Mormons: How can Brigham Young be a true prophet if...?

I am curious to know how Mormons answer questions like these...

If Brigham Young was a true prophet, how come one of your later prophets overturned his declaration which stated that black people could never hold the priesthood in the LDS Church until after the resurrection of all other races (Journal of Discourses, Dec. 12, 1854, 2:142-143)?

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)?

Since the time when Brigham Young taught that both the moon and the sun were inhabited by people, has the Mormon Church ever found scientific evidence of that to be true (Journal of Discourses, 1870, v.13, p.271)?


@phrog:"BY was a prophet - but the LDS realize that prophets, while they have been chosen to speak for God @times - are human and are subject to the passions and mistakes and opinions of being human. prophets are not perfect. and BY was no different than any other.......a prophet is a mouthpiece - not God such it is God who makes the decisions on when and how things are instigated and delivered."

If Mormons believe this man to be a prophet of God, how do they distinguish between what is from God and what is BY's own personal opinion? And what about the living prophets of today in the Mormon church? How do followers distinguish from Godly and personal opinion? More importantly, what is the result of getting the two confused?

Update 2:

MORMONS: What do you think of gaia_dianne's answer? Is this true?

9 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Unfortunately, most of the Mormons who have tried to answer this question above, have merely parroted the Church's excuses, they haven't really studied the issues and don't really (personally) know much about them --

    For example, they don't realize that most of the talks recorded in the Journal of Discourses were actually talks delivered to General or Priesthood Conferences, and had been previously approved by Young and other church leaders;

    Or, that they had been previously published in *official LDS publications* - like the Deseret News, and Conference Addresses, so according to Church doctrine, they certainly WERE considered "official" doctrine.

    Secondly, they try to discount the Journal of Discourses without realizing that it was recommended and commended to the Saints by the FIRST PRESIDENCY of the Church - See the Journal of Discourses, Vol 1.

    Thirdly, they don't realize that in teaching what is popularly referred to as the "Adam-God Doctrine", Brigham Young said he was giving the Church "REVELATION" -- So if they want to discount the teaching, they have to either:

    a) discount what the "Living Prophet" of the time identified as "Revelation", or else

    b) say that the "Living Prophet" of the time couldn't distinguish the difference between error, personal opinion, and revelation from God.

    Fourthly, the Adam-God Doctrine was taught by nearly all the General Authorities of the time (with the single exception of Orson Pratt), not just Brigham (as the Church often tries to (erroneously) represent);

    Furthermore, it was taught in the Temple, in the Church Hymnal, and in General Conferences, for a period of over 30-40 YEARS, and not just once or twice, as the Church often tries to (erroneously) represent......

    It was finally "phased out" along with a number of other similarly controversial doctrines, such as "Blood Atonement", "Multiple Mortal Probations", Women's Priesthood, and "the LIteral Gathering of Israel" -- after a talk was given by the Apostle George Q Cannon, titled, "Things that Should NOT Be Taught In Sunday School", at which he said that Adam-God and these other doctrines should not be taught because they were too controversial and easily misunderstood.

    Unfortunately, the church itself lies about or misrepresents the truth of its own history and doctrines, so it can be very difficult to get at the Truth, unless you make a real effort and go to the original documents. Even some of the original "revelations" have been "edited" to agree with / support modern teachings and interpretations, rather than the original teachings and doctrines -- see for example:

    - Melvin Joseph Peterson, "A Study of the Nature and Significance of the Changes in the Revelations as Found in a Comparison of the Book of Commandments and Subsequent Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants," MA Thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955;

    - Richard P Howard, "Restoration Scriptures: A Study of Their Textual Development" Independence, MO: Herald House, 1969;

    - Robert J Woodford, "The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants," 3 vols, Ph.D. Diss, Brigham Young University, 1974;

    - Milton V Backman, Jr. "The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1930-1838" 214-215;

    - Woodford, "The Story of the Doctrine and Covenants," Ensign 14:32-39;

    - Woodford, "Doctrine and Covenants Editions," in Ludlow, _Encyclopedia of Mormonism_ 1:242.)

    Source(s): NRO
  • phrog
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    as Grela said - JoD is not is other people recording down what they understood the prophets meaning and intents to be when they addressed a group.......

    BY was a prophet - but the LDS realize that prophets, while they have been chosen to speak for God @times - are human and are subject to the passions and mistakes and opinions of being human. prophets are not perfect. and BY was no different than any other.......a prophet is a mouthpiece - not God such it is God who makes the decisions on when and how things are instigated and delivered.

    "Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted."

    —The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    edit: if it's not doctrine - it's opinion.

    the LDS are now and have always been cautioned to read, study, and pray about things....for themselves to gain affirmation of truth. we are in the end each responsible for our own knowledge.

    about the answer from what true? that these comments and others may have been referenced or published? yea. probably. statements may be considered to be useful and true. but official doctrine is specific and defined for the LDS - we are not like some other religions where our leaders are expected to be perfect and every word to be gold....we are responsible and free moral agents (see AoF #2). we have a living prophet for OUR time...and that outweighs things said in past times. for instance - yea, BY tried to teach some stuff about adam/God....nobody got it. BY could not make it clear. it was not doctrine. never has been. no matter how hard one man or even a few men may push any given subject - it's just not doctrine until it is. a living gospel with a living prophet and human constituents is by it's very nature a work of progression...we learn one line @a time and as we learn our understanding of previously learned things may change. (consider learning about letters and numbers and how they perform separate functions....and then learning about algebra - which uses both). the same with these other discussions - they simply are not doctrine. the church does not lie or misrepresent truth - historical or otherwise...but one can certainly misconstrue things that way if they so choose. the LDS simply do not use the same theological 'glasses' as traditional christianity does. it makes us look @things differently than many others.

  • 1 decade ago

    Because the Journal of Discourses are not Church Doctrine. They are reports of talks which BY gave. He did not preface them as being doctrine for the Church. They were his personal views, and there is some question as to the accuracy of those records as they were never okayed by BY. Most of them were typed up after his death.

    One point, in the teaching of the Adam - God theory, BY started that talk by stating that he might be wrong, but that was his own personal belief. We will not know what he meant by that speech until after we are dead. But, it was not meant to be Church Doctrine.

    The moon and sun being inhabited was the common belief among people of BY's age, it was started by non-Mormon scientists. Just because BY was a prophet did not mean that everything which he spoke was doctrine. He was an imperfect human and God allow him that. He was only a prophet when he prefaced what he said by 'thus sayeth the Lord', and those statements had to be upheld by his counselors and the quorum of the twelve.

    Again, the Journal of Discourses are not, nor ever have been, Church Doctrine.

  • Of the 3 points you raise, When I looked at the reference for one, I simply could not find anything on topic. When I looked at the reference for another, I could find the reference, and when reading the statement in context, including the pages before and after the part you cite, the statement has a different flavor then when it is wrestled out of it's context. On the third, I could see what you were referring to but your question does not reflect what Brigham Young actually said. Your question is taken out of context and changed from what was actually said.

    That being said, Most Mormons understand that knowledge is revealed from the Lord line upon line and precept on precept. It doesn't bother me that the Lord has revealed things and things are understood now which were not known and understood at an earlier time. Especially when the comment in question in prefaces with "I think." That is clearly not something someone is teaching in the role of "true prophet"

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  • 1 decade ago

    When were any of these things preceeded by "Thus saith the Lord" and when did he have the chance to correct these writings?

    Is he not entitled to his opinions? Especially about the part of men on the sun and moon. There were learned scientists of that day who believed the same thing.

    The Bible says things like bats are birds and rabbits chew their cud, and the earth is flat. Does that mean that the Bible, and/or the men who wrote it, are not inspired by God?

  • 1 decade ago

    Why would God choose a drunk to be a Prophet (Noah) why would God choose a murderer who was on the run from the authorities to be a Prophet (Moses)? The list can go on and on. No Prophet is perfect and has their own understanding of what God's message was to them. Same goes for today.


    modern Prophets always trump dead Prophets. If not then it would still be forbidden to eat pork.

    Source(s): LDS
  • 1 decade ago

    Mormons are wrong again. JoD was considered church doctrine. Moreover, Brigham said that anything a prophet said was as if the (mormon) lord said it.

    Still, even if the above two facts were not true, how could such a crazy man ever be a prophet. He was not in line to succeed Joe. Bang 'em Young Brigham had to do some fancy political maneuvering to get at least most of the masses to follow him as opposed to others who were fighting to be prophet.

    Facts are stubborn things!

  • 1 decade ago

    Does anyone see the pattern here.. All men. The bible and the book of mormon have been proven fraudulent in their statements. Men has taken the word of "god " and proven it fraudulent. What kind of "god" cant back up his own words.. Oh wait lets look at the pattern here. Men are fallible.. I wonder who truly wrote all these religious books???? Get a clue people.

  • 1 decade ago

    My great grandparents listened to Young say this stuff from the pulpit in General Conference. They went to their graves thinking it was all true.

    They prayed and asked God if what Young said was true, and they got the warm feeling that it was indeed.

    Just like people listen today to their current 'prophet' and believe him.

    If God was in contact with Young, you would expect Him to straighten out His own identity. Young preached over and over that He was Adam. There was plenty of time to get it straight.

    Young lived during the Civil War, when other Americans were fighting and giving their lives for the freedom of Black people. Young chose instead to insult them endlessly. He made Utah legally a slave state instead of a free state.

    The Journal of Discourses was originally printed by the church. It is mostly written by the same scribes who wrote down everything else that Young said, things Mormons hold sacred. Many of its contents were reprinted in the periodicals of the time and sent to people's homes. There is nothing in it that can't be verified from other sources.

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