From The Absolute To The Individual: Person And Pre-Mortal Existence In Nineteenth-Century Mormonism And Romanticism

In When Souls Had Wings: Premortal Existence in Western Thought, Terryl Givens covers the heterodox doctrine of a pre-mortal existence from Plato to today. This idea in Platonic philosophy and its emphasis in Christian Platonism always accompanies a story of a fall from perfect unity in the ideal and a return to the same unity at the end of time. But Givens doesn’t see that for nineteenth-century Romantics and Idealists, this cycle of alienation and return assumes an even more dramatic character as the alienation of the individual from the absolute and her eventual return is the creation of a new and greater unity than the original; thus the final unity is also a plurality of persons. Early and nineteenth-century Mormonism added another twist: the final unity occurs repeatedly and the plurality of God(s) is a constant feature of the story

James L. McLachlan, Dan Wotherspoon