Do intelligences have gender?

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Gadianton
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Do intelligences have gender?

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Is gender really eternal? There are challenges to the Mormon fundamentalists' views on 'trans-people' if gender is in fact eternal, but yet, a different set of challenges arise if gender is not eternal.

LDS doctrine is clear that we existed as spirits with God prior to entering mortality on Earth. But it's a little less clear on how (or if) we existed prior to that. Most Mormons have a vague belief in 'Personal Eternalism', the idea that we existed in some way as "intelligences" prior to being "born" as spirits. However, some Mormons, notably Bruce R. McConkie, reject this view, and interpret "intelligence" or "light of truth" as some kind of spiritual matter radiating from God that gets organized into a spirit body at "spirit birth".
D&C 93 wrote:29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
The fundamental theological divide between these two views is not critical to this discussion, but is worth mentioning for context. If we always existed as intelligences, we are necessary beings, and we exist independent of even God, who in classical theology is the only necessary being. Most Mormons don't have a problem with this. For those who do -- Bruce R. McConkie --, however, the only way to make God the only necessary being is to deny our eternal nature altogether, whereby we become contingent beings. We began to exist when "born" as spirts, per McConkie.

Personal Eternalism goes way back. A great source for how the various perspectives arose is Blake Ostler's dialogue article, The idea of pre-existence in the development of Mormon thought. Roberts and Widstoe were heavy promoters of this way of thinking. As Ostler explains, there are many Mormon philosophers (as such) through present-day who vouch for the idea, such as McMurrin and Madsen. For our friends over at LDS Freedom Forum, the preeminent scholar of the Constitution, W. Cleon Skousen has a detailed political theory of the entire universe based on Widstoe's thesis.

There are many in-between positions. For instance, it's popular to believe that there are entire classes of intelligences out there that "advance" per their personal ambition until they qualify to be born as spirits. Everything essential to your mental life is there within the intelligence, but many intelligences are fulfilling other spheres of creation, not the sphere of humanity.
Widstoe wrote: the primeval personality possessed, from 'the beginning,' the distinguishing characteristics of every intelligent, conscious, thinking being - an independent and individual will
from Skousen's view wrote:Intelligences” are self-aware entities that are self-existent and at various levels of complexity and progression. They are independent and act voluntarily, and cannot be compelled
For Skousen (Widstoe?), intelligence fills all matter, and when God commands it, it freely obeys, and that's the source of God's power over the material world.

That's enough background information to ask the vexing question, does every intelligence have a gender? If gender is eternal, then it must be the case that every intelligence at every degree of "complexity" and step of "progression" has gender. Fine you say, that's what you want as a fundamentalist Mormon, but consider the implications of that. It may be the case that every rock is filled with male and female intelligences, but certainly, these intelligence performing functions outside of the human or animal spheres of creation don't have stomachs or toes or sex organs. And so the doctrine of "eternal gender" essentially decouples gender from biology, just like every liberal psychiatrist has been trying to tell you. Sure, you can say that there would never be a mistake in matching male intelligence to a certain kind of physical body, but biological hardware becomes and accidental property of gender in a certain sphere, gender is something that has this entire other life for innumerable primeval personalities not existing within a world based on biological sex.

If you go the McConkie route, then gender isn't eternal because YOU are not eternal. Maybe that's good enough, as long as the spirit child is born with sex organs. But what determined gender in that case? God, presumably, by fiat. That doesn't usually work for Mormons, who believe God will cease to be God if not following external law. But suppose we're willing to say it comes down to God's word. He said Sunday is holy, so it's holy; he said this person has certain organs and therefore male. But we can entertain the counterfactual that if Wednesday were proclaimed as the Sabbath then Wednesday would be holy, and that's not an evil thought. Then neither is it wrong to think that any individual could have been created the opposite sex and that would have been okay. God could, in fact, at any time, change someone from a man to a woman if it were to his will and pleasure to do so. Many might be okay with the fact that he hasn't done that and so that's good enough, but the reason why many wish gender to be eternal, is to avoid that even as a possibility. By fiat = arbitrary.
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Gadianton
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Re: Do intelligences have gender?

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Elizabeth wrote:D&C 93 tells us that we existed as intellgences prior to our birth as the spirit children of our Father in heaven. It also tells us that intelligence was not created or made and neither indeed can be. In other words, our intelligence is eternal. We have always existed as an intelligence and there never was a time ( or non time) when our intelligence did not exist. Somehow in eternity past is was either known or learned that combining our intelligence with matter gives us more joy and happiness. D&C 93:33 tells us that the combination of spirit with matter gives us a happier state of existence. We don't have the history but God himself was once an intelligence and took on spirit matter to become a spirit with a spirit body. According to scripture, all spirit is matter but just more pure or fine than the matter we experience in mortal life (D&C 131:7). Evidently taking on a more course form of matter known as flesh and bones gives us an even greater degree of happiness and joy. The resurrection will bring about an immortal combining of our spirit to our bodies to be eternal. This pathway of progression is believed to be how all mankind progress in eternity. It is believed that this is the pathway also of God and Jesus Christ. So, where did God come from? He, like we have always existed and we take on elements to our intelligence to gain a greater joyful existence.
Thanks for answering, Elizabeth. It appears you agree with Nightlion that gender is not eternal. You purposefully refrained from assigning gender to intelligence in this post after you became aware of my post here.

Nightlion would agree with you (High Spy wanted to know who Nightlion is; he posted here extensively at one time):
Nightlion wrote:As independent intelligence there was nothing male nor female about us. Sexuality would be assigned when spirit bodies were provided by an exalted couple who have the continuation of the seeds both in the world and out of the world.
Nightlion's exposition is quite good in terms of showing the thought processes of a fundamentalist mindset at work. I mean by that, within the world he has assigned his intelligence, he does about as good a job as a person can do to be consistent.

Nightlion as does Elizabeth, senses the fork: If intelligence is eternal, then it is more fundamental than, independent of, and not equal to biological sex. Being female is not to be a woman, for instance. Lose the rook, or lose the queen?

If intelligence has gender, then lose the queen, because being female has nothing essentially to do with being a woman. If an intelligence is neutral, then the possibility is not blocked for gender and biological sex to be identical properties, but lose the rook, because it's not "eternal" or essential to the fundamental you.

Now, you do have a play here, I'll give you a hint: D&C 19:7. Unfortunately, if you go that route, then you lose a second rook, because now "eternal" is also arbitrary. 2 rooks is 10 pts vs. 9 of the queen, so it's really a tough call here.
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Re: Do intelligences have gender?

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Thanks for posting this, Dean Robbers. Intelligences do not have gender. The celestial sexual production of spirits is false doctrine. Intelligences are spirits, and they are eternal.
“Academia’s continual campaign to disregard or neglect the classics is a sign of spiritual decay, moral decline and a deep intellectual narrowness running amok in American culture.” ~ Cornel West
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Elizabeth
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Re: Do intelligences have gender?

Post by Elizabeth »

Gadianton, you are mistaken in imagining that I answered or agreed, or in fact that I had read the posts you refer to. Please do not again attribute to me that which I have not posted.
Gadianton wrote:
Sat Apr 30, 2022 7:27 pm
Elizabeth wrote:D&C 93 tells us that we existed as intellgences prior to our birth as the spirit children of our Father in heaven. It also tells us that intelligence was not created or made and neither indeed can be. In other words, our intelligence is eternal. We have always existed as an intelligence and there never was a time ( or non time) when our intelligence did not exist. Somehow in eternity past is was either known or learned that combining our intelligence with matter gives us more joy and happiness. D&C 93:33 tells us that the combination of spirit with matter gives us a happier state of existence. We don't have the history but God himself was once an intelligence and took on spirit matter to become a spirit with a spirit body. According to scripture, all spirit is matter but just more pure or fine than the matter we experience in mortal life (D&C 131:7). Evidently taking on a more course form of matter known as flesh and bones gives us an even greater degree of happiness and joy. The resurrection will bring about an immortal combining of our spirit to our bodies to be eternal. This pathway of progression is believed to be how all mankind progress in eternity. It is believed that this is the pathway also of God and Jesus Christ. So, where did God come from? He, like we have always existed and we take on elements to our intelligence to gain a greater joyful existence.
Thanks for answering, Elizabeth. It appears you agree with Nightlion that gender is not eternal. You purposefully refrained from assigning gender to intelligence in this post after you became aware of my post here.

Nightlion as does Elizabeth,
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Gadianton
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Re: Do intelligences have gender?

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Elizabeth wrote:Gadianton, you are mistaken in imagining that I answered or agreed
I beg to differ. You did answer, and you did agree. If you do not agree with Nightlion, please specify exactly what from the quote I provided from him that you disagree with.

Shortly after your response, you remarked about how indispensable free agency is. If that is the case, then can we pick our own gender?
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Elizabeth
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Re: Do intelligences have gender?

Post by Elizabeth »

NO.
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Gadianton
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Re: Do intelligences have gender?

Post by Gadianton »

I find that odd, Elizabeth.

If free will is so important, so central to our very being, then why can't we choose something as important as our gender?

Smoking and drinking may be bad, but I am free to smoke and drink, right?
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