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Friday, July 6, 2007

At What Point Does The Spirit Enter The Body?

According to Nephi, son of Nephi, son of Helaman, Jesus spoke to him the night before he was born.

3 Nephi 1:13-14

Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given


At this point in time, Mary was 9 months pregnant with Jesus and ready to pop. That night, the sign was given to the Nephites of the birth of Jesus. So according to the Book of Mormon, Jesus' spirit had not entered into the world at this point, since his spirit had appeared to Nephi. It would be reasonable to conclude that according to the Book of Mormon, the spirit enters the body at birth, and not a moment earlier.

Disillusioned Mormon

19 comments:

NateDredge said...

I have noticed this myself. It is interesting that given the theological implications that this has not inspired more pro-choice thinking on the part of Latter-day Saints. I mean if Christ’s spirit didn’t enter its mortal body until birth, and assuming this was not unique to him, then one would be hard pressed to consider abortion murder. Otherwise, if Christ’s spirit did enter its body at conception, or some point relatively shortly there after, then he would have been broadcasting live (via satellite?) from Mary’s womb when he spoke to Heleman in the aforementioned verses. That also has intriguing implications.

Bishop Rick said...

The fact that Jesus took it upon himself to speak to Nephi at all is compelling to me. He didn't give any of the prophets in the holy land a heads up, and completely ignored the rest of the world like Europe and Asia and North and South America (assuming the limited geography theory).

Alma said...

You've forgotten the possibility of the messenger speaking on behalf of Christ as the Angel in Revelation did to John. That angel spoke in the first person as though he were Christ. Consequently, the person speaking to Nephi didn't necessarily have to be Christ himself; only someone authorized to speak as such.

Bishop Rick said...

Sorry Alma,

That only works if Jesus instructed the spirit 9 months previous to send this message on precisely the right day. Of course in the spiritual realm these things would be possible, but it begs the question, "Why?"

Why was Nephi the only human on earth worthy of such preparation and trouble? I would think it more important to give the old heads up to those preparing to receive Jesus.

The bottom line here is that you can explain away every nonsensical aspect of mormonism through spiritual things that cannot be proven right or wrong.

Personally I would want SOME (ANY) non-spiritual explanation for all the nonsense.

Zelph said...

Alma,

Yes, I have considered this and the problem is how could Jesus direct one of his angels to speak for him in first person? Or was it God the Father speaking? Why didn't he just say that his son was coming in, it sounds pretty confusing to me. Isn't that a little deceptive anyways, like celestial identity theft? If that were the case, and Joseph Smith really was a prophet, who is to say that Joseph Smith really saw God the Father and Jesus, and not some celestial impersonators?

Zelph said...

Alma-

The other question is why would Jesus send an angel to speak on his behalf in first person to the Nephites, when he didn't do the same for the sheep herders in Bethlehem? You would think he would use the same method.

Zelph said...

Nate Dredge-

I think this draws a good point on the implications of the church's position on abortion. According to the church, physcial death, which is the second death, is the separation between the body and the spirit according to D&C. Therefore, if the spirit never enters the body, how can it be killed? What about still births, or mis-carriages? What about babies that die during birth before they have a chance to take their first breath of air?

Zelph said...

Alma-
One other point, is that in the message for Nephi, Jesus said "on the morrow come I into the world". I would interpret that to mean that Jesus had not yet come into the world.

Bored in Vernal said...

Good questions. Brigham Young said that the spirit of an unborn child was able to move in and out of the body (fetus) at will. It was not bound to the body until it had taken the breath of life. I've always been partial to this view. It would mean that if the child was aborted or stillborn, the spirit would have the opportunity to take another body. (Although many women who have had stillborns would fight me tooth and nail on this.)

Zelph said...

bored in vernal-
That is fascinating stuff, and I haven't heard that before. Do you know where I could find that reference? If that is the case, that would be an apologetic reason for Jesus' "out of fetus experience". However, it still doesn't explain why he would go all the way to the other side of the world in America to personally visit Nephi, when he could have sent an angel. Yet, when informing the sheep herders just up the hill, he sends an angel. Why didn't he make a quick stop on the way back to the womb?

tatabug said...

bored in vernal,

I am interested to know where you got the information about Brigham Young.

Thanks!

Zelph said...

Tatabug,

Thank you for your comments and insights and I welcome your opinion. I can see the difference between how we view things. You have the assumption that the church is true and therefore there has "got" to be an explanation for everything. However, the problem is that there are things can only be explained by contradicting Joseph Smith and all the other prophets all the way to Gordon B. Hinckley and contradicting long held church positions.

Like explaining how there are 2 hill Cumorahs when all the prophets up to Gordon B. Hinckley have always maintained that there is only one hill Cumorah and the one in upstate, NY is the same one as referenced in the Book of Mormon.

Or how about the Limited Geography theory? Joseph Smith always taught that the Book of Mormon lands covered the entire western hemisphere from Santiago Chile to Upstate, NY. However, when you calculate the distances from the travel times as described in the Book of Mormon from the extreme ends of the BoM, you get a maximum distance of only a few hundred miles.

Or redefining pretty much everything in the Book of Mormon to try to make it fit, like you pull out the notion that an angel came to Nephi and spoke to him on Jesus' behalf in first person, when an angel identified himself as that-"an angel" in other contexts. Don't you see the other problem with that theory? Who is to say that every other visit from God or Jesus isn't just an "angel speaking on his behalf in 1st person"? What about Joseph Smith? If an angel and not actually Jesus appeared to Nephi and he thought it was the spirit of the Lord, that begs the question if Joseph Smith actually saw 2 beings, maybe he didn't actually see Jesus and God, but angels on their behalf speaking to him in first person.

Perhaps the church should come out with a revised Book of Mormon that gives us the "real" meaning of things.

tatabug said...

Well, the thing is, statements by prophets, such as the Hill Cumorah one you indicate, are not always doctrinal in nature. We don't have doctrine about the specifics of the Hill Cumorah and whether there is one or two. Those statements are merely opinion. Prophets and church authorities are entitiled to opinion. They are also entitled to be imperfect.

Like I said, I don't have all the answers, but perhaps someday I will know more.

Zelph said...

tatabug-

Yes, they are entitled to their own opinion, just like you are entitled to your own opinion and as am I. However, they have been wrong about so many things that I question why we should believe anything they say.

The intro of the Book of Mormon used to contain photographs and maps that included North and South America. Now, the main theory is that the Book of Mormon lands occured around Mesoamerica, so they have taken those things out.

Now, the introduction says that the Lamanites are the "principal ancestors of the Native Americans". The Doctrine and Covenants referrs to the Native Americans as "Lamanites". This is not just someone's opinion, but offcial canonized scripture. Now, DNA demonstrates that Native Americans are of Asian decent.

Elder Joseph said...

zelph

You said The intro of the Book of Mormon used to contain photographs and maps that included North and South America.

Do you know which edition they removed it from .I'd like to purchase the version with the maps to show my mormon friend who I'm trying to help get out from this religion .

Did you know the church has started revising its books even more ..

Book of Mormon Intro says
" It is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas "

Preach My Gospel Part 3 Lesson one says :

" These gold Plates contained the writings of prophets giving an account of God's dealings with SOME of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas "


Now its only dealings with SOME of the of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas !

tatabug said...

Well, the truth is, you don't believe anything they say. So don't say "we" and act like you aren't sure. It's clear where you stand.

I for one know how to deal with opinion versus doctrine. I can handle the fact that prophets have been wrong before. I'm glad to know they are only human, and equally glad that they speak perfectly for the Lord when it is needed. The geography of the BofM lands is of no eternal consequence, among other things which you choose to take issue with.

Concerning the issue of DNA, I don't believe a thorough DNA analysis has been done. Even so, there are so many factors to take into account when dealing with this issue. That is another subject for another post.

And, OH MY GOODNESS! You people will take anything and make it into something, won't you? "SOME of the ancient inhabitants?" Are you kidding me? You want to take us to task over that? I'm just speechless...

...Now for the ORIGINAL topic of this post. I don't know why I hadn't considered it before. It seems so simple now, but since it got blown out of proportion, I missed it, trying to find some complicated answer. If you READ the scripture, there is no visitation of Christ or an angel, only his voice. Have you ever heard of the still small voice? I don't know if it was the Holy Ghost, or if it was Christ actually speaking, but either way, it wouldn't have required an "out-of-fetus" experience. That is, unless you are aware of how God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost communicate with us that would require them to be in the vicinity of whomever they are talking to.

tatabug said...

Okay then, I will save further comment on the issue of race for that occasion.

In case you missed it the first time, I will repeat:

"...Now for the ORIGINAL topic of this post. I don't know why I hadn't considered it before. It seems so simple now, but since it got blown out of proportion, I missed it, trying to find some complicated answer. If you READ the scripture, there is no visitation of Christ or an angel, only his voice. Have you ever heard of the still small voice? I don't know if it was the Holy Ghost, or if it was Christ actually speaking, but either way, it wouldn't have required an "out-of-fetus" experience. That is, unless you are aware of how God, Jesus, or the Holy Ghost communicate with us that would require them to be in the vicinity of whomever they are talking to."

I thought I made a significant discovery, but no one, particularly you, Zelph, has acknowledged the fact that the premise of the entire post was made null and void. Or am I wrong? I have been before, so I just want to make sure. Feel free to correct me.

Zelph said...

tatabug,

Yes I am aware that the verse says the voice of the lord came to him. You draw an excellent point but I still feel uncomfortable with the idea that God, the Holy Ghost or an angel or any other being would visit Nephi and give him a message from Jesus in first person.

tatabug said...

But there was no first-person visit from anyone. The Lord always speaks to us through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a spirit and is not bound by physical limitations. He can be anywhere and everywhere. At least that is how I understand it.