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Firstborn in the Spirit

by Jerry C. Giles

Fundamental to the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the concept that all human beings were born as spirit sons and daughters of heavenly parents before any were born as mortals to earthly parents. Latter-day Saints believe that the eldest and firstborn spirit child of God is Jehovah and that it was he who was later born with a physical body to mary as Jesus Christ. That is, Jehovah of the Old Testament became Jesus Christ of the New Testament when he was born into mortality. The Psalmist refers to the Messiah as the firstborn (Ps. 89:27), and the apostle Paul speaks of Jesus as the "firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29; cf. Heb. 2:17) and as the "firstborn of every creature" (Col. 1:15). Perhaps the most authoritative statement on the subject is from the Savior himself, who declared to the Prophet Joseph Smith, "I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn" (D&C 93:21; see also Church of the Firstborn). In 1909 the First Presidency of the Church declared:

The Father of Jesus is our Father also. Jesus Himself taught this truth, when He instructed His disciples how to pray: "Our Father which art in heaven," etc. Jesus, however, is the firstborn among all the sons of God—the first begotten in the spirit, and the only begotten in the flesh. He is our elder brother, and we, like Him, are in the image of God. All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity [MFP 4:203].

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Jesus Christ, Firstborn in the Spirit

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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