Paternity of Jesus Christ
Most Mormons today are unaware of what their church; The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches in regards to the way Jesus Christ was
brought into this world. It is fair to say that most garden variety Mormon
missionaries that come to your door have probably not explored the official
LDS doctrine of the manner in which Jesus was conceived.
Beginning with Brigham Young, the LDS Church has taught that God the Father
had sexual relations with the Virgin Mary to beget Jesus! However
offensive it sounds, this is, the official doctrine of the Mormon
Church. I use the term "official doctrine" because every LDS General
Authority that has addressed the subject has consistently taught it.
The General Authorities of the LDS Church include the President/Prophet
and the LDS apostles. In point of fact, this doctrine has never
been denied by any General Authority of the LDS Church!
To try to
anti-biblical and pagan doctrine, some not all, LDS apologists and BYU professors
typically claim that this is merely 19th century speculation (e.g.,
LDS teacher, Stephen Robinson). However, as we will clearly demonstrate, this is not the
case. First of all, the majority of the statements made by the General
Authorities are in the 20th century! However, other current LDS
apologists embrace the doctrine 1.
It should also be pointed
out: Mormon apologists and BYU professors are not General
Authorities--thus they do not determine doctrine for the LDS Church. Therefore
what they assert, is in itself, mere speculation and commentary, and hence not
official. For that reason, this examination is confined solely to the
statements of the General Authorities and official LDS Church
publications, which are distributed to the LDS people.
19th Century Teaching
President, and Prophet of LDS Church, Brigham Young:
When the Virgin
Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own
likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is
the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a
tabernacle [body], 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. . . . (Journal of
Discourses (hereafter: JD), 1:50; emphasis added).
unambiguous: Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. Notice
that he says Jesus was begotten "after the same manner as the
tabernacles" of Cain and Abel. And how are the tabernacles, that
is, bodies, of Cain and Abel and the rest of humanity begotten? Young explains
The birth of the
Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result
of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood--was begotten of his
Father, as we were of our fathers. . . . (JD, 8:115).
When the time
came that His first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take
a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a
tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. . . . (JD,
4:218; emphasis added).
In LDS theology, we were all spirit children procreated by sexual relations between the Father and His wives in heaven
before coming to earth. After which we were then sent to earth to receive
bodies. However, the Mormons assert, Jesus was not only the firstborn
spirit child, (His brother Lucifer being the second) but He was also
the only physical offspring on earth, of Mary and God the
Father. This is why Mormons refer to Jesus as "the Only Begotten in
Even more absurd, other LDS General Authorities taught that God
the Father was actually married to Mary!
Apostle Orson Pratt:
it was the
personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for
this reason Jesus is called the Only-Begotten of the Father; that is, the
only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There
were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of
the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas
both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father... The
fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore,
the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated
together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must
have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. . . .
He had a lawful
right to over- shadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband,
and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law
which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern
Himself, or to prescribe rules for his own conduct. It was also
lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give
Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to
Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed.
Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that
He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and
that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of
his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson
Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).
LDS Apostle Heber Kimball:
I will say that I
was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Saviour Jesus
Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his
father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it"
(JD, 8:211; emphasis added).
about it?! Kimball says Jesus was
begotten just as he was: in the flesh! Is this not what
Brigham Young and Orson Pratt taught?! But what about present-day Mormonism?
Do they now repudiate the clear teachings of former leaders? Of course, this
would make Young and other LDS leaders, false teachers. If so, then the
entire LDS Church fell into apostasy deviating from their own prophets and apostles.
Or, is it as BYU professors assert: "only 19th century
speculation?" Again, the assertions made by BYU professors are only
speculation and commentary, they do not speak for or determine the official
doctrine of the Church. They are not General Authorities.
analyzing the official LDS position on the paternity of Jesus Christ, we find
that the majority of the statements made by the General
Authorities and publications printed by the LDS Church on this teaching; were
made in the 20th century! Hence, it is complete error to assert that
this doctrine is simply 19th century speculation.
LDS Apostle and scholar, James E. Talmage:
of the Christ to the Eternal Father has been set forth in such
plainness that I do not think any wayfaring man amongst us can
fail to understand. We recognize in Jesus Christ the Son of the Eternal
Father, both in spirit and in body. There is no other
meaning to attach to that expression, as used by the Eternal Father
Himself--"Mine Only Begotten Son." Christ combined within His
own person and nature the attributes of His mortal mother, and just as
truly the attributes of His immortal Sire... This simplicity
of doctrine has shocked many, but the truth is frequently
shocking just because of its simplicity and consequent grandeur (Conference
Report, April 1915, 121; emphasis added).
Please note, Talmage
refers to the Father as Jesus' "immortal Sire." Talmage
frequently uses the title "Immortal Sire" in his writings:
Born of a mortal
mother He inherited the capacity to die; begotten by an immortal
Sire He possessed as a heritage the power to withstand death. . .
. (Jesus the Christ, ch. 3, 22; emphasis added).
A natural effect
of His immortal origin, as the earth-born Son of an immortal Sire, was
that He was immune to death except as He surrendered thereto (ibid., ch.
Tenth President of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith:
Our Father in heaven is the Father of Jesus Christ, both in the spirit and
in the flesh. . . . CHRIST NOT BEGOTTEN OF THE HOLY GHOST. I
believe firmly that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the
flesh. He taught this doctrine to his disciples. He did not teach them
that He was the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of the Father... Christ
was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and
that Man was God!" (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:18;
emphasis added; caps. theirs).
LDS Apostle, scholar and prolific writer, Bruce R. McConkie:
all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the
flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally.
Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son.
Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that
mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers (Mormon Doctrine,
546-47; emphasis added).
Begotten in the same
way as mortal men? In this same
book McConkie declares:
God the Father is
a perfected, glorified holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was
born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in
the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to
a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was
begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events,
for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says (742).
In his book: The
Mortal Messiah, McConkie utilizes the same term Talmage uses: "Sire."
[Mary] shall conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and God
himself shall be the sire. It is his Son of whom Gabriel is
speaking. A son is begotten by a father: whether on earth or in heaven it
is the same (1:319; emphasis added).
Family Home Evenings:
The Mormon Church also provides publications designed for the family. One such
publication is: Family Home Evenings, copyrighted by the Corporation
President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This booklet
clearly represents the LDS view:
must come down to the simple fact that God Almighty was the Father of His
Son Jesus Christ. Mary, the virgin girl, who had never known mortal man,
was his mother. God by her begot his Son Jesus Christ, and
he was born into the world with power and intelligence like that of His
Father... Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple
as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God,
the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus Christ
(125-126; 1972 ed. emphasis added).
statement there is some pictorial artwork to help explain this doctrine to
children. A figure of a man is drawn and under the man the title "Daddy"
is placed and next to him a drawing of a woman with the title "Mommy"
underneath. In between the figures "Daddy" and "Mommy"
there is a + sign. From these two figures, pointing down, there are two
arrows pointing to a drawing of a child with the title "You"
underneath. Obviously, this diagram teaches children how they are
conceived. Right below this diagram, there is another drawing. It's the same
diagram but the titles are changed. The title "Our Heavenly
Father" is in place of the "Daddy" and the title "Mary"
are in place of the "Mommy." And guess who is in the place of
the child figure titled "You?"----you got it-- "Jesus."
Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
This four-volume set is a treasure for Mormons. It contains numerous
statements and teachings from LDS scholars and General Authorities. And
it is sold in most LDS bookstores.
Latter-day Saints, the paternity of Jesus is not obscure. He was the literal,
biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman...
Jesus is the only person born who deserves the title "the Only
Begotten Son of God. . . .(under the subject title: Jesus Christ,
recognize Jesus as literally the Only Begotten Son of God the Father
in the flesh... This title signifies that Jesus' physical
body was the offspring of a mortal mother and the eternal Father. . . .
It is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ is the child of Mary and God the
Father, "not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a
higher manifestation thereof (ibid., emphasis added).
My primary reason for
this rather lengthy list of citations is because of the simple fact: LDS
doctrine is not determined by LDS apologists or BYU professors
but by the General Authorities and "official" LDS Church
publications. Again, this doctrine has been consistently taught by LDS General
Authorities, and has never been denied by any General
how does God the Father have physical relations with Mary? Answer: The Mormons
teach: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as
man's" (Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 130:22). However,
Scripture pointedly refutes the Mormon position:
Now the birth of
Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to
Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy
Ghost [lit. "she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit,"
heurethe en gastri echousa ek pneumatos hagiou] Then Joseph her
husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her public example, was
minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things,
behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in dream, saying, Joseph,
thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that
which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:18-20).
have paganized the historic biblical doctrine of the Virgin Birth.
To demonstrate that the LDS Church, has in fact, taught this doctrine is an
extraordinarily effective way to show the Mormons that they are not in the true
Church of Jesus Christ. Only God can open the eyes of the Mormon
people to see the truth.
by Kevin Barney of the LDS apologetic group, FARMS (Foundation for
Apologetic Information & Research)
The Sexual Generation of Jesus
the May 7th issue of The
Christian Post, there is an article entitled “What Religious
Beliefs are Shaping American Christians Today?” I noticed the
following in that article:
features an article written by Cky Carrigan, national interfaith
evangelism missionary with the North American Mission Board and
visiting professor of missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological
Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. on the theology of Mormonism, one of
the nation’s fastest-growing religious groups.
focuses on the Christology of Mormonism, which includes the
atonement and the belief that Jesus Christ was born as the result of
sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”
[As an aside, I've actually met and
talked with Cky (pronounced like the Greek conjunction "kai"). He
attended a FAIR Conference once in an admirable attempt to get his
facts straight about what Mormons believe; several of us spent about
two hours after dinner one night trying to help him avoid
misrepresentations in his thesis.]
Anyway, what I want
to focus on in this post is “the belief that Jesus Christ was born
as the result of sexual intercourse between Elohim and Mary.”
Critics of the
Church of course love this scandalous nugget (some conflating it
with the Adam-God Doctrine to have Adam having sexual intercourse
with Mary). It is a commonplace in anti-Mormon literature and
websites. And since on its face it appears blasphemous, we have a
tendency to recoil from it, to be (overly?) defensive about it, and
increasingly to reject it. My usual tack when asked about it is to
point out that the idea is not now and never was doctrine; it was a
speculation. It is not binding on anyone, and in fact my impression
is that it has become very much a minority view in the Church, and
that most Mormons do not accept this characterization of the
physical generation of the mortal Jesus.
I will confess,
however, that I actually like this idea. Maybe it is because I have
a streak of old fashioned Mormonism somewhere inside me. But I find
it appealing on several levels. First, there is a certain naturalism
to the idea. I presume the mortal Jesus had 46 chromosomes, and that
23 came from Mary, but where did the other 23 come from? As a
Mormon, I’m not big on the idea that they were created ex nihilo for
this specific purpose. I like being able to say that Jesus really
did have a father, not in a metaphorical sense only (the language of
begetting in the creeds doesn’t mean literal begetting), but in a
physical sense. He really was the Son of God.
I also find it
fascinating that people see this idea as being so totally offensive.
To me, that speaks not only to our radically different conception of
God and man as being of the same species, our literalist notion of
divine paternalism and our radical materialism, but also to our
Puritan heritage. If it is so disgusting to suggest God sired a son
by sexual intercourse, why, I wonder, did God ordain that to be the
natural method by which we conceive our own children? Is that just
some sort of a cosmic joke? Does God sit in yonder heavens and look
down on his creatures and laugh at their disgusting and dirty and
ridiculous actions? Isn’t it possible that, if God ordained sexual
intercourse as the means by which we create children, that it is
divinely appointed and not disgusting or dirty at all?
I freely concede
that the old fashioned Mormon speculators didn’t think all the way
through this idea, and there are theological loose ends, to be sure.
But I am curious: does anyone else here kind of like this old
notion, or is it Mormon materialism run amuck?
And whatever your
opinions on the speculation itself, do you agree with me that it is
a dying idea in Mormon thought, and that in another generation or
two it will be completely dead?
© 2012 Department of Christian Defense