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? Don’t miss our conversation as Benjamin explains why the primary song “I Am a Child of God” teaches the Adam-God theory!
The LDS Church had an Exclusion Policy when dealing with converts from polygamist groups until it was recently changed in December 2019. Why has the LDS Church seemed so threatened by polygamists? Apostle David Patrick and Seventy Benjamin Shaffer explain why they think polygamists have been so threatening to the LDS leadership.
GT: So the [LDS] Church has a huge concern with [polygamists joining the Church] and so they’ve implemented this [Exclusion] policy. Then when the gay policy came, they [justified the policy by saying,] “Well we’ve been doing this with polygamists for years. What’s the problem?” I don’t like this policy. I don’t like it against polygamists either, but I do understand the concern because it does seem like, especially here in Utah, they don’t want you guys infiltrating our church and then taking people away. But I think it also happens that we take away some of your church members that don’t like polygamy. To me it goes both ways. But, we’re more concerned about our people leaving than your people joining.
GT: I don’t know how true this is, and I know that you don’t speak for all fundamentalists, either. But we’ve heard that that, I want to say it’s the Apostolic United Brethren (AUB), but I might be wrong on that, they will say, “Well, go get your LDS temple endowment and then come join us.” Are you familiar with that reasoning?
Benjamin: Yes. Well, more than 40 years ago, that was kind of the essential viewpoint of almost all Mormon fundamentalists. There was about a 50 year stretch from John and Lauren Woolley in the early 1900s, through Rulon Allred, where we also kind of believed that was the program. As David explained, there were keys outside the church and they were keys inside the church. We believe, in Christ’s Church, we’ve now rejoined all those keys into one organization. But during that time period, that 50 years, there was the idea that if you wanted to receive certain blessings and certain ordinances, or complete those things, you had to go to the fundamentalists, but you started in the [LDS] Church, first. So, for example, Rulon Allred did not build a temple. He didn’t believe it was necessary, because the mainstream LDS temples were still viewed as authoritative sources to receive that ordinance.
David: Rulon Allred was the leader of the Apostolic United Brethren.
Benjamin: Joseph Musser and Rulon Allred, which were the founders of the AUB, they said exactly that. They told their people, “Oh, well, you should definitely, of course, come to us, but don’t join the AUB and do these higher things until you’ve done the earlier things. You’d be skipping a step.” So, they really only accepted members–they weren’t a whole church, right? They were an appendage to the church.
GT: They were funneling people to the LDS Church and then saying, “Okay, get this all done, and then we’ll give you the graduate degree.”
Benjamin: So excluding children, that was exactly the church’s response to the AUB policy of saying, “Oh, we’re an auxiliary to the church, essentially. So you want all of your children to be members of the mainstream LDS Church, and then you want them to go on missions and you want them to go to the temple, get married in the temple, and all that sort of thing, and then become part of our priesthood group to complete their gospel training.” But they view themselves, like I said, only as that auxiliary or just as a capstone to everything the church was already doing. So their view was that the church was meant to be a pipeline that led [to them.]
David: In all fairness, that may not be their view today.
Did you support this exclusion policy for children of polygamists? Are fundamentalists wolves among sheep?