Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
The Only Begotten of the Father in the Flesh: Mormonism's Embarrassing Theology (#5)
12/07/2007 - James WhiteMORE AUTHORITIES TESTIFY
One of the strongest sources we can turn to regarding this doctrine is the official pronouncement titled, "The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve." Under the subtitle, "Father as Literal Parent," we find these words:
Scriptures embodying the ordinary signification-literally that of Parent-are too numerous and specific to require citation. The purport of these scriptures is to the effect that God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title "Elohim," is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and of the spirits of the human race.Please take notice of the fact that this doctrinal exposition by the leadership of the LDS Church says that the Eternal Father, Elohim, is the "literal parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," as well as the parent of the spirits of the human race. How did God beget our spirits? With our "heavenly Mother," as we have seen earlier. So how, then, did Elohim become the literal parent of Jesus Christ? The answer is obvious. Later the same exposition states:
Jesus Christ is the Son of Elohim both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say, Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ and also of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the flesh, and which body died on the cross and was afterward taken up by the process of resurrection, and is now the immortalized tabernacle of the eternal spirit of our Lord and Savior. No extended explanation of the title "Son of God" as applied to Jesus Christ appears necessary.In light of all that has come before, we can understand why this document says that "no extended explanation" of the title Son of God "appears necessary." It wasn't, until modern LDS concluded that such a doctrine is simply indefensible, and began backpedaling very quickly from it.
Another LDS Apostle, contemporary with Talmage, was Melvin Ballard. He is another witness as to how widely this teaching was disseminated:
One of the great questions that I have referred to that the world is concerned about, and is in confusion over, is as to whether or not his was a virgin birth, a birth wherein divine power interceded. Joseph Smith made it perfectly clear that Jesus Christ told the absolute truth, as did those who testify concerning him, the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, wherein he is declared to be the very Son of God. And if God the Eternal Father is not the real Father of Jesus Christ, then are we in confusion; then is he not in reality the Son of God. But we declare that he is the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh.How much plainer can it be expressed? Ballard speaks of the necessity of the Spirit being involved, so that Mary could stand the presence of the "Highest." Ballard knows that some would say this degrades the Father. How does he respond to this charge? By saying that sexual activity, the power of creation itself, this "holy and divine function," is a good thing, and is "retained by the Father of us all." Ballard says God "exercised" that function, but in the process, did not "degrade himself, nor debauch his daughter." If this doctrine is all metaphorical, why the constant reference to sexual activity? The answer is obvious: it is plainly the intention of this LDS leader to assert that God the Father physically begat the body of Jesus Christ. There is no other possibility.
Mary told the story most beautifully when she said that an angel of the Lord came to her and told her that she had found favor in the sight of God, and had come to be worthy of the fulfilment of the promises heretofore made, to become the virgin mother of the Redeemer of the world. She afterwards, referring to the event, said: "God hath done wonderful things unto me." "And the Holy Ghost came upon her," is the story, "and she came into the presence of the highest." No man or woman can live in mortality and survive the presence of the Highest except by the sustaining power of the Holy Ghost. So it came upon her to prepare her for admittance into the divine presence, and the power of the Highest, who is the Father, was present, and overshadowed her, and the holy Child that was born of her was called the Son of God.
Men who deny this, or who think that it degrades our Father, have no true conception of the sacredness of the most marvelous power with which God has endowed mortal men-the power of creation. Even though that power may be abused and may become a mere harp of pleasure to the wicked, nevertheless it is the most sacred and holy and divine function with which God has endowed man. Made holy, it is retained by the Father of us all, and in his exercise of that great and marvelous creative power and function, he did not debase himself, degrade himself, nor debauch his daughter. Thus Christ became the literal Son of a divine Father, and no one else was worthy to be his father.
Apostle Marion G. Romney is yet another who taught this doctrine plainly, and that in the General Conference of the LDS Church:
Now who is Jesus Christ, and how could he bring about the resurrection when no other man nor all men put together could do so? The Scriptures respond to these questions. They make it clear that the spirit person Jesus Christ-as are the spirits of all men-is the Son of God, our Eternal Father. In this respect he is like all other men. He differs from all other men, however, by reason of the fact that men's bodies are begotten of mortal men and are, therefore, subject to death, being descendants and inheritors from Adam, while Christ's physical body was begotten of God, our Heavenly Father-an immortal being not subject to death. Christ, therefore, inherited from his Father the faculty to live on indefinitely. CR1975Apr:123-24In an earlier Conference (1967), Henry D. Taylor had spoken to the same, seemingly very common, belief:
Having been begotten of an immortal sire, Jesus possessed as a heritage the power to withstand death indefinitely. He literally and really gave up his life. It was not taken from him.Another Conference address example is provided by Hugh B. Brown in 1962:
The answer is found in the fact that of all the sons of God, only Christ could qualify, because he was the only sinless man who ever walked the earth. Furthermore, he was the First Begotten, the eldest of the sons of God in the spirit, and the Only Begotten in the flesh, and therefore the only one who possessed the full powers of Godhood and manhood.Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith provided one of the more common passages cited concerning the paternity of Christ:
CHRIST NOT BEGOTTEN OF HOLY GHOST. I believe firmly that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh. He taught this doctrine to his disciples. He did not teach them that He was the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of the Father. . . . Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!As President of the Quorum of the Twelve, Ezra Taft Benson made the following statement:
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 sired 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!Robert A. Rees served as bishop of the Los Angeles First Ward. He gave a sacrament meeting talk on April 29th, 1990, and provided an article to Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought that is found in the Winter, 1991 issue. It is titled, "Bearing Our Crosses Gracefully: Sex and the Single Mormon." His words demonstrate how widespread is this belief. In it we find the following:
Mormons differ from other Christians in our literal belief that we are begotten of God spiritually and that Christ was begotten of him physically. Paul says in Acts that we are God's offspring (17:28-29). We believe that our spiritual conception was sexual just as we believe that Christ's mortal conception was. Elucidating the latter, James E. Talmage says, "That child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law, but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof" (1986, 81).We have seen that the idea that this doctrine is a mere speculation on the part of a few LDS leaders of the last century is about as accurate as saying the Chicago Bulls have won a couple of basketball games over the past few years or that Michael Jordan is a so-so player. But remember Robinson's assertion that this doctrine has not "appeared in official church publications" during his lifetime. Is this the case? Let's find out.
(continued---though we have surely already provided more than sufficient documentation to refute Millet's statements already!)