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TOM - Do you know of any scriptures or church references that mention or teach about the "age" of our spirit when it comes to earth and receives a body? When our spirits were created in the pre-mortal life were they created as "baby spirits" similar to mortality, and then they grow into "adult spirits?" Over the years I have heard people mention the idea that our spirits are "adults" even though they first possess a baby's body. I have never been able to find any scriptural references to support these ideas that we so often talk about in church. Does anything come to mind from any church leadership teaching on that topic?

JOEL - The concept of growing from something that looks like an infant to something that looks like an adult, is an earthly, mortal process. The premortal Christ told the brother of Jared that "all men were created in the beginning after mine own image." (Ether 3:15.) A comparison of this statement with the one in which the Lord says that "every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning" (D&C 93:38) seems to indicate that all spirits of men were organized in their premortal state to be in the image and likeness of God, but perhaps needed some kind of a period of growth and maturity in the spiritual sense.

Church authorities have described spirit birth as an organization of existing matter. Spencer W. Kimball wrote,
"Our spirit matter was eternal and co-existent with God, but it was organized into spirit bodies by our Heavenly Father" (The Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 5, Salt Lake City, 1969).

Marion G. Romney, of the First Presidency, speaking of people's divine origin as children of God, stated,
"Through that birth process, self-existing intelligence was organized into individual spirit beings" (Ensign 8 Nov. 1978).

The exact process of how this "organization" of intelligence into spirit beings happened has not been revealed to us yet. In my opinion, if our heavenly parents did create spirits that looked like infants at first, at some point in time they would have had to stop creating them so the infant spirits could progress and grow to a point where they could use their intelligence and agency to make the choice between Gods' and Satan's plans, otherwise there would be a lot of spirit babies crawling around not know what was going on.

Even though people say we were "born" as "offspring" of our Heavenly parents, and that we are "begotten sons and daughters of God" (D&C 76: 24), that does not necessarily mean that our newly organized spirit bodies looked like infants. The scriptures do indicate that our spirits were innocent as a child at first and we do know that it took both a Heavenly Father and Mother to create our spirits, but exactly how that was done is a mystery to us.

Many church leaders agree that we are born into this mortal life with mature adult spirits that will look the way we will appear when grown to adults.

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:
“We were all mature spirits before we were born; and the bodies of little children will grow after the resurrection to the full stature of the spirit,” (Gospel Doctrine, pp. 455-56.)

In other words our infant physical bodies will have to grow and catch up to match the size of our spirits.

President Joseph F. Smith said:
"All spirits are in adult form. They were adults before their mortal existence, and they are in adult form after death, even if they die as infants or children (Gospel Principles, Chapter 41: The Postmortal Spirit World)

Bruce R. McConkie:
"A child is an adult spirit in a newly born body, a body capable of growing and maturing according to the providences of Him whose spirit children we all are." (The Salvation of little children, 1977)

Jesus was a full grown spirit when he appeared to the brother of Jared before being born to Mary: "And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood;" (Ether 3: 6-9)

I once heard President Spencer W. Kimball say that the reason why children wiggle around so much during church is because of those adult spirits trying to fit inside those little bodies. :-)

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