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Why Adam-God is Controversial (Part 8 of 8)

The Adam-God doctrine is one of the most controversial doctrines in Mormonism.  Has it always been that way?  Christ’s Church apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer will talk about why it is popular, and which LDS leaders have embraced and opposed it.

Benjamin: If somebody’s struggling with this, we don’t say, “Oh, no, you have to accept this.” If you’re not getting it, that’s okay. But I believe that as your faith progresses, as Franklin D, Richard said, you’ll find a place eventually, where you kind of have to realize, am I really a child of God or not? Then it starts making more and more sense and eventually it’ll come into its place and you’ll get it. But in the meantime, don’t worry about it. Don’t let it trouble you too much. One of the last things I do want to say about Adam-God, is that I believe that–and the purpose of my presentation yesterday was really about Joseph Smith being the origin of Adam-God teachings. The more you don’t like it, the more….

GT:  Because a lot of people attribute it to Brigham Young, is that right?

Benjamin:  That is right. So the more you don’t like this doctrine, the more you want to compartmentalize it, make it as fringe and as small as possible because you want to keep the rest of the stuff.  You want to keep singing “I Am a Child of God” in primary, but you just but you don’t want…

GT:  So all the bad things go with Brigham.

Benjamin:  All the bad things go with Brigham and we say, “Brigham, there was some bad stuff here. You take the bad stuff, we’re keeping the rest.” Whereas I view this as an expansive doctrine, which I think I can teach out of the New Testament very effectively, even without Joseph Smith. But Joseph Smith, as the origin of the Adam-God teachings can really challenge people, because they want to say this was just Brigham Young. So the last thing I kind of want to say is that I believe that it’s very clear from the historical and the doctrinal record, that Joseph Smith was the origin of these Adam-God teachings.

Benjamin:  We don’t deny that polygamy is part of this great big, beautiful, diverse mess we call Mormonism. We, to a certain extent have to take ownership of that and understand it, we believe, and so it is part of our doctrine.

David:  Yeah, and we recognize, however, that people, when they start to research things, and they say, “Well, wait a minute, why isn’t my church teaching me this? Apparently, it was once taught, and now they’re not teaching it?  That leads to other doctrines that have been put aside. But we say, we’re taking those off the shelf and here they are for you. We realize that that can be a conflict and why they would then say, “Well, this gateway doctrine of the Adam-God Doctrine, we’d better shut that down.”

GT:  I’m going to call Adam-God the Marijuana of fundamentalism.

David:  Cannabis. We prefer cannabis.  {Chuckling}

What are your thoughts on the Adam-God doctrine?  Remember to hear the conclusion, you need to sign up for our free newsletter and I will send you a secret link.  Go to https://GospelTangents.com/newsletter to sign up today!

David Patrick & Benjamin Shaffer tell why the Adam-God doctrine has always been controversial.

 

387: “Families are Forever” a Hurtful Doctrine?

386: Why Polygamists are Threatening to LDS Church

385: God in a Box or Pyramid?

384: Documentary Hypothesis & Adam-God

383: Intro to Adam-God Theory

382: Scriptures of Christ’s Church

381: Intro to Christ’s Church

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“Forever Families” a Hurtful Doctrine?

Many LDS members find comfort in the idea that Families can be together forever.  But does it have a darker side?  What happens when a family member leaves the Church?  In our next conversation with Christ’s Church apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer, we’ll find out that both were former members of the LDS Church.  Have they been cut off from their families?

Benjamin:  Right. So we believe that families are forever. But I view this statement that families can be together forever as essentially one of the most vile and apostate teachings that has ever been perpetrated upon the Latter-day Saints.

GT:  You just offended all of my LDS listeners. {chuckling}

Benjamin:  I’m so sorry. Let me explain the difference…So families are forever is what I believe. The Doctrine and Covenants makes it clear that the same sociality which exists amongst us here will exist amongst us hereafter, which basically means that if you’re viewing the sealing ceremonies, if you’re viewing these concepts of the eternity of families as an eternity of association, then I think we’ve got a really big problem. Because essentially, what they’re then saying is, is that if you don’t follow our rules, if you don’t make it to the temple, then you’re not promised an eternity of association with your loved ones. That would mean, you’d have to have some kind of enforcement method where people can’t be with their families anymore. This is kind of what I would call the geographic view of the Three Degrees Of Glory, like they’re separated so fundamentally by geography, that people in one Kingdom can’t visit the people in another. If that’s the view that you take, then God’s a monster by that kind of reasoning. Essentially, what you’re saying is, is that the single mother who didn’t pay her tithing and didn’t get sealed to her child, or the single mother, therefore, who isn’t sealed to the Father, and therefore, dies without having those opportunities–you’re saying that you’re going to tear these children from their mother’s arms. This is worse than the slave auction block. We’re not just talking about separation for life. There’s a separation for eternity. It’s just absolutely heinous.

David:  Benjamin, do you think the most Latter-day Saints are not going to be as maybe literal about the word can be together forever, and you may be a little bit more literal than they are?

Benjamin:  Perhaps, but I think that the thing is, is that when you have your whole family, everybody’s in good standing with the church. It’s true. You don’t really think about it that way. But the moment anybody leaves the church, the moment someone apostasizes, people do start to panic. I’ve seen it over and over again.

David:  Yeah.

Benjamin:  If somebody starts leaving the church, they say, “Well, but does that mean I won’t be with you in eternity?” It’s like one of the first things that a lot of LDS people immediately go to when somebody, even if somebody just drinks a beer or something, is “Oh my goodness, you’re putting our eternal family at jeopardy”. That’s why I think it’s a really invidious doctrine. It’s not that your average LDS family when everyone’s in good standing is even thinking about it. They’re all just feeling happy. They’re going to be together forever. It’s all good. But yeah, when someone leaves, I think it is fairly universal for people immediately to go to that more terrifying understanding of,  “Wait, does this mean then that we are separated?” I think that’s why it’s dangerous.

Have you thought of it that way before?  Are forever families a two-edged sword that both provides comfort and pain?  David & Benjamin talk about the impact on their families.  Check out our conversation….

“Forever Families” is a comfort for the LDS, until a family members leaves. Then it is hurtful.

Don’t miss our previous conversations!

386: Why Polygamists are Threatening to LDS Church

385: God in a Box or Pyramid?

384: Documentary Hypothesis & Adam-God

383: Intro to Adam-God Theory

382: Scriptures of Christ’s Church

381: Intro to Christ’s Church

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God in a Box or Pyramid? (Part 5 of 8)

As humans, we try to understand God, and sometimes we put him in a box.  But would a pyramid be a better idea?  Benjamin Shaffer & David Patrick of Christ’s Church share their feelings on the Adam-God theory and talk about cubes & pyramids to describe God.

Benjamin:  Open up the scriptures anywhere, including the Doctrine and Covenants, which you think would be more clear because it’s more recent, and you will find plenty of instances where–just go ahead and get yourself three highlighter colors, and try to decide exactly which member of the Godhead to speaking at any given moment. You’ll find that it’s an impossible task. They switch off in ways that are quite convoluted and confusing. Go to the Book of Mormon and read what Abinadi says in his descriptions of God, and some people say this sounds very Trinitarian.

They get rather confused. Well, wait a second, which individual do you mean? I think that this is just a wrong way of approaching the question of what is God. We’re trying to put him in a box and we’re trying to put him in this box that’s based on American individualism, where the individual is so paramount. The whole point of the Godhead, the whole point of them being one–and when we say the Father and the Son are one God, I mean, phrases like that appear in the scriptures. How can they be one if we’re constantly trying to turn them into separate individuals? So I guess what I’m trying to say is yes, we do believe that there are such things as individuals. We’re not completely rejecting that but, I think that that really breaks down when you start talking about God. I know this is an outside source, but if you if you go to Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks a lot about maybe our problem is that we’re so two dimensional. Individuals are like squares, we keep thinking squares, squares squares, and that each square is separate from every other square. In order to really comprehend the Godhead, you have to recognize that there are a cube. That means that you’ve got to get away from this two dimensional thinking, where we’re so fundamentally focused on squares and how every square is separate, how every square is individual. You know what a cube is made out of six individual squares. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t one shape. It’s not. It is one thing.

GT:  So you know, that’s interesting that you said squares because I thought you were going to go with pyramid. Because in your presentation you said you represented a pyramid. Can we talk about that?

Benjamin:  Sure. So oftentimes we look at the Godhead as a triangle, right? There is plenty of Trinitarian, especially iconography. We have the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. It’s that triangle shape. But we’re talking about this as a hierarchy or generations of the gods, which creates this plurality of the gods situation. So instead of seeing it like a triangle, I kind of want to turn it three dimensional. When you turn a triangle three dimensional, all you see is the line. But I’m saying the Godhead isn’t a two dimensional shape. It’s a three dimensional spiral. So that as it goes down through these generations of the gods–the Godhead. Yes, you can view it as a triangle if you’re thinking two dimensionally. But if you’re thinking three dimensionally, it’s more that God’s ways are one eternal round as its described. So then there’s no problem with there being multiple generations of the gods: Elohim, Jehovah, Michael, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and essentially by theory on and on, throughout eternity. Each person takes on those roles, fulfills those principles. Jesus is never called, for example, Jehovah, we like to point out. We don’t believe that the title Jehovah applied to Jesus Christ before His resurrection, but there is a reference in the Doctrine and Covenants, saying that the voice of Jehovah came saying, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ.” [This] is in the Doctrine and Covenants. But the title, Jehovah, if these are all priesthood titles can be applied to Jesus when he takes that role. So again, instead of just thinking Father, Son, Holy Ghost as a two dimensional thing, and when we think of it as this spiral, we recognize that each of these roles, each of these titles can be adopted by a different member of the Godhead at a different time.

What do you think of this explanation?  Check out our conversation…

Benjamin Shaffer and David Patrick describe the Adam-God doctrine as a three-dimensional object rather than the two-dimensional triangle of the trinity or godhead. Photo of Christ’s Church Temple courtesy of Benjamin Shaffer.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with David & Benjamin!

384: Documentary Hypothesis & Adam-God

383: Intro to Adam-God Theory

382: Scriptures of Christ’s Church

381: Intro to Christ’s Church