Alma 13:1-5, LeGrand Baker, about intelligences

Alma 13:1-5, LeGrand Baker, about intelligences

Following my discussion of the scriptures, I have attached a statement by B. H. Roberts, which I believe is the most intelligent analysis of the question of intelligences in Mormon literature.

1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.

The best place to begin a discussion of Alma 13 is Abraham 3, where we learn:

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones (Abraham 3:22)

One finds another version of that same story in Alma 13, where we learn how the noble and great ones came to be that way. Alma spoke of the time when “the Lord God ordained priests after [patterned after] his holy order, which was after [following] the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.”

It makes no sense that the holy order of “the Lord God” should be patterned after the order of the Son, so the second “after” must mean following in time.

Alma does not mention that they are members of Council in Heaven, but all other indications suggest the ordinations “after the order of” the Father that he talked about took place at that Council, so I presume the setting of Alma 13 and Abraham 3 is the same, and that each is simply a different version of the same story – except that Alma 12 and 13 tell us more about intelligences – much more detail about who the noble and great ones were before they were spirits in the Council – than any other scriptures I know about.

The first definition of “forward” in the Oxford English Dictionary is an absolute vindication of that word in this chapter of Alma.

It reads, “1. In OE [Old English] used in partitive concord: The front part of (any thing material); the first or earliest part of (a period of time, etc.).

So, in order to make “forward” fit with the past tense “gave,” all we have to do is read the world’s best English dictionary to discover that Joseph used precisely the right word if he intended that our minds should look toward the beginning of time.

This is the setting: The first OED definition of “forward” is the first or earliest part of a period of time. {1} So even though Joseph Smith’s translation does not use the phrase “in the beginning,” it uses the correct word to take us there. This is the time and place when the Father – the Lord God, Elohim – ordained priests. We know it is talking about Elohim because he “gave these commandments unto his children,” then “ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son.” In Abraham we are told that the Father chose the “noble and great ones,” who were at that time “spirits.” To be a spirit one must have received a spirit body from heavenly parents. Thus, “children” and “spirits” are the same thing. So Alma 13 is the same story as the same as Psalm 82, and the same as Abraham 3. “The Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son.” – “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods,” – “and he said: These I will make my rulers.” Alma said that the purpose of the ordination was so the “children” could teach the commandments of the Father to the “people.”

1 And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people.
2 And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.
3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained——being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.
4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren
5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren…

Let us now examine that very carefully:

1  And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, (Alma 13:1a)

This is the setting: The first OED definition of “forward” is the first or earliest part of a period of time.{2} So even though Joseph Smith’s translation does not use the phrase “in the beginning,” it uses the correct word to take us there. This is the time and place when the Father – the Lord God, Elohim – ordained priests. We know it is talking about Elohim because he “gave these commandments unto his children,” then “ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son.” In Abraham we are told that the Father chose the “noble and great ones,” who were at that time “spirits.” To be a spirit one must have received a spirit body from heavenly parents. Thus, “children” and “spirits” are the same thing. So Alma 13 is the same story as the same as Psalm 82, and the same as Abraham 3. “The Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son.” – “God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods,” – “and he said: These I will make my rulers.” Alma said that the purpose of the ordination was so the “children” could teach the commandments of the Father to the “people.”

to teach these things unto the people.

Now the question is, Who are the “people,” and why are they not also called “children”? The answer seems straight forward enough: If “people” are different from “children,” and the children are those who have already received spirit bodies from their heavenly parents, then the “people” must be intelligences – those individuals who have not yet been born into spirit bodies. If that is so, then the purpose of the teaching would have been to prepare the “people” to enter the presence of God and be born as “children.” That interpretation is substantially strengthened as we continue in the passage.

And those priests [the “children’] were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people [intelligences] might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption.

If the non-children – the “people” – are intelligences, then this sermon by Alma gives us great insight about the meaning and extent of the atonement – about what it means to say that the atonement is infinite and eternal. That insight is this: Intelligences are represented here as being self cognizant, capable of learning and of interacting with others. They have free agency and are therefore capable of error. If they are capable of error – sin – they become unclean while they were still intelligences. Since no unclean thing can enter into the presence of God, no intelligence who had ever made a wrong decision could enter his presence to become one of his spirit offspring. (Only Christ had never sinned, so only Christ could – by right – enter the presence of God to become his Son. Therefore Christ was the “Firstborn” and “Only Begotten.”) However the intelligences could enter the presence of God on the same principles that one has always been able to do so. That is, because Christ’s atonement is infinite and eternal it has the power to reach back in time to where intelligences could be redeemed and brought into the presence of God. If I read Abraham 3 and Alma 13 correctly, some intelligences qualified to become spirit children of Heavenly Father before others qualified. Those who qualified first became members of the Council (Satan, who was a liar from the beginning, qualified by knowing the requisite things and performing the requisite performances, but when he was presented with a plan which would send him to earth where he would be judged by charity rather than performance, he realized he could no longer lie his way through the system, and tried to mess everything up.)

Abraham 3-5 tells about the Father’s spirit children (the gods) who created the earth, while Alma 12-13 tells about the Father’s spirit children who were ordained to teach the unorganized intelligences about the atonement. Of those members of the Council, Abraham wrote, “God saw these souls that they were good.” Alma was much more explicit:

And this is the manner after which they were ordained – being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God,

Alma then says that “foreknowledge” was a projection of the past into the future – that is, God knew their works in the past; he knew their integrity, and therefore he knew their future.

being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works;

That says that because of their faith (pistis – tokens of the covenants) – and good works (in James, Paul, throughout the Book of Mormon and many other places in the scriptures, “works” refer to ordinances.), that they were called and prepared. That should come as no surprise, because that is always the criteria God uses. The surprise may come in the next phrase which answers the question, When?

in the first place being left to choose good or evil;

The phrase “in the first place” has one of two meanings: either it is a colloquial expression that is just stuck in there, or it means precisely what it says: “in the first place.” If it is only a colloquialism one can make the chapter mean almost anything one wishes. However if it does mean “in the first place,” then these statements describe the noble and great ones as intelligences, and tell why and how they qualified to be among the earliest spirit children born to our heavenly parents. In this chapter, the phrase, “in the first place” is used twice. I take them to mean exactly what they say: in the first place – as intelligences they were free to choose good or evil –

therefore they [the intelligences] having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith [in Christ],

In this verse these “children” are described as having “exceeding faith and good works” and “exercising exceedingly great faith.” If “faith” means belief, that speaks highly of their conviction. However, if “faith” means the same as pistis – tokens of covenants – that helps us understand how truly great these illuminaries must have been. Alma says that they “are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.”

“Preparatory redemption” is another key phrase which helps us determine the time this was happening. “Redemption” is coming into the presence of God. In terms of this life, to be redeemed is to be brought back into his presence. (Ether 3:13-14, Helaman 14:17, 2 Nephi 2:2-4, 2 Nephi 1:15). The final redemption is being brought into the Celestial Kingdom where one may reside with God.

“Preparatory redemption” does not mean “preparing for a redemption,” it means a redemption which prepares one for something else – a redemption which is “preparatory.” In this case it would preparing intelligences to be redeemed the first time – that is, to be brought into the presence of God as his spirit children. It is preparatory because it is not permanent.3 As children we must leave his presence again when we come into this world. When we return to his presence to stay, that will be a permanent redemption. So the first redemption when we became his spirit children is “preparatory” because it looks forward to the final redemption.

4 And thus they [the “children” – members of the Council] have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith [in Christ], while others [intelligences] would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts [That phrase is defined in Alma 12: 9-11 as refusing to know the “mysteries” of God.] and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this [their refusal to know] they [the “people”] might have had as great privilege as their brethren [the “children”].

That may be the most important concept in the scriptures. For, as the next verse makes it clear, the noble and great ones were not noble and great because they had some special advantages, but “on account of their exceeding faith and good works” – because of the way they exercised their free agency, their advancement as intelligences was an entirely individual matter. (Abraham 3:18-21 seems to confirm that.)

5a. Or in fine, in the first place [“In the first place” – when they were intelligences] they [the “people”] were on the same standing with their brethren [the “children”];

That is, at some point in time – in the very distant past – the intelligences who are here identified as the “people” were on the same standing as the intelligences who are here identified as “children.” There was nothing arbitrary about the selection of the noble and great ones. They were not noble and great because they were the among the first to be born to our Heavenly Parents, but they were among the first to be born to our Heavenly Parents because they were noble and great.

5b. thus this holy calling [the ordination mentioned in verse one] being prepared from the foundation of the world [that always means at or before the Council] for such as would not harden their hearts [when they were intelligences], [This priesthood calling] being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared –

If I read that correctly it says that in the very beginnings of our beginning we were free to choose. Those who chose to have faith in Christ and follow him did so; those who chose not to, did not do so. To accept that notion, one must also accept the idea that the atonement reaches back forever (“Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” D&C 93:29), and continues forever into the future. I accept that as truth. But in my imagination, I cannot conceive of our origin being so two dimensional as to simply assert that one only accepted Christ or not accept him. My notion is that by the time one had matured sufficiently as an “intelligence” to be ready to be born a child in the world of the spirits, one had not only developed one’s inclination to love the Lord and his children; but one had also fully, or very nearly, developed the whole complex system of preferences and non-preferences which we call personality. I suppose also, that all the other attributes of personality were subsets of the most important one, which was (still is) charity – one’s love for the Father and his children.

The first commandment is to Love the Lord. The second is to love your neighbor. If our this-physical-life experience was designed to see if one will love in an environment which is not conducive to love, then it was designed very well indeed. The farmer who beats his dogs and children, and indiscriminately uses his chickens for a football is, at his core, not substantially different from the tyrant who over-taxes his people and oppresses them with unjust laws. Similarly the impoverished housewife who feeds the hungry neighbor child is not substantially different from the middle class Latter-day Saint Relief Society sister who looks after her ill neighbor because she chooses to rather than because she feels it is her duty. It seems to me that earth’s experience was designed, not to show if we will obey, but to show why we obeyed – that is, so we can have sufficient opportunity to confirm to ourselves and all creation whether we obeyed in the spirit world because we knew which side our bread is buttered on, or whether we obeyed because we truly love the Lord and love his children.

In the Gospel of John, the beloved disciple, quotes the Saviour as saying,

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13: 34-35)

This does not imply that the command to love one another was never given before that time. In his letters John explains that the commandment is “new” because it is renewed in this world, but it was first given in the pre-mortal existence. He used the phrase, “from the beginning” four times in these few verses. (Later, I shall show how “new and everlasting covenant” has the same connotation.)

4 He that saith, I know him [God], and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
8 Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth.
9 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.
10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (1 John 2: 4-10)

and

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;
2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (2 John 1: 1-6)

If the object of our earth life experience was designed to that end, then human and individual history takes on a whole new meaning. Whether in the extreme of poverty and utter obscurity, or in great wealth and reputation – or somewhere in between – the purpose of life is the same for everyone – only the specific assignment is different – in this life and, I suppose, in the spirit world which follows. Since “where much is given, much is required” is a true principle, for the rich and the poor, the well educated and the ill-educated, the opportunities for doing good in this life (and/or in the next), are ultimately worked out on a level playing field.

An example is one of the most moving autobiographies I have ever read. Martha Cox’s parents were among the first settlers in St. George, Utah. All of her life she was very poor. Near the end of her autobiography she wrote something like this: “I have always been grateful to the Lord that I had no money. I have noticed that rich people cannot give to poor people without the poor people being reluctant to accept, because they think the rich people are being condescending. But I have always been so poor that I could help whomever I wished, and they were always able to accept whatever I had to give.”{4}

I believe that one’s charity (in combination with other personality attributes) and one’s priesthood authority, as they are described as a single unit in Abraham 1:2-4, constitute the ‘law of one’s own being.’ (As I consider it, I think that the phrase “priesthood authority” is the right concept there, but as we use the words, probably not the right phrase – though I have no idea what a better one would be. Considering the grand sweep and eternal scope of Abraham’s statements, I think the concept is far too big for our gender oriented “priesthood authority” to say all that is necessary to say. But as I observed, I haven’t the foggiest idea what a better phrase would be.)

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Endnotes

{1} Oxford English Dictionary: The first meaning of the word “forward.” The definition reads: “The front part of (any thing material); the first or earliest part of (a period of time. etc.).”

{2} Oxford English Dictionary: The first meaning of the word “forward.” The definition reads: “The front part of (any thing material); the first or earliest part of (a period of time. etc.).”

{3} “Preparatory … 1. That prepares or serves to prepare; preliminary; introductory, 2. Undergoing preparation, or preliminary instruction, …” (Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language [Cleveland, World Publishing Company1959.] )

{4} I apologize that I no longer have the exact quote or the precise citation. The original is in the Church Historical Department in SLC; a xerox copy is in Special Collections at BYU library. Her statement is somewhere near the end of her autobiography.

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The Seventy’s Course in Theology

SECOND YEAR

Outline History of the Dispensations of the Gospel

Compiled and Edited by

B. H. ROBERTS
Of the First Council of
the Seventy 

“The things of God are of deep import; and time and experience, and
careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. –
Joseph Smith.

SKELTON PUBLISHING Co.

Salt Lake City

1908

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[page 7] The Seventy’s Course in Theology

SECOND YEAR

Outline History of the Dispensations of
the Gospel
PART I
PRELUDE TO THE DISPENSATIONS

LESSON I.

(Scripture Reading Exercise.)

INTELLIGENCIES AND SPIRITS.

ANALYSIS.
I. Intelligencies – Existence and Character of.

REFERENCES.
Pearl of Great Price ch.iii. St. John i: 1-14 Compared with Doc. and Cov. Bee. xciii 6-31. See the Prophet Joseph’s “King Follett Sermon” Api. :, 1844, Mill. Star Vol. xxiii, pp.245-280 and notes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

II. Distinction Between “Intelligences” and “Spirits.”

Book of Ether ch. iii: 13- 16, and the foregoing references of the lesson and notes 1, 7. Also Article in the “Improvement Era,” Apri 1907, on the “Immortality of Man,”{1}

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
{1} [B. H. Robert’s footnote:]
The following appears as a note preceding the article In question, from which article most of the notes in this and in lessons following in Part I are taken: “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.-Editors.”

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NOTES.
1. Intelligencies-Co-Eternal: “If two things exist, and there be one above the other, there shall be greater things above them. * * * * * 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, for they are gnolaum, or eternal. Book of Abraham ch. 3, 16, 18.)
2. Intelligencies, Eternal, Self-existent: “The soul-the mind of man-the immortal spirit-where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created It in the beginning; but It is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine. I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world, for God has told me so, If you don’t believe me, It will not make the truth without effect . * * * We say that God himself Is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough, but how did it get into your head? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner, upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. * * * * * The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal*], with God himself. I know my testimony is true.”-Joseph Smith, (Mill. Star, Vol. XXIII p. 262.)
3. The Nature of Intelligencies: There is in that complex thing we call man, an intelligent entity, uncreated, self existent, indestructible, He-for that entity is a person; because, as we shall see, he is possessed of powers that go with personality only, hence that entity is “he,” not “it,”-he is eternal as God is; co-existent, in fact, with God; of the same kind of substance or essence with deity, though confessedly inferior In degree of intelligence and power to God. One must needs think that the name of this eternal entity-what God calls him – conveys to the mind some idea of his nature. He is called an “intelligence;” and this I believe is descriptive of him. That is, intelligence Is the entity’s chief characteristic. If this be a true deduction, then the entity must be self- conscious, and “others-conscious,” that is, lie must have the power to distinguish himself from other things-the “me” from the “not me.” He must have the power of deliberation, by which he sets over one thing against another; with power also to form a judgment that this or that is a better thing or state than this or that. Also there goes with this idea of intelligence a power of choosing one thing Instead of an- other, one state rather than another. These powers are inseparably connected with any idea that may be formed of an intelligence. One cannot conceive of Intelligence existing without these qualities any more

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than he can conceive; of an object existing in space without dimension.. The phrase “the light of troth” [Doc. & Cov., Sec. xciii.] is given in one of the revelations as the equivalent for an “intelligence” here discussed; by which is meant to be understood, as I think, that intelligent entities perceive the truth, are conscious of the truth, they know that which Is, hence “the light of truth,” “intelligence.” Let it be observed that I say nothing as to the mode of the existence of these intelligences, be- yond the fact of their eternity. But of their form, or the manner of their subsistence nothing, so far as 1 know, has been revealed, and hence we are without means of knowing anything about the modes of their existence beyond the fact of it, and the essential qualities they possess, which already have been pointed out.

4. Words Used Interchangeably: It is often the case that mis- conceptions arise through Ii. careless use of words, and through using words interchangeably, without regard to shades of differences that attach to them; and this in the scriptures as in other writings. Indeed, this fault is more frequent in the scriptures perhaps than in any other writings, for the reason that, for the most part, they are composed by men who did not aim at scientific exactness In the use of words. They were not equal to such precision In the use of language, in the first place; and in the second, they depended more upon the general tenor of what they wrote for making truth apparent than upon technical precision. In a choice of words; ideas, not niceness of expression, was the burden of their souls; thought, Rot Its dress. Hence, in scripture, and I might say especially in modern scripture, a lack of careful or precise choice of words, a large dependence upon the general tenor of what is written to convey the truth, a wide range in using words interchangeably that are not always exact equivalents, are characteristics. Thus the expressions, “Kingdom of God,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “the Whole Family In Heaven,” “the Church,” “the Church of Christ,” “the Church of God,” are often used Interchangeably for the Church of Christ when they are not always equivalents; so, too, are used the terms “Spirit of God,” and “Holy Ghost;” “Spirit of Christ,” and the “the Holy Ghost;” “Spirit,” and “Soul;” “Intelligences,” and “spirits;” “spirits,” and “angels.” I mention this In passing, because I believe many of the differences of opinion and much of the confusion of ideas that exist arise out of our not recognizing, or our not remembering these facts. Hereafter let the student be on his guard in relation to the use of the words “Intelligencles,” “spirits,” “soul,” “mind,” etc.; and he will find his way out of many a dlfftculty.

5. Intelligence Eternal-Not Created: “Man was also In the be- ginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither Indeed can be.” (Doc. & Cov., Sec. xcltt, 29.)

“I am dwelling on the Immorality of the spirit of man. Is it logoli- cal to say that the intelligence of spirits Is Immortal, and yet that It (i. e. the intelligence) had a beginning. The Intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither wlll it have an end, That Is good logic. That which

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has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were no spirits, for they are co-equal (co-eternal) with our Father in heaven. * * * * * I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man-the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join It again and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning it with have an end. * * * * * Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle. It is a spirit* from age to age and there is no creation about it. * * * * * The first principles of a man are self-existent with God.-Joseph Smith-(Mill. Star, Vol. 23, p. 262.)
6. The Difference Between “Spirits,” and Uncreated “Intelligencies:” In the Book of Mormon we have the revelation which gives the most light upon spirit-existence of Jesus, and, through his spirit-existence, light upon the spirit-existence of all men. The light is given in that complete revelation of the pr~existent, personal spirit of Jesus Christ, made to the brother of Jared, ages before the spirit of Jesus tabernacled in the flesh. The essential part of the passage follows:

Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ; * * * * * and never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own Image. Behold this body which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after 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.

What do we learn from all this? First, let it be re-called that according to the express word of God ‘intelligences” are not created, neither indeed can they be. Now, with the above revelation from the Book of Mormon concerning the spirit-body of Jesus, before us, we are face to face with a something that was begotten, and in that sense a “creation,” a spirit, the “first born of many brethren;” the “beginning of the creations of God.” The spirit is in human form-for we are told that as Christ’s spirit-body looked to Jared’s brother, so would the Christ look to men when he came among them in the flesh; the body of flesh conforming to the appearance of the spirit, the earthly to the heavenly. “This body which ye now behold is the body of my spirit”-the house, the tenement of that uncreated intelligence which had been begotten of the Father a spirit, as later that spirit-body with the Intelligent, uncreated entity Inhabiting it, will be begotten a man. “This body which you now behold is the body of my spirit,” or spirit-body. There can be no doubt but what here “spirit,” as in the Book of Abraham, is used interchangeably with “intelligence,” and refers to the uncreated entity; as if the passage stood; “This is the body inhabited by an Intelligence.” The intelligent entity inhabiting a spirit-body make up the spiritual] personage. It is

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this spirit life we have so often thought about, and sang about. in this state of existence occurred the spirit’s “primeval childhood;” here spirits were “nurtured” near the side of the heavenly Father, in his “high and glorious place;” thence spirits were sent to earth to unite spirit-elements with earth-elements-in some way essential to a fulness of glory and happiness (Doe. & Coy. Sec. xciii: 32-35)-and to learn the lessons earth-life had to teach. The half awakened recollections of the human mind may be chiefly engaged with scenes, incidents and impressions of that spirit life; but that does not argue the non-existence of the uncreated intelligences who preceded the begotten spiritual personage as so plainly set forth in the revelations of God.

The difference, then, between “spirits” and “intelligencies,” as here used, is this: Spirits are uncreated intelligencies inhabiting spiritual bodies; while “intelligencies,” pure and simple, are intelligent entities, but unembodied in either spirit bodies or bodies of flesh and bone. They are uncreated, self-existent entities, possessed of “self-consciousness,” and “other-consciousness” -they are conscious of the “me” and the “not me”; they possess powers of discrimination, (without which the term “Intelligence” would be a solecism) they discern between the evil and the good; between the “good” and “the better.” They possess “will” or “freedom,”-within certain limits at least – the, power to determine upon a given course of conduct, as against any other course of conduct. This intelligence “can think his own thoughts, act wisely or foolishly, do right or wrong.” To accredit an “intelligence” with fewer or less important powers than these, would be to discredit him as an “intelligence” altogether.
7. Effect of the Doctrine of the Eternal Existence of Intelligences on Our Terminology: The conception here set forth in the doctrine that intelligencies are co-eternal with God uncreated and uncreatable, self-existent, indestructible, will be to change somewhat the currently accepted notion In regard to pre-existence of intelligencies and spirits, and In a way the number of estates through which they pass. It is customary for us to say, that there are three grand estates of existence through which intelligencies pass in the course of their exaltation to resurrected, immortal, divine beings (See Jacques’s Catechism, chap. vi.): first, their pr~existence as spirits, sons and daughters of God, in the spirit world; second, these spirits clothed upon with mortal bodies-earth-life of men and women; third, spirits inhabiting bodies that have been resurrected, Immortal beings clothed with imperishable bodies prepared for eternal advancement in the kingdoms of God. But the doctrine of the Prophet and of the scriptures he gave to the world, require us to recognize before the first

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estate as set forth in the above order, the existence of the self-existent intelligencies before they are begotten spirits, sons and daughters of God. So that it could be said that there are four estates in which intelligencies exist instead of three; namely; self-existent, uncreated and unbegotten intelligencies, co-eternal with God; second, intelligencies begotten of God spirits; third, spirits begotten men and women, still sons and daughters of God; fourth, resurrected beings, immortal spirits inhabiting imperishable bodies, still sons and daughters of God, and in the, line of eternal progression, up to the attainment of divine attributes and powers. Still, if we have regard to those changes through which Intelligences pass, rather than to their status before and after those changes, then we may still say that so far as the matter has been revealed there are three estates or changes through which intelligences pass in the course of their development or evolution into divine beings; and thus reserve the terminology of our sacred literature to which we are accustomed. (See Book of Abraham, ch iii: 22-26. Also Jaques’ Catechism, ch. vi.)

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The following is from B. H. Roberts, The Truth, The Way, The Life (Provo, Utah, BYU Studies, 1994), 98.

Do these higher intelligences of the stellar universe and planetary systems have so developed in themselves the quality of love that makes it possible to think of them as being willing to sacrifice themselves–to empty themselves in sacrifice to bring to pass the welfare of others whom they may esteem to be the undeveloped intelligences of the universe and may they not be capable of giving the last full measure of sacrifice to bring to pass the higher development of the “lowly” when no other means of uplift can be serviceable? Is the great truth operative among these untold millions of intelligences that greater love hath no intelligence for another than this, that he would give his life in the service of kindred intelligences when no other means of helpfulness is possible?

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