“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… 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 litera 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?”
The Mormon apologist goes on to write:
[T]he sexual generation theory is very much a minority view in the Church today, and is dying… Although the sexual idea is dying, it’s not dead yet. A friend of mine took a poll in his older-skewing ward in Ogden, and everyone he talked to thought that of course Jesus was sexually generated. So there are pockets of old-timers on the Wasatch front where the idea still lives.
Update: Since this is such a notorious topic for hedgings and red herrings, I will tightly regulate the conversation. To keep the conversation on topic, it will not be about what constitutes “official doctrine” in Mormonism. Save that discussion for a future post dedicated to the particular topic.
- Why do you think the idea of the sexual generation of Jesus is revolting to Christians, but not revolting to some Mormons?
- Did Kevin Barney, in the above quotes, implicitly affirm that some past LDS leaders have taught of the sexual generation of Jesus, nevertheless calling it speculation? Why do you think he doesn’t just respond with, “It was never taught, even in the manner of speculation”?
- Why do you think Mormons are divided amongst themselves over whether past LDS leaders taught of the sexual generation of Jesus?
- Why do you think Mormons are more willing to argue with evangelical Christians over this issue than they are amongst themselves? Does the Mormon worldview foster a shrug of indifference over the belief of some that Jesus was (at least possibly) sexually generated?
- What evidence is there, if any, that Young or Talmage or McConkie were speaking in a merely speculative manner on this subject? Where did they ever qualify their words with something that would indicate it was mere speculative guesswork and not assertive truth-claims (note: I said “assertive truth-claims”, not “official doctrines”)?
- If “it” was speculation, what is “it”?
- If you are Mormon, are you willing to unequivocally and publicly admit that Young, Pratt, Talmage, or McConkie taught of the sexual generation of Jesus Christ between God the Father and his spirit-daughter Mary?