Was the Virgin Birth a Product of the Great Apostasy?

I have asked on a few occasions here, “Do you believe that the early church apostasized towards this?” Usually it is in regards to going from a type of polytheism to monotheism, however it holds true for the Virgin Birth. Does anybody really believe that the primitive church held that the Heavenly Father had sex with Mary, then apostatized by claiming that Christ was born of a virgin?

The birth narratives in Matthew and Luke are well known by most in the West and especially those who frequent this blog. Both testify that Jesus was born of a virgin – a virgin being a person who has never had sex with anyone – man, god, etc.

However, for Mormons there is a problem. Some GA’s of the 19th & 20th centuries have challenged the Virgin Birth. Aaron identified four – Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, James Talmage and Bruce McConkie. I would add Heber C. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Joseph Fielding Smith, Hugh B. Brown, and possibly Henry D. Taylor; there is a very good chance more could be added to the list. The idea that Mary was not a virgin, in the truest sense of the word, after she conceived was (and to some extant is) a widespread belief in Mormonism. The quotes from G.A.’s on the issue demonstrate that this belief was held at the highest echelons of Mormonism.

Noticeably absent from the list is Joseph Smith Jr. I have never heard or read anything about him assailing the Virgin Birth. Even the Joseph Smith translation renders the Hebrew word “almah” in Isaiah 7:14 as “virgin”. To be fair Mormons who do accept the Virgin Birth have some ammo on their side. They have the King James Bible, the aforementioned JST, and the Book of Mormon.

Perhaps you notice a trend here? The evidence for the Virgin Birth comes from an earlier time in Mormonism’s history – like before the Saints moved to Utah. The evidence against the Virgin Birth in Mormonism comes from quotes by apostles and prophets of the 19th & 20th centuries. It has been in the last 20 years or so that the Virgin Birth has gained more acceptance in Mormonism. I believe that as Mormonism’s materialistic worldview began to grow and take root (the classical definition of materialism not “greed”) that it necessitated the “fleshly” quotes by 19th century Mormons. They fit the paradigm of God the Father being a highly exalted man and Jesus being the literal and physical Son of God. A few 19th century Quorum of the Twelve members even believed that Jesus is not a virgin, but rather married.

I would contrast this dichotomy with the steadfast witness of the Church for the last 2,000 years. Christianity has taught that Jesus was born of a virgin. In Koine Greek, the idea is clear that the books of Matthew and Luke affirm the virgin birth. When Christians have rendered these scriptures in other languages they have chosen words that outright state or at least strongly imply that Mary was a virgin before and after conceiving the Messiah.
In addition, there are treatises beyond number – ranging from the 1st century until now – that attest to the Church’s belief in this doctrine. Justin Martyr, Aristides, and Ignatius all write very early on in Christian history that Jesus was born of a virgin. That abominable Apostle’s Creed says that Jesus was “born of the Virgin Mary”. Indeed, where is the early witness that Jesus was not born of a virgin, but rather by a physical union of God and Mary? There are early challenges to the virgin birth from outside Christianity, but in those challenges someone else other than God (usually Joseph) is put forward as the physical father of Jesus.

Honestly, the idea that Jesus was a product of a sexual union between God and Mary sounds a lot more like it came from the ancient pagan religions of the Mediterranean world. This is ironic as it often Mormons who accuse Christianity of being adulterated by Hellenistic influences. You mean adulterated to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin?

In the words of that great coffee guru Linda Richman – talk amongst yourselves.

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230 Responses to Was the Virgin Birth a Product of the Great Apostasy?

  1. mobaby says:


    I would disagree that most ignore these non-Biblical writings – movies and best-selling books center on these writings. I have a book called “Fabricating Jesus” by Craig A Evans – he is a 1st rate Biblical Scholar who has spent his life studying Scripture and ancient writings and is a firm Christian believer. In this book he contrasts the writings from which all these doctrines you sited above are drawn with the text we have in the Bible. There is nothing wrong with using writings from outside the Bible to understand the culture and time in which the Bible was written. For instance, we gain understanding of Jesus time by looking at the Dead Sea Scrolls and the writings of the Essenes. However, we must examine them critically in order to see if they actually are what they claim to be.

    First, the “Gospels” outside of the Bible date later than those in the Bible. If you are going to base your beliefs on Scripture and eyewitness accounts which would you trust:

    Biblical Accounts
    60 – 70AD Gospel of Mark
    70 – 80AD Gospel of Luke, Acts, Gospel of Matthew
    90 – 95AD Gospel of John

    Extracanonical Accounts (Fragments)
    120AD Gospel of Egyptians (fragment), Gospel of Nazareans, Gospel of Ebionites (60 year after Mark)
    140AD Gospel of Hebrews (not the Biblical Hebrews) – (70 years after Luke and Matthew)
    180 AD – Gospel of Thomas (a favorite today for some reason – written 100 years after the fact – not exactly a trustworthy eyewitness)

    These are the best guesses we have for when these were written. If these dates are correct (and Evans thinks they are) then these “other gospels” offer little to no value. There is a fragment of the Gospel of Thomas (the intro) in Craig Evans book. Evans calls it esoteric, I would call it gobbledy-gook.

  2. Hank,

    Can you actually name some of the writings that give support to what you wrote? Most people reject the pseudepigrapha because they are what the name suggest – false writings. They all were written to late to be written by whom they supposedly claim they were authored by.

    What does any of this have to do with the Virgin Birth? How does any of this take away from the Matthew and Luke’s infancy narratives and the GA’s that stated Jesus was brought about the “same way” were?

  3. liv4jc says:

    One of the things I have noticed about this thread is that this false teaching from Smith’s GA’s is a result of a faulty view of God. In their minds Heavenly Father is a distinct god from the Holy Ghost. The gospel writers were under no such delusion and refer to each person of the Godhead interchangeably as being fully God without explanation, because to them it was common knowledge. To those who have a faulty understanding of the three persons of the Godhead, this can be confusing, but to the Christian it should be an affirmation of the Trinity. In Matthew, the angel tells Joseph, “for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit…(verse 23 continues quoting Isaiah)..Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, ‘God with us’.”

    In Luke 1:35 this is even more clear, “..The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”

    This is stating that the Holy Spirit is nothing less than God Himself. The Mormon believes that the “Highest” is Heavenly Father. But to the Christian the co-equal, co-eternal Holy Spirit is also the “Highest”. The same is true when Luke says, “..the Holy One who is to be born..” Who is the Holy One, but God Most High? So God Most High is to be born. And Jesus is as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit, but also the Son of God conceived by God the Holy Spirit. With a proper understanding of the Trinity there is no need to manufacture the idea that God the Father had to be the agent of Jesus’ conception when the text clearly states that God the Holy Spirit is the agent. The Mormon sees the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary, while the power of another God, Heavenly Father, would overshadow her and conceive Jesus. This is why BY taught that if the Holy Ghost was the agent of Jesus’ conception women would become pregnant when they “received Him”.

  4. mobaby says:

    I think Mormons like the early Gnostic writings because they allow them to insert any concept they want into early Christianity. Basically, these writing are easily seen as false, but Mormons use them for basically the same reason the skeptics use them – to undermine the truth of the Gospel. It’s another tactic for promoting the “great apostasy.” The only problem is that these writings can be historically shown to come after the NT gospels, and they are clearly false, created by another religion (Gnosticism) to support it’s non-Biblical ideas and written in a style that is obviously not meant to record facts but to focus on “spiritual things.” In other words – Mormons use apostate writings to claim apostasy in the Church, which makes sense in a way – but they have it exactly reversed. Mormons stand with the apostates against the truth of Christ. It reveals a very low view of Scripture – which helps explain why they are so willing to rely on prophets who teach false doctrine – on Adam-God, on the Virgin Birth, on Christ’s Atonement, etc. etc. Mormons happily pick bits from these writings that support their false teachings, just as they pick bits from their GAs which they hold on to and discard those things they don’t like. Whoever said recently that Mormons get to make it up and pick and choose and believe what they want got it so right. Even Mormon leaders don’t study theology – they are primarily wealthy business men, which is not a bad thing, but it has nothing to do with God’s economy. Prophets who don’t prophesy and Apostles who perform no miracles and have never seen Christ. Joseph Smith must have been charismatic (especially to get other men to give him their wives, and by give I mean he could have produced children with them in the normal way) – the current LDS leadership is severely lacking in that area.

  5. grindael says:

    The original Gnosticism that predated Christianity was a philosophical system built on Greek philosophy that taught matter was evil and the Spirit was good. According to the Gnostic world- view, the created order was evil, inferior, and opposed to the good. God created the first order, but each successive order was the work of anti-gods, archons, or a demiurges (a subordinate deity). These spheres are ruled by archons who guard their spheres by barring the souls who are seeking to ascend from the realm of darkness and captivity which is below, to the realm of light which is above. This was done by spiritual knowledge or experience, we identify it today as enlightenment.

    They taught a docetism (greek ‘to seem’) which promoted a clear separation between the material and spiritual world. Some of the Christian Gnostics said since matter was evil God could not really incarnate in a human body He was not subject to any human experiences or feelings. The Christian form of docetism taught that Jesus body was not a real body, was really a (spirit) phantom. he only appeared in human form and onlyappeared to suffer, it was an illusion. Thus Jesus could be a pure spiritual being in the midst of an evil world and not be contaminated by it. Jesus only appeared to have flesh which denied his genuine humanity. They believed if Christ suffered he could not be divine, (this was an integral part of Gnosticism) because God cannot suffer.

    Instead the Bible says that God descended into sinful matter and took on human flesh, it was real, this they could not believe. You can see this error in the cults today when they refuse to believe the Bible teaches God became a man. And that the resurrection was a spirit body and not the flesh. The Bible teaches that the body that emerged from the tomb Sunday morning was the exact same body that went into the tomb except it was glorified.

    How does Acts 1:3 apply to the Gnostics? Or THEIR heretical teachings? It does NOT.

  6. grindael says:

    It is obvious that apostate Christians who were taken in by the Gnostics, invented these writings and their FALSE JESUS. Jesus spoke to his apostles about the Kingdom of God. In fact He tells us he did nothing in secret:

    “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” – John 18:20

    It does NOT say he taught ‘secret’ knowledge that was only had by the Gnostics and then lost. In fact, John condemns their false anti-Christ (CF 1 John:1-6).

    The Gnostic writings are left alone and ignored for good reason, THEY TEACH A FALSE CHRIST. Any who wish to promote those writings, or advise others to read them to ‘receive light and knowledge’ come under this condemnation of the true Savior and His Apostles:

    “And in VAIN they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9)

    “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth , and be turned aside to FABLES.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4)

  7. grindael says:

    “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will SECRETLY bring in destructive heresies, even DENYING THE LORD who bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” ( 2 Peter 2:1)

    “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which UNTAUGHT AND UNSTABLE PEOPLE twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked;” (2 Peter 3: 16,17)

    Perhaps one of these Gnostic ‘Archons’ appeared to smith and gave him his information. Brigham Young also taught false doctrine with Adam-god and that Adam was the father of Jesus. Is it such a stretch then, that Mormonism RESEMBLES so much these false gnostic teachings?

    In any case, the Lord and His Apostles condemned the Gnostics & THOSE LIKE THEM. If you want to find out more about God, go to the BIBLE, which was written by those who Jesus TOLD to go to for knowledge. Going to the Gnostics for knowledge about Jesus is like going to David Koresh, Jim Jones, or Satan, for these doctrines come from him, the father of ALL LIES.

  8. grindael says:

    Here is a good example of untaught and unstable people twisting scriptures to their own destruction:

    Likening the phrase ‘clothed with power from on high’ to smith’s endowment. The scripture simply means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When Jesus told them he would “send you what my Father has promised,” he meant the Comforter, or the Holy Spirit:

    “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14.26

    Like with all the scholarly apologetics, smithians sift through heretical writings to try and bolster the claims of smith.

    To believe the gnostics (or anything they taught), who believed in an anti-christ, is ludicrous. They taught a phony Christ, who taught phony doctrines.

    The gnostics had the same problem as Brigham Young, they DID NOT KNOW who God is, and invented a phony Christ to perpetuate their heresies. Of course they said the church would apostatize in the first century after Jesus, THEY were living then and claimed LIKE SMITH to have true knowledge (gnosis).

    Unfortunately, in reading their doctrines, one comes to the conclusion they are false, like the modern day gnostics: the mormons, those who “Seem” to see secrets in everything.

    Mobaby’s comment is worth a Re-read, so I’ll repost it:

    “For secret knowledge to truly be of any importance it must pertain to how we are to relate to God – NOT what Jesus had for breakfast. Anything that claims to be hidden knowledge that contradicts what God has revealed about His nature and how we are to know Him is a fraud (and can easily be seen to be false with minimal examination of it’s roots, history, timeframe, etc.). What is recorded in Scripture makes it clear on how much God loves us and how we are to know Him.”

  9. HankSaint says:

    grindael, nice bit of plagiarism. How come you don’t reveal your source. Hmmm, interesting.

    “The evangelical world needs to wake up and respond to contemporary Mormon scholarship. If not, we will lose the battle without ever knowing it. Our suggestions are as follows: First, evangelicals need to overcome inaccurate presuppositions about Mormonism. Second, evangelical counter-cultists need to refer LDS scholarship that is beyond their ability to rebut, to qualified persons. Third, evangelical academians need to make Mormonism, or some aspects of it, an area of professional interest. Fourth, evangelical publishers need to cease publishing works that are uninformed, misleading or otherwise inadequate.”

    In this battle the Mormons are fighting valiantly. And the evangelicals? It appears that we may be losing the battle and not knowing it. But this is a battle we cannot afford to lose.

    Source, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen

  10. Hank,

    How old Is that quote by Owen and Mosser? We are coming up on 2010. That would make it about 12 years now? And how many time have you brought it out? It shows you are desperate.

    Don’t get it twisted. I do not think that quote was ever fully valid. If it contained some truth 12 years ago it contains none now. I do not think you, Owen, or Mosser fully understand the issues and what Christians in the past 20 years have written. Many of the objections Evangelicals make have been “answered”, but those answers are weak at best. Some arguments that will never go away date back to the 1830’s because the Mormon has no good answer that any non-Mormon would find compelling. Indeed, much (even most) of modern Mormon apologetics is aimed at keeping some Mormons, the ones who might otherwise leave, in the fold.

    Getting back to the topic . . . Hank, can you answer these questions? What did 19th century GA’s mean by “same way”? Do you believe Joseph Smith rendered Isaiah 7:14, and the infancy narratives in the gospels, correctly in the JST? Do you believe Jesus is a virgin or do you side with the GA’s that said He was married?

  11. HankSaint says:

    David, what you are obviously missing is the fact the no new books are coming out at this time addressing much of anything new that wasn’t already debated prior to Carl Mosser and Paul Owen. Yet we find that our BYU Scholars and Apologist are doing a very admirable job of bringing many new issues to light, much hinging around the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient writings.

    Not one GA ever explained the mechanics of the Virgin Mary, that which you allude to and explained by other here at MC is seedy, dirty, and completely unworthy of comment. Nothing our GA’s talked about would indicate that God is immoral. Nice try, but you fail miserably at proving a very speculative point.

    Married or not is not found in our Standard Works, if someone speculates or feels this is sound doctrine, then they must be willing to own that opinion, since they cannot quote from any scriptures that would prove it either way. So GA’s have opinions, yes I’m sue they are as human as you and I.


  12. Hank,

    “David, what you are obviously missing is the fact the no new books are coming out at this time addressing much of anything new that wasn’t already debated prior to Carl Mosser and Paul Owen.

    Just plain wrong on this one. There are books out there (as well as numerous articles and postings)that address numerous issues. When Owens and Mosser gave us The New Mormon Challenge (a good book BTW) they made it sound like the contents in the book were brand spanking new. They are not and were not at the time; some were used before that book –

    Those men fail to recognize those who have gone before them.

    “Yet we find that our BYU Scholars and Apologist are doing a very admirable job of bringing many new issues to light, much hinging around the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient writings.”

    Wrong again. I have seen what comes out of BYU at it is weak at best. The world is still waiting for a definitive commentary, that jives with Mormonism, on the book of Romans. How about Nibley’s last book on the BoA? He finished all/most of it before he died yet none of it has been published.

    Still waiting on what “same way” means. Still waiting on the JST’s take on the Virgin Birth. So are you telling me that a GA cannot give new revelation – “Married or not is not found in our Standard Works”? When is Mormon teaching confined to the standard works? That is not a call you get to make.

    Do GA’s give their mere opinions on religious teachings? Even at General Conference? Are you willing to publicly call the opinion that Jesus is not a Virgin as wrong?

  13. falcon says:

    Must be time to set my watch….it’s the Owen-Moesser quote again. It’s been dealt with and answered but when it’s the only arrow in your quiver, it’s the one that has to be shot.
    So here we go. Why would anyone read modern day Mormon writers? Just a cruise-by FAIR or FARMS and one will see that what passes for scholarship in Mormonism wouldn’t make it in the average middle school classroom.
    One enduring characteristic of those who are serious in dealing with apologetics to Mormons, is that they go to original source material. I would offer Sandra and Gerald Tanner as prime examples. Andy Watson, who posts here, carries a bag stuffed full of Mormon source material in case he should run into a Mormon who might not accept what he says as coming from Mormon sources.If the Mormons who post here are indicative of Mormon apologetic scholarship, it’s a pretty dismal showing.

  14. HankSaint says:

    Interesting comments from our two esteemed Members of the Church of Scholars, but obviously they seem a little frustrated and need to twist the story somewhat, so again lets see what two of their finest said about Mormon scholars.

    May I?

    “We realize that our five conclusions may be controversial. However, having read an immense amount of the scholarly literature published (in both LDS and non-LDS venues) by Latter-day Saint intellectuals;(5) having read a great deal of apologetic material produced by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS); and having read or examined most evangelical works on Mormonism, we feel that we are justified in our conclusions. The scholarship of Mormon writers is often rigorous. In the least their work warrants examination. Further, we have had a number of opportunities to converse with several leading LDS academians.”

    Same two guys for my source.

  15. Hank,

    Thanks for the flashback to 98. Now we head to the 2nd decade in the 21st century. Happy New Year All!

  16. HankSaint says:

    You’re welcome David, let me know when any new research, books, criticisms, accusations come out that were before 98′ and have not already been addressed and disqualified.

    “Our fourth conclusion is that at the academic level evangelicals are losing the debate with the Mormons. We are losing the battle and do not know it. In recent years the sophistication and erudition of LDS apologetics has risen considerably while evangelical responses have not.(4) Those who have the skills necessary for this task rarely demonstrate an interest in the issues. Often they do not even know that there is a need. In large part this is due entirely to ignorance of the relevant literature.”

    Same Source, happy new year. Richard. 🙂

  17. How about the aforementioned The New Mormon Challenge? Or how about a little closer to home: Mormonism 101 & 301? Or how about this tract from James White- http://vintage.aomin.org/Mintract.html?

    A whole bunch of stuff can be found here:

    Perhaps you could answer why unique King James renderings of Biblical passages are found in the BoM in light of the scribal narrative of the Comprehensive History of the Church? That one has never been answered to my satisfaction.

    Where is Hugh Nibley’s last work on the BoA? Why has it not been published?

    Let’s keep it to the post at hand. What does “same way” mean according to 19th century GA’s? Did the JST get Isaiah 7:14 wrong?

  18. HankSaint says:

    I am not going to continue to repeat myself, so again when and if you can show that they described the mechanics of your seedy suggestions, then get back to me.

    How would I know when, how and why of any publishing agenda that may or may not be in the works. (Hugh Nibley).

    Nope, Mary was still a Virgin when giving Birth to Jesus according to all accounts in our standard works.

    Regards. R.

  19. Mike R says:


    I think through the course of the posts on this
    thread that the objections you have were answered.
    If by “mechanics” you mean that the exact words,
    “sexual intercourse” were not used by Mormon
    General Authorities, then you are correct.But
    as we have seen, the words that were chosen to
    teach about the Virgin Birth by these men, are
    refering to just that– sexual relations etc.

    What do you mean by the words,”seedy suggestions?”
    If it’s the normal relations between a man and a
    woman in order to produce a child, then if that is
    “seedy” how do many fine Temple going LDS today
    believe this about HF and the Virgin Birth?
    Please explain this if you care to.
    I forgot to wish you a Happy New Year.

  20. Hank,

    In the standard works “yes” (which I stated in the post that spawned this thread), but by quotes they gave specifically countering the Virgin Birth. In a sermon given in 1852 (contained in the journal of discourse vol. 1 pgs. 50&51) B. Young stated, “”When the Virgin Mary conceive 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….

    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. Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation.”

    What do words like “in the flesh” and “not begotten by the Holy” Ghost mean? Dodging the issues do not make them go away? The great irony is you are the one asking for the mechanics of the conception, yet when I mention anything related to it, you get call it “seedy”. Again do I or they actually have to name actually body parts for you to get it? Do you remeber the link I gave to the LDS, family home evening manual that actually had a schematic?

  21. HankSaint says:

    Mike, since we believe that Mary was still a virgin when giving birth to Christ, does that not answer your question? How can one still be a virgin if intercourse was the mechanism.


  22. HankSaint says:

    David, this is what I believe and it’s doctrinal.

    The Nephites communicated in even plainer language. About 600 years before the birth of Jesus, Nephi said:

    ” . . . I beheld I the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.

    “And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me . . .

    “And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

    “And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.

    “And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” (1 Ne. 11:13—15, 18, 20—2 1.)

    Please notice the fine print. “And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms. Please provide for me and others anywhere that any GA claimed she was not still a Virgin, even after bearing the Christ Child in here arms. Nice try, but you will be frustrated in trying to prove otherwise.


  23. Hank,

    Please notice the fine print. “To be fair Mormons who do accept the Virgin Birth have some ammo on their side. They have the King James Bible, the aforementioned JST, and the Book of Mormon.”

    Who are you to say that “we believe” or “it’s doctrinal”?

    Hank, you remind me of those Muslims who deny that the deity of Christ is taught in the Bible. They say because nowhere does Jesus ever says, “I am God worship me” in that exact way that Jesus is not God. The GA’s I quoted made clear what they believe regarding the Virgin Birth.

    “How can one still be a virgin if intercourse was the mechanism.”

    Great question and the obvious answer is she can’t. That is why some 19th & 20th century GA’s are not in accord with the Bible and the BoM.

    Hank, let’s assume I am wrong about words like “same way”? If the numerous GA’s that were discussing the Virgin Birth were not trying to counter it then what was their point? If this:

    “I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Savior Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he is the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 8:211).”

    does not counter the Virgin Birth then what does it mean?

  24. HankSaint says:

    No it does not, and I explained precisely why. The GA’s understood the Sciptures, they understood that Mary was a Virgin giving birth to the Christ Child, then along comes the seedy, immoral comments made by Evangelicals trying to infer something that is not stated. You have raised your ugly heads to try and misrepresent the truth, and as I have made claim to and so have the GA’s it was a miracle Birth. What does the word Miracle mean to you friend.


    “Rhodes’s first target is the LDS view of the virgin birth, and here he shows not only a lack of understanding with respect to the LDS interpretive backdrop but also a willingness to twist the words of his LDS sources to make them sound offensive to evangelical ears. In order to justify his assertion that Latter-day Saints believe Jesus “was begotten through sexual relations between a flesh-and-bone Heavenly Father and Mary” (p. 121), he quotes several unofficial statements of LDS leaders, justifying himself by showing that Latter-day Saints consider the words of the living prophets as scripture—despite the distinctly antifundamentalist view of scripture held by the Latter-day Saints.20 In any case, even while expanding the field of sources for “official” LDS doctrine, Rhodes can’t seem to provide any compelling evidence to make his case. What he does provide is a long series of statements by LDS leaders to the effect that Jesus is the literal, biological Son of the Father in the flesh. But this is simply a by-product of our understanding of God the Father as an anthropomorphic being with a flesh-and-bone body (the Father was the source of Jesus’ Y chromosome) and says nothing about the mechanics of conception. For instance, Rhodes quotes Bruce R. McConkie and James E. Talmage to this effect, but what did they actually say about the mechanics of Jesus’ conception? Talmage says he was begotten “not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a hig

  25. Hank,

    No you did not explain. When did you ever deal with the words “same way”? Quoting dissenting GA’s does not take away from the “seedy” quotes by Young, Pratt, and all.

    I will not get into the whole binding/non-binding, “official” doctrine rabbit-trail but I will simply state that some GA’s held views that countered the Virgin Birth and they disseminated those views. Again, if “same way” does not mean the normal coitus by which you and I were conceived then what does it mean?

    Walk me through the pertinent quotes by GA’s on this matter. Where did I or anyone else “twist” their words? On this board you have already admitted that my interpretation of their words is valid.

    “David, Since the LDS have an anthropomorphic concept of deity, it is certainly possible to interpret these statements in the way Creedal Christian do and have done.”

    You state that we have twisted words, but then you also hedge your bet by stating that these words by GA’s are not official? Which one is it? Again nowhere did we state that these views were official or doctrine. However, these GA’s did have that view and they disseminated it.

    What does a miracle mean to me? It means God suspending his own natural laws for a point in time to accomplish His purposes. It is not “natural” and it sure does not happen in the “same way” that you or I accomplish our purposes.

  26. Mike R says:


    Thanks for again giving your interpretation on
    the Virgin Birth.But given the authoratative
    structure of your Church I have to respectfully
    dismiss it in lieu of the fact that it is to LDS
    leaders that we must turn to for the correct
    interpretation of the written Word. I applaud
    you for sticking with the Scriptures, in Matt,
    Luke, and even the Book of Mormon. Based on the
    Scriptues, you feel that Mary was a virgin, yet
    so did your leaders, and it’s to them we must
    turn to see if they’ve ” rightly dividing” the
    Word [2Tim.2:15].
    The Virgin Birth is’nt the only important doctrine
    that your leaders have interpreted from the
    scriptures.It’s already been mentioned that they
    have taught from the scriptures that Jesus and His
    Father were both married and indeed polygamists.
    In order to bolster the confidence of LDS, their
    priesthood leaders used the scriptues as evidence
    that polygamy was a truth to be lived.The Church
    even published a tract that referred to it as
    ” a celestial pattern ” [Doing the Works of
    Abraham, p.100] . In like manner, HF was following
    a pattern, a natural law,(like begets like) that
    He had followed in producing His children in pre-
    existence i.e. procreation.That is why Mormon
    leaders chose the very words they did in describ-
    ing the “mechanics” of Mary’s conceiving.

    Concerning the response by sincere Mormons that
    this teaching was only their leaders’ “opinion”:

    There’s a example that took in Mormon history that
    was close to the same time and involved some of
    the same individuals as pertains to this topic,
    that I would like to share with you.
    Under the leadership of Brigham Young there arose
    a controvery concerning some of the teachings of
    Apostle Orson Pratt. The First Presidency issued
    a statement warning the Saints that some of Pratt’s teachings were false, they were not “sound
    doctrine”.The reason for this was the fact that
    according to the F.P., Apostle Pratt had not

  27. Mike R says:


    received any revelation on this, and they did
    state that Pratt himself acknowleged that fact.
    In other words these teachings were Apostle
    Pratt’s personal opinion.Brigham Young states
    that these opinions are not based of truth and
    that it would be wrong to consent for them to
    be given to the Saints , as that would imply
    an endorsement by the F.P. Yet, we notice that
    the sermons of Brigham Young and other high LDS
    leaders did publish their own teachings which are
    called mere “opinions” by some Mormons today.
    Seems ironic.
    Hank, if what we say about the Mormon doctrine
    of the Virgin Birth is false, as you claim, then
    you’ll have to run your reasons why you believe
    that ,by the sincere Temple going Mormons who
    believe that what we have said is accurate.
    Evidently, those devout LDS don’t think it’s
    mere opinion.

  28. HankSaint says:

    I have no idea why I waste my time explaining something that you apparently want to chase for lack of doing something more constructive, like trying to prove the BOM is a piece of Fiction.

    Hence one could start with revelation as to what and when one speaks for God or is answered by God. Both are important ingredients in the menu of Scripture and Doctrine. I have as much right to revelation as a Prophet does, so when a Prophet speaks for the Church, that revelation is as important to me when verified or confirmed by the Holy Ghost.

    Since the mechanics which you still have not provided are only relevant if you are seeking to defame and destroy our Religion then I assume you have prayed and found that our Doctrine, even the Virgin Birth as you assume some GA’s have outright stated, are in accordance with what we as humans understand as to the science of how one is created at conception and that this is the only means available to one more Omniscient than you or I. Interesting stubbornness I would say, but it really is a matter of Faith, and how you and I see even the nature of God differently. Since you can not go beyond “same as”, then we are most likely at loggerheads.

    Thanks for your time and effort to produce an agenda trying to show our GAs as some how immoral when in fact the subject it self is pretty lame and disrespectful.

    Regards, Richard.

  29. Hank,

    It’s “same way” and your reluctance to say what it does mean is striking.

    “the subject it self is pretty lame and disrespectful”

    The Virgin Birth is lame and disrespectful?

    I am not bound to see harmony in your religion, like you are, when two sources of authority are at odds. If one follows your posts closely that seems to be what you are getting at. It appears you ascend to the fact that the KJV and the BoM teach the Virgin Birth. Good, and BTW I mention that from the get-go. However, what you stubbornly refuse to admit, and is apparent to anyone who can read English, is that some GA’s rejected the Virgin Birth. So yeah, I harp on the words “same way” because it is where I got the idea.

  30. Mike R says:


    You seem to be trying to define this teaching
    in a way that is not shared by some of your
    devout LDS brothers and sisters today, i.e.
    that’s it’s “disrepectful” and “lame”. After
    all ,these fellow LDS of yours did’nt get their
    belief from me or David or anyone else on this
    The very leaders that you sustain every year have
    made it plain in sermons and Church curriculum
    that Heavenly Father has been procreating babies
    with His wife(s) in pre-existence for eons, this
    same “mechanics” is how He also produced the body
    for His Son here on earth. That correlation has
    been stated by your G.A.’s , so it can’t be a
    stretch for a person to understand this.

    By the way, your feelings on this topic being
    “immoral” , are how we feel also.This is why
    we shine the light of Scriptural truth on this
    teaching of Mormon prophets/apostles.But
    instead of accusing us of this you should
    actually see where this doctrine originated
    and then do the right thing and dismiss the
    authority of your prophet/apostles as teachers
    in your life.

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