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Mike

Questions on the nature of spiritual experiences

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wenglund:
However, I wonder how many of the things you believe to be physically real, and not just a product of the mind, you have subjected to the same criteria?

In other words, are there not physical things you have believed to be real that do not meet one or more of your criteria? Are there not some physical things which you have greater confidence in theri reality than other physical things? Is there not a difference between how you now go about go about determining what is real versus your approach as an infant or child?

If so, then why not with spiritual things?

My reason for asking all these questions is to somewhat vet the nature of your naturalistic epistemology to see if it is much different from a supernaturalistic epistemology.

Hmmm, I see your point. The critera I gave is not IMO binding; just a few thoughts on what might increase the likelihood of an experience being literally real.

Put another way, the greater the quantity and quality of something physical meeting your criteria (or other valid epistemic methodologies), the greater the degree of confidence one may have in its reality.

The same is true for spiritual things--though instead of referring to it as degrees of confidence, we often refer to it as levels of faith (not that there is much difference between the two statements).

My reason for asking the second to last question is to suggest the possibility that you might be approaching the question with adult expectations, though with but the foundation of a spiritual infant. I don't say this to insult (because I consider myself to be a child in spiritual matter). Rather, it is an acknowledgement of your claim to not knowing what spiritual experiences "feel" like (which is not unlike a baby whose lack of experience with the physical world leaves them equally ignorant of what the physical "feels" like.)

What I am suggesting is that perhaps for you to be made aware of spiritual things, it will require the same ostensive and experiencial learning as was needed for you to have learned of physical things.

That very well could be. If so I can only hope I'll be able to grow up, so to speak. It's definitely a possibility.

This, I think, is at the crux of the Savior's edict to "become as a little child." As I have often observed, there is a near insatiable exuberance for learning in little children, and an almost unquestioning acceptance, built on immense trust, of the things taught to them by adults. I believe the same is required for infants and children of spirituality, regardless of their physical age. A strong desire to learn, and immense trust in one's teachers, is critical to growth in faith in spiritual things.

We loose much of those qualities as adults, and often favor ignorance over learning, skepticism over trust--not that many of us haven't been given good cause to be skeptical. So, it is even harder as adult aged spiritual infants to let go of our adult tendencies and learn of spiritual things like a child.

Once we become as a little child (i.e. once we let go of our own "adult" criteria), it helps to have someone experienced and knowledgeable in spiritual matter who you can trust as a teacher for your obstensive learning. It also helps to then place yourself in spiritually-condusive environments so to increase (quantitatively and qualitatively) your exposure to spiritual stimuli. Here is where the epistemic methodology of Alma 42 and Moroni 10 comes into play.

Can't the same be said of physical experiences? In fact, philosophers of the 18th century, lead by Hume, suggested that we don't know matter, but all we know is the mind. Berkeley then used the same reasoning to demonstrate that we don't know the mind either. This lead to the clever remark (quoted by Will Durrant in "The Story of Philosophy"): "No matter...Never mind!" ;-)

The point being that the ability to duplicate experiences (physical or otherwise) solely in the mind, while a valid issue of concern, should not be the final arbitor of whether somethng is real or imagined.

True, but I have more or less established the general accuracy of my senses in relation to reality. In my experience my emotion, insights, logic, beliefs, and pretty much any thing else my mind experiences are much less reliable and often not literally correct (only subjectively "real"). I admit the possiblity that spiritual experiences are different for whatever reason. I just can't think of a related precedent. I do have precedents (in my own experience) other phenomena that are often misinterpreted or mislabled as being literally real; spiritual experiences (as I understand them) seem to share some of the same properties. Hence my skepticism.

Again, the same holds true for your spiritual senses. Through ostensive learning, and through increased spiritual experiences, you should gradually be able to distinguish between emotions and the spirit, mental constructs and the spirit, etc., and tell the difference between the imagined and the real as it relates to spiritual things. Your faith, or confidence, in the verity of spiritual things, will grow--again, as per Alma 42 and Moroni 10..

I think it also important for me to acknowledge that it is perfectly reasonable not to believe in something you don't beleive you have ever experienced. This is true whether your inexperience is a function of lack of cognition (failure to accurately recognize spiritual stimuli as spiritual, or unawareness of the spiritual stimuli that you may have been subjected to over the years) or lack of actual spiritual stimuli.

For the inverse reason I can also acknowledge the position of the believer.

I appreciate you saying so. But, my reason for stating the above was to grant that if you are unable, for whatever reason, to experience the spirit, you will have little or no cause to believe it is real, rather than just imagined. Nothing I or anyone else can say will change that. All that we can do is suggest possible ways for you gain that experience. Hopefully, what I and others have expressed here will be of some help in that regard.

More importantly, unless you see greater value to you in learning and experiencing spiritual things than not, it is highly unlike that you ever will experience those things.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Mr. Englund:Children are idiots. No offense, but children are exactly the faithful creatures you describe - gulliable as well. They can be convinced of very many things. They lack experience to know otherwise. Children favor ignorance just as much as adults. Look how many try to skip school, would rather play, than study, etc. I wonder how much they would actually do in life if we didn't direct them in some manner. They are no better or worse than adults. I know plenty of adults who are also very eager to learn, have curiosity, and wonder about the world around them. I also know plenty of adults who have plenty of trust, that is why they get bilked out of millions yearly. Trust is something that must be earned. If once violated - skepticism is the more healthy in many cases. Experience has taught us to be skeptical. This also has many benefits for survival and just carrying on in life. I know you may be speaking of things figuratively, but you seem to be trying to use them as justifcations for something literally.

There is nothing admirable in faith. Not nearly as much as that which deserves it. In my opinion, there is no reason to think that my feelings are modes of communication between me and a god.

Zeitgeist

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(random thought)

I have resolved to again -- and past experience has proved this fruitful -- act according to what light I perceive I have. I tend to resist acting on incomplete knowledge, forgetting that I may never have complete knowledge, and that my life will be waste (regardless of what I understand) if I don't do something with what I have. Such is part of the definition of life, in any form I understand.

Experience has taught me (and I'm regrettably quick to forget) that there is no growth in the knowledge of what IS unless your understanding of it is continually refined in the fire of experience, alloyed with what ideas seem appropriate based on what you have at the moment, and you remain willing to cast off any dross from that which has proven good.

I forgot who in the Bible the following is credited to: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." Bruce Lee echoed that philosophy in his fighting style, and the world remembers him for how effective he was. I think this is a good way to discover what is true, or at least good. But I need to remember (perhaps you do too) that it is a two-part plan: action, and objective evaluation.

Can you be objective with the spiritual things, should they finally come? I believe you can. Though you may not understand the mechanism by which they are wrought, you will see if they align with what you have proven in the past. And now I'm starting to get incoherent and long-winded. I hope this has been edifying in some fashion. Its well past my bedtime, so who knows what'll come next out of my fingers? :P

I apologize if this is redundant. I confess that I've not read the entire thread, but I'm in much the same place as you, Mike, and I write the above for me as much as you (if I'm right in my perception that you're somewhat stuck).

And now I'll finally shut up, and do what my understanding is telling me: go to sleep. <_<

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Mike, my earlier question had to do with "God" as generally seen across the board of believers: Loving, Vengeful etc as taught by Mommy or Church. Where ever and however the concept is introduced, it has more affect upon some than others. Due, i suggest, to envionmental/nurturing efficiency or lack there of--conditioning.

Neither proving or disproving the reality. However, such conditioning/indoctrination provides a place to reside in security and comfort, or otherwise, IMO. As for the "Spirit", i suggest we do it a disservice by identifying it with "Religion". Are we talking: mean-spirit of fear, anger, hate, revenge, despare etc. or one of hope, confidence, generousity, discovery etc.? Primitives thought: spirit of the Devil or God. Unfortunately, IMO, we still tend to that superstition. Therein lies the conflict between reason and purpose.

The Spirit, as i choose to understand it, seperates humanoids from other forms of life. It can elevate and move humanity forward, when tuned by conscience, or take us in directions that are less altruistic, greed oriented and counter productive to the good of the whole.

A Theology or Humanity based society as best serving "God"--maybe not the best word to describe what many are trying to articulate?? Possibly an ethical, moral Humanism might better fit Jesus' pattern?? Where the Spirit leads.

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I suppose I could always try harder. My attitude is not "I tried but" but rather "I tried it didn't work but i'll try again giving it my best shot".

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Mr. Englund:Children are idiots. No offense, but children are exactly the faithful creatures you describe - gulliable as well. They can be convinced of very many things. They lack experience to know otherwise. Children favor ignorance just as much as adults. Look how many try to skip school, would rather play, than study, etc. I wonder how much they would actually do in life if we didn't direct them in some manner. They are no better or worse than adults. I know plenty of adults who are also very eager to learn, have curiosity, and wonder about the world around them. I also know plenty of adults who have plenty of trust, that is why they get bilked out of millions yearly. Trust is something that must be earned. If once violated - skepticism is the more healthy in many cases. Experience has taught us to be skeptical. This also has many benefits for survival and just carrying on in life. I know you may be speaking of things figuratively, but you seem to be trying to use them as justifcations for something literally.

There is nothing admirable in faith. Not nearly as much as that which deserves it. In my opinion, there is no reason to think that my feelings are modes of communication between me and a god.

Zeitgeist

I am grateful for the stark contrast you provided to my post.

That you have such a negative and hyper-skeptical view of things (particularly about children), certainly explains to my mind why you would be blind, deaf, unfeeling, and unaware of the spiritual realm. The cranky old tree of cynicism, with its closed and narrow-mindedness, invariably bears the fruit of unbelief--banally denying that there is any value in faith or any reasons to suppose there can be communication between God and man.

If Mike desires that outcome, then he need but follow your lead.

If, on the other hand, he wishes to experience the wonderous, gratifying, and highly enriching reality of spiritual light, and to grow in faith in Christ, he will need to travel in the opposite direction from you, and become "like a little child" (as those with spiritual eyes to see and ears to hear understand that phrase to mean).

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Some thoughts about Zeitgeist and wenglund's posts about being like a child.

Being childlike and trusting can certainly be a wonderful, beneficial thing when that trust is correctly placed.

But who should Mike "be childlike" to? Certainly he could drop the skepticism and accept one of the many spiritual paths that require faith, but how can he decide?

Mormon children, JW children, muslim, atheist, children all believe what their parents and leaders teach them. Kids in North Korea are taught the US is an evil, evil place that is the cause of all their suffering and only the Great Leader can defend them from America's evil. They grow up to believe that, too.

If you have faith that a certain position is true, you can eventually convince yourself, or at least keep the doubts at bay with your faith, even when it is misplaced.

Childlike innocence is a beautiful thing. But it is no more likely to lead them to truth than to nonsense. So, telling Mike to 'just believe' just goes back to the question of 'believe who?'. Then where are we? Back to arguing about the BoA or BoM, or polygamy, I guess.

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Mr. Englund:Children are idiots. No offense, but children are exactly the faithful creatures you describe - gulliable as well. They can be convinced of very many things. They lack experience to know otherwise. Children favor ignorance just as much as adults. Look how many try to skip school, would rather play, than study, etc. I wonder how much they would actually do in life if we didn't direct them in some manner. They are no better or worse than adults. I know plenty of adults who are also very eager to learn, have curiosity, and wonder about the world around them. I also know plenty of adults who have plenty of trust, that is why they get bilked out of millions yearly. Trust is something that must be earned. If once violated - skepticism is the more healthy in many cases. Experience has taught us to be skeptical. This also has many benefits for survival and just carrying on in life. I know you may be speaking of things figuratively, but you seem to be trying to use them as justifcations for something literally.

There is nothing admirable in faith. Not nearly as much as that which deserves it. In my opinion, there is no reason to think that my feelings are modes of communication between me and a god.

Zeitgeist

I have often wondered why the Saviour suggested or commanded up to be as the little children. I cant speak for others, but I had a tough childhood that, at a young age, taught me that love and trust are the most feared emotions I could engage in. It has made loving and trusting God a very difficult thing. I know to> not trust the things I can see, so how could I trust the unseen. I am middle aged and the most important thing to me is this relationship with God. I have to trust that since it is the first and most important of all commandments, that he will pull me out of the state I am in. But recently,I have learned that first of all I had to want to love God, I had to want to. Secondly, I had to hope that because God said it, it is so and thirdly, that he will accompany me on this journey.

Thus I started out with a hope and a prayer that has in this past month evolved into the seedling of faith.

The reference to children is that they are teachable, not that they are gullible. They will listen and trust what you say. They are teachable.

We are told in the scriptures that we must be easily entreated. This is easily teachable. Children dont have to be coerced, begged, manipulated or the such to be teachable. It comes easily because they have not hardened yet and developed a sense of doubt. They develop that later because of the wrongs done to them over time. A child should never feel afraid of trusting and loving and of being taught the wrong thing.

I think this is what is meant. p.s. Neither are they stupid. And they also can recognize spiritual things more readily. I know I did. Angels attend them more easily too, I think. Any thoughts?

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Val: This is why I said, "I know you may be speaking of things figuratively, but you seem to be trying to use them as justifcations for something literally." I appreciate the sense that children are teachable. I question if they are truly anymore teachable. You cannot teach them much, until they gain some experience.

As I said and Matt Andrews, seems to echo and extrapolate exactly where I was headed, "There is nothing admirable in faith. Not nearly as much as that which deserves it. In my opinion, there is no reason to think that my feelings are modes of communication between me and a god." Why the Mormon God, why not the Hindu god, etc.? This is a conumdrum.

Furthermore, you can take this farther, I have feelings about a lot of things. Am I to suppose that my feelings about brocoli are communication from God? What happens when someone gets contradictory feelings?

Zeitgeist

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I appreciate your gentle regard for my words. Faith is not a knowing or a belief. It is not the simple thing people relate to. I can know something and there is no need for hope. If I study real well for a test I can expect without hope that I will get a good grade. If on the other hand, I dont have all of the answers, only some, I have to hope what I do know will shed light on what I am not sure of. I have to have a hope in this. But taking the test does not require faith. Now, when the test is done, I can see if my hope was justified or not. But still, not a faith issue.

I had more typed but decided to not go into overload. I deleted and will say more if more is said.

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I am confused by what you are getting at? What distinction are you trying to drive through hope and faith? How is this aiding your objection to my arguement? I would be intertested in the topic if you can clarify some things for me.

Zeitgeist

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Some thoughts about Zeitgeist and wenglund's posts about being like a child.

Being childlike and trusting can certainly be a wonderful, beneficial thing when that trust is correctly placed.

But who should Mike "be childlike" to? Certainly he could drop the skepticism and accept one of the many spiritual paths that require faith, but how can he decide?

Mormon children, JW children, muslim, atheist, children all believe what their parents and leaders teach them. Kids in North Korea are taught the US is an evil, evil place that is the cause of all their suffering and only the Great Leader can defend them from America's evil. They grow up to believe that, too.

If you have faith that a certain position is true, you can eventually convince yourself, or at least keep the doubts at bay with your faith, even when it is misplaced.

Childlike innocence is a beautiful thing. But it is no more likely to lead them to truth than to nonsense. So, telling Mike to 'just believe' just goes back to the question of 'believe who?'. Then where are we? Back to arguing about the BoA or BoM, or polygamy, I guess.

Yes, there are many spiritual paths (paradigms and epistemologies).

Because there is a broad spectrum of light, or a broad specturm of sources of light, is that cause to remain in darkness?

Perhaps to the cynics and naysayers it is. . .and they are welcome to it.

However, the same is true, if not more so, for our physical world. Just scratching the surface of the deep ocean of secular paradigms and epistemologies, we have the Flat Earth Society, Newtonians, Relativists, Quantum Physicists, etc.; we have Eastern and Western schools of thought, materialist, post-modernists, reductionist, etc.; we have Eastern and Western medicines, acupuncturists, chiropracters, aroma therapists, hypnotists, holistic treatment and drug treatment, etc.; we have the socialists, communists, libertarians, republicans, democrates, green parties, liberals and conservatives, etc.; and the list goes on and on.

To the infant or child, though, who is beginninng to ostensively and experiencially learn to see, hear, touch, taste, and smell their physical environment, does it really matter whether a communist or a republican (or any variety of the above) parent teaches them what a tree looks like, what the wind sounds like, what a rough surface feels like as contrasted with smooth, or cold versus hot and variations inbetween, what an apple tastes like as opposed to a lemon, what cinnamon smells like as opposed to rotten eggs, how to count and name the alphabet, and so forth?

Of course not. It isn't until after the child gains a foundational understanding of the basics of mortal existence, and has developed an epistemic framework and matures in understanding, that the significance of the various systems of thought begins to matter. At that time, personal agency and relative atonomy becomes viable, and one is able to pick and choose what is most valuable and benefitial.

I hope this helps. Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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...I have feelings about a lot of things. Am I to suppose that my feelings about brocoli are communication from God? What happens when someone gets contradictory feelings?

Zeitgeist

Let's apply your comment and questions to the physical world:

There you also have "'feelings" about a lot of things.

Are you to suppose that your "feelings" about broccoli are communications with your parents?

Does that make sense?

Do you not know what to do when you get contradictory "feelings" about secular matters?

I can understand an infant or toodler asking these kinds of questions about their natural existence. And, perhaps that makes it quite fitting that you would ask the same about the supernatural existence.

So, be careful what you have to say about "children," because in certan respects, your words may be self-indicting. ;-)

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Actually Wade, you just confirmed my point. you say: "Are you to suppose that your "feelings" about broccoli are communications with your parents?" Precisely my point. Feelings are not an accurate meanings to knowledge. Nor is it safe to assume that my feelings are communication from a god anymore as they are to be assumed as communication from my parents.

You ask a good question: "Do you not know what to do when you get contradictory "feelings" about secular matters?" I respond with what I always do. I do not let my feelings ge tin the way. I try to judge the merit of the claims without feelings. This is what I also do to nonsecular matters. Particularly because of the inability of feelings to be an accurate measure of what really is. Not that I discount them as having any value to us. Just that feelings are a horrible way of trying discover truth.

Zeitgeist

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Actually Wade, you just confirmed my point. you say: "Are you to suppose that your "feelings" about broccoli are communications with your parents?" Precisely my point. Feelings are not an accurate meanings to knowledge. Nor is it safe to assume that my feelings are communication from a god anymore as they are to be assumed as communication from my parents.

If your point was that people, like yourself, confound your own understandings by confusing various connotations of words, and/or by imposing overly precise "meanings" onto certain words (like "feeling"--mistakenly assuming it is only a specific, though vauge, reference to emotions, rather than a generalized reference to sensory stimuli and/or perhaps emotions and even certain kinds of thoughts as well), then I would agree that I made your point.

But, that is beside the point that I was making--which, if you missed it, was that the means by which one learns about and descerns one's physical world, are not all that different from the means by which one may learn and descern one's spiritual world. In other words, if one is able to distinguish between eating broccoli and communicating with one's earthly parents, then one should also be able to distinguish between eating broccoli and communicating with one's heavenly parents. If one is able to work through seemingly conflciting stimuli in the physical world, then one may also be able to work through the same for the spiritual world.

Of course, for the cynic, skeptics, and naysayers of either world, this may not apply. Closed and narrow mindedness, and self-imposed blindness, deafness, and un-"feeling", are major impediments to learning and descerning. For them, there may be no way to distinguish between eating broccoli and communication, or rationally resolving conflicting stimuli. To each their own.

You ask a good question: "Do you not know what to do when you get contradictory "feelings" about secular matters?" I respond with what I always do. I do not let my feelings ge tin the way. I try to judge the merit of the claims without feelings. This is what I also do to nonsecular matters. Particularly because of the inability of feelings to be an accurate measure of what really is. Not that I discount them as having any value to us. Just that feelings are a horrible way of trying discover truth.

That depends upon what one means by "feelings." If one is rightly using that term generally in reference to external as well as internal stimuli (sensory or intellectual/emotional) your conclusion couldn't be further from the truth. Such "feelings" are a key component, if not the most substantial component, of our perceptions and understanding of reality (physical or spiritual).

But, again, this may not be true for the cynics, skeptics, and naysayers of either world, respectively.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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I am confused by what you are getting at? What distinction are you trying to drive through hope and faith? How is this aiding your objection to my arguement? I would be intertested in the topic if you can clarify some things for me.

Zeitgeist

Well, i lost my first attempt at this. I backed out to reread the posts and lost it. Lets reference Matt 18:3-7,10,14

Instead of quoting it since I assume you have scriptures, What I am saying is that Christ was asked by the apostles who is the greatest in the kingdom? At that point, he called the little children to him and sat in their midst. Now it was not considered appropriate to interact with children since they were to be seen and not heard, so to speak. But he tells them that unless they are converted, and become as little children, they cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven.....whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And he specifies one child in particular.

HereI think the difference is that children dont need to be instructed in detail and have everything explained and get a promise for an act.

In luke, prior to the allowing of the children, Jesus speaks of the publican and the pharisee. I think he is comparing the publican with the children. He is easily aware of his sinful state and does not need to exhalt himself. He is teachable. He is not justifying himself or finding excuses. He does not put himself above another. He is only aware of his own sinful state and is focused on that.The pharisee on the other hand see that because he is obedient to all these laws, he is exhalted. He sees himself superior to the others who do sin. Humility is not with the obedient. Humility is with the publican who sees his sinfulness and does not feel worthy to even look up to the heavens.

I dont know that I would compare children of that day with the children of these days, but I would little ones, those that are too young to have developed defensive behaviors, rebellious natures, distrusting outlooks, manipulations, etc. Yes, kids are not perfect. But the little ones were quite little. They werent teens or even older kids. They were quite young, the age before accountability, when we must teach them to come to christ and then never to offend them after the conversion lest the millstone.....If we teach them something so perfect and then corrupt that, it is a serious thing, because of the simple perfect acceptance of Christ by little ones. How is the publican like the little ones?

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wenglund:

I appreciate you saying so. But, my reason for stating the above was to grant that if you are unable, for whatever reason, to experience the spirit, you will have little or no cause to believe it is real, rather than just imagined. Nothing I or anyone else can say will change that. All that we can do is suggest possible ways for you gain that experience. Hopefully, what I and others have expressed here will be of some help in that regard.

More importantly, unless you see greater value to you in learning and experiencing spiritual things than not, it is highly unlike that you ever will experience those things.

I think I understand your point, however it would be unreasonable for me to trust that the LDS interpertation of these experiences is correct without good reason (whether directly from personal experience and/or other sources). So far I haven't seen any evidence for a spiritual sense or spirtual reality (from my perspective of course). I am willing to try to see things from the perspective of a believer. I guess what I am trying to say is that while I see such things as a possible, I currently have no reason/cause/motivation to pursue the reality of this explanation indefinitely. I already have my own interpretation, i'm just exploring the possiblity of it being wrong. Hope that made sense.

BTW from my perspective it is possible that we both have the experience(s) that a believer identifies as the spirit, but I identify as produced by my mind/brain. I can't tell without being able to identify what experience(s) is being refered to. I'm not trying to belittle anyone's beliefs, just giving my take on all this.

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Dr, from my personal experience it seems odd that I can call myself a Christian and have interesting discussions and share common faith with everyone from Catholics and varios Orthodox and countless protestants and independents and we all see things pretty much alike - but there are a few differences of opinion.

With Mormons it is usually a statement that if I don't believe in Joseph Smith that I can be a Christian but not a Mormon.

Why the distinction if we are all of Christ? Please remember that the new birth is of God, not of man, the works of man nor the will of man. If it is of God, then why do you distinguish in such a way and then say you wish to be accepted as a Christian?

Seems odd to me. It just doesn't seem right at all.

Lutheran's have to "believe in" Martin Luther to be Lutherans.

Episcopaleans have to "believe in" King Henry to be Episcopaleans.

etc.

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Child, Childhood, Childlike

Children are:

both teachable and gullible

innocent and selfish

curious and ignorant

Children are simply people in an early stage of development.

Yes, there are many things we can learn from them. I understand the point that they are teachable. I'm not sure that I would want to take that point too literally though. Still its something to think about.

:P

Mike

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Both Doubt and Faith have a place in correctly understanding reality as well as survival. An extreme in either case is dangerous. Doubt can guide and Faith can blind. It is an issue of balance, justification, and kind. (and sometimes semantics :P )

Mike

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1 Can anyone help me understand what the experience of the Holy Spirit entails, especially in the context of recieving a witness that something (eg the BOM) is true/correct? (Yes I understand that it may be difficult or even immpossible to fully explian in words.)

2 How can a person, particularly someone who does not already believe in God, determine whether or not an experience is in from God and not from another source such as their own mind?

Also, as I understand it, a spiritual experience is not an emotion though an emotion may accompany such an experience. I am curious about the nature of the experience apart from the emotion the accompanies it.

Mike

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Hi Mike,

Have you been back for a while? I just noticed you were back. Hope you had a good holiday(s)!

Also, as I understand it, a spiritual experience is not an emotion though an emotion may accompany such an experience. I am curious about the nature of the experience apart from the emotion the accompanies it.

I think that spiritual experiences affect emotions and in some ways work through them. But with that said, I think that a valid s.e. is one that goes beyond emotions and has it's source in some other place. Someone can have a s.e. and it can be a genuine but its source can come from a source other than God.

Sincerely

Jon

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Thanks for your posts everyone. I appreciate good advice as much as the next guy. But i'm starting to feel a little like i'm on trial here. :P I would like to get a few more responses to my OP if possible. They are honest questions and i'm trying to be as courteous as possible. I don't have an ulterior motive. <_<

Mike

Hi mike.

Its been a couple of days since I was in here. I have been reading what everyone has said to you and everyone seems to be sincere with you. That says a lot for you.

I want to add another 2 cents worth.

Its important to note that it has been my advantage to learn that at times in the past when i would ask and it wouldnt be given, I would doubt. i found as I got older that had I received what I was asking for, I would have been accountable for that knowledge and responsable for acting on the revelations I was wanting. I had to get to a place where I was asking the right question at the right time. If you arent sure if there is a God, mormonism is not the issue. God is. God is wise in that he isnt going to let those who desire to know the truth be misled into receiving testimonies of others. (my cat keeps jumping up here and is bothering me)

You have been given good advice and I do know that a person can experience spiritual things all by themselves, such as out of the body and what ever else. Some have a gift of that nature, I dont. I dont sleep in the rem state without sleep aid and so I am not prone to hypnosis or self induced altered states of mind. I know of people that have been able to induce those things. I cant. My experiences are always unexpected and I have to say, You will know when it is of God because it will feel different. when you experience something and you are not sure of it, pray at that moment to know if it is. You will have confirmation. Thant is how I came to know the difference is in the prayer i said after the event. You will know!

God bless and know that these people seem to like ya!

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Val,

I agree, I believe the vast majority of those on this message board are sincere. I am also grateful for the advice.

Thanks for your posts everyone. I appreciate good advice as much as the next guy. But i'm starting to feel a little like i'm on trial here.

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Hey Jon,

Yeah, i've been back maybe a week or so. The holidays were great. How were yours?

Someone can have a s.e. and it can be a genuine but its source can come from a source other than God.

How would one differentiate?

Mike

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