When Was Jesus Born?

December 24, 2012

What is real Christmas, the day that Christ was actually born?  Some cite this to answer the question:

1 The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called Apri…. (Doctrine and Covenants 20:1)

Many others have refuted this interpretation claiming that other evidence indicates that Jesus was born at other times.  Some claim that this revelation, recorded in our canonized scriptures, was prefaced with introductory material written by Joseph Smith but not included in the rest of the revelation.

When James E. Talmage wrote his classic study of Jesus Christ entitled JESUS THE CHRIST, he had this to say about it:

As to the season of the year in which Christ was born, there is among the learned as great a diversity of opinion as that relating to the year itself. It is claimed by many Biblical scholars that December 25th, the day celebrated in Christendom as Christmas, cannot be the correct date. We believe April 6th to be the birthday of Jesus Christ as indicated in a revelation of the present dispensation already cited [D&C 20:1], in which that day is made without qualification the completion of the one thousand eight hundred and thirtieth year since the coming of the Lord in the flesh. This acceptance is admittedly based on faith in modern revelation, and in no wise is set forth as the result of chronological research or analysis. We believe that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, April 6, B.C. 1. (Talmage, 1915, 98.)

Personally I do not know whether or not April 6th, 1 BC was the actual birth of Jesus, but in the absence of strong reasons supporting any other date, I will continue to accept this one as authoritative even though it is not acceptable to many LDS scholars.

In all matters I trust prophets more than I do scientists, scholars and academics.  With that said, my motto has long been “All my opinions are tentative pending futher data.”

Merry Christmas, Christmas Eve, 2012