Most Christian people unschooled in Mormon doctrinal history, who are currently being taught LDS doctrine by the full-time Mormon missionaries (those 58,000 some-odd young men and women who wear suits and ties and modest dresses, with badges identifying them as elders and sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) and by the millions of older part-time men and women called ward missionaries, don’t realize what went on in the Salt Lake Utah Valley from 1851 to around 1900; that is, the religious culture of the Mormon people, the god that they worshiped, and the detailed theology surrounding that worship. To be perfectly honest, some of those full-time and ward missionaries ignorantly don’t have any idea about correct Mormon history. The changing doctrines established by the first founding prophet of the Mormon Church, Joseph Smith, from 1830 to 1844, were declared by Smith to be continuing revelations from his god, and thus were rendered by him as cannon scripture (the mind, will, and voice of the Mormon lord). You see, after Joseph Smith was lynched and killed by his detractors in Carthage, Illinois in 1844, Brigham Young, the second prophet, seer, and revelator of the Mormon Church, led the primary component of the multi-splintered LDS Church from Nauvoo, Illinois west to the Salt Lake Valley in order to practice, in virtual isolation, the religion given to them by Joseph Smith. Yet, Young took with him, from Nauvoo, thousands of former Christians who had come from all over the world to follow what they thought were the commandments of Jesus Christ.
This essay is concerned with, and focused on, the primary theological doctrine practiced by the rank-and-file Mormon people, which, in its original form, was concocted, and verbally rendered, by Joseph Smith before his death; and which was expanded by Brigham Young into a formal written cannon doctrine that was placed, in 1877, as a liturgy into the Mormon temple rite in the St. George Mormon Temple. The problem that arose at the advent of the 20th Century, some 23 years after the death of Brigham Young, was that this precious Mormon doctrine was totally unchristian in theology and, thus, a detriment to the false pretensions of the Mormon Church before the American Christian world that Mormonism was a Christian religion. This was during the time that Utah was being considered for annexation as a U.S. state. You see, all of the 20th Century Mormon prophets, seers, and revelators, who have comprised the First Presidency (the presiding Mormon prophet and his two apostle counselors) and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the second ruling body of Mormon General Authorities), have denied, and currently deny, that Brigham Young, as a presiding prophet of the Mormon Church for nearly 32 years, proclaimed, as the Adam-God Doctrine, that Adam, of the Garden of Eden, and Eve, his wife, were the heavenly father-god and the mother-goddess that procreated the spirits of all the men and women who were born, are being born, and will be born into mortality. Moreover, one of the 20th Century’s presiding prophets, and presidents of the LDS Church, Spencer W. Kimball, called the person who concocted the Adam-God Doctrine a heretic and, more or less, damned him (Brigham Young) to perdition in one of his LDS General Conference addresses in 1984. Nonetheless, since the year 1995 the Internet has opened-up a virtual library of 19th Century Mormon doctrinal history to the world, which was deliberately hidden by the Mormon Church from the eyes of the Christian world for the greater part of the 20th Century.
Most non-fiction books written by authors are intended to, either, extol, define, or denigrate certain ideas and cultures, and the people who advocated or opposed them. Biographies are written to explain the facts surrounding peoples’ lives, and books of history are written to explore the facts surrounding events that have shaped particular societies. Most biographies are written after the people, about whom they concern, are dead. Take, for instance, the original biography of George Washington, by the author Weems. This historical collection of facts about George Washington has always, since its publication, been regarded as essentially correct; though certain details about Washington’s youth have been debated as to their complete correctness. Essentially all books that have been written about particular 17th, 18th, and 19th Century cultures, extolling them during the time that they existed, have been regarded by most historians as factually correct, especially if the presiding figures of those cultures put their seals of approval on the books. As such, the most revealing written work describing the theological doctrines of the Mormon Church, as the Mormon people practiced their religion in the theocratic Utah Valley under the thumb of the presiding Mormon Prophet, Brigham Young, from 1851 until around 1877, was a book written in 1877, by Edward W. Tullidge, which was reviewed and blessed by Brigham Young before its publication, and dedicated to the second General President of the LDS Relief Society, Eliza R. Snow. Its title is “The Women of Mormondom.” Approximately five hundred copies of the book were printed between 1877 and 1900, but very few of them remain in existence today because, in 1907, the presiding Mormon prophet, Joseph F. Smith, ordered that all copies of the book, in the possession of faithful Mormons in Utah and Idaho, be burned in order to destroy the existing written evidence of the Mormon culture surrounding the Adam-God Doctrine. Most of the faithful true-blue Mormons complied with Smith’s order, which left only a scant few copies of the book remaining; those possessed by libraries and collectors around the world. Fortunately, the book can still be requested and obtained via inter-library loan by those individuals desiring to read it.
As I write this essay, I have, on my desk, a second, 1965, reprinted copy of “The Women of Mormondom,” (obtained from the Lovejoy library of Southern Illinois University) to which I am referring. Of all the people who eventually read this essay, I sincerely hope that it reaches the eyes of Marcus B. Nash, a member of the Mormon First Quorum of the Seventy, the body of Mormon General Authorities who are not prophets, seers, and revelators; but full-time men who do the official bidding of the presiding Mormon prophet and his twelve apostles. I knew Nash pretty well when he was a Mormon stake president in the Lynnwood, Washington Stake for a number of years, before he was made a Mormon general authority. On numerous occasions, I talked with him about Mormon doctrine. You see, it was during the year 1999 that the Lord Jesus made very clear to me the heinous heresies of Mormon theology and the doctrine arising from it; and it was in early 2000 that I made this officially known to Stake President Marcus Nash in a conference that I had alone with him, and only him.
I am sure that Nash distinctly recalls the occasion at the Mountlake Terrace, Washington Chapel, when I showed him detailed evidence, from a meticulously compiled book of Mormon doctrinal history written by Mormon historian Fred Collier, that Brigham Young, as a presiding prophet of the LDS Church, placed the Adam-God doctrine, in a written liturgy, into the Mormon temple rite as cannon scripture in the St. George Temple in 1877, just before his death. Nash, then an attorney (a graduate of the Brigham Young University Law School), just looked at me, like he already knew that what I was saying was fact, and said in a monotone, “You can’t be sure that’s the truth.” I remember responding, “It’s as much historical fact as the fact that Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States.” Nash, for whom I had recently served as a ward mission leader of the Mountlake Terrace Ward, got up without saying anything else and walked toward the door of the small room in which we were sitting; but before he left he turned around and said, “You know, spouting stuff like that can cause you to lose your membership in the Church. I’d advise you to remain quiet about what you believe is fact.” About a week later, I was curtly, and unexpectedly summoned into the office of the Mountlake Terrace Ward Bishop, Kim Juritch, and bluntly told not to talk to any of the ward members about the Adam-God Doctrine, which I had mentioned to Marcus Nash. Juretich said, at that time, that my membership in the Church was on the line.
Tullidge’s book, “The Woman of Mormondom,” has a very ornate black and white picture of Eliza R. Snow on its second page. Snow was the second General President of the Mormon Relief Society, the official church auxiliary to which all faithful Mormon women belonged, and still belong, and was made the celestial (heavenly) polygamous wife of Joseph Smith (by proxy in the Mormon temple) before her death. Tullidge wrote his book dedicated to the task of revealing how the Mormon women of the Salt Lake, Utah Valley, both wives and unmarried spinsters (like Eliza R. Snow), were dedicated to the theological doctrines pronounced as cannon scripture, and the will, mind, and voice of the Mormon god, by Mormon Prophet Brigham Young. Further, yet, is the preeminent realization that the basic theology of the Adam-God Doctrine came not from Brigham Young, but from his mentor and teacher, Joseph Smith. On pages 13-14 of his book, Tullidge wrote:
“The oracle of this last grand truth of woman’s divinity and of her eternal Mother (Eve) as the partner with the Father (Adam) in the creation of the worlds, is none other than the Mormon Church. It was revealed in the glorious theology of Joseph (Smith), and established by Brigham (Young) in the vast patriarchal system which he has made firm as the foundations of the earth, by proclaiming Adam as our Father and God. The Father is first in name and order, but the Mother is with him, these twain, one from the beginning.”
The fact that Eliza R. Snow and Brigham Young, both, blessed his book and its contents before it was published indicate that they fully endorsed what Tullidge published as theological fact about the Adam-God Doctrine, and the other history, doctrine, and cultural practices of the 19th Century Mormon Church mentioned in the book. Tullidge’s book reveals the facts about the 49 year practice of the Adam-God Doctrine by the rank-and-file Mormon Church before and after the death of Brigham Young, with the same unadulterated veracity that Parson Weems wrote, in 1800, the biographical “The life of Washington.” This book is a complete vindication for the Mormon scholars and historians who were accused of blasphemy, and of teaching false doctrine, by the Mormon Church hierarchy. The Salt Lake Mormon leaders vilified and excommunicated any Mormon historian who publicly, and correctly, stated the doctrinal history of the Mormon Church and its intricate practice of the Adam-God Doctrine in its temple rite until around 1907. Yet, the attempts by the Mormon Church authoritarians to eviscerate, and rewrite, the cult’s own 19th Century history has, since 1990, backfired, and has clearly shown the world, especially since the advent of the Internet, that Mormon doctrine has, since 1830, been only a convolution of changeable uninspired man-made ordinances and rules, and not the word of an almighty, omnipotent, omniscient, and changeless God, everlasting to everlasting.
In “The Women of Mormondom,” on page 180, Tullidge writes, “Adam is our Father and our God. He is the God of the earth.” So says Brigham Young. Adam is the great archangel of this creation. He is Michael. He is the Ancient of Days. He is the father of our elder brother, Jesus Christ-the father of him who shall come as Messiah to reign. He is the father of the spirits as well as the tabernacles of the sons and daughters of man, Adam!”
You see, Mormons believed, and many still believe, that Adam was resurrected prior to Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Further, on page 179, Tullidge continues. “Michael (another name for Adam) was a celestial, resurrected being, of another world.” You see, Joseph Smith taught, and Brigham Young expanded, the Mormon doctrine that ordinary mortal men can become gods, with a capital G, after they are resurrected, and that Adam was an ordinary mortal man who lived on in another previous world, on an earth somewhere in the cosmos, who was resurrected and made into a god, with a capital G. Brigham Young taught that Adam was not created, but came about biologically by being born in ordinary mortal fashion. On page 180, Tullidge continues. “Adam was not made out of a lump of clay, as we make a brick, nor was Eve taken as a rib -a bone– from his side. They came by generation (biological reproduction)… ” Through the time that Brigham Young advanced the Adam-God Doctrine, Request prophetic word he preached the principles of the Doctrine in discourses pronounced during LDS General Conference. When the context of Tullidge’s words are examined and studied in “The Women of Mormondom,” the context of what Brigham Young said in the following segment of an April 9, 1852 General Conference address is totally understandable:
“When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Spirit. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family… However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone… Jesus our elder brother was begotten in the flesh by the same character who was in the garden of Eden and who is our Father in heaven. Now, let all who hear these doctrines pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.”
To understand that Edward Tullidge also, himself, fully believed the Adam-God Doctrine will assist the reader in realizing that he was writing what was the predominant theological belief among the Mormons (Latter-day Saints) in the Salt Lake Valley and among the British Mormons in 1877. On page 196, Tullidge wrote:
“When Brigham Young proclaimed to the nations that Adam was out Father and God, and Eve, his partner, the Mother of a world-both in a mortal and celestial sense-he made the most important revelation ever oracled to the race since the days of Adam himself.”
Tullidge makes plain the Mormon doctrine of the heavenly mother-goddess, who Eliza R. Snow immortalized in her song-poem, “O My Father.” As Brigham Young declared, “A race cannot be spiritually procreated without both a Father-god and a Mother-goddess. On page 197, in his book, Tullidge exclaims, “Thus opened creation, and the womb of everlasting motherhood throbbed with divine ecstasy. We shall prefer Brigham’s expounding of the dark passages of Genesis. Our first parents were not made up like mortal bricks. They came to be the Mother and Father of a new creation of souls.”
The worshiping of a Mother-goddess in heaven is an implicit part of Mormon theological doctrine that underscores the basic eternal rule that a Mormon man cannot become a god, with a capital G, but by adhering to, and obeying, all of the commandments of Mormonism, and that the celestial sexual relationship between a Mormon exalted-man god, with a capital G, and his wife, or wives, to whom he is sealed by power of the Mormon priesthood, and with whom he shares the priesthood power, is the only way procreation of spirit children, and the shaping of worlds through preexisting matter, can be accomplished. You see, a Mormon god, with a capital G, has no power to create, but only transform something preexisting through a partnership with his goddess-wife. Tullidge, on page 195, calls the doctrine of goddess-motherhood the “Trinity of Motherhood, or the celestial Masonry of Womanhood, and states that, “The book of patriarchal theology is full of conceptions. Like the star-bespangled heavens-like the eternities which it mantles-is that wonderful theology.” Regarding Eliza R. Snow’s own proclamation of the doctrine of the worship and veneration of the goddess-mother of this world, Eve, Tullidge, on page 190, writes, “It was of such a theme that “Sister Eliza” sang; and with such a theme her hymn of invocation to our Father and Mother in heaven soon made the saints familiar in every land. Let us somewhat further expound the theme of this hymn, which our poetess (Eliza) could not fully embody in the simple form of verse. God the Father, and God the Mother stand, in the grand preexisting view as the origin and center of the spirits of all the generations of mortals who had been entabernacled on this earth.”