The Adam–God doctrine (or Adam–God theory) was a theological doctrine taught in mid-19th century Mormonism by church president Brigham Young, and accepted to some degree by later presidents John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff, and by apostles who served under them in the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Although rejected today by the LDS Church, the doctrine is still an accepted part of the modern theology of some Mormon fundamentalists. According to Young, he was taught by Joseph Smith that Adam is "our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do".
According to the doctrine, Adam was once a mortal man who became resurrected and exalted. From another planet, he then came as Michael to form Earth. Adam brought Eve, one of his wives, with him to Earth, where they became mortal by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. After bearing mortal children and establishing the human race, Adam and Eve returned to their heavenly thrones where Adam serves as God and is the Heavenly Father of humankind. Later, Adam returned to the Earth to the ancient prophets, and to become the literal father of Jesus.
During the 19th century and early-20th century, the Adam–God doctrine was taught in LDS Church meetings, sung in church hymns, and featured as part of the church's endowment ceremony. However, the doctrine was startling to Mormons when it was introduced, and remained controversial. Other Mormons and some breakoff groups, the most notable being apostle Orson Pratt, rejected the doctrine in favor of other theological ideas. Eventually, the Adam–God doctrine fell out of favor within the LDS Church and was replaced by a theology more similar to Pratt's, as codified by turn-of-the century Mormon theologians James E. Talmage, B. H. Roberts, and John A. Widtsoe. In 1976, LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball stated the LDS Church does not support the doctrine. Presently, most Mormons accept Adam as "the Ancient of Days", "father of all", and "Michael the Archangel", but do not recognize him as being "God the Father".
Though Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, never used the term "Adam–God" in any of his recorded public statements, he provided several teachings from which Adam–God adherents draw support. For example, Smith taught in an 1839 sermon that Adam was actually the archangel Michael, who held the First Presidency in the pre-mortal life. In the same sermon, Smith taught that Adam holds "the keys of the universe", so that it is through his authority that all priesthood "keys" (i.e., the abilities to unlock particular priesthood powers) are revealed from heaven. In 1840, Smith taught that Adam is the one "through whom Christ has been revealed from heaven, and will continue to be revealed from henceforth." Finally, Smith taught in his 1844 King Follett discourse that God was once a man "like one of us".
Brigham Young and other adherents of the Adam–God doctrine claim that Smith was the originator of the doctrine, and that Smith privately taught them the doctrine before his death in 1844. However, the prevailing academic view is that the Adam–God doctrine taught by Young and others was an elaboration of Smith's vague references to Adam's unique role in Mormon doctrine. Although Young is generally credited with originating the doctrine, the original source could also have been Young's counselor in the First Presidency Heber C. Kimball.
Description of the doctrine
Under the Adam–God doctrine, Adam had a number of roles. First, he was a creator god who, with his wife Eve, had become gods by living a mortal life, becoming resurrected, and earning their exaltation. As a god before the creation of the Earth, he was known as Michael, or the "Ancient of Days". Michael was not the only creator god, however, as he was a member of a council of Earth's creator gods, which also included the gods "Elohim" and "Jehovah". In Joseph Smith's original endowment ceremony, the gods involved in the creation were called "Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael", but unlike in modern Mormon theology, "Jehovah" was not identified as Jesus. Rather, it was explained by Joseph F. Smith that "Elohim, Jehovah and Michael are Father, Son, and Grandson. They made this Earth and Michael became Adam." Within this council, Jehovah and Michael were subordinate to Elohim, and created the Earth under the direction of Elohim. Michael was selected by the heads of this council of gods to be the Father of this Earth.
Second, the doctrine teaches that Michael was the father of the spirits in heaven who are associated with this Earth. With Eve, and possibly his other wives, Michael had fathered the spirits of spirit offspring in the preexistence. These spirits included Jesus, his firstborn, and Lucifer (the fallen angel who Mormons believe is Satan). Michael became the heavenly "Father", and formed a "Godhead" that included Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Third, the doctrine teaches that Michael came to the Earth with one of his wives, where they became known as Adam and Eve, and became the progenitor of the human race and the father of mortal bodies of all his spirit offspring, so that they could progress and achieve godhood like themselves. The names "Adam" and "Eve" are titles that reflect their roles as the parents of humanity, Adam meaning man or "[father] of mankind", and Eve meaning the "mother[s] of all living". The privilege of peopling the Earth was part of Adam and Eve's eternal purpose as exalted beings and eternal parents of their spirit children. To bear mortal children, Adam and Eve had to take on mortal bodies. The bodies of Adam and Eve fell to a mortal state when they ate the fruit of tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.
Fourth, after Adam's mortal life, the Adam–God doctrine teaches that Adam returned to his throne and reigned as the immortal God of this Earth. He is thus considered to be the Biblical God of Israel. This process was described by Joseph Smith as "Adam-ondi-Ahman, or Adam is/becomes God". Smith stated that Adam's ascension to godhood took place at, or following, a gathering at a holy place of the same name. Smith taught that a similar gathering is to prelude the second coming of Christ.
History of the doctrine
Brigham Young's 1852 announcement
Whether or not Smith had taught the doctrine, the first recorded explanation of the doctrine using the term "Adam–God" was by Young, who first taught the doctrine at the church's spring general conference on April 9, 1852. This sermon was recorded stenographically by George D. Watt, Young's private secretary, who was an expert in Pitman shorthand. Watt published the sermon in 1854 in the British periodical Journal of Discourses; the publication was endorsed by Young and his counselors in the church's First Presidency.
In Watt's transcript of the sermon, Young said he intended to discuss "who it was that begat the Son of the Virgin Mary", a subject which he said "has remained a mystery in this kingdom up to this day". The transcript reads:
When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken—He is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later.
The transcript then reads: "When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family". Young explained that Adam "was begotten by his Father in heaven" in the same way that Adam begat his own sons and daughters, and that there were "three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael". Then, reiterating, he said that "Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven."
Young concluded, "I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and overrighteous mankind .... Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation."
Further development by Young
In a special conference on August 28, 1852, Young explained in greater detail the mechanism by which celestial beings like Adam and Eve could give birth to mortal offspring. According to Young, when a couple first become gods and goddesses, they first begin to create spiritual offspring. Then, they begin creating "mortal tabernacles" in which those spirits can dwell, by going to a newly created world, where they: "eat and drink of the fruits of the corporal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies, to enable them according to the established laws to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children" (Young 1852b, p. 13). This is what Adam and Eve did, Young said, and "Adam is my Father". (Young 1852b, p. 13).
On February 19, 1854, Young reiterated the doctrine in a sermon. He also reiterated the doctrine at the October 1854 general conference, in a sermon that was reported to have "held the vast audience as it were spellbound" In the October conference, Young is reported as clarifying that Adam and Eve were "natural father and mother of every spirit that comes to this planet, or that receives tabernacles on this planet, consequently we are brother and sisters, and that Adam was God, our Eternal Father."
When Young discussed the doctrine again in early 1857, he emphasized again that "to become acquainted with our Father and our God" was "one of the first principles of the doctrine of salvation", and that "no man can enjoy or be prepared for eternal life without that knowledge". Nevertheless, he later said:
Whether Adam is the personage that we should consider Our Heavenly Father, or not, is considerable of a mystery to a good many. I do not care for one moment how that is; it is no matter whether we are to consider Him our God, or whether His Father, or his Grandfather, for in either case we are of one species of one family and Jesus Christ is also of our species.
Initial reactions to the doctrine
The reaction within the Mormon community to Young's Adam–God teachings was mixed. While many accepted the doctrine, others regarded it as misguided, or interpreted it to adhere to their prior understanding.
Young's initial 1852 announcement of the doctrine was greeted by some as prophetic. For example, the clerk of the conference, Thomas Bullock, recorded that during Young's sermon, "the Holy Ghost rest[ed] upon him with great power". In a session of general conference the next day, Heber C. Kimball stated his agreement that "the God and Father of Jesus Christ was Adam". Another apostle, Franklin D. Richards, accepted the doctrine "that Adam is our Father and our God" as well, stating in a conference held in June 1854 that "the Prophet and Apostle Brigham has declared it, and that it is the word of the Lord".
Kimball readily adopted Young's views, and preached on June 29, 1856, that "I have learned by experience that there is but one God that pertains to this people, and He is the God that pertains to this earth—the first man. That first man sent his own Son to redeem the world."
A number of hymns acknowledging this doctrine were sung in local congregations of the LDS Church. One published in 1856, entitled "We Believe in Our God", stated: "We believe in our God the great Prince of His race, / The Archangel Michael, the Ancient of Days, / Our own Father Adam, earth's Lord, as is plain".
The first line of a poem published in 1861, titled "Sons of Michael", stated: "Sons of Michael, he approaches! / Rise; the Eternal Father greet". The poem is included as a hymn in the current LDS Church hymnal, but the wording has been altered from "Eternal Father" to "ancient father".
Acceptance of the doctrine by the LDS Church continued through the 19th century. George Q. Cannon, a member of the First Presidency, when asked by his son about the conception of Jesus by Mary, asked "what was to prevent Father Adam from visiting and overshadowing the mother of Jesus[?]"
Resistance to the doctrine
However, some prominent members of the church took issue with the doctrine. Most significantly, apostle and philosopher Orson Pratt disagreed with the doctrine, and expressed that disagreement publicly and in private meetings with other apostles. Pratt also published his disagreement in his publication The Seer for which he was censured.
Pratt did, however, teach similar doctrines in the same publication. For example, he stated that on the way to exaltation, one would have to "pass by" and "pay tribute to" various apostles and prophets, then Jesus, and "at length ... Father Adam." He said many would be surprised and humiliated, after passing by Jesus, to find "Father Adam" standing there; however, he said, "those are ideas which do not concern us at present, although it is written in the Bible—'This is eternal life, to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.'"
Pratt continued to debate the issue in public forums for months, despite being rebuked privately and publicly by Young on more than one occasion (Bergera 1980, pp. 13–16), until 1860, when faced with possible disfellowshipment from the church for teaching false doctrine, Pratt agreed to the language of a public confession affirming the doctrine as "the doctrine of the church." This confession was negotiated during a series of meetings among the church hierarchy (Bergera 1980).
A less open opposition to the doctrine may have been carried out by Mormon editors Samuel W. Richards and Franklin D. Richards who, according to one researcher, interpreted the idea of Adam being "our God" or "our Father" as meaning merely that Adam, as the first mortal man, stands at the head of the human family. For instance, "the Lord made Moses a god to Pharaoh" (Exodus 7:1) and as Paul was "as Christ Jesus" to the Galatians (4:14). In this way, Adam as our great progenitor, will preside over the human family as "father and God."
Adam–God in Young's later administration
After the public debates between Young and Pratt subsided in 1860, Young continued to maintain his belief in the doctrine, but may have been disappointed that the people did not give the doctrine universal acceptance. In 1861, he stated:
Some years ago, I advanced a doctrine with regard to Adam being our father and God, that will be a curse to many of the Elders of Israel because of their folly. With regard to it they yet grovel in darkness and will. It is one of the most glorious revealments of the economy of heaven, yet the world hold derision. Had I revealed the doctrine of baptism from [sic] the dead instead Joseph Smith there are men around me who would have ridiculed the idea until dooms day. But they are ignorant and stupid like the dumb ass.
Nevertheless, Young and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continued to discuss the doctrine. In 1873, Young again taught the doctrine publicly, and indicated that when Adam came to the Earth, he left behind many wives other than Eve at the place from which Adam came; however, he said he was "not disposed to give any farther knowledge concerning ... the great and glorious doctrine that pertains to this". "How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which is revealed to them, and which God revealed to me—namely that Adam is our father and God .... Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or ever will come upon the earth".
Just before his death, Young took steps to ensure that the Adam–God doctrine was taught in the church's temples as part of the endowment ceremony. In 1877, while he was standardizing the endowment for use in the St. George Temple, Young introduced as part of the endowment the "lecture at the veil." The final draft of the lecture is today kept private in the St. George Temple. There are those who believe that Young's personal secretary recorded Young's dictation of the lecture in his personal journal. A portion of that journal entry reads as follows:
Adam was an immortal being when he came. on this earth he had lived on an earth similar to ours … 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 .... 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.
After Young's death
There is some controversy as to whether or not Young considered Adam–God to be official church doctrine. At the end of his 1852 sermon, he stated, "Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation." Nevertheless, in 1854, after a great deal of controversy concerning the doctrine, Young minimized the importance of the doctrine, stating that the "subject ... does not immediately concern yours or my welfare .... I do not pretend to say that the items of doctrine and ideas I shall advance are necessary for the people to know".
After Young's death, church leaders began to cast the various interpretations of this teaching as mere speculation and denied that any particular interpretation was binding on the church. In 1897, Joseph F. Smith, then an apostle and counselor in the First Presidency, wrote a private letter concerning Young's teachings on Adam, stating:
The doctrine was never submitted to the councils of the Priesthood nor to the church for approval or ratification, and was never formally or otherwise accepted by the church. It is therefore in no sense binding upon the Church. Brigham Young's "bare mention" was "without indubitable evidence and authority being given of its truth." Only the scripture, the "accepted word of God," is the Church's standard.
Beginning around 1892, church leaders privately decided to no longer publicly teach the doctrine. In a private meeting held on April 4, 1897, church president Wilford Woodruff said. "Adam is our father and God and no use to discuss it with [the] Josephites [Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] or any one else."
In 1892, the doctrine was publicly opposed in St. George, Utah, by Edward Bunker. The First Presidency—Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith—traveled to St. George to address the issue. Records of the meeting state that Bunker was corrected: "Pres Woodruff and Cannon showed ... that Adam was an immortal being when he came to this earth and was made the same as all other men and Gods are made." "The doctrine preached and contended for by Father Edward Bunker of Bunkerville was investigated, condemned and Father Bunker set right. Presidents Woodruff and Cannon present."
As early as 1902, apostle Charles W. Penrose claimed, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has never formulated or adopted any theory concerning the subject treated upon by President Young as to Adam."
Current position of the LDS Church
Eventually, the doctrine was publicly denounced as false by LDS Church leaders. In 1976, church president Spencer W. Kimball stated, "We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine."
In 1980, apostle Bruce R. McConkie gave a speech elaborating upon the church's position towards the Adam–God theory:
There are those who believe or say they believe that Adam is our father and our god, that he is the father of our spirits and our bodies, and that he is the one we worship.
The devil keeps this heresy alive as a means of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the scriptures, and anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone who has received the temple endowment and who yet believes the Adam–God theory does not deserve to be saved.* Those who are so ensnared reject the living prophet and close their ears to the apostles of their day. "We will follow those who went before," they say. And having so determined, they soon are ready to enter polygamous relationships that destroy their souls.We worship the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and Adam is their foremost servant, by whom the peopling of our planet was commenced.
Later the same year, apostle Mark E. Petersen stated:
Adam was not our God, nor was he our Savior. But he was the humble servant of both in his status as an angel. ...
God had only one begotten son in the flesh. But Adam had many, including Cain and Abel and Seth. He lived nearly a thousand years. He could have had hundreds of children in that time.
Then how could it be said by anyone that he had "an only begotten" son? How could all of his other children be accounted for? Were they not all begotten in the flesh?
Were Cain and Abel and Seth and their brothers and sisters all orphans? Was any child ever begotten without a father? Adam was their father, and he had many sons. In no way whatever does he qualify as a father who had only one son in the flesh.
Yet God our Eternal Father had only one son in the flesh, who was Jesus Christ.
Then was Adam our God, or did God become Adam? Ridiculous!
Adam was neither God nor the Only Begotten Son of God. He was a child of God in the spirit as we all are (see Acts 17:29). Jesus was the firstborn in the spirit, and the only one born to God in the flesh. ...If any of you have been confused by false teachers who come among us, if you have been assailed by advocates of erroneous doctrines, counsel with your priesthood leaders. They will not lead you astray, but will direct you into paths of truth and salvation.
Acceptance by Mormon fundamentalists
Adherents of Mormon fundamentalism generally accept the Adam–God doctrine.
The LDS Church's disavowal of the doctrine contributes to what fundamentalists perceive to be a general intellectual or spiritual retreat by the church from doctrines felt to be excessively challenging to their preconceptions. Along with the practice of plural marriage, belief in the Adam–God doctrine became a defining aspect of the Mormon fundamentalist movement.
Apostolic United Brethren
The Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), a fundamentalist Mormon group, accepts the Adam–God teaching, and their leader Joseph W. Musser wrote a book on it in the 1930s. In the book, Musser contended that the rejection of the doctrine by the LDS Church can be linked to its rejection of plural marriage, which occurred around the same time:
And let us here remind the reader that as long as belief in the Patriarchal order of marriage and other advanced principles of the Gospel was maintained, the minds of the Saints were open and receptive. ... But with the surrender of the glorious principle of Celestial Marriage—a union for time and eternity—came darkness, mental drowsiness, a detour from the Gospel path, until all sorts of speculation pertaining to the plan of Salvation was indulged in.
School of the Prophets
The School of the Prophets spoken of in the book Under the Banner of Heaven claims revelation showing that Young was inaccurate in some points of his Adam–God teachings, but otherwise he was correct. The understanding from these revelations is that Jesus was the Only Begotten Son in the flesh of the Savior of the previous Earth where the father of all Spirits, Michael/Adam, had his mortal probation. The lineage of Michael/Adam, which includes all but Jesus on this Earth, will never become saviors of worlds. Thus the Adam–God doctrine of Young is simply a fuller understanding of the New Testament doctrine of joint-heirs with Christ.
- Minutes of Meeting, at Historian's Office; Great Salt Lake City; 7 P.M. April 4, 1860 "It was Joseph's doctrine that Adam was God &c When in Luke Johnson's".
- Young (1852, p. 50) (statement given in the general conference of the LDS Church on April 9, 1852).
- Journal of Discourses 7:285–90.
- Doctrine and Covenants 138:38–39.
- Roberts (1905, pp. 385–86) (Before the world was formed, the First Presidency "was first given to Adam .... He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures."); Quinn (1998, p. 234) (doctrine of Adam as Michael and as premortal First President cited as a precursor for the Adam–God doctrine).
- Roberts (1905, p. 387) ("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.").
- Quinn (1998, p. 234) (Adam's assignment of the keys of the universe cited as a precursor for the Adam–God doctrine).
- Roberts (1908, p. 207); Quinn (1998, p. 234) (Adam-as-mediator doctrine cited as a precursor for the Adam–God doctrine).
- Larsen (1978, p. 8 (online ed.)) (God "once was a man like one of us and ... God Himself, the Father of us all, once dwelled on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did in the flesh."); Quinn (1998, p. 234) (citing teaching that God is an exalted man as a precursor for the Adam–God doctrine).
- Widmer (2000, p. 130); Collier (1999, pp. 228–42); Kraut (1972, pp. 80–97) (same); Christensen (1981, pp. 131–49); Musser (1938, pp. 38, 43–46, 50–57) .
- Collier (1999, p. 229 fn. 12) (citing minutes of meeting of the Quorum of Twelve, 4 April 1860, in which it was recorded: "It was Joseph's doctrine that Adam was God .... God comes to earth and eats and partakes of fruit. Joseph could not reveal what was revealed to him, and if Joseph had it revealed, he was not told to reveal it."); Collier (1999, p. 360) (citing Wilford Woodruff Journal of 4 September 1860, in which George Q. Cannon said "that Adam is our Father [and] is a true doctrine revealed from God to Joseph & Brigham. For this same doctrine is taught in some of the old Jewish records which have never been in print".); Collier (1999, p. 367) (citing Wilford Woodruff Journal of 16 December 1867, stating that "President Young said Adam was Michael the Archangel, & he was the Father of Jesus Christ & was our God & that Joseph taught this principle."); Collier (1999, p. 233) (citing an 1877 reminiscence of Anson Call, who said he heard Smith say: "now regarding Adam: He came here from another planet [as] an immortalized being and brought his wife, Eve, with him, and by eating of the fruits of the earth became subject to death and decay and he became of the earth, earthly, was made mortal and subject to death.").
- Widmer (2000, p. 130); Quinn (1998, p. 234) ("Young's Adam–God teachings were an expansion of Joseph Smith's sermons in 1839-44"); Bergera (1980, p. 48) (stating that there exists "no reliable evidence contemporary to Smith's lifetime which lends support" to the view that Smith taught the Adam–God doctrine, and that Young "was not above inventing support for beliefs where none existed previously").
- Bergera (1980, p. 48) (noting that Orson Pratt and contemporary historian T. B. H. Stenhouse both attributed the doctrine to Kimball).
- Bergera (1980, p. 41) (describing the Adam–God doctrine as "that Adam was at once the spiritual as well as the physical father of all persons born on this world, including Jesus Christ").
- Bergera (1980, p. 15).
- Joseph F. Smith Journal, 6/17/1871)
- Widmer (2000, pp. 131, 133) (describing Michael as a "God in the Council of Gods".); Kirkland (1984, p. 38)
- Widmer (2000, p. 131); Kirkland (1984, p. 38) (citing Joseph Smith's statement in Larson (1978, pp. 202–03)).
- Widmer (2000, p. 131).
- Widmer (2000, p. 131) (stating that Adam was the spiritual father of "Jehovah and Lucifer"; since the advent of 20th century Mormon theology, mainstream Mormons have identified Jehovah as Jesus).
- Widmer (2000, p. 131); Bergera (1980, p. 15).
- Bergera (1980, p. 15) (citing Woodruff (1982, 6 May 1855))).
- Widmer (2000, p. 133).
- Kirkland (1984, p. 39).
- Kirkland (1984, pp. 39–41) (noting that in the late 19th century, several Mormon leaders who still adhered to the Adam–God doctrine began to adopt the modern Mormon belief that the Old Testament deity was also Jesus).
- "Doctrine and Covenants 116". (LDS Church edition). The naming of Adam-ondi-Ahman is also recorded in the History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in volume 2, chapter 9, pages 153–54.
- Widmer (2000, p. 131); Bergera (1980, p. 41) (describing the Adam–God doctrine as "that Adam was at once the spiritual as well as the physical father of all persons born on this world, including Jesus Christ"); Kirkland (1984, p. 39) (Adam "later begot Jesus, his firstborn spirit son, in the flesh").
- Watt (1977).
- Young, Kimball & Richards (1853).
- Young (1852, p. 50).
- Young (1852, p. 50). The full text from Journal of Discourses 1:51 reads as follows: "It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Again, they will try to tell how the divinity of Jesus is joined to his humanity, and exhaust all their mental faculties, and wind up with this profound language, as describing the soul of man, "it is an immaterial substance!" What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation. I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever,that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost."
- Young (1852, pp. 50–51).
- Young (1852, p. 51). Watt's transcript of the sermon was the only known stenographic recording; however, several other witnesses summarized it in their journals. These recountings vary somewhat in wording. For example, attendee Samuel Hollister Rogers wrote several days later, confirming that Young said that when Adam went to the Garden, he "brought his wife or one of his wives with him", that "Adam was the only God that we would have, and that Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost, but of the Father Adam." Brigham Young Addresses 2:12; Samuel Hollister Rogers Journal 145. Young's bodyguard Hosea Stout wrote that night in his diary that "President B. Young taught that Adam was the father of Jesus and the only God to us." Diary of Hosea Stout 2:435 (April 9, 1852). Wilford Woodruff wrote that Young said God went to the Garden of Eden with "one of his wifes", that "Adam is Michael or God And all the God that we have any thing to do with", and "when the VIRGIN MARY was begotton with Child it was By the Father and in no other way ownly as we were begotton." Journal of Wilford Woodruff 4:127–30 (April 9, 1852).
- Young (1852, p. 51).
- Journal of Wilford Woodruff, February 19, 1854.
- Journal of Joseph L. Robinson, October 6, 1854.
- Minutes of the General Conference, Deseret News, October 12, 1853.
- Journal of Joseph Lee Robinson, October 6, 1854. See also Diary of Thomas D. Brown, October 6, 1854, pp. 87–88 ("There are Lords many and there are Gods many, & the Father of our Spirits is the Father of Jesus Christ: He is the Father of Jesus Christ, Spirit & Body and he is the beginner of the bodies of all men"); John Pulsipher Papers, Mss 1041, p. 35–37, BYU Special Collections ("There are Lords many & Gods many But the God that we have to account to, is the father of our Spirits—Adam.").
- Journal of Discourses 4:215.
- Journal of Discourses 4:2217.
- Thomas Bullock, Minutes of the LDS General Conference Deseret News, April 17, 1852, p. 2.
- Journal of Wilford Woodruff, April 10, 1852.
- Franklin D. Richards, reported in "Minutes of the Special General Council", Millennial Star 16:534, 26 August 1854 (emphasis in original).
- Journal of Discourses 4:1.
- Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Liverpool, 1856) p. 375.
- E. L. T. Harrison, "Sons of Michael", Millennial Star 23: 240 (13 April 1861).
- "Sons of Michael, He Approaches", Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hymn 51.
- Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, March 10, 1888, Brigham Young University.
- Journal of Thomas Evans Jeremy Sr., September 30, 1852 ("Also he did not believe that Father Adam had flesh and bones, when he came to the garden of Eden, but he and his wife Eve were spirits, and that God formed their bodies out of the dust of the ground, and the (sic) became a living souls. He also said that he believed that Jesus Christ and Adam are brothers in the Spirit, and that Adam is not the God that he is praying unto."). See generally, Bergera 1980.
- Journal of William Clayton, October 3, 1852.
- Orson Pratt, "The Pre-Existence of Man", The Seer, 1:3, 158–59 (March, October 1853).
- Stephen E. Robinson, "The Apocalypse of Adam", BYU Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, p. 131 ("this was the interpretation of Brigham Young's statement advocated in 1853 by Samuel W. Richards, who, as editor of the Millennial Star and President of the Church in the British Isles, first published President Young's initial sermon on the subject (Millennial Star, December 10, 1853)"; Robinson also argues that Franklin D. Richards, who replaced Samuel W. Richards in this position, also promoted this interpretation).
- Quoted from Manuscript Addresses of Brigham Young Archived December 26, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.. Watt, G.D., transcriber, October 8, 1861, with minor misspellings corrected.
- Collier (1999, p. 229 fn. 12) (citing minutes of meeting of the Quorum of Twelve, 4 April 1860, in which it was recorded: "It was Joseph's doctrine that Adam was God ... God comes to earth and eats and partakes of fruit. Joseph could not reveal what was revealed to him, and if Joseph had it revealed, he was not told to reveal it."). Collier (1999, p. 360) (citing Wilford Woodruff Journal of 4 September 1860, in which George Q. Cannon said "that Adam is our Father [and] is a true doctrine revealed from God to Joseph & Brigham. For this same doctrine is taught in some of the old Jewish records which have never been in print"). Collier (1999, p. 367) (citing Wilford Woodruff Journal of 16 December 1867, stating that "President Young said Adam was Michael the Archangel, & he was the Father of Jesus Christ & was our God & that Joseph taught this principle.")
- Brigham Young (August 31, 1873), Journal of Discourses 16:160.
- Sermon delivered on June 8, 1873. Printed in the Deseret Weekly News, June 18, 1873.
- Journal of L. John Nuttall, personal secretary of Brigham Young, February 7, 1877 in BYU Special Collections. Prefacing the paragraph quoted, L. John Nuttall records in his private journal for 7 February 1877 that after serving that day in the St. George Temple and after taking his evening meal, he attended a meeting with Young, Wilford Woodruff, Erastus Snow, Brigham Young, Jr., and others. This meeting was held in Young's private winter home in St. George, Utah. During the course of the meeting, Young gave some teachings which Nuttall later recorded in his personal journal. It appears that Nuttall recorded Young's instructions on the 8 February, not on the 7th when they were delivered. The claim that Nuttall did not record Young's instructions on the same night they were delivered is made by Fred Collier. Collier notes that, after Nuttall had written the first sentence of paragraph 1B, "[a]t this point Nuttal stopped writing for the ink beginning the next sentence is much lighter and the same as that used for his diary entry of February 8." Collier notes that Nuttall resumed his entry for February 7 with the word "Works" and continues with the rest of his journal entry as set forth in this section. It would appear that Nuttall wrote the majority of that entry on the following day, the 8th.
- Journal of Discourses 1:51.
- October 8, 1854, Historical Department of the Church [HDC].
- Joseph F. Smith, letter to A. Saxey, January 7, 1897, HDC.
- Brigham Young Jr. Journal, April 4, 1897 – February 2, 1899, 30:107; CHO/Ms/f/326, December 16, 1897.
- Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, 2:740–41, June 11, 1892 (typescript pp. 43–44).
- Journal of J. D. T. McAllister, p. 99; BYU, Mor/M270.1/m/v.6, June 11, 1892.
- See, e.g., the Proceedings of the First Sunday School Convention, November 28, 1898; Letter to Bishop Edward Bunker, February 27, 1902; Messages of the First Presidency 4:199–206; Journal of Thomas A. Clawson, 1912–1917, pp. 69–70, April 8, 1912; B. H. Roberts, Deseret News, July 23, 1921; Joseph Fielding Smith,Utah Genealogical Magazine, pp. 146–51, October 1930; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:18, 76–77, 92 (1954).
- Charles W. Penrose, "Our Father Adam", Improvement Era (September 1902): 873, reprinted in Charles W. Penrose, "Our Father Adam", Millennial Star (11 December 1902): 785–90 at 789.
- Van Hale, "What About the Adam-God Theory?," Mormon Miscellaneous response series #3.
- Conference Report, p. 115 (October 1–3, 1976).
- Spencer W. Kimball, "Our Own Liahona," Ensign, November 1976, p. 77.
- BYU Devotional, June 1, 1980. *This is what McConkie said in the audio recording of this sermon. The print version has subsequently been changed to "has no excuse whatever for being led astray by it." Compare PDF text with MP3 audio at 26:48:.
- Mark E. Petersen, "Adam, the Archangel", Ensign, November 1980.
- Musser, Joseph W. Michael, Our Father and Our God. Salt Lake City, Utah: Truth Publishing Company, 1963.
- School of the Prophets (Crossfield)#School of the Prophets
- Bergera, Gary James (1980), "The Orson Pratt–Brigham Young Controversies: Conflict Within the Quorums, 1853 to 1868", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 13 (2): 7–49.
- Briney, Drew, Understanding Adam God Teachings, Privately published hardback book, 2005.
- Broderick, Carl, Jr. (1983), "Another Look at Adam-God (letter to the editor)", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 16 (2): 4–7.
- Buerger, David John (1982), "The Adam-God Doctrine", Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 15 (1): 14–58.
- Christensen, Culley K., The Adam-God Maze, 1981, ISBN 0-9608134-0-3.
- Collier, Fred (1999), President Brigham Young's Doctrine of Deity, 1, Collier's Publishing, ISBN 0-934964-05-X.
- Institute for Religious Research, Adam-God Doctrine.
- Kirkland, Boyd (1984), "Jehovah as the Father: The Development of the Mormon Jehovah Doctrine" (PDF), Sunstone Magazine, 44 (Autumn): 36–44.
- Doddridge, Dennis D, "The Adam-God Revelation", 2012.
- Kraut, Ogden, Michael-Adam, Pioneer Press, 1972.
- Farkas, John, Adam-God Teaching - A Theory or a Doctrine?, 1991.
- Matthews, Robert J., Origin of Man: the Doctrinal Framework.
- Musser, Joseph W., Michael, Our Father and Our God, Truth Publishing, 1938.
- Larson, Stan (1978), "The King Follett Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text", BYU Studies, 18 (2): 193–208.
- Norris, Elwood G., Be Not Deceived, 1978, ISBN 0-88290-101-X.
- Mark E. Petersen, Adam: Who Is He?, Bookcraft, 1976, ISBN 0-87747-592-X.
- Quinn, D. Michael (1998), Early Mormonism and the Magic World View (2nd ed.), Salt Lake City: Signature Books, ISBN 1-56085-089-2.
- Roberts, B. H., ed. (1905), History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 3, Salt Lake City: Deseret News.
- Roberts, B. H., ed. (1908), History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4, Salt Lake City: Deseret News.
- Taylor, Nate (2008), The Unknown God (4th ed.), Messenger Publications, ISBN 1-4382-5122-X.
- Tholson, Craig L., Adam-God, 1991, Publishment, ASIN B0006F6490.
- Turner, Rodney (1953), The Position of Adam in Latter-day Saint Scripture and Theology, B.Y.U. Masters Thesis.
- Watt, Ronald G. (1977), "Sailing the Old Ship Zion: The Life of George D. Watt", BYU Studies, 18: 48–65.
- Widmer, Kurt (2000), Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830–1915, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, ISBN 9780786407767.
- Woodruff, Wilford (1982), Wilford Woodruff's Journal (PDF), Kraut's Pioneer Press.
- Van Hale, "What About the Adam-God Theory", Mormon Miscellaneous, 1983.
- Vlachos, Chris A., Adam is God?, 1979.
- Young, Brigham (April 9, 1852), "Self-Government—Mysteries—Recreation and Amusements, not in Themselves Sinful—Tithing—Adam, Our Father and Our God", in Watt, G.D., Journal of Discourses by Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, His Two Counsellors, the Twelve Apostles, and Others, 1, Liverpool: F.D. & S.W. Richards (published 1854), pp. 46–53.
- Young, Brigham (August 28, 1852), "Address", Deseret News—Extra, Salt Lake City: LDS Church (published September 14, 1852), pp. 11–14.
- Young, Brigham; Kimball, Heber C.; Richards, Willard (June 1, 1853), "Letter from the First Presidency", in Watt, G.D., Journal of Discourses by Brigham Young, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, His Two Counsellors, the Twelve Apostles, and Others, 1, Liverpool: F.D. & S.W. Richards (published 1854), p. 6.
- List of primary sources regarding the Adam–God doctrine (also archived here).