I am a Viviparous Child of God

Viviparous is a fancy-schmancy word that I would not know if it weren’t for GeoffJ.

Not long ago I wrote a post about being a literal child of God. Jeff Lindsay wrote a post that expresses this same thought using the main two scriptures I had used. I have also recently read ‘The Philosophical Basis of Mormonism’ by Talmage which has caused me to think about this a little more. In my previous post, I deliberately stayed away from speculating how we are literal children of God, but if I am going to take a strict and literal stance on this topic I must address that eventually. So, here goes….

In the Talmage address referenced above he stated:

God created all things spiritually before they were created temporally upon the earth; and the spirits of all men lived as intelligent beings, endowed with the capacity of choice and the rights of free agency, before they were born in the flesh. They were the spirit-children of God. (p. 5)

and then further said:

We, the human family, literally are the sons and daughters of Divine Parents, the spiritual progeny of God our Eternal Father, and of our God Mother…[p. 8� ].

John A. Widtsoe goes even further in ‘Rational Theology’:

Sex, which is indispensable on this earth for the perpetuation of the human race, is an eternal quality which has its equivalent everywhere. It is indestructible. The relationship between men and women is eternal and must continue eternally. In accordance with the Gospel philosophy there are males and females in heaven. Since we have a Father who is our God, we must also have a mother, who possesses the attributes of Godhood (p. 64).

He also goes even further:

It has already been said that sex is an eternal principle. The equivalent of sex has always existed and will continue forever. As the sex relation, then, represents an eternal condition, the begetting of children is coincidentally an eternal necessity. We have been begotten into the spirit world by God the Father…(p. 146)

Brigham Young taught this as well:

There is not a person here today but what is a son or a daughter of that being. In the spirit world their spirits were first begotten and brought forth, and they lived there with their parents for ages before they came here. This, perhaps, is hard for many to believe, but it is the greatest nonsense in the world not to believe it. If you do not believe it, cease to call him Father; and when you pray, pray to some other character. (Discourses p. 50)

There are a few who hold back on believing in a literal parent-child relationship between God and mankind partly because of the details of God the Father, and perhaps more to the point God the Mother. begetting offspring. Some of the objections include:

1- The large amount of time it would take to beget billions of spirit offspring.

2- The possibly undesirable experience for exalted women to give birth that many times.

3- The odd result of the reproductive process between glorified and resurrected beings – that of a spirit body without flesh and bones. What happened to multiplying after their own kind?

I would now like to take a stab at providing speculative answers to the above objections.

1- We are talking eternity here. What difference does it make how long it would take to have billions of spirit children? Time will be irrelevant I would think. It may take 10 minutes or 10 trillion years. What difference does it make?

2- One of the consequences of the fall was ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children’ (Moses 4:22). I suppose that bringing forth children is many times worse during mortality than it was before mortality. Maybe giving birth to a bouncing baby spirit body without flesh and bones will not be so bad.

3- I don’t know. This does seem odd. I must assume that what is really reproducing is the spirit. Could it be that the resurrected spirit is inseparably connected to a perfected and glorified, flesh and bone, indestructible exoskeleton. God is spirit.

Well, I suppose that about does it (of course :)). Are there yet good reasons to object to any of this?

I believe Joseph Smith was right when he said that our intelligences were not created nor made. This part of us is indeed eternal. I also believe that Brigham Young was right when he said that we are begotten spirit children of God. This part of us has a spirit birthday. And perhaps in a similar way to spirit bodies taking on mortal bodies on earth, the intelligences take on spirit bodies during the preexistence.

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81 Responses to “I am a Viviparous Child of God”


  1. 1 John Anderson January 8, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Luke’s accounting of Christ’s ancestry confirms this sort of thinkging:

    …which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.

    There’s also a great deal of effort in Genesis to teach us that things are created “after their own kind.” This kinda strikes down the literal interpretation of man being created from dirt.

    I personally prefer scriptural references rather than quotes, especially since most of your answers to the concerns you’ve noted are completely conjecture and opinion. 😉 I agree with you, we’ve just arrived in different vehicles.

  2. 2 cew-smoke January 8, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Man I sure hope we got some declicious spirit cake and ice cream on our birthdays. It did say ALL things were created spiritually in heaven first, so there must have been spirit cake and ice cream. Can you imagine how many people came to your spirit birthday?

    The good news is you could fit all of them in one room. Hey! We were spirits! You can do things like that when you aren’t hampered by a body.

    On a serious note, I like the idea that we are literal children of our heavenly parents. It makes me warm and fuzzy in ways that few other gospel principles do. I also like thinking of the Savior as my older (elder) brother.

    I just thought of a terrible sacriligeous thought. Did we ask Jesus to play catch with us when we were little? I know, I know I shouldn’t think such stupid things. On some note, though I often wonder if we didn’t seek out time with Him as newly, err born? spirit people. Isn’t that natural to seek out your older siblings for so many things? You look up to them and learn from them. Who knows maybe we even played games with him. I don’t know, but if things on earth are like that for families, how do we know they weren’t like that before?

    /shrug Just a thought.

  3. 3 C Jones January 8, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    I have five kids. Being a mom is one of the most joyous things that I can imagine experiencing in this life. Sex is up there on the list, also :>
    If I could have lots more babies without the physical discomfort and pain involved in mortality, I would do it in a heartbeat. I already agreed with you on this issue, but I’m glad to see that you are still preaching it!

    I think that what you say in this post is what the church teaches and what most members understand to be our doctrine. Anything else, and then we start getting into knots over the importance and permanence of temple sealings, etc.

  4. 4 Meno January 8, 2007 at 7:51 pm

    This, perhaps, is hard for many to believe, but it is the greatest nonsense in the world not to believe it.

    Classic! I love Brother Brigham!

    Preach it brother.

  5. 5 Eric Nielson January 9, 2007 at 7:39 am

    John

    Thanks for your comment. My previous post was more scripturally based. Unfortunately the scriptures seem to stop short of clearly stating something like ‘We are children of God that result from sexual relations between exalted couples’. For me the Romans 8 and Hebrews 12 verses are the best. Do you have any other scriptures that state the literalness of the parent/child relationship between us and God? There is definately a vague, general, yet consistent trend for this, but not many specifics.

    cew-smoke

    I actually like your thoughts here. It has been said that there is some link between being childlike, and what heaven is like. Perhaps those who live an exalted life will have lots of spirit rug-rats running around, with really big birthday parties and family home evenings.

    CJones

    Thanks again. I like your perspective here. I also agree that this is an important belief.

    Meno

    Brigham Young has some zingers all right. I also like the:

    If you do not believe it, cease to call him Father

    Thanks for your comment and support.

    Connor

    I love the new functionality of the comments box. This makes leaving links and quotes and bolds and italics easier. Thanks dude!

  6. 6 J. Stapley January 9, 2007 at 11:02 am

    A couple of thoughts:

    There have been leaders that believed in viviparous spirit birth, no question. It is impossible to separate Brigham’s conceptions of spirit birth from his Adam-God beliefs (so if you don’t believe, I would start ceasing to call him Father). I think Widtsoe is using the term sex and sex relation as the in “the sex of a child” or basically as meaning gender (this was the common language of his era, which you find in many of the church periodicals of the day).

    By your logic, I presume that you, like Orson Pratt, believe that there is a God/heavenly parents for every species of animal and plant.

    Eric: I believe Joseph Smith was right when he said that our intelligences were not created nor made.

    Do you also believe him when he said that God could not create the spirit of man?

  7. 7 Eric Nielson January 9, 2007 at 11:21 am

    J:

    Thanks for stopping by, I had hoped that you would.

    I admit that I do not understand why you say it is impossible to separate spirit birth from Adam-God. I have complete separation, so must be missing something.

    To me, the Widtsoe quotes in context unmistakeably link the term sex to the parent child relationship. I would cut and paste the quotes here, but they are in the body of the post. To me this is a clear link to what he was talking about. He was not just speaking of gender, but of relationships and the method of begetting spirit children. One might think he was mistaken, but it seems a stretch to me to misunderstand what he said.

    I have not sorted out my personal beliefs on animals and plants yet.

    J: Do you also believe him when he said that God could not create the spirit of man?

    I believe that there were times that Joseph Smith used the terms intelligence and spirit interchangeably. There is a note in Teachings (I believe by Joseph F. Smith) that ‘corrected’ this ‘mistake’. I happen to feel this way – that Joseph at times used the terms interchangeably. I think this is very understandable. So I believe he meant that God could not create the intelligences of man.

  8. 8 Eric Nielson January 9, 2007 at 11:23 am

    The note is in Teachings in the King Follet Discourse I believe.

  9. 9 J. Stapley January 9, 2007 at 11:29 am

    It surprises me that you state that Joseph used the term spirit and intelligence interchangeably then state right after that he meant intelligence only when using spirit. Either he used them interchangeably or not. It is true that this made JFSII uncomfortable and he tried to “correct” it.

    I’m not saying that you can’t believe in viviparous spirit birth and not believe in Adam-God. I am saying that you can’t separate Brigham’s beliefs and teachings on the matter. If you look to Brigham’s teachings on the matter, you have to accept that he was teaching Adam-God.

    I haven’t read all of Widstoe in too long, but I was simply stating that referring to “sex” at that period was a reference to gender not to sexual intercourse.

  10. 10 Matt Witten January 9, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    I am probably more in the “children by adoption” camp, based on the Book of Abraham, KFD, and other Joseph Smith quotes. I’d lay out my point, but it’s pretty normal and has probably all been said before.

    Besides, even if you decide on vivaporous yada yada, you have to deal with the fact that we existed prior to that, so that there must be some form of adoption going on in any case.

  11. 11 Jacob January 9, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    For what it is worth, I agree with Eric that the references to “sex” in the Widstoe quotes above are clearly referring to “sex” and not “gender.” I would be hard pressed to accept a doctrine based on what Widstoe believed, but I think his position is clear and unambiguous.

    There are enough arguments against viviparous spirit birth that I am undecided on the issue, but I think the strongest arguments in favor are found in the language about our own exaltation (e.g. D&C 131:1-4)rather than the language about God as our father. As has been pointed out in discussions of this topic before, even if God is our father by virtue of adopting us, he would still be rightly called our father.

  12. 12 Jacob January 9, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Matt,

    you have to deal with the fact that we existed prior to that, so that there must be some form of adoption going on in any case.

    Do you think your earthly parents adopted you in some form simply because you existed prior to your earthly birth? I have never thought that prior existence implies some form of adoption.

  13. 13 Matt Witten January 9, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Jacob: yes I do.

  14. 14 Matt W. January 9, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    Also, the “equivilant” of sex is not giving birth to children anyway. I don’t want to follow that thought further, except to point out widtsoe was speaking more to the idea we can have children in the afterlife, not to the method how.

  15. 15 Eric Nielson January 9, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    J:

    I think you are unnecessarily taking an absolute interpretation on my words. I don’t think I ever said he meant intelligences only when using spirit. I simply personally believe that in that case he meant intelligences, and JFS seemed to agree (or the other way around 🙂 )

    I haven’t seriously researched Brigham’s Adam-God stuff. Ultimately I believe there is easy separation as to the way things probably are.

    Matt:

    I feel it is vital to our theology to maintain the parent/child relationship as literal. So even though there may be an adoption of intelligenses, I find myself wanting to cling to a literal spirit relationship.

    Jacob:

    Thans for your comment. I also believe that what we teach about our own exaltation is at stake here. Thank you for pointing it out, it is an excellent point.

    Matt/Jacob:

    Intensly interesting issue. When we give birth in mortality, we are not creating spirits, so I agree with Matt on a type of spirit body adoption. I had not thought of that before as it relates to spirits and intelligences. Thanks so much for your thoughts here!

    Matt:

    But our possible future exaltation must be somewhat related to our past, no? As man now is….

  16. 16 Matt W. January 9, 2007 at 1:51 pm

    I don’t see how adoption takes away the “literal” parent/child relationship. please explain.

  17. 17 Eric Nielson January 9, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Matt:

    If we feel that our relationship to God is that of adoption, that could possibly lead to a belief that we are not the same ‘species’ as God. That perhaps we are adopted like somone might adopt a dog or a cat so to speak.

    Perhaps some might reason (I believe falsly) like this: God is God, he has always been God, he will always be God. We are not god, we have never been god, we will never really be god. Therefore we are fundamentally different critters from God.

    To me much of this comes down to the question of whether or not we have any devine origin or destiny. Is there a ‘germ’ of divinity to us. If we shy away from a belief in being the offspring of God we lose some of that don’t we?

    Does this help to what I am getting at Matt?

  18. 18 Matt W. January 9, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    I definitely see your point, Eric. I personally don’t feel I have lost that connection, but respect your point of view. I do view us as of the same species as our Father in Heaven, I just do not feel that intercourse and a spiritual in utero time were needed to bring that about. In fact, I assume that if gender is eternal(per the proclamation on the family.), so then species probably is as well.

  19. 19 Doug Towers January 9, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    I think this earth life answers this question twice over.

    1. We came here to learn to be like God. He is loving, we learn to love. He serves, we learn to serve. All the things we are commanded to do are to make us more like him. So since we are commanded to have children, are we to suppose that he doesn’t?

    2. For our spirit to adjust to being in the body, and learning how to use it very basically, it is required for us to spend months in a womb. How could an intelligence just magically acheive this in a spirit body? It would require time for adjustment also.

  20. 20 Connor Boyack January 9, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    For our spirit to adjust to being in the body, and learning how to use it very basically, it is required for us to spend months in a womb. How could an intelligence just magically acheive this in a spirit body? It would require time for adjustment also.

    As an interesting tangent, this might explain why evil spirits that possess bodies often do so in weird, spastic contortions. Hadn’t thought about this before…

  21. 21 Michelle January 9, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    I think it’s pretty compelling, too, that there is such protection of the creative act via commandments, because it’s one of the most God-like acts in this life. Creation is God’s watchword, as Elder Holland states.

    These are moments when we quite literally unite our will with God’s will, our spirit with His spirit, where communion through the veil becomes very real. At such moments we not only acknowledge His divinity but we quite literally take something of that divinity to ourselves. One aspect of that divinity given to virtually all men and women is the use of His power to create a human body, that wonder of all wonders, a genetically and spiritually unique being never before seen in the history of the world and never to be duplicated again in all the ages of eternity. A child, your child—with eyes and ears and fingers and toes and a future of unspeakable grandeur.

    Probably only a parent who has held that newborn infant in his or her arms understands the wonder of which I speak. Suffice it to say that of all the titles God has chosen for Himself, Father is the one He favors most, and creation is His watchword—especially human creation, creation in His image. You and I have been given something of that godliness….

    Although there are definitely elements of procreation here that are mortal (blood, for example), I have a hard time thinking that something so sacred and so protected and full of so much potential for joy and power and love in this life that somehow it’s going to be a completely different process in the next. Of course it will be different because of the non-mortal elements, but I tend to think that much of this life is to teach us truths about the next. Do I know exactly what that will mean? No, but I don’t mind leaving room for the concept of some kind of similarities to procreative processes in the next life.

  22. 22 Eric Nielson January 10, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Matt:

    Thanks dude.

    Doug:

    To address you points:

    1- Very nice. Things on this earth are a pattern of heavenly things. I think you are right on on this.

    2- Weird. I have not thought of this before.

    Connor:

    Weird. I have not thought of this before.

    Michelle:

    Excellent points and quotation Michelle.

  23. 23 Mikel January 10, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    I am new to this site but I found this topic very interesting. My thought is that I think people would find sex in heaven less concerning if sex wasn’t so tainted in the current world view. I think often there is the belief, even by some religions, that sex is somehow dirty or sinful even within marriage (like Catholics believing that sex is ONLY for procreation) and the widespread instances of sex before marriage. Given that view it is not surprising that people would find the thought of our Heavenly Father and Mother particitapting in such an act a little unnerving.

  24. 24 mistaben January 10, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Eric,

    3- The odd result of the reproductive process between glorified and resurrected beings – that of a spirit body without flesh and bones. What happened to multiplying after their own kind?
    ….
    3- I don’t know. This does seem odd. I must assume that what is really reproducing is the spirit. Could it be that the resurrected spirit is inseparably connected to a perfected and glorified, flesh and bone, indestructible exoskeleton. God is spirit. [emphasis mine]

    Oddly enough, this choice of words touches on exactly what I thought between reading the objection and your response. I imagined resurrected beings producing their young (spirits), which must undergo a metamorphosis to reach adulthood. I’d extend the analogy, but I’m not sure whether to link mortality or the “space of a time” following it with the pupa stage.

    Weird. Although two statements by the Lord make me wonder if it’s not so weird…

  25. 25 Doug Towers January 10, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    Mistaben

    If I understand your concerns correctly you are wondering how two beings with physical bodies produce a spirit body. This is, in part, answered by Brigham Young. He pointed out that for a physical body to be born requires people (he was referring to glorified ones – like our heavenly parents) to partake of matter.

    This being the case, if a god wants to produce a physical body, he and his wife partake of physical matter. If they wish to produce a spirit body they partake of spirit matter. Either way the offspring are in their image.

  26. 26 mistaben January 10, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    Doug,

    I hadn’t heard that before, but I really only posted because I liked the sudden idea I had, especially the “insect development bears witness of God” component. I believe in the literal spirit birth, but it doesn’t bother me that the newborn offspring of God are very different from Him, since neither tadpoles nor caterpillars immediately evoke their parents’ image either. Ah, but give them time!

    Actually, this line of reasoning leads me to wonder about ‘physio-spiritual’ differences between pre- and post-mortality spirits, perhaps analogous somehow to the differences between mortal and immortal bodies.

  27. 27 Eric Nielson January 10, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Mikel:

    Thanks so much for visiting and your nice comment! I think you are right about many people thinking that sex is an un-godly act would find this idea a bit revolting. That may be what causes some to believe differently.

    Mistaben:

    I think your ideas are good. I like the tadpole analogy. Thanks for the links.

  28. 28 Doug Towers January 10, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Mistaben

    I am curious as to what makes you feel there could be a difference in matter between pre- and post- mortal spirits. Surely we would not have changed our spirit bodies just by them being in a physical body?

  29. 29 mistaben January 11, 2007 at 1:59 am

    Doug:

    I don’ t mean a difference in the fundamental matter composing pre- and post-mortality spirits. Animals that undergo metamorphosis are different at each stage. At no time do they revert to an earlier state. Thus I wonder if having been born and died leaves a mark, so to speak, that makes my grandmother, for example, somehow different than my unborn grandchildren.

  30. 30 Doug Towers January 11, 2007 at 4:01 am

    Mistaben

    I must confess I have no answer to that one. But some things you may find interesting in such a consideration. I know what I am to say may sound weird, but I know the things I have seen are true by various methods. I have seen that our spirits are very capable of transforming bodily shape. What we do to fit our spirit inside a physical body is shrink up. Our spirits are sitting fair smack in the middle of our torso. Thus we have these feelings in what we tearm our heart. Typically we remain sitting with our knees up. But when moving within the torso, we can quickly shrink the legs even further. When most of the spirit body leaves our physical body (by sufficient motivation) it goes out in a streak. If ever you have felt your heart go bang, when looking at some female you seriously were taken by, that is what was happening. Your spirit went out to her. It usually takes the form and size of our physical body when stopped. Regard that as nonsense it you wish.

  31. 31 Connor Boyack January 11, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    I know what I am to say may sound weird…

    Ding, ding!

    Regard that as nonsense it you wish.

    Roger that.

  32. 32 Doug Towers January 11, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    Connor Boyack

    While reading your statement I was listening to the Corrs singing, “give me a reason”. That seems very appropriate.

  33. 34 Doug Towers January 12, 2007 at 1:13 am

    D&C 131:7 “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.”

    Our spirits inside us have these purer eyes already. Use them, and you will see.

    There is no one less likely to see than he who believes he can’t.

  34. 35 Connor January 12, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Please forgive me, Doug, if I’m hesitant to believe that my spirit “goes out in a streak” when I have the hots for some girl. What you state as authoritative I write off as entirely speculative.

  35. 36 Eric Nielson January 12, 2007 at 10:44 am

    ‘Knowing’ that spirits change shape is another odd thing to say Doug. I believe our doctrine would be that spirits are in the image of God, just as our bodies are. There is some interest in here, in terms of size. I have always imagined spirits reaching a physical maturity – much like Christ when he appeard to the Brother of Jared. But then they must inhabit an infant mortal body at first. Whether a spirit can be scaled to fit, or whether it is unimportant that a spirit match a body in size and shape I can not say.

    Saying that you know these things are true by various methods does sound a bit dubious to me.

  36. 37 Doug Towers January 12, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Connor

    I posed my experiences for consideration, rather than anticipating that they would just be accepted. I was hoping someone would be open minded enough to at least consider them. In all honesty I thought I would be wasting my time. So it is good that some have proven me wrong by hearing me out.

    Eric Nielson

    Our spirits don’t really change shape, other than in brief activities. We remain looking like a person inside. Our spirit face looks like us. It is only reasonable that considering many of us helped move physical matter around in the creation (Heavenly Father having taught us how) that we could easily manipulate the simpler spirit matter. I haven’t seen a baby’s spirit, but I would assume they would be the same: That the spirit body would be entirely in the body.

    The various methods I know these things from is the actions of other people relative to me. And that a female admitted having those feelings for me at several times when I saw her spirit come to me. And that she equally saw my spirit go to her on one occassion. I also saw the streak of another female’s spirit coming to me, and she later admitted that she was feeling strongly toward me on that occassion. I have watched my own spirit go out of me to a female a few times, also. Our spirits have an awful lot of untapped abilities that we just don’t normally use, or are aware of. We truly are our Father’s children. A long way to go to get like him, but the basics are there.

  37. 38 Eric Nielson January 12, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    Interesting.

    I have never heard nor experienced anything quite like you describe.

  38. 39 Connor January 12, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    Doug,

    Be careful, my friend. Again, you are stating things “for consideration” while making authoritative claims on the nature, behavior, and appearance of our spirits when your claims have no scriptural or revelatory support. Taken to an extreme, that’s the high road to apostasy.

    If you feel what you believe is true, that’s fine. If you claim it has been revealed to you, that’s fine. But sharing it with others and proclaiming it as truth when those in authority over us have made no such supporting statements is inappropriate and inadvisable.

    I hope that others reading this thread take the wise route of ignoring your claims as mere speculation and personal belief. Please don’t tout them as anything otherwise.

  39. 40 Eric Nielson January 12, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    This reminds me of a previous post.

    Doug, if I were to experience things like you describe, I would not know what to make of them. It is somewhat foreign to me. Is there similar experiences mentioned in scripture? Are there similar things expressed and taught by church leaders? It just seems odd and inconsistant to me.

  40. 41 Connor January 12, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    On that thread Eric linked to, Doug said the following:

    Almost all of the revelations that the Spirit gives me he backs up with scripture quotes. Nextly, while reading something I find some past GA has said the same thing, in the [vast] majority of cases also.

    I’d be interested, Doug, to see if you have any scriptures or quotes to support the claims you’ve been making on this thread.

  41. 42 Jordan January 12, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    Connor:

    This is actually a problem. Doug has appeared on a DAMU site in an attempt to defend the church from undue criticism. In doing so, he has made Latter-day Saints sound ridiculous for spouting strange ideas, theories and specuation he has as doctrinal.

    The disaffected mormons on the comments are having a heyday pointing out how Doug’s comments personify the “nutty”, “mainstream” mormon doctrine that is the reason why they left the Church. It’s really embarassing and unfortunate that people are going to come away from reading comments there and perhaps now here with a false impression of LDS doctrine based on his comments, or having their distorted perceptions somehow validated.

    That said, I think the original post is quite interesting stuff to think about.

  42. 43 Michelle January 12, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Eric,
    Did you write on this topic again just to get on the “most commented” list? 🙂

    Doug,
    I have to second (third?) the concerns about your comments. If one “knows” something to be true that is outside what is commonly known and preached and such, it probably shouldn’t be talked about in public, ya know? (a la Alma 12:9) Like Connor said, if there are authoratative quotes, I’d love to see some, too, if you have them.) But I’m always uncomfortable when someone comes in and shares personal experiences that have no authoratative backup, and/or seem to be personal enough to be kept that way.

    Incidentally, I think you have a lot of good things to say. I’ve enjoyed many of your comments. It’s clear you spend time thinking about the gospel and I love that. Send along some quotes and scriptures…I’m interested to see what they have to say on this topic.

  43. 44 Doug Towers January 12, 2007 at 6:09 pm

    Jordan

    I could almost spend all year showing quotes to support the comments relative to demonstrating that men and women are different: The final point of debate. The internet is replete with jokes about the differences of women to men. I have absolutely no fear of being out of step with God by supporting him in his claims of such. Nor would I compromise his position to suit the whims of modern philosophy. I don’t believe my statements made a cracker of difference to those wishing to justify their stance against God. How can me supporting God’s words move them away from God, unless they wouldn’t accept them anyway?

    Main Concern

    I don’t quite see my comment as posing anything more than something I am certain of. In fact I did say “Regard that as nonsense it you wish. “ I said nothing of the statement being church doctrine. It, in fact, seems fairly basic, simple stuff to me. If I am wrong no one will be worse off.

    Michelle

    Thanks for the compliment, I feel the same of you. The Alma quote is always an interesting point that I do try to keep in mind when saying things. It is often difficult, in my enthusiasm, to remember what to say and what not to say. And there are things that I do keep quiet because of the damage they could do in the wrong hands. Things that could be justified etc. However this stuff seems harmless information that no one could use to justify wrong.

    I can’t say at this point that I am aware of anyone stating anything in scripture (or past GAs) about people seeing spirits inside people, one way or the other. But certain things of scripture do support basic ideas I’ve presented. As I have quoted already, spirit matter can be seen. We have countless people who have seen spirits. I don’t think I need support this part by scripture. Secondly I think you would all agree that a spirit has the same form as us. I would assume you accept the scriptures support this part also. You would accept that our spirits are in our bodies. I think you are aware of the scriptures supporting this part also. I assume you would support my claim that the feelings you are feeling in your hearts are, in fact, in your spirit. That is where the Holy Ghost testifies to your spirit. So this would mean that your spirit is focused in that area. As we think in our heads would any of you oppose me suggesting that the spirit does the same? If not then this would support my claim of seeing that our spirit’s head is in the chest area. I assume you are all aware that some of us were involved in the creating of the world. This required the moving of physical matter. If we can move the heavier physical matter then we logically can move spirit matter. This concept supports my claim of seeing spirits are capable of this. As you have pointed out, Eric, there is the question of how a full grown spirit fits in a baby’s body. My claim answers this in a logical manner. I have sent feelings of interst to a female that she picks up, and turns immediately. We send messages out to other people often. I don’t think too many of you would disagree with me there. This adds some possibility in support of my claim that part of our spirit can leave our body.

    So, the scriptures and life offer a lot of support for what I am saying, even if they don’t speak in such direct terms. I will fossick around and see what I can find from past GAs, and let you know if I find anything interesting.

    In the meantime, as I say, I just prestented it for something to consider from my experiences. Just tuck it away in one of those theory draws.

  44. 45 Jordan January 12, 2007 at 6:14 pm

    Doug:

    I was not referring to your comments on the differences between men and women- though I think you actually went too far, but that is a comment for another blog.

    I was commenting on your speculative and dangerous approach to something which I hold sacred- the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ, both here and elsewhere.

    But do feel free to regard that as nonsense if you wish.

  45. 46 Doug Towers January 12, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Jordan

    That is a very general statement. As it is best not to divert from the topic we are on, you could come to my blog and present your feelings regarding my doctrine, on my latest post.

  46. 47 Michelle January 12, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    That is where the Holy Ghost testifies to your spirit. So this would mean that your spirit is focused in that area.

    This is where I personally think your leap is too big. I was with you until then; and this also is the point where your initial comment didn’t gel with me. My heart doesn’t feel all warm and fuzzy about it. 🙂 I don’t think we know what it means vis-a-vis what our spirits are doing when we feel the Spirit in our hearts; also scriptures say that the Spirit can speak to our minds as well. I tend to think that our spirits occupy our bodies in a pretty body-like way, but that is also speculation.

    As we think in our heads would any of you oppose me suggesting that the spirit does the same? If not then this would support my claim of seeing that our spirit’s head is in the chest area.

    Again, scripture say that the Spirit can speak to both head and heart, and does. So that seems to conflict what you have suggested. To me, the rest of your argument quickly loses logic at that point.

  47. 48 Doug Towers January 12, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Michelle

    This just seems to get deeper, and less likely that you will see what I’m talking about. It will all sound screwier and screwier the further I go in. However, having started I will persist. I am trying to keep this as simple as possible, so please be patient with me if I haven’t explained it properly. In this post we have talked of the 3 parts that make us up, intelligence, spirit body and physical body. The spirit talks to the part of you and me that we have developed during this lifetime (in our physical heads)(which has no memory of the pre-existence because it wasn’t there). But 2 other parts of us exist, one having eternal memory. People talk of lower conscious levels. The spirit testifies to our spirit section, while communicating to our physical life section. That is, in fact, a point giving further consistency to my claims.

  48. 49 Michelle January 12, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    Doug, you are right. I don’t see it and I suspect that I won’t. I really have a hard time resonating with things that don’t have some solid connection with authorized material. You can argue perhaps from your point of view that I don’t have sufficient ability or depth to grasp what you are saying, but for me it really loses foundation at the points I mentioned. It’s probably frustrating to not be able to explain it, but I suspect I won’t get it the way things are going. Sorry.

  49. 50 Connor January 12, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    ::: tumbleweed floats by :::

  50. 51 Doug Towers January 13, 2007 at 2:04 am

    Michelle

    While I understand that for a person’s concepts to be accepted as authoritive it should be backed by Scripture, or some GA at least. But wouldn’t conversation and ideas become rather limited if we can’t at least talk of private experiences and revelations beyond those means? I’m not talking about what we make as Scripture. I just thought of that scripture that says out of the mouth of babes and sucklings. Would all those statements be in Scripture, or stated by GAs?

    Nevertheless, I have been heard out, and I thank you all for being understanding.

  51. 52 Michelle January 13, 2007 at 3:13 am

    Doug, my personal preference is to discuss things that clearly build on foundations of scripture and authoratative quotes. You start there, but then go off into things that just didn’t gel for me with such a foundation (again, I’m giving you my point of view). Clearly, there will likely always be some disagreement about interpretation of scripture and such (hence the reason the bloggernacle exists). 🙂

    I guess some of what turned me off from your ideas was the preface of your comments not by “I have wondered” nor “what do you think about this” but “I know these things to be true.” I think folks around here are really pretty open minded to different ideas, but conversation pretty much shuts down with “declarations of truth” based solely on personal experience, without some solid authoritative backup, and/or rather than keeping things at a level of “I’ve thought that maybe….” Does that make sense?

    Incidentally, I do think what might come out of the mouths of babes would most likely have some pretty solid foundation in scripture and prophetic words. I believe they are the key to learning the mysteries that we aren’t supposed to talk about. 🙂 That’s just my opinion. Any limited experience I’ve had with learning beyond the surface has been firmly tied to scriptures and prophets in some way. The Spirit has done the rest. 🙂 I’m sure there are other ways to learn great things, but that’s my limited experience. 🙂

  52. 53 Doug Towers January 13, 2007 at 6:10 am

    Michelle

    Thanks for the advice, I will have to try and keep this is mind when commenting in the future.

  53. 54 Eric Nielson January 13, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Michelle:

    The more I am involved in blogging, the less I care about number of comments. I don’t particularly want to be ignored, but nimber of comments means very little. Some of the best posts I have ever read have very few comments. Some of the worst posts I have read have tons of comments. Sometimes I am afraid that when a post like this gets lots of comments, that it may be a sign that something is wrong with the post. Perhaps I should have kept this door closed.

    My only purpose in pursuing this idea is that I feel very strongly about our doctrine of being children of God. It is my feeling that our church takes this idea far more literally than most christian churches, and that I take it more literally than many on the bloggernacle seem to.

    The point of this whole post was to try to strengthen our belief in being children of God. I think in general it is a beautiful and important doctrine.

    I’m sorry if the way I presented it lead to strange tangent ideas. I also hope that I have not been irreverent in sacred things. I felt the need to be a little blunt in order to express how literally I take this belief.

  54. 55 Michelle January 13, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Eric,
    I really was just kidding you. I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have joked about it because it *is* something important to you.
    Sometimes ideas, no matter how presented, might bring in different points of view. I think you did just fine. 🙂

  55. 56 Doug Towers January 14, 2007 at 5:43 am

    Eric

    I am sorry I messed up the flow of your message. I had no idea my statement would cause such a stir. In fact I thought it would be totally ignored. So I think something good did come from your post, and that is a demonstration of tollerance. I am impressed even if you aren’t.

  56. 57 Eric Nielson January 14, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Doug and Michell:

    I’m not upset with either of you in the least. Thanks so much for following anything I try and express. I do think this topic is important, but I know that my intellectual and scholarly talents are weak.

    I’m not really in this for popularity, I like discussing this type of stuff with those I respect so much.

  57. 58 Geoff J January 15, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Hehehe.

    Things always go “sproing!” on a thread when Doug Towers or Rob Osborn show up… Is it any wonder I think they are fictional characters?

    Eric – I think this reproducing after their own kind is a huge problem for the viviparous birth crowd. Combine that with the excellent points made about adopted children being “literal children” of their parents too and I can’t see good reasons to accept the notion that our spirits had gestate in a celestial womb.

    BTW – In your idea how did they create the line-up for the beginningless intelligences to finally get sent to My Turn In A Spirit Body? I assume you think there are still intelligences waiting in line to get spirit bodies right? Sucks to be them I guess… 😉

  58. 59 Eric Nielson January 15, 2007 at 7:45 am

    Geoff:

    Doug and Rob seem like faily similar people. If you feel they are fictional, do you also feel they are the same? While I don’t always agree with them, they seem sincere.

    I think there are enough possible explanation about reproducing after their own kind to leave the door open for viviparous beings…

    As far as adoption goes, I understand that sentiment. I worry that this belief may eventually lead to a belief that we are ontologically different from God (may not be using the word quite right). It just seems that we could loose what belief in having a spark of divinity in us at all once that happens. Again I say one can adopt a dog or a cat, this doesn’t make them your offspring or even species.

    I do not see why is would ‘suck’ for intelligences to wait on a spirit body any more than it would ‘suck’ for spirits to wait to come to earth. We are talking eternity here. What would really ‘suck’ is having to go through the cycle who knows how many times? THAT would suck 🙂

    (I’m not really trying to pick a fight Geoff. You know I love you right?)

  59. 60 Matt W. January 15, 2007 at 10:01 am

    In Geoff’s defense, although I am inclined to disagree with him, there is something to be said for having more than “one chance” at not messing up.

    Further, back on the Vivaporous thread, by this same reasoning, are you suggesting that since Jesus was a literal earthly child of God that Mary did not really have a Virgin Birth?

    I state that since Jesus was a literal earthly Child of God and Mary was a virgin, we can assume that intercourse is not God’s mode of making babies. I do not see how this implies we can not progress to reaching the Level where God is at. Why Lower God instead of raise ourselves?

  60. 61 Eric Nielson January 15, 2007 at 10:36 am

    Matt:

    This is of course a good question. Answering it would of necessity be a guess. How much of a ‘miracle’ was the birth of Christ? I do not know. Somehow or another Mary got pregnant, not sure how it happened.

    I’m not sure I can really rule anything out – so I have no real assumptions to draw. One could assume in many directions. I believe God was the earthly father of Jesus, and I have no information as to how it was accomplished.

    So, sorry Matt. I am going to hold off on taking a stand on your question. It is a good one.

  61. 62 Matt W. January 15, 2007 at 11:04 am

    fair enough, Eric. I respect the answer “I do not Know.” more than any other. In that vein, How much of a Miracle was our spiritual birth? I do not know.

  62. 63 Eric Nielson January 15, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    I have thought more on your comment Matt. The topic of this post was viviparous birth. Your example of Christ’s birth on earth was used by you to make a case against sexual relations for God’s making babies. Fair enough. But it actually helps make the case for a viviparous birth does it not?

  63. 64 Matt W. January 15, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    It does not directly argue against a vivaporous birth, but I wouldn’t see it as evidence for such either. By implication, it puts it, for me, as something inneffable. That doesn’t mean we can’t imagine it.

    I am still a little vague on the distinction between spirit and intelligence, to be honest, so perhaps I’d need to see some form of solid scriptural or doctrinal evidence for a major state change between the two forms. For all I know Intelligence and Spirit’s difference could be tantamount to a rejection or acceptance of Heavenly Father via Covenant, to a difference in age, or to assimilation into the “Borg”.

    You seem to be pro-vivaporous birth based on the idea that we have some form of “celestial genetic” need we have to be like God in our “celestial genetic” system for us to eventually become like God. Is that correct? If so, why couldn’t we have always had that potential?

  64. 65 Eric Nielson January 15, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    As far as the spirit and intelligence distinction goes, for me a belief in a spirit birth, where an intelligence inhabits a spirit body, clears up what otherwise might be contradictions.

    There are scriptures which to me clearly teach of a parent/child relationship between God and man. There are scriptures, and statements of modern prophets and apostles that speak of us as being begotten children of God.

    But then there are scriptures and teaching of Joseph Smith particularly that let us know that something about us is eternal, and can not be created or made. At the face of it these two teachings appear to be contradictory. If we are eternal, how can we be begotten spirit children of God? And if there was a point in time when we were begotten spirits of God, how can we be eternal?

    I happen to take being a child of God more literally than some do. So currently I believe that I had a spirit birthday, when my spirit was born to heavenly parents (the proclamation on the family speaks to this I believe). And much like when our spirits inhabit our earthly bodies in mortality, I guess that intelligences inhabit spirit bodies in the pre-existence. Following a similar pattern.

    It appears to me that at some level, Brigham Young, Talmage, Widtsoe, JFS, Joseph Fielding Smith, Bruce R McConkie, and Gordon B. Hinkley sort of agree with me. Others would say that this contradicts some of Joseph Smith’s teachings.

    Sorry for a lack of references here. You can probably find them faster than I can anyhow.

  65. 66 Doug Towers January 16, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Geoff J

    I’m not interested in attacking you, but I am curious about your logic. You are saying that you feel I could be ficticious because I talk of personal experiences outside the realm of the generally discussed concepts. How would Joseph Smith have rated with you? “I’ve seen the Father and the Son”, he would say. You’d ask, “is it in the Scriptures?” No. Well we can’t accept it Joseph.

    Eric Nielson

    Thanks for your open-mindedness.

  66. 67 Matt W. January 16, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    School started today, so I have to limit my blogging a bit. To that end, I can agree to disagree and be grateful that you are a faithful brother in the Gospel. At some point, I’ll look to bring this back up and push you some thoughts on it.

  67. 68 Matt W. April 3, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Eric, I was thiniking about posting this as a new post, but thought better of it, since it uses the term sex much to often. Anyway, this is in answer to the question “What does Widtsoe mean when he says sex.”

    What if Eric is right and when Widtsoe says Sex, he means sex?

    Psychologists and students generally admit that the first years of life are crucial in determining what shall be the future of the child, physically, mentally and spiritually; that grave responsibility belongs, by right of sex, to the women who bear and nurture the whole race.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 85.)

    When men express such sentiments regarding women one must know that such a feeling as sex-jealousy is set aside.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 87.)

    No Sex Rivalry in the Church. When the Priesthood is understood and exercised righteously there can be no “sex antagonism.”

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 87.)

    It is but a small and puny-souled man who could wish to humiliate women as a class and keep them as an inferior sex; for men can never rise superior to the women who bear and nurture them.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 89.)

    Indeed, a woman who would sacrifice the greatest of all earth professions, that of motherhood, which is hers by right of sex, for the silly reason of proving that she can do a man’s work as well as any man, or for any other reason, is something less than a true woman, and is to be pitied as well as condemned.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 90.)

    Woman has her gift of equal magnitude, and that is bestowed on the simple and weak as well as upon those who are great and strong. Sex enters here and is indisputable. It is eternal, so why quarrel with it? A wiser power than any on earth understands why a spirit in the far off beginning was male or female.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 90.)

    There is indeed no privileged class or sex within the true Church of Christ; and in reality there can be no discrimination between the sexes only as human beings make it or permit it. Men have their work to do and their powers to exercise for the benefit of all the members of the Church regardless of sex or age. So with woman: Her special gifts are to be exercised for the benefit and uplift of the race. This equally shared responsibility makes men and women real “team-mates” in that which makes for human progress. Each one is a complement to the other and neither sex alone may function completely in the world’s work.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 92.)

  68. 69 Eric Nielson April 4, 2007 at 5:05 am

    Matt:

    My first impression is that this is completely wrong.

    Just becasue Widtsoe uses the word sex sometimes to refer to gender does not mean that that is the only definition for the word in his mind. The specific quote in Rational Theology clearly refers to the other meaning of the word. Even a casual reading of the text will reveal this.

  69. 70 Matt W. April 4, 2007 at 8:06 am

    Eric, the point is that I can find no where else in Widtsoe’s writings does Widtsoe use the term sex in the way you describe. He does mention sex immorality and sex glands, but I see no where that correlates to what you are talking about.

    Sex being eternal is only mentioned in one other place, so far as I can see, and it is here….

    Woman has her gift of equal magnitude, and that is bestowed on the simple and weak as well as upon those who are great and strong. Sex enters here and is indisputable. It is eternal, so why quarrel with it? A wiser power than any on earth understands why a spirit in the far off beginning was male or female.

    (John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 90.)

    This doesn’t mean you’re wrong about our being “begotten”, and Widtsoe does mention our beng begotten in several places, it just means it is less explicit than you previously thought.

  70. 71 Eric Nielson April 4, 2007 at 9:30 am

    No it doesn’t. The reference on page 146 could not be more clear.

    Just because he didn’t go around publically talking about sexual intercourse very often does not mean very much.

  71. 72 Eric Nielson April 4, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Another interesting quote from Marion G. Romney:

    In origin, man is a son of God. The spirits of men “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24). Through that birth process, self-existing intelligence was organized into individual spirit beings.

    From the November 1978 Ensign page 13.

  72. 73 Matt W. April 4, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    I have a question about your quote from p. 146. Where did you get it?

    From the e-text online, it reads differently…

    It says:

    It has already been said that sex is an eternal principle. The equivalent of sex, dimly understood by man, has always existed and will continue forever. Since sex, then, represents an eternal condition, the begetting of children is coincidentally an eternal necessity. We were begotten into the spirit world by God the Father, and have been born into the world which we now possess.

    You say it says:

    It has already been said that sex is an eternal principle. The equivalent of sex has always existed and will continue forever. As the sex relation, then, represents an eternal condition, the begetting of children is coincidentally an eternal necessity. We have been begotten into the spirit world by God the Father…(p. 146)

    I am curious about this edit….

  73. 74 Eric Nielson April 4, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    I typed mine in directly from my paperback copy of the book.

  74. 75 Matt W. April 4, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    I’ll have to look at my copy of the book when I get home. I have the 7th edition, I think….

  75. 76 Eric Nielson April 4, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    I believe Rational Theology, to be the word of a smart guy who later bacame an apostle, as far as it is translated correctly. I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

  76. 77 Matt W. April 5, 2007 at 10:11 am

    My edition at home was the same as the e-text. Hmm…It was published by Bookcraft. What version are you using?

  77. 78 Eric Nielson April 5, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I think mine was signature.

  78. 79 Matt W. April 5, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Wow, you own a book published by signature. That’s something I’ve never done. It’s probably irrational, but I don’t like that they are all into the dan vogel, brigham madsen, grant palmer crap, so I try not to financially support them.

    Anyway, it would be interesting to see why the change is there in signature’s edition. Perhaps they were using the original draft or something and the copy I have was edited by someone in the church?

  79. 80 RoAnn April 18, 2007 at 8:48 am

    There is perhaps good reason why some LDS women in particular are prone to be a tad concerned about totally literal parallels between mortal and spirit birth and child raising.

    However enjoyable the conception stage might be, it is difficult for some to get too enthusiastic about any process that might also involve other exact parallels such as being pregnant and nursing always and forever (even if it did not involve sickness or pain), or changing billions and billions of spirit diapers throughout all eternity. 🙂

    On earth we now have more than one way to transfer mortal genetic material from one generation to the next. Whenever people want to get too technical about these sorts of things, I just relax and trust that if I am ever worthy of exaltation, I will be completely happy with whatever arrangements and conditions that state entails.

  80. 81 Eric Nielson April 18, 2007 at 9:30 am

    That’s a great attitude and perspective.

    Maybe spirit diapers don’t stink?

    I certainly don’t know how things will be, but I’m sure we will all be just fine.


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