When was Jesus Christ born? How can you say that he was born on April 6?
In the heading to the 20th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, it indicates that the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith the exact date the Church was to be organized, being April 6, 1830. Verse 1 of Section 20 states: “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 being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.” Though the Church has not made an official stance that it was exactly 1830 years since the birth of the Savior, several of the recent Presidents of the Church have indicated that it is their belief that Christ was indeed born on April 6. President Harold B. Lee noted that April 6, 1973 was the “anniversary of the birth of the Savior.”(Ensign July 1973, p. 2.) On April 6, 1980, President Spencer W. Kimball stated that Jesus was born on “this day, 1980 years ago.”(Ensign, May 1980, p. 54.) In addition to these statements in his book “Jesus the Christ”, Elder James E. Talmage states: “We believe that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, April 6, B.C. 1.” This is one of the few books that is recognized and published by the Church.
Brother John P. Pratt wrote an article, “The Restoration of Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836, Part 1: Dating the First Easter”, which appeared in the June 1985 Ensign. Without going into a lot of detail, he brings out several points that help us to determine when the birth of the Savior occurred. All of the Gospels agree that Christ was resurrected on the 1st day of the week, being Sunday. All four Gospels also agree that He was crucified on a day of “preparation for a Sabbath”, which would have made it on Friday, as the Sabbath began at sundown on Friday. Brother Pratt comes to three conclusions in his article. “1. Several latter-day statements support 1 B.C. as the year of Jesus’ birth. 2. The Book of Mormon implies that Jesus lived thirty-three years, confirming the biblical testimony. Moreover, the exact length for the Savior’s life can be suggested: 12,048 days. 3. The New Testament indicates a precise day that is most likely for the Savior’s resurrection: Sunday 3 April A.D. 33.” He goes on to state: “An obvious question arises: Are all of these conclusions self-consistent? The question can be answered precisely. Counting 12,048 days (5 days less than 33 years) from Thursday, 6 April 1 B.C., brings one to Friday, (14 Nisan the Jewish Month), 1 April A.D. 33–the exact Crucifixion date deduced from the Bible! In other words, adding the length of Jesus’ life calculated from the Book of Mormon, to his birth date as understood from the Doctrine and Covenants, results in a biblical death date, to the very day. This precise internal consistency between different books of scripture was noticed only recently. That this Crucifixion date even falls within the same biblical year, A.D. 33 is impressive; that it falls also on a day that year that was a Friday and also 14 Nisan according to the Judean calendar seems beyond chance.
It is also interesting to note that the return of the Savior, Moses, Elias and Elijah to restore the Priesthood keys to the Prophet Joseph and Oliver Cowdrey in the Kirtland Temple was on Easter Sunday April 3, 1836, which would be the anniversary of the Lord’s resurrection being April 3, A.D. 33.
Though the Church has not given an official stance concening these dates, the consistency of these dates leads one to believe that they are the dates of Jesus’ birth and resurrection.