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consiglieri

Adam-god Theory--let's Really Talk About This!

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This may be slightly off the mark for what you wanted to discuss, so please forgive me, but I've recently researched this so it's fresh in my mind...

I was hung up for a while on this subject and got a little frustrated trying to untangle and reconcile all of Brigham Young's own statements with each other. What is clear though is that Brigham Young did not equate God the Father (Elohim) with Adam (The Father of the Human family). He also made it clear that his teaching on this subject was not essential to our salvation. As we know the Journal of Discourses has never been considered a source for infallible official doctrine, and the method of its recording (second hand from extemporaneous discourses given by President Young) is subject to error, so regardless of which scholar you side with on this issue, you will inevitably stumble upon persuasive arguments from contrary viewpoints.

Something I've found particularly instructive on this subject has been taking this issue in prayer to the temple and reading the Book of Moses chapters 2-4 (paying particular attention to the additional details it provides compared to Genesis). I'm still not complete in my understanding on this (not expecting that in my lifetime by the way :-), but it has given me a greater appreciation for Adam's role (as a son of a loving Father, whose children we also are), and I've felt a much stronger connection to Adam as my great, great, great...etc grandfather and for the love that he has for all of his posterity (which is in it's own way very similar to the love Elohim has for us)...

Adam's role was glorious as the head of the human family, and I think we will forever be grateful to him for the part he played in God's plan of salvation. Any reconciliation attempt by a scholar must take into account the foundational truth that Elohim and Adam are distinct individuals. Often we focus on the Savior (which is appropriate), but forget the love Adam must have had for God and for his posterity that enabled him to serve in the very sacred role he did for us. Paul makes an important connection between Adam and Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:43-58 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_cor/15/43-58#43) I think the mere fact that there are so many disparate opinions on this and no clear statement on this from the Lord's own lips (in canonized scripture that meets the D+C 107 standard for approved doctrine), should lead us to caution about coming to any definite conclusions on this matter for the time being.

This Chapter has some essential statements from Joseph Smith about Adam that help to clarify certain aspects of Adam's role in relation to Christ and Heavenly Father:

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgne...contentLocale=0

Side question: I've never heard that Adam was taught to be the son of Jesus (grandson of Jehovah as you mentioned in your post). I've always understood that he like Jesus was a brother in the human family of Elohim. Can you site the actual quote from BY on that? I think that may be a misinterpretation, but maybe there's a quote I haven't come across yet...

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The quote you are thinking of may be from Brigham Young, not Joseph Smith.

"Adam was made from the dust of an earth, but not from the dust of this earth. He was made as you and I are made, and no person was ever made upon any other principle." (JD vol. 3, p.319).

Thank you! No wonder I couldn't find it in TPJS!

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In other words, Watson not only has to posit two "Adams" and two "Eves," but two "eatings of the tree."

Well, it begs two questions that if Watson were correct and the Father ate of the tree, became Adam and physically begot Adam.

1. Is the Father not subject to his own laws. He ate, ergo he should die.

edit add...I don't how God could impugn himself. I am sure he was aware he was going to make it a commandment prior to. Assuming he is following an established pattern of creation that was shown him by his Father. That would be like saying Cain was guiltless, because Moses had not scribbled down...Do not kill. In fact, Cain was punished in the light of no given law at all.

2. This concept not only flies in the face of my own evangelical conceptions, but also with the LDS conception that Jesus was the only Son begotten in the flesh.

....I can only agree it makes no sense. Since I really don't have a dog in the race, I'll shut up.

My only conclusion is that BY departed from LDS doctrine. Or LDS doctrine has departed from Brigham Young.

Seems the former is preferred tack, as the latter would indicate the CoJCoLDS has been in the dark on the matter since Young's passing.

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Well, it begs two questions that if Watson were correct and the Father ate of the tree, became Adam and physically begot Adam.

1. Is the Father not subject to his own laws. He ate, ergo he should die.

2. This concept not only flies in the face of my own evangelical conceptions, but also with the LDS conception that Jesus was the only Son begotten in the flesh.

....I can only agree it makes no sense. Since I really don't have a dog in the race, I'll shut up.

My only conclusion is that BY departed from LDS doctrine. Or LDS doctrine has departed from Brigham Young.

Seems the former is preferred tack, as the latter would indicate the CoJCoLDS has been in the dark on the matter since Young's passing.

You're right. That kind of interpretation is inherently problematic from both Evangelical and LDS theology for the reasons you describe.

From the LDS perspective it is also equally tenuous for scholars to try to clarify positions upon which the Prophets since Brigham young have not seen fit to elaborate (apart from condemning the Adam-god theory outright - see this article by former Church President, Spencer W. Kimball http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgne...&hideNav=1). It leads to stumbling blocks and takes time away from what might be spent on more fruitful adventures through the canonized, tried and true scriptures.

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Side question: I've never heard that Adam was taught to be the son of Jesus (grandson of Jehovah as you mentioned in your post). I've always understood that he like Jesus was a brother in the human family of Elohim. Can you site the actual quote from BY on that? I think that may be a misinterpretation, but maybe there's a quote I haven't come across yet...

Thanks for your thoughtful post, mp!

I will leave the citations to others more adept than I, but I would like to clarify--Brigham Young did not teach that Adam was the son of Jesus; rather he taught that Jesus was the son of Adam (just as most modern LDS think of Jesus being the son of Elohim).

That sounds confusing until you realize that Brigham Young did NOT think Jesus and Jehovah were the same person.

Hope that helps.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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That sounds confusing until you realize that Brigham Young did NOT think Jesus and Jehovah were the same person.

Okay, that one threw me for a loop...

I'd like to read up on that if you have the reference (a PM will do if you don't want to get into it here...)

I've never heard that that doctrine was introduced later...

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STOP THE PRESSES!!!

Watson gives away the game when he says that even he is not able to make everything Brigham Young said on the subject fit his theory.

He "estimates" the percentage of uncooperative statements by Brigham Young at 2%.

What does Watson do with these 2% that cannot, by hook or by crook, be forced to fit his theory?

Easy!

Those 2% were the result of "incomplete or inaccurate reporting." :P

I'm not kidding. Here is the quote:

In interpreting Brigham Young's comments, one must therefore determine by the context of the discourse whether he was speaking of Adam Sr. or Adam Jr. This simple process will relieve 98% of the difficulties encountered in understanding Brigham Young's discourses on the topic of Adam.

* * *

Ninety-eight percent of all of Brigham Young's problematic discourses on Adam-God can be correctly understood by ascertaining from the context whether he is speaking of Adam Sr. or of Adam Jr.

The Remaining Two Percent

Those problematic discourses of Brigham Young which are not so simply resolved are all caused by either incomplete or inaccurate reporting, . . .

So Watson admits that even he, as motivated and creative as he is, cannot reconcile all of Brigham Young's statements on the subject.

The answer to this problem, however, is not in Watson's theory, but in the statements themselves.

In short, Watson says that if a statement by Brigham Young does not support his theory, the statement must be incorrectly reported.

Are any red flags starting to go up?

Here, Watson violates an essential element of logic, which ironically was told another Watson by Sherlock Holmes--"You must twist the theory to fit the facts, not the facts to fit the theory."

Game over!

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Okay, that one threw me for a loop...

I'd like to read up on that if you have the reference (a PM will do if you don't want to get into it here...)

I've never heard that that doctrine was introduced later...

Don't let it throw you for a loop, man. It's not that big a deal.

But Brigham Young was clear that Jesus was the spirit son of Adam, who is the God of this world.

Those quotes are a dime a dozen, they are so plentiful.

It is not so easy to find a quote specifically addressing the subject of Jehovah's relation to Jesus.

But inasmuch as Brigham Young did teach that Jesus was Adam/Michael's spirit son; and inasmuch as Brigham Young knew full well (from the temple, if from no other place) that Jehovah is superior to Michael; it is not too great a stretch to conclude that Brigham Young felt Jesus and Jehovah were different people.

Once again, don't let it throw you for a loop. The relationship of the Gods to each other and to us is not critical to know. In fact, I do not claim to know.

All I claim is that Brigham Young taught some things that Watson has failed to reconcile with current LDS teaching.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Don't let it throw you for a loop.

Don't worry, my testimony is safe :P

....It seems out of step with scriptures like:

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/110

And much of the Book of Mormon where Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:

1 Ne. 19: 10 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_ne/19/10#10)

Mormon 9:10 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/morm/9/10-13#10), keeping in mind what is meant by Jesus being the Father and the Son in Mosiah 15 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/mosiah/15)

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But inasmuch as Brigham Young did teach that Jesus was Adam/Michael's spirit son; and inasmuch as Brigham Young knew full well (from the temple, if from no other place) that Jehovah is superior to Michael; it is not too great a stretch to conclude that Brigham Young felt Jesus and Jehovah were different people.

Hmmm. I'm with you, but something in me is still hesitant on that interpretation of Brigham's statements taken in summation. Again we're back to what can be gleaned from Moses chapters 2-4 I think (reading in the temple is key)...

Elohim delegated the creation of the Earth to Jesus Christ and Michael...

All things were created spiritually according to the Book of Moses, before they were created physically...

I don't want to say more because I think the Spirit should take it from there...

Give that some prayerful consideration sometime and see what comes of it...

Mark

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Don't worry, my testimony is safe :P

....It seems out of step with scriptures like:

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/110

And much of the Book of Mormon where Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:

1 Ne. 19: 10 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/1_ne/19/10#10)

Mormon 9:10 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/morm/9/10-13#10), keeping in mind what is meant by Jesus being the Father and the Son in Mosiah 15 (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/mosiah/15)

I agree with you that it may seem out of step with the scriptures. I believe that Brigham Young's teaching that Jesus is Adam's spirit son, and would hence be in an inferior state to Adam, is perhaps the most problematic.

Good to hear about your testimony.

I want it to be safe.

As, I am sure, would Brigham Young.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Hmmm. I'm with you, but something in me is still hesitant on that interpretation of Brigham's statements taken in summation. Again we're back to what can be gleaned from Moses chapters 2-4 I think (reading in the temple is key)...

Elohim delegated the creation of the Earth to Jesus Christ and Michael...

All things were created spiritually according to the Book of Moses, before they were created physically...

Hesitation is not a vice.

But for clarity's sake, we should recall that the two involved with Elohim in the creation of this world were Jehovah and Michael, not necessarily Jesus Christ and Michael.

Although we cannot, and should not, speak of temple content here on the board or elsewhere, I think it is fair to say what the endowment does not contain, and the endowment nowhere equates Jehovah with Jesus Christ.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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Just a few things to clarify on which I believe you assumed from Watsons text, but were not actually written.

Elohim and Heavenly Mother created this earth and begot all the spirit children who would come to this earth in the pre-mortal existence.

Elohim then created this earth.

Elohim now needs to create Adam with a physical body.

How does Elohim do this?

Elohim comes down to the Garden of Eden and eats of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

You are assuming this. Watson states that it was the fruit of the garden. He does not say it was of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We could just as easily assume it being the fruit of the tree of life, but we shouldn't. There were other fruits as well.

Why?

So that, through some process most closely analagous to transubstantiation, Elohim and Heavenly Mother can now beget a physical child, which they know will be a boy, and who will be Adam. (It is not clear why Elohim and Heavenly Mother have to eat from a tree to have a physical child, as opposed to a spirit child, but there you have it. It is also not clear whether Adam, like Venus, sprang forth fully formed as an adult, or whether Adam was born as a little baby and then was raised in the Garden by Elohim and Heavenly Mother. These are questions left unaddressed by the Watson theory, and probably for good reason.)

Transubstantiation? Really? I see it more as consuming the materials that are necessary to beget the types of body they are trying to beget. Perhaps this is a necessity to make the distinction between Spirit bodies and Physical bodies. As for whether Adam sprang forth as an adult, or was born as a baby...your finding of that quote for me helped!

Then, once Adam is an adult, Eve is created. (Here, the Watson theory fails us again in that it does not provide a means for the creation of Eve, unless she is another physical offspring of Elohim and Heavenly Mother; or unless he holds to the literal taking of Eve from the rib of Adam. Either way, Watson cannot avail himself of the idea taught by Brigham Young that Adam and Eve came here from another world as resurrected beings, because he has specifically taken those words from Brigham Young and applied them to Elohim and Heavenly Mother, reinterpreting Brigham Young's "Adam and Eve" to mean "Elohim and Heavenly Mother.")

Nothing important here, just that the text of Watsons discourse did not say that Eve was created after Adam was an adult. It says Adam was born and grew up to be Adam and a girl was born who grew up to be Eve. It never states that Eve was born AFTER Adam reached adulthood. And I don't see how the Watson theory fails us, because he explicitly states he believes Eve was born of our Heavenly Parents as was Adam.

Next Adam and Eve eat of the same tree that Elohim and Heavenly Mother previously ate of. As a result, Adam and Eve are cast out of the garden. (For some reason unexplained by the Watson Theory, Elohim and Heavenly Mother did not suffer the same dire consequence as Adam and Eve upon eating the fruit; maybe because Elohim hadn't made it a commandment to not eat of the tree before he and Heavenly Mother did so?)

In other words, Watson not only has to posit two "Adams" and two "Eves," but two "eatings of the tree."

Once again, you are stretching the interpretation. No where does it say it was the tree of good and evil.

By this time, even the most ardent Watson Theorist should be getting a little suspicious.

Only when applying your stretching it interpretations.

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Hesitation is not a vice.

But for clarity's sake, we should recall that the two involved with Elohim in the creation of this world were Jehovah and Michael, not necessarily Jesus Christ and Michael.

Although we cannot, and should not, speak of temple content here on the board or elsewhere, I think it is fair to say what the endowment does not contain, and the endowment nowhere equates Jehovah with Jesus Christ.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

One last thought (Yes we can't speak of temple content here, so I'll try to be subtle). Notice the physical gestures when the Savior is mentioned. The First Presidency oversaw every aspect of the production of the temple films and approved it.

I'll leave it at that since we're on sacred ground here...

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Only when applying your stretching it interpretations.

Do you not find Watson's requirement of two "Adams," two "Eves" and two "eatings of the fruit" a tad convenient?

And I anxiously await your response to my post that begins "Stop The Presses!!!"

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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One last thought (Yes we can't speak of temple content here, so I'll try to be subtle). Notice the physical gestures when the Savior is mentioned. The First Presidency oversaw every aspect of the production of the temple films and approved it.

I'll leave it at that since we're on sacred ground here...

I understand what you're getting at, but at the same time, we're talking about two different times. Remembering that Jehovah and Eloheim can be used as titles, and fittingly any Son and Father relationship, what one equates with the creation does not necessarily have to equate to the goings on in the Garden, especially since the creative period (it would seem) had ended.

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Additionally, the phrase, "Mother Eve was the daughter of Adam," even if taken at face value as an accurate transcription of Brigham Young's words, does not need the Watson theory to decipher it; it simply seems to have reference to the idea that Eve was taken from Adam's side; and hence Adam stood in relation to her as a father, since Adam had "the seed in him."

Calling this statement evidence that Brigham Young considered "Elohim" to be "Adam, Sr." is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?

Really, don't you think so?

This one that you have highlighted was probably the last straw for me. Eldon Watson is doing what "apologists" sometimes do. Taking the facts and molding and shaping them to fit into the accepted box. His explanation for this was quite a stretch.

Also, as a female this suggestion that men "have the seed" but women are just the ground--we are not able to promulgate our species is offensive, chauvinistic and ridiculous by 21century biology. My reaction on reading a lot of this was a big "OH BROTHER!"

Elden Watson did not make Adam-God any more acceptable than BYoung did.

I'm with Orson Pratt on this one. He never caught Pres. Young's vision on this nor his belief that God was still growing and learning in knowledge. Pratt disagreed and never gave in-- I agree with OPratt and I'm very glad that Elder Pratt's views were the ones that survived.

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1. In June 1835, William W. Phelps states that we have the opportunity to "become archangels". [1] Joseph taught that angels are "resurrected or translated" beings [2] and that Adam was "Michael the Archangel". [3] The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "archangel" as "a chief angel". Joseph said that "spirits can only be revealed in flaming fire or glory. Angels have advanced further, their light and glory being tabernacled... Angels have advanced higher in knowledge and power than spirits." [4]

This is an interesting quote.

It makes perfect sense that "Michael the Archangel" must have been an angel by Joseph's definition: a resurrected or translated being. (see D&C 129)

This is clearly NOT what the church teaches today. Michael the Archangel is taught to have been a Spirit, because in this case we have already decided that Adam was a spirit child of Eloheim and has never had a body. It sure seems to me that President Young saw things differently.

Richard

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Do you not find Watson's requirement of two "Adams," two "Eves" and two "eatings of the fruit" a tad convenient?

And I anxiously await your response to my post that begins "Stop The Presses!!!"

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

Convenient? I still think you're stretching. The two Adams and Eves I have 0 problem with. The eating of the fruit...well..Adam was told he could eat of all of the fruit of the garden except that of the tree of good and evil. Sounds to me that fruit seemed to be the food of choice in the garden. Would you have felt less inclined to view it as convenient if they ate pork chops instead? (insert here the view of homer simpson in the garden of eden parody)

Let me re-read your "Stop The Presses" post and I'll get back to you.

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I understand what you're getting at, but at the same time, we're talking about two different times. Remembering that Jehovah and Eloheim can be used as titles, and fittingly any Son and Father relationship, what one equates with the creation does not necessarily have to equate to the goings on in the Garden, especially since the creative period (it would seem) had ended.

I was speaking pre-garden when talking about the Creation...

I don't want to elaborate too much though so I'll leave it to your ponderin'

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This one that you have highlighted was probably the last straw for me. Eldon Watson is doing what "apologists" sometimes do. Taking the facts and molding and shaping them to fit into the accepted box. His explanation for this was quite a stretch.

Also, as a female this suggestion that men "have the seed" but women are just the ground--we are not able to promulgate our species is offensive, chauvinistic and ridiculous by 21century biology. My reaction on reading a lot of this was a big "OH BROTHER!"

Elden Watson did not make Adam-God any more acceptable than BYoung did.

I'm with Orson Pratt on this one. He never caught Pres. Young's vision on this nor his belief that God was still growing and learning in knowledge. Pratt disagreed and never gave in-- I agree with OPratt and I'm very glad that Elder Pratt's views were the ones that survived.

Not to try to derail anything, but I think that a chavinistic and offensive idea is not correct. The woman NEEDS the seed to promulgate our species. He in no way is saying that you can't promulgate the species. In fact, you do pretty much everything BUT initially carry the seed. I don't think at all he was trying to be offensive, but I do believe it was correct in his interpretation.

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...

2. This concept not only flies in the face of my own evangelical conceptions, but also with the LDS conception that Jesus was the only Son begotten in the flesh.

....I can only agree it makes no sense. Since I really don't have a dog in the race, I'll shut up.

...

Adam wasn't in the flesh (i.e. mortal) when he was begotten, though, according to Watson, McConkie, et al. According to them he was begotten in immortality and then fell. My understanding of what Watson's theory is is that Elohim/Adam and his wife came and ate regular food from the garden for awhile in order to "physicalize" themselves so they could procreate physical babies. They did not partake of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil. Then they procreated Michael/Adam and Eve, raised them, and married them to each other.

I understand Brigham Young as teaching, though, that God the Father and one of his wives came down and ate of the fruits of the Garden and then partook of the Tree of knowledge of Good & Evil and fell and then had children (Cain, Abel, Seth, etc.). He seems to have thought that Adam and Eve "did not lay their bodies down in the dust"(Nuttall Journal 2/7/77) but somehow were translated to heaven like Moses (see Oct. 8, 1854 talk). If Adam held the keys of the resurrection and could lay his life down and take it up again (as Joseph Smith noticed that Jesus had seen him do) then maybe in Gen. 5:5 the word for "died", "muwth", was originally "muwr" -- to change or remove.

edit: Since Adam's kids were not begotten by him while he was God, the Savior would still be the Only Begotten.

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A couple of you brought this up, but I want to revisit it. This from Watson's article;

Adam was not a resurrected being

One of the worst misconceptions which has been caused by incorrectly interpreting some of Brigham Young's statements is that Adam and Eve were resurrected beings when they entered the garden of Eden. Correct doctrine respecting this topic is most easily demonstrated by reviewing some of Amulek's teachings in the 11th chapter of the Book of Alma in the Book of Mormon. In verse 45, Amulek states:

While I absolutely agree that claiming Adam was a resurrected being who then came to earth and died would be absolutely contradictory, I'm pretty sure BYoung DID teach this.

I wish I had the book--I've mentioned it here a couple of times "Conflict in the Quorum". I know there was a comment by Orson Pratt that he understood BYoung as teaching that Adam and Eve had come back to earth (after being resurrected) to live as mortals, so I'd say Elden Watson is wrong. Orson Pratt also found this to be contradictory with scripture--but he implies that is what BYoung was teaching--and he was a contempory! Do we really think that Orson Pratt misunderstood Pres. Young also?

I ask...is there something wrong with just believing that some of BYoung's ideas were incorrect? I'm a faithful member with a strong testimony of the gospel and I personally don't have any problem believing Pres. Young may have been wrong in some of his theories--or at least in parts of his theories.

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You're right. That kind of interpretation is inherently problematic from both Evangelical and LDS theology for the reasons you describe.

From the LDS perspective it is also equally tenuous for scholars to try to clarify positions upon which the Prophets since Brigham young have not seen fit to elaborate (apart from condemning the Adam-god theory outright - see this article by former Church President, Spencer W. Kimball http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgne...&hideNav=1). It leads to stumbling blocks and takes time away from what might be spent on more fruitful adventures through the canonized, tried and true scriptures.

Emphasis mine. You make a good point.

I suppose the difficulty of the matter, is that the shepherd in charge seemed to have instructed the flock on the matter.

I think the formal statement by Kimball indicates only that a different shepherd would teach a different thing or at the very least try and throw a blanket over the laundry pile.

It seems a little far reaching to say that BY thought something other than what he said about it.

Choosing to ignore it, may resolve the issue for many. However, for the more inquisitive it will most likely remain an enigmatic "Huh?"

Until this thread I haven't paid much heed to the other threads on Adam-God.... I always thought it was to speculative to think about much. So I didn't.

Taking a deeper look at the issue...I believe there is more to it than meets the eye....but at present all I can say "Huh?"

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I ask...is there something wrong with just believing that some of BYoung's ideas were incorrect? I'm a faithful member with a strong testimony of the gospel and I personally don't have any problem believing Pres. Young may have been wrong in some of his theories--or at least in parts of his theories.

This really is the crux of the whole issue.

The only reason Watson went to such lengths to come up with his theory was to make it so that "some of BYoung's ideas were NOT incorrect."

The only reason some people seem to accept Watson's theory is because they themselves cannot come to grips with the idea that "some of BYoung's ideas were incorrect."

I think it is better to see things as they really are and then see how we stand; rather than seeing things how we would like them to be, and then forcing everything else to fit the mold.

All the Best!

--Consiglieri

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