Science and spirit
Spirit and matter Proof of God Consciousness The spirit world
Life in the spirit Quotations Spirit matter FAQ

Consciousness FAQ

Quotations from modern prophets
about spirit and matter


From here on, everything except subtitles [and words in brackets] is a direct quotation (I have dispensed with quotation marks, etc.). When you see the first quotation, you will understand why I do not want to add anything to what the prophets have said.

A warning about presenting theories as revelation

PROCLAMATION of The First Presidency and Twelve (1865, based on MS of October 21, 1865) [this proclamation started out by quoting the theories of Orson Pratt at great length, such as are given in "The Seer."]

There are great and important truths connected with the eternities of our God and with man's existence past, present and future, which the Almighty, in his wisdom, sees fit to conceal from the children of men. The latter are evidently unprepared to receive them, and there could be no possible benefit accrue to them, at present, from their revelation. It is in this light that we view the points of doctrine which we have quoted [in "The Seer" and elsewhere]. If they were true, we would think it unwise to have them made public as these have been. But the expounder of these points of doctrine acknowledges that he has not had any revelation from the heavens in relation to them, and we know that we have had no revelation from God respecting them, except to know that many of them are false, and that the publication of all of them is unwise and objectionable.

They are mere hypotheses, and should be perused and accepted as such, and not as doctrines of the Church. ... There is but one man upon the earth, at one time, who holds the keys to receive commandments and revelations for the Church, and who has the authority to write doctrines by way of commandment unto the Church. And any man who so far forgets the order instituted by the Lord as to write and publish what may be termed new doctrines, without consulting with the First Presidency of the Church respecting them, places himself in a false position, and exposes himself to the power of darkness by violating his Priesthood.

While upon this subject, we wish to warn all the Elders of the Church, and to have it clearly understood by the members, that, in the future, whoever publishes any new doctrines without first taking this course, will be liable to lose his Priesthood.

The remaining quotations are from the scriptures, or from the Presidents of the Church:

[Note: modern scriptures will be used, for the sake of clarity.]

Ether 3:15-16

[Before Christ was born, he showed himself to a prophet, the brother of Jared.] Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; …and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh

DC 77:2

The spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created

DC 88:4-41

The glory of the celestial kingdom ... through Jesus Christ his Son ... This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space-- The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. ...

And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul. And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things, in whose bosom it is decreed that the poor and the meek of the earth shall inherit it. Therefore, it must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory; For after it hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father; That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified. And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom. For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory. ...

Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fulness. And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? ...

All kingdoms have a law given; And there are many kingdoms; for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom. And unto every kingdom is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions. All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified.

For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things. He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.

DC 93:28-37

He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.

Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light. And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.

For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.

The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one.

DC 130:4-10

In answer to the question--Is not the reckoning of God's time, angel's time, prophet's time, and man's time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, Yes. But there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it. The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth; But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord. The place where God resides is a great Urim and Thummim. This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ's. Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;

DC 131:7-8

There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

Moses chapter 1

Behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth. ...

And it came to pass [as God was again speaking to Moses], Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.

And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?

And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.

And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.

But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them. ...

And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying: The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man; but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Abraham chapter 3

And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it; And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest. ...

And thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord's time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.

And he said unto me: My son, my son (and his hand was stretched out), behold I will show you all these. And he put his hand upon mine eyes, and I saw those things which his hands had made, which were many; and they multiplied before mine eyes, and I could not see the end thereof. ...

If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them; ...

... as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent that the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal. And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. ...

I dwell in the midst of them all; I now, therefore, have come down unto thee to declare unto thee the works which my hands have made, wherein my wisdom excelleth them all, for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them; And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.


Brigham Young, JD, Vol.18, p.258
First, the philosophy of man upon this earth. This cannot be learned by studying the sciences of mankind, it is only understood by the revelations of God to ourselves. I will give you a part of my own visions upon the matter. Mankind is composed of two distinct elements; the first is a spiritual organization in eternity, the second is a natural organization on this earth, formed out of the material of which this earth is composed. Man is first spiritual, then temporal. As it is written in the revelations of God to man, all things were first created spiritual, and secondly temporal. That is, spirits were begotten, born and educated in the celestial world, and were brought forth by celestial bodies. By tracing this subject a little we might understand how this is brought about. The spirits before inhabiting bodies are as pure and holy as the angels or as the gods, they know no evil. This, their first estate is the commencement of their experience.

Mormonism, science, and philosophy

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.9, p.316 - p.317
My religion teaches me to embrace all truth in the heavens, on the earth, under the earth, and in the bottomless pit, if there is any there. My creed embraces all truth. If you have truth that I have not, let me know it, and it will come to where it belongs; and if I have truth which you have not you are welcome to it. There is no need of debate and contention in regard to truth and error, for debate tends to create a spirit of bitterness.

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.2, p.8
I am a witness that "Mormonism" is true upon philosophical principles. Every particle of sense I have, proves it to be sound, natural reason. The Gospel is true, there is a God, there are angels, there are a heaven and a hell, and we are all in eternity, and out of it we can never get, it is boundless, without beginning or end, and we have never been out of it. Time is a certain portion of eternity allotted to the existence of these mortal bodies, which are to be dissolved, to be decomposed, or disorganized, preparatory to entering into a more exalted state of being. It is a portion of eternity allotted to this world, and can only be known by the changes we see in the composition and decomposition of the elements of which it is composed. The Lord has put His children here, and given them bodies that are also subject to decay, to see if they will prove themselves worthy of the particles of which their tabernacles are composed, and of a glorious resurrection when their mortal bodies will become immortalized. Now if you possess the light of the Holy Spirit, you can see clearly that trials in the flesh are actually necessary.

What is the meaning of all truth, scientific or otherwise?

Heber J. Grant, David O. Mckay, James E. Talmage, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.6, p.4
Along with this glorious restoration of saving and exalting spiritual truths, God has given to His children a new universe of other and companion truths, the truths yielded by the realms of physical science, and these have come in a richness of measure never before equalled in the whole history of the world. The Lord has given these truths for the comfort, joy, and intellectual growth of His children while mortals, and for the upbuilding, perfection, and exaltation of their intelligences and souls in the world to come. These are the ends and purposes of all truth.

Intelligence and God

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.226

What Is Intelligence?
I wonder if we have fully comprehended the depth and greatness of its meaning? The definition of intelligence given in the dictionary is:
"1. The quality of being intelligent; capacity to know or understand; intellect; ability to exercise the higher mental functions; readiness of comprehension.
"2. Information acquired or communicated; instruction; notification; notice; advice; news.
"3. Mutual understanding; interchange of information of thought; as, to exchange a look of intelligence.
"4. An intelligent being; especially a spirit not embodied; as, the intelligences of the unseen world; the Supreme Intelligence."
How many of us have thought that the whole meaning of the word is circumscribed by the seeking after knowledge, and the capacity to understand? Have we not, more or less, confused the word with knowledge, and associated the quotation from the revelation which the saying credited to Bacon, that "knowledge is power"? We have accepted without reservation the truth that God is in possession of all knowledge and thereby has all power, and we have concluded that this constitutes in a very large degree his greatness and his glory.

There is a far deeper meaning in the inspired statement, however, than we, perhaps, have understood. From the Lord's definition of intelligence we discover that there is a vast difference between the meaning of intelligence and that of knowledge. The former, while it includes the latter, is more potent and has a greater significance. Intelligence is more than the capacity to understand and communicate truth. The intelligent man glories in righteousness not only does he know truth, but wisely applies it in all his actions.

I fear we hear the quotation, "The Glory of God Is Intelligence," so frequently, that we have failed to connect the rest of the thought associated with it in the revelation, for this latter is seldom quoted. What follows in the revelation is the Lord's explanation of the meaning of intelligence. The complete thought is as follows:

The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth. Light and truth forsake that evil one. -- D.C. 93:36-37.

Again in verse 29, we read: Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.

Pure intelligence, is then, light and truth, which is self-existing.

Moreover, intelligence forsakes the evil one. This being true, intelligence and wickedness are not found associated together. A man may have knowledge and be full of wickedness. In fact, he may use his knowledge to further his evil designs. We have demonstrations of this every day, sometimes in the most horrible manner. It is this truth which led the Prophet Joseph Smith to say:

If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, for if we are not drawing towards God in principle, we are going from Him and drawing towards the devil. Yes, I am standing in the midst of all kinds of people.

Search your hearts, and see if you are like God. I have searched mine, and feel to repent of all my sins.

Intelligence and light

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.226

We are further informed in the revelations that "light and truth" emanates from God and fills the immensity of space. It is also spoken of as the "light of Christ" (D.C. 88:7.) It is the light of the stars, the sun, the earth, and the moon, and the power by which they were made. It "proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space" and is the light which quickens all things and gives life to all things, as our Father in heaven has ordained. (See D.C. 58:7-13.) Without the light of truth, which is spoken of as intelligence, or that which quickens and gives life and light, nothing could exist. Every man that is born into the world is blessed with light and truth, as we read [in D.C. 84:45-47]

The Lord has not left us to grope in darkness, but has given to every man that is born with understanding the power to discern between good and evil, truth and falsehood, through the power of the intelligence, light of truth, or light of Christ born with him. However, as man departs from the truth, the power of intelligence forsakes him and for that cause he does not come unto God.

Intelligence and knowledge

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.226

"I am the true light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world," the Savior said. Every man, therefore, who will continue in light and truth shall know the truth which will make him free. "Intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light," etc. Therefore every man who possesses true intelligence will come unto God and live, for there can be no wickedness associated with intelligence. Knowledge, on the other hand, does not always contain the element of truth and virtue, or of honesty and integrity.

Intelligence, then, is more potent than knowledge. While there is no intelligence without knowledge, there is much knowledge without intelligent application. Pure intelligence is an attribute of God which will create in the heart of man a desire to come to the perfect knowledge of truth. He will therefore seek wisdom and knowledge, that he may have power; but all his efforts to know will be put forth to obtain glory, honor, and eternal life. Thus he will eventually come to be like God and obtain a fullness of glory in the celestial kingdom because he is intelligent.

Satan has great knowledge and therefore power, but he has no intelligence, or light of truth, which is the Spirit of Christ. Because of his knowledge he has influence among the children of men. Without knowledge he would be without power. If he had intelligence, or the light of truth, which comes only from God, he could not possibly be the adversary of all righteousness.

President Joseph F. Smith stated this truth very clearly in a discourse in the Ogden Tabernacle in the year 1913, summing up this whole matter:

Christ inherited his intelligence from his Father. There is a difference between knowledge and pure intelligence. Satan possesses knowledge, far more than we have, but he has not intelligence, or he would render obedience to the principles of truth and right. I know men who have knowledge, who understand the principles of the Gospel as well as you do, who are brilliant, but lack the essential qualification of pure intelligence. They will not accept and render obedience thereto. Pure intelligence comprises not only knowledge, but also the power to properly apply that knowledge.

Life is a property of ALL matter, even inanimate things

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.3, p.276 - 277

Life in various proportions, combinations, conditions, &c., fills all matter. Is there life in a tree when it ceases to put forth leaves? You see it standing upright, and when it ceases to bear leaves an fruit you say it is dead, but that is a mistake. It still has life, but that life operates upon the tree in another way, and continues to operate until it resolves it to the native elements. It is life in another condition that begins to operate upon man, upon animal, upon vegetation, and upon minerals when we see the change termed dissolution. There is life in the material of the fleshly tabernacle, independent of the spirit given of God to undergo this probation. There is life in all matter, throughout the vast extent of all the eternities; it is in the rock, the sand, the dust, in water, air, the gases, and, in short, in every description and organization of matter, whether it be solid, liquid, or gaseous, particle operating with particle.

All eternity is full of matter and life. True, element is capable of contraction and expansion but that does not by any means imply empty space. You see life in human beings and in the growing vegetation, and when that spirit of life departs, another condition of life at once begins to operate upon the organization which remains. ...

I have formerly spoken about the spirits overcoming the flesh; the body or flesh, is what the devil has power over. God gave Lucifer power, influence, mastery, and rule, to a certain extent, to control the life pertaining to the elements composing the body, and the spirit which God places into the body becomes intimately connected with it, and is of course more or less affected by it.

Now let some of our philosophers tell us how much empty space there is, and where it is, in all the eternities that exist, or in other words, where life is not. The term death is often used to accommodate the understandings of the people but they are in darkness upon this subject.

The spirit leaves a body, and then that body begins to pass away by another system of life. I might enlarge upon the death pertaining to this time, and the death that will be hereafter, but it is all upon the same principle, it is plain, simple, natural philosophy, and our religion is based upon it.

The plan of salvation - before the beginning

TPJS, p. 354
God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them.

The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 5, Salt Lake City, 1969
Our spirit matter was eternal and co-existent with God, but it was organized into spirit bodies by our Heavenly Father.

Were we individuals before becoming spirits?

Joseph Fielding Smith, quoted in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
Some of our writers have endeavored to explain what an intelligence is, but to do so is futile, for we have never been given any insight into this matter beyond what the Lord has fragmentarily revealed. We know, however, that there is something called intelligence which always existed. It is the real eternal part of man, which was not created or made. This intelligence combined with the spirit constitutes a spiritual identity or individual.

Spirit matter

TPJS, p. 207
A very material difference [exists] between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state the spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it.

TPJS, pp. 351-54
All…spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement.

Intelligence -> spirit -> physical body, and why

The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.32
God has taken these intelligences and given to them spirit bodies and given them instructions and training. Then he proceeded to create a world for them and sent them as spirits to obtain a mortal body, for which he made preparation. And when they were upon the earth, he gave them instructions on how to go about developing and conducting their lives to make them perfect, so they could return to their Father in heaven after their transitions.

Discourses of Brigham Young, p.93
But simply to take the path pointed out in the Gospel by those who have given us the plan of salvation, is to take the path that leads to life, to eternal increase; it is to pursue that course wherein we shall never, never lose what we obtain, but continue to collect, to gather together, to increase, to spread abroad, and extend to an endless duration. Those persons who strive to gain eternal life, gain that which will produce the increase their hearts will be satisfied with. Nothing less than the privilege of increasing eternally, in every sense of the word, can satisfy the immortal spirit. If the endless stream of knowledge from the eternal fountain could all be drunk in by organized intelligences, so sure immortality would come to an end, and all eternity be thrown upon the retrograde path.

Our spirits were pure and holy in the beginning

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.4, p.266
I will say to you what I have heretofore frequently said, and what brother Joseph Smith has said, and what the Scripture teaches, your spirits when they came to take tabernacles were pure and holy, and prepared to receive knowledge, wisdom, and instruction, and to be taught while in the flesh; so that every son and daughter of Adam, if they would apply their minds to wisdom, and magnify their callings and improve upon every grace and means given them, would have tickets for the boxes, to use brother Hyde's figure, instead of going into the pit. There is no spirit but what was pure and holy when it came here from the celestial world. There is no spirit among the human family that was begotten in hell; none that were begotten by angels, or by any inferior being. They were not produced by any being less than our Father in heaven. He is the Father of our spirits; and if we could know, understand, and do His will, every soul would be prepared to return back into His presence. And when they get there, they would see that they had formerly lived there for ages, that they had previously been acquainted with every nook and corner, with the palaces, walks, and gardens; and they would embrace their Father, and He would embrace them and say, "My son, my daughter, I have you again;" and the child would say, "O my Father, my Father, I am here again."

These are the facts in the case, and there are none ticketed for the pit, unless they fill up that ticket themselves through their own misconduct. Are all spirits endowed alike? No, not by any means. Will all be equal in the celestial kingdom? By no means. Some spirits are more noble than others; some are capable of receiving more than others. There is the same variety in the spirit world that you behold here, yet they are of the same parentage, of one Father, one God, to say nothing of who He is. They are all of one parentage, though there is a difference in their capacities and nobility, and each one will be called to fill the station for which he is organized, and which he can fill.

The pre-mortal spirit world

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.27-28
Men were organized in some such way as we are organized here in the kingdom of God. Among the spirits of men there were superior intelligences chosen to act in authority. Free agency was given unto man that he might act for himself, yet we walked by sight in the presence of our Eternal Father. By him, and by his Son Jesus Christ, we were taught and knowledge was given us.

Spirit creation and spiritUAL creation

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.76
We were all created untold ages before we were placed on this earth. We discover from Abraham 3:22-28, that it was before the earth was formed that the plan of salvation was presented to the spirits, or "intelligences." This being true, then man, animals and plants were not created in the spirit at the time of the creation of the earth, but long before.

SPIRITUAL OR PHYSICAL, AND SPIRIT CREATIONS. The account of creation in Genesis was not a spirit creation, but it was in a particular sense, a spiritual creation. This, of course, needs some explanation. The account in Genesis, chapters one and two, is the account of the creation of the physical earth. The account of the placing of all life upon the earth, up and until the fall of Adam, is an account, in a sense, of the spiritual creation of all of these, but it was also a physical creation. When the Lord said he would create Adam, he had no reference to the creation of his spirit for that had taken place ages and ages before when he was in the world of spirits and known as Michael.

Adam's body was created from the dust of the earth, but at that time it was a spiritual earth, Adam had a spiritual body until mortality came upon him through the violation of the law under which he was living, but he also had a physical body of flesh and bones.

The purpose of our physical creation

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.7, p.287
We are organized to be so independent in this capacity as to determine and act for ourselves as to whether we will serve God and obey him in preference to serving ourselves. If we serve ourselves and evil principles, we do not subserve the object of our creation. This element of which our tabernacles are organized is calculated to decompose and return to its mother earth, or to its native element. This intelligence, which might be called divine intelligence, is implanted in mortal or human beings; and if we take a course to promote the principles of life--seek unto our Father and God, and obtain his will and perform it, the spirit will become purified, sanctified, cleansed, and made holy in the body, and the grave will cleanse the flesh. When the spirit overcomes the evil consequences of the fall, which are in the mortal tabernacle, it will reign predominant in the flesh, and is then prepared to be exalted, and will, in the resurrection, be reunited with those particles that formed the mortal body, which will be called together as with the sound of a trumpet and become immortal. Why? Because the particles composing these bodies have been made subject and obedient, by the law of the everlasting Priesthood, and the will and commandment of the Supreme Ruler of the universe, who holds the keys of life and death. Every principle, act, and portion of the lives of the children of men that does not tend to this will lead to an eternal dissolution of the identity of the person.

Spirits and physical bodies

TPJS, p. 181; cf. pp. 297-98
The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine's body to having none

Angels and spirits

Joseph Smith, HC 4:425
He explained the difference between an angel and a ministering spirit; the one a resurrected or translated body, with its spirit ministering to embodied spirits the other a disembodied spirit, visiting and ministering to disembodied spirits. Jesus Christ became a ministering spirit (while His body was lying in the sepulchre) to the spirits in prison, to fulfill an important part of His mission [1 Peter 3:18-20] , without which He could not have perfected His work, or enter into His rest. After His resurrection He appeared as an angel to His disciples. Translated bodies cannot enter into rest until they have undergone a change equivalent to death. Translated bodies are designed for future missions.

Evil spirits

Heber C. Kimball, JD 3:229-30 [reporting an experience of his, and what Joseph Smith said about it]:

I saw legions of wicked spirits that night, as plain as I now see you, and they came as near to me as you now are, and company after company of them rushed towards me; and brother [Orson] Hyde and brother [Willard] Richards also saw them. It was near the break of day, and I looked upon them as I now look upon you. They came when I was laying hands upon brother [Isaac] Russell, the wicked spirits got him to the door of the room, I did not see them till after that took place, and soon afterwards I lay prostrate upon the floor. That was in England, pious England, in the little town of Preston, at the corner of Wilford Street, and they struggled and exerted all their power and influence. That was the first introduction of the Gospel into England, and I was shown those spirits as plainly as ever I saw anything. . . . I saw their hands, their eyes, and every feature of their faces, the hair on their heads, and their ears, in short they had full-formed bodies. If evil spirits could come to me, cannot ministering spirits and angels also come from God? Of course they can, and there are thousands of them, and I wish you to understand this, and that they can rush as an army going to battle, for the evil spirits came upon me and brother Hyde in that way. . . . The spirits of the wicked, who have died for thousands of years past, are at war with the Saints of God upon the earth. Do I ever pray that I may see them again? No, I do not. . . .

When I returned home I called upon brother Joseph, and we walked down the bank of the river. He there told me what contests he had had with the devil; he told me that he had contests with the devil, face to face. He also told me how he was handled and afflicted by the devil, and said, he had known circumstances where Elder [Sidney] Rigdon was pulled out of bed three times in one night. After all this some persons will say to me, that there are no evil spirits. I tell you they are thicker than the "Mormons" are in this country, but the Lord has said that there are more for us than there can be against us. "Who are they," says one? Righteous men who have been upon the earth. But do you suppose that angels will pay friendly visits to those who do not live up to their privileges? Would you? No, you would not like to visit with persons who lie, and steal your goods, and borrow and never pay. Would you not forsake such persons?

Death and spirits

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.3, p.276 - p.277
What is commonly called death does not destroy the body, it only causes a separation of spirit and body, but the principle of life, inherent in the native elements, of which the body is composed still continues with the particles of that body and causes it to decay, to dissolve itself into the elements of which it was composed, and all of which continue to have life. When the spirit given to man leaves the body, the tabernacle begins to decompose, is that death? No, death only separates the spirit and body, and a principle of life still operates in the untenanted tabernacle, but in a different way, and producing different effects from those observed while it was tenanted by the spirit. There is not a particle of element which is not filled with life, and all space is filled with element; there is no such thing as empty space, though some philosophers contend that there is.


Brigham Young, JD, Vol.8, p.28 - p.29
After the spirit leaves the body, it remains without a tabernacle in the spirit-world until the Lord, by his law that he has ordained, brings to pass the resurrection of the dead. When the angel who holds the keys of the resurrection shall sound his trumpet, then the peculiar fundamental particles that organized our bodies here, if we do honour to them, though they be deposited in the depths of the sea, and though one particle in the north, another in the south, another in the east, and another in the west, will be brought together again in the twinkling of an eye, and our spirits will take possession of them. We shall then be prepared to dwell with the Father and the Son, and we never can be prepared to dwell with them until then. Spirits, when they leave their bodies, do not dwell with the Father and the Son, but live in the spirit-world, where there are places prepared for them. Those who do honour to their tabernacles, who love and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, must put off this mortality, or they cannot put on immortality. This body must be changed, else it cannot be prepared to dwell in the glory of the Father. To me all these things are plain and easy. All we want is to understand the very subject Jesus was talking about, the nature of our organizations, the world we occupy, the laws by which we are, and by which we continue to exist.

How much freedom can we obtain after the resurrection?

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.8, p.341
When I carefully scan the subject, we cannot, neither in this time nor in the spirit-world, possess the least particle of element or our own beings, and call them ours, until we pass the ordeals the Gods have passed, and are crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives. And when we pass through the spirit-world and hear the trump of Gabriel sound, and our bodies rise from the dust and again clothe our spirits, even then we are not our own. We have not passed through all the ordeals until the Father crowns a son and says, "You have passed so far in the progression of perfection that you can now become independent, and I will give you power to control and organize and govern and dictate the elements of eternities. There is a vast eternity stretched out before you; now organize as you will." Not until then shall we possess one particle that is really our own, and yet we see people clinging to the earth.

Can intelligence end at death? No, because intelligence is matter

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.13, p.316
I have no fear of heavenly beings, for they are my friends. I want to go to their society and to be associated with them. I like some of God's messengers, who travel about, to visit me. I am fond of their society. I like the spirits that dwell there. I want to go home; I want to go back again and live there for ever. Why, the thought that the intelligence that is brought into existence here, may be annihilated, is enough to make one shudder! There are some who go so far in their unbelief that they deny the resurrection of the body; and even to say that the soul sleeps eternally. What is the use of your intelligence, what is it good for if this be true? There is no such thing as destroying element! There is no such philosophy as annihilation. If the spirit should return to native element the element would not be destroyed; the particles of matter will remain for ever.

Conclusion: a caution

Brigham Young, JD, Vol.13, p.316
There are some now getting so lofty in their imaginations, and so wise and intelligent in their own estimation that they pretend to explain all the mysteries of the past, present and future. They are like some called Latter-day Saints; they can talk very glibly about the principles of what they term the Gospel; but the practical workings of the religion of the Savior they know or care little about. You come to the Latter-day Saints, and you may find plenty who talk their religion a great deal; you may find a hundred willing even to die for it to one who is willing to live it.

The Bottom Line

[The conclusion of the statement regarding "The Seer,"quoted at the start of this page:]

"This should be a lasting lesson to the Elders of Israel not to undertake to teach doctrine they do not understand. If the Saints can preserve themselves in a present salvation day by day, which is easy to be taught and comprehended, it will be well with them hereafter. - BRIGHAM YOUNG, HEBER C. KIMBALL, DANIEL H. WELLS."


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