Latter Day Saint Views on Mary

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The Latter Day Saint movement teaches that Mary was the mother of Jesus, whose father was God the Father. Latter Day Saints affirm the virgin birth of Jesus[1] but reject the Roman Catholic traditions of the Immaculate Conception, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and her assumption. They also believe that the brothers of Jesus were her and Joseph’s biological children.[2] Mary is not seen as an intercessor between humankind and Jesus, and Latter Day Saints do not pray to Mary.[2] The Book of Mormon, part of the Latter Day Saint canon of scripture, refers to Mary by name in prophecies of her mission,[3] and describes her as “most beautiful and fair above all other virgins”[4] and as a “precious and chosen vessel.”[5]

book of MormonIn the first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830), Mary was referred to as “the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh,”[6] a reading that was changed by Joseph Smith to “the mother of the Son of God” in subsequent editions (1837–).[7][8]

Latter Day Saints also believe that God the Father is the literal father of Jesus Christ,[9] although how Jesus’ conception was accomplished has not been authoritatively established.[10]

References

  1. Colton, Eleanor (1992), Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4, New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., p. 1510, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/EoM/id/4311
  2. Fronk, Camille (1992), “Mary, Mother of Jesus”, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2, New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Co., pp. 863–64, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/EoM/id/3906
  3. Mosiah 3:8
  4. 1 Nephi 11:13-20
  5. Alma 7:10
  6. The Book of Mormon, Palmyra, NY: E.B. Grandin, 1830, p. 25 . Online reprint at com by John Hajicek.
  7. 1 Nephi 11:18
  8. Latter Day Saint author Hugh Nibley has argued that the change was made to “avoid confusion, since during the theological controversies of the early Middle Ages the expression ‘mother of God’ took on a special connotation which it still has for many Christians”. (“”There Can Be No More Bible””, Since Cumorah (2nd ed.), Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988 [1967], p. 6, ISBN 0-87579-139-5, OCLC 17618853, http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=74&chapid=909 )
  9. “Chapter 11: The Life of Christ”, Gospel Principles, Salt Lake City, UT: LDS Church, 2009, p. 52–53, http://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-11-the-life-of-christ?lang=eng
  10. Millet, Robert L. (2005), A Different Jesus?: The Christ of the Latter-day Saints, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 74, ISBN 978-0-8028-2876-7, OCLC 57211270

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