in purpose', but the Jews clearly understood Jesus' statement as blasphemy because they "took up stones again to stone Him" (Jn. 10:30-31).
- Jesus also claimed: "Before Abraham was born, I AM" (Jn. 8:58), a restatement of the name God used for himself to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM" (Ex. 3:14); the Jews understood this, too, as blasphemy, and tried to stone Jesus again (Jn. 8:59).
- "God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (Jn. 4:24).
- "Now the Lord is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:17).
- "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (2 Cor. 13:14); all three members of the Trinity are mentioned together in this verse.
For more detailed explanations, the reader is referred to published articles by Grider and Martin, the C.A.R.M. webpage, and my section on Jesus.
5. The Mormon church teaches that "God was once a man who achieved godhood". This doctrine, "eternal progression" is central to Mormonism, as stated in one of their frequently-used quotes:
- "As man is, God once was: as God is, man may be" (Lorenzo Snow, Millenial Star, vol.54).
In Mormon theology, those who achieve godhood will have spirit children who will worship and pray to them just as we worship and pray to God the Father (Gospel Principles, p.290). A pictoral diagram of the Mormon view of eternal progression can be found here. This is not an isolated teaching: it has been taught by a large number of prominent LDS leaders, including its founders:
- Joseph Smith taught: "I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is...God himself was once as we are now and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret...I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345);
- Joseph Smith continues: "God himself...is a man like unto one of yourselves...God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth...You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves" (Times and Seasons, vol.5, pp.613-614); "Here then is eternal life---to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves...the same as all Gods have done before you...To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.346-347).
- Brigham Young taught: "He [God] ...was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being...It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God was once been a finite being" (Journal of Discourses, vol.7, p.333); "The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like himself" (Journal of Discourses, vol.3, p.93).
- Here is Joseph Smith's revelation about Mormons attaining to the celestial kingdom: "These are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized...who have received of his fullness, and of his glory...they are gods" (Doctrine and Covenants 76: 51-58).
- James Talmage explains: "We believe in a God who is Himself progressive...whose perfection consists in eternal advancement...a Being who has attained His exalted state"(A Study of the Articles of Faith, p.430, 1952).
- Heber C. Kimbal wrote: "We shall go back to our Father and God, who is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is connected with one still farther back, and so on" (Journal of Discourses, vol.5, p.19); "our God is a natural man...where did he get his knowledge from? From his father, just as we get our knowledge from our earthly parents" (Journal of Discourses, vol.8, p.211).
- Orson Pratt wrote: "The Gods who dwell in heaven...were once in a fallen state...they were exalted also, from fallen men to celestial Gods" (The Seer, p.23); "our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; "He was begotten by a still more ancient Father; and so on from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another" (The Seer, p.132).
- Milton R. Hunter wrote: "God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed through a school of earth life similar to that through which we are now passing. He became a God" (The Gospel Through the Ages, p.104);"there was a time when the Deity was much less powerful than He is today...He grew in experience and continued to grow until He attained the status of Godhood. In other words, He became a God by absolute obedience..." (The Gospel Through the Ages, p.114-115).
- Bruce McConkie states: "God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorious, exalted, immortal, resurrected man" (Mormon Doctrine, p.642-643); "God...is a personal Being, a holy and exalted man...an anthropomorphic entity" (Mormon Doctrine, p.250); "as the Prophet [Joseph Smith] also taught, 'there is a God above the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ'" (Mormon Doctrine, p.322, 1966).
- Joseph Fielding Smith stated: "God is an exalted man...our Father in Heaven at one time passed through a life and death and is an exalted man...The Prophet [Joseph Smith] taught that our Father had a Father and so on...promises are made to us that we may become like him" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1, p.10-12).
Mormon leaders have continued to teach this doctrine, as is evident by a few quotes from recent President and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball in official LDS periodicals:
- "Brethren, 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose that 225,000 of you may become gods" (from a speech published in The Ensign, November 1975, 1980).
- "In each of us is the potentiality to become a God" (Tribune, Oct. 7, 1974).
- "Man can transform himself, but he has in him the seeds of Godhood that can grow. He can lift himself by his very bootstraps" (Tribune, Sept. 18, 1974).
- "In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the [LDS] Church proclaims the eternal truth: 'As man is God once was; as God is, man may be'" (James Talmage in The Articles of Faith, a widely circulated LDS doctrinal book).
Current President and Prophet Gordon Hinkley admits, albeit reluctantly, in recent interviews to believing this doctrine (San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 4/13/97, page 3/Z13; Time magazine August 4, 1997):
- "President Gordon Hinckley says the concept of God having been a man is not stressed any longer, but he [Hinckley] does believe that human beings can become gods in the afterlife" (Richard Ostling, interviewer for Time magazine).
- Hinckley states: "Well, they [men] can achieve to a godly status, yes, of course they can, eternal progression. We believe in the progression of the human soul. Ours is a forward-looking religion. It's an upward-looking religion" (Public Broadcasting System; transcript dated July 18, 1997).
Attempts to tone down the importance of this doctrine are reflected in changes made to the recent edition of the LDS book Gospel Principles, which is used to teach new members the doctrines of their church. Here is one example:
- The 1978 edition reads: "We can become Gods like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation" (Gospel Principles, p.290, 1978);
- but the 1997 edition reads: "We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation" (Gospel Principles, p.302, 1997).
6. The Bible teaches that God is unchangeable and that He has eternally existed as God:
- "I am God and not man, the Holy One" (Hosea 11:8)
- "God is not a man that He should lie" (Num. 23:19)
- "Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Ps. 90:2)
- "Thou art from everlasting" (Ps. 93:2)
- "Thou art the same" (Ps. 102:27)
- "For I, the Lord, do not change" (Mal. 3:6)
- See also: Is. 43:10; Is. 44:6, 8; Is. 48:11.
Mormons sometimes cite passages that speak of God 'repenting' (Gen. 6:6, Ex. 32:14, 1 Sam. 15:11,35) as evidence that He changes, yet none of the passages speak of a change in God's nature, only in an apparent change in His action.
7. In Mormon theology, "God has flesh and bones" and is therefore limited in capacity. According to Mormon authors:
- "God is an organized being just as we are who are now in the flesh" (Gospel Doctrine, p.64).
- "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).
- "God is not omnipresent...cannot be physically present in more than one place at a time"; "If God possesses a form, that form is of necessity of definite proportions, and therefore of limited extension and space. It is impossible for Him to occupy at one time more than one space of such limits" (Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith, p.43,48).
- Brigham Young declared: "Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not so" (Journal of Discourses, vol.6, p.345).
- Carfred Broderick writes: "God is a procreating personage of flesh and bone" (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Autumn, 1967, p.100-101).
8. God, as described in the Bible is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. The Bible clearly states that God is Spirit and therefore invisible:
- "God is Spirit and those that worship Him must worship him in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).
- "A spirit does not have flesh and bones" (Lk. 24:39).
- "No man has seen God at any time" (Jn 1:18).
- Jesus said: "No man has seen the Father, except the One who is from God" (Jn. 4:46).
- "And He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15).
- "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God" (1 Tim. 1:17).
- "For he [Moses] endured, as seeing Him [God] who is unseen" (Heb. 11:27).
- "who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see" (1 Tim. 6:16).
If God had a body, He would be limited by time and space (Beckwith), which the Bible says He is not:
- God is Omnipotent: "I [God] will do whatever I choose" (Is. 46:10); "You [God] are all-powerful, what you can conceive, you can perform" (Jb. 42:2); "To you [God] nothing is impossible" (Jer. 32:17); "For God everything is possible" (Matt. 19:26).
- God is Omniscient, because He has total knowledge of the past, present and future: "Our Lord is great, all-powerful, of infinite understanding" (Ps. 147:5); "He sees to the ends of the earth, and observes all that lies under heaven (Jb. 28:24); "From the beginning I [God] foretold the future and predicted beforehand what is to be" (Is. 46:10).
- God is Omnipresent: "Yahweh is indeed in heaven above as in earth beneath" (Deut. 4:39); "the heavens cannot contain you [God]" (1 Kings 8:27); "Yet...he [God] is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:24-28).
- God is Sustainer of the Universe: "you [God] made all the universe and it was only by your will that everything was made and exists" (Rev. 4:11); "it is He who gives everything, including life and breath, to everyone" (Acts 17:25); "for in Him all things were created in heaven and on earth...before anything was created He existed, and He holds all things together" (Col. 1:16-7).
While Mormons probably will not argue with the above verses, their view that God has flesh and bones precludes His possession of the other characteristics. To try to prove God's corporeality, Mormons often cite passages such as "the man Yahweh knew face to face" (Deut. 34:10); "Yahweh said...'I will...shield you with my hand...you shall see the back of me, but my face is not to be seen'" (Ex. 33:22-23). There are several serious flaws with this approach:
- These anthropomorphic metaphors are used by Biblical writers (in this case, Moses) to describe particular actions of God in human terms, and need to be interpreted using standard hermeneutical principles; e.g., they must be interpreted in accord with the rest of scripture.
- These passages refer to the God of the Old Testament, which Mormons teach is the pre-incarnant Jesus, before he became corporeal; they cannot logically use them to support their argument that the God of the Old Testament had flesh and bones (Beckwith).
- Such literal interpretations must also lead to the ridiculous conclusion that God has feathers and wings (Ps. 91:4) and is on fire (Heb. 12:29; Deut. 4:24), that He is a door (Jn. 10:9), a fountain (Ps. 91:4), a loaf of bread (Jn. 6:35,51), and a vine (Jn. 15:1-5), etc. This sort of reasoning ignores the literary style and intent of the author.
Mormons might also argue: 'What about the statements in Genesis (1:27, 9:6) that man was made in the image of God. Doesn't that mean God is like man?' No, these verses must be interpreted in context and in accord with the entirety of scripture, where very clear statements are made about God's spirit nature (e.g. Jn. 4:24, see above). For example, the Genesis phrase 'In the image of God' must obviously refer to man's intellectual capability, self-awareness, speech, spiritual nature, God-awareness, etc. (McElveen). For example, the Bible also states that "God is not a man" in the sense that "he cannot lie" (Num. 23:19).
9. The Mormon church teaches that we have a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father.
- Brigham Young stated: "Brother Kimball quoted a saying of Joseph the Prophet, that he would not worship a God who had not a father; and I do not know that he would if he had not a mother; the one would be as absurd as the other" (Journal of Discourses, vol.9, p.286).
- Apostle Orson Pratt stated: "But if we have a heavenly Mother as well as a heavenly Father, is it not right that we should worship the Mother of our spirits as well as the Father? No...it is lawful for the children to worship the King of Heaven, but not the 'Queen of heaven'" (The Seer, p.159).
- Apostle Bruce McConkie writes: "Implicit in the Christian verity that all men are the spirit children of an Eternal Father is the usually unspoken truth that they are also the offspring of an eternal mother. An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a mother...This doctrine that there is a mother in heaven was affirmed in plainess by the First Presidency of the Church...when...they said..'that all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother'" (Mormon Doctrine, p.516, 1966).
- Milton R. Hunter (First Council of the Presidency) states: "The stupendous truth of the existence of a Heavenly Mother, as well as a Heavenly Father, became established facts in Mormon theology" (The Gospel Through the Ages, p.98, 1958).
- Linda Wilcox reports recent discussion of this subject in the LDS Church: "Lately there has been increased discussion and speculation about how we can or do relate to our Heavenly Mother (or possibly mothers?). Orson Pratt taught that we are not to worship the mother of our spirits although we worship the father...Rodger Clawson, however, pointed out that men as well as women and children crave a Mother in Heaven to worship and 'yearn to adore her'. He said, 'It doesn't take from our worship of the Eternal Father, to adore our Eternal Mother... Currently, there is no encouragement on the part of the Mormon church leaders to pray to a Heavenly Mother, and in fact even active discouragement...Still, there has been recently a more evident desire to reach out to Mother in Heaven in some way..." (Sunstone, vol. 5, no.5, p.13-14).
10. The Bible simply makes no reference whatsoever to a Heavenly Mother nor to a wife for God.
11. Mormon leaders, Brigham Young in particular, have taught that Adam was God. Although this doctrine has been officially repudiated by the LDS church in recent times, it is well documented that it was consistently and repeatedly taught by Brigham Young and other church leaders. This serves to undermine their claims to authority as true prophets and spokesmen for God.
- Brigham Young proclaimed: "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" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.50-51, a sermon given on April 9, 1852).
- Brigham Young stated: "Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.50-51).
Brigham Young also said that when his sermons were corrected, they were scripture (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p.95). The one above was printed one year later in the Church's Millenial Star paper and in the Journal of Discourses where Brigham Young had to approve it. Hovever, he did not correct or amend it over the ensuing 25 years before his death in 1877. Much to the contrary, on June 18, 1873 the Deseret News printed another of his sermons in which he stated:
- "How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I have revealed to them, and which God revealed to me...namely that Adam is our Father and God...Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys to everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or ever will come upon the earth" (Brigham Young, Deseret News, June 18, 1873).
President Young felt strongly about criticism he received from others in the LDS Church, notably Orson Pratt, about this doctrine: "Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation" (Journal of Discourses, vol.1, p.50-51).
- F.D. Richards, a prominent Mormon confirms this was doctrine: "Concerning the doctrine that Adam is our Father and God...the prophet and Apostle Brigham has declared it, and that is the word of the Lord" (Millenial Star, August 26, 1854, vol.16, p.534).
- Hosea Stout confirms this: "Another meeting this evening. President B. Young taught that Adam was the Father of Jesus and the Only God to us" (Diary of Hosea Stout, April 9, 1852, vol. 2, p.435).
- Other leaders taught it, including George Q. Cannon: "Jesus Christ is Jehovah...Adam is his Father and our God" (Diary of Abraham H. Cannon, June 23, 1889, vol.11, p.39).
- Mormon A.F. McDonald commented: "The doctrine preached by [President] Young for a few years back wherein he says that Adam is our God---the God we worship--- most of the people believe it...if the President makes a statement it is not our prerogative to dispute it...when I first heard the doctrine of Adam being our Father and God, I was favorably impressed---enjoyed and hailed it as a new Revelation" (Minutes of the School of Prophets, Provo, UT, 1868-1871, p.38-39).
- Mormon Edward W. Tullidge wrote: "Adam is our Father and God. He is the God of the Earth. So says Brigham Young" and "When Brigham Young proclaimed to the nations that Adam was our Father and God, and Eve, his partner, the Mother of a world---both in a mortal and celestial sense---he made the most important revelation ever oracled to the race since the days of Adam himself" (The Women of Mormondom, p.79,179,196-197, 1877).
- John Nuttal records: "Prest Young was filled with the spirit of God & revelation & said...Father Adam's oldest son (Jesus the Savior) who is the heir of the family is Father Adam's first begotten in the spirit world" (Wednesday Feb. 7, 1877, Journal of John Nuttal, vol.1, p.18-21).
These are only a few of the evidences that Brigham Young taught the Adam-God doctrine. Additional documentation can be found in the Journal of Discourses (vol.5, p.331-332) and in articles of the Millenial Star (vol.15, p.801; vol.16, p.482,530,534; vol.17, p.195) and Deseret News (June 14, 1873).
Most recent Mormon leaders deny that Brigham Young taught this doctrine, claim it was erroneously transcribed, or denounce it as false. However, because Young's statements can be extremely well documented, this undermines the credibility of one or both parties 12,13.
- Spencer W. Kimball stated: "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" (Church News, October 9, 1976).
- Joseph Fielding Smith said this about Brigham Young's statements: "in all probability, the sermon was erroneously transcribed" (Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1, p.96).
- Hugh Brown (a member of the First Presidency) stated: "The Adam-God doctrine is not the doctrine of the Church, and the reports on that subject as published in the Journal of Discourses are not accurate" (in a letter dated May 13, 1966).
- More recently, Apostle Bruce McConkie admits: "Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things the cultists [orthodox Christians] ascribe to him" (letter to Eugene England dated Feb. 19, 1981, photocopy available from Challenge Ministries, P.O. Box 20195, El Cajon, CA, 92021).
In fairness, Bruce McConkie went on to say (in the letter cited above): "He [Brigham Young] expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel" (letter to Eugene England dated Feb. 19, 1981). However, the consequences associated with Young's false teaching are not clear, because McConkie goes on to say: "We will be judged by what we believe among other things. If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned. If that belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray and we will lose our souls...(2 Nephi 28:15). This clearly means that people who teach false doctrine in the fundamental and basic things will lose their souls. The nature and kind of being that God is, is one of these fundamentals. I repeat: Brigham Young erred in some of his statements on the nature and kind of being that God is and as to the position of Adam in the plan of salvation...what he did is not a pattern for any of us. If we choose to believe and teach the false portions of his doctrines, we are making an election that will damn us" (letter to Eugene England dated Feb. 19, 1981). It is not clear why the ordinary Mormon is damned for doing this, but Brigham Young is not. For thorough documentation and discussion of this topic, two references should be consulted: Turner and Vlachos).
12. The Bible states Adam was only a created being, the first man.
- "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" (Gen. 1:27).
- "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Gen. 2:7).
- "When God created man, He made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female" (Gen. 5:1-2).
- "For as in Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22).
- "So also it is written, 'the first man Adam became a living soul'" (1 Cor. 15:45).
- "For it was Adam who was first created" (1 Tim. 2:14).
What is more, this idea is inconsistent with the clear teaching of man's fallen nature being derived from Adam (Job 31:33; Hosea 6:7; Rom. 5:14). Orthodox Christians will recognize most of Brigham Young's statements about Adam to be complete blasphemy.
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