Quotes on Intelligence, Intelligences

See also: D&C 130:18; D&C 93:29

Elder John A. Widtsoe noted that “intelligence as used by Latter-day Saints has two chief meanings. . . . First, a man who gathers knowledge and uses it in harmony with the plan of salvation is intelligent.  He has intelligence. . . . Second, the word when preceded by the article an, or used in the plural as intelligences, means a person, or persons, usually in the spiritual estate. Just as we speak of a person or persons, we speak of an intelligence, or intelligences.” (Evidences and Reconciliations, 3:74; see also Abraham 3:22–23)

We know very little about the concept of intelligence.  President Joseph Fielding Smith said:  “Some of our writers have endeavored to explain what an intelligence is, but to do so is futile, for we have never been given any insight into this matter beyond what the Lord has fragmentarily revealed.  We know, however, that there is something called intelligence which always existed.  It is the real eternal part of man, which was not created or made. This intelligence combined with the spirit constitutes a spiritual identity or individual.” — D&C Student Manual, p. 220; Progress of Man, p. 11

“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”  Gaining an education (secular education) is only part of the “glory of God is intelligence.”  It is also living faithfully.  Also, “whatever level of intelligence we gain in this life will rise with us” does not apply to secular education. — Richard O. Cowan, BYU Education Week, August 1992

 . . . suppose we have two facts:  that supposes another fact may exist – two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist.  Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 373

Mankind are organized of element designed to endure to all eternity; it never had a beginning and never can have an end.  There never was a time when his matter, of which you and I are composed, was not in existence, and there never can be a time when it will pass out of existence; it cannot be annihilated.

It is brought together, organized, and capacitated to receive knowledge and intelligence, to be enthroned in glory, to be made angels.  Gods – beings who will hold control over the elements, and have power by their word to command the creation and redemption of worlds, or to extinguish suns by their breath, and disorganize worlds, hurling them back into their chaotic state.  This is what you and I are created for (Discourses of Brigham Young, 48; see also D&C 93:29-33).

In origin, man is a son of God.  The spirits of men “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24).  Through that birth process, self-existing intelligence was organized into individual spirit beings (Marion G. Romney, Ensign, Nov. 1978, 14). The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, pp. 37-38

Among the many great truths revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, none is more beloved by the Church than “The Glory of God is intelligence.”  The word intelligence, as used in common speech, means readiness in learning, quickness of mind.  Its higher Gospel meaning is more profound.  The intelligent man is he who seeks knowledge and uses it in accordance with the plan of the Lord for human good.  This is implied in the revelation from which the quotation is made, for the full sentence reads, “The Glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth.”  When men follow the light their knowledge will always be well used.  Intelligence, then, becomes but another name for wisdom.  In the language of mathematics we may say that knowledge, plus the proper use of knowledge, equals intelligence, or wisdom.  In this sense intelligence becomes the goal of the successful life. Knowledge is one of the means by which such intelligence is attained; the use of knowledge is equally as important, for it gives life and direction to knowledge. . . .  It often happens that a person of limited knowledge but who earnestly and prayerfully obeys the law, rises to a higher intelligence or wisdom, than one of vast Gospel learning who does not comply in his daily life with the requirements of the Gospel. Obedience to law is a mark of intelligence. — Elder John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, April 1938, p.50

It is good for men to be taught in the history and laws of nations, to become acquainted with the principles of justice and equity, with the nature of disease and the medical properties of plants, etc., but there is no need of their being without the knowledge of God, of in fact every branch of true knowledge known to man has originated in God, and men have come in possessions of it from His word or from His works.  O, the folly of men in not acknowledging God in all things, in laying aside God and his religion, and trusting in their own judgment and intelligence.  All the intelligence which men possess on the earth, whether religious, scientific or political – proceeds from God – every good and perfect gift proceeds from Him, the fountain of light and truth, wherein there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. — President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 26 volumes., 10:276

The great end of education is to discipline rather than to furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others. — Tyron Edwards

We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality. — Albert Einstein

You who have unanswered questions (which all of us have); you who are torn between the teachings of contending teachers, who are confused by conflicting theories: Keep faith.  Reserve judgment.  Be patient.  God lives.  He is the source of all truth, and where there seem to be discrepancies it is simply because we do not know enough.  The theories of men change swiftly, but ”the glory of God is intelligence,” (D&C 93:36)  and there is no truth in all the universe that the Father of us all would not wish you to seek and to accept – for man cannot be “saved in ignorance.”  (D&C 131:6)  Keep an open mind and an open heart and a teachable spirit. “Seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)  — Elder Richard L. Evans, Conference Report, October 1954, p. 88

Every branch of knowledge, of wisdom, of light, of understanding, all that I know, all that is within my organization mentally or physically, spiritually or temporally, I have received from some Source. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:266

The principle is inherent, in the organization of all intelligent beings, so that we are capable of receiving and receiving and receiving from the inexhaustible fountain of knowledge and truth. Discourses of Brigham Young, 94

The principle of intelligence is within us.  Who planted it there?  He who made us.  That which you see developed in the children of men . . . is the force of the mind or the spirit, and the body is a tabernacle organized for its temporal habitation. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 7:286

The origin of thought and reflection is in ourselves.  We think, because we are, and are made susceptible of external influences, and the thoughts of blessing will arise in the same mind, as it is influenced by external circumstances. Discourses of Brigham Young, 52

Everything in heaven, on earth, and in hell is organized for the benefit, advantage, and exaltation of intelligent beings; therefore there is nothing that is out of the pale of our faith.  There is nothing, I may say, good or bad, light or darkness, truth or error, but what is to be controlled by intelligent beings; and we should learn how to take into our possession every blessing and every privilege that God has put within our reach, and know how to use our time, our talents, and all our acts for the advancement of his Kingdom upon the earth. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6:145

No person possesses intelligence, in any degree, that he has not received from the God of heaven, or, in other words, from the Fountain of all intelligence, whether he acknowledges his God in it or not. Discourses of Brigham Young, 148