Brigham on spirit

By: J. Stapley - February 14, 2007

Due to the explicit discourse of Joseph Smith, most frequently called the King Follet Discourse, many Latter-day saints believe that the spirit and mind of man is eternal and can never be created or destroyed. While he had preached this concept five years earlier, there was a significant diversity of thought post-martyrdom on the topic. Perhaps the two most identifiable ideologies were those of Orson Pratt (see here) and Brigham Young. This post will deal with Brigham’s thoughts on spirit creation from the perspective of a unique aspect of his thought: spirit destruction.

Perhaps as one of the many cats he decided to loose from the bag, Brigham frequently preached on the creation and destruction of the soul. In 1853 he stated:

Every kingdom will be blotted out of existence, except the one whose ruling spirit is the Holy Ghost, and whose king is the Lord. The Lord said to Jeremiah the Prophet, “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hands of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” The clay that marred in the potter’s hands was thrown back into the unprepared portion, to be prepared over again. So it will be with every wicked man and woman, and every wicked nation, kingdom, and government upon earth, sooner or later; they will be thrown back to the native element from which they originated, to be worked over again, and be prepared to enjoy some sort of a kingdom. (1)

And later that year:

Jesus says, he will DESTROY death and him that hath the power of it. What can you make of this but decomposition, the returning of the organized particles to their native element, after suffering the wrath of God until the time appointed. That appears a mystery, but the principle has been in existence from all eternity, only it is something you have not known or thought of. When the elements in an organized form do not fill the end of their creation, they are thrown back again, like brother Kimball’s old pottery ware, to be ground up, and made over again. All I have to say about it is what Jesus says—I will destroy Death, and him that hath the power of it, which is the devil. And if he ever makes “a full end of the wicked,” what else can he do than entirely disorganize them, and reduce them to their native element? Here are some of the mysteries of the kingdom. (2)

Brigham used the metaphore of pottery for both spirit and physical creation. Brigham believed in a spirit element that was organized into a conscious spirit. If this soul never accepted Christ, the element would not be wasted, but reused in the formation of another soul. Obviously, for Brigham, the mind was not eternal:

Christ will never cease the warfare, until he destroys death and him that hath the power of it. Every possession and object of affection will be taken from those who forsake the truth, and their identity and existence will eventually cease. “That is strange doctrine.” No matter, they have not an object which they can place their hands or affections upon, but what will vanish and pass away. That is the course and will be the tendency of every man and woman, when they decided to leave this kingdom. (3)

The eternal fate of those who rebelled is not certain in Brigham’s thought, but he does show that their continued existence is a function of grace:

When there was rebellion in heaven, judgment was laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet, and the evil were cast out. Yet there was a portion of grace allotted to those rebellious characters, or they would have been sent to their native element. (4)

These are a few examples of many in which Brigham preached on the subject of spirit destruction (5). He continued to preach on the matter until his death.
_______________

  1. JD 2:124
  2. JD 1:275-276
  3. JD 4:32, emphasis added; see also 7:57-58 & 18:234
  4. JD 3:256
  5. Other examples include JD 3:203, 4:54, 5:54, 6:346, 7:276, 7:287, 8:29, 9:149-150, 13:316-317 & The Office Journal of President Brigham Young, 1858-1863, Book D, pg. 35.

112 Comments

  1. I sort have assumed that Brigham was a spirit atomist of sorts too. I get the sense though that he did not agree with Orson’s variety of spirit atomism where every particle is a free thinking individual until it melds with a higher union (or whatever). Rather, it seems like Brigham is sort of an emergentist who believed that God puts non-living and non-free-willed spirit atoms together and a mind emerges from the parts. (Perhaps from a spirit brain — sort of like what folks like Blake assume happens with physical brains.) Is that the sense you get from your readings too?

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/14/2007 @ 1:40 am

  2. Interesting quotes, I had never seen them before.

    When this is compared with the analogy of the ring that Joseph used, I wonder what Joseph would say about our flesh and bone bodies. Certainly they had a beginning at physical birth. They will have another sort of beginning at the resurrection. If they have a beginning – even at the resurrection, would Joseph have to conclude that our resurrected bodies will have an end? Or can his analogy of a ring only be taken so far?

    Comment by Eric — 2/14/2007 @ 8:45 am

  3. Geoff, yeah, that is pretty much how I see Brigham thinking.

    I think Joseph’s use of the ring simply as he stated, in relation to our spirits and minds. The ring analogy is fairly flawed, but it is important in understanding Joseph.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 10:21 am

  4. The ring analogy is fairly flawed

    Actually, we don’t know if the ring analogy is flawed or not. It is possible that it is completely accurate. We are talking about an infinity of time after all.

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/14/2007 @ 11:24 am

  5. Actually if there is an eternal round then the ring analogy is quite apt. So long as one doesn’t take it as eternal recurrence of the same ala the Stoics.

    Comment by Clark — 2/14/2007 @ 12:13 pm

  6. I guess, Clark, it depends on what portion of the analogy we are talking about. If you cut the ring it has a beginning and an end. I’m not sure that is valid when projected on everything.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 12:25 pm

  7. Clark, my point is that we can’t rule out a true eternal recurrence model a la the Stoics. Joseph’s statements certainly line up with that well. Besides, I am not convinced that an infinite memory is possible (storage space problems) so if there is a loop as Joseph indicatedin the ring analogy perhaps the “restart” for any given being is beyond storable memory anyway…

    (Hehe — how’s that for speculation?)

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/14/2007 @ 12:31 pm

  8. If this soul never excepted Christ, the element would not be wasted,

    J., I just finished giving you a hard time at BCC for pulling this same grammatical stunt. What’s going on with you brother? Have you been hittin’ the hash or something?

    /Somethings really wrong when the prophet advocates “excepting Christ”

    Comment by and by — 2/14/2007 @ 12:48 pm

  9. and by, I am a notoriously poor copy editor. I have fixed the typo.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 12:52 pm

  10. From the first quotes given, there is,it seems a potential for a Harmony of sorts between BY and JS. The “native element” may simply be the spirit or intelligence of man. (depending on your view of it.)

    The second set are more difficult to harmonize. I think such a belief leaves little difference between our beliefs and ex nihlio creation.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/14/2007 @ 12:59 pm

  11. Matt, I think if you read all the quotes (including those in fn5) you wouldn’t say that. Moreover, what about the eternality of the mind (aka spirit)?

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 1:00 pm

  12. J. Are you disagreeing that “native element” can mean the spirit or intelligence of man, or are you disagreeing that creation of the mind of man from baser elements is practically creation ex nihlio?

    Not sure what you mean…

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/14/2007 @ 1:14 pm

  13. No, I am saying that you are conflating words. Brigham clearly believed in eternal physical element and eternal spirit element. He believed God takes lifeless spirit element and forms it into a spirit being. (now Orson believed that the element did have life, but we know how Brigham felt about that). I reject that Brigham thought intelligence and spirit element were the same, see for example:

    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.

    “Why,” some say, “we thought that the wicked were to be sent to hell to dwell with eternal burnings for evermore.” They go to hell and will stay there until the anger of the Almighty consumes them and they become disorganized, as the elements of the fuel we burn are disorganized by the action of fire and thrown back again to their native element. (JD 7:287)

    or:

    Something or other will divide this intelligence or spirit from the body which it inhabits; and the tabernacle will go down to dust. Our spirits will not sleep an eternal sleep, but our bodies will be resurrected, and our spirits and our bodies will be reunited; and all who believe to the contrary are in a state of darkness, wretchedness and unbelief. (JD 13:316-317)

    You are trying to get Brigham to say something that he isn’t. You say that there is a harmony of sort to be made with JS, and I am saying that you are mistaken. Joseph was unequivocal that the mind is eternal. BY disagreed.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 1:37 pm

  14. Ok, I am not trying to argue for a harmony really, just noting that the first quotes were able to be harmonized, while the latter quotes were not. Since the latter quotes are not able to be harmonized, there is definitely a difference in opinion. Personally, what that difference means, I can not say. What are you trying to say by noting this difference in BY?

    As I see it, the options are:

    1. BY was wrong.
    2. Joseph was wrong.
    3. Both were wrong.
    4. Neither were wrong.

    It does not seem that number four is really a viable option (which was the point I failed to make.), and if we judge by popular Mormonism (whatever that is), it seems #3 is the correct answer. (Popular Mormonism being the Intelligence Spirit divide, in a simblance of the pratt or Young model, but reaching back to the Smith Model in such a way as to make the difference between an intelligence and a spirit minimal if not almost non-existant.)

    Anyway, my other point was more to the matter that, if BY was correct and we were in fact at one point put together by our Heavenly Father from what is pretty much chaos, then what is the difference, as to questions like the Problem of Evil, between our stance and the ex nihlio?

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/14/2007 @ 2:09 pm

  15. I should add I am thinking about the “beginning”, whereas you are mainly focusing on the “end”. I think that may effect things.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/14/2007 @ 2:10 pm

  16. if BY was correct and we were in fact at one point put together by our Heavenly Father from what is pretty much chaos, then what is the difference, as to questions like the Problem of Evil, between our stance and the ex nihlio?

    Exactly.

    And I am not so sure that the tripartite existence is all that popular Mormon. BRM and JFSII certainly didn’t buy into it, and I can’t think of anyone else who has.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 2:14 pm

  17. Is it not our understanding that the earth was created out of materials that already existed and thus was not created ex nihlio? And that at some level that lets God off the hook for being the source of natural evil? Why would we then hold some different standard regarding the organizing of spirits? If they were organized out of materials that already existed does this not at some level still blast ex nihlio in regards to ourselves?

    Comment by Eric — 2/14/2007 @ 2:40 pm

  18. J. I honestly thought BRM and JFSII were fans of the intelligence spirit divide. I guess I’ve sme homework to do. Also, is BRM and JFSII really the source still for popular mormonism, or has it moved to Gospel Principles and the Missionary manual (whether old or new.)

    Eric: This issue is that if at one point, we were not independently thinking beings at all, and God manufactured us in some way which made us independantly thinking beings, then God had the ability to manufacture us in a different way and our ability to think, and thus do evil at all, goes back to being God’s fault, as we could not have done evil if we did not independantly think.

    There is a certain scripture, however, somewhere, which notes that the elements always obey God, whereas man does not. I wonder how this affects our opinon of what is and what is not correct?

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/14/2007 @ 3:41 pm

  19. Eric, yep, just as we can’t be held responsible for some things do to physiology, if our spirit/identity were also created we could blame the creation or creator for defects.

    Matt, nope, those guys were definitely not in the tripartite existence camp. They are the last Church authorities to talk about it, if I am not mistaken. I would be amazed if the Missionary manual or Gospel Principles said anything on the matter. As we discussed on the BCC thread linked to in the original post, some commentators (e.g., JFM) have also promoted non-tripartite existence.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 4:21 pm

  20. J.

    Just for future clarification, you are saying that a requirement for tripartite is an independent mind and will prior to a transition similar to spirit birth. Is that a fair partial definition?

    Comment by Eric — 2/14/2007 @ 5:03 pm

  21. Also, if God made the world out of elements that already existed could he have not made it better such that natural disasters would not occur? How is this different?

    Comment by Eric Nielson — 2/14/2007 @ 5:05 pm

  22. I think I would define the tripartite existence as having a mind/will/identity (of some sort or another) which recieves a spirit body (made up of spirit element) and ultimately a physical body (made of physical element). Young and Pratt (and JFS and BRM) did not believe in the first step of this process. That said, they all had different takes on it, to be sure.

    Your second question is probably fit for another thread (I would check out clark’s reviews of Ostler). I see it as this: The elements and chaos exist independent of God. If we are to become like God, we have to learn how to live in a chaotic system as well.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 5:12 pm

  23. The Last time the tripartite existence was taught by correlation appears to be in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee

    The Scriptures called it ‘intelligence,’ which at a certain stage in the pre-existence was organized into a ‘spirit.’ After that spirit had grown to a certain stature it then was given the opportunity by an all-wise Father to come into another stage for its development. A spirit, did you hear Abraham saying, was an organized intelligence.

    (Chapter 2: Who Am I?)

    Not sure as to the significance of that however..

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/14/2007 @ 5:30 pm

  24. I’ll have to look into Harold B. Lee a little closer to parse what he is saying. Right now I am not ready to accept that he was talking about tripartite existence. McConkie et al. used spirit element and intelligence synonymously. Lee, most likely in my opinion, was saying that spirits are made out of intelligence (aka spirit matter).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 5:38 pm

  25. The ex nihilo comparison with Brigham’s model (and apparently the model BRM and JSFII adopted too) could be avoided if we assume that minds emerged from the spirit stuff (hardware) and then those emergent minds exercised downward causation on the hardware as free-willed consciousnesses. That approach at least relieves God responsibility for human wickedness.

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/14/2007 @ 5:48 pm

  26. Very interesting topic. It calls my attention that when teaching about spirit destruction, Brigham and Heber C. Kimball didn’t consider ressurrection as a universal step in the plan of salvation:

    Are not your bodies your houses, your tabernacles or temples, and places for your spirits? Look at it; reflect upon it. If you keep your spirits trained according to the wisdom and fear of God, you will attain to the salvation of both body and spirit. I ask, then, if it is your spirits that must be brought into subjection? It is; and if you do not do that in these bodies, you will have to go into another estate to do it. You have got to train yourselves according to the law of God, or you will never obtain your resurrected bodies. Mark it! (Journal of Discourses: Vol. 1, Heber C. Kimball 1852/11/14, pg. 356)

    At the same time, the destruction of the spirit would not be an absolute end to one’s eternal progression, since a new organization would follow:

    The rebellious will be thrown back into their native element, there to remain myriads of years before their dust will again be revived, before they will be reorganized. (Journal of Discourses: Vol. 1, Brigham Young 1853/02/27, pg. 118)

    Comment by Antonio Teixeira — 2/14/2007 @ 6:29 pm

  27. Antonio, while H.C. Kimball is known to have made some comments regarding Multiple Mortal Probations, you’re hard pressed to find anything from Brigham. He preached repeatedly about spirit element and resurrection, often together. Brigham was explicit that only those who did not accept a kingdom (i.e., telestial) were destroyed. Their element was to be reused and not wasted.

    Joseph (and the revelation in D&C 88) is rather explicit to the contrary, however.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/14/2007 @ 6:36 pm

  28. No problem J. I just thought there might be some parallels between the creation of the earth and the creation of spirits.

    Thanks for providing a basic definition of what a tripartite model means – that clears up some of the previous discussions we have had.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — 2/14/2007 @ 8:29 pm

  29. I went back to it, to get the full quote and reference. here:

    “One day a young Sunday School teacher [came] to ask a rather interesting question that had been asked of her in her class the preceding Sunday,” said President Harold B. Lee to a congregation of Saints. “She explained that they were talking about the life before this, and this life, and the next life, and a young Sunday School student had asked, ‘The life before this came to an end when we were born into mortal life; this life comes to an end when we suffer mortal death; what shall be the end of the next life? Shall it be oblivion?’ The young Sunday School teacher said, ‘I don’t have the answer.’

    “As I thought about it I remarked that we do use words rather loosely when we speak of the ‘life before this, and this life, and the next life,’ as though we were a cat of nine lives, when as a matter of fact, we only have one life. This life we speak of did not begin with mortal birth. This life does not end with mortal death. There is something that is not created or made. The Scriptures called it ‘intelligence,’ which at a certain stage in the pre-existence was organized into a ‘spirit.’ After that spirit had grown to a certain stature it then was given the opportunity by an all-wise Father to come into another stage for its development. It was added upon, and after having lived its span and having attained to its purpose in mortality, another change took place. We go, not into another life in fact, but into another stage of the same life. There is something which was not created or made, and something which does not die, and that something shall live on forever.”

    Address at the funeral of Edwin Marcellus Clark, 5 Apr. 1955, Harold Bingham Lee Addresses (1939–73), Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 11.

    And I am still wondering which of the four premises in my comment #14 you would say is your perspeciver. I am guessing you are in category #1…

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/15/2007 @ 1:39 pm

  30. Matt, I am definitely in the Joseph camp that Spirits and minds are not created.

    I am fairly certain that Lee is in the same camp as McConkie. I went through and couldn’t find any explicit description by Lee on his views, but he was fairly close to McConkie. McConkie wrote in MoDoc (under “Intelligence”):

    Abraham used the name intelligences to apply to the spirit children of the Eternal Father. The intelligence or spirit element became intelligences after the spirits were born as individual entities. (Abra. 3:22-74.) Use of this name designates both the primal element from which the spirit offspring were created and also their inherited capacity to grow in grace, knowledge power and intelligence itself, until such intelligences, gaining the fulness of all things, become like their Father, the Supreme Intelligence.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/15/2007 @ 2:04 pm

  31. J. the Tripartite camp, as you define it, seems to be a subset of the Joseph Camp. Is that a fair statement on my part of your beliefs?

    Also, is there a BFM or JFSII statement you are aware of that opines that there is no mind to intelligence or spirit element? I think that is really what is at the crux of my confusion, regaridng them. Are we assuming they are founded on BY, or do we have evidence which further links them?

    And, as always, thanks for your interaction.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/15/2007 @ 2:30 pm

  32. Matt, well, B.H. Roberts developed the tripartite model in order to synthesize Joseph and Brigham. I guess you could say that it is related to both, but I would say that it is very different. It asserts something unique: a pre-spirit mind. I think that makes it a model unto itself.

    Orson Pratt believed that spirit element had a mind. His views were largely rejected.

    McConkie elsewhere in MoDoc stated:

    True, as Joseph Smith taught, man “is a self-existent being,” for “the intelligence of spirits is immortal,” and “had no beginning.” (Teachings, pp. 352-354.) That is to say the bodies of Deity’s spirit children were created from the existing spirit element (pg. 84)

    Any notion or theory that life, or ego, or agency, existed for each individual prior to the time of the spirit birth is pure speculation, wholly unsupported by any correctly understood and properly interpreted scripture. Life began for man and for all created things at the time of their respective spirit creations. Before that there were only the spirit elements from which the Almighty would in due course create life. (pg. 442)

    This spirit element has always existed; it is co-eternal with God. (Teachings, pp. 352-354.) It is also called intelligence or the light of truth, which “was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93:29)

    Speaking of pre-existent spirits, Abraham calls them “the intelligences that were organized before the world was.” (Abra. 3:22-24.) Thus, portions of the self-existent spirit element are born as spirit children, or in other words the intelligence which cannot be created or made, because it is self-existent, is organized into intelligences. (pg. 751)

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/15/2007 @ 2:52 pm

  33. J. I am trying to grasp the differences in the models.
    ‘The following are my understanding of your understanding of the models, thus I provide no sighted references, though that would be something I’d love to add at a later date.

    Joseph Model: Spirits have always existed as spirits, were never anything but spirits and always had the capacity to choose. How we are Spirit Children of our Heavenly Father is not addressed. Perhaps adoption? (I need to research this.) There is no difference between intelligence and spirit.

    Roberts Model: Spirits have not always been spirits, they were once intelligences. These Intelligences though, were very similar to spirits in that they were a solitary being, and that being was the precursor to the spirt, and may had capacity to choose of itself. The intelligence became the spirit when it was begotten by our Heavenly Parents. The method of “begetting” is up for debate. The difference between an intelligence and a spirit is that a spirit is in the form and likeness of what it will physically become, and the intelligence is without form or likeness.

    Pratt Model: Spirits have not always been spirits, they were once bits of matter called intelligence. This matter was similar to atoms, in that these particals were independent beings, which united together formed the spirt, and these “spirit atoms” may have had capacity to choose of themselves. these atoms became the spirit when it was begotten by our Heavenly Parents. The method of “begetting” is up for debate.
    Brigham Model: Spirits have not always been spirits, they were once bits of matter called intelligence. This matter was similar to atoms, in that these particals were independent particles, which united together formed the spirt, and these “spirit atoms” did not have any capacity to choose of themselves. These atoms became the spirit when it was begotten by our Heavenly Parents. The method of “begetting” is up for debate.

    Is that about correct?

    Now, back to the question of what is the Popular Mormon view, the more I look at books, the more it seems that this answer is elusive. TTTF doesn’t seem to intentionally avoid this question, but yet it does provide no answer, whether under agency, plan of salvation, spirit or creation. (which were the closest relevant topics I could find within) Gospel Principles comes a little closer, by saying that we were “begotten children of HF”, quoting the 1909 proclamation as the relevant source. Looking at the 1909 proclamation in full, it seems the following is where the Jospeh Model finds problems: “The creation was twofold—first spiritual, secondly temporal…” More importantly, this is founded the ideas in Moses 3:4–7. I wonder if this is the cause for the Brigham, Roberts, and Pratt Models.

    I think I probably fall into the Roberts Model (as I understand it) at the moment, as I too have trouble harmonizing the Joseph Model (as I understand it) with the two-fold creation. I see the Roberts Model more as an attempt to harmonize the KFD with Moses 3:4-7 than I do as it attempting to Harmonize Joseph and Brigham.

    But this may only be because I’ve never read Roberts, and thus have no idea as to what I am talking about.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/15/2007 @ 4:48 pm

  34. I would make the following changes:

    Roberts coined a new term “intelligencies” for the pre-spirit entities.

    Brigham (and off the top of my head, Orson) didn’t call spirit element “intelligence,” that seems to be a BRMism (at least off the top of my head).

    I think Brigham and Pratt were fairly wedded to vivaporous spirit birth.

    For thoughts on Joseph and spirit birth, see here.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/15/2007 @ 5:01 pm

  35. As to the two-fold creation, I would recomend Oster’s “The Idea of Preexistence in Mormon Thought” in Dialogue. Anyway, remember that Moses was recieved in 1830 while Abraham is from 1842 (see Abraham 3:18). There is definately an increase in light between those two periods.

    I think the reticence of folks to accept the tripartite existence is because there is absolutely no revelatory or scriptural support for it. It is a “fix,” for those that see a problem.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/15/2007 @ 5:07 pm

  36. Hey Matt,

    See this post for more on this subject and some relevant Orson Pratt quotes. It seems that J is right that Orson referred to spirit particles but didn’t call them “intelligences”.

    I agree with J also that viviparous birth wasn’t really in question for Orson or Brigham.

    The last thing to point out is that in Orson’s model each independent particle chose to join a greater whole. Upon doing so the individual will became one with the higher union and a new unified being arose from that unity of beings. The problem of course with the OP model is that taken to the extreme we must face the Borg issue if we are to become one with God — not an enticing prospect.

    The Brigham model has the particles as nothing more than hardware that is formed in the Celestial womb and as I understand it, a consciousness arises from the new spirit brain or whatever.

    So in both those model the parts are eternal but the mind/spirit is not.

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/15/2007 @ 5:24 pm

  37. Thanks for the links and all. I am going to try and do some more research on this, as I find it interesting that there seems to be a rather unsettled diversity of thought in modern Mormonism. It seems that BRM, Marion G. Romney, and the people who put together the CES manual are follows of the BY model. It seems that Daniel Ludlow, Richard G. Scott, Blake Ostler and Truman G. Madsen favor the Roberts Model. However, Daniel Ludlow may also be seen as an adherent to the Joseph model, which is also advocated by one Jonathon Stapley.

    It seems that the Pratt model is not popular at all.

    The more I read, the more I become agnostic on this, but I am totally fascinated by it, and am curious as to the implications. I will definitely check out Blake’s article. For now, it seems that the Brigham Model is based on either an intentional misreading or an inspired correction of Joseph’s claim that the “Intelligence of Spirit” is uncreated. (Just check out it’s handling in the CES POGP manual under Moses.)

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 10:15 am

  38. I don’t know about all those folks, Matt; but, Blake definitely espouses the Joseph-uncreated spirit model. Also, Brigham never called spirit element intelligence. So, the “intelligence of Spirit” being uncreated is actually a misreading of Brigham misreading Joseph.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 11:27 am

  39. Cleon Skousen championed the Orson Pratt model in the last 40 years so it is not without supporters.

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/16/2007 @ 11:48 am

  40. I was going to go to the POGP Institute Manual and see if I had misread Young there, but the online reference is not the same as the physical copy I have at my house, which is interesting to me, since that manual is relatively new. (It came out when I was a new member, so it is younger than 9 years…) Maybe my physical copy contained “false doctrine”? I’ll see if I can write up it’s contents this evening for contrast with the current contents. That is where the Marion G. Romney Reference was.

    My understanding of Blake’s view was from here, so I guess I’ll have to look about a bit and see if either Blake’s view has changed, Geoff was wrong about Blake’s view, or you’re wrong about Blake’s view. (No offense, just being honest.)

    I refer to Scott because of the following quote:

    You can live a virtuous, productive, righteous life by following the plan of protection created by your Father in Heaven: His plan of happiness. It is contained in the scriptures and in the inspired declarations of His prophets. He clothed your intelligence with spirit and made it possible for you to enjoy the wonder of a physical body. When you use that body in the way He has decreed, you will grow in strength and capacity, avoid transgression, and be abundantly blessed.

    (Richard G. Scott, “How to Live Well amid Increasing Evil,” Ensign, May 2004, 100)

    And I am getting Truman Madsen from here.

    Ludlow, who I said could either way, was in the ensign, with this article in 1976.

    Sorry for not providing references the first time around.

    Again, I’ll try to produce the POGP institute manual changes later to the understand of Moses 3:5, as I feel like they change the CES position from hard “Brigham Model” to a softer version, which is almost undecided.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 11:55 am

  41. Wow! I thought this thread was dead. Great comments all, this is really sorting things out for me.

    For now I tend to be mostly in the Roberts camp. I kind of agree with J that this model is an attempt to try to make both Joseph and Brigham right, and as such it does have some support doesn’t it?

    Incidently, I have not read Roberts take on this either. What is the source of BH Roberts thoughts?

    Comment by Eric Nielson — 2/16/2007 @ 12:12 pm

  42. I definitely think that there is a softening (post McConkie). It would make sense that Madsen would follow Roberts as he is probably one of the two greatest experts on him. Moreover, he was Andrew Ehat’s adviser so is very familiar with all of Joseph’s source documents (and hence the need to deal with them). I could be misreading Blake, but I don’t think so.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 12:14 pm

  43. Matt,

    I think I got Robert’s view wrong in that comment. I misspoke and said Roberts viewed intelligences as synonymous with spirits and that clearly is not the case. So I got Ostler’s view right, but Roberts’ view wrong in that comment.

    That is an interesting quote from Madsen though. It implies that there is a great deal more institutional support for the Roberts model than J is allowing for. What say you J?

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/16/2007 @ 12:18 pm

  44. BH Roberts’ early stuff is in the Seventies Course in Theology volumes (Priesthood manuals for the seventies quorums at the turn of the century). His ideas are most refined and best described in The Truth, the Way, and the Light, which was never published during his life, but has been published now by both Signature and BYU Studies (The Signature version being a little bit easier to read).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 12:18 pm

  45. What say you J?

    I say that Madsen is not a Church authority. He is influential, but not institutional. I think the Scott quote is actually surprising and unexpected, but it is demonstrably anomalous.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 12:21 pm

  46. Eric, a good (perhaps the best) Roberts example online is here.

    J. Do you believe Man’s Spirit was always exactly in the shape of a man, as in Nephi’s Vison or the Brother of Jared’s pre-mortal conversation with Christ (or other numerous examples and quotes from General authoirities)?

    I need to dig more into Joseph and the concept of “spiritual creation.”

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 12:35 pm

  47. J,

    I am referring the the approval of the Roberts teaching by the First Presidency as outlined in that Madsen quote:

    The issue became a matter of wide discussion in the early 1900′s. B. H. Roberts’ Seventy’s Yearbook, Volume 4, assumed the co-eternity of individuals. The book was read and approved by the First Council of the Seventy. Later controversy resulted in an article titled “The Immortality of Man.” By assignment, Elder Roberts read this article first to President Fancis M. Lyman, then to the First Presidency (President Joseph F. Smith was President) and seven of the Council of the Twelve. It was thoroughly discussed. The article was published with their encouragement and endorsement. (April, 1907 Improvement Era).

    Madsen is basically saying the FP and 12 approved of the Roberts tripartite model — or at least discussed it and approved its publication. What say you to that?

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/16/2007 @ 12:41 pm

  48. I think that Christ appeared o the Brother of Jared in the form of a Man, yes. Now, some have thought that our spirits, pre-birth, look exactly like us on Earth. This is obviously very, very problematic. What about the illegitimate child? If the spirit were to have looked exactly like the individual in mortality, then the fornication was predestined (not an acceptable option). I think it is Parley Pratt who talks about the spirit having spirit organs, etc. I think that is fairly ridiculous as well. Our mortal body is set up for oxidative metabolism. There is no need for a heart if we aren’t breathing air. There is no need for liver or kidneys to clean the blood, etc.

    That is a round about way of saying that the form of our spirit pre-birth doesn’t matter that much and has the capacity to change, it would seem (spirits of the dead are said to look like their mortal bodies).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 12:42 pm

  49. What say you to that?

    I doubt that Madsen had access to the minutes of those minutes so he was probably going from Robert’s journal. Which is fine. I confess to not having read that specific article, but I am fairly certain that JFS was in the Brighamite camp.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 12:46 pm

  50. From the footnote of that link:

    The “questions” in the article apparently came from Idaho stake president James Duckworth. He was a consistent critic of Roberts’ ideas and was later (by 1911) joined in his sketicism by First Presidency members Joseph F. Smith, Charles W. Penrose and Anthon H. Lund. Penrose, who had actually developed his own theory some years previously based on his editing of Parley Pratt’s theological work, eventually became the public point-man to criticize Roberts’ ideas from this article. Joseph F. Smith felt Roberts’ based his ideas on what he saw as a suspect King Follett Discourse (KFD). While the Presidency enjoyed a bit of private humor at Roberts’ expense, they were reluctant to make some official criticism for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that Roberts could be a rather formidable debater and was not very retiring in expressing his opinions.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 12:53 pm

  51. Don’t get me wrong J, you know I personally don’t buy the tripartite model either. I just point these things out to show that there has been tacit support of it at least a possibility at the highest levels of the church for more than a century.

    Mostly what this whole thing shows is that the real answer is a mystery. One could insist on that “Joseph model” and make a strong case for it, but the quote you just gave pointed to the fact that Joseph F. Smith was highly skeptical and suspicious of the KFD to begin with. I suspect that the model one chooses in this debate has as much to do with personal tastes and gut feelings as anything else.

    (I should note too that Roberts was very explicit in the start of that article that he was only expressing his opinions on the matter. The fact that the FP approved its publication indicates to me that the full truth of them matter remained among the unrevealed mysteries to them as well.)

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/16/2007 @ 1:01 pm

  52. The FP and Q12 approval is clearly stated at the beginning of the Roberts article I linked to (which is the article in question), if you’re really Interested. It says:

    [Elder Roberts submitted the following paper to the First Presidency and a number of the Twelve Apostles, none of whom found anything objectionable in it, or contrary to the revealed word of God, and therefore favor its publication.--ERA EDITORS.]

    And J. regarding comment #48. That is definitely a good point. I guess for me, I see the likeness not as an exact likeness, but a differentiation of I am going to be a male human and so and so is going to be a tree…

    Something more along the lines of

    D&C 77:2 Q. What are we to understand by the four beasts, spoken of in the same verse?
    A. They are figurative expressions, used by the Revelator, John, in describing heaven, the paradise of God, the happiness of man, and of
    beasts, and of creeping things, and of the fowls of the air; that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beasts, and every other creature which God has created.

    At any rate, a more amorpheus state does help (though not completely) counter the question of Omnipresence and the Holy Ghost, where the HG can not be Omnipresent due to being constrained to a spiritual body, and thus has no relative advantage over HF’s influence, and thus becomes a redundnat componant in the Godhead. but that is definitely off topic.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:05 pm

  53. THe rest of the footnote J. sites says :)

    Moreover his views had accumulated a rather wide following even among Church authorities and he was seen as a vigorous defender of the faith. In a sense, Roberts won the point eventually since his work on the history of the Church finally led to the careful examination of Joseph Smith’s teachings. Initially however, the Presidency nixed the appearance of the King Follett Discourse in the publication of the manuscript history. The Apostles on the other hand gradually became more or less either neutral in their feelings about Roberts and his dredging up Joseph Smith’s ideas or clearly in favor of it. As time passed Heber J. Grant, Orson F. Whitney, John A. Widstoe, Francis M. Lyman, Joseph Fielding Smith Jr.(!), J. Reuben Clark and some others among the general authorities felt more and more comfortable with Roberts’ interpretations. This trend led to the eventual restoration of the Grimshaw version of the KFD in the history, with Joseph Fielding Smith publishing it in his Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1938, even including Roberts’ notes on the sermon.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:11 pm

  54. Matt, it says they felt more comfortable with it. It is demonstrable that JFSII did not accept it, and I imagine the same goes for the others…but I’d have to do a case by case mining of their works. As it now stands, Roberts is fairly lonely (until you bring up some decent primary material).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 1:14 pm

  55. Working on it. In what I believe to be the unofficial “Hierarchy of Mormon Doctrine” the supporting persons in the quote are less relevent anyway, as they are all dead prophets or apostles. Richard G. Scott is the most interesting source so far for me, but I’d love to find a nice Hinckley Quote on the topic.

    I guess the Roberts Model and the Joseph Model become less different based on what the considered differences are in an Intelligence and a Spirt. I will have to reread the Immortality of Man to glean what Roberts feels the difference is.

    Another point to consider, I guess is that what can be argued as the biggest piece of Doctrinal Exposition of the last 10 years notes this about the pre-mortal state:

    Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose. In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

    I guess my question is do you believe that Gender being eternal means you were always a male, or that it was defined at some point going forward eternally only (as families are eternally united going forward only.)

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:29 pm

  56. I hope I am not coming accross as “Bible Bashing” on this, I am just exploring the concept, not trying to win converts.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:32 pm

  57. I think Roberts model exists because some people are married to the idea of a viviparous spirit birth. That is what this is all about.

    Personally, I see duality in most of nature (think particle physics), so the idea of self existing intelligence having a duality isn’t that big of a deal.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 1:34 pm

  58. J. you went over my head with the duality concept. Sorry, I got a C- in Physics in 1996 and haven’t looked back. I am guessing you are suggesting the concept of gender being backwards eternal seems fine to you.

    I think the roberts model exists not due to vivaporous birth (which I reject) but again due to the two-tier creation needed explanation. (And I still need to read Ostler.)

    Anyway, for modern support of the Roberts model, The byu website seems to endorse it with the LDSFAQ website here and here. What is interesting is that these are from the not cannonized EoM, which I thought had a quite different entry under “Intelligence” (I can’t find that entry online, however.)

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:50 pm

  59. Again, I appeal to Abraham 3:18:

    Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than 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.

    This trumps Moses all day.

    Here is the relevent EoM excerpt entry on Intelligence:

    Intelligence, however defined, is not created or made (D&C 93:29); it is coeternal with God (TPJS, pp. 353-54). Some LDS leaders have interpreted this to mean that intelligent beings-called intelligences-existed before and after they were given spirit bodies in the premortal existence. Others have interpreted it to mean that intelligent beings were organized as spirits out of eternal intelligent matter, that they did not exist as individuals before they were organized as spirit beings in the premortal existence (Abr. 3:22; JD 7:57; 2:124). The Church has taken no official position on this issue.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 1:57 pm

  60. oop, I found the EoM entry on Intelligence.

    Some LDS leaders have interpreted this [the coeternal nature of intelligence] to mean that intelligent beings—called intelligences—existed before and after they were given spirit bodies in the premortal existence. Others have interpreted it to mean that intelligent beings were organized as spirits out of eternal intelligent matter, that they did not exist as individuals before they were organized as spirit beings in the premortal existence (Abr. 3:22; JD 7:57; 2:124). The Church has taken no official position on this issue” (Dennis J. Packard, in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols. [New York: Macmillan, 1992], s.v. “intelligence,” 2:692).

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:57 pm

  61. Sorry, double posted it…

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 1:59 pm

  62. Ok, I was mistaken about the hard copy CES POGP manual. For Abe 3:18, it says:

    The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “I am dwelling on the immortality of the spirit of man. Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it has a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic” (History of the Church, 6:311).

    Speaking about the eternal nature of our spirit, President Brigham Young stated:

    “Mankind are organized of element designed to endure to all eternity; it never had a beginning and never can have an end. There never was a time when this matter, of which you and I are composed, was not in existence, and there never can be a time when it will pass out of existence; it cannot be annihilated.

    “It is brought together, organized, and capacitated to receive knowledge and intelligence, to be enthroned in glory, to be made angels, Gods—beings who will hold control over the elements, and have power by their word to command the creation and redemption of worlds, or to extinguish suns by their breath, and disorganize worlds, hurling them back into their chaotic state. This is what you and I are created for” (Discourses of Brigham Young, 48; see also D&C 93:29–33).

    Regarding the origin of our spirits in the premortal life, President Marion G. Romney, who was a counselor in the First Presidency, taught: “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” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1978, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 14).

    Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote: “Admittedly we do not now understand all the implications of the words, ‘spirits . . . have no beginning; they existed before . . . for they are . . . eternal’ (Abraham 3:18). Yet we surely understand enough to see a loving and redeeming God at work, striving to help us become as He is—a cause for our deep gratitude and joy, instead of despair and doubt, and for a willing submission to whatever He perceives will further that purpose” (“Not My Will, But Thine,” 40).

    It appears that I confused Moses with Abe last night and confused Romney with Young. What I found surprising here is the Young quote used directly points to the return to the chaotic state. This quote seems to hold the “strong” Young Model to me.

    The one for Moses holds what I termed the softer approach. It says:

    President Joseph Fielding Smith explained:

    “There is no account of the creation of man or other forms of life when they were created as spirits. There is just the simple statement that they were so created before the physical creation. The statements in Moses 3:5 and Genesis 2:5 are interpolations [parenthetical explanations] thrown into the account of the physical creation, explaining that all things were first created in the spirit existence in heaven before they were placed upon this earth.

    “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” (Doctrines of Salvation, 1:75–76).

    In 1925 the First Presidency taught: “Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality” (“‘Mormon’ View of Evolution,” Improvement Era, Sept. 1925, 1090; see also D&C 77:2).

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 2:11 pm

  63. It’s almost amusing that the CES manual puts those two opposing views (Joseph’s and Brigham’s) right next to each other in the manual. The Joseph quote clearly says the spirit of man is beginningless and that spirit is synonymous with intelligence. Then the Brigham quote comes back and says that only our parts are eternal.

    I posted on this question a couple of times too here, here, and here (That was back when I was hoping I could make the Pratt model make sense — a task I have since given up on).

    Comment by Geoff J — 2/16/2007 @ 2:26 pm

  64. Those are some interesting quotes, Matt. A few comments:

    The Joseph Smith quote is a massacre of the source accounts. That is not at all what he said.

    The Romney one is the fascinating one because of the D&C 76:24 citation. That verse states that it is by Christ that we are begotten unto God. That is definitely adoptive language.

    And Maxwell is saying spirits are eternal!

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 2:27 pm

  65. Still reading all the comments, but I wanted to comment on this statement- “I find it interesting that there seems to be a rather unsettled diversity of thought in modern Mormonism.”

    Regarding what GA’s have said, one BYU professor says “You can have it all, or you can have it consistant, but you can’t have both.” :)

    Comment by Ben — 2/16/2007 @ 2:38 pm

  66. Geoff, I think it is a deliberate misuse of the Joseph Smith statement, playing on the idead that only the “Intelligence of Spirit” is Eternal, then using the Romeny quote to justify what is meant by intelligence in this one single instance, even though it would not then agree with the rest of the KFD in context. I am somewhat disappointed in this useage, and perhaps that is why my earlier response, when I thought it had been removed, was somewhat relieved.

    J. I can’t speak to the source accounts until I get home, but at any rate, it is definitely a prime example of “selective quoting.”

    The more I go over the Romney Quote, the more I want to see it’s original context to see if he truly is espousing the Young Model or if he is acutally in the Roberts camp. It is impossible to tell from the quote. (Especially considering the use of the JS quote)

    And Maxwell is saying “We don’t understand!” by my reading.

    Ben, my point was more that I don’t believe there is any sort of general consistant LDS perception of this concept. The More I play with evidence, the more the only satisfying answer becomes exactly what I read Maxwell as saying above.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 2:53 pm

  67. Matt, the general rule for people of that time (and I think generally) is that intelligence (singular) = spirit element.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 3:10 pm

  68. Ok, I have been searching boap.org for references in JS for different ideas referent to the pre-mortal spiritual birth, and am not finding much in his preachings in the nature of a two tier creation. I did want to give you these snippets regarding the eternal nature of the spirit, as they might add to the flesh of your Joseph Model. Here they are chronologically.

    The Spirit of Man is not a created being; it existed from Eternity & will exist to eternity. Anything created cannot be Eternal. & earth, water &c1 –all these had their existence in an elementary State from Eternity. Our Savior speaks of Children & Says their angels always stand before my father. The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of Man & organized them. He (Adam) is the head, was told to multiply. The Keys were given to him, and by him to others & he will have to give an account of his Stewardship, & they to him.

    Willard Richards Pocket Companion, prior to Aug 8, 1839

    “I believe,” said he, “that a man is a moral, responsible, free agent; that although it was foreordained he should fall, and be redeemed, yet after the redemption it was not foreordained that he should again sin. In the Bible a rule of conduct is laid down for him; in the Old and New Testaments the law by which he is to be governed, may be found. If he violates that law, he is to be punished for the deeds done in the body. I believe that God is eternal. That He had no beginning, and can have no end. Eternity means that which is without beginning or end. I believe that the soul is eternal; and had no beginning; it can have no end.” Here he entered into some explanations, which were so brief that I could not perfectly comprehend him. But the idea seemed to be that the soul of man, the spirit, had existed from eternity in the bosom of Divinity; and so far as he was intelligible to me, must ultimately return from whence it came. He said very little of rewards and punishments; but one conclusion, from what he did say, was irresistible–he contended throughout, that everything which had a beginning must have an ending; and consequently if the punishment of man commenced in the next world, it must, according to his logic and belief have an end.

    -
    Matthew L. Davis, correspondent for the New York Enquirer, Feb. 5, 1840

    The world and earth are not synonymous terms. The world is the human family. This earth was organized or formed out of other planets which were broke up and remodelled and made into the one on which we live. The elements are eternal. That which has a beginning will surely have an end. Take a ring, it is without beginning or end; cut it for a beginning place, and at the same time you have will an ending place. A key, every principle proceeding from God is eternal, and any principle which is not eternal is of the Devil. The sun has no beginning or end, the rays which proceed from himself have no bounds, consequently are eternal. So it is with God. If the soul of man had a beginning it will surely have an end. In the translation, without form and void” it should read “empty and desolate.” The word “created” should be formed or organized.

    That which is without body or parts is nothing. There is no other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones. John 5-26, “As the father hath life in himself, even so hath he given the son to have life in himself”. God the father took life unto himself precisely as Jesus did. The first step in the salvation of men is the laws of eternal and self-existent principles. Spirits are eternal. At the first organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed, and the plan of salvation made and we sanctioned it.

    -
    William Clayton’s Private Book, January 5, 1841

    Next Meeting Meeting on sunday Joseph Reads the 38th Ch–of Job. in the book he says is a Great Display of human Nature–it is very Natureal for a man when he sees his fellow man afflicted his Natureal conclusion is that he is suffering the Rath of an angry God & turn from him in haste not knowing the purpose of God he says the spirit or the intelligence of men are self Existent principles he before the foundation this Earth–& quotes the Lords question to Job where wast thou when I laid the foundation of the Earth” Evidence that Job was in Existing somewhere at that time he says God is Good & all his acts is for the benifit of infereir intelligences– God saw that those inteligences had Not power to Defend themselves against those that had a tabernicle therefore the Lord Calls them togather in Counsel & agrees to form them tabernicles so that he might Gender the Spirit & the tabernicle togather so as to create sympathy for their fellowman…

    -
    McIntire Minute Book, March 28, 1841

    And , of course, Abraham 3:18, the King Follet Discourse and the Sermon in the Grove.
    I won’t get into quotes from those, as I feel they are relatively well-known and already covered.

    Have a good weekend.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/16/2007 @ 5:27 pm

  69. Yep, Joseph was fairly consistent on the matter. Cheers, and have a good weekend as well.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/16/2007 @ 5:42 pm

  70. This is getting to be a long post, so I hope I’m not missing these points earlier.
    1st, Roberts didn’t coin a term, as the EoM entry points out. He is interpreting Abraham 3 to some extent, but the term comes from there.
    2nd, on creation and evil, it seems to me that the only requirement is that at some point God gave us radical choice, choice that did n’t depend on either him or our physical make up. That is, if we really believe in agency, then we are saying there is something beyond deterministic elements, either divine or physical, that allows choice. We decide what we want, so things like desire are also radically divided from any completely determining consequences, however those consequences may incline us to choose. If we believe this, then God is not responsible for evil, he is simply dedicated to allowing for beings other than himself that have choice. Such a decision makes sense, since the only way for God to have meaning in his own life, it would seem to me is to allow for other beings who have the same agency he has. In his willingness to divide his power, he gives purpose to existence. So the probelm of evil looks much like it does in this world, God is responsible for evil only to the extent that he allows it in order to allow purposefulness through choice.
    3rd, the idea of spirit birth seems me to have to be in some way a literal fatherhood, though what it is like could be in doubt. I just have too much difficulty accepting that the root source for a metaphor could be so removed from its usefulness. That is, what does adoption mean without actual parentage. It becomes meaningless. Adoption becomes the real metaphor.
    Finally, I still think that semantics is tricky here. There seems to have been some time at which we became our father’s children. We may not know what form the existence before that moment took, but at some point we did become his children, and there was something before that moment. What I see happening is that we are confating the search for terminology with the dfining of the form of that state of existence. Since both the terminology and the ideas on that state will tend to slide subtly, I think nailing this down will always be a trick, perhaps even with new revelation on the matter.

    Comment by Steve H — 2/19/2007 @ 3:22 am

  71. I had a dream where I was in complete and total dispare that my life, even the very marrow of my bones were being pressed out of my bones. I was just at the point where I was to be sucked into a black hole of space; where no light can excape and where the impression came upon me that the very atoms of my spirit would pulled apart, down to there most basic elements and spread evenly throught out all of God’s creations to be reconsuted. Just then I cryed out : “Lord God if there is any good that has come of this being let all it go to my father that he may prosper.” For 3 nights I could not sleep and to say the least I have been profoundly changed and will never be the same. Preach nothing but repentance into this generation for your very existance depends on it.

    Comment by peter — 2/19/2007 @ 6:19 am

  72. Steve, I appreciate the comment. First, I agree with you that the details of our transformation from a being having no relationship with God to having a relationship with him could entail many different changes, none of which are clear from our mortal perspective. That said, it sounds like you are at least taking the position that we existed before that relationship began (contra the spirit creationism that is dominant in the 19th and 20th century discourse).

    Roberts did indeed coin the term “intelligencies,” which would be the plural of intelligency, which I don’t think he ever used. I think he pretty much gave up on the term latter in life though.

    It is true that there are ex nihilo believing Christians that believe in robust free will. They adopt an argument similar to what you said, namely that there is backwards causality. Personally I think that it is a very weak position.

    As to the usefulness of the metaphor, it is quite certain that the metaphor is based on our mortal experience. It wouldn’t make sense to use a metaphor that we wouldn’t understand. Consequently, Jesus is the Only Begotten Son. Now there are some Mormons that think that is indicative of a literal sireship, I think that is over literalization of the metaphor. In any case, Joseph is remarkably consistent on the idea that spirits can not be created, so whatever spirit birth is, it cannot be analogous to physical creation, or Joseph is greatly mistaken.

    As to your last point, I agree, though I don’t have a handle as well as you do on the ramifications of linguistic shift.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/19/2007 @ 12:34 pm

  73. I agree with you that the details of our transformation from a being having no relationship with God to having a relationship with him could entail many different changes, none of which are clear from our mortal perspective.

    Would not this transformation be enough to set up some form of tripartite existance?

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/19/2007 @ 3:55 pm

  74. Well, Matt, tripartite existence was invented to harmonize eternal existence with spirit creationism. If spirits are not created, then there is nothing to harmonize and consequently, no tripartite existence.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/19/2007 @ 4:04 pm

  75. fair enough, It just seems that if the change is one from “spirit intelligence” to “spirit body” or “spirit child” that a change in state has occurred, even if the spirit (or mind or will or intelligence) has always existed.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/20/2007 @ 12:33 am

  76. The problem I see with that is that it is completely anachronistic. “Spirit intelligence” doesn’t occur until the twentieth century really. I think you are trying to do what Roberts did in trying to divorce mind from spirit. Either the spirit is eternal or it isn’t.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/20/2007 @ 12:43 am

  77. I don’t really want to get bogged down arguing the rightness or wrongness of the terminology.

    I am having a good time learning about the different points of views, and how they have been used overtime.

    If you haven’t checked it out

    The Development of the Doctrine of Preexistence, 1830-1844 by Charles R. Harrell Fn, BYU Studies, vol. 28 (1988), Number 2 – Spring 1988.

    Was really good. In Summary, it notes that Joseph developed the ideas of pre-existant spirit element, a pre-mortal social organization of beginingless spirits, and possibly the idea of literal begetting, though I think it’s arguement here is fairly weak. If you have Gospel Link, check it out and let me know if you agree.

    Also a few more quotes from GAs on their point of view.

    They further teach that intelligence, or spirit, has existed from all eternity. (D&C 93:33; Abraham 3:22.) We know also that we were individuals. We are told more than once in the revelations that we were clothed in a spirit body. (D&C 77:2.) We know no more than that the spirit body was created in the image of our Father. (Ether 3:16.)

    (Boyd K. Packer, Our Father’s Plan [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984], 14 – 15.)

    In addition to the unique and eternal character of each personality, our Father in Heaven also clothed each intelligence in its premortal state with a spirit body that derived literally from God himself. So when we sing “I Am a Child of God,” we describe a divine heritage that is only one spiritual generation away from the great Elohim. Yet even with such parenthood, each person also enjoys the eternal gift of agency, which leaves him or her, like truth, “independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.” (D&C 93:30.) Further, each individual identity represents a personality so distinct from all other creations that no two of us are exactly alike.

    (Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, The Belonging: The Atonement and Relationships with God and Family Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 58.)

    Technically, this may have been prior to Elder Hafen beingcalled as a seventy. I’ll look it up later.

    I really want to again say I am not trying to make an appeal to authority here, but am just enjoying examining the varied opinions of the GAs.

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/20/2007 @ 1:37 am

  78. We had a discussion on that article a while back. You can download the entire article here or view it page by page here. I think that while his chronology is good, his analysis is weak and sometimes quite contorted. Projection contemporary spirit elementalism onto section 93 is totally anachronistic…and the spirit creationism is just plain wishful thinking.

    Don’t worry about bringing up more quotes. I hope you are interpreting my comments correctly as well. I concede that there are many authorities that believe in some of the post-Joseph ideas. It is just very important to be clear about semantics in this discussion or things get incoherent quickly.

    As to the Packer quote, I am a bit surprised considering that he was such good friends with McConkie. That said, that is one of the crappiest uses of scriptural support (i.e., D&C 77:2, though not to be beaten by the use of 76:24 above). Perhaps in the post-McConkie Church folks are less reticent to completely dismiss Joseph’s words and are consequently migrating toward a tripartite resolution.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/20/2007 @ 12:34 pm

  79. I felt the articles weakest point was when it noted that JS was never recorded as having taught vivaporous spirit birth, but that Elder Pratt started teaching it around the Time of his death, and that he wouldn’t have invented such a concept himself. This after noting in the previous section that both O. Pratt and P. Pratt developed theories based on the concept of spirit matter previosly that did not seem to accord with Joseph’s understanding.

    I still have not gotten to Ostler, sadly…

    Comment by Matt W. — 2/20/2007 @ 3:55 pm

  80. J,
    I’m surprised at your vehemence, calling Packer’s scriptural reading “crappy” and saying he “completely dismiss(es) Joseph’s words–a bit of a strong condemnation. I think it is very possible to believe in a “clothing” in spirit, while admitting that an autonomous self existed before this clothing, which, it seems to me, is tripartite in a way, but still takes in to account Joseph’s words. Thsi is where semantics, for me becomes very important. We don’t know that Joseph didn’t conflate (not necessarily without reason, since they do both connote an essential self, especially given the use of the words in religious and secular discourse on selfhood in his times) the terms spirit and intelligence. If this is the case, then there would be no problem when he says that spirit has always existed interpreting that to mean that we have always had an essential self, whatever form that self took. I would think that Packer actually is trying to respect this in Joseph when he uses the metaphor of clothing in the spirit. It certainly doesn’t imply a spritual atomostic view of our existence prior to entering our first estate. Nor does it imply spiritual creationism as being ex-nihilo or organization from non-spirit matter. As for people tending towards tripartate theories, I think the average memeber, including many of us here in this forum, are actually feeling towards what the scriptural record will bear, and don’t feel a real attachment to any particular one of these theories. It’s more a matter of trying to imagine what our existence might have been like before the state in which we encountered the councils/war etc. that we know preceded this life.
    As for your explanation of fatherhood, I’m not sure that I buy into your explanation–that he calls himself the father because we’ll understand that given our relationship to fathers on earth. It seems to me that the two have been connected from the beginning of the earth, and it would be odd to establish a structure on earth and call it by the same name as a heavenly relationship if the two relationships weren’t alike in some essential ways. It seems to me it would be obscuritanist on the part of God. What is essential to Fatherhood, of course, is the difficulty at hand, but it seems that there is an implied relationship that comes from creation without complete control that is quite complicated. So I think that at least we have to see ourselves as having been actuated in some way that wasn’t possible beforehand, that we were significantly changed in ways that changed our state of existence by the agency of God. that this function implies sexual reproduction–I’m not sure–if what you mean is sex as we know it now, though I do think that both genders are neccessary to whatever process is involved. I do agree that an insistence on sexuality here has been too much emphasized, esp. in the case you mention.

    Comment by Steve H — 2/20/2007 @ 8:51 pm

  81. That was fair, Steve. To be sure Packer’s ideas aren’t crappy. I felt that the scripture citation was irrelevant to the sentence it was attached…even that isn’t “crappy.” I’m actually fairly open to Spirit creationism among the Saints (it has been preached now for 150 years) and in any Church setting my only comment to such a supporting statement would likely be, “many great individuals have disagreed about the nature of our eternal existence and there is a wide variety of opinion on the matter.”

    In this conversation, I do think it is fair to analyze the prevailing models. I concede that any details on the matter will be speculative and/or viewed through dark glass. That said, I think that the history of ideas is important and does lend support for the likelihood of said idea to be true or not. I am also for grass roots ideas and traditions, it is part of what makes being Mormon wonderful.

    If a metaphorical reading isn’t appropriate for the Fatherhood of God, I find it hard not to extend our views of corporeal reproduction on the eternities. Say God did make our spirits appear from chaos with a snap of his finger…is this any more “fatherlike” than nurturing an adoptive co-eternal being from its most primitive existence?

    It would also seem that there is a fair amount of support for non-creative parent relationships in Mormon thought:

    1) Christ becomes our Father and we become his seed (e.g., Mosiah 5:7)

    2) Children of God as hiers, e.g.:

    Those who keep no eternal Law in this life or make no eternal contract are single & alone in the eternal world (Luke 20-35) and are only made Angels to minister to those who shall be heirs of Salvation never becoming Sons of God having never kept the Law of God ie eternal Law The earthly is the image of the Heavenly shows that is by the multiplication of Lives that the eternal worlds are created and occupied (Franklin D. Richards account, WoJS pg. 232)

    Comment by J. Stapley — 2/20/2007 @ 9:49 pm

  82. For the record, I believe the view of Joseph Smith that spirits and intelligences are one and the same is best supported. It is the best reading of the Book of Abraham 3:19-21 in my view. It is also the most defensible view in terms of logic and the problem of evil it seems to me. Indeed, I believe that without Joseph Smith’s statements, no one else would have even glimpses. Since it seems that everyone else is just trying to understand what he taught, we ought to stick with what he taught.

    I remain open to the B.H. Roberts’ view. If it could be shown to be based on revelation rather than cultural overbelief and the rail-road engine without brakes effect, then I could accept it. However, it has no scriptural support. Poetry even by Eliza Snow doesn’t make it so. The earlier poem of Phelps is ambiguous at least. Church statements without revelation may express wisdom of good and even at times inspired men, but it isn’t scripture and I see no reason to believe that they know anything more than the rest of us without a revelation.

    Comment by Blake — 3/3/2007 @ 2:19 pm

  83. Thanks for stopping by, Blake. I am pretty much in agreement.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 3/3/2007 @ 2:42 pm

  84. blake, did you just reject HM here? I am a little confused by the Poems you reference?

    Comment by Matt W. — 3/3/2007 @ 3:41 pm

  85. Sorry Matt for the vague reference. The Roberts’ view assumes a mother in heaven and spiritial birth of the spirit at some time. I was referring to the Poem published in Dec. 1844 regarding a mother in heaven and the poem by Snow about the same doctrine. As I see it, if spirits are eternal and uncreated, there was not a time that they were birthed by a mother in heaven. That is a different topic though.

    Comment by Blake — 3/3/2007 @ 5:20 pm

  86. Thank you all for these insightful comments.

    I am glad to find others that have come to realize the false doctrine of HM (ie our spirits being born of heavenly mother in likeness of our bodies being born of earthly mothers – ie viviparous birth). I came to this realization some years ago and have found it difficult to find others in the Church of similar thoughts.

    I have just recently discovered these blog forums and I hope to engage in these blog discussions more often.

    Thanks and God Bless

    Comment by Jothan — 5/22/2007 @ 2:48 pm

  87. Jothan, I wish you well. I think that we can all have our own perspectives on such a matter, but I would definitely steer clear of such a loaded term as “false doctrine.” Many good saints have disagreed on the matter.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 5/22/2007 @ 10:39 pm

  88. J,

    I suppose you are right. “False doctrine” might be too strong a term.

    I should probably disclose more of my thinking on the matter.

    Like you, I give primacy to the teachings and revelations of Joseph Smith over the latter teachings of prophets, apostles or GAs without spirit confirmed revelation.

    I am open to the idea of HM in the respects that we are adopted in some way possibly a covenant of sorts (First Estate) rather than viviparously born of her.

    After all Jesus Christ is “The Only Begotten” of the Father and it would imply a Mother as well. I do not mean He is the Only Begotten because of His condescending reincarnate mortal birth through the virgin Mary which I have been taught in the church. But rather that as the scriptures say that he is the Only Begotten from before the foundations of the worlds.

    I would like to see a blog post about how Jesus is the Only Begotten and the Firstborn. I tend to see “Firstborn” more as a title of rights rather than place in line in the birthing process.

    Anyway, I have been impresed with many comments on various blogs by you, Geoff J, Mark Butler, Kevin Barney and others. I am a faithful LDS of similars thoughts and research. Being new here I seem to have missed out on a lot of interesting discussions. I might ressurect a few as I read through them.

    Thanks and God Bless

    Comment by Jothan — 5/23/2007 @ 3:16 pm

  89. In any case, Joseph is remarkably consistent on the idea that spirits can not be created, so whatever spirit birth is, it cannot be analogous to physical creation, or Joseph is greatly mistaken.

    Could you clarify this? Was Joseph explicit in saying that the eternal mind = intelligence = spirit? I can definitely see how he didn’t explicitly promote a tripartite view, but is there a “softer” version of tripartitism that would be consistent with Joseph? I guess my real question is, did Joseph see any difference between a mind/intelligence/spirit before its spirit birth and after, and what was that difference? Some new ability?

    Comment by BrianJ — 10/9/2008 @ 1:06 am

  90. BrianJ: There’s not a lot of evidence that Joseph ever used the term “Spirit Birth” or set up such an instance as a dividing line in existence…

    Comment by Matt W. — 10/9/2008 @ 8:33 am

  91. BrianJ, Matt is correct. Joseph didn’t teach “spirit birth.” What he did teach (and revealed in Abraham) was that spirits were without beginning and that “God never had power to create the spirit of man.”

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/9/2008 @ 9:26 am

  92. What did Joseph call the act that made us children of God? I’m sorry; I’m still trying to catch up with the terminology and keep it all separate. If we are children of God (which Joseph did teach?) then how did we become such if we always existed in a spiritual state that God didn’t change? I can’t see how Joseph didn’t see some kind of division.

    Comment by BrianJ — 10/9/2008 @ 1:33 pm

  93. I am going to try and dig into this for you a bit more, as I am curious.

    Here is where I will look.

    As an interesting stating point:

    Joseph did teach:

    Those who keep no eternal Law in this life or make no eternal contract are single & alone in the eternal world (Luke 20-35) and are only made Angels to minister to those who shall be heirs of Salvation never becoming Sons of God having never kept the Law of God ie eternal Law The earthly is the image of the Heavenly shows that is by the multiplication of Lives that the eternal worlds are created and occupied that which is born of the flesh is flesh that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit

    -Letter of Willard Richards to Brigham Young Quoting Joseph Smith
    July 16, 1843

    Comment by Matt W. — 10/9/2008 @ 5:00 pm

  94. Keep in mind I am not in the vivaporous spirit birth group.

    Comment by Matt W. — 10/9/2008 @ 5:00 pm

  95. I am not in the vivaporous spirit birth group.

    Too bad, I heard the classes really help during labor.

    (sorry, my mom taught birthing classes when I was growing up.)

    Comment by BrianJ — 10/9/2008 @ 7:24 pm

  96. I think it is fairly important to note that Joseph didn’t explicitly teach unconditional childhood of God. He typically couched the parent-child relationship as something conditional, where if we did not merit it, we are bastards.

    Matt, I’m currently writing a paper with Sam on Adoption, and I read that excerpt to be describing the process of becoming heirs of God (as described in the previous part of the excerpt).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/9/2008 @ 8:08 pm

  97. I am looking forward to the article on adoption. As for this quote, I haven’t drawn any conclusions, it’s just that it’s the closest I’ve ever scene to a spirit birth quote associated with JS.

    Comment by matt w. — 10/9/2008 @ 8:47 pm

  98. It is the only proof-text I have seen for people arguing that Joseph taught spirit birth.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/9/2008 @ 9:36 pm

  99. To be fair while Joseph didn’t teach a spirit birth it seems hard to assert that he taught our spirits were “always complete” and didn’t undergo serious evolution or addition akin to how our spirit picked up a body. I think that the best we can say is that Joseph was pretty vague on the nature of spirit and spiritual evolution.

    Comment by Clark — 10/13/2008 @ 10:58 pm

  100. #98: Not just Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ did not teach unconditional childhood of God either. See John 8:44 et seq.

    #99: I don’t think the KFD is exactly vague on the self-existence of individuals. Joseph Smith could hardly have said anything more fundamental on the topic.

    The best case for a tripartite model of sorts does not rely on vivaparous spirit birth at all, but rather on the reconciliation of eternal personal identity with some sort of spirit matter. If Joseph Smith is right about eternal personal identity, and there is such a thing as spirit matter, then Orson Pratt and and B.H. Roberts provide the only two alternatives. VSB is a side issue.

    For that reason, I lean towards a tripartite model despite rejecting VSB in favor of adoptionism.

    Comment by Mark D. — 10/14/2008 @ 4:13 am

  101. Mark, the detraction from Pratt and Roberts that I see are that Roberts argues for an ontological state that is not extant in the revelations or sermons of Joseph and what Pratt argued wasn’t an eternal identity.

    I just don’t see adoptive spirit birth as being a tripartite existence.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/14/2008 @ 9:20 am

  102. 101: On the contrary, both “spirit matter” and eternal “intelligences” are referred to in the scriptures. Whether they are ontologically distinct is not a question that the scriptures address, but it is certainly a proposition that the scriptures imply.

    The idea of spirit “matter” that is more “fine or pure” is meaningless unless spirit bodies are composed of fine particles of some sort. Likewise, the idea of eternal intelligences is meaningless unless personal identity is rooted in a distinguishable non-composite entity.

    So what are the alternatives:

    1. Every particle of spirit matter is a proto-individual.
    2. Individuals are ontologically distinct entities from the components of spirit matter.
    3. Discard the idea that personal identity is eternal.
    4. Discard the proposition that spirits have bodies
    5. Adopt the idea that spirit bodies are non-composite, non-particulate, and ontologically indistinguishable from personal identity.

    Your position seems to require either (4) or (5). So which is it, do spirits not have bodies, or are spirit bodies non-material, non-composite, and ontologically unitary?

    Comment by Mark D. — 10/14/2008 @ 12:46 pm

  103. I think we don’t have enough information to say much about the materiality of spirits. All we know is that they are; but what that means isn’t particularly evident. That means that your 1 and 2 are baseless (unless you take a Orson Pratt or Brigham Young expansion). If we are to take Joseph Smith’s teachings as normative, then we also have to take the well attributed teaching in the KFD that “God never did have the power to create the spirit of man” and that the spirit and mind of man is eternal. Abraham shows that “spirit” and “intelligence” are the same thing and eternal, which usage was consistent with Joseph Smith. I consequently reject 3. I think Parley Pratt’s exposition on spirit bodies is fanciful at best; really, we don’t have any idea what it means that spirits have a material body. They are not material in any way that is consistent with any usage of the term. That said, I believe it is true; especially in the sense (which I think Joseph was getting at) that if something exists it can’t not exist (i.e., it can’t be immaterial). So 4 is out. 5 assumes that we can adequately show the nature of that spirit body, which I don’t think we can; however the point about ontology and identity is, I believe, consistent with Joseph’s teachings.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/14/2008 @ 2:25 pm

  104. My point is that if you reject (1)-(4) then (5) is a logical necessity. Either spirits have parts or they don’t. (1),(2),(3) are variations on the proposition that spirits have parts. (4) and (5) are variations on the proposition that spirits do not have parts, or the parts really aren’t “parts”.

    One can say that the question is inconclusive of course, but to the degree we can say *anything* on the subject at all, it has a bearing on one of these five possibilities. So if you reject (4), then you are logically bound to either accept (5) or admit there is a possibility that one of the other options is correct. They are not independent questions.

    Comment by Mark D. — 10/14/2008 @ 3:07 pm

  105. So if you lean towards (5), the question that follows is “If spirits have bodies, and are ontologically unitary (no parts), what if anything constrains (human) spirits to have two eyes and ten fingers? Platonic forms? personal preference?

    Comment by Mark D. — 10/14/2008 @ 3:22 pm

  106. I don’t think that human spirits are constrained to a specific form; and I think there is significant evidence for this. We know that the spirit of Jesus Christ appeared in a specific form in Ether. However, I am unaware that anyone would suggest that their premortal spirit looks like their mortal body. This would require a measure of predetermination that is, I believe, unacceptable to Mormonism. Consider, for example the case of the child born out of wedlock. So if we believe that post-mortal spirits look different than premortal spirits, we have already accepted the malleability of spirit form.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 10/14/2008 @ 3:55 pm

  107. As usual, I’m late to all the important discussions. But I just have to say that I’m so glad that I’ve been able to read through all the comments and see all the different ideas through time as I try to work out my own understanding on this. Excellent, excellent strand here.

    Comment by Clean Cut — 7/13/2009 @ 6:49 pm

  108. Cheers!

    Comment by J. Stapley — 7/13/2009 @ 9:24 pm

  109. Still the best post ever. J., If you see this, did that article on Adoption ever get published?

    Comment by Matt W. — 1/8/2010 @ 7:55 pm

  110. Thanks Matt, I appreciate it. The adoption paper is fairly well done. It will be published as either one or two articles, co-authored with Sam Brown. In the interim, Sam, Kathleen Flake and I will each be presenting on ritual adoption in a session at the forthcoming MHA in Independence.

    On my long list of things to do, is a paper on the development of premortal doctrine or spirit birth or something.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 1/8/2010 @ 10:35 pm

  111. Yeah, I was hoping to do something similar for SMPT, but never got past titling it “When Souls didn’t have wings”.

    Comment by Matt W. — 1/8/2010 @ 10:51 pm

  112. Nice!

    Comment by J. Stapley — 1/8/2010 @ 10:53 pm

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