Sorry if it came across like I missed your point. I understood. Your position is that JS taught Adam-God in the same form that Brigham did. My position is that he almost certainly did not. I am familiar with your quote on Brigham saying JS taught it; I also quoted it and other relevant quotes in my first post in this thread. I find that there are big discrepancies between the recorded teachings of Joseph Smith and what Brigham said, which make it very unlikely JS taught Adam-God, at least in the form Brigham taught.
I don't think these differences can be harmonized. I should clarify that I approach all of this like a historian, not as someone trying to prescribe or proscribe a specific belief system for myself or others.
I apologize if I've come off negatively. Your right; there is no need to bicker. However, I am interested in arriving to the truth of the matter, and I don't think the differences should be minimized as a pecking order. If Brigham believed that Adam was God the Father and Joseph didn't, then that is certainly worth discussing, debating, etc.
I disagree, as a matter of history, that this big picture you're describing is what JS arrived to in the 1840s. The only explicit contemporary evidence we have on the roles of exaltion is JS teaching that celestial heirs would go on to fill the role of Christ. However, if we move on to later remembrances and reports, we do have quotes from Brigham and others which infer that JS believed celestial heirs would fill the role of Adam. If JS did teach that, and given the quotes by Brigham and others I believe he likely did, I don't think he taught that the role of Adam came after Christ, as that has too many conflicts with other teaching in the Nauvoo period. Additionally, if JS did teach that the Saints would fill the role Adam, the order of the authority would most likely reflect the order of the roles to be filled. JS taught that the saints will move from one exaltation to the other, like climbing a ladder.
Returning to "Christ is the great High priest, Adam next," there is additional important information earlier in that same sermon. JS taught, "The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of Man & organized them [I Abraham saw the intelligences which were organized before the world was] . He (Adam) is the head, was told to multiply. The Keys were given to him [Adam], and by him to others & he will have to give an account of his Stewardship." Here JS subjugates Adam to "the Father."
Earlier in the same sermon, JS had already described the account of Adam's stewardship. "Dan VII Speaks of the Ancient of days, he means the oldest man, our Father Adam, Michael; he will call his children together, & hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He, (Adam) is the Father of the human family & presides over the Spirits of all men, & all that have had the Keys must stand before him in this great Council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him & there is given him glory & dominion.--Adam delivers up his Stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the Keys of the Universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family."
In other words, Adam retains some of his authority but delivers his larger stewardship up to Christ. This is consistent with the quote I've already given that "Adam acts under the direction of Christ," and implies that the phrase "Adam next" indicates that Adam is next in authority under Christ.
Another important quote from July 9, 1843, "After God had created the Heavens and the Earth. He came down and on the sixth day said let us make man in our own image. In whose image. ln the image of Gods created they them. Male and female: innocent harmless and spotless bearing the same character and the same image as the Gods. And when man fell he did not lose his image but his character still retaining the image of his maker Christ who is the image of man is also the express image of his fathers person so says Paul. For in him Christ dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Why because He was the brightness of his glory; and the express image of his person. Ques. What person Gods person. Hebrews 1st chap 3 verse And through the atonement of Christ and the resurrection and obediance in the Gospel we shall again be conformed to the image of his Son Jesus Christ, then we shall have attained to the image glory and character of God." Here, Joseph taught that Christ was the maker of Adam. This is another vote for him as Jehovah in the Nauvoo endowment, which again places him in greater authority, or in a higher exaltation if you like, than Micheal/Adam. He also says that in Christ dwelt the "fulness of the Godhead bodily." In other words, Christ was the fullest embodiment of God on earth, and it seems like JS would have applied that description to Adam, not Christ, if he had believed that Adam was God the Father.
All of that being said, I do think it's possible that JS taught that Adam was the Father of our spirits though still being under Christ (see my first post in this thread; it really is worth a read if you haven't yet), and if JS equated Adam with the Holy Ghost in some sense then it's conceivable that JS taught that Adam was the father of Jesus Christ's body in the immaculate conception sense (attributed in the scriptures to the Holy Ghost). This would be fairly similar to Brigham's version of Adam-God, just with a reverse order of roles. Essentially, I believe that JS may have attributed spiritual fatherhood of the human race to Adam, but maintained that Christ was an exaltation ahead of Adam, and that God the Father was of course above Christ. This would make God the Father the Father of Jesus Christ, the grandfather of Adam, and the great grandfather of the human family. Fun stuff.
I don't think it's accurate to say that he taught the apostles because he knew he wouldn't be able to teach it in this life. In an earlier post I demonstrated that JS was teaching most or all of the King Follet sermon content, which is foundational to what we are talking about, as early as 1840. That would have been plenty of time to teach it openly multiple times, but instead he appears to have largely held it back. It's more likely that he taught these doctrines we are debating privately to his apostles and other of his inner circle who he felt were prepared to receive. This is a pattern he commonly follows, keeping the inner circle more up to date and only introducing things to the more public church later on, perhaps when he felt they were more receptive or otherwise prepared.
Early church history, especially, JS' teachings, theology, and texts are a passion of mine, and where there is strong evidence, I will continue to make my case. I'll try not to so confrontationally!