The Law of Adoption: One Phase of the Development of the Mormon Concept of Salvation, 1830-1900

Mormon historian Gordon Irving explains the idea of the law of adoption in early Mormonism. From the beginnings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon concept of salvation has continually broadened and deepened. The Saints originally thought that salvation, attained through faith and baptism, meant dwelling with God after this life. They were then taught about degrees of glory, baptism for the dead, sealing ordinances, and other doctrines of exaltation. The law of adoption was also taught as a principle crucial to salvation, and it was designed for adopted sons to give the benefits of labor and for adopted fathers to provide security in the next world and counsel and direction in this world. Though the law of adoption created some problems in the Church, Brigham Young and other Church leaders promoted the law as a way to unify the Saints in this life and secure the Saints’ eternal futures and salvation in the next life.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 14:3
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