Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Becoming Gods/Use of sources/Spirits conceived through sexual union

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Use of sources: Spirits conceived through sexual union?

A FairMormon Analysis of: Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism, a work by author: Richard Abanes

Becoming Gods, page 154

  • Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother "through some kind of sexual union" clothed each of us with a spirit body.


  • Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 750. GL direct link

Question: Do Latter-day Saints believe in a practice called "celestial sex," and that this is the manner in which "spirit children" are formed?

It is the critics of the Church that invented and use the offensive term "celestial sex"

This is not a term used by Latter-day Saints. It has, in fact, never been used by Latter-day Saints. The use of the term "celestial sex" by critics is intended to be demeaning and shocking to Latter-day Saints or interested readers. The use of such tactics may say much about the mainstream culture's preoccupation with sexual behavior. However, it says nothing about the actual beliefs of Church members.

Critics of the Church twist LDS beliefs into a form that makes them look ridiculous. Quotes made by early LDS leaders are often used to support the claim that Latter-day Saints believe in “Celestial sex.” It should be noted, however, that LDS leaders have never used the term "Celestial sex." This phrase was coined by critics of the Church, likely for its “shock value” in portraying the following concepts in LDS belief:

  1. The belief that God the Father has a physical body.
  2. The belief that there exists a Heavenly Mother who also possesses a physical body.
  3. The belief that our Heavenly Father and Mother together are capable of creating “spirit children.”

Critics take these ideas and combine them, leading to a declaration that Latter-day Saints therefore believe in “Celestial sex.” Various anti-Mormon works then use this idea to mock LDS beliefs or shock their readers—though this claim does not describe LDS beliefs, but the critics' caricature of them.

One of the earliest uses of the term "celestial sex" was in the anti-Mormon film The God Makers

For example, the 1982 anti-Mormon film The God Makers makes reference to “engaging in celestial sex with their goddess wives." One woman in the film, who is claimed to have once been a Latter-day Saint, expresses the idea that the primary goal of women in the Church is to "become a goddess in heaven" in order to "multiply an earth" and be "eternally pregnant." The claim that Latter-day Saints expect to have "endless Celestial sex" in order to populate their own planet is very popular among critics of the Church, though members themselves would not explain their beliefs in that way.

The critics' assumptions simply take what we know about our physical world and naively apply it to the afterlife. When one examines the critics’ point further, a key question ought to be raised: How does the union of two immortal beings in a physical manner produce spirit offspring? Latter-day Saint belief is that “spirit children” only receive a physical body upon being born on earth.

This question, of course, cannot be answered. It is pointless to speculate on the exact manner in which “spirit children” are produced, and to assume that this occurs through “Celestial sex” and being "eternally pregnant" is to apply a worldly mindset to a spiritual process. The bottom line: Latter-day Saints do not know the mechanism by which “spirit children” are produced, and no LDS doctrine claims that "celestial sex" and being "eternally pregnant" are the means.

Question: Did Bruce R. McConkie claim in Mormon Doctrine that our heavenly parents created our spirits "through some kind of sexual union"?

Elder McConkie never talks about a sexual union between our heavenly parents in Mormon Doctrine

It has been claimed that Bruce R. McConkie in his book Mormon Doctrine talks of a "sexual union" between heavenly parents.[1] However, nothing in Elder McConkie's statements in Mormon Doctrine say anything about spirit creation via "some kind of sexual union."

Relevant passages include:

Entry Spirit Birth: "1. In the literal sense, the expression spirit birth has reference to the birth of the spirit in pre-existence. Spirits are actually born as the offspring of a Heavenly Father, a glorified and exalted Man. They will be born in a future eternity to future exalted beings for whom the family unit continues."

Entry Spirit Bodies: "Our spirit bodies had their beginning in pre-existence when we were born as the spirit children of God our Father. Through that birth process spirit element was organized into intelligent entities. The bodies so created have all the parts of mortal bodies."

Entry Spirit Children:"1. All men in pre-existence were the spirit children of God our Father, an exalted, glorified, and perfected Man. "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's" (D. & C. 130:22); the offspring born to him in that primeval sphere had bodies of spirit element....In a future eternity, spirit children will be born to exalted, perfected glorified couples for whom the family unit continues. The very glory of exalted beings is to have "a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever."

Elder McConkie emphasizes that spirit children are the literal offspring of God, but the means of their creation is not specified. The Heavenly Mother is not even mentioned. This does not necessarily mean that Elder McConkie or other General Authorities did not personally believe that such a thing was achieved through some sort of sexual intercourse - only that it was not Church doctrine.

  1. Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods, 154. Abanes uses as his reference Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd edition, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 750. GL direct link