So can we finally lose the idea that Jesus was born on 6 April? I mean, he certainly might have been, but the way that one verse in the book of Doctrine and Covenants has been spun into some sort of absolute “doctrine” by many members of the church disturbs me.
Things to remember:
- Back when Jesus was born, there was no such thing as “April”. In fact, the calendar he was born under didn’t even always have twelve months, and any given day of any given month didn’t always occur at the same point during the earth’s orbit around the sun—it was a lunar calendar.
- For that matter, 6 April doesn’t even always occur at the same point in the earth’s orbit every year—there’s slippage of a few seconds here and there.
- And if the birth actually happened at night, when it occurred would make a difference, since the next day began at sundown back then, not at midnight.
- And finally, the biggest reason this insistence on 6 April bugs me, you find collocations exactly parallel to “being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh” in all sorts of writing back then, both secular and religious. It’s just a fancy way of saying, in English, anno Domini 1830 (that is, in the 1,830th year of our Lord).
After all, you’d think that a people who quite happily recognize that the seven “days” in Genesis don’t each literally refer to a 24-hour day would be able to recognize that not all scriptural references to time are literal.