The virgin birth is a foundational doctrine in Christianity. It is the means by which our savior entered this world. As I continue my answer of the question “Are Mormons Christian?”, we’ll see that that this doctrine is yet another area in which Mormons are incredibly different from normal Christianity.
I. The Bible’s Account of the Virgin Birth
1. The virgin birth is actually one of the first things to be taught about the promised Messiah, Jesus. In the pronouncement of the curse against the serpent God said “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed” (Gen. 3.15 KJV). The birth of the coming savior was to come from the seed of the woman, not of the man.
2. Perhaps the most famous of passages of prophecy concerning the virgin birth, the prophet Isaiah said “behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isa. 7.14)
3. The writers of the gospels unashamedly declared Jesus to be born of a virgin. For instance, Matthew wrote: “Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with Child from the Holy Spirit” (1.18). Matthew described the virgin birth a second time recounting that an angel appeared to Joseph: “But as he considered these things behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (1.20).
4. Luke recorded the words of the angel appearing to Mary: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God” (1.35)
II. Mormon Teaching Concerning the Virgin Birth
Mormon teaching on the virgin birth was first given by Brigham Young (the second head of the Mormon Church). His teaching has since been consistently repeated all throughout Mormon history. The teaching has never been contradicted by new doctrine or outright rejected by the Mormon Church.
1. “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; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession.” Journal of Discourses 1.50
2. “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.” Journal of Discourses 1.51
3. At this point it is important to draw attention to a quote I gave in the post concerning the Mormon doctrine of God. “When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken – HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do” (Discourses 1.50 emphasis theirs). So what does this mean? What is Brigham Young trying to say? As Walter Martin states “The language is too clear, the cross-reference easily demonstrable.” Young taught that Mary was impregnated by Adam, the Adam-God. But how did this actually happen?
4. “When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle [body], the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it.” Brigham Young, Discourses 4.218. Note that the Father had to do it Himself instead of “letting any other man do it.” It would do well to remember at this point what Joseph Smith taught about the nature of God: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.” Doctrine and Covenants 130.22
5. “The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are 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.” Journal of Discourses 8.115. Well there we have it. Adam (being God and Father) had physical sexual relations with Mary that caused her to be pregnant with Jesus.
6. “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.” Discourses 1.50 emphasis added.
Mormon doctrine presents a blasphemous view of the virgin birth. Although they may refer to it as the “virgin” birth, it probably shouldn’t even be called that considering they believe Mary had sex with a physical bodied god. This is further evidence that Mormons should not be considered Christian.