Jesus is the literal “bodily offspring” of God the Father

I was just paging through an old book I found at a used bookstore. It’s titled Principles of the Gospel, published in 1961 by the Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and contains an opening note to “Brethren” of the armed services from the First Presidency (David O. McKay, J. Reuben Clark, and Henry S. Moyle). The book contains brief explanations of various Mormon doctrines, “Based Largely Upon the Compendium (Richards-Little) With Excerpts From Other Writings.”

Under the heading “Godhead” and sub-heading “1. Father as Literal Parent,” the book states,

“Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His missions in the flesh, and which body died on the cross and was afterward taken up by the process of resurrection, and is now the immortalized tabernacle of the eternal spirit of our Lord and Savior. No extended explanation of the title ‘Son of God’ as applied to Jesus Christ appears necessary.” (196)

What do you think it means that, according to Mormonism, Jesus is the literal “bodily offspring” of God the Father?

Joseph F. SmithThis is how sixth Mormon President Joseph F. Smith would answer this question:

“You all know that your fathers are indeed your fathers and that your mothers are indeed your mothers you all know that don’t you? You cannot deny it. Now, we are told in scriptures that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. Well, now for the benefit of the older ones, how are children begotten? I answer just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father. The Christian denominations believe that Christ was begotten not of God but of the spirit that overshadowed his mother. This is nonsense. Why will not the world receive the truth? Why will they not believe the Father when he says that Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son? Why will they try to explain this truth away and make mystery of it?

“Now if God is a man, a glorious perfected man-that is, perfect in all his glorious attributes, and infinite in power, there never will come a time when God the Father will not have power to extend His dominion and His Glory. He is the maker of Heaven and the Earth, on which we dwell, for He made this earth by his word and by his power. How did he make it? He called the elements that are invisible to our eyes. He formed the earth on which we dwell, and has formed millions of worlds, and they are peopled with his children, for there is no end to his dominions and the worlds he has created cannot be numbered unto man.

“Now, little boys and girls, when you are confronted by infidels in the world who know nothing of how Christ was begotten, you can say he was born just as the infidel was begotten and born, so was Christ begotten by his Father, who is also our Father-the Father of our spirits-and he was born of his mother Mary.

“The difference between Jesus Christ and other men is this: Our fathers in the flesh are mortal men, who are subject unto death; but the Father of Jesus Christ in the flesh is the God of Heaven. Therefore Jesus, as he declared, received the power of life from his Father and was never subject unto death but had life in himself as his father had life in himself. Because of this power he overcame death and the grave and became master of the resurrection and the means of salvation to us all.

“Shall we as Latter-day Saints deny the truth and then claim that God made man in his likeness in the beginning? Shall we come under the impression that God possesses the power of creation, and yet did not literally create? He is not without his companion any more than I am without my companion, the mother of my children.

virgin-birth“These are truths and I wish they could be instilled into the hearts of these little children so that they will not be tossed about by every wind of doctrine and be confused by the teachers of atheism. Now, by and by you will be able to understand this far better than you can today. Some of us grandparents find it difficult to conceive the truth we want to think of something marvelous. We want to try to make it appear that God does not do things in the right way, or that he has another way of doing things than what we know, we must come down to the simple fact that God Almighty was the Father of His Son Jesus Christ. Mary, the virgin girl, who had never known mortal man, was his mother. God by her begot His son Jesus Christ, and He was born into the world with power and intelligence like that of His Father…

“Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father is literally the father of Jesus Christ.

“Mary was married to Joseph for time. No man could take her for eternity because she belonged to the Father of her divine Son. In the revelation that has come thru Joseph Smith, we learn that it is the eternal purpose of God that man and woman should be joined together by the power of God here on earth for time and eternity.

“If a man and woman should be joined together who are incompatible to each other it would be a mercy to them to be separated that they might have a chance to find other spirits that will be congenial to them. We may bind on earth and it will be bound in Heaven, and loose on earth and it will be loosed in Heaven. I would like teachers of the Sunday school to take these simple facts and teach them to the children so that they may understand the truth, that their faith may be founded in fact and in truth; for nothing that is not built upon truth will stand. That which is false will fall. Only that which is based upon God’s truth will endure.

“Now, my brothers and sisters and the Sunday school workers, we want you to teach the children the truth and nothing but the truth.” (Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4:327ff. Read the entire sermon at the MRM website.)

President Smith indicated that the LDS understanding of these things is different from “the Christian denominations” who believe “nonsense” and try to “explain the truth away.” Therefore, we must conclude that the Mormon doctrines pertaining to the “only begotten” Son are at great odds with the doctrines embraced by Christians. Though the Mormon community is divided in their individual conclusions regarding exactly how the body of Jesus was conceived, the differences between what LDS leaders have taught and what Christians believe cannot be chalked up to mere semantics, as some Mormons suggest.

Many Mormon leaders have taught ideas compatible with President Smith’s teachings regarding God being the literal father of Jesus’ body. Check them out here at

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.
This entry was posted in God the Father, Jesus Christ, Mormon Leaders, Virgin birth and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Mormonism:
Jesus is the literal “bodily offspring” of God the Father

  1. falcon says:

    We really don’t need to know anything more then that which is captured in this statement:

    “In the revelation that has come thru Joseph Smith, we learn………..”

    False prophets teach false gospel messages and their distortion of the doctrine related to the nature of God is proof that they are ignorant beyond measure. Mormonism claims to be the restoration of first century Christianity but nothing is presented that would count as evidence that the Smith gospel existed in the first century Church. So, in-other-words, Mormons have to believe that Joseph Smith was an anointed prophet of God. Once they accepted that Smith is a prophet of God, he had a free ticket to teach whatever he wants and it will be accepted by his followers.
    And so it goes with all of the Mormon prophets and the struggle Mormons have as to what to do with them. Brigham Young is a treasure trove of inane teachings and bizarre proclamations. Mormons are then stuck having to come up with explanations that include, “it was just the prophet’s opinion”, “that’s just folk doctrine”, and “it’s not really doctrine because……..”. The final excuse calls on all of the creativity a Mormon can muster because on the one hand they have to confess the prophet is a real prophet but on the other hand the utterance takes on all of the authority of the crazy uncle who’s kept in the attic.
    It’s like the blacks in the priesthood controversy. The LDS church leaders look around confused and dumb founded exclaiming, “We don’t know how that got in here.”
    No, these Mormon prophets are simply false teachers on steroids. They continue to fool the faithful because the faithful surrender their will to men whom they think will never lead them astray. A little research will show that Mormons have been continually led astray.

  2. falcon says:

    It really comes down to a question of who these Mormon folks are going to trust. It’s evident, without much examination, that Joseph Smith and subsequent Mormon prophets were promoting a different god and a different gospel. Different from what, might be asked? It can be said with all confidence that the god and gospel that is the heart of Mormonism, is not the God or the Gospel of the first century church.
    One of the interesting things that faithful LDS Mormons can do is take a look at a couple of the other sects of Mormonism and see if these earlier sects have a view different from their own. What these sects present is a more traditional view of God and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why might that be? Basically these sects are reflecting Mormonism at its inception, not in its evolution. Why all of the changes? If Mormonism has a restored Gospel, what was that earlier articulated Gospel of Smith?
    An honest look at the continued roll-out of Smith’s Mormonism shows a cake that wasn’t baked yet. The ingredients keep changing. As a matter of fact, the Mormon cake is a totally different cake, when served by the various sects of Mormonism. This idea of a “restored” gospel really doesn’t stand on its own. There is no foundation.
    Following prophets that claim that something of the original was lost and now they have come to restore it, puts a heavy burden of proof on that (prophet). The LDS prophets fail miserably in this regard.

  3. Mike R says:

    When Mormon leaders introduced their teaching about how Jesus came to be born on earth ( Virgin birth ) it was simply one of the next predictable steps produced by their doctrines about God .God the Father is merely a man who became God . He is responsible for Jesus’ birth on earth . That’s why they called Jesus’ conception/birth on earth ” natural ” , i.e. the normal way a baby is conceived , in this case it involved a human male in heaven( Heavenly father ) coming down and uniting with a human female(Mary ) equals the baby Jesus . Mormon leaders repeated this in their gospel preaching , but soon it became somewhat uncomfortable to admit in public and so after a while
    this Mormon teaching was not mentioned any more in Mormon public gathering as it would make Mormon proseltyzing efforts more difficult . As Mormonism attempted to work harder at convincing the public that it was another Christian church in the neighborhood certain doctrines had to be either downplayed or denied , and this was cleverly done , the Virgin birth being one of them . But here are Mormons who still believe it simply because they trusted their leaders to be serious as guides in teaching spiritual truths .

    Mormonism is not the answer .

  4. falcon says:

    Modern day Mormons really have to bob and weave in trying to maintain their faith in the LDS religion and not sounding like total nuts i.e. the teachings of early Mormon authorities: Consider this:

    Mormons today are divided over this issue. While some deny that the traditional LDS concept of “virgin” is anything different than the traditional Christian understanding, others find it necessary to state that the Church takes no official position on the “mechanics” of the conception of Christ. Robert Millet, who is seen as the champion of progressive BYU neo-orthodoxy, writes:

    “While Latter-day Saints clearly believe that Jesus is the Son of God the Father, there is no authoritative doctrinal statement within Mormonism that explains how the conception of Jesus was accomplished,” (Another Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-day Saints, p. 74)

    Others simply prefer the more traditional Mormon position. Kevin Barney, who is associated with the LDS group Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research, writes that he likes the idea of the sexual generation of Jesus. In a post titled, “The Sexual Geneatinon of Jesus”, Kevin writes:

    “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. It is not binding on anyone, and in fact my impression is that it has become very much a minority view in the Church, and that most Mormons do not accept this characterization of the physical generation of the mortal Jesus.”

    The Mormon prophet needs to speak out on this topic at General Conference, doesn’t he? The Mormon people are placing all their hopes, dreams and aspirations on what this prophet teaches them. LDS folks tend to vacillates on the spiritual abilities of their prophet. He’s either the greatest thing since slice bread or he’s bread that has some mold on the crust and they, as members, need to trim it off. I don’t think they can have it both ways.

  5. historybuff says:

    In all my years as an active Mormon, I never, ever, heard any member or general authority of the Church claim what Kevin Barney evidently said — that Jesus was not the literal physical Son of Elohim. Is this something new, and how popular is this “revision”?

  6. Mike R says:

    falcon, as you know those two Mormons you mentioned ( Millett and Barney ) have no authority to establish or proclaim what is Mormon doctrine . This teaching is classic Mormon theology about God and it was repeated by Mormon leaders who introduced it into their gospel preaching . Mormons like Millet must muddy the water when it comes to what is accurate teaching behavior of past leaders . He has no choice to do that because by doing so it makes his mission as a Mormon P.R. man more easy to excuse such an egregious belief embraced by his leaders .

    What’s interesting to note is that there are Mormons like Millet, who can’t even agree on what
    constitutes ” authoritative ” Mormon teaching .

    For conscientious LDS who are concerned about Jesus’ warning about the rise of latter days prophets not appointed by Him ( Matt 24:11 ) they can follow wise counsel and test their prophets ( 1 Jn 4:1 ) . That means seeing what their General Authorities have taught , and not to any Mormon apologist.

  7. falcon says:

    Great point Mike.

    “What’s interesting to note is that there are Mormons like Millet, who can’t even agree on what
    constitutes ” authoritative ” Mormon teaching .”

    …………….and Mormons need a modern day prophet? We’ve had LDS show-up here over the years telling us we don’t know what we’re talking about regarding LDS doctrine. Some are woefully ignorant of what past leaders have taught and proclaimed. Others, I think, are Mormon apologists wannabees. The LDS folks make frequent use of the “that’s not LDS doctrine” escape clause. Then they go through these painful mental contortions to explain how something ends up in the “counts” column.
    For years Bruce McConkie was seen by the rank-and-file and many in leadership as the go-to guy when it came to LDS doctrine. Now days, the LDS church won’t even publish his book, “Mormon Doctrine”. Things change about every generation or so in LDS circles.

    Sandra Tanner had this to say back in May 2010:
    Sandra Tanner was interviewed on the 5:30 segment of the news, with her collection of every edition of McConkie’s book. She provided me with her view of the decision:

    ” I believe the main reason McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” was taken out of print was due to its candid discussion of LDS doctrines that the church is now trying to hide. Such teachings as God once being a man, his wife–Heavenly Mother, and Jesus being the literal, physical son of God are just a few of the doctrines that are being minimized in current manuals. If the LDS Church felt “Mormon Doctrine” presented a faulty compilation of their doctrines, why haven’t they issued an authorized compendium of their beliefs? Mormons often say to me, “That’s not official doctrine” as though there was some place to look up the official teachings. Where is the official systematic theology of Mormonism?”

  8. falcon says:

    Some use the term “shelf life” when it comes to describing just how long doctrines, teachings, beliefs and practices are good for within the LDS sect of Mormonism. It would be helpful to look at a chronology of these things going back to Joseph Smith’s launch of his religion. One aspect of Mormon belief that is pretty easy to track is his first vision trilogy. Smith had originally said that he had gone into the woods to seek assurance of the forgiveness of sins. This was a pretty common practice back in his day.
    By the time Smith got to his eighth version of the tale, we have God the Father and Jesus both appearing to Smith. Smith’s final version contradicts what the Bible says about God the Father. But with his god of flesh and bones, Smith was able to concoct his man becoming gods doctrine. This also provides an opportunity to promote the idea that the Mormon god the father had actual physical sex with the Virgin Mary.
    What happens I think, especially with converts to Mormonism, is a steady erosion not only of common sense, but any healthy skepticism regarding Mormon teaching.

  9. falcon says:

    I remember my friend Andy Watson, who has forgotten more about Mormonism than I’ll ever know, told me that he wished he’d had spent less time studying Mormonism and more time studying the Bible and the Christian faith. I understand now what he was saying. I know people leave Mormonism because they discover all sorts of things that they didn’t know about Joseph Smith and the LDS church. These folks come to the point where there are just too many deal breakers associated with the religion. I heard one woman say that the deal breaker for her was when she learned that Joseph Smith had “married” eleven women who were married to other men. One man said it was coming to the knowledge that Smith had married at least one fourteen year old girl that turned him away.
    But the stories of former Mormons that I find most interesting, are those where the person started to read the Bible and couldn’t reconcile the gospel message in God’s Word with Mormonism. That’s what I believe Andy was getting at when he made his statement. In order to “cult proof” someone, we have to teach them about the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. Once someone knows these, they can spot a counterfeit right off.

  10. Mike R says:

    It’s interesting to note the various excuses used by some Mormons in trying to downplay or deny this teaching by their leaders . It truly makes them uncomfortable this teaching might get brought up in a public venue .

    When Joseph Smith succumbed personally to apostasy by radically changing his belief about God , and then taught that “new light ” to his flock , he was merely going down a path that would produce teachings like God the Father coming down to earth and sleeping with Mary to produce a body for His spirit Son who would then be called Jesus . After all , the heavenly Father which Joseph Smith introduced in his new revealment about Him was that He was a human male who became God , thus God only did what all fathers do to produce a child . Joseph would have undoubtedly introduced the new Virgin birth teaching to his flock but his untimely death prevented that .
    It was left to Brigham Young to introduce it — and defend it ! He did just that . This new teaching was simply another example of what Mormon leaders refer to as line upon line , and is why Mormon leaders advertise the superior arrangement of having a ” living prophet” vrs the “dead prophets” of the Bible ( and Book of Mormon) . Brigham Young was the “living prophet ” he revealed new knowledge about God . He said it was duty to protect his flock from unsound teaching .

    The Mormon doctrine of the Virgin birth was taught , repeated, defended , and published for LDS to have and give to their posterity . But this is one of those classic Mormon teachings that will hinder Mormon proselytizing efforts so like some other doctrines it is best kept quiet and if brought up to a potential convert then it must be dodged or denied . It’s that simple . Mormon leaders have done a good job in keeping this quiet because today most Mormons have never heard of it .

    May the precious Mormon people discover the liberating truth about Jesus and the gospel that saves and leave the Mormon hierarchy behind . We pray for Mormons to take seriously Jesus’ warning about false prophets and test their prophets by comparing their teachings about God , Jesus, with what God’s prophets and apostles in the Bible taught .

  11. falcon says:

    A Mormon friend on fb just posted a story about a member who’d been inactive for a year and now has come back. If you read the intro and some of the comments, you’d think these were a bunch of Evangelical Christians. I say this because it’s all very reverential in tone, sincere, expresses love for God/Jesus, all of that but the problem here is that it’s all surface level. It’s incredibly seductive in its tone. A person, unfamiliar with the history and doctrine of the LDS church would not find anything here to object to. It’s a great presentation.
    It’s like when I was praying up a storm in the parking lot of a Mormon temple in Idaho one time. When I was driving away, I looked up at the inscription above the door and it said, “Dedicated to our God and His holiness.” An unsuspecting stranger wouldn’t know that this “god” is one of perhaps millions or billions of gods who use to be men but became gods by going through the LDS system. They don’t know that Brigham Young taught that “Adam” was really the god of this planet and that this god had actual physical sex with the Virgin Mary.
    You know, I just want to weep.

  12. Mike R says:

    Every so often , after gently cutting through the various excuses which some Mormons have used to dismiss this doctrine as really having been preached by their leaders , these Mormons will as a final recourse say that what Mormon leaders taught about the Virgin birth is not that important and their salvation does not depend on them believing it etc . However , that is simply a anemic answer .

    The Mormon teaching of the Divine Sonship of Christ is directly connected to the what Mormons call their plan of salvation . According to Mormon leaders Jesus was literally begotten by Heavenly Father ( through sex with Mary ) and that is crucial to the Atonement , because Christ had the power to lay down His life and take it again — immortality — literally inherited from His Father , (while from His mother Mary He inherited mortality ), hence that is what makes His Atonement effective — according to Mormon leaders . So if Mormons want to deny that Jesus is the literal child of a male God called heavenly Father, born through intimate relations with a mortal female called Mary then that is to deny the truth of the Atonement — according to Mormon leaders .

    Trying to side step this fact is not a good testimony for those Mormons who try to rationalize this doctrine into a ” who cares” category .
    The right thing to do is to admit that Brigham Young and other Mormon authorities did teach false doctrine for a long time .

  13. falcon says:

    Back to one of my favorite quotes. Who said it I don’t know:

    “The more convoluted, bizarre and revolting an idea, the more cultists embrace it.”

    …….and that folks is what we have in this Mormon teaching about spiritual and physical procreation. Who would believe such a revolting thing? Well it’s the same people who would accept their first prophet having thirty-three wives which included a couple of adolescent girls and eleven women married to other men in his sect.
    How do modern day Mormons rationalize this? How about, “It happened a long time ago. We no longer believe/practice that.” See. All better now. I heard one FLDS woman, who was no dummy, say, “Well maybe God gave Joseph those women in the pre-existence.”
    There does come a point where these explanations just don’t work any more. What to do then? How about, “I bear my testimony? I know…..” They really don’t “know”. They “believe”. That’s what I’ve found when the burden of attempting to answer and rationalize becomes too heavy, out comes an appeal to the emotions. What about integrity? There comes a point when feelings will no longer cover for the facts, evidence and truth. Then it’s decision time.

  14. falcon says:

    I was wondering where I had read that quote which I posted above so I googled it and found that it was said by me four years ago. I know I didn’t come up with it on my own. But it did lead me to this MC article from four years ago where I also posted it. Am I repeating myself? Actually the article is really good and has some relevance to our current discussion.

  15. falcon says:

    I don’t think it can be said better than this:

    “When one examines the Book of Mormon and its teachings, what is interesting is that the Book of Mormon does not contain distinct LDS doctrine. The doctrinal essentials, according to Mormonism, which lead to salvation, are not the same essentials as taught in 1830. Why? Because Joseph Smith changed his teachings, with no explanation to the Mormon people.”

    “The Book of Mormon for example, does not teach: God is an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones; the plurality of Gods; a Mother God in Heaven; Celestial, Terrestrial and Telestial heavens; Baptism for the Dead; Celestial marriage; the Law of Eternal Progression; Exaltation (i.e., man becoming a God); the Aaronic Priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood and the doctrine of Pre-existence.”

    “These are distinctive LDS teachings that Mormons pride themselves on, but why then, do we not find these teachings before 1832? If Joseph Smith was speaking as God’s “prophet,” then what he taught in 1830 should be consistent with was is taught today by the Mormon Church. Truth does not change.”

    What an LDS would tell us is that this is all about “progressive revelation”. Isn’t that about the most ridiculous explanation you’ve ever heard? Not to a faithful true believing Mormon. Something happens to the thinking processes of a Mormon in which they are not troubled by evidence that what they believe is not the mental meanderings of “prophets” who are wandering about searching for a cogent thought. And here’s why that is. They’ve developed a “testimony” based on how an idea made them feel. Since the BoM, for example, contains enough of the Bible and talk about Jesus, it makes them feel good. This feeling is suppose to confirm truth. Buying into that false notion, these folks will accept anything.

  16. falcon says:


    “In the end, plainly, early LDS doctrine is fundamentally different then present-day LDS doctrine. Smith started out teaching that God was spirit and there is only one eternal God. Then, Smith did a doctrinal U-turn, teaching heresies that deny who God is, and all the while, claiming it was God that was giving him these revelations.”

    “Hence, if the Joseph Smith really had restored the “plain and precious truths” that were allegedly lost and if Smith restored the so-called lost church, then, God’s truth in the nineteenth century should be consistent with God’s truth today. But the fact is: Joseph Smith believed in revolving gods that change who they are and altered their doctrines. Unlike the God of Scripture Who said:
    “I the LORD do not change. . . . ” (Mal. 3:6; NIV)

    Are faithful LDS even aware that Joseph Smith not only changed his doctrine regarding the nature of God but also changed his first vision tale at least eight times. Shouldn’t that give an LDS pause at least to wonder if what they have embraced might indeed be totally false. While such an LDS might think they have way too much to lose to even consider such a thought, they have much more to gain by coming to a knowledge of who God is and what He has done for us.

  17. MistakenTestimony says:


  18. falcon says:

    When it comes to “heresy” and Mormonism, it’s somewhat difficult for me to identify it as such. The reason is that in order to be heresy, Mormonism would have to have some connection to Christianity, which it doesn’t. Joseph Smith was a religious cook. He just took a bunch of ideas from various places, threw it all in a pot creating some odd stew. Unfortunately, the Mormon people have no idea what they are eating but it does fill their little tummies and makes them feel good.

  19. Mike R says:

    For Mormons to put this doctrine into perspective they can do this :
    Every time they hear one of their leaders mention the Atonement , then remember that the Jesus who they are talking about is the literal offspring of a male God they call Heavenly father who had sexual relations with a mortal female — Mary .

    Then compare that with the Bible and Book of Mormon teach about the Atonement .
    This will help LDS to see how their leaders have succumbed to ” looking beyond the mark ” ( Jacob 4:14 ) , and drifted from the truth about God , Jesus ( and the Atonement ) . That’s the type of error which true prophets/ apostles can not make .

    Jesus warned about prophets arising in the latter days which would claim to be appointed by Him but which were not , and thus fool sincere people into accepting them as authorities in their lives — Matt 24:11 . Mormon leaders are such prophets .

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