LDS - "Begotten in the flesh"

I was listening to the LDS Christmas Devotional. One of the speakers - Elder Todd Christoffersen - said that the LDS church believes that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Father “in the flesh”. Basically that the Father who has a body of flesh and bones came upon Mary and had sexual intercourse with her. Joseph I suppose had no say in the matter, even though he was betrothed to Mary and therefore “married”.

I have known about this doctrine for many years, but had felt that the LDS leadership was backing away from it. But here it was broadcast on the internet. I suppose most people would not pick it up and understand what he was saying.

Here are couple of quotes from LDS leaders - among many!!

“The birth of the Savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood‑‑was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:115

“Christ was Begotten by an immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 547, 1966

Are there any alternate meanings to “only begotten in the flesh”? Or is it clear that God had sex with a married woman as the LDS believe?

This is Christmas and the LDS church has mounted an expensive campaign to “sharethegift”. That is good if it was simply about bringing the message of Christ to the world. But of course it is not. It is a recruitment campaign. I wish people also knew exactly what the LDS church believes about Christ, who He is and how he came to be, and what their belief of the Father is.

I live in a mormon community, and see the good they do. But I also see how dangerous they are in their beliefs and how so many people are drawn into their religion.

If only people really knew!!

Hal.

I’ve had LDS members tell me modern medical artificial conception provides an explanation, in Mormon (non-Christian) terms and beliefs, of course.

Jesus being conceived “without seed” (CCC 496) is never an explanation from LDS.

The LDS belief about Jesus is that He is a demigod. From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

“Ancient and modern scriptures use the title Only Begotten to emphasize the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints recognize Jesus as literally the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh (John 3:16; D&C 93:11; Moses 6:52). This title signifies that Jesus’ physical body was the offspring of a mortal mother and of the eternal Father (Luke 1:35, 1Ne. 11:18). It is LDS doctrine that Jesus Christ is the child of mary and God the Father, “not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof” (JC, p. 81).”

I should add, LDS use the term “natural law” differently than everyone else. In the LDS quote above, it is being used as a synonym for “laws of nature”. LDS view laws of nature as binding on God, ie, God cannot break the laws of nature, such as gravity.

Conception, for LDS, cannot be a miracle of the Holy Spirit. Conception for LDS is a law of nature, which can be manipulated and used, but not broken. ie, God is not be able to beget a Son, other than, sperm and egg and mitosis. If he could, that would violate the laws of nature, and that is an impossibility so therefore He cannot.

I echo what Rebecca said. When I was in early morning seminary in the 1990’s, my seminary teacher taught us that Heavenly Father had intercourse with Mary to conceive Jesus. I felt so sick I wanted to vomit.

LDS General Authorities haven’t publicly taught Jesus’ conception via sexual intercourse in quite a while. Bruce McConkie is one of the latest ones I know who explicitly taught it.

LDS believe that Jesus is the only begotten “in the flesh” and that sperm and egg were required to conceive Jesus. With modern technology of in vitro and artificial insemination, it is easy for Mormons to explain and accept the conception of Jesus in a way that is less vomit-inducing. That is what I believed when I was LDS, despite what my seminary teacher taught. (I just put that up on my mental shelf).

I still haven’t heard a good explanation of Mary’s relationship with Heavenly Father and Joseph in the LDS context. I have heard speculation that Mary was sealed to Heavenly Father as a plural wife “for eternity” but she was Joseph’s wife “for time”, but I am not aware of any official teaching on the matter. I guess if it was ok for Joseph Smith to marry women who were already married to other men, it is ok for the LDS Heavenly Father to do the same.

Yeah iepuras, I was taught the same in seminary but 15 years earlier. Now, LDS say that is anti-Mormon. One of the many “anti-Mormon” things I was taught by Mormons. :shrug:

Disclaimer: I wasn’t the most attentive student in Sunday school growing up, I didn’t graduate from seminary, and I did go inactive for 6 years. But the only times I can recall the notion that ‘God had sex with Mary’ in my 44 years of life, has been from critics of my church telling me what I believe.

I’m content with the scriptural account:

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

I don’t really need to speculate further.

Neuro, you know very well we are not “telling you what you believe”. We state what past LDS prophets and apostles have taught. Whether or not you actually believe prior LDS prophets and apostles is up to you. See the difference?

Just because you have not read or heard what those prophets and apostles have said regarding the conception of Jesus, doesn’t mean they didn’t say them. Just because you didn’t pay attention in Sunday School as a teen or graduate from seminary doesn’t mean others in those classes were never taught those things.

Our generation was much less likely to hear such teachings than previous generations. I know many of my contemporaries who never heard about the teaching of prior LDS prophets and apostles that Heavenly Father had intercourse with Mary. I guess I was just “lucky”. Millenials are even more likely to have never heard about it at all.

I see the difference, iepuras. And I see you doing exactly what you’re claiming.

But I also see the OP on this thread, doing exactly what I’m referring to.

I’m “the LDS”. PrinceHal just claimed I believe something I don’t believe.

I wish people also knew exactly what the LDS church believes about Christ, who He is and how he came to be, and what their belief of the Father is.

I’m part of “the LDS church”, yet again, other than threads like this taking issue with my faith, nobody has taught me this particular speculation.

I live in a mormon community, and see the good they do. But I also see how dangerous they are in their beliefs and how so many people are drawn into their religion.

I am “they”. Prince Hal is telling people about “their beliefs”, and identifying something that isn’t a belief of mine.

I mean, I get it. I see the quotes from past church leaders. I see it as speculation, people arguing for a point of view. LDS don’t have the phrase ‘ex cathedra’, but we do have the phrase ‘not infallible’, and that governs my thoughts on the matter.

The standard response is to cut and paste LDS leaders exhortations on following council of church leaders, then asking me to consider my membership in a church where I find it necessary to ignore statements of people who claim to be prophets. That doesn’t really address my church’s claim that prophets or other church leaders are not infallible.

To put it clearly, I’m content with the scriptural account of Christ’s conception. I have no need to add to scripture, either through adding the notion of physical sex as some LDS have done, or “without seed”, as Rebeccaj tells me Catholics put forth in CCC 496. I just don’t care one way or the other. Christ was born of a Virgin - that’s good enough for me.

Despite PrinceHal’s claims about what I believe, the truth is that I just choose not to speculate further on the matter.

:shrug:

[quote=NeuroTypical;12563491I mean, I get it. I see the quotes from past church leaders. I see it as speculation, people arguing for a point of view.
[/QUOTE]

OK. But according to the LDS, this isn’t just mere “people” (like you and I) arguing for a point of view, mere speculation. These are people you call “prophets.” If their speculation and arguments are not binding, relevant, or eternal then… what’s the point of calling them prophets? If their arguments or views are not binding, relevant, or eternal then the whole LDS restoration is irrelevant, no? if we don’t need to adhere to their teachings in matters we don’t like, then we don’t need to adhere to their teaching on other matters (theology, polygamy, morality, etc.). Either they are prophets or they aren’t, right? Is it proper to pick and choose? So I can reject BY’s teachings on race and polygamy/polyandry/polytheism but still accept him as a prophet on matters that appeal to me? That seems arbitrary and specious. Are they prophets or not? I don’t pick and choose which of the 10 commandments I care to follow, so why do you get to pick and choose which teachings of the LDS prophets that you follow? If you adhere to integrity, either accept them as prophets or reject them as prophets.
[/quote]

Are your “prophets” mere people speculating, arguing for a point of view? If so, why should we listen to them at all then? Should we listen to the prophets on matters we agree with and disregard them on matters we don’t agree with (polygamy, polyandry, anti-Christian sentiment, racism, etc.)? If that’s the case, what the point of having prophets? I don’t pick and choose which of the 10 commandments I choose to follow, so why do Mormons pick and choose which doctrines of their prophets they get to pick, choose, and follow? It makes y’all seem like cafeteria Mormons (forget the racism, polyandry, anti-Christian sentiment, just pay attention to the other stuff). Are they false prophets or are they true prophets? It’s either one or the other. Personally, I believe that they’re false prophets, so it’s not an issue for me. I pity those who consider BY and JS true prophets and thus are forced to pick & choose which false teaching to follow.

There is a difference between what the LDS Church leaders teach, and what individual LDS believe. (Same for Catholics.) So yeah, I agree, discussing LDS belief is pointless, only because it varies, sometimes in the extreme, from individual to individual. For discussion sake then, I try to focus on what the LDS Church teaches or has taught.

I know what I was taught, as a LDS member in authoritative LDS settings and I know I didn’t believe a LOT of what I was taught. I was till LDS, then. What I didn’t believe continued to be taught, and eventually I just couldn’t stick around acting like I was all on board with teachings I didn’t believe at all. I couldn’t ignore them as you seem to be able to do.

Anyway, what the current leaders teach, trump previous leaders (or so the LDS Church teaches), and so all an individual LDS member has to do is keep the present compartmentalized from the past compartments, and all is well.

More what I see, posting quotes from past LDS leaders has the effect on individual LDS of today, of “what does that have to do with me?” It’s a very pragmatic religion.

The CCC is a condensed form of Catholic teaching, so, I don’t think you can just pooh pooh one small quote as a “notion”. Our “notions” are very well reasoned, based on what God has revealed. SOME LDS do the same, based on what it is believed God has revealed to LDS prophets. So conclusions get made, reasoning, that of course God the Father had sexual intercourse with his own creation, Mary. I hope you can understand how repugnant that notion is to 99% of the world’s Christians. It is along the lines of incest, but worse. That it is even a “notion” at all, is offensive.

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Will someone explain how Christians define “begotten” because I still cringe at this when the Nicene Creed is recited at Mass? The LDS version has stuck with me since high school seminary.

Forgive me - I didn’t mean to poo-poo the CCC. I know little about it, where it came from, but I do know it’s important to Catholics.

I’m hardly an expert on why that small quote is there, but it seems at first glance that whatever reasoning got it there, didn’t come from the actual scriptural account. “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee” = scripture. And from where I’m standing, if your reasoning brings you to the conclusion that seed either was or was not involved, your reasoning has added something that isn’t contained in scripture.

But then again, I haven’t read the reasoning behind that part of the CCC. Perhaps it cites additional scriptural justification of which I’m unaware. Wouldn’t be the first time - I’m hardly a scriptorian.

So conclusions get made, reasoning, that of course God the Father had sexual intercourse with his own creation, Mary. I hope you can understand how repugnant that notion is to 99% of the world’s Christians. It is along the lines of incest, but worse. That it is even a “notion” at all, is offensive.

One thing I find admirable about Catholicism, is Catholics tend to be pretty darn unapologetic when their doctrines offend someone. How offensive a particular thing is or isn’t to this or that culture, shouldn’t impact what’s true or what’s false. Right?

But in the ‘mormons believe God had sex with Mary’ deal, I’m hard-pressed to find the notion enshrined in doctrine. It sure isn’t enshrined in scripture.

“The birth of the Savior was as natural as the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood‑‑was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:115

“Christ was Begotten by an immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 547, 1966

So what statement is not doctrine? This comes from your leaders. So if it doesn’t fit what you or other lds members believe or is inconvenient at the time then it doesn’t count as doctrine or lds scripture?

Begotten not made, God from God, light from light.

Jesus’ begotteness is understood in light of the revelation of the Holy Trinity. God is one. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, eternally and infinity three.

That is the begotten meaning for all Christians. It defines the relationship between two persons of the Trinity. The how of that relationship is a mystery. The word mystery, in theological usage, means a truth that God has revealed, but cannot be grasped by the finite human mind by reason alone. So Jesus tells Peter, after Peter had said, you are the living Son of God, that this truth is known to Peter only by the Holy Spirit.

The Incarnation, which is what our Christmas celebration is about, is the advent of the Begotten Son taking on flesh and becoming man. Scripture is clear that Mary is a virgin, and we don’t view in any way that begotten means begotten as a man begets a child.

The Father is spirit, without parts, including DNA. Jesus’ humanity is entirely of Mary. We call the conception of Jesus a mystery, in that same theological meaning. A truth that has been revealed, and Jesus Himself is that Truth.

Thank you Rebecca. Except, I’m still confused. Sometimes I think I believe the Trinity on faith and then I doubt. Not sure I’ll make it into the church for Easter Vigil…again. I suppose one has to believe in revelation since reasoning doesn’t seem to work for me in this case.

What confuses me is that throughout the Bible they speak of this person begat so and so…etc. Begotten is also used in other instances in which it is meant as procreation.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending my past beliefs.The Catholic Church has been the most healing of places for me. That is saying something! I was once hard core Utah Mormon.

One more thing to add. I was told that Mary was still a virgin. She wasn’t with a man, they say. Thus, they redefine what virgin means. It is a extremely blasphemous belief.

kimg, can you explain the notion of “ex Cathedra” to me? I’ve been told it basically means your Pope gets to opine about things he wants to opine about, without it being binding doctrine on the Catholic church.

As I said before in this thread, mormons don’t use the phrase “ex Cathedra”, but we most certainly have the notion that fallen, sinful, error prone human beings don’t stop being human just because God calls them to an office. They can still be right or wrong about things, even though God occasionally calls on them to prophecy. Think of all the failings of Old Testament prophets - everything from selling prophecies for money, to denying God, to lying - it’s a fascinating to read scriptures about what some of those guys said and did when not

The Journal of Discourses is neither doctrine nor scripture. And odd as it sounds, McConkie’s book “mormon doctrine” isn’t doctrine either. It’s sort of an embarrassing chapter in our history. McConkie basically published his book without telling anyone, and the brethren went through and found errors on almost every page.

Jan 8, 1960. The First Presidency held a meeting. We decided that Bruce R. McConkie’s book, “Mormon Doctrine” recently published by Bookcraft Company must not be re-published, as it is full of errors and misstatements, and it is most unfortunate that it has received such wide circulation. It is reported to us that Brother McConkie has made corrections in his book, and is now preparing another edition. We decided this morning that we do not want him to publish another edition. We decided, also, to have no more books published by General Authorities without their first having the consent of the First Presidency.

So again,

  • Just because a church leader says it, doesn’t mean I believe it.
  • If you wish to claim there’s something wrong with a Mormon who doesn’t believe and support everything his leaders say, then you and I can go off and read what Old Testament prophets said and did, and I’ll ask you to believe and support them.
  • Many Mormons have believed and taught ‘God had sex with Mary’ over the decades. I don’t find evidence in the scriptures to support the notion.
  • RebeccaJ pointed out a short part in the Catholic’s CCC claiming “without seed”. I don’t find evidence in the scriptures to support the notion either.
  • I don’t really care how Christ was conceived. He was born of a virgin, and is my Savior and Redeemer. I’m content with that.

I assumed you were aware that Catholicism is not a Bible-only religion. The Church came before the Bible.

Wiki can be your friend in these situations. (I suggest you read all of it, and not just what I quoted) Wiki

"In connection with papal infallibility, the Latin phrase ex cathedra (literally, “from the chair”) has been defined as meaning “when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.”

As you can see, your use of the word “opine” doesn’t really apply. When a statement is made “ex-Cathedra”, the thinking has been done.

And yet the LDS church promoted McConkie to the position of Apostle after the publication of this embarrassing text. That’s quite a punishment you guys levied upon him. He published a book called Mormon Doctrine with errors on every page and he was thus promoted to Apostle. With apostles like that, who needs enemies?

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