Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Why did Brigham Young teach that Adam is “our Father and our God” when both the Bible and the Book of Mormon (Mormon 9:12) say that Adam is a creation of God (Journal of Discourses, Apr. 9, 1852, vol.1, p.50)?
Dear Brother A____:
Thank you for your question.
Adam's body is a creation. Adam the individual, the spiritual being is -- like you -- eternal and uncreated.
You probably understand the answer to the first part of your question. We know Adam to be our father because he is the first father, the father of our mortal selves.
As to the second part, the definition of God is: The one who holds all knowledge, all priesthood, all truth, all righteousness. Adam, as a repentant, righeous man, as a prophet, as a participant in the creation, and as a holder of all the priesthood keys that have ever been exercised on this earth, appears to fit this definition.
Nevertheless, the Savior Jesus Christ is the God we worship. And our Savior asked us to worship His Father. (Likewise, Adam taught his posterity to worship the Savior and the Father.) So in obedience to these principles, we do as we're commanded and pray only to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ.
Prophets and other righteous beings are to be honored and respected; the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are to be worshipped.
The state of Godhood -- the eternal priesthood -- is available to all righteous, repentant followers of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Adam is one whose calling and election have been made sure, so while it's probably premature (or prescient?) of Brigham Young to describe Adam as a God, it's unlikely to be inaccurate.
We hope this answers your question. If you have further questions, or would like to continue discussing this one, please write again.
--The Practical Mormon
at 1:45 AM
Friday, January 20, 2006
Was Jesus born April 6, 00?
An otherwise-grounded gospel-doctrine teacher of the Practical Mormon's acquaintance argues yes. We're here to argue the contrary.
Our teaching friend is not alone in his assumption. One Richard Kirkham, for example, takes as a given that "Jesus was born at Passover," as does John Pratt.
Here are the scriptures our friend points to in support of his argument:
THE rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April—...(D&C 20:1)Arguments for our teacher's position:
Which church was organized and established in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April...(D&C 21:3)
- Literalists have something to point to.
- We Latter-day Saints are not literalists[*]. Nor are we sign-seekers.
- While April 6th may, interestingly, be the Lord's birthday (those shepherds certainly weren't tending the newborn lambies on winter Solstice), the naming of the year in those D&C scriptures is merely common usage, not a secret insight into the birthdate of Christ.
- Our common dating system is only an approximation of Christ's birth, not a scientifically or historically confirmable year. In fact, Jewish historian Josephus puts Herod's death at 4 BCE. Christ's birth is widely held to have occurred at least the previous year.
- The wording of the revelation is simply the way people wrote (and sometimes still write) formally. You'd do the same thing today in making a sober, serious announcement.
- Revealing the date of the Savior's birth ain't the point of the revelation. The revelations are about the fact of the organization of the Church. It's highly unlikely the Prophet himself ever contemplated that it would be understood to be anything else.
- Practically speaking, the calendar has changed multiple times (thanks, Julius and Gregory) since the time of the Savior. Any given date is just a random assignment, not an inspired one.
- Judaism, like most of the Eastern world, adheres to a lunar calendar, not a solar one. April 6th has no correlation to a lunar calendar.
- The Joseph ben Jacob family wasn't, apparently, in Bethlehem celebrating Passover. They were there for the tax census.
Thus does the Practical Mormon steady the ark on this twentieth day of January, in the Year of Our Lord two thousand and six…er…eleven…er, whatever.
* We don't believe in hell, in the modern sense of the word. We don't believe matter was created; it was organized. We don't believe the world was created in seven 24-hour periods. We don't believe Elohim and Jehovah (or married people, either) are literally One. Shall we go on?
at 2:18 PM