Spirit

Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Luke 24:39

Thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a prophet known as the brother of Jared saw and spoke with Him. After pointing out that He looked like a human being, Jesus explained:

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.

Ether 3:16

It’s an interesting phrase: “the body of my spirit.” The Savior seems to be emphasizing that a spirit has a lot in common with a physical body. It may not be tangible like a body, but it looks like a body. That is true for each of us individually: our spirit looks like our body.

Most of the time, when the word “spirit” appears in the scriptures, it refers to the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost, the third member of the Godhead. Joseph Smith explained:

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

Doctrine and Covenants 130:22

What it means for the Holy Ghost to dwell in us is not entirely clear to me. Nephi saw the Holy Ghost just as the brother of Jared saw the premortal Christ. Nephi testified, “I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another” (1 Nephi 11:11).

Furthermore, Joseph Smith explained that spirits are made of actual matter:

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;

We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.

Doctrine and Covenants 131:7-8

It does seem clear, though, that the Holy Ghost, because He is unembodied, can connect with our spirits in a more direct way than He could if He had a body. Consider the number of times that the scriptures speak of people being “filled with the Spirit” (1 Nephi 1:12, Mosiah 18:14, Alma 18:16, Alma 31:36, 3 Nephi 20:9) or having the Spirit “poured out” upon them (Jacob 7:8, Mosiah 4:20, Mosiah 18:10, 12, Mosiah 25:24, Alma 8:10, Alma 19:36, Helaman 6:36). And when we partake of the sacrament, we receive the promise that we “may always have His Spirit” with us (3 Nephi 18:7, 11, Moroni 4:3, Moroni 5:2).

Today, I will be grateful for the influence of the Spirit of the Lord in my life. I will be grateful to know that spirits are real even if I don’t see them, and I will strive to be more attuned to spiritual things.

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