My parents had a copy of Mormon Doctrine when I was growing up. I don’t remember reading it, although I may have cracked it open to write a talk or two. Despite my years of early morning seminary, I don’t remember hearing about whether or not Mary was technically a virgin.
Would I be as interested in mormonism if I hadn’t been raised mormon? Probably not. Whenever I learn about religion, I have to admit – mormonism is my frame of reference. I compare the information about the religious question to what I know of mormonism.
It discussed religious freedom in America, and the development of public schools. They discussed the reform Judaism movement and Isaac Mayer Wise. But I thought an interesting discussion was about Rev. Charles Augustus Briggs. Briggs was a biblical scholar who was trying to make sense of the bible with his knowledge of science. His question was whether or not every sentence, every part of the bible needed to be taken as true, or was it just divinely inspired?
This is a question that many people debate to this day. Was the earth created in seven actual days? How does one explain the dinosaurs, etc.
I know it’s been discussed before, but this program made it even more apparent to me. Here were questions from the 19th century that now had answers. Through continuing revelation, mormons could explain some of these religious conundrums. How was Christ conceived? How could Mary have been a virgin? And the mormon prophet could obtain direct revelation to God to explain these difficult concepts.
Brigham Young is the person (see the first volume of the Journal of Discourses) who repeatedly suggested that the Father begat Jesus. (I’ve been trying to search through the Journal of Discourses for exact quotes, to no avail. I’m sure I can find some if needed. The Journal of Discourses is pretty lengthy.) McConkie also built upon Young’s statements in Mormon Doctrine.
I don’t think the virgin birth is a concept still discussed in LDS circles, but I can’t say for certain. Mormon Doctrine was never officially recognized, and from my understanding, is definitely not the place to go for the definitive word on the subject. I wouldn’t say that all LDS believe that Mary was or wasn’t a virgin; and that’s not really the point of this post.
I just wanted to discuss the brilliance (to my mind) of this model. Being able to answer some of these questions but still maintaining some sort of cohesive church/religion (not allowing everyone to have revelation to determine doctrine).