During my very first semester at BYU (summer of '07) I took a class called Intro to Philosophy. Near the end of the semester we started talking about 'the soul'. What is a 'soul'? Is it the spirit of somebody? Is it an all-encompassing personality? Well of course we never came to any one conclusion. There is no such thing as any one conclusion in philosophy. I came up with my own idea and wrote my final paper on it. I got a B+, I think. The following paragraph is MY understanding of souls and the way they work and interact with each other.
Our souls are living. They have substance that we can't See or feel because that substance is in some other dimension, i.e. behind the veil. Our souls envelop us and radiate outside of our physical bodies. This is what some people refer to as "aura". Now, what exactly shapes our souls and makes them what they are today? Our souls start out pure and clear and innocent. When we come into close proximity with any other person's soul or aura, they mix and mingle and share themselves with each other. We, in a sense, become a part of whoever we interact with through our "soul sharing". This explains the feeling of empathy. We are a part of everyone and every person is a part of us, so we can feel each other. But that is a topic for some other blog!
Like I said, that is all my interpretation of souls and what they are and how they grow and become "us". Now what do the scriptures say? Jacob 2:8 mentions "the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul." This leads me to believe that, yes indeed, the soul is living and can feel and be wounded and healed. Enos 1:4 says "my soul hungered". Another indication that the soul is living and needs care. Omni 1:26- "offer your whole souls as an offering unto Him" we can give of our souls and share with Christ and others. We need to be consciously offering our souls to God, sharing all of our experiences with Him. If we pour out our souls to God he will, in turn, fill us with HIS soul, or the light of Christ. King Benjamin "labor[ed] with faculty of his whole soul" (Words of Mormon 1:18) to establish peace in the land. He shared of his love and wisdom and peace and helped shape the souls of all who were in the land.
The Old Testament word for soul is "nephesh". This is translated in 31 ways in the Bible, with "life" being the most occuring translation. Other translations include myself, pleasure, appetite, ghost, dead body, creature, one, and person. It is very interesting that one word can be translated to 'life' and 'dead body'. This is explained by the root of the word 'nephesh' which is 'to breathe'. A dead body once breathed. Our souls live and breathe. (w.c. 5.)
I believe that the word "soul" is very much misused in our language today. It is more than our eternal spirit or personality or body or memory. It is all of that combined that lives forever, perhaps reincarnating to grow from more experiences in different circumstances. I know that our souls are exactly 'us' and we can be who we want to be if we associate with other souls who have already reached whatever plane we would like to be on. We, in turn, must help others reach their 'soul goals' by sharing our souls with them and accepting theirs.
1. Jacob 2:5 (Book of Mormon)
2. Enos 1:4 (Book of Mormon)
3. Omni 1:26 (Book of Mormon)
4. Words of Mormon 1:18 (Book of Mormon)
6. picture from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/science/26soul.html
Monday, December 1, 2008
Posted by Bethany Cox at 11:05 AM