Hey guys! So if you’re watching this video when it first comes out, then you know it’s Halloween season! So in the spirit of Halloween, in this episode, we’re going to talk about ghosts. What Latter-day Saints believe about them, what they are, what they are not, and what they can or can’t do. Let’s do this.
With the exception of the Holy Ghost, you probably won’t hear many Latter-day Saints talking about ghosts at church. But you might hear us talking about “spirits” in a few different contexts.
So what exactly is a spirit? Well, some faiths believe that spirits are immaterial, meaning they are not composed of matter. Our scriptures teach quite the opposite: “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes; We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.”
So we believe there is actually substance to spirits. And they do have form. If you remember back from the video we did about the Plan of Salvation, we all existed in the pre-mortal life, before we were born, as spirits. Your spirit body looks similar to your physical body now. Here in mortal life, as Bruce R. McConkie put it, our spirit bodies are “housed temporarily in mortal tabernacles” which is a fancy way of saying that right now, your spirit body is combined with a physical body.
The scriptures teach that a spirit can survive just fine without a body, but a physical body cannot survive without a spirit within it. So when we die and our physical bodies go six feet under, our spirits continue to live on in what we call the Spirit World. Now the Spirit World isn’t on another planet, it’s still just this planet, we just can’t see these spirits.
And this sort of segways into our next question: What kind of spirits are out there? I’m going to separate them into two categories: Pre-mortal and Post-mortal. You used to be a pre-mortal Spirit. Now you’re a spirit combined with a body, and when you die, you’ll be a post-mortal spirit.
Everyone who has ever died is a post-mortal spirit, but remember back to what the Bible says happened after Christ’s resurrection: “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
One day we will all be resurrected, but within the post-mortal spirit category, there are a select few spirits that have already been resurrected and combined with a physical body once again—this time, their body is immortal, perfected, and glorified—like Christ’s body at his resurrection. Fun fact, the angel Moroni, who visited the young Joseph Smith, was a resurrected being.
Now, in the pre-mortal spirit category, we’ve also got two groups. First, you’ve got the pre-mortal spirits who are still living with God waiting to be born in a physical body. These spirits are not on earth among us, they’re wherever God is. Can they see us? I don’t know. Can they influence us? I don’t know. Do they eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom? …uh no?
The second group of pre-mortal spirits belongs to Satan and his “angels.” Like all of us, these spirits were present at the great pre-mortal council we talked about in the Plan of Salvation episode. God presented to us His Plan of Salvation. We’d go to earth, we’d struggle, we’d have to choose between good and evil, and hopefully, we’d choose good, we’d choose God.
Satan, then known as Lucifer, disagreed with some of the details of the plan. He rejected it, as did many other spirits who took Lucifer’s side. Because of their rebellion, God banished them—He cast them out of his presence down to—you guessed it—earth. And here they are to this day, still rebelling against God’s plan, and tempting you and me at every turn, trying to get us to rebel against God as well.
And these are generally the “spirits” people are most interested in around Halloween time. These are evil spirits. But that’s all they are or ever will be—spirits. They will never have their own physical bodies, which they absolutely cannot stand. This is why many of the sins they tempt you to commit have to do with misusing or degrading your body.
But remember this—you are in charge. You are more powerful than any of them. And the only power they have over you is the power you give them. Now, can you give them so much power that they can actually take possession of your body? Yes, it’s possible. That’s why we don’t mess with ouija boards or do seances or dabble with any of that stuff. It’s bad news. But if something bad should happen, using the power of the Priesthood or even sometimes just good old-fashioned prayer and faith, evil spirits can be cast out.
When it comes to evil spirits there’s a lot we don’t know. We don’t have a ton of doctrine on them because we don’t want to have anything to do with them. But we do know this: Where the Holy Ghost is, unholy ghosts don’t want to be. So if you’re worried about ghosts, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to obey God’s commandments to the best of your ability and create an environment where the Spirit of God can reside.
Have a great day, and Happy Halloween!