Body and spirit: a living soul of supernal worth

Acknowledge God

as the Creator

Don't desecrate, deface

tabernacle of flesh

Practice physical

and spiritual fitness

Each soul is a dual being - comprised of body and spirit, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve declared Sunday afternoon.

And both body and spirit emanate from God, he added. "A firm understanding of body and spirit will shape our thoughts and deeds for good.

"Your body, whatever its natural gifts, is a magnificent creation of God. It is a tabernacle of flesh - a temple for your spirit. A study of your body attests to its divine design."

Continuing, Elder Nelson explained how the formation of the body begins with two reproductive cells, one from the mother and one from the father. "Together, these two cells contain all of the new individual's hereditary information, stored in a space so small it cannot be seen by the naked eye."

He then spoke of the development and function of a body - how the eyes and ears work, and how each day an adult heart pumps enough fluid to fill a 2,000-gallon tank. Elder Nelson also explained the body's backup system - whether through paired organs or dual routes of blood supply.

There is also the body's system of self-defense, through feeling pain to generating antibodies to repairing itself, he explained.

In addition, death, like birth, is part of life, Elder Nelson taught. But, he added, the "very laws which do not allow life to persist here are the same laws that will be implemented at the time of the resurrection . . . ."

In speaking of the spirit, Elder Nelson, who was a renowned surgeon before his call to the Quorum of the Twelve, said: "Prior to our mortal existence here, each spirit son and daughter lived with God. The spirit is eternal; it existed in innocence in premortal realm and will exist after the body dies. The spirit provides the body with animation and personality."

Elder Nelson explained that the development of the spirit is of eternal consequence. "The attributes by which we shall be judged one day are those of the spirit.

"Spirit and body, when joined together, become a living soul of supernal worth. Indeed, we are children of God - physically and spiritually."

Continuing, he said: "For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny."

Eventually, each body and spirit are reunited in perfect form and, "thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become perfected in Him."

How should these truths influence personal behavior? Elder Nelson asked. One should gratefully acknowledge God as the Creator and practice virtue and holiness. "We will regard our body as a temple of our very own. We will not let it be desecrated or defaced in any way."

In addition to physical fitness, Elder Nelson counseled, one should practice spiritual fitness. He urged praying, keeping the Word of Wisdom and avoiding pornography.

"Who are we?" he asked. "We are children of God. Our potential is unlimited. Our inheritance is sacred."

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