THE JESUS CHRIST OF THE MORMON CHURCH
Is He The Jesus Of The Bible?
In answering the question, "Is He The Jesus Of The Bible?" I will primarily let the top leaders of the Mormon church and its teaching manuals answer this question.
Mormon Prophet's Jesus Christ
The president and prophet (the top man) of the Mormon church, Gordon B. Hinckley, made a very telling comment about Jesus Christ in a talk in Paris France on June 4, 1998. Pres. Hinckley said;
In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ. No, I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. He together with His Father, appeared to the boy Joseph smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages. (Church News, week ending June 20, 1998, page 7)
Note Pres. Hinckley's words, " The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak." Many anti-Mormons have been saying this for decades. The Christ of Mormonism is not the Christ of the Bible. What follows are more specific reasons why the Jesus Christ of the Mormon church is not the one I believe in and cannot be found in the Bible.
According to the Mormon Church The Spirit Of Jesus Christ Did Not Always Exist, He Had A Beginning
The first thing to understand is that the "God the Father" of Mormonism has not always been God. He also had a beginning, just as his son.
President Joseph Fielding Smith said: "Our Father in heaven according to the Prophet, had a Father, and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father" (Doctrines of Salvation 2:47)...President Joseph F. Smith taught: "I know that God is a being with body, parts and passions...Man was born of woman; Christ, the Savior, was born of woman; and God, the Father was born of woman" (Church News, 19 Sept, 1936, p.2). (Search These Commandments, Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide, Copyright 1984 by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, page 152)
As shown in this chapter, our Father in heaven was once a man as we are now, capable of physical death...he and our mother in heaven were empowered to give birth to spirit children... (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, Copyright 1976, 1992 by Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, page 132)
All men and women are...literally the sons and daughters of Deity...Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body'....very person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ...Our spirits resemble our heavenly parents although they have resurrected bodies. (Gospel Principles, page 9, 1981 edition, page 11, 1997 edition)
What this means is that while "God the Father" was progressing to become a God, the spirit of his son, "Jesus Christ," did not exist. Only after the "Father" became a god was he able to procreate the spirit of his son. Now let us look at how the body of the Mormon Jesus came about.
How Was The Body Of Jesus Christ Conceived In Mary?
How Did Mary Conceive Jesus Christ According to the Mormon church and its top Leaders? Let us see how "God the Father," according to the Mormon Church and its top leaders, used his parts and passions to procreate the body of the Mormon "Jesus Christ."
When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father?...Now remember from this time forth, and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. I will repeat a little anecdote. I was in conversation with a certain learned professor upon this subject, when I replied, to this idea--"if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children, to be palmed upon the Elders by the people, bringing the Elders into great difficulties." (Journal of iscourses, Brigham Young, 1:51-52, April 9, 1852)
On other occasions Brigham Young said:
We first begin to read that Jesus came in the flesh...But suppose I examine that, a moment. The New Testament tells me that the Father gave His only-begotten Son a ransom for the sins of the world. Do you believe that, brother B.? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the only-begotten Son of the Father? "Yes." Do you believe the Son was begotten by the Father, as the Apostles said he was? Here I shall have to disagree with you, to begin with; for I believe the Father came down from heaven, as the Apostles said he did, and begot the Saviour of the world; for he is the ONLY-begotten of the Father, which could not be if the Father did not actually beget him in person. (Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 1:237-238, July 24, 1853)
...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... The 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. (Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 11:268, August 19, 1866)
These are interesting statements, because if we accept them we would also have to believe that the Father committed incest. The Father according to Brigham Young took one of his spirit daughters as his wife and procreated the body of Jesus Christ with her. I find this offensive. Are these isolated teachings only by Brigham Young? No, they are not. Now let us learn what another president and prophet of the Mormon Church said while speaking to children at an official meeting:
A MODERN PROPHET'S ANSWER...I want the little folks [children] to hear what I am going to tell you. I am going to tell you a simple truth, yet it is one of the greatest truths and one of the most simple facts ever revealed to the children of men.
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...Now my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you ask your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus Christ. (Joseph F. Smith, Box Elder Stake Conference Dec 20, 1914 as quoted in Brigham City Box Elder News, 28 Jan, 1915, pp.1-2.) (Family Home Evening [Manual], Personal Commitment, copyright 1972 by Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pages 125-126).
Note in the first paragraph of this reference the phrases "I am going to tell you a simple truth," "one of the greatest truths" and "simple facts ever revealed to the children of men." In other words what is said is truth and revelation. Note that the person speaking was the president of the Mormon Church and he was speaking at an official meeting. This was not just his personal opinion. On page 126 of this last reference, a teaching manual published by the Mormon Church, is a graphic picture of an algebraic equation:
Daddy + Mommy = You
Our Heavenly Father + Mary = Jesus
(Ibid, page 126).
Another LDS teaching manual has:
...he was able to make payment because he lived a sinless life and because he was actually, literally, biologically the Son of God in the flesh. (Messages for Exaltation, For the Sunday Schools of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gospel Doctrine Class, published by the Deseret Sunday School Union, printed by Deseret News Press, 1967, pages 378-379)
Apostle Orson Pratt, in his publication, The Seer, expressed a similar idea.
God, the Father of our spirits, became the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh....it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus...both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father... The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife, hence the virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the Lawful wife of God the Father. (The Seer, by Apostle Orson Pratt, October 1853, Vol. 1, No. 10, p. 158)
President Ezra Taft Benson stated, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was fathered by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father!" (Benson, p. 4). (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, p. 725, 1992; The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 7)
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, 1 Ne. 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" (Jesus The Christ, James E. Talmage, p. 81; Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.2, page 729)
These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers. (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, p. 546-547)
God the Father is a perfected, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; he was born in the same personal, real, and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; he was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for he is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says. (ibid, p. 742)
I have provided a broad number of sources over a long time period to show that the teachings about the conception of Jesus Christ are not isolated to one time period or to one small group of authors/sources.
Jesus Christ Was Married, Had Children
We say it was Jesus Christ who was married, to be brought into the relation whereby he could see his seed, before he was crucified (President Orson Hyde, Oct. 6, 1854, Journal of Discourses, 2:82 [Vol 2, page 82]).
President Brigham Young, the president and prophet, speaking afterwards at the same General Conference , October 6, l854, began his sermon with the remark, "I do not wish to eradicate any items from the lecture Elder Hyde has given us this evening.....but I will say he has not dipped into it yet; he has only run round the edge of the field. He has done so beautifully, and it will have its desired effect." (Journal of Discourses, 2:88-90)
I discover that some of the Eastern papers represent me as a great blasphemer, because I said, in my lecture on Marriage, at our last [General] Conference [cf. JD 2:79-87, October 6, l854], that Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he began children. All that I have to say in reply to that charge is this--they worship a Savior that is too pure and holy to fulfil the commands of his Father. I worship one that is just pure and holy enough to "fulfil all righteousness;' no only the righteous law of baptism, but the still more righteous and important law "to multiply and replenish the earth." Startle not at this! for even the Father himself honored that law by coming down to Mary, without a natural body, and begetting a son; and if Jesus begat children, he only "did that which he had seen his Father do." (President Orson Hyde, March l8, l855; Journal of Discourses, 2:2l0)
It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction, it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it. (Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, 4:259)
The teaching that Jesus Christ is married is no longer taught by the Mormon church. But the concept is still consistent with the teaching of the Mormon church that a man now living must be married to progress and become a god.
The only reasonable conclusion a Christian could arrive at is that President Hinckley was correct. The "Jesus Christ" of the Mormon church is not the same as found in the Bible. Galatians 1:6-9 warns us about those that bring another gospel. It also says that those that do are accursed. 2 Corinthians 11:4 warms us of those that bring another Jesus.
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