This is the 3nd post evaluating the FOXNews.com list of 21 questions submitted to the LDS and the answers received back from the church. In this article, we’ll look at Question number 7:
A: The Church does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived but believes the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary.
Response: There are many references in the Bible and numerous references in the Book of Mormon also which refer to Mary as a ‘Virgin’. This would not be the case if Jesus was conceived in the ‘natural’ way. The whole issue is problematic for the Mormon Church:
1. Some of their early Prophets and leaders (including: Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball and others) made statements in the 19th century, printed in official church literature, which indicated that Jesus was conceived in a natural/physical way. This is why so many ‘anti-Mormon’ and Christian apologetic websites make the claim that the Mormons believe that Mary and God the Father had sexual relations.
2. The current leaders of the LDS Church now realize that those early 19th century teachings contradict clear teaching in the Bible and their own Book of Mormon. They now refer to those early teachings as ‘speculation’.
3. The real problem for Mormons revolves around the participation of the Holy Ghost in the conception of Jesus. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was conceived by the the Holy Ghost and so does the Book of Mormon in a number of places:
“And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.” (Alma 7:10)
If Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost how can it be said that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God the Father? This is no problem for Christians who believe in the traditional Trinitarian teaching that The Father and The Holy Ghost are one God including The Son.
However, the LDS teach that the Godhead has three separate Gods-God the Father, God the Son, and The Holy Ghost. This presents a real problem in Mormon theology—If Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost as the scriptures say, then the Holy Ghost would be the father of Jesus and Not God the Father. This is why some early leaders plainly contradicted the Bible and their own Book of Mormon to say that God the Father directly participated in the conception of his Son.
After receiving so much criticism of these early teachings from Christian apologists over the years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now officially proclaims that they do not know how Jesus was conceived but accept the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the ‘Virgin’ Mary.
We should recognize their right to define their own official teachings and doctrines while retaining our own freedom to point out the inconsistencies and contradictions. If they say that the 19th century teachings of their early leaders is now considered to be ‘speculation’ than so be it.