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Adam: LDS Sources

Adam and Eve Cast Out of the Garden of Eden, by Tiffany Studios, New York (1892, leaded stained glass, over 6 feet in diameter), inside the Salt Lake Temple, in the second floor corridor leading from the World Room to the Main Hall. Photograph by C. R. Savage, 1911.

by Arthur A. Bailey

For Latter-day Saints, Adam stands as one of the noblest and greatest of all men. Information found in the scriptures and in declarations of latter-day apostles and prophets reveals details about Adam and his important roles in the pre-earth life, in Eden, in mortality, and in his postmortal life. They identify Adam by such names and titles as Michael (D&C 27:11; 29:26), archangel (D&C 88:112), and Ancient of Days (D&C 138:38).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that Michael, spoken of in the Bible (Dan. 10:13; Jude 1:9; Rev. 12:7), is Adam. In his premortal life, Adam received the priesthood (TPJS, p. 157), was taught the plan of God (TPJS, p. 167), and was appointed to be the head of the human family (TPJS, p. 158). He participated in the creation of the earth and occupied a position of authority next to Jesus Christ (TPJS, p. 158), under whose direction he at all times functions (D&C 78:16). He led the forces of righteousness against the devil "and his angels," who were overcome and expelled from heaven (see War in Heaven).

Latter-day scriptures attest that Adam is a son of God, that his physical body was created by the Gods in their own image and placed in the Garden of Eden (Moses 6:9, 22; Abr. 5:7-11; TPJS, p. 345-53; cf. 2 Ne. 2:14-19). In this physical-spiritual state in Eden, Adam was called the "first man" (Moses 1:34) and given responsibility to dress the garden and "open the way of the world" (TPJS, p. 12). He was given dominion and responsibility over the earth, and he gave names to its creatures (Moses 3:19). He was joined with Eve in marriage (Abr. 5:4-19), but in their premortal condition "they would have had no children" (2 Ne. 2:23). Adam received the grand keys of the priesthood (Abr., Facsimile 2, Fig. 3), and its ordinances were confirmed upon Adam and Eve (cf. TPJS, p. 167).

In order to obey the command of God to multiply and people the earth, Adam and Eve transgressed the law. Their deliberate action resulted in their fall (see Fall of Adam), and they were expelled from the garden. "Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy" (2 Ne. 2:25). Thus, their action precipitated, as God had planned, the mortal phase of the Plan of Salvation.

In their mortal state, Adam and Eve were taught further about the Plan of Salvation by heavenly messengers (Moses 5:4-9; 6:50-54). They received the priesthood ordinances (Moses 5:59; 6:64-65) and all things necessary to teach their children (Moses 5:12). LDS sources indicate that with Eve, Adam had sons and daughters before Cain and Abel were born (Moses 5:2-3, 16-17). They suffered the effects of the temptations of the devil and experienced the sorrow of family dissension that led to murder and wickedness among some of their children (Moses 5:12-53).

Adam and Eve had a fully developed language and kept written records (Moses 6:5-9). They preserved their genealogical record and an account of the Creation. Three years before his death, Adam called his righteous posterity to Adam-ondi-Ahman and gave them his final blessing (D&C 107:53).

As the first on this earth to receive priesthood keys, Adam continues to dispense authority to others and to watch over priesthood administration on the earth; those to whom keys have been given must return them or account for them to Adam, and he will in turn deliver them or give an accounting of them to Christ (TPJS, pp. 157, 167). This will occur when the Ancient of Days (Adam) attends a council at Adam-ondi-Ahman preliminary to the second coming of Christ (Dan. 7:9-10; cf. TPJS, p. 122).

At the end of the Millennium, Adam as Michael will again lead the righteous in battle against the devil and his armies. Michael and the hosts of heaven will again prevail (D&C 88:111-115). When Adam then sounds the trumpet, the graves will be opened and the remainder of the dead will come forth to be judged (D&C 29:26-27). Subject to the Father and Christ, Adam will then preside eternally over his posterity (TPJS, p. 157).

Adam's various titles relate to particular phases of his mission. In his premortal and postmortal roles, he is known as Michael and as the archangel (D&C 29:26). In Hebrew, Michael means one "who is like God," and in his powerful and leading role as archangel, Adam serves as the captain of the Lord's hosts in battle against the devil and his forces. Adam was the name given him for mortality (Moses 1:34). In Hebrew, 'adam means "man" or "mankind." In LDS sources, further meanings of the word include "first man" (D&C 84:16), "many" (Moses 1:34), and "first father" (Abr. 1:3), denoting his historical role as the "grand progenitor" of the entire human family (TPJS, p. 167). "Ancient of Days" appears to be his title because he is "the first and oldest of all" (TPJS, p. 167).

Adam has been highly esteemed by all the prophets, both ancient and modern. President Brigham Young expressed the idea in 1852 and later years that Adam "is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do" (JD 1:50). This remark has led some to conjecture that Brigham Young meant that Adam, who was on earth as our progenitor, was in reality God the Father. However, this interpretation has been officially rejected as incorrect (Kimball, p. 77). Later in the same speech Brigham Young clearly stated "that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael" (JD 1:51). Additional information about Brigham Young's feelings on Adam can also be found in a conference speech given October 8, 1854 (JD 1:50), clarifying somewhat his earlier statement. It is there implied that through a process known as divine investiture, God delegates his power to his children. Adam was the first on earth to receive this authority, which includes all essential keys, titles, and dominions possessed by the Father (D&C 84:38; cf. 88:107). Thus, he had conferred upon him all things that were necessary for the accomplishment of his manifold responsibilities, and Adam is a name-title signifying that he is the first man and father of all.

(See Adam: Ancient Sources; Adam-God's Last Stand; Adamic Language)


Broderick, Carl. "Another Look at Adam-God." Dialogue 16 (Summer 1983):4-7.

Buerger, David J. "The Adam-God Doctrine." Dialogue 15 (Spring 1982):14-58.

Kimball, Spencer W. "Our Own Liahona." Ensign 6 (Nov. 1976):77-79.

McConkie, Joseph Fielding, and Robert L. Millet, eds. The Man Adam. Salt Lake City, 1990.

Petersen, Mark E. Adam: Who Is He? Salt Lake City, 1976.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Adam, LDS Sources

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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