Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Question

 

Gramps,

Every living thing  upon this earth was created spiritually and has a spirit.   Can the spirit of the holy ghost be within plants and animals?  If so can you feel that spirit just as a human can feel the spirit of the holy ghost?  Or that spiritual feeling we feel from plants and animals just from their own spirit.

Joan

 

Answer

 

Dear Joan,

The mission of the Holy Ghost, as far as it has been revealed to us, deals solely with humans upon this earth. He brings us to Christ (Moroni 10:5-6), testifies of the Father and the Son (3 Nephi 28:11), sanctifies (3 Nephi 27:20), and aids us in other ways to connect with God in the covenant path (John 14:26). Additionally, the only plan of salvation we know anything about is the anthropocentric one – the one dealing with the descendants of Adam and Eve (see, for examples 2 Nephi 9:21 and Moses 1:35). We don’t know, for instance, that “all dogs go to heaven”. We have been told that earth will be celestialized because it fills the measure of its creation (D&C 88:25) by providing us with an abundant home (D&C 49:16-17) (and again we receive this knowledge of the earth because it comes into contact with our own salvation (see D&C 88:16-25).

But you ask also if we can feel the spirit of animals or plants.

The belief among Latter-day Saints that all living things created by God have a spirit comes from a reading of modern scripture. “[E]very plant of the field before it was in the earth” was “created … spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5). The record of Enoch in that same book of Moses takes it a step further, with either the literal or anthropomorphic earth weeping for its inhabitants. “Enoch … heard a voice from the bowels [of the earth], saying: Wo, wo is me, the mother of men.” Enoch describes the earth laying out her petition: “I am pained, I am weary…. When shall I rest, and be cleansed…? When will my Creator sanctify me, that I may rest…?” In summary, “Enoch heard the earth mourn” (Moses 7:48-49). Once again we note that we have the earth’s lament because of our relationship with it. The earth does not mourn because of its placement in the cosmos – it is because the “mother of men” is filthy “because of the wickedness of my children.”

As to feeling the spirits of others, (and I hope I’m not putting words in your mouth) I take it that you’re referring to the experience of readily recognizing by sight when a person lives by correct principles. You may recall that when Church leaders negotiated the land lease for the Jerusalem Center they agreed with the government that neither leaders nor students would proselyte. Elder Faust relates, “After the lease had been signed, one of our friends insightfully remarked, ‘Oh, we know that you are not going to proselyte, but what are you going to do about the light that is in their eyes?'” (The Light in Their Eyes). In President Faust’s theology, inextinguishable countenance comes from the light of Christ.

“What was that light in their eyes which was so obvious to our friend? The Lord Himself gives the answer: ‘And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings.’ Where did that light come from? Again the Lord gives the answer: ‘I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ The Lord is the true light, ‘and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.’ This light shows in our countenances as well as in our eyes.” (ibid.)

Expanding beyond President Faust’s remarks, we note that not only is this light in every man, and “proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space” but it is also found throughout nature!

“This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand” (D&C 88:6-13).

I would also note here that the physicist toiling to find a grand unifying theory for the universe is unwittingly seeking a religious experience. “The light which is in all things … is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God.”

I am not so bold as to say the source of your experiences dealing with God’s creations is one spirit reaching out to another, or even that it’s necessarily the light of Christ emanating to you second hand. It may just be the Holy Ghost testifying of the Creator. Consider Joseph Smith’s testimony of how the order of creation was a witness to him that there is a God.

For I looked upon the sun, the glorious luminary of the earth, and also the moon, rolling in their majesty through the heavens, and also the stars shining in their courses, and the earth also upon which I stood, and the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and the fish of the waters, and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in majesty and in the strength of beauty, whose power and intelligence in governing the things which are so exceedingly great and marvelous, even in the likeness of him who created them. And when I considered upon these things, my heart exclaimed, “Well hath the wise man said, ‘It is a fool that saith in his heart, there is no God.’” My heart exclaimed, “All, all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotent and omnipresent power, a being who maketh laws and decreeth and bindeth all things in their bounds, who filleth eternity, who was and is and will be from all eternity to eternity.” And I considered all these things and that that being seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth.

I am not familiar enough with the mysteries of God or His creations to state with certainty which of these suppositions accurately reflect reality. I can state, however, that there is room enough in our theology for any or all of these to be true.

Similar to an art aficionado admiring the paintings of a master, we can draw closer to God through care of His creations. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that God ordered our first parents to have dominion (or stewardship) over it. We are to tend this garden, and we should not be surprised if some awe and reverence come with the job. Elder Callister reminds us:

A spiritual-minded man is observant of the beauty in the world around him. As the earth was organized, the Lord saw that “it was good.” Then, “It was very good.” It pleases our Father in Heaven when we, also, pause to note the beauty of our environment, which we will naturally do as we become more spiritually sensitive. Our awareness of grand music, literature, and sublime art is often a natural product of spiritual maturity. In poetic allusion to the theophany of Moses and the burning bush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; And only he who sees takes off his shoes.” (Seeking the Spirit of God)

Whether it is the Holy Ghost testifying of the Artist through His artwork, or sensitivity to the Light of Christ unifying all of God’s creations, or even some other way not yet revealed to us, we are careful to give glory to God and not turn creation to a natural idol. We sustain the order outlined in scripture: plants, animal, rivers, and rocks are under our stewardship; but they all belong to the Lord.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

Copyright © 2021 Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine. All Rights Reserved.
This website is not owned by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes called the Mormon or LDS Church). The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. The views expressed by individual users are the responsibility of those users and do not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit churchofjesuschrist.org or comeuntochrist.org.

Pin It on Pinterest