Retaining Identity

Below are a few quotes about how we are created to retain the same identity throughout eternity.  While I have quite a bit more research about this subject for the final publication, the below quotes represent a sampling of teachings that put forth the idea that we don’t lose our identity between probations.  That can be used as a reason to argue that we do not have a new probation each dispensation – because we will always come down with the same identity (meaning the same personality and perhaps the same appearance).  However, retaining your identity could arguably only refer to your personality outside of the veil, meaning that while you may come down on this earth in one dispensation and forget what you did in other dispensations, all of that will be remembered outside of the veil – being “reprobated” in this way is manifestly different than being dissoluted and losing your identity entirely, which is how our destruction is described by Brigham Young.  I invite your comments below: please share why you think these quotes should be interpreted to support either of these ideas or some other idea.
Please feel free to include your own quotes in your reasoning but please do not bother sharing any quotes post 1920 unless you think they are particularly persuasive from an academic (rather than religious) perspective.  Quotes post 1920 tend to do nothing more than decry these teachings as speculative and false and are therefore not helpful for this discussion.

Wilford Woodruff | 1889
I have heard that in Zion there are some men who entertain the idea that they inherit the body and spirit of Moses, or Abraham, or David, or Noah, or somebody other than themselves. I hope none of you here indulge in anything of this kind, because it is a most foolish, nonsensical and false doctrine. You gaze upon a man who professes to have inherited the body or spirit of Moses, or any of those I have named, and I think you will conclude that his appearance does not indicate that such is the case; at any rate, it certainly has not improved him. Brother Woodruff, Brother Cannon, Brother Smith, Brother Lorenzo Snow, or any of the brethren, will never inherit anyone’s body or spirit but their own, in time or in eternity, unless the devil gets into them. It is Satan who inspires men to believe in such absurd things. He delights in having any of the brethren entertain false ideas, no matter what they are. I tell you that whoever sees me in time or eternity will see Wilford Woodruff, not Noah, nor Abraham, nor Enoch. Every man has his own identity, and he never will lose that identity. Therefore, when you hear such doctrine as that advanced, do not believe it. There are a good many things Satan would like us to believe; but we must guard against these.     | Deseret New Weekly, 38:822-24 / CD 1:262-63 |


George Q. Cannon
The Savior says that His disciples look
ed upon the long absence of their spirits from their bodies to be a bondage.  … We are taught that all holy beings looked forward with joyful anticipation to the time when their bodies and spirits will be re-united in the resurrection. They do not look forward to reincarnation or to another birth as a baby but to the union of their spirits and their bodies – the bodies that they possessed and in which they had passed through all the trials and temptations and vicissitudes incident to a mortal career.     | Gospel Truth, 128 |


Brigham Young | 2/27/1853
Hear it, all ye Latter‑day Saints!  Will you spend the time of your probation for naught, and while away your probation for naught, and fool away your existence and being?  You were organized, and brought into being, for the purpose of enduring forever, if you fulfill the measure of your creation, pursue the right path, observe the requirements of the Celestial law, and obey the commandments of our God.  It is then, and then only, you may expect that the blessing of eternal lives will be conferred upon you.  It can be obtained upon no other principle.  Do you understand that you will cease to be, that you will come to a full end, by pursuing the opposite course?

The privileges and blessings of the Saints of the Most High God, are many . . . .  Everything in heaven, earth, or hell, is for your glory, exaltation, and excellence, if by your lives you honor the Priesthood which has been conferred upon you:  and, in the proper time, all will become subservient unto you, but not until then.  But if you submit to serve your own feelings, and if you desire not to build up the kingdom of God, and sanctify your hearts, they will lead you down to be eternally subject thereunto-subject to the power that will afflict and torment you, and eventually bring you to destruction:  whereas, if you pursue the opposite course, those feelings and passions will become subject unto you:  you will be enabled to govern and control them and cause them to serve you, and subserve the object and design for which they were planted in your bosoms [which is? ]. . . .  No person can be a Saint, unless he receives the Holy Gospel, for the purity, justice, holiness, and eternal duration of it.  Everything else tends to decay, separation, annihilation:  no not annihilation, as we use the english term, but dissolution or decomposition.  * * *

. . . Suppose you say, `we will give up the pursuits of our holy religion.  We are not Latter‑day Saints.  Let us go and seek after the things of the world, speculate, get unto ourselves riches . . . neglect the things pertaining to our salvation . . . .  I tell you the result of that course.  You would cease to increase in all the attributes of excellence, glory, and eternal duration, from that very moment . . . from that very moment you cease to increase.  The opposite principle seizes you, fastens itself upon you, and you decrease, lessen, diminish, decay, and waste away in quality, excellence, and strength, until your organization becomes extinct, oblivion covers you, your name is blotted out from the Book of Life, from the heavens, from the earth, and from under the earth, and you will return, and sink into your natural element, which cannot be destroyed . . . .

The principle opposite to that of eternal increase from the beginning, leads down to hell:  the person decreases, loses his knowledge, tact, talent, and ultimately, in a short period of time, is lost:  he returns to his mother earth, his name is forgotten.  But where, O where is his spirit?  I will not now take the time to follow his destiny:  but here, strong language could be used . . . .      | JD 1:113‑14 |