What is an Intelligence?


D. & C. 93:29, 33-34
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created nor made, neither indeed can be .... For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.


Joseph Smith
Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning?  The intelligence of spirits had not beginning, neither will it have an end. . . . Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle.  (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp.353-354)


Joseph Fielding Smith

Some of our writers have endeavored to explain what an intelligence is, but to do so is futile, for we have never been given any insight into this matter beyond what the Lord has fragmentarily revealed. We know, however, that there is something called intelligence which always existed. It is the real eternal part of man, which was not created nor made. This intelligence combined with the spirit constitutes a spiritual identity or individual.  (Answers to Gospel Questions, 4:127)

If the Lord declares that intelligence, something which we do not fully understand, was co-eternal with him and always existed, there is no argument that we can or should present to contradict it. Why he cannot create intelligence is simply because intelligence, like time and space, always existed, and therefore did not have to be created. However, intelligences spoken of in the Book of Abraham were created, for these are spirit children of God, begotten sons.  (Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:125)


Bruce R. McConkie

Intelligence or light and truth, is also used as a synonym for spirit element. Scriptures using both terms speak of the self-existent nature of the substance involved. (D. & C. 93:29; 131:7-8.) Abraham calls the pre-existent spirits the intelligences that were organized before the world was" (Abra. 3:22) because the intelligences were organized intelligence or in other words the spirit bodies were born from spirit element.   (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.387)

Abraham used the name intelligences to apply to the spirit children of the Eternal Father. The intelligence or spirit element became intelligences after the spirits were born as individual entities. (Abra. 3:22-74.) Use of this name designates both the primal element from which the spirit offspring were created and also their inherited capacity to grow in grace, knowledge power and intelligence itself, until such intelligences, gaining the fulness of all things, become like their Father, the Supreme Intelligence.  (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., p.387)


Spirit is an Organized Intelligence


Brigham Young

The life that is within us is a part of an eternity of life, and is organized spirit, which is clothed upon by tabernacles, thereby constituting our present being, which is designed for the attainment of further intelligence. The matter composing our bodies and spirits has been organized from the eternity of matter that fills immensity.  (Discourses of Brigham Young,  p.49)


Harold B. Lee

A spirit, Abraham says, is an organized intelligence. This is the first beginning we have in our understanding of what a spirit is. It is an organized intelligence that lived as a spirit before this world was.  (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee,  p.28)

There is something that is not created or made. The scriptures called it "intelligence," which at a certain stage in the pre-existence was organized into a "spirit."  (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee,  p.74)


Bruce R. McConkie

"There is no such thing as immaterial matter," the Prophet tells us. "All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter." (D. & C. 131:7-8.) This spirit element has always existed; it is co-eternal with God. (Teachings, pp. 352-354.) It is also called intelligence or the light of truth, which "was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (D. & C. 93:29.)  

Speaking of pre-existent spirits, Abraham calls them "the intelligences that were organized before the world was." (Abra. 3:22-24.) Thus, portions of the self-existent spirit element are born as spirit children, or in other words the intelligence which cannot be created or made, because it is self-existent, is organized into intelligences.   ("Spirit Element," in Mormon Doctrine,  p. 751)



Spirit Organization Gives Man Divine Potential

Lorenzo Snow

Our spirit birth gave us godlike capabilities. We were born in the image of God our Father; He begot us like unto Himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and faculties which He Himself possessed -- as much so as the child on its mother's bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers, and susceptibilities of its parent. [Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.4]

First Presidency Message: Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund

Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God. [Messages of the First Presidency, 4:206]

Joseph Fielding Smith 

We believe in the dignity and divine origin of man. Our faith is founded on the fact that God is our Father, and that we are his children, and that all men are brothers and sisters in the same eternal family.

As members of his family, we dwelt with him before the foundations of this earth were laid, and he ordained and established the plan of salvation whereby we gained the privilege of advancing and progressing as we are endeavoring to do.

The God we worship is a glorified Being in whom all power and perfection dwell, and he has created man in his own image and likeness, with those characteristics and attributes which he himself possesses. [Conference Report, April 1970, p.4