Jesus’ Birth


     As Christmas approaches, it is timely to point out another difference between Mormonism and Christianity, namely the circumstances of Jesus’ birth.  Christianity teaches that Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit.  In fact, Luke 1: 35 (“that holy thing which shall be born of thee”) could be translated, “that holy one being conceived”.  The verb in the Greek is in the present and the word translated “born” also has the meaning “conceive”.  In other words, it was happening as the angel was speaking.

     Mormonism, however, teaches that Jesus was not only the spirit child of Heavenly Father, but also his literal physical child.  “That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof.”  (Talmage quoted in The Life and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles, p. 23)  “We believe that he came into the world, born of Mary, literally and actually, as we are born of our mothers: that he came into the world, born of God the Eternal Father, the Almighty Elohim, literally and actually, as we are born of our earthly fathers.”  (McConkie, quoted in Sharing the Gospel, p. 74)

     That Jesus was the product of a union of Mary and the Eternal Father has been the subject of unjust caricatures by some Christians.  I personally have never seen or heard Mormons talk about it the way some of those caricatures have portrayed it. 

     But, on the other hand, that doesn’t mean it is not part of Mormonism.  My reason for bringing it up is to highlight how it illustrates the different view Mormonism has of both God the Father and Jesus.  This ties in with Mormonism’s teaching that God is an Exalted Man (“As man is, God once was”) and that Jesus was half –Deity.  “She. . .was about to give birth to half-Deity.”  (Life and Teachings. . .p.10)

9 Responses to “Jesus’ Birth”

  1. December 16, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I don’t think it is possible in Mormon theology to be “half-deity.”

    Seems to me, you’re either in or you’re out.

    None of this “half” business.

  2. 2 markcares
    December 16, 2008 at 5:00 am

    You have to take it up with the Church Educational System that prepared the manual, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who published it and the Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who copyrighted the manual. By the way here ‘s another “half” quote from the same manual “He lived in a lowly home, the only man born to this earth half-Divine and half-mortal.” (p. 10)

  3. December 16, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Well, the place I’m coming from is a bunch of philosophical debates I was reading about infinite sets and how infinite numbers work, and how that applies to the unifying of finite quantities (us) to an infinite quantity (God).

    Somehow I doubt that paper is the sort of stuff that is accessible to the ordinary worshiper. Or even thought much about by people who are not used to thinking theologically.

  4. 4 markcares
    December 16, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Here we go again anroud and around. I have to disagree with your statement that you don’t think it’s possible in Mormon theology to be “half-deity”. If I looking at what Mormon theology is and what the LDS Church teaches I have to consider sources it produces and endorses, rather than philosophical debates or the beliefs of one of its members.
    I agree that there is sometimes a difference between what individual members believe and what the Church teaches. But that doesn’t nullify those Church teachings.

  5. December 16, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Sorry Mark, I should have made it clear I was simply voicing my own vague musings. I wasn’t trying to say Church doctrine is one way or the other in this instance.

  6. 6 Berean
    January 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Happy New Year!

    Another important aspect that separates Christianity from Mormonism is the Virgin Birth. Christianity stands firm on Matthew 1:20 which says, “…that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Mormonism denies this:

    “(The Son of God was) sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, NOR was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father.” (Ezra Taft Benson, 13th LDS President, “Come Unto Christ”, Salt Lake City: Deseret, 1983)

    “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. Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:46)

    Brigham Young and Ezra Taft Benson are not telling the truth in light of Matthew 1:20 and are liars, false prophets and their teachings should be rejected.

    I’ve discussed the issue of how Christ was conceived by the Mormon god and the Virgin Mary. Every one of them I have talked to have denied to me that this is a sexual reproduction the same way that we are brought into the world. I have asked, “Did the Mormon god just look at the Virgin Mary and she became pregnant? Was it artificial insemination? The Mormon god is an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones and the Virgin Mary has a body of flesh and bones as well, so how did it happen?”

    The answers have been all over the place. I have wondered the same thing about the spirit children and how the Mormon people rationalize this out sense they seem to try to rationalize everything else out (denying the Trinity because they don’t understand it). Mormons believe that the Mormon god is married and that there is a “Mother in Heaven”. She reproduces children that come from the Mormon god, but somehow Mormons tell us that two beings that have physical bodies don’t actually procreate in the same way that we do. I then ask, “What is the purpose of eternal marriage for then? Why is it mandatory that a male be married to a woman to gain the celestial kingdom so they can reproduce and create their own spirit children if they don’t actually have physical relations? How do two physical beings reproduce together and the offspring are not physical? Why is plural marriage necessary and required for the celestial kingdom (D&C 132; Mormon Doctrine says plural marriage will begin in the Millennium) if more women aren’t needed by the male god to reproduce his children so they can populate their own planets and start worshipping him?” Now that is much harder for me to understand than the Trinity.

    The idea of the Mormon god inpregnating the Virgin Mary through physical relations would indirectly make the Mormon god guilty of incest since Mary was one of his spirit children in the preexistence. The list of Mormon sources validating the physical, sexual union of the Mormon god and Mary are numerous. It doesn’t get any clearer than this:

    “Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father IN THE SAME WAY that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 547)

    “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; we use the term lawful wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully. He had a lawful right to OVERSHADOW THE VIRGIN MARY IN THE CAPACITY OF 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.” (Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, “The Seer”, page 158)

  7. 7 markcares
    January 1, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    It’s good to hear from you again.

  8. 8 Berean
    January 2, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Hi Mark,

    I’m happy to be back. I’ve missed being a part of this aspect of your ministry. I’m looking forward to what the Lord is going to do in 2009 at TILM. I hope you had a great Christmas. Happy New Year!

  9. January 2, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    Berean, I don’t really consider this issue problematic.

    The Bible passages in question are distinctly vague and unspecific. Honestly, I agree with you that individual Mormon answers are going to be all over the place and you are going to get a variety of views.

    But at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter much to me. Did God have intercourse with Mary? I don’t think so, but it doesn’t really bother me much if He did. Was it purely of the Holy Ghost or did God just look at her and “presto?” Don’t know, but don’t care either.

    Maybe you find the possibilities weird here. But keep in mind that we are talking about an all powerful and omnipotent being. We’re already “weird territory” here no matter how you slice it. I have a hard time really caring about this one.

Comments are currently closed.

December 2008

Blog Stats

  • 182,897 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 997 other followers

%d bloggers like this: