When the spirit enters the body


Recommended Posts

behold, the bvoice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the asign be given, and on the bmorrow come I into the world,

 

Does 3rd Nephi 1: 12 – 13 provide support for any conclusions about when the spirit enters the body? In these two verses, we have the voice of the Lord speaking to Nephi on the day before He was born. Obviously this is not enough to establish any firm or reliable conclusions, but does it at least suggest that some possible conclusions are more likely than others? I suggest that speaking to Nephi was not the kind of thing the Lord would be doing if His spirit was already in His body and if He had already passed through the veil of forgetfulness.

I understand that various church leaders have said we don't know enough to be able to say when the spirit enters the body, but these two verses might have a role in reducing our level of ignorance on this question. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, askandanswer said:

behold, the bvoice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the asign be given, and on the bmorrow come I into the world,

 

Does 3rd Nephi 1: 12 – 13 provide support for any conclusions about when the spirit enters the body? In these two verses, we have the voice of the Lord speaking to Nephi on the day before He was born. Obviously this is not enough to establish any firm or reliable conclusions, but does it at least suggest that some possible conclusions are more likely than others? I suggest that speaking to Nephi was not the kind of thing the Lord would be doing if His spirit was already in His body and if He had already passed through the veil of forgetfulness.

I understand that various church leaders have said we don't know enough to be able to say when the spirit enters the body, but these two verses might have a role in reducing our level of ignorance on this question. 

This is also something I noticed. I imagine the exact time a spirit enters the body may be different and there isn’t any real metric we can look to to really know. Additionally, Christ may have had a little more freedom with this whole process.

I understand this may not be where you are going with this, but it is worth pointing out. When the spirit enters the body should have little sway on our opinion of abortion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have considered this passage as well.  What would we gain from knowing the answer?

Also, the Voice of the Lord could be the Holy Spirit speaking by divine investiture of authority (similar to the angel in the Book of Revelation), and could have received instructions in advance.

I don't have a for sure opinion either way other than that I think the knowledge, while interesting, would probably not be very useful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, person0 said:

I have considered this passage as well.  What would we gain from knowing the answer?

 

I think that all the works and doings of God are worth inquiring into. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion is that mentioned by @person0that what he heard was the Holy Ghost in his role as messenger, kind of a "thus saith the Lord" kind of pronouncement that prophets make as an agent of the Lord.

Though we do know people have near-death experiences where it appears that their spirits temporarily leave their body. So I guess it's possible Jesus was able to do the same here. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've heard the description cited above by Laronius and Person0.

I'd like to add the following.

1. John the baptist leapt in the womb when he had several months remaining before his birth.

2. We tend to have this belief that the veil is a very thin wall that completely obscures one side from the other.  I believe it is more like a fog that gradually obscures the vision the further we go.  And it only becomes complete some short time after birth.  It may be longer than we might think.

3. The Brother of Jared had faith so strong that he could not be kept from seeing within the veil.

Based on #2 & 3 above, what can be said of the Savior?

Edited by Carborendum
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, askandanswer said:

behold, the bvoice of the Lord came unto him, saying:

13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the asign be given, and on the bmorrow come I into the world,

 

Does 3rd Nephi 1: 12 – 13 provide support for any conclusions about when the spirit enters the body? In these two verses, we have the voice of the Lord speaking to Nephi on the day before He was born. Obviously this is not enough to establish any firm or reliable conclusions, but does it at least suggest that some possible conclusions are more likely than others? I suggest that speaking to Nephi was not the kind of thing the Lord would be doing if His spirit was already in His body and if He had already passed through the veil of forgetfulness.

I understand that various church leaders have said we don't know enough to be able to say when the spirit enters the body, but these two verses might have a role in reducing our level of ignorance on this question. 

Perhaps the voice was pre-recorded, perhaps someone else delivered the message by delegation (including by divine investiture of authority), as angels often do.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, person0 said:

I have considered this passage as well.  What would we gain from knowing the answer?

Also, the Voice of the Lord could be the Holy Spirit speaking by divine investiture of authority (similar to the angel in the Book of Revelation), and could have received instructions in advance.

I don't have a for sure opinion either way other than that I think the knowledge, while interesting, would probably not be very useful.

This is the correct answer. The Holy Ghost speaks in the voice of the Father and Son and the others can do the same. Overthinking the gospel can lead to problems in our testimony. It is good to wonder, but the gospel does not contradict itself. If John can sense the presence of the Lord, in the womb, at three months and our bodies are unable to live without our spirit after birth, then I think it is safe to assume that our spirit enters the body at conception in order to make the body live and develop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it doesn't get too personal, I will offer another data point. The Church officially feels very differently about stillbirth (and miscarriage) than they do about those born alive. My first child was stillborn at 39 weeks gestation (essentially full term). The Church officially says that they will not keep a record of him nor would they perform proxy ordinances (sealing to parents would be the important one) if needed. The Church is officially neutral on his status as a person and as a member of my family. Allow me to emphasize the neutral stance, in that they are not saying one way or another, but punting on the question until the next life.

Contrast that with a child born premature at 24 weeks (speaking hypothetically only because I have not personally experienced this, I'm sure someone somewhere has personal experience with this scenario), who struggles for hours or days or weeks, and then passes away. By virtue of having "lived" outside of the womb for any length of time (however brief), that child is considered by the Church to be unambiguously a member of the family and eligible for proxy sealing to parents when needed.

I don't know the answer to the OP's question. At conception seems too early, to me. As I understand it, the Church is a bit ambiguous about the space between conception and birth, and doesn't truly recognize a child as fully and unambiguously alive until birth (perhaps in keeping with the example given in the OP). This seems more an admission of a lack of revelation rather than a firm stance one way or the other, preferring to let God decide those things and tell us later (probably next life).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

If it doesn't get too personal, I will offer another data point. The Church officially feels very differently about stillbirth (and miscarriage) than they do about those born alive. My first child was stillborn at 39 weeks gestation (essentially full term). The Church officially says that they will not keep a record of him nor would they perform proxy ordinances (sealing to parents would be the important one) if needed. The Church is officially neutral on his status as a person and as a member of my family. Allow me to emphasize the neutral stance, in that they are not saying one way or another, but punting on the question until the next life.

Contrast that with a child born premature at 24 weeks (speaking hypothetically only because I have not personally experienced this, I'm sure someone somewhere has personal experience with this scenario), who struggles for hours or days or weeks, and then passes away. By virtue of having "lived" outside of the womb for any length of time (however brief), that child is considered by the Church to be unambiguously a member of the family and eligible for proxy sealing to parents when needed.

I don't know the answer to the OP's question. At conception seems too early, to me. As I understand it, the Church is a bit ambiguous about the space between conception and birth, and doesn't truly recognize a child as fully and unambiguously alive until birth (perhaps in keeping with the example given in the OP). This seems more an admission of a lack of revelation rather than a firm stance one way or the other, preferring to let God decide those things and tell us later (probably next life).

I based my comment on scriptures, not policies created by committees in church leadership. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

I based my comment on scriptures, not policies created by committees in church leadership. 

That's a pretty bold statement when nowhere in the scriptures does it say when the spirit enters the body.

7 hours ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

...I think it is safe to assume that our spirit enters the body at conception in order to make the body live and develop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

I based my comment on scriptures, not policies created by committees in church leadership. 

An you're certainly not alone in coming to the same conclusion -- most notably, the Catholic Church agrees with you. It's one of those things where, with the precedent set by the Catholic and other Christian churches, it wouldn't necessarily be controversial to take the stand that life begins at conception, so I find it interesting that the LDS Church refuses to make that claim in any official capacity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are multiple advantages to the answer being unknown.  Two are:

1.  If it were to be revealed that life begins at birth, sadly even more members of the Church would use that to justify abortion.

2.  If it were to be revealed that life begins at conception, abortion would be considered "like until murder" in a much more strict sense and repentance for it during this life would become even more complicated.

The ambiguity makes it easier for the Lord to both grant mercy to those who will sin in ignorance and to preserve those who would be tempted to justify.  I think, perhaps for these and other reasons, the Lord, in his wisdom, has chosen not to reveal this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, MrShorty said:

If it doesn't get too personal, I will offer another data point. The Church officially feels very differently about stillbirth (and miscarriage) than they do about those born alive. My first child was stillborn at 39 weeks gestation (essentially full term). The Church officially says that they will not keep a record of him nor would they perform proxy ordinances (sealing to parents would be the important one) if needed. The Church is officially neutral on his status as a person and as a member of my family. Allow me to emphasize the neutral stance, in that they are not saying one way or another, but punting on the question until the next life.

Contrast that with a child born premature at 24 weeks (speaking hypothetically only because I have not personally experienced this, I'm sure someone somewhere has personal experience with this scenario), who struggles for hours or days or weeks, and then passes away. By virtue of having "lived" outside of the womb for any length of time (however brief), that child is considered by the Church to be unambiguously a member of the family and eligible for proxy sealing to parents when needed.

I don't know the answer to the OP's question. At conception seems too early, to me. As I understand it, the Church is a bit ambiguous about the space between conception and birth, and doesn't truly recognize a child as fully and unambiguously alive until birth (perhaps in keeping with the example given in the OP). This seems more an admission of a lack of revelation rather than a firm stance one way or the other, preferring to let God decide those things and tell us later (probably next life).

The trouble with using the church’s (lack of) willingness to do proxy temple work for someone as an indicia for whether that person was truly “alive”, is that the church [except in very limited circumstances] doesn’t let you do proxy temple work for Holocaust victims or people who lived before 1500 AD.  But of course, such people were very much alive.

41 minutes ago, person0 said:

2.  If it were to be revealed that life begins at conception, abortion would be considered "like until murder" in a much more strict sense and repentance for it during this life would become even more complicated.

I see where you’re going, but let me explore this a bit just for the sake of discussion:  Church members kill people all the time without having to go through the formal (ie, ecclesiastical) repentance process.  How many Church members today served in Afghanistan, or Iraq?  And if we say “well, those wars were morally justified”—okay, then; but how many Church members were disciplined for serving in the Wehrmacht?

And, if part of being fully reconciled to God is understanding and recoiling from the full magnitude of my sins, and if such repentance is much easier in this life than the next—then why would God shield me in mortality from the sure knowledge that a particular abortion I participated in did, in fact, end a human life?  Wouldn’t my knowing that be highly advantageous to—perhaps even necessary for—my timely repentance?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Wouldn’t my knowing that be highly advantageous to—perhaps even necessary for—my timely repentance?

Quote

For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned. (Mosiah 3:11)

Quote

For behold, had the mighty works been shown unto them which have been shown unto you, yea, unto them who have dwindled in unbelief because of the traditions of their fathers, ye can see of yourselves that they never would again have dwindled in unbelief. (Helaman 15:15)

Quote

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt 11:15)

A sin in ignorance is much easier to repent for than the opposite; consider King Lamoni & his father, especially compared to Cain.  Having the sure knowledge that you murdered a child of God would not be advantageous if you knew it while doing it.  Not going to claim to know the Lord's specific reasons, but it is evident from the scriptures that He does it, sometimes even when the individuals in question would never again dwindle in unbelief.  Other times He intentionally speaks in ways that many will not understand, and also not be responsible (parables, sure, but also Isaiah comes to mind).  Anyway, just some thoughts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

Yes it is a bold statement. However, I don't assume I am 100% correct, it is just how I read it.

I always find it curious when people make statements like this.  Read what?  Where in scriptures does it say anything about when the spirit enters the body?  Did I miss a verse about that? 

Everyone is allowed opinions and interpretations.  But when you say that you "read it" that way, what verse specifically are you reading "that way"?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going to go ahead and throw a few things into the arena.  Some of them might surprise you if you're aware of my political preferences.  Maybe not. But here goes anyway.

I don't understand why we are looking to the scriptures for insight into when "life" begins. Biologically speaking, a fertilized ovum is a living organism. I don't see any room for debate on that, and it has nothing to do with a spirit entering the body. We could even argue that it was alive before fertilization.

So the whole discussion about when "life" begins doesn't have a lot of interest to me. In order to justify the line of inquiry, you are pretty much force to claim some kind of difference between "alive" and "life." Which brings up a lot of interesting academic discussions--somewhere along the line you have to make an arbitrary decision of what constitutes "life." Does that require permanent residence of a spirit? sentience? free thought? moral agency? Regardless of which arbitrary point you choose is going to come with myriad moral implications on how you treat other humans, animals, plants, etc. And to my knowledge, there's nothing in scripture that really guides where to draw that line.

More to the point, the demarcation between "alive" and "life" is wholly uninteresting to me (outside of speculative curiosity). In my life, I've only encountered a very few reasons to warrant pursuing the topic at all. First is people who have lost children to miscarriages and stillbirth.  My heart goes out to these people. They are seeking comfort following a tragedy. These I encourage to believe whatever brings them comfort.

The only other major reason I've encountered for pursuing  justification for their stance on abortion. Some wish to claim life as early as possible to justify bans against abortion. To these, I say "get lost" (but in a kind way). I don't have a favorable stance towards codifying religious dogma into civil law. To those that wish to use a later start to life to say that abortion is ok, I say "shut up" (but in a kind way).  Why should it be any more acceptable to extinguish something living simply because it hasn't yet started "life."  (It isn't, by the way)

I'd be interested in knowing if there are any other ways in which it would be impactful to know when a spirit enters a body. I can't really come up with any, although I'm sure there are some.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/21/2022 at 12:27 AM, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

Overthinking the gospel can lead to problems in our testimony.

I think the people that are most at risk of experiencing problems as a result of overthinking the gospel are those who place a higher value on knowledge gained by logic and reasoning rather than through spiritual confirmation of truth. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

I based my comment on scriptures, not policies created by committees in church leadership. 

I would prefer to place greater reliance on the words of living prophets in our culture today rather than the words of dead prophets who died hundreds or even thousands of years ago and who spoke in a time and culture far removed from our own. I see no reason why we should place Isaiah or Jeremiah or Alma or Nephi or Paul or Peter et. al above President Nelson, President Monson, President Eyring, etc. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

51 minutes ago, MarginOfError said:

I'd be interested in knowing if there are any other ways in which it would be impactful to know when a spirit enters a body. I can't really come up with any, although I'm sure there are som

As we develop a better understanding of why things are the way that they are, and why things have been set up to happen in the way that they do, we are more likely to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of He who sets things up. We can admire the power of a locomotive as it pulls a huge line of freight cars. When we understand the intricacies and mechanics that make up the operation of that loccomotive , we are likely to admire it even more.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The question should not be about when it become life (because it already is alive)... but rather when it becomes Human with all the Human Rights that come with it.

If it is not human... then it is simply another clump of living cells in the mothers body and her bodily autonomy prevails.

But if it is human with all the Human Rights that come with it.. then we have a conflict of two individuals rights.  This is a conflict that we have repeatably dealt with in our legal system.  Generally speaking our legal system does not allow killing or harming another through the right of bodily autonomy, but it does allow it for defense.

Some of the greatest historical tragedy we have come from finding a reason to view someone else as less then human. We have had it done based on superficial physical or cultural differences.  Slavery, holocaust and treatment of women are just the really big ones that come to mind.  In all those case the differences were largely unchangeable. Yet we realized we were wrong and we fought to change it.  (And we continue to fight) 

In the case of the unborn their differences will go away... all they need is time... Yet I am suppose to consider them not human or sub human for the lack of at most nine months?  Sorry that does not work for me.  I see that as putting me with historical company that I do not want to keep (Slavers, Nazis etc.)

For the church side of it... if we knew through revelation when a spirit takes on the body we would have a clear line in which to draw.  But we do not have that... and we could not prove it to others even if we did....  So we need others reasons... and I just outlined mine.

The current legality is not a good reason... all the other tragedy's were legal at the time until we said no more.  Choice can be a good  reason if it is not in reality an attempt to undo poor or regrettable prior choices (that is a consequence and murdering someone to avoid a bad choice is not acceptable) ... But rather a response to other imposing their will... In that case a choice could fall under defensive action depending on ongoing trauma from the event.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

[1]I don't have a favorable stance towards codifying religious dogma into civil law. 

[2]I'd be interested in knowing if there are any other ways in which it would be impactful to know when a spirit enters a body. I can't really come up with any, although I'm sure there are some.

1.  Why not?  We codify religious dogmas condemning murder, rape, fraud, and theft.  Even if one comes back and say “well, it’s not really they those are morally wrong; it’s that they’re socially destabilizing”, it’s hard to argue that social destabilization is objectively bad unless you are starting with some presumptions to the effect that life (beyond my own) is good, pain (beyond my own) is bad, harmony (even if it inconveniences me personally) is desirable, etc.  Those presumptions are nearly impossible to sever from one’s religious/philosophical outlook.

2.  I think you hint at it above:  if my wife and I, as Latter-day Saints, are struggling with a physically/emotionally/financially difficult pregnancy and we are wondering if we ought to let it run its course; it can be a game changer to know whether an abortion means that a sentient spirit basically misses out on nearly all of its mortal experience and goes straight to the afterlife.

Edited by Just_A_Guy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

it can be a game changer to know whether an abortion means that a sentient spirit basically misses out on nearly all of its mortal experience and goes straight to the afterlife.

I would be surprised if a sentient spirit that needed an experince in mortality missed out on that experience because of a decision to abort the body intended to house that spirit. I think its far more likely either that the spirits of those who are aborted did not need much in the way of a mortal experience, or that an alternative body is found. The works of God cannot be thwarted and His purposes will roll forth without significant impediment by the actions of His children.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

I don't have a favorable stance towards codifying religious dogma into civil law.

I think its fairly likely that you could plot a close relationship between the well-being, stability and prosperity of a society and the extent to which the actions and way of living of the members of that society is consistent with divine law. To the extent that civil law can influence the actions and way of life of the people who are governed by that law, I think it is close to imperitave that the civil law aligns as closely as possible with divinely revealed truth. Such an alignment would almost certainly exist in socities where the people were good and righteous. I suspect that every other basis for building an enduring, happy society, other than divine truth, is more prone to failure than a society whose laws are built on, or related to, divine truth. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share