According to LDS doctrine, why are we created as spirits before we can receive a body? On earth, all creatures are born with the same bodies as their parents. In the preexistence, why are the children of God born/created out of different matter (spirits) than our heavenly parents? Our Father in Heaven is a physical being. If we are literal offspring of our Father in Heaven, then why aren't we born in the pre-earth life with a physical body, the same as our Father in Heaven?

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    Maybe you could consider the analogy of a frog being born as a tadpole.
    – Bit Chaser
    Sep 28, 2016 at 22:26
  • We are physical and spiritual beings. Our spirits receive bodies, and we become body and spirit. When we die, our spirits and bodies separate, and when we're resurrected, they're reunited again. So, spirits aren't different matter from our Heavenly Father. He has both body and spirit (glorified and perfected). The following is speculation: Maybe we're children of his spirit, not his body. Further speculation: If we were all children of his body, then we wouldn't be able to be parents and children during our mortal life, and we'd miss out on a lot of experience and physical nurturing. Sep 29, 2016 at 3:23
  • In your question title, it seems like you're paraphrasing Moses 3:5. "All things" being prepared spiritually first could be interpreted a few different ways – maybe it just means all things were planned out in detail before they were physically created, or maybe it means that everything – from rocks to people – has a spiritual equivalent. Sep 29, 2016 at 3:30
  • We are spiritual offspring, not physical offspring (except Jesus Christ). Jul 7, 2017 at 3:19

4 Answers 4


Technically, we are not first created as spirits. This is a simplification. We existed as intelligences, which are not clearly explained, and later formed into our spirits by God.

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. D&C 93:29

Speaking of this topic, Marion G. Romney has said:

In origin, man is a son of God. The spirits of men “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24). Through that birth process, self-existing intelligence was organized into individual spirit beings.

After that physical form was created to house the spirits.

Our bodies, my brethren, our minds, are the tabernacles of our spirits. - Gordon B. Hinkcley

By extension, it is reasonable to believe that all life also came from intelligences, which may not have been suited to become human. Therefore things are created or organized spiritually first, because without the spiritual existence there is no purpose in the physical creation.

For further reading, I recommend the article on Intelligences in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism

  • Very good answer. So then do the children of god undergo a type of metamorphosis during their lifecycle? We begin as intelligence; then undergo a birth process into a spirit body; a pupal stage on earth; then we're resurrected with perfect immortal bodies?
    – ShemSeger
    Oct 22, 2016 at 2:07
  • "The question of whether pre-spirit intelligence had individual identity and consciousness remains unanswered." I had never even considered that "pre-spirit" intelligence could have had consciousness. That article pretty much answers my question.
    – ShemSeger
    Oct 22, 2016 at 2:19
  • @ShemSeger Yeah, it's not really been revealed specifically. But I would assume there was no consciousness at least not in any meaningful sense. Consider that are bodies are created out of a careful combination of otherwise inert substances, there's no good reason to believe that our spirit bodies are any different. The fact that we can't create spirits only makes sense. "All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes;" D&C 131:7
    – Daniel
    Oct 22, 2016 at 20:19
  • While Moses 3:7 states that before anything was created physically it was created spiritually. This is as true for the earth we stand on as the human race. John A. Widtsoe has a great discussion on this topic in his book Joseph Smith as Scientist A Contribution to Mormon Philosophy.
    – Tavrock
    Nov 11, 2016 at 23:17

God is both spirit (John 4:24) and physical (Luke 24:37-39). Also, spirit beings (unembodied or disembodied) may be more physical than we realize. Joseph Smith taught, "There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes" (Doctrine & Covenants 131:7). Moreover, a careful read of the creation in Genesis suggests a spiritual and then a physical creation (https://rabbidaniellapin.com/the-chimp-and-i/).

  • JST John 4:26 For unto such hath God promised his Spirit. And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.
    – ShemSeger
    Oct 5, 2016 at 4:37
  • ShemSeger, Good point. Oct 5, 2016 at 5:30
  • All add from lds.org: "[God the Father's] eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones" (lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/…). Oct 5, 2016 at 5:32

Let's walk through this logically. Christ was The Great Jehovah in the Old Testament. He was a spirit. He didn't magically conjure a physical body. He was born of Mary into a physical-mortal body. So, it's plausible that we had a similar or the same kind of origin: existing as spirits first, and then gained physical-mortal bodies.

Christ passed through death - just like we all pass through death. He was resurrected. Resurrection isn't being resuscitated or brought back to life to finish living in a mortal body. It's gaining an eternally alive body. We will also all be resurrected. So, it's plausible that we had similar origins and destinies as Jesus Christ. See Romans 8:16-17.

If you believe the words of modern-day Prophets, you have assurance that this isn't only plausible, but is true. But more important than citations and facts, all the words of the Prophets, and many scripture references is the whispering of the Holy Ghost. You can know for yourself through study, experience, and prayer if you have that promise.

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    Feb 27 at 15:03

God knew us before we were born here ( of water/woman).( Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 82:3-4) We were formerly with him as his sons ( Angels/spirits). Jesus said "you must be born of water and the spirit to enter into the Kingdom of God."( John 3:5) A third of the Angels sinned and were removed, cast to earth. ( Ezekiel 28; Isaiah 14; Revelation 12:4) Our allotted time here is to 'run a good race and finish and return to our Father. (2 Timothy 4:7-8;,Ecclesiastes 3:21; 12:7; ) I think this life and time here is a time and place for testing; to come into relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, our brother Jesus. ( Mark 3:35)


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