Mormons Believe Jesus Was Born on April 6

This is why other significant LDS events occur at this same time

The Salt Lake Temple is framed between the Christmas light on Temple Square. Photo courtesy of the Mormon Newsroom. © All rights reserved.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS/Mormon) and its members celebrate the birth of Jesus in December along with the rest of the Christian world. However, Mormons believe that April 6 is His exact birth date.

What We Do and Do Not Know About Christ's Actual Birth Date

Scholars cannot agree on the year Jesus was born or His exact birth date. Some speculate it must have occurred in the spring because flocks were not in the open fields in winter.

What is more, a census would not occur in winter either and we know Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem for a census. LDS scholars also have doubts about the exact birth date and continue to explore all possibilities.

Our secular Christmas has some pagan roots and traditions, in addition to the religious ones revolving around Christ's birth. Christmas and Christmas traditions have certainly evolved over time.

Jesus' Birth Date Can Be Known Only via Modern Revelation

The modern LDS belief that Jesus was born on April 6 comes largely from D&C 20:1. However, modern LDS scholarship has established that the introductory verse was probably not part of the original revelation because the earliest revelation manuscript does not include it. It was likely added by early church historian and scribe, John Whitmer, at a later date.

This introductory verse in this revelation is probably what James E. Talmage relied on in asserting April 6 to be Jesus' exact birth date in his seminal work, Jesus the Christ.

Talmage is hardly alone in this. Most Mormons will cite this scripture and headnote as proof of Jesus' birth date as well.

If April 6 is the correct birth date of Jesus Christ, it will never be established by research and debate. However, it can be known via modern revelation. Three living prophets have declared April 6 to be His exact birth date:

  1. President Harold B. Lee
  2. President Spencer W. Kimball
  3. President Gordon B. Hinckley

These declarations are joined by the unequivocal statement from Elder David A. Bednar, an Apostle, in his April 2014 General Conference address: "Today is April 6. We know by revelation that today is the actual and accurate date of the Savior’s birth."

Bednar lists D&C 20:1 and the comments from Presidents Lee, Kimball and Hinckley as his references.

LDS Members and the Church Celebrate the Birth in December

Although Mormons believe April 6 to be the actual birthday of Christ, they celebrate His birth on December 25, with events throughout December.

The official church Christmas Devotional always takes place in early December. The Devotional features Christmas music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Christmas decorations, and talks commemorating Jesus' birth.

Temple Square in Salt Lake City features numerous nativities, Christmas lights, Christmas exhibits, and many other presentations and events. Preparations for the Temple Square Christmas lights begin in August and is a high point of the Christmas season for members and others alike.

Mormons also include special Christmas events in their local church events and family celebrations.

They may believe the birth occurred in April, but they celebrate it in both December and April.

There Are Other Significant April Events in the Church

The restored church of Jesus Christ was officially and legally established on April 6, 1830. This particular date was selected by Jesus Christ himself and revealed in revelation,now contained in the Doctrine & Covenants.

LDS members feel a special significance to April 6. Other events often tend to coincide with the date. The Church holds General Conference twice a year, once in April and once in October. The conference is always a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday, as close to April 6 as possible.

When Easter falls on or near April 6, this fact is often referred to by speakers at the April General Conference. Talks with an Easter theme usually mention both the birth and death date of Jesus Christ.

April 6 will always have a special significance for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members as well as the celebration of His birth.