LDS Articles of Faith, Part VII
Article I, Jesus Christ
Our last blog was primarily about the LDS doctrine of Christ’s pre-mortal life as a spirit Son of God. But, LDS leaders have taught many other things about Christ’s pre-mortal life. Orson Pratt, one of the original Twelve LDS Apostles said, “As God the Father begat the fleshly body of Jesus, so He, before the world began, begat His spirit. As the body required an earthly Mother, so His spirit required a Heavenly Mother. As God associated in the capacity of a husband with the earthly mother, so likewise He associated in the same capacity with the heavenly one” (The Seer, pp. 158-159). LDS scripture in Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 130:22 says God the Father has a “body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.” How did THAT body of flesh and bones cohabiting with His resurrected, glorified and immortal wife produce the baby spirit of Jesus in the pre-mortal spirit world and then produce Jesus’ fleshly body through cohabiting with Mary on earth? Doesn’t all life reproduce offspring that are the same type as the parent?
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said "Christ…is the Firstborn of the Father. By obedience and devotion to the truth He attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in His pre-existent state" [pre-mortal life] (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129). McConkie also said, “The greatest blessings are reserved for those who obtain the fullness of the priesthood, meaning the fullness of the blessings of the priesthood. These blessings are found only in the (LDS) temples of God…There are certain key words and signs belonging to the priesthood which must be observed in order to obtain the blessing. These, of course, are revealed only in temples. ‘Washings, anointings, endowments, and communication of keys,’ the Prophet (Joseph Smith) says are essential…Celestial (LDS temple) marriage itself is an order of the priesthood without which no one can gain the fullness of glory in the eternal worlds…If a man gets the fullness of the priesthood of God, he has to get it the same way that Jesus Christ obtained it, and that was by keeping all the commandments and obeying all the ordinances of the house of the Lord” [temple] (Mormon Doctrine, p.482). According to McConkie, Jesus had to be married in an LDS Temple as a pre-mortal spirit to become a God there!
Brigham Young, the second LDS Prophet said, “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? He is the first of the human family …Jesus our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in Heaven. Now remember from this time forth and forever, that Jesus Christ was not begotten by the Holy Ghost” (Journal of Discourses, vol. I, pp. 50-51). This was part of Brigham Young’s message when he said, “Adam is our Father and our God and the only God with whom we have to do.” Mormonism still teaches that it was not the Holy Ghost who fathered Jesus, but it was God the Father, as a resurrected, glorified man, who was the literal father of Jesus Christ when He was born in Bethlehem. But Matt. 1:18 and Luke 1:35 say it was the Holy Ghost (Spirit) who came upon the Virgin Mary. The Bible says nothing about God the Father, as a resurrected, glorified man fathering Jesus, so that LDS belief is not Christian!
McConkie also said, “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 (Mormon Doctrine, p. 742). And on p. 547 of the same book McConkie said, “Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” And on p. 471 of the same book McConkie said, “Mary (Jesus’ mother), like Christ, was chosen and foreordained in pre-existence for the part she was destined to play in the great plan of salvation…She was one of the noblest and greatest of all the offspring of the Father…(later on earth) Nephi saw her as ‘a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins’…As such a virgin she gave birth to a Son whose Father was the Almighty God.” So, McConkie said, Mary was the daughter of God the Father in the pre-mortal spirit world and then He fathered her Son, Jesus, in this world!
The Bible reports the earthly birth of Jesus, but it says nothing about Him being born in a pre-mortal spirit world because He never had such a birth! John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.” John 1:14 further explains, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” So, John 1:14 shows that the “Word” in John 1:1 is Christ, who had no pre-mortal “spirit birth” because He along with the Father and Holy Spirit are the Eternal God. Christ had a pre-mortal existence because He is Deity, but the Bible does not say that mortals had a pre-mortal spirit existence. Gen. 2:7 and Zech. 12:1 say that God created man from the dust of the earth and then formed the spirit of man in him. That was where our life began. Col. 1:16-17 also says, “For by Him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things and by Him all things consist.” We are among the “all things” that He created, so Jesus is not our oldest pre-mortal “spirit brother” as LDS teach.
In Mormon Doctrine McConkie said on p. 513, “Mormons are true Christians; their worship is the pure unadulterated Christianity authored by Christ and accepted by Peter, James, and John and all of the ancient saints.” On the same page McConkie said, “Mormonism is Christianity; Christianity is Mormonism; they are one and the same and are not to be distinguished from each other in the minutest detail.” And in a booklet entitled, What the Mormons Think of Christ, McConkie said on p. 2, “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ‘If all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.’ Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine.They are one and the same.” But McConkie himself taught LDS doctrines that are not Biblical. So, LDS doctrines do not “conform literally and completely to the Bible” as he claimed.
We will continue our discussion of the LDS view of Jesus Christ next time.