BYU professors Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks think you’re a prude if God having sex with Mary is a problem for you

If you object to the teaching of Mormon leaders that God the Father had physical sex with Mary, then BYU professors Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks say you have “a Neoplatonic and gnosticizing disdain for the material cosmos, a discomfort with the body and with sexuality.”

Get ready for a roller coaster ride.

Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks object to accusations that Mormonism is not Christian for denying the virgin birth. They dismiss it as “scattered nineteenth-century speculations,” forgetting Mormonism’s twentieth-century “speculations.” They say it’s unfair to “[hold] Mormons to statements that they and their own leaders have never deemed authoritative or binding,” yet overlook the fact that Mormons look up to their leaders as prophets and apostles, not as mere pastors and teachers. But in case you thought they were repudiating their own leaders’ “speculations” that God had sex with Mary, they go on to claim that “the New Testament is not specific about the mechanism of Jesus’ conception.” So our problem with these “speculations” is unfounded. And apparently the Protestant denunciation of the idea that God had physical sex with Mary is just “a Neoplatonic and gnosticizing disdain for the material cosmos, a discomfort with the body and with sexuality.” And besides, they argue, “While certain early Mormon leaders may occasionally have reinterpreted the concept of ‘virgin birth,’ they never for a moment suggested that Jesus was begotten by a mortal man, nor that his father was any other personage than God.” Oh! That makes me feel better. It’s not another mortal man who may or may not have had sex with Mary. It was the immortal man who had already graduated from his past mortality. In any case, they tell us that “history is replete with such groups as the ancient Ebionites and the modern Unitarians, to whom both scholarly and common usage refer as Christian, who nonetheless reject the Virgin Birth and deny the divinity of Christ. How can those groups be described as Christian, and the Mormons not?”

After reading this, can you at least see a little why people feel inclined to call Mormonism a theological cult?

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114 Responses to BYU professors Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks think you’re a prude if God having sex with Mary is a problem for you

  1. Mike R says:

    But Mormons have a prophet…..Somebody who should be able to correct misconceptions
    and misinterpretations of scripture. Somebody who would prevent such misconceptions
    in the first place. ” It is stated in Church publications that Satan’s favorite pastime is in
    trying to convince LDS that their General Authorities in their teachings are as likely to be
    wrong as they are to be right [ Deseret News 5-26-1945 ].
    Concerning the oft repeated response to this, and some other doctrines, not being official or
    binding doctrine of the Church : I like how Aaron S. of MRM staff sees this . He says that
    there is no binding and official position in Mormonism on what constitutes a binding and
    official position . But more important the lack of officiality does’nt resolve the bigger issue
    of whether some teaching is true or false. Instead of asking yourself if something is “official”
    ask yourself whether it is true . I’ve mentioned else where that whether the whole church
    embraces a doctrine that your prophet teaches or just one does , either his teaching is correct
    or it’s not , and if even one follows him into his heresy then that’s one to many. False prophets
    are such because of what they ” introduce” [ see 2Pt 2:1] , not how many followers choose to
    share in their error. It’s been my experience to bring up this doctrine with several LDS,
    a Missionary flat out denied it was ever taught, the other a non-Missionary was shocked at
    hearing such info, and I mean shocked .Why ? Why this response?
    Shem you obviously have chosen not believe this doctrine , and that’s perfectly up to you.
    But LDS deserve to hear the whole story and then start asking some hard questions.
    Matt 24:11

  2. shematwater says:


    I never actually said this was speculation. I said that even if it is your reasoning makes no sense.

    Now, in all honesty, I am not always sure when the brethren are speculating and when they aren’t. I don’t think anyone really does. The records of what they said are not perfect, and much of what they said is no longer available. As such, I find any real discussion of what they said to be difficult at best, and nearly impossible if anyone involved is merely seeking to disprove the church rather than to understand what they meant.

    I have refrained from giving personal opinion on this topic up to this point, but it seems that I will have to in order to make my position clear.
    I believe in what these men taught concerning the birth of Christ (which was taught as late as Spencer W. Kimball). I believe it was a natural act and that the Bible fully supports this. I do not believe these men were speculating on this topic, but declaring the truth, and in so doing cleared centuries of confusion that had been preached by the Christian world.
    However, in saying this I also state that it doesn’t matter. You can disagree with me on this point and it will have no effect on either of our salvation. For this reason I do not actively discuss the subject, because I prefer to focus on those things that are necessary for our salvation, rather than waste time on pointless arguments.

    You have no valid argument for not believing this concept. Your arguments have amounted to “It is more than the Bible says so it must be false” and “It is not what I was raised to believe.” These are not persuasive,

  3. Mike R says:

    Shem, your last post caused me to think that I have been communicating with Pres.
    Obama’s press secretary in way he handles certain topics with the press. Truly your attempts
    to reasonably discuss this doctrine has been disappointing . In reguard to what you said in the
    first paragraph about records of your past prophets being ” not perfect” , sure they’re not
    literally perfect but that kind of response is silly given what those that actually establish
    doctrine in your church have counseled LDS about this , a church manual states :
    ” The prophet Brigham Young taught the restored gospel of Jesus Christ….Though more than
    a century has now passed, his words are still fresh and appropriate for us today as we continue
    the work of building the kingdom of God.” [ Teachings of the Presidents of the Church —B.Y.
    introduction]. Another church manual testifies that his sermons have been faithfully recorded
    and preserved for the current LDS audience . So please can we refrain with the Lawyer like
    meandering and take the written record at face value like your leadership asks us to ? Mormon
    apologists such as yourself need to realize why non-LDS have to dismiss much of what
    you may say ( unless you’re an apostle moonlighting as a apologist) since it is just your
    reasonings and amounts to little more.
    I’m glad to see you finally admitted what I’ve been saying all along about this, that was
    refreshing and stands in stark contrast to what we get from the Church P.R. Dept.
    Now you rightly understood that I reject this doctrine because it is more
    than the Bible teaches but you could have included the BofM, D&C,PGP also.
    My prayer for you is that God will give you the strength to dismiss this terrible doctrine soon

  4. Rick B says:

    I really have a hard time taking you serious. I understand you dont like me and I really dont care. But You keep saying that these teachings are pure speculation and we really cannot know. Thats the problem with your church, you seem unable to know if something is opinion, speculation, or doctrine. I thought you said you could pray about these things and get answers? Why not pray and find out if these are opinion, speculation, or doctrine? But then if you claim they are something other than doctrine, what if you leaders feel other than you? I know they have and do, since many have said Adam God is a false teaching. But your thoughts at least to me pose a problem for a few reasons. This was said about the JoD.

    The preface to the 8th volume, written by Apostle George Q. Cannon, stated:
    “The Journal of Discourses deservedly ranks as one of the standard works of the Church, and every rightminded Saint will certainly welcome with joy every Number as it comes forth from the press as an additional reflector of ‘the light that shines from Zion’s hill.

    This was said well after BY gave the Adam God speech calling it Scripture and saying he send out doctrine in his teachings.

    Then as if thats not enough, BY taught and said

    If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 10, p. 110)</blockquote?

    How can he claim it will always be, and it requires Death on the spot, but then later prophets change this and dont agree? If he was wrong on this, and people believed him, (cont)

  5. Rick B says:

    and it requires Death on the spot, but then later prophets change this and dont agree? If he was wrong on this, and people believed him, then maybe he and others were/are wrong on other issues and therefore spreading a false gospel.

    Know as if this was not enough, BY died in August 29, 1877, yet a book was published in 1925 called Discourses of BY, And I am holding this in my hand as I write you. If you do not count the index Their is 743 pages of pure talks by BY. So from the time BY died till the time this book was published was 48 years. That tells me much of what BY taught was not simply opinion or speculation and can be trusted. But lets add to that, the Book Discourses was again published in 1954. So that means 77 years later BY and his teaching are being published and read by people. Granted not all of his teachings, but plenty are. So how can we say, some things cannot be trusted, and those are the things not published years later, yet everything that was published years later can be trusted.

    I will be honest and say, I know again, none of this will bother you and somehow you will say, I am wrong and just dont understand. But you really need to seriously think and say, what if we are right and you are wrong? If your wrong, you will be eternally damned and you will live with the fact you helped spread a false gospel and defended one that results in people also being eternally damned.

    Yet if we are wrong, then we will still make it into a lower kingdom and that wont be so bad. (cont)

  6. Rick B says:


    But their is way to many things that you simply must blow off as mere opinion, speculation and just simply say, I am not sure. The worst part about that is, It was JS himself that said, a man cannot be saved in ignorance. And sadly most LDS are ignorant of their churchs teachings since they feel they cannot really know if it is true or opinion.

  7. shematwater says:


    Please stop putting words into my mouth. You have that habit, and it is annoying. I have actually claimed very few things to be speculation (especially considering I have commented on very few). I have stated that much of what you guys like to through out there in your constant attacks is pointless as it has no effect on our salvation; but I have not claimed it to be speculation.

    I believe there is great truths that were taught, that are no longer taught because they are not important truths. These things I find pointless to discuss, and so I try not to waste too much time.

    (to mike and rick)
    Now, I know you guys don’t like it when people put things into their proper perspective, but I stated the truth. The records are not complete, and are not accurate. In fact, the first volume of the Journal of Discourses was corrected many decades later as it had wrongly recorded the words of Brigham Young.
    I do not say that these book are not valuable, or that we should not study them. I merely point out that they must be placed in their proper place regarding the doctrine of the church. And, if they are to used effectively they should all be used at once, and not pieces here and there.
    Now, I trust the church leaders when they put together the manuals and take excepts from these records. I trust them because they are prophets, inspired of God, and the manuals they produce are likewise inspired, and carry the divine ratification of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I find it difficult to read these records on my own, and to discuss them with others because I do not have this same

  8. Mike R says:

    Shem, honestly, sometimes the way you try to argue an issue is to obscure a relevant
    point . Obviously the collected sermons of your past leaders are not complete nor are
    they actually perfect , since they are by humans therefore some errors will occur. But
    today we are told they can be read with confidence to know what was once preached
    as gospel truths . They had been recommended by the men in leadership then to be
    passed down to posterity because of the spiritual truths they contain . It’s that simple.
    Let’s not be too nick picky about this . If current Mormon prophets have discarded
    some important doctrines that were preached by past Mormon leadership that is no
    reason to down grade the publications that contain those teachings . These publications
    are not that old . Mormon pride themselves in being a record keeping people and
    I can’t argue against that point . We probably would’nt even be having this
    conversation if some Mormon authorities would have kept with the record of Christ’s
    birth in Matt. and Luke ( even the BofM ) instead of swerving from sound words and
    wandering into the erroneous doctrine they did concerning the conception/birth of

  9. Rick B says:

    Shem said

    In fact, the first volume of the Journal of Discourses was corrected many decades later as it had wrongly recorded the words of Brigham Young.

    The problem is, at one time many people believed what was taught by these guys, so now if you or someone else claims it was wrong, even saying it was recorded wrong means someone believed a false teaching. And believing a false teaching could lead others to believe that and then that poses a problem.

    Also you mean to tell me, that BY never checked the sermons to see if they were recorded correctly?

    Then you said

    Now, I trust the church leaders when they put together the manuals and take excepts from these records. I trust them because they are prophets, inspired of God, and the manuals they produce are likewise inspired, and carry the divine ratification of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

    So when you claim your leaders are inspired of God, and they themselves claim, they can never lead the church astray, then we should be able to take them at their word and believe BY really did mean Adam was God, or Blacks can never hold the priesthood and this is a LAW OF GOD that will never change, and if blacks marry whites they should receive death on the spot as this will always be the case.

    Yet you dont believe these things do you? So when are the inspired and when is it opinion? If you claim it’s opinion, but they claim it is scripture and from God, or of God, or that only they can speak for God, then who do I trust, Them and what they said? Or you telling me what they really meant?

  10. Rick B says:

    Shem, I know you and many LDS do not like talking about these things, and honestly you dont have to. But this blog at one time has brought up all these questions and in days to come will probably cover them again.

    Like it or not your prophets have taught these things, then later other prophets either denied it or called it false. People who join the LDS church or are looking into it are not made aware of these past teachings. You will never find Mormons telling possible converts, by the way, at one time are leaders taught Blood atonement, Adam God, Blacks are denied the priesthood, Etc.

    You guys will simply make excuses like, Milk before meat, that was from the past and is no longer a modern day truth, people wont understand, etc. Make all the excuses you want, but people need to be informed and should be told.

    I have had countless Mormons tell me, They are deep spiritual truths that cannot be understood at this time. So your saying we are stupider than the people that lived back then? They could understand it since it was taught, but we cannot understand it?

    These and many other teachings keep getting brushed under the rug. Like it or not, they will be talked about debated, whether you engage in that debate or not.

  11. Rick B says:

    Hey Shem,
    I just wanted to mention this before I forget. I mentioned to you once that their is no evidence for the BoM and that it’s funny that the BoM mentions people and places from the Bible and that since they do that it stands to reason that Jesus and the apostles would quote from them or mention them.

    You gave your reason why that does not bother you, well let me add one thing, according to the BoM Lehi lived in Jerusalem about 600 years BC. Well it’s really sad that Mormon people lived in the capital of Israel and their is no evidence they ever existed and people who live in Israel as of this day no nothing of the BoM people. Yet BoM people lived as I said in the capital of Israel. Strange how no evidence outside of the BoM mentions this fact. One more reason not to believe in JS man written book.

  12. shematwater says:


    Maybe I am not making myself clear. Let me try this another way, a little more blunt than I would have liked.

    The discourses of the early leaders contain great truth and great spiritual teachings. I have never denied this. Because they spiritual truths one must have the spirit of God with them to truly and fully understand what was being said.
    Because the leaders of the church are inspired prophets we know they have this spirit and can direct us as to the meaning. I do not always have the spirit with me, and so I find the reading of these records to be difficult at times, as I lack the wisdom myself to understand them at times. You do not have this spirit, so you are always relying on your wisdom, which I am not inclined to trust. As such any discussion concerning them I may have with you is going to be basically a waste of time.

    This is my point. If we had all the records, and they were preserved perfectly, then it would be much easier to understand and discussion might actually prove fruitful. As it is the likelihood of this is very low.

  13. Mike R says:

    Shem, what you say makes little sense , you’ve tried every way to make alibi’s for the
    doctrinal deviations of your prophets/apostles of recent past . Now you’ve tried to
    sell the notion that because we don’t have all the records of their preaching that this
    is cause to believe we just can’t know what they really meant in their teachings . Those
    that published the sermons in B.Y’s day recommended them to the public as a source
    of proper counsel and teaching .Some day in the future people will read of today’s
    discourses with the same recommendation and promise and no doubt some apologist will
    employ the same rationale as you do now in an attempt to down play some doctrine that is
    no longer to be emphasized publically . You stated that since I don’t have “this spirit” , i.e.
    the one you claim to have sometimes , that I can’t understand what your past leadership
    taught . That’s interesting given the fact that the publications (JofD) that seem to be most
    in question here contain in many of their Prefaces that they are recommended for non-LDS
    as well as LDS . I guess these men who had their sermons published had more faith in me
    understanding what they taught than you , but then they were’nt trying to excuse some of
    their “unique” doctrines like today’s Mormons attempt to . Strange how I’m supposed to take
    your responses about this whole issue ( V.B. ) as a reasonable answer when you testify that :
    ” I do not always have the spirit with me ” . While I appreciate your being candid , is’nt this
    a waste of my time ?

  14. LindaSDF says:

    I think that the problem is, that “anti-Mormons” will say something like this to Mormons (Mormons believe that God had SEX with Mary!), and the Mormons will recoil, because it’s NOT something that “is taught” or “we believe” or anything like that. When something “is taught”, it’s not just something said by some past prophet, real or implied. And this is something implied by something said by past leaders. If it “is taught”, then it would be in the lesson manuals, it would be talked about and discussed and spoken of in General Conference, that sort of thing.

    But, with this “God had sex with Mary” thing, the very first thing most Mormons would think the first time they hear this is “We DO???” Then follows some argument over what Brigham Young or Bruce R. McConkie or whoever from the past, meant when they said something that could be an implication of maybe they think this. (Brigham Young was your prophet, and he said this, and it obviously means this, and so if you deny it, you are denying your very prophet of God!) This “circular reasoning” leads to “logical fallacies”.

    To me, it matters not HOW Christ was conceived. What matters is, that His mother had known no MAN, no MORTAL man, when she became pregnant with Jesus. Therefore, Jesus WAS the Son of GOD. Besides, if man can figure out how to conceive babies without the use of sexual intercourse, I figure God had it figured out aeons ago!

    Basically, it’s a non-issue, IMHO.

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