Thomas G. Alexander discusses Brigham's teachings concerning "eternal progression" including his theology of Adam; concludes that the Adam-God teaching was a "mistake."

Thomas G. Alexander

Thomas G. Alexander, "God, Humankind, and Eternal Progression: Brigham Young and Church Doctrine," in Steadfast in Defense of Faith: Essays in Honor of Daniel C. Peterson, ed. Shirley S. Ricks, Stephen D. Ricks, and Louis C. Midgley (Provo, UT: Interpreter Foundation; Salt Lake City: Eborn Books, 2023), 299-316

Eborn Books, Interpreter Foundation
Thomas G. Alexander, Brigham Young, Adam
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In recent years a number of people have criticized Young for mistakes he made, and some have criticized him for supposedly making mistakes he did not make, such as ordering the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In a sermon in 2013, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf rightly said, “To be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.” Young’s preaching of the Adam-God and blood atonement doctrines were mistakes.

On the other hand, Young taught much for which we should be grateful. He encouraged the Saints by teaching them that if they were faithful they could become gods and goddesses and create worlds from preexisting matter as our God did. He offered one way to defend a belief in God against atheism. He rejected the belief of some that the earth was only six thousand years old, and he preached that it could be millions of years old. He urged the Saints to listen to science and to accept truth wherever they found it. He told them that if they did not achieve everything necessary to reach the highest degree of the celestial kingdom here on earth, they could do so after death. Some Church members consider this doctrine heresy. I, as a fallible human being, hope that he was right. He helped members to understand the value of suffering. On both the religious and secular side, most members followed his directions, and in doing so they founded nearly 350 settlements in Utah and surrounding states during Young’s lifetime.

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