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This page contains comments from the following authors:

Daniel B. McKinlay
Elder Bruce R. McConkie

by Daniel B. McKinlay

According to latter-day scripture, "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth" (D&C 93:36). Mankind, too, may be glorified by gaining intelligence (D&C 93:28-30). As Christ did not receive a fulness of intelligence at first but continued from "grace to grace" until he received a fulness (D&C 93:11-13, 27-28), so it is with all persons. Whatever principles of intelligence they gain in mortality will rise with them in the Resurrection (D&C 130:18-19).

To gain increased intelligence, individuals must be agents to act for themselves (D&C 93:30), which means that they must be tried and tempted (D&C 29:39), and at the same time, the works of the Lord must be plainly manifest to them (D&C 93:31) so that they will have choice. In premortal life, men and women were intelligent beings (Abr. 3:21-22) who were given agency by God (Moses 4:3; D&C 29:36). In mortality, they are also given agency by God (D&C 101:78), to gain knowledge of good and evil (Moses 5:11). Intelligence increases as individuals forsake evil and come to the Lord, calling on his name, obeying his voice, and keeping his commandments (D&C 93:1-2, 28, 37). Intelligence is lost through disobedience, hardening of hearts, and clinging to false traditions (Mark 8:21; D&C 93:39).

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.


Roberts, B. H. "Immortality of Man." IE 20 (Apr. 1907):401-423.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Intelligence

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

by Elder Bruce R. McConkie

1. In the gospel sense, intelligence is far more than the capacity to know and understand, and the intelligent man is one who does more than acquire knowledge. "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth," the Lord says. "Light and truth forsake that evil one." (D. & C. 93:36-37.) Thus intelligence is the light and truth which comes from Christ who is the way, the life, the light, and the truth of the world.

Knowledge can be obtained and used in unrighteousness; Satan gains his power on this principle. But intelligence presupposes the wise and proper use of knowledge, a use that leads to righteousness and the ultimate attainment of exaltation. The devil has tremendous power and influence because of his knowledge, but he is entirely devoid of the least glimmering of intelligence. An intelligent person is one who applies his knowledge so as to progress in the things of the Spirit; he glories in righteousness. (Way to Perfection, pp. 225-231.) "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. (D. & C. 130:18-19.)

2. Intelligence or light and truth, is also used as a synonym for spirit element. Scriptures using both terms speak of the self-existent nature of the substance involved. (D. & C. 93:29; 131:7-8.) Abraham calls the pre-existent spirits the intelligences that were organized before the world was" (Abra. 3:22) because the intelligences were organized intelligence or in other words the spirit bodies were born from spirit element.

Mormon Doctrine, p.387
Copyright by Bookcraft

[See also Intelligences; Basic Beliefs home page; Doctrines of the Gospel home page.]

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