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maupayman

What spiritual experiences are exclusive to LDS?

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I have never heard a denomination that claims constant companionship with the Holy Ghost besides LDS (I could be wrong though). The fact that we have constant communication with the Holy Ghost is what separates us, only those who have the Gift of the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands by one holding the Melkesadek priesthood can have constant companionship.

As far as other denominations I attended the Holy Ghost was not a constant, this is what separates them from LDS.

The Catholic sacrament of Confirmation includes the gift of the Holy Spirit that "marks the recipient as with a seal"

I believe the same would apply to the Protestant denominations that still practice this sacrament

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Of course. As said, I like an orderly God, a definable God, an understandable God. One who can relate to me and help me because he knows what it is like to be like me. One who has risen above me in compassion and glory and power. One whom I can truly be grateful for, for all of my existence.

I don't want a bigger God. I want an orderly, understandable, lovable one.

(Sorry about the delay getting back to this: for some mysterious reason (mysterious to me anyway) my email alerts no longer come to my Inbox when threads I have selected to "watch" get updated by posts. So I have the onerous task of trying to remember what I said and which threads I am watching BY TITLE. What a pain in the neck!)

Anyway, my response here is simple, and brief: your last comment sums up your attitude; which frankly I cannot understand at all, once someone is presented with the evidence that they are deliberately limiting themselves. Why do that? Don't you think that your imagination, your 'satiable sapience, is meant to stretch as hard and as far (and as fast) as you can? You have almost limitless capacity to imagine, to conceive of metaphysical things, i.e. of "Godly" things. Yet the dogma of this world is always geared for the masses: analogous to a class, dogma and its teachers are set up to "pass" as many students as possible. Those hypo spiritual (at the bottom of the class) are going to fail this time around; the dogmatic teachings can't be dumbed down enough to "save" them, since they aren't paying attention anyway: and those hyper spiritual (gifted beyond the curriculum/dogma) already "get it" and then some: they are way beyond what the dogma is representing. So the teachers are focused on the main student body. But anyone who's 'satiable sapience is bored by the curriculum shouldn't have to remain crouched over the same Bronze Age books forever. The instant that you see that you are being limited in your thinking by some dogmatic "truth", you should reject it in favor of a greater enlightenment. "Try all things. Prove all things." There is no other way.

You want a containable god, a warm, fuzzy god, a god that you can comprehend, etc. This flies in the face of even dogmatic scripture: which insists consistently that "God" is not comprehensible, neither his form, ways, nature or knowledge, etc. "God" chooses to manifest as one of us, TO us. That doesn't mean that "God" is a man; only that "God" can be a man if that is desired. "God" can also be, manifest as, anything whatsoever. Inside this universe we have apparent "natural" laws. While "God" manifests here it is according to the laws put in place. There is nothing chaotic about that. As I said earlier, where faith comes in is expecting this "established order" to remain in place, because "God" manifested to us the eternal nature of laws by which we must abide. There is no suggestion that somewhere "down the road" "God" is going to alter everything and become a Being we cannot relate to.

"God" is both: a Being we CAN relate to, who relates to us individually, intimately, continually and eternally: and "God" is infinitely far beyond our finite capacity to comprehend. Only as big a concept of "God" as possible to imagine could be both at once....

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Good posts QB!

I believe our views on God and existence are very similar. If you have the time I'd be interested in hearing how you arrived at them. What path did you take? What books? How long from the first chink in the Mormon armor to the point where you said; I no longer believe in an anthropomorphic god?

It's not that I don't believe in an "anthropomorphic god"; I believe that "God", the Cause of Existence (and "the Nothing" heheh), is infinitely more than merely anthropomorphic.

As a child (I believe even before I was baptized at age eight), I would frighten myself with the question: "But what caused THAT? And what came before THAT? And who, what came before GOD??!!" I would feel my bowels turn vacuous at the mere thought of an eternity that had no Cause. It made no sense, because the Mormon exegesis was being drummed into me, that God the Father was a man who had once upon a time been a mortal like we are; yet was responsible for all of the universe and has lived forever: and furthermore, I too have always existed and only my spirit body was "created" by God, not my mind or intelligence, which has always existed forever, etc. I could not ever quite comprehend or believe it: because sooner or later that terrible question of "What came first?" would return to freak me out.

Of course there is no answer to that one, and there never will be. Existence simply IS. It is obviously a fact. But so too must the Void or Nothingness: to assume that such a concept is mere make-believe is to assert that the concept does not originate with "God" in the first place. Yet if we allow that "God" is the origin of NOTHINGNESS, we must allow that that state is part of Existence in the First Place, every bit as much as the fecundity of the infinitely expanding multiverse.

I don't know when I accepted that concept. I do know that by the time I read "How To Think About God" in 2006 Professor Adler had nothing to give me other than philosophical terms and the names of philosophies and their authors (i.e. he helped my lack of a formal education): as far as the concepts that he advanced, I was actually far beyond that point already.

My first estrangement with Mormonism and its theology of limited "gods" (of which Our Father is merely the patriarch) probably occurred early even before my mission. In reading the BofM I could see the great difference between "Nephi's God" and Joseph Smith's 1843 Godhead, in other words the current LDS theology. I didn't let that worry me, because as an apologist I allowed that "Nephites" had not received all the doctrine on Godhead that was to come later through Joseph Smith. But the idea that this same God the Father was somehow responsible for the origin of existence made no sense: my guts still opened "wide as eternity" whenever I had that thought return to my mind: "But, what caused GOD to be?" The problem of course was the very anthropomorphic "comprehensibility" that Mormons profess is an advantage. In attending the temple, as I have said, I enjoyed the "preacher dude" in the endowment drama. And I wondered early what was so skewed about his definition of "God", and why Adam had such a problem with it!

I read The Bible Unearthed in late 2003, early 2004. It was enlightening and pragmatic. Despite its evident controversial points I could see that all was not as it had seemed. So when I began to realize just how manmade the Bible was, and the various theories vis-a-vis its origins and age, etc., I came to accept that the BofM was in trouble. As the BofM was THE foundation of my testimony in Joseph Smith as a prophet (and his status was key to my belief in Christianity), everything began to teeter. I held it all together as long as I could.

Then I watched Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and was blown away. The flogging scene was so graphically gruesome that I could no longer believe in a preexistence where I had agreed to it; much less agreed to the infinitely worse agony of the eternal atonement!? The argument that "then I didn't know what I was agreeing to", but now I do so, "look at how much you have already grown", only carried me forward a little further: I could, as an apologist, accept that my "innocent" preexistent spirit did not know what kind of terrible pain mortality would bring, so of course I had agreed to "the plan of salvation" so that I could return to live with my heavenly parents, etc. (The concept of the whole PLAN was increasingly problematic to me; "Why do we require Jesus Christ when God is all-powerful? Can he not save without putting a child through what Christ went through?" The whole atonement concept seemed redundant, and was at the core of my problem with believing in Christianity in the first place: I'd make a good Muslim that way!)

But Joseph Smith's polyandry took everything down in an instant. I learned of that aspect of his character in 2004, reading "In Sacred Loneliness", by Todd Compton. Before I even got through the introduction I was already convinced that my growing suspicion was true: ALL religion is manmade and always has been. In Sacred Loneliness was followed by other educational books by Mormon scholars ("in good standing" at the time they wrote them): some are "foundational" to a more broad education in Mormon history: Mormon Enigma Mormon Polygamy Blood of the Prophets The Mountain Meadows Massacre An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. But none of them enhanced my "new" concept of "God" or altered my perceptions of Mormon history: they merely furthered my education in the details.

Previous to this "era" of unexpected spiritual emancipation, I had engaged myself in an extensive period (over ten years) of intense reading about the Church, especially about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young: I wanted an intimate understanding of what kind of person Jesus Christ is; and logically I assumed that his "foundational" prophets would be men "after his own heart"; so by studying especially Joseph Smith I would come to know more about the kind of man the Lord loves. I read everything I could find that Joseph Smith ever wrote. Some of his writings appeared repeatedly and I read them numerous times; letters, articles, statements, his "Lectures On Faith", the first (1830) edition of the BofM and the "Book of Commandments", and of course his dictated journals and diaries and the History of the Church, etc. In addition to this focused material I read all of the Hugh Nibley Collected Writings (Compton was an editor on that project, BTW), Joseph Smith's History by his mother, and a variety of other early history works such as "The Three Witnesses to the Book Mormon", "Lion of the Lord", etc. (I don't include links to these as they are not germane to this post, which is about the books that contributed to my change in historical perspective AFTER my theology changed in a conscious way.) I bought an early edition of the Book of Mormon Critical Text and joined FARMS for a couple of years, and attended a couple of symposiums at BYU where Hugh Nibley and various other ("lesser") LDS scholars spoke about BofM authorship and other esoteric subjects of interest to the student of religion and early Church history.

But of course, once less apologetic, more honest and fulsome history came my way the study into purely Church history and exegesis went by the board. So in effect, it was my own thinking which altered my theology: as I exposed my mind to more and more LDS-centered exegesis and history, a dichotomy was building upon the foundation of my childhood questioning: and it was the discovery that "all is not as it is made to seem" (i.e. "faith promoting history" doesn't tell the full tale) that prepared me for that more fulsome history and more honest (questioning) scholarship.

I never got angry or even disappointed in this knowledge. I have only felt fear over how others might react. But at once I accepted that whatever the consequences I would not continue to pretend to believe something just to "save my marriage" or whathaveyou. I was very familiar with the stories of individuals losing their families over leaving the Church. So I was intent on keeping as much of my lifestyle as possible. I've never stopped attending church on Sunday; I pay tithes and fast offering (I like what the Church does with the money by and large); by nature I love the clean, healthy lifestyle of Mormonism. I've never wanted to toss the Church and live as a Narcissist. My wife loves me as the person I am, and if anything I am "better" and certainly easier to live with than I was before! She actually enjoys my metaphysical talk about my "questing". In church I am silent almost as the grave, and I do not accept teaching or leadership callings: my former bishop knows my thoughts, and has probably passed on the info to the two bishops since his time "in office". I feel that I am watched carefully. But I do not give cause for alarm. I am not out to fight the Church or change it. Change will come naturally as time passes. I don't have to say or do a thing....

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I don't have to say or do a thing....

So which button did Max push, and who told him to push it?!

Regarding existence and void: Even without D&C 88: 37 and 93:30 stating it, it would seem that

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(Sorry about the delay getting back to this: for some mysterious reason (mysterious to me anyway) my email alerts no longer come to my Inbox when threads I have selected to "watch" get updated by posts. So I have the onerous task of trying to remember what I said and which threads I am watching BY TITLE. What a pain in the neck!)

Don't worry about it... we have tons of time, and no rush. =)

Also, your past 5 posts (although you probably post more than 5 times a day) are stored in your account info, in case you want to remember certain threads.

Anyway, my response here is simple, and brief: your last comment sums up your attitude; which frankly I cannot understand at all, once someone is presented with the evidence that they are deliberately limiting themselves.

Why do I limit myself? I limit myself because I prefer a closed world. I have lived my life with Autism for all 17 years of it, and for the first 12 to 13 years, I didn't understand other people well at all. It was close to chaotic. The way they acted didn't make sense to me. Bottom line, it taught me that predictability and understanding is a key component of communication, and it is essential if you want to cooperate with the person. Thus, I view God very much as a person - as a person I can love with all my heart, as a person I can care about, and get to know on a personal level if I so desire to. In other words, God can be one of my friends - and I generally tend to keep them to a small number. However, one of the things that I find is necessary for someone to be a friend, for their sacrifices to actually have meaning for you, is a sense of understanding, an idea of much of the big picture. I cannot think of an infinite God, nor can I enjoy him because I do not understand him, nor is he predictable to me. An infinite God wouldn't be bound by rules of justice, nor would he have reason to care about my feelings much, as after all, if he's infinite, there is no reason for him to help me so he can get bigger (infinite is the biggest you can get). Thus, an infinite God makes no sense to me - God must be understandable, so I can relate to him, and truly trust him. I cannot trust someone I do not understand. However, God let's me understand him, and so I can trust him.

Why do that? Don't you think that your imagination, your 'satiable sapience, is meant to stretch as hard and as far (and as fast) as you can?

Why should I imagine things for God? I'll let him show me him as he wishes me to see him... it is not for me to change him from what he wishes to show himself as to me. I don't have need of a big God - I have need of a kind and loving God.

You have almost limitless capacity to imagine, to conceive of metaphysical things, i.e. of "Godly" things. Yet the dogma of this world is always geared for the masses: analogous to a class, dogma and its teachers are set up to "pass" as many students as possible. Those hypo spiritual (at the bottom of the class) are going to fail this time around; the dogmatic teachings can't be dumbed down enough to "save" them, since they aren't paying attention anyway: and those hyper spiritual (gifted beyond the curriculum/dogma) already "get it" and then some: they are way beyond what the dogma is representing. So the teachers are focused on the main student body. But anyone who's 'satiable sapience is bored by the curriculum shouldn't have to remain crouched over the same Bronze Age books forever. The instant that you see that you are being limited in your thinking by some dogmatic "truth", you should reject it in favor of a greater enlightenment. "Try all things. Prove all things." There is no other way.

Trust me, I've not been going by the curriculum - I can't do it very well. I am bound to try and discover my own methods, because I have a large method of curiosity in me... and I apply it towards everything. I don't like doing things the normal way, I just do it in the way it makes sense to me. This is how it makes sense to me... it's not due to the way it is taught. Actually, most of the stuff I know has been through self-study... discovering an obscure topic and thinking about it on my own, supplementing with some ideas from the net, but a lot of self reflection to... or at least I hope it's been that way.

You want a containable god, a warm, fuzzy god, a god that you can comprehend, etc. This flies in the face of even dogmatic scripture: which insists consistently that "God" is not comprehensible, neither his form, ways, nature or knowledge, etc.

D&C 88:49-50 - The alight shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; nevertheless, the day shall come when you shall bcomprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him. Then shall ye know that ye have aseen me, that I am, and that I am the true blight that is in you, and that you are in me; otherwise ye could not abound.

I certainly don't understand God completely - but I will aim to understand what he seeks to show me. His will will become mine, and then, may I eventually be capable of seeing things as he wishes me to. Understanding him is the goal in hand, we may not be there yet, but it is our focus.

"God" chooses to manifest as one of us, TO us. That doesn't mean that "God" is a man; only that "God" can be a man if that is desired.

Nevertheless, he has shown me his human side of him - his godly human side. His personality. That doesn't mean that there isn't more of him - it means that if there is more of him, that it doesn't matter. How God wishes me to see him, so I will, it is not for me to imagine him to be otherwise than he speaks to me to see him as.

"God" can also be, manifest as, anything whatsoever.

He is only God to me as he seeks to be God to me. He seeks to be God to me as how he shows himself to me, and on none else should I focus.

If he wishes to tell me other things, thus will I follow, but until he tells me, so I stay. I do not believe in a God I cannot comprehend... I believe in him who I can love, that I do.

Inside this universe we have apparent "natural" laws. While "God" manifests here it is according to the laws put in place. There is nothing chaotic about that.

You misunderstood my use of chaotic. It means - not understandable... not capable of being understood... not capable of being learnt from or about. Chaos has to do with lack of a capability to understand. It is different than the physics definition - which is unable to predict at this time. The physics term is not chaotic, if you understand enough variables. The term I am talking of is incapability to understand.

As I said earlier, where faith comes in is expecting this "established order" to remain in place, because "God" manifested to us the eternal nature of laws by which we must abide. There is no suggestion that somewhere "down the road" "God" is going to alter everything and become a Being we cannot relate to.

You support a God that is infinite, and not bound by laws. That fits 'chaotic' for me... not capable of being understood. He is not someone I can react with, for he is not even bound by the laws of morals... he is unpredictable. I cannot understand people who are not predictable - the only way I get around in society today is by predicting people's actions before they happen - and avoiding them accordingly.

"God" is both: a Being we CAN relate to, who relates to us individually, intimately, continually and eternally: and "God" is infinitely far beyond our finite capacity to comprehend. Only as big a concept of "God" as possible to imagine could be both at once....

My brain is binary, there is no such thing as a 'both' for me. For me, it is either a 1 or a 0. That variable happens to be a single base 2. Others are more, but that base is a single base 2 solely, that it is.

Sorry about the long post - feel free to cut out bits that are not relative to your response, cuz I kind of overdid XD.

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