3. Why did Brigham Young teach that Adam is "our Father and our God" when both the Bible and the Book of Mormon (Morm. 9:12) say that Adam is a creation of God? (Journal of Discourses (1852) 1:50))
The problem with "Adam-God" is that we don't understand what Brigham meant. All of his statements cannot be reconciled with each other. In any case, Latter-day Saints are not inerrantists—they believe prophets can have their own opinions. Only the united voice of the First Presidency and the Twelve can establish official LDS doctrine. That never happened with any variety of "Adam-God" doctrine. Since Brigham seemed to also agree with statements like Mormon 9:12, and the Biblical record, it seems likely that we do not entirely understand how he fit all of these ideas together.
Learn more here: Adam-God
Well, at least they got one thing right: All of [Brigham Young's] statements cannot be reconciled with each other. His doctrine seemed to change more than the weather.
So, what did Brigham Young say about Adam, the Ancient of Days? Here is the text that is at the core of the matter (Link to the JOD). No ellipses, here is the whole text so that you may see and understand that nothing I am about to comment on is taken out of context (capitalization in the original, all emphases mine):
Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world. Then the Lord by His power and wisdom organized the mortal tabernacle of man. We were made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal.
Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken-He is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They [Adam and Eve] came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good forman; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. The thistle, the thorn, the brier, and the obnoxious weed did not appear until after the earth was cursed. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by theHoly Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he [Jesus] took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone. I have heard men preach upon the divinity of Christ, and exhaust all the wisdom they possessed. All Scripturalists, and approved theologians who were considered exemplary for piety and education, have undertaken to expound on this subject, in every age of the Christian era;and after they have done all, they are obliged to conclude by exclaiming" great is the mystery of godliness," and tell nothing.
It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim [God the Father], Yahovah [Jesus], and Michael [Adam, God], these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Again, they will try to tell how the divinity of Jesus is joined to his humanity, and exhaust all their mental faculties, and wind up with this profound language, as describing the soul of man, "it is an immaterial substance!" What a learned idea! Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.
I have given you a few leading items upon this subject, but a great deal more remains to be told. Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever,that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost.
Hmm. I wonder what he meant by all that. Yeah, it's, um, real difficult to figure out what he was saying. ('Scuse me while I wipe off the sarcasm dripping from my lips.)
What strikes me as odd is that it took the LDS church some 130 years to finally admit that, um, yes, this is something Brigham Young taught. They never refuted the teaching, but they never admitted to it either. Kinda like how the Catholic Church will neither embrace (offcially) nor deny a doctrine until enough of the faithful embrace it, after which it becomes "Tradition" and thus doctrine.
But, alas, in 1981, every Mormon's favorite apostle, Bruce McConkie, did his best to put the issue to bed in a letter to LDS in Britain:
Yes, President Young did teach that Adam was the father of our spirits, and all the related things that the cultists ascribe to him. This, however, is not true. He expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel. But, be it known, Brigham Young also taught accurately and correctly, the status and position of Adam in the eternal scheme of things. What I am saying is that Brigham Young contradicted Brigham Young, and the issue becomes one of which Brigham Young we will believe. The answer is we will believe the expressions that accord with the teachings in the Standard Works.
So, let me understand this. When the prophet speaks, he's speaking from God only if what he says lines up with the Standard Works. Of course what they fail to mention is that one of the "Standard Works" is the teaching of the "living prophet." And we are to value the words of the "living prophet" even over the Standard Works and any dead prophets. Don't take my word for it, here are the words of Ezra Taft Benson, former LDS president, in his "Fourteeen Fundamentals in Following the Prophet":
First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
In section 132, verse 7, of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord speaks of the Prophet--the President--and says: "There is never but one on the earth at a time on whom his power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred." Then in section 21, verses 4-6, the Lord states:
Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
Did you hear what the Lord said about the words of the prophet? We are to "give heed unto all his words"--as if from the Lord's "own mouth."
Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.[...]
Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.[...]
Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
President Wilford Woodruff stated: "I say to Israel, 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." (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, selected by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946], pp. 212-213.)
President Marion G. Romney tells of this incident, which happened to him:
I remember years ago when I was a Bishop I had President [Heber J.] Grant talk to our ward. After the meeting I drove him home....Standing by me, he put his arm over my shoulder and said: "My boy, you always keep your eye on the President of the Church, and if he ever tells you to do anything, and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it." Then with a twinkle in his eye, he said, "But you don't need to worry. The Lord will never let his mouthpiece lead the people astray." [In Conference Report, October 1), p. 78]
So, in other words, only listen to the living prophet, except when he contradicts the Standard Works, which are not as important as the words of the living prophet, who doesn't always speak for god.