Adam-God and the Endowment Ritual


Brigham Young taught that Adam was God, the physical Father of Jesus Christ, and that he took Mary as his wife. This was believed by Mormon leaders. For example, Mormon Apostle Abraham H. Cannon wrote in his Journal about his father, Apostle George Q. Cannon:

"He (George Q.) believes that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and that Adam is His Father and our God: that under certain unknown conditions the benefits of the Savior's atonement extend to our entire solar system. . . . He asked me what I understood concerning Mary conceiving the Savior; and as I found no answer, he asked what was to prevent Father Adam from visiting and overshadowing the mother of Jesus. Then said I: "he must have been a resurrected Being." "Yes," said he, "and though Christ is said to have been the first fruits of them that slept, yet the Savior said he did nothing but what He had seen His Father do, for He had power to lay down His life and take it up again. Adam, though made of dust, was made, as President Young said, of the dust of another planet than this." I was very much instructed by the conversation and this days services." (Source: BYU Library, Special Collections; June 23, 1889.)

In 1877 Brigham Young caused L. John Nuttall, his private secretary, to transcribe the endowment ceremony in a book now in the LDS Archives in Salt Lake City. Fortunately, Elder Nuttall also transcribed part of the temple ritual's "lecture at the veil" into his own personal diary (Journal 2: December 1876 - August 1877), which is in the BYU Special Collections, in Provo, Utah. The "lecture" reveals that Brigham Young's "Adam-God Doctrine" was taught in the temple ceremonies:

MEMORANDA
---***---

In January 1877, shortly after the lower portion of the St. George Temple was dedicated, President Brigham Young, in following up in the Endowments written, became convinced that it was necessary to have the formula of the Endowments written, and he gave directions to have the same put in writing.
Shortly afterwards he explained what the Lecture at the Veil should portray, and for this purpose appointed a day when he would personally deliver the Lecture at the Veil. Elder J.D.T. McAllister and L. John Nuttall prepared writing material, and as the President spoke they took down his words. Elder Nuttall put the same into form and the writing was submitted to President Young on the same evening at his office in residence at St. George. He there made such changes as he deemed proper, and when he finally passed upon it said: This is the Lecture at the Veil to be observed in the Temple.
A copy of the Lecture is kept at the St. George Temple, in which Presi-dent Young refers to Adam in his creation &c.
/s/ L. John Nuttall
For Presidents W. Woodruff
Geo. Q. Cannon
Jos. F. Smith
June 3, 1892
Salt Lake City (Source: L. John Nuttall Papers; BYU Special Collections, Mss 188, Letterpress copy book #4, p. 290.)

Here follows Brigham Young's early "lecture at the veil," excerpted from Elder Nuttall's Journal:

In the creation the Gods entered into an agreement about forming this earth. & putting Michael or Adam upon it. these things of which I have been speaking are what are termed the mysteries of godliness but they will enable you to understand the expression of Jesus made while in Jerusalem. This is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. We were once acquainited [acquainted] with the Gods & lived with them but we had the privilige of taking upon us flesh that the spirit might have a house to dwell in. we did so and forgot all and came into the world not recollecting anything of which we had previously learned. We have heard a great deal about Adam and Eve. how they were formed &c some think he was made like an adobie and the Lord breathed into him the breath of life. for we read "from dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return" Well he was made of the dust of the earth but not of this earth. he was made just the same way you and I are made but on another earth. Adam was an immortal being when he came. on this earth he had lived on an earth similar to ours he had received the Priesthood and the Keys thereof. and had been faithful in all things and gained his resurrection and his exaltation and was crowned with glory immortality and eternal lives and was numbered with the Gods for such he became through his faithfulness. and had begotten all the spirit that was to come to this earth. and Eve our common Mother who is the mother of all living bore those spirits in the celestial world. and when this earth was organized by Elohim. Jehovah & Michael who is Adam our common Father. Adam & Eve had the privilege to continue the work of Progression. consequently came to this earth and commenced the great work of forming tabernacles for those spirits to dwell in. and when Adam and those that assisted him had completed this Kingdom our earth he came to it. and slept and forgot all and became like an Infant child. it is said by Moses the historian that the Lord caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took from his side a rib and formed the woman that Adam called Eve-this should be interpreted that the Man Adam like all other Men had the seed within him to propagate his species. but not the Woman. she conceives the seed but she does not produce it. consequently she was taken from the side or bowels of her father. this explains the mystery of Moses's dark sayings in regard to Adam and Eve. Adam & Eve when they were placed on this earth were immortal beings with flesh. bones and sinews. but upon partaking of the fruits of the earth while in the garden and cultivating the ground their bodies became changed from immortal to mortal beings with the blood coursing through their veins as the action of life. Adam was not under transgression until after he partook of the forbidden fruit that was nesesary that they might be together that man might be. the woman was found in trans-gression not the Man- Now in the law of Sacrifice we have the promise of a Savior and man had the privilege and showed forth his obedience by offering of the first fruits of the earth and the firstlings of the flocks- this as a showing that Jesus would come and shed his blood
[Four lines without any writing on them.]
Father Adam's oldest son (Jesus the Saviour) who is the heir of the family is Father Adams first begotten in the spirit World. who according to the flesh is the only begotten as it is written. (In his divinity he having gone back into the spirit World. and come in the spirit [glory] to Mary and she conceived for when Adam and Eve got through with their Work in this earth. they did not lay their bodies down in the dust, but returned to the spirit World from whence they came.
I felt myself much blessed in being permitted to associate with such men and hear such instructions as they savored of life to me-

(Source: Journal of L. John Nuttall; BYU Special Collections; Pres. Brigham Young; delivered in St. George; Wed., Feb. 7, 1877. This was the first draft of the Lecture at the Veil. Brother L. John Nuttall was the private secretary to President Brigham Young until his (Brigham's) death in 1877. He then became the private secretary to President John Taylor (1879-1887) and again to President Wilford Woodruff (1887-1892):

This doctrine was believed by most Mormons at the time. However, Apostle Orson Pratt opposed it, and argued against it. For more documentation on the "Adam-God Doctrine" the reader is directed to:

Gary James Bergera, "The Orson Pratt-Brigham Young Controversies: Conflict Within the Quorums, 1853 to 1868," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought vol. XIII (Summer 1980) No. 2, pp. 7-49.

David John Buerger, "The Adam-God Doctrine," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought vol. XV (Spring 1982) No. 1, pp. 14-58.

Culley K. Christensen, The Adam-God Maze (Scottsdale, AZ: Independent Pub., 1981) [ISBN 0-9608134-0-3] P.O. Box 8375, Scottsdale, AZ.

Jerald and Sandra Tanner, LDS Apostle Confesses Brigham Young Taught Adam-God Doctrine: A Startling Letter Written by Apostle Bruce R. McConkie and Other Important Documents. (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1982).

All of the above are fully documented and some have extensive photos of original documents which prove this was taught and believed by Mormons.

Go on to The Adam-God Doctrine: Documentary Evidence that it was Taught.

Back to The Mormon Temple Endowment Homepage.


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