The Soul's Progression

an analysis by Don R. Hender

Children of All Eternity**

"It is One Eternal Round
Are we of this immortality,
From child's primeval birth
To parents of such to be;
Of those so but the same
Children of All Eternity."
~ drh ~

  Often when considering the topic of what constitutes the soul, because of the 'progression' of the soul's development, the answer is generally, 'Yes, that's right.' Well, what is right? Some say the soul is man's spirit. Yes, that is right. Some say the soul is the combination of the spirit and the body. (D&C 88:15) Yes, that is right. Others state that at death the body is dead and has no life in it and is placed in the grave, and it is the soul that continues to live on without the body. (Matthew 10:28) Yes, that is right too. And others will argue the issue as to exactly what does constitute the soul of man. (Alma 40:18, 21, 23; 41:2; D&C 88:16 D&C 101:37)

Well, to that end is the matter of this topic here. What exactly is the soul and what is it made up of? This will be attempted to be analyzed and set out relative to an LDS perspective. In this respect it will be attempted to go back to the beginning, which is often a nebulous place to start, just where and what is that beginning? Well, that is where the 'soul of man' first comes into existence as will be defined here.

The Beginning of the Soul of Man

In this respect it will be 'presumed' as a basis, that the 'soul of man' does not first come into existence until it is brought into existence as a child of that 'Man of Holiness' who is our Father in Heaven, the Father of us all, that is the spirits of man. This is herein considered to be the first 'progressive' step in the development of the 'soul of man.' So what constitues the 'soul' at that beginning point?

There is that which is eternal or immortal, from which is taken that which when combined to the spirit body does bring to it the character of being eternal as well. That is in this sense, to become 'eternal in nature' a thing need not be eternal itself, but combined with that which is eternal, and then it may also become eternal also. On the surface this may sound like double talk, but stay tuned, it should become quite apparently simple.

    "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." ~ Doctrine and Covenants | Section 93:29

In this verse are two sentences. The first states that, "Man was also in 'the' beginning with God." Again the nebulous 'beginning' is referenced, and it would make most sense to consider that it was certainly no that beginning of God the Father of Spirits which is being spoken of, but that 'beginning' of when the spirits were born, which will be further developed as to such support of this latter later. The second sentence states, "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." Some attempt to take the word 'man' from the first sentence and apply it in a gender sense to the word 'intelligence' in the second sentence. And they conclude that this is what is being said here, that is 'intelligence' had gender, male and female about it—about the 'matter' of light and truth. "I DON'T know that, so I WON'T state that. Further, since I can hardly consider or even image that the 'matter' of 'light of truth' as having to be gender specific, and so I will not present it in that manner." But what is said here and so concluded as such by the prophet Joseph Smith is that it is the nature of 'Intelligence' that does make the children of God 'co-eternal' in their nature with God. And that beginning point of happening will be when the spirit body is combined with immortal 'intelligence' and before then being a son or daughter of God does not have a definition as such.

This is what Joseph Smith has said:

    "I have another subject to dwell upon, which is calculated to exalt man; but it is impossible for me to say much on this subject, I shall therefore just touch upon it, for time will not permit me to say all. It is associated with the subject of the resurrection of the dead,—namely, the soul—the mind of man—the immortal spirit [note: intelligence has 'a' spirit about it separate and independent of the spirit body, the 'spirits' of the sons or daughters of God]. Where did it come from? ...

       "The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal [co-eternal] with God himself. ... (D&C 93:29)

       "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. That which has a beginning 'may' have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven. ...

       "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. All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement."
    ~ Joseph Smith, King Follet Sermon

As stated by Joseph Smith, this matter concerning the 'spirit' intelligence or the 'mind' of the spirits of the children of God was but 'just touched upon' by him and further here the main comments are quoted to be considered. Thus two considerations are to be noted. First the prophet is focused on the nature of 'intelligence', that is 'the mind spirit of intelligence' here and not other such related topics. Second, the prophet IS NOT expounding upon the 'Spirit Body' of the spirits of the child of God, which those child obtain from their Father and Mother in heaven in a birthing process. In fact it is the 'birthing process', be it what it may be, that combines the 'intelligence mind spirit' entity to the 'spirit body' inherited from our Mother and Father, that constitutes a child of God. Until that 'juncture', be it what it may, mere intelligence alone is not yet a Child of God. Thus a Child of God does have a 'beginning' as a division and matter of 'time,' as did Jehovah in his becoming the 'Firstborn' son of God in the spirit, and yet at the same 'time' he was co-equal [co-eternal] in that, like Father and Mother, Jehovah was also that of immortal intelligence being joined there together as was the same nature of his parents' nature.

And just like our 'elder brother' Jehovah, we all are so related to our Eternal Father and Mother of our spirit bodies as children of God; and Co-eternal and Co-equal in that respect of being of that intelligence mind of 'light of truth.' Which is elsewhere confirmed as having both 'element' and 'matter' and 'spirit' about it, but not yet until a heavenly birth and the spirit body yeilds it to be of definable shape and form like unto its later housing of mortal man which is revealed to be after the image of the 'spirit body' of our Lord and God Jehovah.

And further it is here to be supposed that the 'soul' of man first comes into existence when the 'intelligence' and the 'spirit body' provided by our Father and Mother of Heaven, comes together and/or then provides a 'housing' for that eternal 'matter' of light of truth as spoken of elsewhere. That is, though intelligence is also stated to have a 'soul', that entity is yet not a living child of God of mankind. And it ought to be stated here that this is 'opinion', that it is further considered that we have obtained our 'gender' from our Father and Mother and not from that entity of 'intelligence.' But that is 'opinion.' Others do not have that same opinion and there is no 'we' who so agree. Some others would but assign gender to intelligence.

Further, some also attempt to imply that our 'beginning' is further back associated with our intelligence some how. But Intelligence by its very nature, as stated by Joseph Smith, has no beginning. It always has been. And it is the very nature of our example of our Lord that may be presumed to illustrate to where to look to our beginning. For of him it is said that he stands as Alpha and Omega. Whether his 'beginning' or 'Alpha' is to be associate with Intelligence alone that has no beginning seems quite contradictory. Only when the spirit body is joined together with that 'intelligence' is there a definable actual 'beginning.' This is because if there is to be a 'beginning' then there would seemingly need to be a marked 'time' to that beginning for beginnings and endings are the markers of time and not the markers of eternity from which 'time' is but cut out of for some duration of age(s).

Well that aside and said, it is when God organized the 'coupling' of the 'spirit body' to the 'matter' of intelligence in our birth to our Father and Mother in Heaven, that is when a we, man or a woman then defined, became a living soul in the 'first' or 'beginning' place. Again, here it is presumed that gender came inherited from our parents. Girls were like Mother and boys were like Father. The 'light' 'truth' or 'light of truth' of one's intelligence just does not seem to be dependent upon being gender specific. Both boys and girls certainly can be intelligent and of Intelligence equally without specific 'intelligence' or 'light of truth' leanings either way. Why would 'light' and 'truth' have a gender preference or leaning to it from all immortal eternity unfulfilled for ions prior to becoming a 'son' or 'daughter' of God? Thus here in, gender will be considered a trait specific to the 'Spirit Child' but not that of the entity of the 'intelligence' of a person. Anyway, just where 'you' place the gender trait, it certainly is a trait of our God Father and our Mother Godesses as well, as well as for sure that of their spirit children they are the parents of.

But back to the 'soul' of man. Thus the soul of man of a child of God, as a combination of 'intelligence' and 'spirit body' does first 'begin' and/or have its 'alpha' at the time of one's spirit birth as a child of God. And it is the spirit body that has the 'head, shoulders, knees, and toes'; the 'eye, ears, mouth and nose'; etcetera etcetera, after which our mortal body has been made in the image of as stated by Jesus Christ - Jehovah himself.

    "And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
    "Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
    "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."
    ~ Book of Mormon | Ether 3:13-16

So far but the first 'beginning' phase of the immortal soul has been considered. That beginning being when the immortal entity of intelligence is combined with our spirit body in our birth as spirit children of our Father and Mother in Heaven. It is at that 'beginning' that we do obtain our first identity as a living soul as children of God. Before that birth we were not children of God, after that birth we were children of God. Thus is our beginning as children of God by very definition. And therein lies the basis of our 'first estate' as well.

The Basis of Our Second Estate
and Progress as a Living Soul as a Child of God

Our second progression of our living Soul as a Child of God comes when a relatively tangible body of flesh and bone is 'added' to our living soul. When this temporal body is further added, our soul as a child of God is still that soul, but with our birth to mortal parents, our living spirit body with its intelligence is further housed in a temporal tabernacle of clay. Together they also do form a living 'soul'. Unlike the beginning of our living soul as a child of God at our prmeval birth unto our heavenly parents, this mortal living soul is but a temporary consolidation. It will be one day desolved in death. In that death our eternal soul of spirit body and intelligence does not die, that eternal soul lives on and it is but the temporal tabernacle of flesh, bone and blood that dies and departs to be desolved back into the elements of dust of the earth from which it came. But we ourselves are not dead. We are still a living soul though 'diminished' by no longer having that temporal body.

It is however, only in connection with having a body of flesh and bone, that we can obtain and have a fulness of joy. And thus it will be that in our eventual resurrection, further progression as a 'living soul', we are said to be reunited to 'our' body our body of flesh and bone, to the end of becoming then eternally joined together as an incorruptable immortal and eternal being. Once again being intelligence, spirit body and 'tangible' or 'visible' body of flesh and bone, though of an eternal and glorious nature. These later terms of definition are of course but relative to their perspective. For indeed there was both the substance of 'matter' and element about intelligence and our spirit body as well, though more fine and pure in their natures. Thus they also in their own 'relative perspectives' also were of that finer and pure 'tangible' and 'visible' degree. It is just that the English language has not all the grades of terminology to fully describe that which is of the eternal and infinite world, it being but a finite language of the limited terms of mortality. Thus we have many words that are the same limited word vocabulary that must be given various meanings in perspective realtivity wherein the 'same word' in order to still communicate though in concepts that 'fight' for their separate meanings. But we do with our limited mortal vocabularies that which we might do.

The Third Estate

This brings us to our third estate of being. And that estate being our eventual eternal estate, being to what degree it may be determined to be. But before we leave the second estate entirely, it is here that we may take time to further 'delimit' just what the second estate fully consists of. And here may I state, "Dare I declare it?" For there are 'warnings' that must attend its disclosure.

The first warning is, 'Do Not Procrastinate the Day of Your Repentance'. When it becomes considered that the Third Estate is to be that which is our Eternal Immortality in the kingdoms of glory of God, then what falls out is that which MUST be considered as that which is also relegated to the realm of our second estate, our probationary estate. I've have heard it expressed, 'that there is no repentance or advancement in the world to come.' That takes on a mixed message in a number of ways and considerations. Certainly when one comes to that Third Estate, all such things are then to be fixed for ever more and repentance and the probation of the second estate has ended. But then also there are those who would prohibit those who have died and still exist in the spirit world to the sentence of not being able to repent and progress from that realm as well.

Let it be here said, so it is dared, that there is repentance in the spirit world as well as also in the millennium as well. For even in the millennial day, those who are therein, they are not yet perfect and still in 'need' of beneficial advancement that the facets of continual repentance does provide of any items and 'actions' as that further development does take to make and advance one to further be. So also I ask, if the spirits in the spirit world do not have repentance then why and were in are we doing all this temple work for the dead?

Certainly there is repentance or why is the gospel being taught to those in spirit prison? Why are they being taught the principles of repentance if repentance is not available to them? Certainly it is and we cannot say that a person's eternal destination has been determined while yet that process of teaching, repenting and ordinances being done in the temples are still continuing. Thus there is always hope until the end. As Yogi Berra says, "It ain't over till it's over." And ninth inning comebacks are not unheard of. They are just very hard to come by.

And here in lies the warnings. "Do not put off one's eternal exaltation to be accomplished tomorrow." They who would or do do so run many risks from time running out to finding themselves in such a degree of fallen state that they are just not later able to recover from it. Thus, "Do Not Procrastinate the Day of Your Repentance!" Avoid all the dangers and pit falls now so as not to become an eternal victim of them later. Also there is that great reward at hand to be obtain, that any and every advancement of one's intelligence that can be attained to here in mortality, so much more the advance and position one is in, in the life to come. Not to be facetious, but at least an example if rather poor, 'Why end up crowded into driving a Volkswagen when a Cadillac can be had?'

But also certainly do not condemn prematurely. Hold out hope of full reconcilliation for those of the prison of the spirit world to come unto Christ and be redeemed unto God in Heaven. Certainly every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. And all the sooner is the best scenario. But then 'better late than never' is also true as well.

So there it is said, and does not the scriptures state, 'the first shall be last and the last shall be first?' And what is to say that that does not have various dualistic meanings and not just unto Ephraim and Judah in terms of coming to their 'promised lands' in God.

Now then back to the final and Third Estate. As will be set out in all our final judgements, there will be bodies that are Celestial, bodies that are Terrestral and bodies that are Telestial. And from that final determination on, that comes at the very end of the Millennial reign, then our seven day probation is finally come to an end. Interestingly enough, in seven days did the Lord create the earth and the heavens thereof, speaking of this earthly creation to Moses as stated in the book of Moses. And also there will have been seven days over which is spread our probations as well.

What is beyond those two sets of seven day durations is but that which is eternity past and future and into those great basically relatively still unknowns. And that is marked by those stated boundaries of time ascribed unto our Lord as being his names of Alpha and Omega. Our very own beginnings being of our spirit birth unto heavenly parents to being eternally endowed with those kingdoms of glory so named. Certainly our intent ought to be that of obtaining to the highest level of the three set out in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, wherein Celestial Marriage is the highest ordinal ordination and life key there to.

Such glories and happiness therein awaits us that cannot and are not within our present vocabularies or finite minds to comprehend. And there is also lay the mysteries of our etrnal past of from which our intelligences have come. Together they form one eternal round, for indeed the procreative eternal endowment of our highest blessing but expands to that knowledge, perception, and participation in and of it all. That is when we are to seek unto our own eternal children to be spirit born from the intelligences of eternity. And thus has come full circle round of that one eternal round and purpose of God to be found.

Now as to the 'evolutionary' development of our 'souls'. We first become defined as children of God when our spirit body is joined with that which is the immortal 'mind' of the light of truth known to us as intelligence. As intelligence and spirit body we are a living souls as a spirit child of our Heavenly Father and Mother and have entered into our first estate. Second our spirit bodies are further 'breathed' into the flesh, bone and blood bodies of mortality. That body being fashioned after our spirit body so as the fit. That too is stated to be our living soul of mortality. But then death does come and separates the flesh of blood from our spirits from God. And in the grave does those lifeless elements decompose. It is with our spirit body after all that that which defines us still remains. Finally at the endings of our second estate of mortality, we are then again reunited unto our body of flesh and bone but not of blood. For this time we have put on a body that is incorruptible and eternal. Eternally joined together as intelligence, spirit body and celestial gloried body of flesh and bone and our joy therein becomes complete and our third estate begins. Therein we may have become even as our first Parents were, and Parents then to have spirit children of God.

** Often that which is held as a 'mystery of God' truly has no deep and hiden complexity, but is only shrouded in the simplicity of the thing. So it is of the 'one eternal round' of the course of God. Fully stated in its purpose for all man to come upon and read, it is stated in the revealed text of the book of Moses:

    "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." ~ Pearl of Great Price | Moses 1:39

Like unto the 'circle of mortal life' as simply suggested by the Disney's 'circle of life' of the Lion King; that is, life proceeds from parent to child and then that child becomes parent to child again and so on in one never ending 'eternal round' of the 'Eternal Child'. So may the course of God be set out to be. That is the spirit sons and daughters of God may become even as God is, and then they in turn may also become the parents of spirit sons and daughters of God, and thus the course of 'God' is as one eternal round set. And it is found in the implications of God's own 'central' work and glory, "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) So simple.

As such, the 'eternal round' of the 'eternal life cycle of God' may be viewed as that of an endless spiral winding of an eternal screw drive devise, that turns round and round and if followed by the eye, appears to follow but a circular 'round' while in relatity it is traveling through the continuum of all eternity.

There are some who do not know, but consider that God's 'progression', as 'one eternal round' is in and of itself. Yet if God is perfect, then there is no further personal progression necessary in that respect. To understand this present concept of both 'Eternal Increase' and 'Eternal Progression' therein, one must come to understand the concept of 'eternal procreation' as being that of as one's course as one eternal round. Thus God's 'eternal progression' once perfected, is turned to that not selfishly within itself, but to the selfless eternal work of others, which is 'eternal increase' as being His 'work and glory' and continued progression and increase to come of others.

    LDS Apostle Melvin J. Ballard (1873-1939) wrote, “What do we mean by endless or eternal increase? We mean that through the righteousness and faithfulness of men and women who keep the commandments of God they will come forth with celestial bodies, fitted and prepared to enter into their great, high and eternal glory in the celestial kingdom of God; and unto them, through their preparation, there will come children, who will be spirit children. I don’t think that is very difficult to comprehend and understand.” (Three Degrees of Glory, p.10).

Some mock the concept of 'eternal increase' with their 'low life' mockery of our Mother in Heaven being consistantly processing and suffering through pregnancy after pregnancy eternally to have given unto them their very life and childhood as children of God. That which they mock is not correct to consider it so. Only in regard to this mortality of temporal birth did God state concerning Eve, who first partook of the forbidden fruit, that, 'He would greatly multiply her sorrow and suffering in her conception and in bringing forth temporal children.' What the exact process of 'birthing' of spirit children in the Celestial Heaven is, it certainly is not that as placed upon mortal Eve's temporal birthing. There is no such physical sorrow and suffering in heaven. But what that exact process is or will be is above any of our 'pay grades' here in mortality to know. Lehi and Nephi saw such persons of the great and spacious building, which is likely further identified as 'the great and abominable church of the devil', which includes all such that stand in opposition to God's Plan. They are they who stand and mocked the true followers of Christ's gospel word. And they are such as these who mock at such as this, who so are to be considered. It certainly is not the Christian thing to do, that which they do, now is it?

rev. 31 January 2016