Tag: Elohim

Another Inquiry About Adam-God

In response to several comments (actually complaints) about my mention of Adam-God doctrine as taught by Brigham Young. Rather than remaining silent and inviting further comment I’ll add this and then leave it alone.

Brigham Young is presumed by almost everyone to have been closer to Joseph than he was. He is presumed to have understood Joseph’s teachings better than he actually did. He was not with Joseph during most of the years of his Apostleship when Joseph was alive.

The question to me is not what Brigham Young taught. That does not clarify the matter to my understanding. The question is what is true? Whether Brigham Young understood it or not, or whether he was able to explain it or not, what is true?

The answer to that question is best solved by going to the scriptures. I’ve tried to address the question in the paper: The First Three Words Spoken in the Endowment. You can download it from the blog. In it I go through the scriptures showing that the group called “noble and great” were also called “the Gods” in Chapter 4 of the Book of Abraham. Also, that Joseph referred to this group as “sons of God, who exalted themselves to be gods, even from before the foundation of the world.” (TPJS, p. 375.) Joseph mentioned the word-name “Elohim” is plural. “El” is the singular, Elohim is the plural. The identities of the “Elohim” is best understood in Abraham Chapters 3 and 4.

Joseph was excited about this in the last sermons he gave in Nauvoo. That is why the paper focused on Joseph’s treatment of the Book of Abraham material.

The problem is not that I haven’t studied Brigham Young enough, but that I do not draw my conclusions from him. He is not consistent in his comments. Furthermore, he was trying to repeat what he thought Joseph was teaching. You can by-pass him and go to the scriptures and figure it out for yourself, without straining the truth through Brigham Young’s effort to explain something.

There is something to the doctrine. But I’m not persuaded that Brigham Young understood the matter as well as I do. Further, I am quite confident that Brigham Young did not understand Joseph Smith as well as most Latter-day Saints presume.

The question is answered using scripture.

Also, for those who think they are better read on some questions than I am, I’ve spent decades studying Mormon history and doctrine. Recently, I’ve been studying Brigham Young’s statements now available for the first time in a single comprehensive collection. This five volume collection has become the best single work on the words of Brigham Young. After reading thousands of pages of his talks, I have reached a number of conclusions about Brigham Young that I will eventually write about.

Brigham Young claimed there was only one “Father” of all mankind, both as the first man and again in the pre-existence. There is more to that story than this simple reduction. But the push by the church to be more like other “Christian” faiths, along with the criticism this doctrine has brought to Mormonism, has made it a matter the church would like to leave alone. Once President Kimball denounced the matter as a “false theory,” it was over as far as the church was concerned. The greatest interest in this question exists now only among fundamentalists. They have suffered greatly because of the credibility they have given to Brigham Young.

To the extent that I have felt any need to touch on this matter, it is in that paper. As to Brigham Young, however, I intend to write more about him, but not here.

On to 3 Nephi

To put Alma’s teachings into a larger perspective you need to understand the pre-earth life. The “picture” you have in your head about that is quite skewed. I’ve tried to unravel it and reconstruct the correct picture in a 42 page long paper. Because of it’s length, it is not appropriate to post it here. However, I am willing to let readers have a copy. It is copyrighted to prevent it from being changed and then attributed to me in an altered form. I am willing to be accountable for every word I speak, write or even think. I am not, however, willing to be accountable for what you think I said, think I wrote, or interpret on your own. Therefore it is copyrighted to prevent an alteration from becoming attributed to me.
If you want a copy, send a comment with a return email address to any post on the blog and you’ll get a return email with the attachment. If, after you have read the paper, you want to comment, then the comments should be put on this blog entry.
The pre-earth life did not just consist of spirits who were born to a single set of heavenly parents, living happily before coming here, followed by a rebellion led by an older brother. It was far more complex than that. There were those who had exalted themselves before they were born. The definition of exaltation is given in D&C 132.  Joseph Smith had the definition of exaltation, as well as the Book of Abraham, when he made the remark. He knew that to be exalted required they be sealed in a marriage.
There were those who were “exalted” and who are called “Gods” in Abraham 4. The wording of the scripture is set out in detail and explained in detail in the paper you can get if you ask. You read that to finish off the missing pre-earth gap in Alma’s teaching.
The word “Elohim” is plural. It is plural for reasons explained in the paper.

As I have said in a comment on the Alma 13 materials, I do not think that deep doctrine is what is covered in the caution to not “cast pearls before swine.” I think that comment is reserved only to ordinances. Those are to be kept from being profaned. Deep doctrine is meant to be preached, proclaimed and understood.  Without it, men’s souls are not saved.  And by “men’s souls” I mean mankind, men and women.  All must hear the fullness and be offered it in order to make this life meaningful and fulfill its purpose.  When the doctrine is ignored or suppressed, then those who had a responsibility to proclaim it will be damned for their refusal to sound the alarm.

Generally the gentiles are expected in the prophecies to reject the fullness of the Gospel and walk away from it. Therefore, as a gentile, you should be concerned that you do not.
Because we need to understand our precarious and limited opportunity as gentiles, I am going to move to Christ’s words in 3 Nephi Chapter 16, beginning at verse 7. That will be the next series of posts.