From the Mailbag (9/5/2012)

[Tess, quoting from “Redefining the Virgin Birth: Mormonism on the Natural Conception of Jesus” by McKeever and Shafovaloff]:

“When one considers that Mormonism teaches that every human born on earth is a literal spirit child of God, the concept that Jesus was conceived in a natural manner becomes even more blasphemous. Why? Because it means the Jesus of Mormonism was conceived in an incestuous union between Heavenly Father and his spirit-daughter Mary.”

Don’t Mormons believe that we are all brothers and sisters? Making every union incestuous? I don’t see this as a valid point in any way, seeing that every single union is “within the family.” Also, be weary to judge incest. Look at Adam’s family. Modern minds see incest much differently than they would have in the beginning of life on earth.

[Again quoting “Redefining the Virgin Birth”]:

“The problem with Mormonism saying that God had sex with Mary is that it comes from a worldview that says divinity isn’t so different from humanity. The whole point of the virgin conception is that it is the event where God added an entirely different nature to himself: humanity. God became a man. The ironic, pagan heresy of Mormonism’s suggestion that God had sex with Mary is that it collapses the God/man divide and reverses the larger narrative: man became a God.”

This is also a little mind-twisting. No belief in the trinity=no problem here. If God the Father has a resurrected, perfect body of flesh and bone, He is already “man”? Jesus the Christ was be 100% man, 100% God. That is what made Him so remarkable…

We believe that Mary was actually taken up, rather than Heavenly Father coming down to the earth, but no mortal, unclean human being can be in the sight of God so the Holy Ghost comes upon Mary so that she can conceive Christ. Based on my study of Mormon doctrine and theology, I would say that, yes, Heavenly Father had sexual intercourse with Mary. Does this rattle my faith? Not at all. My belief in Jesus being the only begotten Son of God in the flesh (as opposed to Adam and Eve, who were begotten obviously, but not in the flesh because they were not “subject to mortality”- which is the definition of in the flesh) depends on my belief that Jesus did not just poof into Mary’s uterus.


Hi Tess,

Thank you for taking the time to email Mormonism Research Ministry and sharing your perspective on issues surrounding the LDS view of the Virgin Birth of Christ.

I was a bit surprised at your argument against the impropriety of incest between God the Father and His literal daughter, Mary. As I understand it, you are saying that since all human sexual relations are incestuous (according to the logical conclusion inherent in Mormon doctrine), it is not a problem (not “blasphemous”) for Heavenly Father to have had sexual intercourse with His daughter. I think you are missing the main point.

The article you are referring to is a discussion about the way Mormonism has “redefined” the Christian doctrine of Christ’s Virgin Birth. The article is not examining the Mormon view of human sexuality nor is it written from an LDS perspective. It is written from the Christian (and biblical) perspective which finds the Mormon doctrine of God the Father engaged in an incestuous sexual relationship with His daughter to be “blasphemous.” The Bible specifically calls out the sin of various incestuous relationships (as well as sexual aberrations) in Leviticus 20, using descriptive words like “perversion,” “abomination,” “depravity,” “disgrace,” “iniquity,” “impurity,” and “sin.” Therefore, from a Christian perspective, the nature of this “incestuous union” is a valid point.

You also took issue with the statement in the MRM article that said, “The problem with Mormonism saying that God had sex with Mary is that it comes from a worldview that says divinity isn’t so different from humanity. The whole point of the virgin conception is that it is the event where God added an entirely different nature to himself: humanity. God became a man. The ironic, pagan heresy of Mormonism’s suggestion that God had sex with Mary is that it collapses the God/man divide and reverses the larger narrative: man became a God.” Again, I would remind you that the author is discussing the doctrines that make Mormonism’s teaching on the Virgin Birth different from that of Christianity; he’s not presenting a formal argument against Mormon teachings.

Having said that, your perspective on this, as I understand it, is that if one doesn’t believe in a God in Trinity the above point is baseless. I am unable to see how this is so; I don’t see a trinitarian necessity (or point) in what is written here. The author is noting that the classic Christian doctrine of the transcendency of God is absent in Mormonism. According to Mormon doctrine, man and God are of the same species: man is “a god in embryo.” …In Christian belief God is wholly and distinctly separate from creation (which includes man). He is not a man that became a God who then impregnated his daughter to become the father of a “demigod” in the flesh [see Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, “Demigod”]… Thus, as the author noted above, the Mormon view “collapses the God/man divide.”

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to clarify MRM’s article on the Virgin Birth. And thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.

In Christ,

Mormon Coffee friends, the conclusion of the MRM article to which Tess’ email referred is also appropriate to note here:

The truth of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ as understood by Christians for two millenia is far too precious… We encourage Christians to lovingly question and challenge their Mormon neighbors over this issue. True repentance demands that a person be willing to embrace the Jesus Christ who was truly born of a virgin.

The supernatural birth of Jesus Christ identifies him as the Messiah, God’s only son. Jesus Christ is Lord. He commands everyone to repent and trust him for the free gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins. Everyone who calls upon his name will be saved.

I pray that this message finds you well this holiday season, and I wish you a Merry Christmas!

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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20 Responses to From the Mailbag (9/5/2012)

  1. Clyde6070 says:

    Being the Christmas season the phrase ‘Besides you’ll shoot your eye out kid’ Reminds me of what my swim teacher told us about Excitement. He read us an article about a girl who got pregnant while swimming in the public pool. She was a virgin and allegedly got two million dollars as a settlement from the city. The story was meant to scare us because I doubt the truthfulness of it. It does make me wonder what was going on when Joseph and Mary were betrothed.
    If we were there during the time these events happened I wonder what questions we would ask. The bible only gives a little information. Other little details are left out. We are left to speculate the rest. I myself do not doubt that Jesus is the Son of God and was similar to us in physical appearance.

  2. Mike R says:

    Clyde, my friend you are on a roll because you really did’nt address the seriousness of this
    issue . I’d like to remind you that this doctrine [ the Divine birth of the child Jesus] is one of
    the most fundamental doctrines of true Christianity . Therefore we cannot be misled about it
    by believing false teachings ,as being wrong on fundamental spiritual truths can cause a person
    to lose out on receiving eternal life. This is such a ” given ” that even Mormon apostles have
    taught it so I hope you can see the seriousness of this issue . There are Mormons who believe
    just what some of their leaders attempted to discreetly teach —-that Heavenly Father came down
    and had sexual relations with Mary. There are other Mormons who rather than admitting such
    resort to various excuses/alibi’s to deny or downplay this teaching . Some claim that H.F. could
    have used a artificial insemination technique , others resort to claiming that this is not a
    important issue related to their salvation etc. Also , claiming that Mormon leaders were only
    issuing speculation rather than revealing accurate doctrinal insight as dully appointed guides in
    spiritual truth to their flock , only raises more questions. False prophets love to zero in on areas
    in the Bible where it says little on a particular issue , rather than submitting to what is written
    and not go beyond that boundary they veer off into offering what they claim is new insight
    from the Holy Ghost and thus correcting all the other churches inaccurate beliefs whose
    darkened minds never did properly understand the truth the Bible recorded.This Mormons
    did with the Virgin birth doctrine.

  3. Clyde6070 says:

    Gee picky, picky, picky. Why is this so important since we will be judged by our works not by what we believe about how Jesus came to be. We both know that Jesus was the Son of God. I seem to place his divinity in knowing his Father was God. Why would Jesus say I go to My Father and your Father and my God and your God. The how is what seems to divide us. Now I could be wrong in how he was conceived But I don’t see it is that important.

  4. Mike R says:

    Clyde, is it really picky? Your apostles have clearly said that to be misled on
    fundamental doctrines is to be on very dangerous ground spiritually , and the
    the Divine birth of Jesus is one such doctrine . They are absolutely correct in their
    position on this , and therefore that renders this issue far from being a “picky” one.
    Gordon B. Hinckley stated that the Jesus he believes in has been revealed in this last
    dispensation, so who is this Jesus that Mormon apostles have revealed to the world ?
    Paul warned about those who would come after him and proceed to reveal
    ” another Jesus” , a Jesus that he did not know ( 2Cor 11:4) so this was a serious
    matter and he warned of such false teachers . I believe Mormon leaders have been those
    of whom Paul warned would come . They have claimed to provide new exclusive insight
    from God on spiritual matters and so promised to teach their flock sound doctrine . When
    this new teaching about Jesus’ birth commenced under B.Y. reign there were more teachings
    about Jesus which joined it : Jesus was the first spirit baby born to a exalted man and one
    of His wives in heaven , he also has a Grandfather , and following in his Father’s footsteps
    he too married wives of His own to eventually produce a heavenly Kingdom of spirit babies .
    B.Y. once revealed by revelation that Adam as H.F. had something to do with Mary ! Can you
    see why Paul warned us about imitations ? Good works can not make up for being misled
    about Jesus in these latter days .See Matt.7:15; 24:11,24

  5. rvales says:


    It is important because we do NOT want to be judged by our works. We want to be judged by Christ’s sinless life (that as a Christian I trust in fully to go to Heaven) The Bible is very clear that none would be found worthy based on their works (James 2:10; Romans 3:23, Ecclesiastes 7:20) We desperately need to know exactly who Christ is because He is our ONLY hope to enter into Heaven, not on our righteousness (of which we have NONE) but HIS. Philippians 3:9. Christ came to live a sinless, perfect life as a man so that he could fully be the substitution for us. He prays as we should, He worships as we should and He loves as we should but are incapable of doing because of our sin nature. I am not sinless and therefore by my own merit I should be tossed into the pits of Hell. But because of a loving and merciful Creator I’ve been given an option to enter into relationship with Him, that entrance is the finished work of Jesus Christ His sinless life, His atoning death, and His defeat over the grave in His resurrection. This is my testimony….I am a sinful person, with a selfish heart and the inability to merit anything but punishment but BECAUSE I trust wholly in Christ having done what I couldn’t and I accept that He bore the punishment that I’ve earned I will be found righteous because of He is righteous. God will not see me, He will see His Son with whom he is well pleased. 2 Corinthians 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the

  6. Clyde6070 says:

    It is important because we do NOT want to be judged by our works.–But we will be.
    To me we are like crewmen who have signed up for a voyage. Jesus is our captain. We need to respond to things like He would. The people who are observing us are probably saying, ‘That poor Captain. He has a terrible crew.” At the end of the cruise He will ask us ‘How did you think you did? What could you have done better? Look where you are!’ And we will realize how insignificant we are even with Him by our side.

  7. shematwater says:


    I would love you to actually give the quote in which any leader has stated that understanding the details of how Christ was conceived is essential doctrine. I sure have never read this. They have said many times that understanding that he is the Literal Son of God in the flesh is important, and this is taught in the investigator discussions.
    So, what is essential is that we accept Christ as the Literal Son of God. Anything else regarding how he was conceived is not essential and doesn’t matter. It may matter to you, but it is not essential to us, and never has been. Nor is it presented as essential in the Bible.

  8. shematwater says:


    Maybe you missed these scriptures:
    Psalms 62: 12
    “…for thou renderest to every man according to his work.”

    Proverbs 24: 12
    “…shall not he render to every man according to his works?”

    Jeremiah 17: 10
    “I the Lord…give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”

    Matthew 16: 27

    “…then he shall reward every man according to his works.”

    Romans 2: 6 (see 5-11)
    “Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”

    2 Corinthians 5: 10
    “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive…according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”

    Revelation 2: 23
    “…and I will give unto every one of you according to your works”

    Revelation 20: 12-13
    “…and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
    …and they were judged every man according to their works.”

    Revelation 22: 12
    “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.”

    Now, I do not claim that we do not need Christ. Without him our works would never save us, and we should not rely on our works to do so. However, The Bible makes it very clear that whatever reward or punishment we receive in the next life will be determined by our works in this life. It is our works that will be judged, whether they are good or bad.

  9. rvales says:

    So how will you measure up? I have to fear to stand in front of God because I know that there is no condemnation for me!

    There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1

    Do you have peace in your ability to life to God’s standards? If not may I suggest resting in the Peace of knowing that Christ has! He has already paid for your transgressions, there is nothing to add but everything to surrender.

  10. rvales says:

    Shucks….I have NO fear of standing in front of God.
    No guilt in life, no fear in death!

  11. 4fivesolas says:

    Our works will be judged – and we are without hope save in Christ alone. Romans 5:8-11

    Any works that stand the test, will find their origin in God – not in us trying to justify ourselves and merit eternal life. Good works of trying to attain eternal life are nothing. The blood of Christ and resurrection alone are the only source of eternal life. Only the already justified can do good works of eternal value – works He has prepared for us to walk in. Ephesians 2:8 – 10

    Our own works will be judged, but they can only condemn us. Only Christ can give us eternal life. Reading on from your quote in 2 Corinthians 5 is found the source of salvation (it’s not our works – which this chapter says makes known “the fear of God”) – it is Christ:

    2 Corinthians 5: 17 – 21 –
    17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 ALL THIS IS FROM GOD, who through Christ RECONCILED US TO HIMSELF and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God.
    Be reconciled to God through Christ – not everyone has this already – it is by grace through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.

  12. Mike R says:

    Shem, you asked if your leaders have stated that understanding the details of how Christ
    was conceived is essential doctrine . The answer is yes they have . The “details ” are very
    important since that determines to a large extent who Jesus is . This fact is rightly
    understood by Mormon authorities because they have taught that if you believe Jesus was
    only a great philosopher a supremely righteous man who walked this earth a man who
    was conceived like all other men ,the result of two human parents hence not Divine, this
    belief is termed a destructive doctrine by Mormon authorities because they understand
    the details which produced ” this Jesus ” are a lie, a doctrine embraced by non-believers .
    The whole point of why Mormon leaders like B.Y. taught what they did about Jesus’
    conception was to correct what other Churches were teaching(creeds) about this which was :
    there was no male physically involved with Mary .So Mormon leaders proceeded to teach there
    was a male involved , and exalted one —God . The details of how Jesus was conceived was like
    how any male and female produce a baby , this was what they attempted to get accross to their
    flock —discreetly. Now because of it’s sensitive nature this doctrine is’nt readily discussed
    with non-LDS , but many LDS do believe it because their apostles believed it , not because the
    scriptures (dead apostles) revealed it .It’s no surprise that some LDS , when exposed to the
    evidence of this doctrine actually being taught by their leaders try to avoid it’s implications
    by saying it is’nt important to their salvation. The question is, can embracing false doctrine
    about Jesus /His birth affect one’s salvation?

  13. Mike R says:

    Mormon leaders like Brigham Young were clear in their claim that because of a universal
    apostasy the “Christiamn world” was in the dark concerning correct knowledge about God
    necessary for salvation . One aspect of this apostasy was that men relied on human wisdom
    to interpret the scriptures which resulted in false ideas being taught as truth. So the doctrines
    of Joseph Smith and subsequent Mormon prophets are said to do several things : they clarify
    scripture; they restored knowledge that had been revealed ages ago but had become lost or
    corrupted ; they provide new knowledge. One such doctrine that Mormons claimed was
    corrupted was the truth about the Divine birth of Jesus , the virgin birth . They have stated
    that since this doctrine is a fundamental doctrine of the true Christian faith , and that only a
    correct knowledge of the identity and nature of God and Jesus can allow a person to qualify
    for eternal life , then a correct view of this doctrine is vital . Since the “Christian world” had
    the wrong concept of God therefore their concept of the virgin birth was corrupt doctrine. But
    Mormons had the correct view of God —He was a male, an “exalted” one , who left His throne
    and came down to Bethlehem to have sex with Mary in order to produce a body for one of His
    sons , the oldest one . The act of fathering a child was not new for this God since He had
    became a Father in heaven by procreating His son’s spirit through a union with one of His wives
    there. When He arrived in Bethlehem He had help from another son –the Holy Ghost–whose
    power aided Mary by enabling her to be in His Father’s physical presence.

  14. Mike R says:

    This then is the Jesus of Mormonism who has been revealed in these latter days by
    prophets claiming exclusive insight from God concerning important spiritual truths.
    Rather than staying on solid ground by simply embracing the Bible’s testimony on the
    virgin birth , Mormon authorities have ran ahead and went ” looking beyond the mark” as it
    were [ Jacob 4:14] , they are similar to those of whom Paul warned would , ” not endure sound
    doctrine ” [ 2Tim 4:3]. They have succumbed to what they accused others of : relying on
    their human wisdom to interpret the scriptures resulting in false ideas being taught as truth.
    Sadly, but instead of seeing the truth about where all this points : Mormon leaders can’t be
    trusted to be consistently reliable guides in spiritual truths , some Mormons rationalize this
    away. Others admit the doctrine was taught but refrain from public testimony , some of
    these even say it’s not that important. But such attitude is self deception and can lull such
    people into a false sense security by continuing to think they still need their prophets .
    Isa 9:16 ; Matt 15:14 . There is a better way, and the Mormon people deserve it .

  15. thinking4achange says:

    Thanks for letting me add my 2 cents worth. I am not sure why we seem to be so concerned with what a \’virgin\’ birth means. Isn\’t the real miracle the fact that Jesus is the literal Son of God? I don\’t want to step on anyone\’s toes here, but why should we care \’how\’ this was accomplished?

    For example, in the year that Mary discovered she was carrying the Son of God, the only way they knew how she could be pregnant was either through sexual relations or, since this was God\’s child, through some miraculous means.

    In 1850 these two choices remained the same — the Mormon elders who voiced their opinion were simply picking the only other alternative way to explain it.

    But in 2013, we have more ways to explain it: it could be done artificially, it could be done with DNA and implanted, etc. These modern discoveries remain miraculous to us, how much more are they so to the person from 1850 or 1 BC? Please note that both of these methods technically can be done to a virgin and maintain the virgin status.

    You and I could have a child this way but we could not give birth to the Son of God. Let\’s not lose sight of the real miracle in this story. Nor condemn those who seek to explain the biology in a way we don\’t prefer.

    The story, and the miracle have never been about biology.


  16. Mike R says:

    Jim, I\’ll comment on some of the things you said.
    you said, \” why should we care how this was accomplished?\” I think the \”how\” is extremely
    important. Many LDS , when they read what their leaders have said about how Mary became
    pregnant have been shocked at hearing this, so evidently they understand the \”how\” to be
    no small issue . Mormon authorities have declared that LDS can trust their interpretations
    of the written Word as well as new revelations on \” how\” to please God or \” how\” to receive
    eternal life , so we should\’nt minimize what they have taught about the \”how\” on other issues.
    Remember , they attempted to correct the false doctrine of the other Churches concerning
    the virgin birth ( among other doctrines ) because it promoted a terrible erroneous
    view of the God involved , and a Mormon apostle has been quite clear that being wrong about
    God like the Churches were teaching, i.e. God is a Spirit , not a man —was egregious enough
    to damn you .
    Now, perhaps you\’re missing the point about the views in 1850 on this issue as compared to the
    modern discoveries ( artificial means ) .The whole point here is : Mormon leaders did describe
    how Mary conceived , so our \”modern discoveries\” are not the issue . Mormon leaders did have
    two choices , they chose not to stay with what the other churches believed(creeds) because they
    believed in the last days that God would reveal to His people His secrets, things long hidden
    from mankind , new truths , and thus the need for latter-day \” living prophets\” as compared to
    the Bible\’s dead prophets.

  17. Rick B says:

    To me it is a big deal because The God of the Bible in the OT said that a virgin would Give Birth. I\’m not sure of the time frame but it was about a 1000 years before it did happen. All those people that heard about it up until it happened believed it was a virgin birth, not God having sex with a human.

    Why is it though you make a big deal out of saying who cares how it happened, but you dont make a big deal out of the fact that, LDS taught it was real sex between a human and a God. Yet later LDS deny this happened. You dont seem to bother caring over the fact LDS cannot agree as to did God have sex with a human or not. Makes me wonder if you a Mormon and wording your question in such a way as to make people think your just questioning a topic.

  18. shematwater says:


    I have no fear of dieing and standing before the judgment bar of God. I know that my life is accepted of him, and he will give a just reward for how I have chosen to live. I have a great peace in my heart regarding this.
    You seem to think that a belief that we have to do our part prevents such a peace of mind. This is a false notion. I live my life according to his commandments, and though I slip at times he is quick to forgive, as long as I am repentant and seek that forgiveness.


    Your whole statement negates the statement that it is our actions on which we will be judged. It states in 2 Corinthians 5: 10 that our works will be judged as being either good or evil. It does not say that God is going to judge his own works that he has done through us.
    Yes, a person who has been born again through baptism is a new person, for the slate is wiped clean and they receive the direct guidance of the spirit. However, they do not loose their free will, and thus are still capable of choosing good or evil.
    I have heard the argument before that our actions can only condemn us, but this destroyes justice, and thus denies the power of God. It is also logically impossible. Simply put, if certain actions condemn us, then our choice to refrain from those actions contributes to our salvation, as it prevents our damnation.


    So, what you are saying is that because the early leaders said something then it is authomatically essential to our salvation. Please provide a quote that actually states this.

  19. Mike R says:

    you asked, ” So, what you are saying is that because the early leaders said something then it is
    automatically essential to our salvation.”
    answer: nope. But if what they taught is connected to and declared to protect the truth of a
    fundamental doctrine , then yes.
    Now since you’ve already said that this issue does’nt matter to you , it would be a waste of our
    time to go on . I’ve learned through the years to evaluate Mormon doctrine based on what
    Mormon authorities have taught , not on what some Mormon apologist may say .
    Maybe one day some General Authority will be bold enough to teach in General Conf. what
    some of his predecessors have taught on this , since not everything said at Gen. Conf. is
    essential doctrine , he should’nt have any fear of doing so . That would at least make all those
    who believe this doctrine feel better, but as for the rest ( and any non-LDS listening) —-ouch !
    I’m praying that those Mormons who believe this terrible doctrine will come to their senses
    and discard it from their hearts . I know they can do it , because God will help them .

  20. shematwater says:


    So, give us a quote where any leader said that an understanding of the process of Christ’s conception is essential doctrine, as I have already asked.

    Or are you saying that because you think it is essential than you are going to treat it as essential in connection with our doctrine as well?

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