What is a person?

Next week I will be “defending” my Personal Theory of Counseling paper. Defending is in quotes because it’s not a thesis. I have been working on the six-page monstrosity for a year and a half though. You can see some of the evolution of this section (progress?) by checking out a similar post I wrote at Mormon Matters last year. If anything this will give you all some insight into my view of earthlings (self included, of course!).

Here is my first section, on what a person is.

I. Nature of the Person
All human beings have individual minds, which vary in temperament and are capable of independent thought and action. These minds are called intelligences, and are eternal and without a beginning. In a natural yet mysterious process our Heavenly Father and Mother gathered these intelligences and combined them with their nature in embryonic form, creating our spirits. This nature includes a basic goodness and the ability to grow and become perfect like them. Our spirit enters our physical body when we are born.


Human Beings:
1. Seek out safety and exploration.
2. Are growth-oriented.
3. Have free will.
4. Are born with heredity from their biological family.

5. Experience happenstance.
6. Have meta-cognitive and meta-emotional capabilities.
7. Seek out structure and values.
8. Get stuck in habitual ways of regulating emotions and managing stress.
9. Are able to create meaning.
10. Have the ability to forgive others and repair relationships.

What do you think? Anything not make sense? What would you add (especially to the numbered section, as there are obviously going to be different views on the opening paragraph)?
Graduation is Saturday!!!
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About shenpa warrior

"Patience is not learned in safety." View all posts by shenpa warrior

6 responses to “What is a person?

  • Happy The Man

    Two things jumped into my mind. The ongoing struggle between the natural man in us and the spirit. The other is that of being the highest order of creature on the planet and being made in the image of the aforementioned supreme beings), and how we are required to use logic/reason and are subject to laws/morals of right and wrong rather than instinct.

    Good luck 🙂 I haven’t read “similar post” yet, about to do that now…

  • adam

    Good points. I agree, there is a struggle. To me, that occurs in number 8. I believe that problems in regulation of one’s emotions lies behind pretty much all negative choices. So the natural man vs. the spirit in us comes down to (in part anyway) making choices to deal with emotions in constructive ways. The cool thing about the paper is we all get to put in what we believe. There may be similarities, but it is very interesting to see the differences on what people focus on.

  • tara

    once again, much too smart for this “earthling,” but congratulations on graduating! woo hoo! have fun going to more school…sucker…i mean, really smart guy

  • Salt H2O

    I think the biggest point of contreversy is when spirit actually enters the body.

    I personally believe it’s before birth but not when the sperm hits the egg so dude, if you have any evidence that it’s at birth- I’d be interested.

    As you know all religous people point to the whole “lept in the womb” scripture as evidence that the soul exists before birth.

  • adam

    Salt – I don’t use the belief about the soul for political arguments, so it’s not as controversial to me. I am fine with the soul being in the womb before birth. I believe, however, that birth is the point when the soul and body permanently come together.

    As for scriptural references, there is evidence (when you said evidence I’m assuming you are referring to a scriptural basis or teachings by prophets) for either way. There are actually 3 different ideas, all supported by church leaders as to when the spirit enters–at conception, at some point when the mother feels the baby, and at birth.

    Luke 1:41 (the verse you were referring to):
    “when Elisabeth hear the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb”

    David O McKay also believed the spirit enters at birth, and he referenced this scripture:
    3 Nephi 1:13-14:
    “for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world”
    –this is Christ speaking to Nephi the day before he was born

    Here is the First Presidency in 1970:
    “We may say that there is no direct revelation upon the subject of when the spirit enters the body; it has always been a moot question. That there is life in the child before birth is an undoubted fact, but whether that life is the result of the affinity of the child in embryo with the life of its mother, or because the spirit has entered it remains an unsolved mystery.”

    The only controversy is that there is not yet a consensus. Putting all the evidence together, it seems to me that the idea that the spirit comes and goes during pregnancy makes the most sense. But as they said in 1970, there has been no direct revelation on the matter, and it remains a mystery.

    What do you think?

  • Salt H2O

    Thank you for the 1970 quote- I like it. I haven’t thought about the spirit coming and going, it’s an interesting thought to digest.

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