Do animals have souls? Is man the only being that has a spirit?

Prophetic Statements

Joseph Smith

John learned that God glorified Himself by saving all that His hands had made, whether beasts, fowls, fishes or men; and He will glorify Himself with them. Says one, “I cannot believe in the salvation of beasts.” Any man who would tell you that this could not be, would tell you that the revelations are not true. John heard the words of the beasts giving glory to God, and understood them. God who made the beasts could understand every language spoken by them. The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect: they were like angels in their sphere. We are not told where they came from, and I do not know; but they were seen and heard by John praising and glorifying God. 1

Words of Benjamin F. Johnson

[The Prophet] taught that all the animal kingdoms would be resurrected, and made us understand that they would remain in the dominion of those who, with creative power, reach out for dominion, through the power of eternal lives. 2

Joseph Fielding Smith

“ANIMALS HAVE SOULS. The idea prevails in general, I believe, in the religious world where the gospel truth is misunderstood, that man is the only being on the earth that has what is called a soul or a spirit. We know this is not the case, for the Lord has said that not only has man a spirit, and is thereby a living soul, but likewise the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea have spirits, and hence are living souls. But this does not make them kinsmen to the sons and daughters of God. They are our Father’s creations, not his offspring, and that is the great difference between man and beast. It would be a very strange world where animals were not found. If, after the resurrection of the dead, we discovered that man was the only living creature with immortality, we would certainly consider it a very strange world. Yet the idea does prevail that man has a spirit and the animals have not. Some people think this is the great thing that distinguishes man from all other beings. FORM OF ANIMAL SPIRITS. The fish, the fowl, the beasts of the field, lived before they were placed naturally in this earth, and so did the plants that are upon the face of the earth. The spirits that possess the bodies of the animals are in the similitude of their bodies. In other words, the bodies of animals conform to the spirits which possess them, and which existed before they were placed on the earth; “that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person, as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.” 3

“EARTH AND ALL LIFE RESURRECTED. Every creature on the earth, whether it be man, animal, fish, fowl, or other creature, that the Lord has created, is redeemed from death on the same terms that man is redeemed. These creatures are not responsible for death coming into the world any more than we were, and since they have been created by the Father, they are entitled to their redemption and eternal duration. The earth itself shall be changed from its mortal body, for it too is a living thing now, under the curse of death, and it “abideth the law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law.­ Wherefore, it shall be sanctified; yea, notwithstanding it shall die, it shall be quickened again, and shall abide the power by which it is quickened, and the righteous shall inherit it.”

ALL LIVING THINGS RESURRECTED. “I know that, whatsoever God doeth,” we read in the scriptures, “it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it.” We know that all these creatures are animated by the spirit which is in them, just as man is. The Lord declared through the Prophet that “the spirit of man [is] in the likeness of his person, also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which God has created.” Is there any living creature that God has not made? If so, the power of creation has gone out of his hands. He is supreme, and all life is from him, his gift to every creature. The purified body will be the same body which shall rise in its “perfect form,” and so we read: “And the end shall come, and the heaven and the earth shall be consumed and pass away, and there shall be a new heaven and a new earth. For all old things shall pass away, and all things shall become new, even the heaven and the earth, and all the fulness thereof, both men and beasts, the fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea; And not one hair, neither mote, shall be lost, for it is the workmanship of mine hand.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pg. 281)


Moses 3:19

And out of the ground I, the Lord God, formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and commanded that they should come unto Adam, to see what he would call them; and they were also living souls; for I, God, breathed into them the breath of life, and commanded that whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that should be the name thereof.

  1. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter­day Saints, 7 vols. 5:343­44
  2. Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet, p. 95
  3. Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pg 63
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