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Question 50


John 3:16 says that God gave the world the gift of His only begotten Son. The Bible uses this same phrase to describe Jesus in 4 other places (John 1:14, 18; 3:18; 1 John 4:9). Latter-day Saints use a similar phrase to describe Jesus, but usually tack on 3 additional words: in the flesh.

What does it mean to believe Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God in the flesh?


The term "only begotten" is the Greek word monogenes which means unique, or one of a kind. The only begotten in the flesh means, according to LDS teaching, that the Father only physically (by sexual relations) created the fleshly body of Jesus Christ. This is my understanding. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. -F (non-LDS)

The words "in the flesh" must be erroneously added to the text to allow for Mormon theology. We cannot add to Scripture what is not there to accommodate our belief system; we must rather derive our beliefs from what God has spoken to us.

These words must be added because Mormons believe we were all sons (and daughters) of God and His wife (or wives) pre-mortally, and Jesus Christ is not exclusively God's only Son as the Scriptures proclaim. Perhaps the words "in the flesh" go back to the teachings of B. Young and others that God Himself physically came together with Mary so that she would conceive, as described in:
Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 1:51-52, April 9, 1852
Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 1:237-238, July 24, 1853
Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 7:286, October 9, 1859
Journal of Discourses, Brigham Young, 11:268, August 19, 1866
The Seer, Orson Pratt, p. 158

We also find denial that Jesus Christ was begotten by the Holy Ghost:
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 1988, pp. 6-7

However, in asking my Mormon acquaintances about these statements, they tell me they are outraged that I would even ask such unfair questions about leaders they so highly admire and respect, and completely dismiss the questions all together. I am trying to understand how they could be offended by the teachings of their own prophets and other leaders, so I honestly would like to know what these words mean to them.

Regardless, it's true that Jesus Christ is the "only begotten Son of God" -- period. This is just one of the many Scriptures that express the eternal relationship of Jesus Christ in the Godhead, including John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." -SJ (non-LDS)

With regards to the question above Jesus Christ was not born of earthly parents. Mary had no relations with Joseph. So how did she get pregnant? In the bible we read that it was the Holy Ghost that did that job. So if you ask me, Jesus is God's son in the flesh because he doesnt have a father that lived here on earth and was always mentoring him like fathers should do. Instead Joseph took him under his wing and taught him carpentry.

The only reason I am visiting this site is because my friend always tries to test me and tell me that I am all wrong in my beliefs. He is an LDS kid that doesnt quite go along with the church and what it stands for. I personally think that he should wake up and stop doing the illegal substances that he is and try a new hobby. I dont like to fight with people. I especially hate anti-mormon literature because it is written from a perspective that the reader thinks is true. I feel that if people want to know the truth about a church than they should go to that church and ask them about it. Not go to some website and believe someone else's opinion. So if anyone wants to know the truth about the Catholic church, then go to the priest there. If you want to know more about the LDS church then go to one and talk to the Bishop. Dont believe whomever since everyone was raised differently and believes differently. -JJ (LDS)

It is an obvious reference to the Mormon Doctrinal belief as taught by Brigham Young and other leaders of the LDS Church That Heavenly Father, the God the Father of Mormonism, having a physical body, had physical sexual relations with Mary to produce the physical body of Jesus. The LDS Church today tries to down play this doctrine for obvious reasons. Robert Millet and Stephen Robinson of BYU talked about this subject in "The Mormon Puzzle" video produced by the Noth American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convetion. Robinson stated that "Christ had 46 Chromozones, 23 from Mary, and 23 from Heavenly Father."

This statement of Christ being the firstborn of the flesh sets Christ apart from the rest of us in that Mormonism teaches that the rest of humanity were only born spiritually to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. This belief of Mormonism makes all of us spiritual brothers and sisters. -RS (non-LDS)

It would mean that Jesus was not self-existent, but rather only human though divinely blessed. -DN (non-LDS)

I believe what is meant by "in the flesh" is that jesus took on flesh and walked among us. he was both human and divine.

i would like to add that a mormon said above that he believes jesus was born by way of a virgin. I would say some mormons believe this but many do not. please read my response to question 33. I give references from mormon scriptures and the mormon leaders that show they believe god the father and mary had physical sex in order to conceive jesus.

I would like to add also that I am tired of mormons saying people like me push anti-mormon literature. all I do is show from mormon scriptures what mormon prophets teach. if they contradict each other, mormons still say it is anti-mormon or taken out of context. I am accused of twisting mormon scripture but the mormon refuses to even look at the problem, so how can he claim I am wrong?

please people, before you accuse someone of being anti-mormon read what we quote from mormon church teachings for yourself. if we are wrong show us how, otherwise, if you refuse to correct us as the bible teaches, then don't accuse us without proof. for further talks you can reach me at [email protected] i have answered many questions here. if i'm wrong please correct me. thank you. -RB (non-LDS)