Did Joseph Smith know Adam personally?
“If you were to ask Joseph what sort of a looking man Adam was; he would tell you at once; he would tell you his size and appearance and all about him.” (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 18:326.)
Joseph also taught about Adams condition before coming to the earth when he said,
“Now regarding Adam: He came here from another planet – an immortalized being and brought his wife Eve with him – and by eating of the fruit of the earth, became subject to death and decay – was made mortal and subject to death.” (Joseph Smith to Anson Call, John M. Whitaker Papers.)
This teaching of Joseph is testified by apostles as well.
“It was Joseph’s doctrine that Adam was God &c When in Luke Johnson’s at O. Hydes the power came upon us, or shock that alarmed the neighborhood. God comes to earth & eats & partakes of fruit.” 4/4/1860, Minutes of Meeting at Historian’s Office
“Joseph said that Adam was our Father and God.” 5/14/1876, Journal History
“At meeting of School of the Prophets: President Young said Adam was Michael the Archangel, & he was the Father of Jesus Christ & was our God & that Joseph taught this principle.” 12/16/1876, Journal of Wilford Woodruff
The prophet also taught us about Adams important position over priesthood keys.
He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ, that which was delivered to him as holding the keys of the universe, but retains his standing as head of the human family. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p 157)
The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p 157)
When the ordinances need to be restored, Joseph tells who they are restored through,
[God] set the ordinances to be the same forever and ever, and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p 168)
Not only are the keys of the priesthood given through Adam, the keys to Salvation itself are given through Him acting through his position or office of Michael.
The Lord God… hath appointed Michael your prince and established his feet, and set him upon high, and given unto him the keys of salvation. (D&C 78:16)
In the Hebrew lexicon we learn that the word Michael means, “who is like God”. This is of particular interest when we read the account of the creation as restored through the Prophet Joseph in the book of Abraham.
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born. And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; (Abraham 3:23-24)
Adam again plays a huge role in the lives of His children when it is time for the resurrection of the just.
But, behold, verily I say unto you, before the earth shall pass away, Michael, mine archangel, shall sound his trump, and then shall all the dead awake, for their graves shall be opened, and they shall come forth – yea, even all. (D&C 29:26)
Joseph also restored and expounded upon our knowledge of Adams role in the vision given to Daniel,
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire…
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:9. 21-22)
The Lord revealed this to be Adam,
Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days; (D&C 27:11)
As stated above, Joseph taught that Adam presides over His family because we are His children. Joseph explained,
The priesthood was first given to Adam… the father of all living… (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pg. 157)
This is of particular interest when we read what Joseph taught in the Lectures on Faith saying,
Having previously been made acquainted with the way the idea of his (Gods) existence came into the world, as well as the fact of his existence, we shall proceed to examine his (Gods) character, perfections and attributes, in order that this class may see, not only the just grounds which they have for the exercise of faith in him (God), for life and salvation, but the reasons that all the world, also, as far as the idea of his existence extends, may have to exercise faith in him the Father of all living. (LoC 3:6)
As the “Father of all living”, Adam also plays an important role in the restoration of Gospel in every dispensation. The prophet revealed,
Commencing with Adam, who was the first man,1 who is spoken of in Daniel as being the “Ancient of Days,” or in other words, the first and oldest of all, the great, grand progenitor of whom it is said in another place he is Michael, because he was the first and father of all, not only by progeny, but the first to hold the spiritual blessings, to whom was made known the plan of ordinances for the salvation of his posterity unto the end, and to whom Christ was first revealed, and through whom Christ has been revealed from henceforth. Adam holds the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times; i.e., the dispensation of all the times have been and will be revealed through him from the beginning to Christ, and from Christ to the end of the dispensations that are to be revealed. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He that purposed in Himself; that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.” -Ephesians 1:9-10. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pg. 167)
Adam is the father of all, not only in body, but in “spiritual blessings” and He is who Christ is revealed through whenever the Savior is shown to man. This reveals so much about Adam when we think about who introduces the Savior in the scriptures. (See baptism of the Savior and the First Vision)
In terms of dispensations of the earth, Father Adam plays another role in conjunction with the Savior and the prophet, which was revealed through Joseph.
Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer; and God the third, the witness or Testator (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pg. 190)
What the Prophet Joseph Smith revealed during his comparatively short life is nothing short of remarkable and something we should all have gratitude towards. What it reveals to us tells so much more about who we are and what are potential is, if we keep our covenants and magnify our priesthood.