Criticism of Mormonism/Books/Becoming Gods/Use of sources/The Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ's conception

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Use of sources: The Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ's conception

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

The Claim

Becoming Gods, page 184-185

The book asserts the following:

"Until recently, the common belief clearly implied throughout the history of Mormonism...was that Jesus' conception occurred via sexual intercourse between Heavenly Father (Elohim) and Mary."

In addition to the Book of Mormon verses cited, it is noted that Brigham Young said that Mary "had another husband." who, according to the author "impregnated Mary," followed by Brigham's statement "instead of letting any other man do it."

The References

The Problem

So what does the Book of Mormon say about Christ's conception? Let's look at 1 Nephi 11:14-33 and see what the Becoming Gods does not include. Verses that were omitted are in bold:

14 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: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 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.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.
21 And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?

The book somehow attempts to use 1 Nephi 11 as support for the idea that "sexual intercourse" between Heavenly Father and Mary was taught "until recently." Notice how the book skips over verse 19, which clearly says that Mary "was carried away in the Spirit."

Brigham Young's statements:

"The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband. On this account infidels have called the Savior a bastard. This is merely a human opinion upon one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty. That very babe that was cradled in the manger, was begotten, not by Joseph, the husband of Mary, but by another Being. Do you inquire by whom? He was begotten by God our heavenly Father." (emphasis added) [1]

"When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me." (emphasis added) [2]

Answer

  • The relevant verses in the Book of Mormon were omitted from the citations used by Becoming Gods.
  • Brigham Young's statement in Journal of Discourses 11:268 refers to the event as "one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty." Brigham does refer to Jesus being "begotten" of the Father, but there are plenty of scriptural references in the Bible to Jesus being the "only begotten son" of our Heavenly Father.
  • Brigham's second statement again refers to Jesus being "begotten" of the Father, who "favored that spirit with a tabernacle." The exact method by which this was accomplished is assumed by the book to be a sexual union. In this day and age, however, one ought to realize that there are ways to conceive a child that do not involve a sexual union. Although Brigham would not have known this, our Heavenly Father most certainly would have.

Notes

  1. Brigham Young, [{{{url}}} Journal of Discourses 11:268].
  2. Brigham Young, [{{{url}}} Journal of Discourses 4:218].