Happy Birthday to Us, and to Jesus.

The church is 175 years old. (The technical term is “terquasquicentennial,” in case you were wondering). And we also believe that Jesus was born on April 6th. (Don’t we?) (And is that a Julian April 6th? A Gregorian? An April 6th in some cosmic, platonic form? I’m not really sure.)

Happy birthday to all.

30 comments for “Happy Birthday to Us, and to Jesus.

  1. will
    April 6, 2005 at 1:41 pm

    When we say that Jesus was born on April 6th, does that mean that he was born on the 6th day of the 4th month of the Hebrew calendar, or that the earth was in the same position with regards to the sun when he was born as it is now?

  2. Aaron Brown
    April 6, 2005 at 1:41 pm

    “And we also believe that Jesus was born on April 6th. (Don’t we?) (And is that a Julian April 6th? A Gregorian? An April 6th in some cosmic, platonic form? I’m not really sure.)”

    This issue really deserves a post all its own. What ARE we talking about exactly when we claim this?

    Aaron B

  3. Kevin Barney
    April 6, 2005 at 1:42 pm

    Whatever we’re talking about, I don’t believe it. I am not a big April 6th guy.

  4. Mike Parker
    April 6, 2005 at 1:51 pm

    April 6th as Jesus’ birthday can only be derived from a hyper-literal reading of D&C 20:1:

    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 seems to me that this is simply a flowerly acknowledgement that the year was 1830, similar to saying “in the year of our Lord” (which is what anno domini — A.D. — means). To extrapolate this to mean that Jesus was born on April 6, A.D. 1 is, IMHO, unwarranted.

    And it’s historically indefensible, too.

  5. Mephisto
    April 6, 2005 at 1:52 pm

    Isn’t that belief (Christ being born on April 6) based on the opening words of D&C 20 and the contemporary and later commentary about the organization of the church coinciding with the birth of Christ that followed?

    To me, April 6 means 9 more days until I have file taxes. *sigh*.

  6. Aaron Brown
    April 6, 2005 at 1:55 pm

    “Whatever we’re talking about, I don’t believe it. I am not a big April 6th guy.”

    I’m not convinced that we are, in fact, talking about anything at all. Can anybody who actually claims to believe that “Christ was born on April 6” give any content whatsoever to their belief?

    Aaron B

  7. Ryan S.
    April 6, 2005 at 1:59 pm

    “Can anybody who actually claims to believe that “Christ was born on April 6″ give any content whatsoever to their belief?”

    Sure- the guy who taught my SS lesson two weeks ago spent quite a bit of time dwelling on the importance of April 6- especially as Christ’s actual birthday. That and the Bible codes. He’s pretty informed.

  8. Minerva
    April 6, 2005 at 2:03 pm

    Well, one thing that cannot be disputed (I don’t think) and which this post also addresses is that today is the 175th anniversary of the formation of our Church. I think that’s pretty exciting…

  9. Kaimi
    April 6, 2005 at 2:05 pm

    I believe that Talmadge cites to April 6 in Jesus the Christ. I think that both Presidents Benson and Kimball have mentioned the date. I’m not sure about President Hinckley.

  10. Jordan
    April 6, 2005 at 2:08 pm

    What’s so exciting about that? It happened 175 years ago. So what? Should we be any more excited today than on any other day about the restored gospel?

    And why is it important at all to think about when Christ was actually born? Whether he was born on April 6, “Christmas” or October 31 does not affect my testimony.

  11. Kaimi
    April 6, 2005 at 2:13 pm

    Jordan,

    You clearly didn’t have good enough teachers to impress upon you the importance of April 6th (which, I should note, comes soon after April Fools Day). Or in other words, why the general combativeness lately?

    April doubters,

    A very quick google search turned up some resources:

    http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/christ/birth/april6_eom.htm
    http://www.ida.net/users/rdk/ces/Lesson2/birth_date_of%20_christ.html

  12. Derek
    April 6, 2005 at 2:29 pm

    I thought the church started around 30 A.D.?

  13. gst
    April 6, 2005 at 2:29 pm

    Kevin Barney, you’re the greatest. Whatever we’re talking about, you don’t believe it. Outstanding!

    I’m glad to join in Kevin’s skepticism, or rather outright disbelief. If the claim is based on Doctrine and Covenants 20:1, then that’s really reading a lot into what seems to me to be just a statement of what year it was (“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…”)

  14. Kaimi
    April 6, 2005 at 2:34 pm

    Yes. Kevin’s general approach — “whatever we’re talking about, I don’t believe it” — is one that I _always_ take around Mormons.

    :P

  15. Minerva
    April 6, 2005 at 2:47 pm

    I just like commemoration and ritual, that’s all. Why don’t you become a JW, Jordan, so you don’t have to be bothered by holidays anymore at all?

  16. Rosalynde Welch
    April 6, 2005 at 3:03 pm

    Apropos of Section 20 and April 6, it’s interesting to note that it’s not clear that the Articles and Covenants (Section 20) were read at the April 6 conference; indeed, they may not even have been revealed/composed by that date.

    It’s also interesting to remember that although the church was “organized” on that day, that organization would be scarcely recognizable today: Joseph and Oliver were sustained as First and Second elders, respectively, and they shared the keys of the Melchizedek priesthood and the Apostleship jointly. It wasn’t until the summer of 1830 that revelation specified Joseph as the Lord’s only mouthpiece (D&C 28).

  17. Julie in Austin
    April 6, 2005 at 3:07 pm

    Re Kaimi’s link: not often you find Elder McConkie being agnostic on a theological issue. Perhaps we could agree to celebrate that ;).

  18. April 6, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    Minerva, what a great jibe at Jordan. Seriously, Jordan, why the new ‘Grumpy Pessimist of the Bloggernacle’ gig?

  19. Aaron Brown
    April 6, 2005 at 4:15 pm

    Amen to Julie’s comment.

    Also, note in Kaimi’s second link that Bruce R. McConkie says: “What is the date of our Lord’s birth? This is one of those fascinating problems about which the wise and the learned delight to debate.”

    So… I think it’s fair to say that Elder McConkie says I’m “wise and learned.” That settles it! I expect a level of deference and respect around here from everyone, commensurate with my “wisdom” and “learnedness.”

    Finally, does it make sense to even have a position on the definitiveness of LDS claims regarding April 6 and Christ’s birth, when there doesn’t seem to be anyway of resolving what such claims would even mean?

    Aaron B

  20. April 6, 2005 at 4:37 pm

    Sheez, I think you could blog any comment on this site and get a good debate going. Please, some author post a one word comment just to see what kind of replies will spawn from it!

    In any case, I’m a believer! :mrgreen:

  21. Eric Soderlund
    April 6, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    Well, if you believe this quack, it’s a settled issue:

    http://www.nccg.org/109Art-6April.html

  22. danithew
    April 6, 2005 at 5:01 pm

    On the actual day (April 6th) that the Church was founded, what was that day on the Hebrew/Jewish calendar? I thought maybe I had heard it was a significant date of some sort.

  23. AB
    April 6, 2005 at 5:21 pm

    Danithew,

    I had a branch president in the MTC who claimed that the Church was organized 1280 years after the Apostasy was complete, in order to wrestle an interpretation out of Revelation 12:6. http://scriptures.lds.org/rev/12 He had cited some event in 550 AD that he claimed was definative end of the primitive Church. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what, exactly, this event was. It was some sort of doctrinal change made withing the Catholic Church. Or something…he was pretty crazy.

  24. Jonathan Green
    April 6, 2005 at 5:22 pm

    I spent a little time looking into April 6 at one time. The end result was that I couldn’t find any citation from Joseph Smith or Brigham Young interpreting the verse in D&C to mean that it gave the date of Christ’s birth. As late as the 1890’s, if my memory is correct, Orson Pratt was speculating that April 11 was the day. As for me, I think that the chances of Christ’s birthday being April 6 are 1 in 365.

  25. Aaron Brown
    April 6, 2005 at 5:30 pm

    Dustin said:
    “Sheez, I think you could blog any comment on this site and get a good debate going. Please, some author post a one word comment just to see what kind of replies will spawn from it!”

    Already been done, Dustin. Check out this link: http://www.timesandseasons.org/index.php?p=526

    Aaron B

  26. Ronan
    April 6, 2005 at 6:46 pm

    Re: April 11

    Revisionist history posits the organisation of the Fayette Branch as taking place on April 11. On the 6th, the Church in general was organised, but at the Smith home. See the timeline at:

    http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/c/1830.phtml

  27. Mark B.
    April 6, 2005 at 10:32 pm

    Of course, as long as we’re throwing out the April 6 numerology, we had better throw out the “one thousand eight hundred and thirty” also. I mean, some Catholic monk in the middle ages got the number of years wrong. (And who was counting during those early years, anyway?)

    Assuming that our Jewish friends have been relatively consistent about having Passover in the early spring, there is a scriptural case for his birth and his crucifixion occurring at the same time of year. See 3 Nephi 1 and 3 Nephi 8:1ff. (That’s assuming that the new Nephite reckoning of years, commencing as it did at the giving of the sign of Jesus’ birth also involved a new beginning of months, with the first month beginning at the time the sign was given.)

    That reading of 3 Nephi puts the crucifixion on the fourth day after Jesus turned 33.

  28. April 7, 2005 at 8:37 am

    Re #23: AD 570 is the supposedly pivotal year. 570+1260=1830.

    See here.

  29. Jonathan Green
    April 7, 2005 at 9:58 am

    Mark B.: in fact, a book published in Germany several years ago argued that three centuries of history had been completely invented by supporters of the Carolingian dynasty. The idea is completely nuts, but surprisingly difficult to refute, which reflects the spotty historical record of the early middle ages. I think the exact year of Christ’s birth is about as knowable as the precise day, and about as important.

    Justin, thanks for the link. The site also seems completely nutty to me, but I was curious to see what the argument was.

  30. Mike Parker
    April 7, 2005 at 11:15 am

    Jonathan Green (#29): I think the exact year of Christ’s birth is about as knowable as the precise day, and about as important.

    Part of the problem lies in the inconsistency of the Biblical record.

    Matthew tells us of the killing of the children by Herod the Great, and Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod was dead (Matt. 2:16-23). We know from contemporary records that Herod the Great died in 4 BC (cite); and even those who doubt that date place his death no later than 2 or 1 BC.

    Luke, on the other hand, tells us that Joseph and Mary — before Jesus’ birth — went to Bethlehem in response to a Roman census. According to Luke this was done “when Cyrenius [Quirinius] was governor of Syria” (Luke 2:1-2). Contemporary records show that Quirinius became governor over Syria in AD 4 (cite).

    Much effort has been made to explain this seeming contradiction, but there is no simple, satisfactory answer.

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