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Beliefs of Melvin J. Ballard Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
August 30, 2021 9:20 pm

Beliefs of Melvin J. Ballard Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism.

Our thanks to Adams Road Band for that musical introduction. Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Yesterday we read a very short article that was in The Church News. It's found on The headline was, President Ballard Opens Up About One Thing He Wishes He Could Ask His Grandfather.

And to set the stage for the context of that title, let me just read again the first paragraph. It says, During a recent visit to New England, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke of his grandfather, Elder Melvin J. Ballard. And as we explained yesterday, Melvin J. Ballard also served as an apostle in the LDS Church. He was born in 1873, he died in 1939, and he was ordained an apostle on January 7, 1919, under the hand of Heber J. Grant, who was the seventh president of the LDS Church.

Heber J. Grant became president in 1918, so he had ordained M. Russell Ballard's grandfather to be an apostle a year after he took over that position. What brings us to this series of shows is the fact that M. Russell Ballard explained that he had a regret that he never really got to talk to his grandfather about some issues. And so the one question that we are given in this article that he wishes he could have asked was, I would have wanted to know more about what it meant to be an apostle.

And as I explained yesterday, it could have been that he wasn't quite prepared to make that statement or thought through all the things he probably could have asked his grandfather. And I thought that that was kind of a strange one to bring up, because M. Russell Ballard has served as an apostle for a great many years, so you would think he has a pretty good handle of what it's like to be an apostle. But I thought, wait a minute, your grandfather lived during a very tumultuous time in LDS history. He was, as I said, born in 1873, so he was a young teenager during the time of the Manifesto when the federal government was putting pressure on the LDS Church to abandon the doctrine of polygamy. He was ordained under Heber J.

Grant, who was the last of the polygamist prophets. It seems like there would be so many things that he could have wanted to ask, and perhaps he's already settled in his mind what he thinks his grandfather would have said on some issues, maybe reading some of his sermons and such. But I thought it would be interesting to go through and look at some of the things that his grandfather believed and taught. Yesterday we looked at his belief in the Lorenzo snow couplet, as man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become. In fact, his grandfather said that that was the grandest thought that has ever been brought forth to the children of men in that Mormon truism.

Well, today we're going to look at another topic. What did M. Russell Ballard's grandfather, Melvin J. Ballard, believe regarding the incarnation of Christ? The apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, wherein he is declared to be the very Son of God. And if God the Father is not the real Father of Jesus Christ, then we are in confusion. Then he is not in reality the Son of God. But we declare that he is the only begotten of the Father in the flesh. And I think it should be pointed out, Eric, that to say that he is the only begotten of the Father really wouldn't be that unique of a statement in the context of Mormonism, because according to Mormonism, we are all literally begotten of the Father. That we all existed as spirit children of God the Father and his heavenly wife, the one they call Heavenly Mother, though Mormons in the 19th century would also probably argue that God the Father was a practicing polygamist as well, even though we don't hear that so much nowadays. But when they use the phrase, the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, now that specifically pinpoints the incarnation of Christ.

Now you need to think about this, folks. If Mormonism is true, the incarnation has a very broad application, because isn't the dictionary definition of an incarnation something being made flesh, and that could be a deity or a spirit, in fact? What does the dictionary say about that, Eric? It says, a person who embodies in the flesh a deity, spirit, or abstract quality. A deity, a spirit, or abstract quality. Now I've already mentioned that Mormonism teaches that all of humankind were spirit children of God the Father and a Heavenly Mother. So our coming to earth in these mortal frames, if you will, would certainly by that definition mean that every human being is the product of an incarnation of some sort. So to say that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father doesn't really make a whole lot of sense in the context of Mormonism, because we're all begotten of the Father, according to Mormon doctrine. But when they add those three words, in the flesh, that means something unique entirely.

And what it really is telling us is that God the Father himself had a physical part in the incarnation of Jesus. In fact, that phrase, only begotten of the Father in the flesh, is not unique to Melvin J. Ballard. Other Mormon leaders have used that expression as well.

Let me give you one. 10th President Joseph Fielding Smith, at a general conference, April 1921, pages 39 through 40 of conference reports, said, men may formulate plans and adopt theories and introduce strange works and gather and teach many particular doctrines, but this teaching is fundamental. And from it, we cannot depart that all things are concentrated in and around the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Redeemer of the world. So we accept him as the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, as explained by President Penrose, the only one who has dwelt in the flesh, who had a father who was immortal.

In other words, that's what makes Jesus's incarnation very unique and unlike the rest of humankind. But Melvin J. Ballard, in a book Crusader for Righteousness, the same book that you just cited, on the same page, I might add, went on to explain what he means by the Virgin Mother. He wrote, Mary told the story most beautifully when she said that an angel of the Lord came to her and told her that she had found favor in the sight of God and had come to be worthy of the fulfillment of the promises theretofore made to become the Virgin Mother of the Redeemer of the world. Referring to the event, she said, quote, God hath done wonderful things unto me, end quote. And then quote again, and the Holy Spirit came upon her, end quote, in the story.

And she came into the presence of the highest. No man or woman can live in mortality and survive the presence of the highest except by the sustaining power of the Holy Ghost. So it came upon her to preserve her for admittance unto the divine presence and the power of the highest, who is the Father, was present, and overshadowed her, and the holy child that was born of her was called the Son of God. Men who deny this, or think that it degrades our Father, have no true conception of the sacredness of the most marvelous power with which God has endowed mortal men, the power of creation.

Even though that power may be used and may become a mere harp of pleasure to the wicked, nevertheless it is the most sacred and holy and divine function with which God has endowed man. Made holy, it is retained by the Father of us all, and in his exercise of that great and marvelous creative power and function he did not debase himself, degrade himself, nor debauch his father. Thus Christ became the literal Son of a divine Father, and no one else was worthy to be his Father. Now of course what Mr. Ballard is expressing here in this context is a unique teaching of Mormonism that God the Father himself, a God who has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's, physically impregnates Mary, putting into order the eventual incarnation of Jesus Christ himself. And as we've said, if this is true, and Mary is in fact the daughter of God the Father, we have what we would have to conclude is an incestuous relationship between God the Father and his daughter Mary, and this is how the Mormon Jesus came about. But when he uses the expression, a mere harp of pleasure, what would that phrase even mean if it wasn't talking about a physical act being brought upon Mary?

It wouldn't make any sense at all. But notice he still uses the phrase, virgin mother, so it's not that they can't believe that Jesus was a product of a virgin birth, but they have to redefine what virgin birth even means. And I think Bruce McConkie did a pretty good job explaining that within a Mormon context.

This is the Promised Messiah, the first coming of Christ, page 466. He wrote, For our present purposes suffice it to say that our Lord was born of a virgin, which is fitting and proper, and also natural, since the father of the child was an immortal being. So what McConkie is arguing here, that yes, Mormons feel perfectly right in claiming that Jesus' birth was the result of his mother being a virgin, but it's only because she didn't have relations with a mortal man. Instead, she had physical relations with an immortal man, and that's what allows them to use that phrase. Now there are many Latter-day Saints who may not always accept older teachings like McConkie and Ballard and others like that. Is this still a teaching today?

And the answer is yes. In the 2009 Gospel Principles, it talks about this idea of the Incarnation, and after explaining what it is, it says, Thus God the Father became the literal Father of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal father. That is why He is called the Only Begotten Son. And that's pages 52 through 53. So ladies and gentlemen, that is still the teaching of the Church today.

Sure, and let me give you another example. And this is, again, a statement from Mormon apostle Bruce McConkie. And I might mention, Bruce McConkie probably gives us more quotations on this particular topic than any other Mormon leader that I am aware of.

But in the Book of Mormon Seminary Student Study Guide, which came out in the year 2000, on page 22, you will find this. To condescend is literally to go down among. And of course, the context is referring to God the Father. He condescended.

McConkie goes on 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 manor of the flesh. So there's that phrase again, after the manor of the flesh, which goes along with what M. Russell Ballard's grandfather taught in that book Crusader for Righteousness on page 144. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism. You just listened to today's broadcast of Viewpoint on Mormonism. But did you know that you can hear previous shows at your convenience? The Viewpoint on Mormonism podcast is free on the internet and will help you learn more about the LDS religion. Feel free to listen on your computer or download to your favorite listening device. Just go to and click on the right side where it says On Air. All of our shows are here, so visit today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-12 06:36:58 / 2023-09-12 06:42:14 / 5

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