Anatomy-how things work

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of your soul.

You need-to-know how your “Soul Systems” function BEFORE you can do things like: effectively break a bad habit, overcome depression, strengthen your testimony, or understand your responsibility in reaching the measure of your creation.

Soul Systems

Learn to identify the three major SOUL SYSTEMS and understand what each system does. The systems are Spirit Body, Mind, and Physical Body.

Typically we view the “Soul” as only the “Spirit” and “Body.” (See: D & C 88:15). In addition, prophets have taught this simple doctrine. For example, David O. McKay said:

“Man has a natural body and a spiritual body. . . man’s body. . . is but the tabernacle in which his spirit dwells….” (Chapter 2: “The Dual Nature of ManTeachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay)

Certainly, we don’t know everything about our Spirit Body, Mind, and Physical Body. But, we do know some things. As a psychologist I have an interest in learning how to change behavior. In particular, I’ve pondered how one soul system influences another. For example, how the Physical Body can limit the expression of our Mind and Spirit Body during earth life.

When we hear about the Spirit body it represents both the Spirit and Mind. For our purposes we’re going to talk about them as separate systems. Therefore, when I hear the word “Spirit” (the Spirit which represents our “Spirit Body”) I think in my mind “Spirit and Mind”.

Spirit Body

The spirit body is eternal
Spirit is a substance; . . . it is material, but . . . it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; . . . it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it.” (Joseph Smith taught in History of the Church; 4:575) The Spirit Body has always existed and will always exist. It can be neither created nor destroyed. (Russell M. Nelson, “You Are a Child of God,” New Era, Jul 2008;  Abraham 3:18)
The spirit body functions through the mind

“Your spirit body operates through your mind.” (Boyd K. Packer, “To Young Women and Men,” Ensign, May 1989) In a similar way your physical body operates through your brain.
The spirit body has personality

The spirit provides the body with animation and personality.” (Russell M. Nelson, “You Are a Child of God.”  New Era, Jul 2008)There are no defective spirit bodies
We are each spirit sons and daughters of GOD. There is no “Spirit” body with mental retardation, Asperger’s, bipolar, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. etc.  All such limitations / diseases exist in the physical body and can limit our Spirit and Mind’s capacity during our earthly existence. It is the Physical Body that is defective, not the Spirit Body. We have reason to believe that every spirit that comes into this world was whole and free from such defects in the pre-existence…it is a ridiculous notion that the spiritual offspring of God would be subject to spiritual defects before they were born into mortality.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Answers to Gospel Questions, Volume 5” pg 49, 52)


The mind is in the spirit
“…It is clear that the mind of man rests in the eternal spirit.” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Mormon Doctrine” pg 501 and Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith pg 352-54.)

God communicates to the mind“Pure intelligence can be spoken into the mind. The Holy Ghost communicates with our spirits through the mind more than through the physical senses….” (Boyd K. Packer, “Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign, Nov 2009)
Mind can control the physical body

“Your mind is in charge; your body is the instrument of your mind.” (Boyd K. Packer, “Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign, Nov 2009). Remember this as we talk later about using the mind system to effectively influence the other systems – spirit body and physical body (e.g. managing mental illness and overcoming addictions.)

Mind is like a stage

“… the mind is like a stage. During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage.” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Message: Worthy Music, Worthy  “The Message: Worthy Music, Worthy Thoughts,” New Era, Apr 2008)

Physical Body

God created the physical body
“our body …, is a magnificent creation of God. It is a tabernacle of flesh—a temple for your spirit.” (Russell M. Nelson,  “Your Are a Child of God,”New Era, Jul 2008)The physical body is sacred

“The body is sacred. It was created in the image of God. It is something to be cared for and used for good purposes.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Body Is Sacred,” New Era, Nov 2006)
The spirit is housed in the physical body

The body is designed to support…the eternal spirit, which dwells in each of our mortal frames. …” (Russell M. Nelson, “The Magnificence of Man,” New Era, Oct 1987)The physical body has the capacity to experience appetites and passions
“Carnal, sensual and devilish nature” of man is associated with the physical body. (See Alma 42:10). “The time of youth … is the proper time to gain mastery over bodily appetites and passions.” Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Fruits of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, Nov 1991.)
The “pleasure center” of the brain is in the body. For example, neurotransmitters and hormones associated with the sexual response are located in the pleasure center of the physical body not in the spirit body. See: God’s Love Chemicals.All physical bodies are defective to some degree… until the resurrection
Mental illness, intellectual deficits etc etc are a result of the limitations of the physical body. Each of our bodies have some physical and intellectual limitations.  Nevertheless, the physical body will be made “perfect” at resurrection. (See Alma 40:23-26)

At death the physical body will die
Death separates the spirit and the body.” (Russell M. Nelson, “Doors of Death,”  Ensign, May 1992)


During earth life the spirit body, mind and physical body are so closely connected we can hardly tell them a part. They function like “one”, but they are not.

Now for the first principle associated with the Anatomy of a Soul
By influencing one of these systems- the mind, the body, and the spirit – you can influence another —
Here are some brief examples:

Using physical body to improve the mind – Retire to thy bed early, arise early that your bodies and minds may be invigorated.” (D&C 88:124)

A physical body addiction also addicts the spirit body – “Addiction to any substance enslaves not only the physical body but the spirit as well.”(Russell M. Nelson, Addiction or Freedom, Ensign, November 1988)

Using the mind to improve physical body – “the study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve (physical) behavior…” (Boyd K Packer “Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986)

“The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit. That’s why the Lord gave us the Word of Wisdom. … Food can affect the mind, and deficiencies in certain elements in the body can promote mental depression.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Do Not Despair, Ensign, October 1986)

“The spirit is influenced by the body and the body by the spirit.” (Brigham Young. Journal of Discourses, 2:255–56.)

I would add:

THE BODY influences THE MIND
THE MIND influences THE BODY

At times the “influence” of one system can “limit the capacity” of another.

Pause your handheld devices.
Think of a specific example in your life, of how you can change the physical body (bad habit) by using each the spirit and the mind systems.

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