Please Help with Poll: Where do Spirit Bodies Come From?

Please Answer the following poll (and don’t just tell me what you think I want to hear).

22 Responses to “Please Help with Poll: Where do Spirit Bodies Come From?”

  1. 1 Matt W. January 14, 2010 at 10:37 am

    I voted “Spirit bodies are emergent from our adoptive relationship with God”. ie- If we are in God’s image, but eternal, and were not always in God’s image, some change in state occurred. I believe this change in state is naturally emergent from our entering into a relationship with our Father in Heaven. As we assume a parent/child relationship, our spirits begin to naturally emulate his, so that we become not only of same substance, but also the same form.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 10:57 am


    You have been listening to Blake to much. 🙂

  3. 3 Last Lemming January 14, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I could vote for any of those, depending on what you mean by Spirit bodies.

    If you mean person-shaped beings made out of spirit matter, I would vote for #3–I no longer believe in such beings.

    My actual vote was driven by what I mean by spirit bodies, so let me explain that. First, let me back up to intelligences. These I believe to be eternal (choice #4), but purely conceptual outside of a particular context. (Like the number “2”–the concept always exists, but is useless until it is placed into an equation–even if it’s just x=2.)

    Our intelligences are the mathematical specification for our physical bodies, but they do not become spirit bodies until they are placed in some kind of context. It is possible that my intelligence has been placed in a whole variety of contexts (i.e., by spirit body has been created many different times) without every becoming truly physical. (Think of God running a bunch of simulations before deciding which version to pursue for real). That would be an unorthodox spin on choice #1 (although the need for a married-couple creator does not fit here).

    But those can be dismissed as temporary spirit bodies, not the permanent one that counts. That one was not created until put into the context of earth life–i.e., when conception occurred, so I voted for #2.

  4. 4 Last Lemming January 14, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Now I see that the order of the questions is randomized so my references to choice numbers make no sense. I hope you can figure out what I meant.

  5. 5 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm


    I just can’t quite embrace that abstract idea of shape shifting, and aquireing attributes out of same relationship. (Althought it may be interesting in a brain plasticity sort of way).

    I prefer the more straight forward spirt birth model.

    What would stop any entity from undergoing similar change?

  6. 6 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 12:28 pm


    Could you provide me with a stright forward definition of how you take spirit bodies?

    I think you are right in suggesting that what we define spirit bodies to be, sort of dictates our answer.

  7. 7 J. Stapley January 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I think it would be helpful if you stated “Spirit Bodies are literally begotten/born of heavenly parents, through a spirit biological means.”

  8. 8 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm


    I always wonder how far one needs to go. I mean, literally born goes quite a ways don’t you think?

  9. 9 Clean Cut January 14, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    For some reason I cannot see the poll questions, so I can’t vote. But before I could feel confident enough to vote on one right answer, I would ideally need to see an overview of where the idea of a “spirit body” can be traced to and why it is so commonly accepted. I guess, all in all, I wish we would all step back and think about how Joseph Smith’s teachings on eternal spirits/intelligences lines up with the idea of “spirit birth” or even “spirit body”. I know there have been many a good post on this, but I’m still holding out for the “for dummies” version which would appeal to the average member and give the whole lowdown without the hours of research. Does anyone know if something like this exists?

  10. 10 Last Lemming January 14, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Could you provide me with a stright forward definition of how you take spirit bodies?

    Probably not, but let’s try this.

    Imagine a character in “The Sims” video game that is indistinguishable from you. Place that character in a virtual reality in which it can interact with every other character (human, animal, plant, or inanimate). Then turn off the monitor and let the simulation run. That is your spirit body in a spirit world.

  11. 11 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    Clean Cut:

    My take has been to accept the basic teachings of the church as they currently are, and try to defend those teachings against common arguements against them. I have not done or seen a historical research on the topic.

    So I look at things like True to the Faith’s explanation of Spirit:

    You are a spirit child of Heavenly Father, and you existed
    as a spirit before you were born on the earth. During your
    life on the earth, your spirit is housed in your physical body,
    which was born of mortal parents.
    From the scriptures, we learn about the nature of spirits.
    We learn that “all spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure,
    and can only be discerned by purer eyes” (D&C 131:7). We
    read that “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” (D&C 77:2; see also Ether 3:7–16).
    The scriptures also teach that at the time of physical
    death, the spirit does not die. It separates from the body and
    lives in the postmortal spirit world. At the time of resurrection,
    the spirit is reunited with the body, “never to be divided;
    thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal” (Alma

    And statements from the Proclamation, Gospel Principles, etc. Part of this is from my view is not just taking Joseph Smith, but also Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, etc., as sources as well.

  12. 12 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Last Lemming:

    Interesting explanation. I would just mimic the quote from TTTF in the above comment.

  13. 13 Bookslinger January 14, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Elder Packer and others have used the phrase that Heavenly Parents “clothed an intelligence with a spirit body.” To me, that implies that prior to that act of “clothing”, that the intelligence existed without a body of spirit.

    The progression then seems to go like this:

    intelligence ->(spirit “birth”)-> intelligence + spirit body ->(birth into mortality)-> intelligence + spirit body + mortal physical body ->(death)-> intelligence + spirit body ->(resurrection)-> intelligence + spirit + immortal physical body.

  14. 14 Clean Cut January 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Bookslinger, that very well could be. And it’s probably the most common way of understanding this. However, I’m not quite convinced that there was ever supposed to be an intended difference between “spirits” and “inteligences”. When I carefully read Abraham 3 and/or quotes by Joseph Smith (such as those listed in “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Joseph Smith” in the chapter on the plan of salvation), it seems to me that they are used interchangeably. I can’t make out ANY difference between “spirit” and “inteligences”.

  15. 15 Clean Cut January 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Assuming that is the case, however, there is still much room for interpretation as to how such intelligences were “clothed” with “spirit bodies”. Which is, I assume, why Eric is asking the question in the first place.

  16. 16 Eric Nielson January 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm


    If you are looking for historical development of this tripartite model, I would suggest ‘Immortality of Man’ by BH Roberts. I believe he was the first one to advocate this.

  17. 17 Clark January 14, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    I picked “begotton” but one should really expand that to “organized” without knowing how. I’m open to either a spirit birth analogous to physical birth or something that organizes intelligence in spirit stuff into a spirit body. But that more vague choice wasn’t an option.

  18. 18 David B January 29, 2010 at 5:25 am

    Recent GAs “intelligence clothed in spirit bodies” BY “He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process ” (JoD 11:122-123).
    JS “But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house tops that God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all” (Follett)

    I’m undecided

  19. 20 David B January 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Whether man is inherently a similar substance as God, or man was spiritually gestated and generated by God, the philosophical importance of either scenario is the equality and eternal potential of man. Once you start believing that man is a created being not unlike the dungbettle or the ape, it doesn’t take long for some to begin believing that God made them better then others.

  20. 21 Eric Nielson January 30, 2010 at 12:45 am


    I am a little confused by your comment.

    ‘equality and eternal potential of man’

    equality to what? What potential?

    ‘better than others’

    better than what?

  21. 22 David B January 31, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Equality in that all men are created equal. There is no master race or some humans created better than others. Divine potential in that all mankind have the potential in them to become like our Heavenly Father. God denieth none to come unto Him but all are alike unto God. Abraham was shown noble and great spirits but they became great by choice and exercising their agency and not that were created or generated better.

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