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MWarbinek

McCconkie Letter to Eugene England / Adam God

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I have read numerous arguments between members and non-members about the Adam-God theory, Brigham Young and McConkie Vs Eugene England. Where even former members stand taking issue because they have grabbed and taken to heart bad information.

What I present here is factual information that bears personal witness and clarification by a member of the LDS Church. I present this with the intention to quell further misinformed posts on these matters and encourage the faithful to return to the Lord.

By link, I present a web page written by a member (Eldon Watson) of the LDS Church, who had spoken to the (past)Prophet Spencer Kimball about the denouncement of the Adam-God Theory and to Bruce McConkie about the Letter to Eugene England.

Link: >> Adam-God / McConkie Letter to Eugene England - (Note: McConkie information near the bottom of that web page)

In reading this web page, he provided a personal witness based from his conversations with the actual persons (Kimball & McConkie) on the matter of their statements.

Kimball who said in the 1976 General Conference;

Another matter. We hope that you who teach in the various organizations, whether on the campuses or in our chapels, will always teach the orthodox truth. 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.

(Kimball's denouncement of the Adam God Theory)

Eldon Watson spoke to Kimball and clarified that he (Spencer Kimball) denounced the theories of people toting the name "Adam-God", and did not denounce Brigham Young or what Brigham Young had said.

Read Eldon's web page, first link above.

Eldon Watson also elaborated on Brigham Young's speeches on the matter of Adam. Also qualifying what I had felt, that Brigham Young did not teach or speak in any manner that contradicted himself at any time. That it was by misinterpretations and issue making caused by unedified people that created such an image of Brigham Young.

What Eldon Watson also said in his webpage was that Brigham Young was a man who did say things that "appeared" as contradictory, but if a person took the time to learn better of him, would find the reason for such behaviour as legitimate. This I whole heartily concur, that Brigham Young, being a great prophet, did catch many unaware and short. Says something to being prepared and seeking edification from the Lord through his Spirit.

Now as for McConkie.

Eldon had stated in his web page (as a witness), that he spoke directly with McConkie on the matter of that letter to Eugene England. The result of it was that McConkie apologized for misunderstanding and said that he (McConkie) was the one who was wrong in making the statements he made to Eugene England.

Now, this does not speak on any specific "alleged" copy that anti-Mormon web sites show, but it addresses the source himself. It also shows that the McConkie letter was not doctrine, and this shows that he (& we) are as human as anyone else.

Therefore the letter to Eugene England stands as corrected and stands as "canceled", because of the apology from McConkie himself. Forgive and let it go.

This proves that no one denounced Brigham Young, that anti-Mormons breed only fear and contention and their claims should be thrown aside. For people to follow any such information will only serve to harm themselves.

This shows the importance to take "personal issues" with the Church and its authorities to the Lord to resolve. If I sought to contend against this Church or anyone in it, and started my own "intellectual" search and study on the matter, from a spirit of contention, I would not find truth but only contention. Hence this would fuel the issue even more, and blindly, I might add.

If I seek to understand, humbling myself to the Lord for understanding, be patient and faithful, then the answer would come in the Lord's timing. Then my faith would not fall and my "intellect" and intellectual pursuits would be saved from harmful information.

Amen

Mark

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HI,

So....Adam Jr. is a man, but Adam Sr. is God? Does the church really teach that concept? Where can I find more support for that therory?

Mark

John 1:12

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I recommend the book "Conflict in the Quorum" for an interesting recount of the different reactions among the council of the 12 to Brigham Young's teachings about Adam and God. I don't know where Orson Pratt is right now, but I'm sure he's very happy at the Church's current stance towards that doctrine.

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Mark,

It's late (1.15am) so I am not taking much time to go into this, but I think you'll find that opinions on this subject vary very widely. If you read the FAIR entries on Adam/God the majority of the writers accept that Young taught Adam/God, at least for some part of his life, but that it never became doctrine and was his personal opinion. For me the evidence seems quite overwhelming, unless you engage in some acrobatic semantics.

Elden (not Eldon) Watson's opinions and his claims regarding his encounter with McConkie is his word only, as recorded in the link you gave, but we have McConkie's own written words in the letter he penned to England. That is irrefutable. It is also clear that McConkie may have held contradictory views on this subject himself, and he may have been genuinely confused, or he may have been playing the milk/meat game with Watson and his colleagues.

On most counts, however, the majority of LDS commentators say that Young taught Adam/God but was wrong in that teaching. Any contrary (minority) view, as advocated on these threads, will have to be debated further.

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I always pull for the underdog. I have always thought that McConkie was being rude, thumping his chest, and huffing his authority around in the Eugene England letter.

I'm right, you're wrong, if you can't reconcile it, it's your problem.

Sounds like Brigham Young, doesn't it?

Maybe Bruce and Brigham are incarnations of old what's-his-name...

Machiavelli?

:P

(Allow me satirical license with my own grandfather.)

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HI,

So....Adam Jr. is a man, but Adam Sr. is God? Does the church really teach that concept? Where can I find more support for that therory?

Mark

John 1:12

Here is the link again to that web page, put here for easy clicking instead of scrolling. When you get to that page, scroll down to the title "Two Adams".

Two Adams

The way Eldon Watson refers to Adam Sr. and Adam Jr. is an analogy of what we have in the world in its same likeness. Where the Father is named "John Sr." and he named his son after him as "John Jr".

Eldon Watson shows how this is taken from doctrine (scripture) and gives those references. He also said that Brigham Young did not make a practice of using the Sr/Jr designations.

From what I take of this, is that it is a higher understanding Brigham Young imparted, to which an understanding came from interpretation of the scriptures and personal revelation from the Lord, as he was the prophet.

Mark

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To RayA:

It's late (1.15am) so I am not taking much time to go into this, but I think you'll find that opinions on this subject vary very widely.

Yes, many many opinions, but I stay away from opinions unless someone's statement(s) shows edification. Then it is not an opinion but an edified understanding. The moment I see personal issue injected into someone's idea, that ends it. Edification, which is established by the Lord through his Spirit, is not opinion, but the mind of God and certainly has much greater value for each of us to edify each other.

This is why I endeavour to speak from edification and stay away from opinion unless it is needed to speak personal opinion. If so, then I state it as, "I believe"; or "It appears"; or "it is my view"; etc. And I keep "opinion" where it belongs, away from my faith and doctrines of the Lord.

It is like a man cannot enter the temple unless he is sanctified, which gives him the temple recommend. An opinion is not sanctified, so it stays "outside" until it is, or it is permanently removed.

It was important to clarify my position on this.

If you read the FAIR entries on Adam/God the majority of the writers accept that Young taught Adam/God, at least for some part of his life, but that it never became doctrine and was his personal opinion.

This is why I explained what I did above.

Brigham Young's teachings, sermons, etc are all edified. I found him to restrict his "opinion" as I do. As with Bruce McConkie, he got into a pickle because he used doctrine and his edified understanding prematurely and to speak in an "opinionated" way. It is a human failing in all of us and it is hard at times to temper. At least for those who seek to temper it.

I say this about "opinion" versus "edification" because of where I am in my own spiritual understanding of the human mind and heart. This knowledge has kept me strait, faithful and persistent in seeking truth and not opinion. It has allowed me to better distinguish the words of others, as to whether it is opinion or edified. I am sure you have noticed how I speak to opinions.

So, from where I stand, Brigham Young spoke from edification and it can be used to assist us in our studies. It is a thing of "good report". Just as the Church quotes C.S. Lewis a lot and he was never a member.

Elden (not Eldon) Watson's opinions and his claims regarding his encounter with McConkie is his word only, as recorded in the link you gave, but we have McConkie's own written words in the letter he penned to England.

Ray, it is the value of a witness. One that has direct knowledge and experience on the matter that provides facts. Elden Watson spoke to McConkie directly, that makes it more than "his word only". To discount it in any manner is to call him a liar. There is nothing to show that man lied or misled.

Where as the Anti-Mormons are in a different position. They did not speak to McConkie but harbour ill thought toward him and use his words in a negative way.

Having read the words of Elden Watson, it settles the matter for me and for me to take McConkie's letter and continue to harp on it would, when McConkie has apologized, make me contentious and disobedient to the Lord.

--- because then I failed to "forgive" him and we all know what the Lord tells us about those who refuse to forgive. And it is then a false judgment on my part to continue judging and condemning the man. It is like beating a man beyond what he deserves. He apologized, admitted his error. End it there.

That is irrefutable. It is also clear that McConkie may have held contradictory views on this subject himself, and he may have been genuinely confused, or he may have been playing the milk/meat game with Watson and his colleagues.

It does not matter. McConkie was chosen by God to be an apostle. He is as fallible as all of us and in the scriptures, all men of God have shortcomings. Such shortcomings are to be viewed in context of forgiveness, not resentment or other dark emotion. Love thy neighbour is a simple place to start.

If I inject these suspicion games, I would go crazy with conspiracy theories and the sort, that leads into an endless twist. To me, this makes a wide door for evil to seed into my heart and I will not do that.

Remember the words of God. How we judge another, so shall we also be judged the same way? I follow that.

Ray, I have been there. Because of my childhood, I had enough of emotional suspicions hurled and contrived because of fear, hate, resentment, personal issue that never dies, etc. It ate at my heart, twisted my mind and burned at my soul. I stay away from doing this. If I get caught into it, I repent it to the Lord and seek his help. Doing this clears my "intelligence" of unneeded baggage.

On most counts, however, the majority of LDS commentators say that Young taught Adam/God but was wrong in that teaching. Any contrary (minority) view, as advocated on these threads, will have to be debated further.

That is your choice Ray, but mine. I make every effort to stop fueling any issues I have and face them myself, privately with God. It gains much much more peace that way and it is an exercise of faith. Plus who is qualified to judge the words of Brigham Young? Is it the opinionated? Is it people who have not the spiritual position as did Brigham Young? Is God telling them that Brigham Young is wrong and to attack his words?

Consider this. Someone authors a letter, and another person takes it and debates and argues with the author. The author tries to explain and end it, but the person continues, and goes on and on and on. This continues and continues, now many months and the person's efforts increase each time the author tries to explain and end it.

I am sure many of us experienced such a "person" in our lives. Do I need to describe the darkness this breeds?

I hope you see my position on this. My place with the Lord is too important to me to sacrifice it for "opinions" of others and endless debates.

Amen

Mark

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Yes, many many opinions, but I stay away from opinions unless someone's statement(s) shows edification. Then it is not an opinion but an edified understanding. The moment I see personal issue injected into someone's idea, that ends it.  Edification, which is established by the Lord through his Spirit, is not opinion, but the mind of God and certainly has much greater value for each of us to edify each other.

This is why I endeavour to speak from edification and stay away from opinion unless it is needed to speak personal opinion. If so, then I state it as, "I believe"; or "It appears"; or "it is my view"; etc.  And I keep "opinion" where it belongs, away from my faith and doctrines of the Lord.

Quite breathtaking, really.

I now understand it's totally pointless debating you.

I'm afraid I have more productive ways to spend my life.

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I think one really has to perform some mental gymnastics to believe that BY was simply referring to Heavenly Father (i.e. Elohim) by another name (Adam). Although E. Watson goes to great lengths to try to prove this theory, it is just too much of a stretch in my opinion.

This quote from E. Watson's website also bothers me:

In October of 1982 a letter was made public which had been written on February 19, 1981 by Bruce R. McConkie in response to some questions which had been asked him by Eugene England. In this response Br. McConkie told Brother England that Brigham Young had apparently taught that Adam [Jr.] was God, but that he was simply wrong. When this letter was printed and distributed by an anti-Mormon group, we went to Br. McConkie and told him that we had been teaching differently than him, and we did not want to be teaching anything that was incorrect. We told Br. McConkie that if we were wrong, we wanted to know, and we would quit teaching it. After considerable discussion Br. McConkie told us to keep teaching what we had been teaching, because it was he that was wrong. He said if he had known of our views, he never would have said what he did in his letter to Eugene England, and we had his permission to tell anyone we wanted that Br. McConkie had said he was wrong in saying that Brigham Young had taught that Adam was God.

If B. McConkie actually admitted that he was wrong to have said that BY taught the Adam-God theory, then why didn't McConkie write a letter of clarification to E. England? Is there any other documentation (i.e. written documentation) to prove that B. McConkie eventually agreed with E. Watson's assertions?

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If B. McConkie actually admitted that he was wrong to have said that BY taught the Adam-God theory, then why didn't McConkie write a letter of clarification to E. England?  Is there any other documentation (i.e. written documentation) to prove that B. McConkie eventually agreed with E. Watson's assertions?

That's precisely the point I've been trying to make. Yet we have written evidence, from McConkie's own hand, claiming that Young was wrong in his teaching of Adam/God. But Mark is expecting us to take a second-hand account, trusting Watson about what McConkie supposedly said to him.

But don't burst your brain with Mark. If he thinks the Spirit told him something, as far as he's concerned it's God speaking to him and God can't be wrong. No other evidence, or the lack thereof, can rebut what God told Mark. Even Joseph Smith can get the Canadian revelation wrong, but Mark can't get anything wrong.

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What I think is ridiculous is that people take McConkie's letter as doctrine. As if Elder McConkie had the authority to contradict a President of the Church on doctrinal matters. :P

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Quite breathtaking, really.

I now understand it's totally pointless debating you.

I'm afraid I have more productive ways to spend my life.

It is a choice. In what will edify me. Will belaboring endless issue making help my path to God? Will endless debate serve our edification or just fuel personal issues that people always inject into a situation or point?

The Lord says our responsibility is to focus to him and forgo our will, and personal ideas to be edified. To change our carnal mind to the spiritual. I know there is no way to do this by opinions and endless debates on an endless twist of issues that will never resolve between people.

Applied to the McConkie letter is this.

He apologized for his error. It says what he did in that letter was an act that was premature on his part and did not take the time to properly inform himself. It was a human trait - error. It ends the matter. He made an error, discard the letter, go back to Brigham Young and the Lord.

It is what issue makers do all the time and so do the Anti-Mormons. They justify their actions by focusing an endless fault finding. It is a trick used by Satan to catch and bind us in chains and I have been there before. It becomes obsessive to the point that true spiritual faith is lost in the process because we are snagged into contentious debate of wanting to find one fault or another. Instead of spending our time to weed these snags out of ourselves and not allow opinionated ideas to drag us down and take us from our faith.

We can debate McConkie's mind, his intentions, his faults, and his errors so much that the man of God part is removed. But that will be to a spiritual demise, I assure you.

Mark

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To RayA:

But don't burst your brain with Mark. If he thinks the Spirit told him something, as far as he's concerned it's God speaking to him and God can't be wrong. No other evidence, or the lack thereof, can rebut what God told Mark. Even Joseph Smith can get the Canadian revelation wrong, but Mark can't get anything wrong.

That is the difference in faith. With all my shortcomings and errors as a human being, I follow the Spirit of the Lord as the Lord teaches in his gospel, the prophet and Church teach, even the Bible. It is the spiritual & right thing to do.

What I see in this quote from your post is the "baiting into debate". Sorry, this is what I weed out. People in endless opinion are never at peace or satisfied.

It is hard to dispute someone's free choice to say, "it is ended", isn't it?

Mark

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What I think is ridiculous is that people take McConkie's letter as doctrine.  As if Elder McConkie had the authority to contradict a President of the Church on doctrinal matters.  :P

I'm not taking McConkie's letter as doctrine. What I find interesting, however, is the fact that McConkie admits that BY DID in fact teach the Adam-God doctrine during at least part of his tenure as prophet of the church. If McConkie came to such a conclusion, I don't think it's unreasonable for me or anyone else to come to the same conclusion.

From McConkie's letter:

Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true. He expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel. But, be it known, Brigham Young also taught accurately and correctly, the status and position of Adam in the eternal scheme of things. What I am saying is that Brigham Young, contradicted Brigham Young, and the issue becomes one of which Brigham Young we will believe. The answer is we will believe the expressions that accord with the teachings in the Standard Works.

It's disturbing to me that a prophet of God could teach something so much in error about the very nature of God. I understand that the Adam-God theory never became an official doctrine of the church and that it contradicts LDS accepted scripture, but the fact that BY taught it in a conference-like setting is deeply troubling. How would you react if President Hinckley got up next conference and proclaimed some completely outlandish doctrine such as John the Baptist was actually the Savior? That would be blasphemous wouldn't it? Even if the church never accepted such a statement as official doctrine it would certainly call into question President Hinckley's capacity as prophet, seer and revelator.

I don't expect perfection from the apostles and prophets. I understand that they make mistakes. However, when it comes to their sermons, they shouldn't be leading the church astray by teaching false doctrines.

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Well, since I personally believe that Brother Watson wasn't lying about his encounters, I tend to put Elder McConkie's opinions (in his personal letter) about Brother Brigham's teachings in the garbage can.

I have looked at a lot of material on the subject. There are quite a few things that anti's claim Brigham taught that are simply twists on his words. Then there are other things Brigham taught that were misrecorded. And then there are things he taught that are just plain weird. I've talked with other believing members who accept the idea that Adam (i.e. the guy who fell in the garden of Eden) was the father of our spirits. We've discussed these things at great length. All I can say is that I don't understand it all at the present time.

There are actually some sermons of Brigham that seem to support the idea that the name Adam is actually a title, and so I favor Br. Watson's ideas a little. Of course, there is also some conflicting evidence. And then there are sermons that demonstrate that Brigham distinguished between Adam and Heavenly Father. So, maybe the best take is the Br. Stephen E. Robinson's; it is all just a hiccup that we can't explain at present. :P

Best,

Zeta-Flux

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Well, since I personally believe that Brother Watson wasn't lying about his encounters, I tend to put Elder McConkie's opinions (in his personal letter) about Brother Brigham's teachings in the garbage can.

I have looked at a lot of material on the subject. There are quite a few things that anti's claim Brigham taught that are simply twists on his words. Then there are other things Brigham taught that were misrecorded. And then there are things he taught that are just plain weird. I've talked with other believing members who accept the idea that Adam (i.e. the guy who fell in the garden of Eden) was the father of our spirits. We've discussed these things at great length. All I can say is that I don't understand it all at the present time.

There are actually some sermons of Brigham that seem to support the idea that the name Adam is actually a title, and so I favor Br. Watson's ideas a little. Of course, there is also some conflicting evidence. And then there are sermons that demonstrate that Brigham distinguished between Adam and Heavenly Father. So, maybe the best take is the Br. Stephen E. Robinson's; it is all just a hiccup that we can't explain at present. :P

Best,

Zeta-Flux

I concur.

I also confirm that no one here can definitely say that the things Brigham Young had said are truly false.

Why? - Because no one, including me, is edified enough to know the Lord's mind on the matter. The best anyone can say is "it seems that it contradicts standing doctrine". Just like it "seemed" to the Pharisee's that the work performed by Jesus on the Sabbath contradicted the doctrine they had. The principle in this is the same. It was not until much later that the "contradicting" doctrine of Jesus Christ became understood and finally accepted.

This says that it is not the "doctrine" expounded by Brigham Young that is the problem, it is the people who are not ready to receive it, and instead they "rend" it.

By this, we see the reason that the General Authority continues to preach the milk and honey, and speak less on the "meat".

When God decides that we are ready for more scripture on the Adam and God precepts, he will give it. It is the same process as was in the Old Testament. The doctrines in the New Testament did not come to the people until it was God's timing to give it.

BY that, this says, as it was in the Old Testament, we are directed to continue in faith with what we have thus far that has been established as scripture. To harbour a trend that goes beyond the spiritual capabilities of the Church membership would cause this Church to step into unstable ground. This means the people would not be able to sustain deeper or higher knowledge and that can be far more damaging than "errors" of members.

There is an eternal perspective to this and personal perspectives do not serve us rightly on such matters as these.

Amen

Mark

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I don't expect perfection from the apostles and prophets. I understand that they make mistakes. However, when it comes to their sermons, they shouldn't be leading the church astray by teaching false doctrines.

This would seem to imply that your operating assumption is that the Church was not astray prior to the introduction of the allegedly false doctrines.

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