Concerns & Questions

...The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President of the Church to lead you astray. It is not in the program. It is not in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me out of my place.

Keep the eyes of the mission on the leaders of the Church...We will not and...cannot lead [you] astray.

Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life...

(2013 “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” throwing yesterday’s “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” under the bus over yesterday’s racist revelations and doctrines)


President Brigham Young taught what is now known as “Adam–God theory.” He taught that Adam is “our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do.” Brigham not only taught this doctrine over the pulpit in conferences in 1852 and 1854 but he also introduced this doctrine as the Lecture at the Veil in the endowment ceremony of the Temple.

Brigham also published this doctrine in the Deseret News on June 18, 1873:

How much unbelief exists in the minds of the Latter-day Saints in regard to one particular doctrine which I revealed to them, and which God revealed to me – namely that Adam is our father and God – I do not know, I do not inquire, I care nothing about it. Our Father Adam helped to make this earth, it was created expressly for him, and after it was made he and his companions came here. He brought one of his wives with him, and she was called Eve, because she was the first woman upon the earth. Our Father Adam is the man who stands at the gate and holds the keys of everlasting life and salvation to all his children who have or who ever will come upon the earth. I have been found fault with by the ministers of religion because I have said that they were ignorant. But I could not find any man on the earth who could tell me this, although it is one of the simplest things in the world, until I met and talked with Joseph Smith.

Contrary to the teachings of Brigham Young, subsequent prophets and apostles have since renounced the Adam-God theory as false doctrine. President Spencer W. Kimball renounced the Adam-God theory in the October 1976 General Conference:

We warn you against the dissemination of doctrines which are not according to the scriptures and which are alleged to have been taught by some of the General Authorities of past generations. Such, for instance, is the Adam-God theory. We denounce that theory and hope that everyone will be cautioned against this and other kinds of false doctrine.

Along with President Spencer W. Kimball and similar statements from others, Elder Bruce R. McConkie made the following statement:

The devil keeps this heresy [Adam-God theory] alive as a means of obtaining converts to cultism. It is contrary to the whole plan of salvation set forth in the scriptures, and anyone who has read the Book of Moses, and anyone who has received the temple endowment, has no excuse whatever for being led astray by it. Those who are so ensnared reject the living prophet and close their ears to the apostles of their day.

Ironically, Elder McConkie’s June 1980 condemnation asks you to trust him and President Kimball as today’s living prophet. Further, McConkie is pointing to the endowment ceremony as a source of factual information. What about the Saints of Brigham’s day who were following their living prophet? And what about the endowment ceremony of their day where Adam-God was being taught at the veil?

Yesterday’s doctrine is today’s false doctrine and yesterday’s prophet is today’s heretic.

Blood Atonement

Along with Adam-God, Brigham taught a doctrine known as “Blood Atonement” where a person’s blood had to be shed to atone for their own sins as it was beyond the atonement of Jesus Christ.

There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.
I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them...
And furthermore, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further;
I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins. It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit...There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, or a calf, or of turtle dove, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man.
UPDATE: The Church now confirms in its Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints essay that Blood Atonement was taught by the prophet Brigham Young.

As with the Adam-God theory, the Blood Atonement doctrine was later declared false by subsequent prophets and apostles.

Yesterday’s doctrine is today’s false doctrine. Yesterday’s prophet is today’s heretic.


Brigham Young taught the doctrine that polygamy is required for exaltation:

The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy.

Several other prophets after Young, including Taylor, Woodruff, Snow, and Joseph F. Smith gave similar teachings that the New and Everlasting Covenant of plural marriage was doctrinal and essential for exaltation.

It’s even in the scriptures:

“For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”

In a September 1998 Larry King Live interview, President Hinckley was asked about polygamy:

Larry King: You condemn it [polygamy]?
Hinckley: I condemn it. Yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal.

Contrary to President Hinckley’s statement, we still have Doctrine & Covenants 132 in our canonized scriptures. We're also still practicing plural marriage in the Temples by permitting men to be sealed to more than one woman (so long as only one is living). Apostles Elder Oaks, Elder Perry, and Elder Nelson are modern examples of LDS polygamists in that they're sealed to multiple women.

Polygamy is doctrinal. Polygamy is not doctrinal. Yesterday's doctrine is today's false doctrine. Yesterday's prophets are today's heretics.

Blacks Ban

As you know, for close to 130 years blacks were not only banned from holding the priesthood but black individuals and black families were blocked from the saving ordinances of the Temple. Every single prophet from Brigham Young all the way to Harold B. Lee kept this ban in place.

Prophets, Seers, and Revelators of 2013 – in the Church’s December 2013 Race and the Priesthood essay – disavowed the “theories” of yesterday’s Prophets, Seers, and Revelators for their theological, institutional, and doctrinal racist teachings and “revelation.”

Yesterday’s racist doctrine and revelation is now today’s “disavowed theories.”

Additionally, the above-mentioned essay also withdraws “that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse” while ironically contradicting the Book of Mormon itself:

2 NEPHI 5:21
“And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

Joseph Smith permitted the priesthood to at least two black men. Elijah Abel was one of them. Walker Lewis was another.

So, Joseph Smith gives the priesthood to blacks. Brigham Young bans blacks. Each and every single one of the 10 prophets from Brigham Young to Harold B. Lee supported what Spencer W. Kimball referred to as a “possible error” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.448-449).

Heavenly Father likes blacks enough to give them the priesthood under Joseph Smith but He decides they’re not okay when Brigham Young shows up. And He still doesn’t think they’re okay for the next 130 years and the next 9 prophets until President Kimball decides to get a revelation.

The same God who “denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female” is the same God who denied blacks from the saving ordinances of the Temple for 130 years. Yet, He apparently changed His mind again in 1978 about black people.

Of course, the revelation He gives to the Brethren in the Salt Lake Temple on June 1, 1978 has absolutely nothing to do with the IRS potentially revoking BYU’s tax-exempt status, Stanford and other universities boycotting BYU athletics, we can’t figure out who’s black or not in Brazil (São Paulo Temple dedicated/opened just a few months after revelation), and that Post-Civil Rights societal trends were against the Church’s racism. I would think Christ’s one true Church would have led the Civil Rights movement; not be the last major church on the planet in 1978 to adopt it.

How can we trust these “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators,” who have been so wrong about so many important things for so long while claiming to be receiving revelations from God?

Yesterday’s doctrine is today’s false doctrine. Yesterday’s 10 prophets are today’s heretics.

Mark Hofmann

In the early to mid-1980s, the Church paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in expensive and valuable antiquities and cash to Mark Hofmann – a con man and soon-to-be serial killer – to purchase and suppress bizarre and embarrassing documents into the Church vaults that undermined and threatened the Church’s story of its origins. The documents were later proven to be forgeries.


Another source of differences in the accounts of different witnesses is the different meanings that different persons attach to words. We have a vivid illustration of this in the recent media excitement about the word salamander in a letter Martin Harris is supposed to have sent to W. W. Phelps over 150 years ago. All of the scores of media stories on that subject apparently assume that the author of that letter used the word salamander in the modern sense of a ‘tailed amphibian.’
One wonders why so many writers neglected to reveal to their readers that there is another meaning of salamander, which may even have been the primary meaning in this context in the 1820s. That meaning, which is listed second in a current edition of Webster’s New World Dictionary, is ‘a spirit supposed to live in fire’ (2d College ed. 1982, s.v. ‘salamander’). Modern and ancient literature contain many examples of this usage.
A spirit that is able to live in fire is a good approximation of the description Joseph Smith gave of the angel Moroni: a personage in the midst of a light, whose countenance was ‘truly like lightning’ and whose overall appearance ‘was glorious beyond description’ (Joseph Smith-History 1:32). As Joseph Smith wrote later, ‘The first sight [of this personage] was as though the house was filled with consuming fire’ (History of the Church, 4:536). Since the letter purports only to be Martin Harris’s interpretation of what he had heard about Joseph’s experience, the use of the words white salamander and old spirit seem understandable.
In view of all this, and as a matter of intellectual evaluation, why all the excitement in the media, and why the apparent hand-wringing among those who profess friendship with or membership in the Church? The media should make more complete disclosures, but Latter-day Saint readers should also be more sophisticated in their evaluation of what they read.

So, what just happened? Elder Oaks defended and rationalized a completely fake and made up document that Mark Hofmann created while telling “Latter-day Saint readers” to be “more sophisticated in their evaluation of what they read.”

  • There was significant dishonesty by President Hinckley on his relationship with Hofmann, his meetings, and which documents that the Church had and didn’t have.
  • Just hours following the bombings on the morning of October 15, 1985, murderer Mark Hofmann met with Elder Dallin H. Oaks in the Church Office Building:
He’s just killed two people. And what does he do? He goes down to the church office building and meets with Dallin Oaks. I can’t even imagine the rush, given Hofmann’s frame of reference, that this would have given him. To be there standing in front of one of God’s appointed apostles, after murdering two people, and this person doesn’t hear any words from God, doesn’t intuit a thing. For Hofmann that must have been an absolute rush. He had pulled off the ultimate spoof against God.
The Poet and the Murderer: A True Story of Literary Crime and the Art of Forgery, p.232

Elder Oaks had a serial murderer right in front of him in his office just hours after Hofmann killed two people (Oaks later admits this meeting). What does this say about the discernment of the Brethren when they can’t discern a murderer and con man, hell-bent on destroying Mormonism, right under their noses?

  • Ultimately, the Church was forced to admit it had, in the First Presidency Vault, documents (McLellin Collection) that the Church previously denied it had. The McLellin documents were critical for the investigation of the Hofmann murders.
  • While these “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” were being duped and conned by Mark Hofmann’s forgeries over a four-year period (1981-1985), the Tanners – considered some of the biggest critics of the Church – actually came out and said that the Salamander Letter was a fake. Even when the Salamander Letter proved very useful in discrediting the Church, the Tanners had better discernment than the Brethren did. While the Tanners publicly rejected the Salamander Letter, the Church continued buying fakes from Hofmann and Elder Oaks continued telling Latter-day Saints to be more sophisticated.

I’m told that prophets are just men who are only prophets when acting as such (whatever that means). I’m told that, like all prophets, Brigham Young was a man of his time. For example, I was told that Brigham Young was acting as a man when he taught that “God revealed to [him]” that “Adam is our father and God” and the “only God with whom we have to do.” Never mind that Brigham taught this over the pulpit in not one but two conferences and never mind that he introduced this theology into the endowment ceremony in the Temples.

Never mind that Brigham Young made it clear that he was speaking as a prophet:

I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture.

Why would I want my kids chanting “Follow the Prophet” with such a ridiculous and inconsistent 187-year track record? What credibility do the Brethren have? Why would I want them following the prophet when a prophet is just a man of his time teaching his “theories” that will likely be disavowed by future “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators”? If his moral blueprint is not much better than that of their Sunday School teachers? If, historically speaking, the doctrine he teaches today will likely be tomorrow’s false doctrine?

If Brigham Young was really a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, would it not be unreasonable to expect that God would give him a hint that racism is not okay, sexism is not okay, blood atonement is not okay, and God’s name is not “Adam”?