Written by Mark Cares
Here is how Mormonism explains why Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son of God. “Jesus was the only person to be born of a mortal mother, Mary and an immortal father, God the Father. That is why Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son of God” (Ensign, Dec. 2010). What does this mean?
This statement is expanded on in a couple of Mormon Church manuals. “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” (Talmage quoted in Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel Teachers Manual, Lesson 7). “We believe that he came into the world, born of Mary, literally and actually, as we are born of our mothers: that he came into the world, born of God the Eternal Father, the Almighty Elohim, literally and actually, as we are born of our earthly father.” (McConkie, quoted in Sharing the Gospel, p. 74.
That Jesus was born of God the Father, “literally and actually, as we are born of our earthly fathers” is a uniquely LDS belief. It is rooted in another unique Mormon teaching, namely, that God has a physical body. “His eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22)” (Gospel Principles, p. 6).
Jesus being the product of a union between Mary and God the Father has been the subject of unjust caricatures by some Christians. I personally have never seen or heard Mormons talk about it the way some of those caricatures have portrayed it.
But there is no denying that Mormonism teaches that Heavenly Father and Mary had a physical relationship – something Christians find repulsive.
My reason for bringing it up is not to have you shake your head in disgust, but to highlight how this illustrates the different views Mormonism has of both God the Father and Jesus. It is a natural result of Mormonism’s teaching that God is an Exalted Man (“As man is, God once was”). It also leads to their saying that Jesus was half-Deity. “She. . .was about to give birth to half-Deity” (Life and Teachings of Jesus & the Apostles, p.10).
The more Mormons say they and Christians worship the same Jesus, the more important it will be to highlight such differences. For the sake of all involved, we need to clearly show that Mormonism isn’t the “fulness of the gospel” as it claims. It is a completely different gospel – one with a god like us. And that is no god at all!