Since his book, Mormons — from church leaders to children — have accepted April 6 as the real date of Jesus' birth. Reuben Clark Jr., a counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, wrote that Christ's birth was in December of 5 B. Another time he wrote, "It is now June the twelfth, one thousand eight hundred and thirty one years, since the coming of our Lord and Savior in the flesh." In other words, this type of language was merely a fancy 19th-century way of saying the date. He looked closely at the time of Jesus' death, for example, tied it to the length of Jesus' life given in the Book of Mormon, added such things as time for Jesus' circumcision eight days after his birth, Mary's 40 days of ritual purification, the visit of wise men from the east and a two-week journey to Egypt.
But not every member of the LDS Church agreed with Elder Talmage's interpretation of Doctrine and Covenants 20. Chadwick, an associate professor of church history and doctrine at BYU, published an article in the latest issue of BYU Studies on "Dating the Birth of Jesus Christ" that challenges the popular but not universal Mormon dating of Jesus' birth to April 6. If a person accepts Chadwick, Harper, Elder Mc Conkie and President Clark's interpretation of the verse in D&C 20, when was Jesus born? All those events show that "at a minimum, Jesus would have to have been born eight weeks prior to Herod's death at the beginning of April (4 B. "When all is said and done," Chadwick wrote, "the facts from the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the history of Josephus, combined with input from archaeological and astronomical research, all point to a day in December of 5 B. (late in the Jewish month of Kislev) for the date of Jesus' birth." This means that the real date of Christmas may have, indeed, been on Dec. "It is just as possible that Jesus was born on the calendar date we call Dec.
Both Luke and Matthew mention Jesus’ birth as occurring during Herod’s reign (Luke 1:5; Matthew 2:1). This is generally regarded as a reference to a lunar eclipse in 4 B. Therefore it is often said that Jesus was born in 4 B. C., which would place Herod’s death—and Jesus’ birth—at the turn of the era. This date is based on Josephus’s remark in 17.6.4 that there was a lunar eclipse shortly before Herod died. Using so-called inclusive counting, this, too, places Herod’s death in 4 B. Third, we know that the reign over Samaria and Judea of Herod’s son and successor Archelaus began in 4 B. The difficulty is that we have a fair amount of information, but it is equivocal.
Cramer, in a letter to BAR, has pointed out that there was another lunar eclipse visible in Judea—in fact, two—in 1 B. based on the fact that both Luke and Matthew associate Jesus’ birth with Herod’s reign—Ed.] Readers may be interested to learn there is reason to reconsider the date of Herod’s death. Thus, Schürer concluded that “Herod died at Jericho in B. 4, unwept by those of his own house, and hated by all the people.” Jeroen H. Tempelman New York, New York Trying to date the death of Herod the Great is attended by considerable uncertainty, and I do not mean to claim I know the right answer. Tempelman does a good job of pointing out arguments in favor of a 4 B. date following the arguments advanced long ago by Emil Schürer.
Harper, a BYU assistant professor of church history and a volume editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, said in a phone interview that some people, including Elder Talmage, have read this verse as if it is the Lord speaking and revealing precisely that Christ was born 1,830 years before that day and that the revelation was given on April 6, 1830.
Supposedly, there was no official church stance on the date. James Talmage, an apostle, wrote a book called Jesus The Christ, in 1915 where he stated that Jesus Christ was born on April 6, 1 BC. Reuben Clark, a member of the First Presidency in 1954, wrote that Jesus was born December, 5 BC or 4 BC. (D&C 20:1) Many of us have read the scripture as if the Lord were speaking directly to Joseph and revealing that Christ was born exactly 1,830 years before that exact date the church was organized: April 6. The date of April 6 comes from the date that the LDS Church was originally organized in 1830.Chadwick's article goes into great detail on the various clues the Bible and the Book of Mormon give for the date of Jesus' birth. C.)." Chadwick then looks at the Annunciation to Mary that she would have a son named Jesus. 25 as on any other date in the few weeks preceding it or following it," Chadwick wrote.Yet the designation as a carries greater weight, suggesting it belongs within the same class as the four canonized Gospels, which, as New Testament scholar Christopher M.Tuckett observed, are quite different from the non-canonized gospels. The four Gospels are of course somewhat different within themselves, but a number of points neatly suggest that 3 Nephi has a place alongside them. C., who ordered the execution of John the Baptist (Mark –29) and who had a supporting role in Jesus’ trial (Luke 23:7–12), we have coins that make reference to the 43rd year of his rule, placing its beginning in 4 B. at the latest (see Morten Hørning Jensen, “Antipas—The Herod Jesus Knew,” BAR, September/October 2012).