Knowest Thou the Condescension of God?

by Rocky Hulse

December 2007

While doing research for my new book “When Salt Lake City Calls,” I came across the following two quotes describing the Mormon concept of the “Virgin Birth” by Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie. In these quotes, Apostle McConkie, makes the explicit statement that God stepped down from His lofty perch in heaven to “join” with a mortal woman to bring forth a son “after the manner of the flesh.” I have provided commentary in brackets [ ] throughout the quotes. These quotes are from “The Mortal Messiah, From Bethlehem to Calvary, Book 1, pages 313-315, and 318-319, respectively.

“Knowest Thou the Condescension of God? (1 Nephi 11:16)

John is now conceived in Elisabeth’s womb; the son of Zacharias will soon be born; our Lord’s forerunner, destined to be six months his senior, shall soon breathe the breath of life. The words of Gabriel are coming to pass, and soon the Son of God must be sired, conceived, born, and laid in a manager. [Notice that “sired” and “conception” are distinguished as two separate acts.]

But how can a God be born into mortality? How can the Eternal One take upon himself flesh and blood, and let himself be fashioned as a Man? A child—any child, including the Child—must have progenitors; he must have parents, both a father and a mother. Gabriel will soon tell the Virgin of Galilee that she shall be the mother. As to the father—he is Elohim. The Son of God shall have God as his Father; it is just that simple, and it could not be otherwise. The doctrine of the divine Sonship lies at the foundation of true religion; without it, Christ becomes just another man, a great moral teacher, or what have you, without power to ransom, to redeem, and to save.

Having seen in vision—more than six hundred years before the events themselves transpired—the city of Nazareth and a gracious and beautiful virgin therein, Nephi was asked by an angel: “Knowest thou the condescension of God?” He responded by saying he knew of the Lord’s love for his children, but not the full answer to the profound query framed by angelic lips. Then the angel answered his own question by saying: “Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.” That is to say, the condescension of God lies in the fact that he, an exalted Being, steps down from his eternal throne to become the Father of a mortal Son, a Son born “after the manner of the flesh.”

Immediately after hearing these words, Nephi saw that the virgin “was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time,” Nephi saw “the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.” Thereupon the angel said: “Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” To be “carried away in the Spirit” means to be transported bodily from one location to another, as witness the fact that Nephi, at the very time he beheld these visions, had been “caught away in the Spirit of the Lord” and taken bodily “into an exceeding high mountain,” which he never “had before seen,” and upon which he “never had before” set his “foot.” (1 Ne. 11:1, 13-21.)

Without overstepping the bounds of propriety by saying more than is appropriate, let us say this: God the Almighty; the maker and Preserver and Upholder of all things; the Omnipotent One; he by whom the sidereal heavens came into being, who made the universe and all that therein is; he by whose word we are, who is the Author of that life which has been going on in this system for nigh unto 2,555,000,000 years; God the Almighty, who once dwelt on an earth of his own and has now ascended the throne of eternal power to reign in everlasting glory; who has a glorified and exalted body, a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; who reigns in equity and justice over the endless billions of his spirit children who inhabit the worlds without number that roll into being at his word—God the Almighty, who is infinite and eternal, elects, in his fathomless wisdom, to beget a Son, an Only Son, the Only Begotten in the flesh.

God, who is infinite and immortal, condescends to step down from his throne, to join with one who is finite and mortal in bringing forth, “after the manner of the flesh,” the Mortal Messiah.” (emphasis added.)

[The word “join” used here in this statement is conclusive. Webster’s Dictionary defines join: “1. to bring or come together (with); connect; unite  2. to become a part or member of (a club, etc.)  3. to participate (in a conversation, etc.).”  The word “join” is a verb—it is an action word. In order for an infinite, immortal God (with a body of flesh and bones) to “join,” “with one who is finite and mortal in bringing forth, “after the manner of the flesh,” He had to come together, connect, unite. This Apostle very specifically stated in a previous part of the book quoted, that words mean things and are to be taken “literally”: join means what it says—to bring or come together (with); connect; unite!!  How does this physical act happen? Mormon Apostle McConkie sheds light on the logistics of this event.]

“Gabriel Comes to Mary (Luke 1:26-38; JST, Luke 1:28-29, 34-35)

Mary asked, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” Obviously she could, at the proper time, know Joseph, and he could be the father of all her children, not just those who would come after the Firstborn. She knew that. But already the concept was framed in her mind that the promised Son was not to originate from any power on earth. This offspring was to be himself almighty—God’s Almighty Son. How and by what means and through whose instrumentality does such a conception come?

Gabriel explains: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing [better, that holy child] which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Again the answer is perfect. There is a power beyond man’s. When God is involved, he uses his minister, the Holy Ghost, to overshadow the future mother and to carry her away in the Spirit. She shall conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and God himself shall be the sire. It is his Son of whom Gabriel is speaking. A son is begotten by a father: whether on earth or in heaven it is the same.” (emphasis added.)

Apostle McConkie says children are begotten “whether on earth or in heaven it is the same.” And, as we saw above, “To be ‘carried away in the Spirit’ means to be transported bodily from one location to another, as witness the fact that Nephi, at the very time he beheld these visions, had been ‘caught away in the Spirit of the Lord’ and taken bodily ‘into an exceeding high mountain,’ which he never ‘had before seen,’ and upon which he ‘never had before’ set his ‘foot.’” Apostle McConkie is saying that Mary was physically carried away from earth to heaven to be brought into the presence of God the Father to be physically impregnated.

Apostle McConkie is right—words do mean things. In Chapter Two and Appendix Two of “When Salt Lake City Calls” as well as here, I have provided numerous quotes from Mormon Prophets and Apostles that clearly state that the Mormon doctrine of the birth of Jesus denies the Virgin Birth as defined by the Bible and as understood in Orthodox Christianity.

During this Christmas Season, it is important to understand that the Mormon Doctrine that Jesus was physically sired by “God the Father” who is an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones, is blasphemous and absolutely contradictory to God’s Holy Word the Bible. The Christmas story is wonderful and explains the miracle of Jesus’ birth. Mormonism doesn’t believe in the Virgin Birth, and in fact teaches an absolute heretical teaching in reference to this glorious, miraculous event.

Each year during the Christmas Season the Mormon Church continues their deception with respect to this blasphemous teaching. How, you ask? There will be many occasions when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will sing the song “Silent Night.” Within the context of Mormon Doctrine, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir does not believe the words: “Round yon virgin mother and Child.” For the Mormon Church leadership to allow the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to sing those words, when they know it is contrary to their doctrine, is deceitful, and is being done to try and appear Christian, when they are not!!