Was the LDS Jesus born of the virgin Mary?

by Matt Slick

The Bible teaches that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. This means that Mary had no sexual relations with any man prior to the birth of Jesus.

Likewise, the Mormon church also maintains that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary.  However, there is quite an interesting array of Mormon authorities who have said some very interesting things about the relationship between God and Mary regarding Jesus’ birth. Let’s take a look at some of them and see what we find:

Brigham Young, second prophet and president of the LDS church said,

"The birth of the Saviour 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," (Journal of Discourses, v. 8, p. 115).

Brigham Young also said, "Now, remember from this time forth, and for ever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51).

Brigham Young said, "When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, 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. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, 1857, p. 218).

Joseph Fielding Smith, stated

"The birth of the Savior was a natural occurrence unattended with any degree of mysticism, and the Father God was the literal parent of Jesus in the flesh as well as in the spirit," (Religious Truths Defined, p. 44, as cited in the book, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, by Gerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P.O. Box 1884, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, bookstore at 1358 South West Temple, 1982, p. 260).

Joseph Fielding Smith said, "They tell us the Book of Mormon states that Jesus was begotten of the Holy Ghost. I challenge that statement. The Book of Mormon teaches no such thing! Neither does the Bible." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 19).

Bruce McConkie, who was a member of the First Council of the Seventy stated,

"Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers," (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 547).

"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, . . . Christ is the Son of Man, meaning that his Father (the Eternal God!) is a Holy Man." (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, p. 742).

Heber C. Kimball who was a member of the first presidency said,

"In relation to the way in which I look upon the works of God and his creatures, 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." (Journal of Discourses, v. 8, p. 211).

"The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband," (Deseret News, October 10, 1866, as cited in the book, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, by Gerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P.O. Box 1854, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, bookstore at 1350 South West Temple, 1982, p. 261).

What conclusions can we draw from the words of the leaders of the Mormon church regarding Jesus’ birth?

  1. It was the result of natural action, (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 8, p. 115).
  2. Jesus was not begotten by the Holy Ghost," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 51); (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 19).
  3. "The Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, 1857, p. 218).
  4. The birth was the result of natural action, (Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115).
  5. "The Father God was the literal parent of Jesus in the flesh as well as in the spirit," (Religious Truths Defined, p. 44).
  6. "Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers," (Mormon Doctrine, by Bruce McConkie, 1966, p. 547).
  7. "There is nothing figurative about his [Jesus’] paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events," (Mormon Doctrine, p. 742).

Remember, according to Mormon teaching the Holy Ghost is a male personage, a man. (Le Grand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Salt Lake City, 1956, p. 118; Heber C. Kimball, in Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 179).

The Father, who is God, is also in the form of a man (Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 3; and Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22).

Mary, of course, was a woman.

This is even more interesting when we realize that the Mormon church officially proclaims that Jesus was born of a virgin. For example, Bruce McConkie stated "Modernistic teachings denying the virgin birth are utterly and completely apostate and false." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, page 822.) That is fine.  Let them proclaim it.  But quite honestly, I fail to see how the Mormon people can assert that Mary remained a virgin in light of this evidence from their prophets and apostles. I see them saying two different things while backpedaling trying to seem Christian.

Of course, this is my opinion, and the Mormons who read this will accuse me of sensationalism.  But, I am simply pointing out what many of their official church leaders have said. In the changing teachings of Mormonism, you never know what you'll find next.1

 

This article is also available in: Español

  • 1. Here is a list of the sources that were consulted for this article: (1) McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979; (2)Richards, LeGrand, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1950; (3) Smith, Joseph Fielding, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954; (4) Tanner, Gerald and Sandra, Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P.O. Box 1854, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110; (5) Witte, Bob, Where Does it Say That?, no publisher or location.

 

 

 

 
 
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