Randy Gavin - Utah
I was born and raised a Latter-day Saint. My folks were good people. I had good people for siblings. I had good people for friends. I was active in the LDS Church in every way possible, which culminated in serving as the Stake Mission President in Salt Lake Stake, the oldest stake in the church.
Then came a fellow from California, John Henry Yount, broadcasting into Utah a challenge: "I will give one thousand dollars to anyone who can prove that Brigham Young did not teach that Adam was God." This was the second time that this foul and evil doctrine ("theory") had come to my attention.
While serving as a co-zone leader in the Cumorah Mission of the LDS Church at the age of 20, I was walking along a country road with my companion, a likable fellow from Cashe County Utah, when a tri-folded paper blew across the road. I picked it up and read it -- "Did you know that Brigham Young taught that Adam was God?" My companion had heard of it before and said it was an apostate thing, throw it away. I could not litter. I looked up the references in the Journal of Discourses as soon as occasion permitted. No misquotes. I wondered what to make of it.....I decided it was just old 1800's flowery talk. I went on at great cost to my future wife and family.
The denying of leadership opportunities and full fellowship to a whole race of people [blacks] was another issue that I suppressed, believing that it was beyond me to understand, even though I read all that the leaders put out on the subject. In 1978 that race of people were granted leadership opportunities with full fellowship and participation and the change was said, by some, to be a revelation and, by others, it was called an agonized-over policy change. Whatever it was I was greatly relieved. However when that man John Henry Yount took it upon himself to issue his challenge regarding Brigham Young's doctrine of God I was at a loss. President Kimball came out with a statement in the Church News -- "Brigham Young did not ever teach that Adam was God."
At almost the same time, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie's letter to a BYU professor was being passed around by people in the know. I was not in the know. A friend and Stake High Councilman lived across the street from us. I told him that I was going to take apart this John Henry Yount and take his thousand dollars. He seemed concerned and told me that he had something that I should see. It was Bruce R. McConkie's letter, admitting that Brigham Young did teach that Adam was, in fact, God the Father. The professor was being threatened with excommunication if he did not stop talking about it to folks around Utah Valley.
After verifying that the letter was real, I went back to the source documents, including the Journal of Discourses and the Deseret News speeches that Brigham Young had corrected for publication. This time I was open to find the truth of the matter. I wept at the deception that people whom I had regarded as honest, had perpetrated upon my family and me.
Brigham Young, in fact, was a man who claimed to be a Prophet but ultimately did not know who God was. He was taught by Joseph Smith. It wasn't just the lying to me by the church and President Kimball, it was the undoing of the mystique that we had prophets and apostles who would not lead us astray. It turns out that Brigham Young led the church astray about God for at least 25 years of his ministry. I had taken all the seminaries and Institute classes and should have been told such an important item of history in the church.
Many things happened to bring me to the foot of the cross where I left my burden. It has been a pleasure to learn of the Creator of the Universe and His pursuit of me in my life, the life that he gave me. He has given me a new life and it is not a life about me, but a life about his work to save men and women by the finished work of Jesus on the cross. I am so relieved as I think it all through, that God is not a man, not a creature in the Universe, but rather the Creator of the Universe. And He loved me first. And He sought me. And He bought me. And I am and will be eternally grateful to Him. I will make no praise to a man who presumes to become a God. I will praise God Almighty Who became man to save me.