Return to About Mormons home
by Wilson K. Andersen
Latter-day Saints believe that each person was born in premortal life as a spirit son or daughter of God. The spirit joins with a physical body in the process of birth on the earth. At death the spirit and the body separate until they reunite in the resurrection. Spirits are capable of intellectual advancement, love, hate, happiness, sorrow, obedience, disobedience, memory, and other personal characteristics. Latter-day Saints believe that "all spirit is matter," but this matter is so fine that it cannot be discerned by mortal eyes (D&C 131: 7-8).
The Doctrine and Covenants explains that "the spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast; and every other creature which God has created" (D&C 77:2). That spirit bodies resemble physical bodies is demonstrated in the account of the premortal Jesus visiting the brother of jared many centuries before Jesus' birth (Ether 3:9-16). On this occasion, the Lord revealed his spirit body and said, "this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh" (3:16).
According to Latter-day Saint doctrine, the spirit (sometimes called the soul) does not die (Alma 42:9; cf. James 2:26). However, a spirit, though immortal, cannot have a fulness of joy without being inseparably connected to a resurrected physical body (D&C 93:33-34; 138:50). For additional references see Job 32:8; Hebrews 12:9; 1 Nephi 11:11; Abraham 3:18-23.
(See Basic Beliefs home page; Premortal Existence home page; Teachings About the Afterlife home page)
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 3, Spirit Body
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
All About Mormons