My collection of Mormon Leader’s Testimonies of … Who Jesus Is!
View PDF Tract / The Older The Bolder – Marshall Almarode
What is a Mormon Testimony?
The standard LDS testimony that is heard Sunday mornings at “Fast and Testimony” meetings is considered complete when composed of these five items:
- I know that the Book of Mormon is true.
- I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet.
- I know that this is the true church.
- I know that we are led by a true prophet.
- I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ – Amen.
This is the standard LDS testimony that everyone seems to have memorized and that all are familiar with because everyone hears it so often. This is the Mormon “public” testimony. There are other LDS testimonies not included in the standard “Fast and Testimony” that are not as well known.
Cloaking the Truth – A Problem of Public Honesty
Two of these lesser-known testimonies are “The Testimony of God, the Father” and the “The Testimony of Jesus.” However, when Mormons are asked questions about the identity of their God or about their Jesus, they seem to downplay or cloak the truth that they know. They seem to want to hide from the public. Most LDS missionaries and theologians don’t seem to want to be forthright in their explanations that their God was once a man and that their Jesus was not born of a virgin. A good example of this is President Gordon B. Hinkley’s public response to questions about God the Father. Present Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley was interviewed by Time magazine in an article called, “Kingdom Come,” and was asked questions about the identity of his God the Father. His evasive answers were recorded and reported in the August 4, 1997, issue. President Hinkley seemed to downplay his faith’s distinctiveness. Hinkley seemed to qualify the idea that men can become gods suggesting that “It is of course an ideal. It’s a hope for a wishful thing.” But later affirmed that, “Yes, of course they can.” President Hinkley has been an LDS leader for many years. This makes his public waffling and evasiveness disturbing. The same year, he made similar waffling statements on Larry King Live. Being the President of the LDS Church, Hinkley certainly knows that Joseph Smith clearly and repeatedly taught that God was once a man who has progressed until he became a God. Hinkley also knows that the Fifth Prophet, Lorenzo Snow, stated in a couplet that, “as man is God once was, as God is man may become.” Obviously, by this LDS prophet’s definition, God was once a man and man can become a God.
In my search for candid information, I have not been able to find a clear, public profession of just who God is by the present Prophet, Gordon B. Hinkley. Has he ever given his testimony of God the Father or Jesus the Christ His son, publicly, to the world? Not only should we testify of our God, but we should also stand publicly for the truth and what we believe is correct. Joseph Smith boldly gave his testimony about God the Father, and the importance of knowing His identity. The following is a quote of Joseph Smith’s most famous sermon, “The King Follett Discourse,” April Conference, 1844.
“If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being He is,–if he will search diligently his own heart–if the declaration of Jesus and the apostles be true, he will realize that he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle.” … “There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. The great majority of mankind do not comprehend anything, either that which is past, or that which is to come, as it respects their relationship to God. They do not know, neither do they understand the nature of that relationship; and consequently they know but little above the brute beast, or more than to eat, drink and sleep. This is all man knows about God or His existence, unless it is given by the inspiration of the Almighty.” …
“If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. I want to go back to the beginning, and so lift your minds into more lofty spheres and a more exalted understanding than what the human mind generally aspires to. …
I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own hearts, what kind of a being God is? … The scriptures inform us that ‘This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’ I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is.”
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible,–I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form–like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. If you do not believe it you do not believe the Bible. The scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it. Here, then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 303-5)
As you can see, Joseph Smith proclaimed the truth about his God in general conference very clearly. No cloaking here. Unfortunately, Gordon B. Hinkley has tried to cloak the true nature of his god from the public. He seems to have a similar and even larger problem when it comes to the testimony of Jesus. Many Mormons do not even know of the proper LDS testimony of Jesus because their leaders are not teaching it publicly, but seem to be trying to keep most of the distinctives in quiet corners of LDS speeches, manuals and conferences. The testimony of the Mormon Jesus is a testimony of a “different” Jesus. General Authority Barnard P. Brockbank, declared this fact publicly in April General Conference of 1977, in front of the whole church including the First Presidency.
Bernard P. Brockbank stated, “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshiped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” After incorrectly including Roman Catholics and Protestants as believing the same definition of the Trinity, he describes a definition of trinity that sounds like modalism, and not Trinity. He went on to state, “These Two concepts of Trinity [Mormon and Protestant] and their attributes are completely different.”
Later he stated, “There is only one way provided by the Lord for man to gain salvation and eternal life in the kingdom of God and is by and through the living, personal Jesus Christ, and by knowing and living his commandments. We cannot obtain salvation and eternal life by worshipping fake Christs or by living the doctrines and commandments of men.”
Even though these statements have been made in General Conference, these kinds of statements are rarely made in such a public setting such as a general conference. Therefore, most Mormons are not aware of the differences between the definition and identity of the LDS Jesus and the Protestant or biblical Jesus. Since many Mormons do not know the identity of the Jesus that their church teaches, they often deny the identity of the Jesus of Mormonism. I have had many Mormons tell me, “I’ve been a Mormon all my life and I’ve never heard that,” or “That is not taught by the Mormon Church.”
An LDS Apostle Defines
“The Testimony of Jesus”
Bruce R. McConkie
“The testimony of Jesus, which is also the spirit of prophecy is to know by personal revelation that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. In the full and complete sense of the word no one ever knows that Jesus is Lord of all except by personal revelation; and all persons to whom that testimony or revelation comes are then able to declare His generation, to assert from a standpoint of personal knowledge that they know that Mary is his mother and God is his Father. And so, in the final analysis it is the faithful saints, those who have testimonies of the truth and divinity of this great latter-day work, who declare our Lord’s generation to the world. Their testimony is that Mary’s son is God’s Son; that he was conceived and begotten in the normal way; that he took upon himself mortality by the natural birth processes; that he inherited the power of mortality from his mother and the power of immortality from his Father—in consequence of all of which he was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement. This is their testimony as to his generation and mission.” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 473)
Although Gordon B. Hinkley is not well known for having given the public his accurate “Testimony of God the Father” or his “Testimony of Jesus,” other LDS Apostles and Prophets in the past have truthfully bore their “Testimony of God the Father and of Jesus the Christ” in public speeches and in print. Thus, from the first vision, which started the restoration of the Church by Joseph Smith in 1830, the saints have known the identities of God the Father and of Jesus more publicly. Much has been written about God the Father having been a man and progressing. The rest of this booklet contains the leaders’ testimonies of their Jesus. Some of these testimonies are stated in a way that the casual observer might miss the true meaning. I will group these testimonies into word categories so that you can see them in similar groups and truly understand the meaning of what is being said.
In order for a “Testimony of Any Being” to be considered complete, it must contain two things. These two things determine its unique identity.
- The nature of that Being
- What that Being has said and done
The question that I would ask concerns the nature of Jesus. His nature is part of who Jesus is. Was He born of a virgin or not?
How Was Jesus Begotten?
Let’s check the Scriptures.
LDS – Book of Mormon
“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)
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When, as his mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18)
“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35)
“And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:13-14)
According to the Bible and the Book of Mormon, Mary was a virgin both when she conceived and when she bore the child named Jesus. While pregnant, Mary was carrying the “child of the Holy Ghost.” Even Mary didn’t understand how it happened that she would become pregnant, as she was still a virgin. Both of these sets of quotes define Jesus differently than the official position of the LDS Church.
Not Begotten by the Holy Ghost
Brigham disagrees, with the previous quotes from scripture.
“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 … Now remember from this time forth, and for ever, 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 Discourses (JD), vol. 1, pp. 50-51)
Tenth Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith agreed, “Christ Not Begotten of Holy Ghost … [Christ] did not teach them that he was the Son of the Holy Ghost.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 18)
Since the Scriptures do not contain the fullness of who Jesus is according to the current Mormon teachings, we must go outside the scriptures to find and fill in this portion of the LDS gospel and discover the true LDS testimony of Jesus the Christ.
Sired Personally by God the Father
Sired By God
“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.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 7)
The Father Came Personally
“When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle [earthly body], the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Saviour was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me.” (Brigham Young, JD, vol. 4, p. 218)
Begotten by Heavenly Father
“He was the Only Begotten Son of our Heavenly Father in the flesh—the only child whose mortal body was begotten by our Heavenly Father. His mortal mother, Mary, was called a virgin, both before and after she gave birth.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 7)
Begotten by Immortal Being
Orson Pratt, October 7, 1867
“Wherein was the Son of God infinite? In the first place, he was begotten different from you and me. We were begotten by a mortal father, but Jesus was begotten by an Immortal Being, his Father and God. If then his body was begotten by that Being, do you not see that his body in that respect differed from ours? It is true that he inherited the same as we do so far as his mother was concerned, but on the part of the Father he was superior. Hence, being begotten by an Infinite Being, he could do that which no other man could do–redeem from spiritual death and the captivity of Satan.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 19, p. 319)
Literal Son of Divine Father
“He, in the nearness of his relationship to the Father, seems to occupy a position that no other person occupies. He is spoken of as his well beloved Son, as the only begotten of the Father—does not this mean the only begotten after the flesh? If he was the firstborn and obedient to the laws of his Father, did he not inherit the position by right to be the representative of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the world? And does it not seem that in having a body specially prepared, and being the offspring of God, both in body and spirit, he stood pre-eminently in the position of the Son of God, or in the place of God, and was God, and was thus the fit and only personage capable of making an infinite atonement?” (John Taylor, The Gospel Kingdom, p. 115)
Heavenly Father Is One of Our Own Species
“The true God exists both in time and in space, and has as much relation to them as man or any other being. He has extension, and form, and dimensions, as well as man. He occupies space; has a body, parts, and passions; can go from place to place—can eat, drink, and talk, as well as man. Man resembles him in the features and form of his body, and he does not differ materially in size. When he has been seen among men, he has been pronounced, even by the wicked, as one of their own species. So much did he look like man, that some supposed him to be the carpenter’s son. Like man, he had a Father; and he was ‘the express image of the person of the Father.’ The two persons were as much alike in form, in size, and in every other respect as fathers and sons are of the human race; indeed, the human race are ‘his offspring,’ made in his likeness and image … after the image of his person.” (The Kingdom of God, p. 4; TLDP:308; Rulon T. Burton, ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles)
Christ Begotten by a Man, That Man Is God
Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr.
“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. Truly, all things are done by the power of the Holy Ghost. It was through this power that Jesus was brought into this world, but not as the Son of the Holy Ghost, but the Son of God. Jesus is greater than the Holy Spirit, which is subject unto him, but his Father is greater than he! He has said it. Christ was begotten of God. He was not born without the aid of Man, and that Man was God!” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 18)
Physical Body Begotten by Heavenly Father
Marion G. Romney
“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.” (CR, 1975, Apr:123-241; Rulon T. Burton, ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles)
God is literally the Father of Jesus’ Body
President Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, Charles W. Penrose (First Presidency)
“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.” (Rulon T. Burton, ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles; “The Father and The Son; A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and The Twelve,” pamphlet published by the Church, June 30, 1916, (Reprinted in AF:420-426. See MOFP 5:23-34); MOFP 5:27)
The Normal and Natural way
Literal Son – Normal and Natural
Bruce R. McConkie
“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.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 742)
Begotten In the Same Way
Bruce R. McConkie
“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.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 546)
“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, Vol. 8, p. 115, Brigham Young, July 8, 1860)
Fitting Proper and Natural
“For our present purposes, suffice it to say that our Lord was born of a virgin, which is fitting and proper, and also natural, since the Father of the Child was an Immortal Being.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Promised Messiah, p. 466)
“In relation to the way in which I look upon the works of God and his creatures, I will say that I was naturally begotten; so was my father, and also my Saviour Jesus Christ. According to the Scriptures, he was the first begotten of his father in the flesh, and there was nothing unnatural about it.” (Heber C. Kimball, JD, vol. 8, p. 211)
In the Same Literal Way
Bruce R. McConkie
“All men (Christ included) were born as the sons of God in the spirit; one man (Christ only) was born as the Son of God in this mortal world. He is the Only Begotten in the flesh. God was his Father; Mary was his mother. His Father was an immortal man; his mother was a mortal woman. He is the Son of God in the same literal, full, and complete sense in which he is the son of Mary. There is nothing symbolic or figurative about it. He is God’s Almighty Son and as such is distinguished from the Father in the same way any son is a separate person from his father.” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pp. 67-68)
In the Same Sense and Way
“He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple.” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 468)
Celestial Sireship According to the Natural Law of Propagation
James E. Talmage
“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; and, the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sireship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the ‘Son of the Highest.’ In His nature would be combined the powers of Godhood with the capacity and possibilities of mortality; and this through the ordinary operation of the fundamental law of heredity, declared of God, demonstrated by science, and admitted by philosophy, that living beings shall propagate — after their kind. The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and Spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents — one immortal and glorified — God, the other human — woman.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 81)
Natural Processes of Procreation Involved
“God so loved the world] Similarly, our Lord ‘so loved the world that he gave his own life, that as many as would believe might become the sons of God.’ (D&C 34:3.) Only Begotten Son] Only Begotten in the flesh, meaning in mortality. This designation of our Lord signifies that he was begotten by Man of Holiness as literally as any mortal father begets a son. The natural processes of procreation were involved; Jesus was begotten by his Father as literally as he was conceived by his mother.” (Everlasting life] See John 17:3. Eternal life or exaltation.) (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 1, p. 144)
The World Is Confused About What the Word “Virgin” Means
Rulon T. Burton (ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles)
“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.” (Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin J. Ballard, pp. 166-67, TLDP:301)
Literal, Biological Son
“For Latter-day Saints, the paternity of Jesus is not obscure. He was the literal, biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman (see Virgin Birth). Jesus is the only person born who deserves the title ‘the Only Begotten Son of God’ (John 3:16; Benson, p. 3; see Jesus Christ: Only Begotten in the Flesh). He was not the son of the Holy Ghost; it was only through the Holy Ghost that the power of the Highest overshadowed Mary (Luke 1:35; 1 Ne. 11:19).” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, “JESUS CHRIST”)
The Father came down from heaven beget him in person
“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 begat 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, Vol. 1, pp. 237-238, Brigham Young, July 24, 1853)
Literal Physical Son
Andrew C. Skinner
“There is no lack of clarity about Christ’s sonship. Jesus is the Son of God in at least three ways. First, he is the firstborn spirit child of God the Father and thereby the elder brother of the spirits of all men and women as God the Father, known also by the exalted name-title Elohim, is the father of the spirits of all mankind (Num. 16:22; Heb. 12:9; John 20:17). Thus, when Christ is called the Firstborn (e.g., Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21), Latter-day Saints accept this as a possible reference to Christ’s spiritual birth. Second, he is the literal physical son of God, the Only Begotten in the Flesh (e.g., John 1:14; 3:16; 2 Ne. 25:12; Jacob 4:11; D&C 29:42; 93:11; Moses 1:6; 2:26). Third, spiritually he is also a son by virtue of his submission unto the will of the Father (Heb. 5:8).” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, “JESUS CHRIST, FATHERHOOD AND SONSHIP OF”)
Father in the Literal and True Sense
Bruce R. McConkie
“For Christ to be the Son of God means that God was his Father in the literal and true sense of the word; for our Lord to be the Only Begotten in the flesh means that he was begotten by God, who is a Holy Man. ‘The condescension of God,’ of which the scriptures speak, means that the Immortal Father — the glorified, exalted, enthroned ruler of the universe — came down from his station of dominion and power to become the Father of a Son who would be born of Mary, ‘after the manner of the flesh.’ (1 Nephi 11:16-18.) Thus, God, an immortal man was his Father; and Mary, a mortal woman, was his mother. He was begotten; he was conceived; he was born. From his immortal Father he inherited the power of immortality, which is the power to live; from his mortal mother he inherited the power of mortality, which is the power to die; and being thus dual in nature, being able to choose life or death, according to the will of the Father, he was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement. Having chosen to die, as he did because he had the power of mortality, he could choose to live again because he had the power of immortality.” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 111)
The Only Begotten of God the Father “In the Flesh”
President John Taylor
“He, in the nearness of His relationship to the Father, seems to occupy a position that no other person occupies. He is spoken of as His well beloved Son, as the Only Begotten of the Father—does not this mean the only begotten after the flesh?” (Rulon T. Burton, ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles, “The Mediation and Atonement,” TLDP:299, p. 136)
“Jesus Christ is the heir of this Kingdom—the only begotten of the Father according to the flesh, and holds the keys over all this world.” (Rulon T. Burton, ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles, “Address at the Stand in Nauvoo, Ill.,” (Aug. 27, 1843); HC5:556; MGSP:5)
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith
“Our Father in heaven is the Father of Jesus Christ, both in the spirit and in the flesh. Our Savior is the Firstborn in the spirit, the Only Begotten in the flesh.” (Rulon T. Burton, ed., We Believe: Doctrines and Principles)
Hugh B. Brown
“All through time from the beginning down to Malachi, according to the record of the Old Testament, Jesus, Jehovah, operated under the direction of God the Father, and was known as His Only Begotten Son, the first begotten in the spirit, the Only Begotten in the flesh.” (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life, p. 290)
Neal A. Maxwell
“Too little attention is paid to the remarkable refreshment, both spiritual and intellectual, brought by the Restoration. First, God the Father really lives. Next, Jesus, God’s beloved first-born Son and the Only Begotten in the flesh, lives and has been resurrected.” (Neal A. Maxwell, Men and Women of Christ, p. 39)
Neal A. Maxwell
“Jesus is the Father’s firstborn spirit son and the Only Begotten Son in the flesh. He has a special relationship with the Father, indeed!” (Neal A. Maxwell, Not My Will, But Thine, p. 46)
Neal A. Maxwell
“We are the begotten spirit children of our Father in heaven with endless variety in the configurations of our personalities. But the thing that we have in common is that we are the spirit offspring of our Father in heaven, and in his infinite wisdom he has provided his Only Begotten Son—in the flesh, our elder brother and friend, Jesus—to lead us back home.” (Neal A. Maxwell, That My Family Should Partake, p. 96)
“Christ, destined to be the Only Begotten Son in mortality, was the first spirit offspring in pre-existence. He ‘is the Firstborn among all the sons of God — the first begotten in the spirit, and the Only Begotten in the flesh. He is our elder brother.’” (Improvement Era, vol. 13, pp. 75-81; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 84)
Bruce R. McConkie
“The mortal Jesus, as a man among men, had both a father and a mother. God was his Father, and Mary was his mother. He was begotten by a Holy Man, by that God whose name is Man of Holiness; and he was conceived in the womb of a mortal woman. Mary, a virgin of Nazareth in Galilee, was ‘the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.’ (1 Nephi 11:18) She was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost; ‘she was carried away in the Spirit’ (1 Nephi 11:19); she conceived ‘by the power of the Holy Ghost,’ and she brought forth a son, ‘even the Son of God’ (Alma 7:10). That Son, who is called Christ, is the Only Begotten, the only offspring of the Father born into mortality. As a man, as God’s only Son, his only mortal Son, he overcame the world.” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 75)
James E. Talmage
“As the Eternal Father’s Only Begotten Son in the flesh, Christ possessed the inborn power to withstand death indefinitely, and this just as naturally as that He, being the offspring of a mortal mother, should derive the ability to die. Jesus Christ inherited through the operation of the natural law of heredity the physical, mental, and spiritual attributes of His parents–the Father immortal and glorified, the mother human.” (James E. Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, p. 57)
James E. Talmage
“Jesus Christ lived and died a mortal Being, though distinguished in certain essential attributes from all other mortals because of His status as the Only Begotten of God His Father in the flesh. Yet Jesus Christ has attained the supreme exaltation of Godship, and has won His place at the right hand of the Eternal Father.” (James E. Talmage, The Vitality of Mormonism, pp. 271-272)
“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’ (JC, p. 81).” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, “JESUS CHRIST,” “Only Begotten in the Flesh”)
“17. Joint-heirs with Christ] ‘As the literal Son of God — the Firstborn in the spirit, the Only Begotten in the flesh — Christ is the natural heir of his Father. It thus became his right to inherit, receive, and possess all that his Father had.’ (John 16:15.) ‘And his Father is possessor of all things: the universe; all power, wisdom, and goodness; the fulness of truth and knowledge; and an infinity of all good attributes. By heirship and by obedience, going from grace to grace, the Son attained these same things.’” (D&C 93:5-17). (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Vol. 2, p. 261)
Joseph Fielding Smith
“There is no doctrine that is stated more clearly in the Bible than the doctrine of the personality of God and the individuality of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. It is astonishing that Satan could get such a hold on the minds of men of intelligence as to blind them into thinking that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are without body and form, and one diffused essence of some unknowable kind filling the universe. In the very beginning the Father said: ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness … So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’ (Gen. 1:26-27.) Our Savior came into this world, the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh, and received a body identical in form and feature with that of the Father. This he declared to Thomas (John 14:9) when he asked to have the Savior show him the Father. In the numerous passages throughout the Gospels, the Savior prayed to his Father, subjected himself to the Father’s will, declared that he could do nothing of himself, ‘but what he seeth the Father do.’ (John 5:19.) The Father bore witness of the Son and sent him into the world. (John 5:36-37.) In answer to his prayer the Father answered him from the heavens. (John 12:27-30.) There is undisputable record that the Son was begotten by the Father and came into this world to redeem it and all things on its face from a fallen state, and to atone likewise for the sins of all men who will repent and receive the Gospel; that he died upon the cross and came forth from the tomb with his resurrected body, which body is eternal, and will again appear in like manner in a day of judgment to dwell upon the earth with his saints.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol. 4, p. 102)
“It is certainly true that Jesus, who ‘was made flesh,’ was the only person sent into the world to save sinners, or as the last quotation has it ‘that we might live through him.’ It is also true He had no earthly father, but was divinely begotten (according to the divine record) and therefore the ‘only begotten Son of God’ in the flesh, ‘for Mary had known no man.’” (William Budge, Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, December 17, 1895)
“It seems to me that if men would study these things as they are written, and not spiritualize them, they could not help but admit the fact that we are in the image of our Father; that as He is the father of our spirits He is also the Father of Jesus, the Christ. And more, that He was the Father of Jesus, the Christ, in the flesh, the only begotten in the flesh. And so I repeat, I have felt constrained to Preach more strenuously ‘Jesus Christ and Him crucified,’ and the personality of our Father, and the fact that we are indeed His children, and that we are commanded to become perfect like Him, and we may become like Him if we follow in the way which the Master hath marked out. I believe that the greatest revelation given in these the last days was the vision of Joseph the prophet when he saw God the Father and the Son, and made statement of the fact that man is in the image of Deity.” (Joseph E. Robinson, Conference Report, October 1905, p. 60)
“But, in the flesh He was the ‘Only Begotten Son’ of the Father. Mary was his mother.” (Charles W. Penrose, Conference Report, April 1916, p. 19)
James E. Talmage
“That Being after whom we have been formed in physical, mental and spiritual image, did appear upon the earth unto the lad Joseph Smith. And with the Eternal Father stood the only Son whom he had begotten in the flesh, Jesus the Christ, who affirmed that the authority and power to speak and to act in the name of God was not at that time upon the earth.” (James E. Talmage, Conference Report, October 1922, p. 70)
Melvin J. Ballard
“We are founded upon the truth, that God lives, a real being, our Father, that Jesus Christ is his Son, the Only Begotten in the flesh, the Firstborn in the spirit, the literal Son of God, and the only Savior of mankind. I know it as well as I know that I live; you know it; and we are to tell the world of it and try to win the world for Christ.” (Melvin J. Ballard, Conference Report, April 1924, p. 150)
George F. Richards
“I also testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the eternal Father, that he is the first born of the Father in the spirit, and the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, that he is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, that he was scourged and crucified, and that he died and was resurrected and ascended to heaven where he sits upon the throne of the Father at his right hand in glory. I know that my Redeemer lives.” (George F. Richards, Conference Report, October 1924, p. 40)
Anthony W. Ivins
“We believe that Jesus Christ was, and is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, immaculately conceived and born of the Virgin Mary.” (Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, October 1925, p. 24)
Joseph Fielding Smith
“I know, as these our brethren know, that God lives; that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, and the Redeemer of the world.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, October 1925, p. 112)
Anthony W. Ivins
“We believe in the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, and that the Child born at Bethlehem of Judea was in very deed the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. That he is our advocate with the Father, the medium through which we reach the throne of grace.” (Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, April 1926, p. 23)
Heber J. Grant
“The heavens were illuminated by the glory of the Lord, the heavenly host shouted hosannas as the Babe of Bethlehem, the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, he who was to become the Savior of mankind, was born into the world.” (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1930, p. 6)
Heber J. Grant
“I thank God for the knowledge I possess by the inspiration of his Spirit that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Redeemer of the world, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. And I thank him that I do know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the true and the living God. I rejoice in having had the privilege of bearing this testimony from Canada on the north to Mexico on the south, in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, in the Hawaiian Islands and in the far-off land of Japan. May God help me and every Latter-day Saint who has a testimony of the divinity of the work in which we are engaged to so live that our lives may proclaim the truth of this Gospel, is my humble prayer, and I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen.” (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1930, p. 192)
David O. McKay
“The acceptance of divine authority by direct revelation also reveals to us the fact that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, for the Father in appearing to Joseph Smith stated in definite words, ‘This is my beloved Son, hear Him.’” (David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1937, p. 121)\
Gordon B. Hinckley
“If the Book of Mormon is true then Jesus is the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh, born of Mary, ‘a virgin most beautiful above all other virgins,’ for the book so testifies in a description unexcelled in all literature.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Report, October 1959, p. 119)
Robert J. Matthews
“4. An infinite atonement was needed–something more than a human could accomplish–so God himself made the atonement. This he could do because he received supernatural power from the Father, by being his Only Begotten Son in the flesh.” (Robert J. Matthews, BYU Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3, p. 53)
Daniel H. Ludlow
“But Jesus completely resisted the enticements of Lucifer; Jesus did not disobey any laws, and so he is referred to in the scriptures as the Sinless One. Jesus Christ was thus able to atone for both the physical and the spiritual death. He was able to atone for the physical death because of the power that he inherited from the Father as the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh; he was able to atone for the spiritual death because he was sinless.” (Daniel H. Ludlow, BYU Studies, Vol. 15, No. 3, p. 315)
Did God the Father Marry His Daughter the Virgin Mary?
“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; we use the term lawful Wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully … He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son … It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give her to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity … [inasmuch] as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to take her again as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity.” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 158)
Brigham Agrees that Mary Was Married to God the Father
“This matter was a little changed in the case of the Savior of the world, the Son of the living God. 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. On this account infidels have called the Savior a bastard. This is merely a human opinion upon one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty. That 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.” (Brigham Young, JD, vol. 11, p. 268)
Sixth Prophet also agrees:
“Mary was married to Joseph for time. No man could take her for eternity because she belonged to the Father of her divine Son … Now, my brothers and sisters and the Sunday School workers, we want you to teach the children the truth and nothing but the truth.” (Joseph F. Smith, The Box Elder News, January 28, 1915)
The Mormon teaching that God married Mary to sire the body of Jesus is not some old Mormon idea that faded with time. It is a part of modern Mormonism. Almost 60 years after Joseph F. Smith’s message, the Mormon Church needed a good explanation for the earthly conception of Jesus. The Church decided to use the simple message delivered by the Prophet Joseph F. Smith. Thus, his five-decade-old message became the focal point in a 1972 Family Home Evening lesson. In part, that LDS lesson consisted of a mock family dialogue.
The Markham family had been to Sunday School and was driving home. Brother Markham asked each of his four children what they had learned that day. Each of the children related a story or teaching that he had learned. When Jenny was asked what she had learned, she replied, “Daddy, I’m confused. The teacher talked about Jesus being God’s only son. I thought all of us were God’s children.”
[Instruction] Ask, “Have you ever wondered about this question? How would you answer Jenny?” Discuss this with the family, letting each have a chance to express himself. Now read to the family how a modern prophet answered Jenny’s question.
A MODERN PROPHET’S [Joseph F. Smith’s] ANSWER
“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 older ones, how are children begotten? I answer just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father. The difference between Jesus Christ and other men is this: Our fathers in the flesh are mortal men, who are subject unto death: but the Father of Jesus Christ in the flesh is the God of heaven. … We must come down to the simple fact that God Almighty was the Father of His Son Jesus Christ. Mary, the virgin girl, who had never known mortal man, was his mother. God by her begot His son Jesus Christ. … Now, my little friends, I will repeat again in words as simple as I can, and you talk to your parents about it, that God, the Eternal Father, is literally the father of Jesus.” (Joseph F. Smith, Box Elder Stake Conference, Dec. 20, 1914, as quoted in the Brigham City Box Elder News, 28 Jan. 1915, pp. 1-2)
Truly knowing the teachings of the LDS Leaders makes for no confusion on the true teachings about the attributes of who the LDS Jesus really is. Can there be any misunderstanding about what Apostle Bruce R. McConkie really is stating here?
The Plain and Simple Meaning
“Messiah is the Only Begotten”
“We have spoken plainly of our Lord’s conception in the womb of Mary; in reality the plain assertions are found in the revealed word, and we have but certified that the words mean what they say and cannot be spiritualized away. And as it is with reference to our Lord’s mother, so it is as pertaining to his Father. The scriptures say that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son. The problem is that the intellectually led ministry and laity of the day assume, as Satan leads them to do, that a name-title of this sort is simply figurative and does not have the same literal meaning as when the words are spoken in ordinary conversation. Perhaps again the best service we can render, on the issue here involved, is somehow to get the message across that words mean what they say, and that if Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father, it means just that. Some words scarcely need definition. They are on every tongue and are spoken by every voice. The very existence of intelligent beings presupposes and requires their constant use. Two such words are father and son. Their meaning is known to all, and to define them is but to repeat them. Thus: A son is a son is a son, and a father is a father is a father. I am the son of my father and the father of my sons. They are my sons because they were begotten by me, were conceived by their mother, and came forth from her womb to breathe the breath of mortal life, to dwell for a time and a season among other mortal men. And so it is with the Eternal Father and the mortal birth of the Eternal Son. The Father is a Father is a Father; he is not a spirit essence or nothingness to which the name Father is figuratively applied. And the Son is a Son is a Son; he is not some transient emanation from a divine essence, but a literal, living offspring of an actual Father. God is the Father; Christ is the Son. The one begat the other. Mary provided the womb from which the Spirit Jehovah came forth, tabernacled in clay, as all men are, to dwell among his fellow spirits whose births were brought to pass in like manner. There is no need to spiritualize away the plain meaning of the scriptures. There is nothing figurative or hidden or beyond comprehension in our Lord’s coming into mortality. He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple. Christ was born of Mary. He is the Son of God—the Only Begotten of the Father.” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 467-469)
An LDS Apostle Defines
“The Testimony of Jesus”
Bruce R. McConkie
“The testimony of Jesus, which is also the spirit of prophecy is to know by personal revelation that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. In the full and complete sense of the word no one ever knows that Jesus is Lord of all except by personal revelation; and all persons to whom that testimony or revelation comes are then able to declare His generation, to assert from a standpoint of personal knowledge that they know that Mary is his mother and God is his Father. And so, in the final analysis it is the faithful saints, those who have testimonies of the truth and divinity of this great latter-day work, who declare our Lord’s generation to the world. Their testimony is that Mary’s son is God’s Son; that he was conceived and begotten in the normal way; that he took upon himself mortality by the natural birth processes; that he inherited the power of mortality from his mother and the power of immortality from his Father—in consequence of all of which he was able to work out the infinite and eternal atonement. This is their testimony as to his generation and mission.” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 473