Most Latter-day Saints are fully aware of the LDS teaching that Adam was Michael the Archangel in the premortal life. [LDS Glossary]. However, most LDS are unaware that in one of Joseph's revelations he identified Adam and Michael as separate individuals.
From the UTLM website:
Important Change in Newly-Accepted Revelation
On April 3, 1976, the Church Section of the Deseret News reported: "Two revelations received by former Presidents of the Church, were accepted as scripture Saturday afternoon, April 3, by vote of Church membership....
"The new scriptures, which will be arranged in verses as part of the Pearl of Great Price, include the account of the Prophet Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom received Jan. 21, 1836...."
After these two revelations were canonized by the Mormon church, Michael Marquardt, a student of Mormon history, discovered that the one concerning Joseph Smith's vision of the Celestial Kingdom had been altered. Mr. Marquardt found that this revelation was recorded in Joseph Smith's own diary under the date of January 21, 1836. In Joseph Smith's diary the revelation read as follows:
"The heavens were opened upon us and I beheld the celestial Kingdom of God,... I saw father Adam, and Abraham and Michael and my father and mother, my brother Alvin (Joseph Smith's Diary, January 21, 1836, p. 136; original in LDS historical department).
When the Mormon leaders printed this revelation they deleted the words "and Michael" without any indication. It reads as follows in the Deseret News, Church Section, April 3, 1976: "The heavens were opened upon us and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God,... I saw Father Adam and Abraham, and my father and my mother, my brother, Alvin,..."
At first glance the deletion of the words "and Michael" does not appear too important. In Mormon theology, however, a serious problem is created by the statement "I saw father Adam, and Abraham and Michael...." According to Joseph Smith's other revelations, Adam is Michael. In the Doctrine and Covenants 107:54 we read: "And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel." In 27:11 we read: "And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days." Thus it is clear that if Adam is Michael, Joseph Smith could not have seen "Adam, and Abraham and Michael." The Mormon leaders must have been aware that this would create a problem in Mormon theology, and therefore they deleted the words "and Michael" from the revelation.
This change was apparently made sometime while the church was under Brigham Young's leadership. The fact that the change was made after Joseph Smith's death is evident from Mr. Marquardt's research. He found that the revelation was copied into the handwritten manuscript of the History of the Church (book B-1, p. 695), with the words "and Michael" still included. Mr. Marquardt also found that the words were in the duplicate copy of the "Manuscript History," (book B-2, p. 618). This is significant because the Mormon leaders did not even start the duplicate copy until almost a year after Joseph Smith's death (see Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p. 469). This would mean that the change had to have been made after Smith's death. By the time the revelation was published in the Deseret News, September 4, 1852, the words "and Michael" had been deleted. Thus it appears that the change took place sometime between 1845 and 1852 and that current Mormon leaders have canonized a falsified revelation.
Critic's comments: The intentional deletion of those words from the published version of D&C 137 tells us two things: One, modern LDS leaders recognized that a contradiction existed in Smith's allegedly authentic visionary experience, so they consciously altered Smith's original journal entry to eliminate the
contradiction. Second, the contradiction itself proves that Smith's "vision" was not an authentic occurrence, but rather was the product of his imagination.
Obviously, Smith could not have seen "Adam AND Michael," yet later assert that they were one and the same being.
ex-Mormon critic Randy J.
The Adam and Michael problem is similar to the Elias an Elijah problem where Joseph Smith said that both Elias and Elijah appeared at the Kirtland temple. However, Elias and Elijah are the same person. Elijah is the Hebrew name of Elias (Greek). But Joseph thought they were two different people and thus referred to them as such. See Elias & Elijah
Editor Comments: Joseph seems to have slipped up twice in giving revelations that were later canonized into scripture. It appears that he at first stated that Adam and Michael were separate people that he saw appearing together in a vision. He also stated that Elias and Elijah were separate people both appearing at the Kirtland temple one right after the other in visions. It was only later that Joseph likely decided that Adam was Michael. Joseph (like many people) never realized that Elias and Elijah in the Bible are the same person.
The Church gets around the first problem by rewriting the revelation in the case of Adam & Michael so they are referred to as the same person. The Church explains the second problem by trying to convince people that Elias is simply a title and not the name of a person which makes little sense when you read the LDS scriptures and revelations written by Joseph Smith.
These are the kinds of mistakes that one would expect to happen to someone developing scripture and forming a religion when they don't fully understand the Bible or ancient languages.
Reference: Link is here. ["The Changing World of Mormonism," Chapter 3, pp. 62, 63, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry]