The word spirit is used in several ways in the scriptures. Probably the basic use has to do with the conscious intelligent individual entity that had an existence previous to mortality. That is, all forms of living things—man, beast, and vegetation—existed as individual spirits, before any form of life existed upon the earth. The spirit is in the likeness of the physical body, as demonstrated in Gen. 2:5; 1 Ne. 11:11; Ether 3:15–16; D&C 77:2; 129; Moses 3:4–7. Furthermore, all spirit is matter but is more refined and pure than mortal element (D&C 131:7).
Every person is literally a son or a daughter of God, having been born as a spirit to Heavenly Parents previous to being born to mortal parents on the earth (Heb. 12:9). Thus each one of us is a dual being: an immortal spirit body, clothed with a body of flesh and bone. As defined in scripture, the spirit and the body constitute the mortal soul (D&C 88:15; see also Gen. 2:7; Moses 3:7–9; Abr. 5:7). A spirit can live independent of a body, but the body cannot live without the spirit (James 2:26). In the Resurrection, the immortal spirit is reunited with the same body of flesh and bone it possessed as a mortal, with two major differences: The union will be permanent, and the body will be immortal and perfected. See also Angels; Holy Ghost; Resurrection.