When Mormons celebrate Mother’s Day, they often take some time to honor one of history’s most important mothers as well. Mary, the mother of Jesus had a very difficult role in life and one that affected eternity through her faith.
Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and of Mary. Despite prevailing gossip, they do not believe this occurred through intimacy because both the Bible and the Book of Mormon say Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. They also do not believe the Holy Ghost is Jesus’ father, since the Bible specifically says the Lord’s Father is God. Although Mormons do not know how the conception occurred, it is not important since it does not impact eternal life. They know only that it was done respectfully.
Mormons believe Jesus Christ’s duel heritage—both mortal and divine—are essential to His eternal mission as the Savior. Because of His mortality, He was able to experience those things mortals experienced, but because of His divinity, He was able to live a sinless life, atone for the sins of others, and be resurrected from the dead.
Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus Christ. It was a calling, a sacred responsibility to raise the Son of God. She had to accept a miracle in her life and then cope with the mortal consequences of the miracle. Joseph initially was upset over her pregnancy, until he learned of its miraculous purpose. He had a choice, but he chose to obey the angel’s command and marry Mary. He had an important responsibility to be a foster parent to Jesus, providing a male role model and fulfilling the role of an earthly father.
Mary carried out her instructions with courage and grace. She and Joseph obeyed every prompting and commandment in order to ensure the prophecies were fulfilled and Jesus was kept safe. It is clear she and Joseph were both spiritual beings, well-suited for their divinely appointed role.
The people of the Book of Mormon knew of Mary, even though they lived in what is now the Americas. Their prophets saw her in a vision and knew she would be a virgin mother and that God had chosen her for the role. They honored her even before she was born and waiting eagerly for the birth of her child.
The following is one vision recorded in the Book of Mormon, a book Mormons use as a companion to the Bible. This vision was given to a teenager named Nephi, whose father Lehi was a prophet who had also seen this vision:
13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
16 And he said unto me: Knowest thou the condescension of God?
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
19 And it came to pass that I beheld that she was carried away in the Spirit; and after she had been carried away in the Spirit for the space of a time the angel spake unto me, saying: Look!
20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms (1 Nephi 11).
Watch this beautiful video made by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the actual name of the church the Mormons attend) about Mary
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.