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What spiritual experiences are exclusive to LDS?


maupayman

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As I said, this is a subjective topic, neither is right or wrong, both are experiences. The determining factor (in my opinion) is truth. And for the LDS truth is determined subjectively (based on a testimony). For evangelical Christians truth is both subjective and objectively determined.

I am only commenting on what is unique to LDS spiritual experience with the Holy Ghost, and so it is wrong to say that non-LDS have the same unique experience as LDS. Much has been said as to what might be considered similar or the same, and this is where arriving at a knowledge of the truth comes into play, but my posts have not addressed that topic.

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Yes, all religions are unique and thus have their own exclusive spiritual experiences, and this is not earth-shattering; neither is that some religions allow more truth than others.

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A quibble; I might shift and say that all religions are not necessarily unique, rather all people absorb religious belief systems in unique ways. Even among LDS there can be many unique experiences.

Hey, let's quibble as long as it's fun! How about: All religions by definition are unique, and all people absorb religious belief systems in unique ways, depending upon the choices they make throughout life. Even among LDS there can be many unique experiences, but those that are common are those which are canonized, such as the holy Spirit of Promise.

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Even among LDS there can be many unique experiences, but those that are common are those which are canonized, such as the holy Spirit of Promise.

You've made reference to the Holy Spirit of Promise several times now.

To you, what is the specific experience or manifestation that is associated with the Holy Spirit of Promise. (separate from the physical ordinaces attached to it)

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OP's topic could never lead to anything other than shifting goal posts by TBMs. The reality is that most people have religious experiences throughout their lives. Some are more prone to religious experiences than others, but the number or profundity of religious experiences have no correlation to any faith. The type of faith a person adheres to is more intimately linked to their own personal culture.

Religious experiences have been under scrutiny by science for a long time, and there are even some great explanations online that trace the neurochemical reactions from the amygdala outward to other parts of the brain. From monks with Kundalini Syndrome to nuns in France, even to subjects taking psychedelic drugs, the functions of religious experiences are becoming more and more well understood.

Neurologically, they all have similar underpinnings. They start in the same place, and the severity of the chain reaction that ensues determines how profound the experience will be. Having been raised Mormon, and being familiar with their religious experiences, I can tell you that they are pretty mundane compared to what some other groups experience.

This is a big problem for the LDS, and one that I doubt many would be able to admit or discuss rationally. To a Pentecostal who holds snakes or spontaneously speaks in tongues, the Mormon experience will yield nothing even close to the practically hysterical state they are used to. To a monk, practiced at meditation, who can generate truly transcendent experiences through focus, most Christian religions are a joke. Hippies who take mushrooms or LSD end up with religious experiences far more impressive and lasting than anything Mormons ever experience, and they don't have to practice or be dedicated to anything.

The physical investigations of these experiences all point to the commonalities of religious experiences all over the world. The main difference relies upon the culture, iconography, and expectation of what a religious experience should be. It is up to the Mormon to explain how their experience is superior, how it yields truth where everyone else's fails, how it has power where the powers of faith from a hundred billion others are invalid.

This, of course, is impossible... invalidating everyone else's religious experiences while holding your own has far superior. One must shift goal posts and resort to a matter of faith with no evidence whatsoever.

Of course, I wouldn't have any trouble being convinced if LDS artists, intellectuals, and athletes consistently generated anything that surpassed those of us without the Priesthood, the Holy Ghost, or "health in their navels and marrow to their bones". If the Holy Ghost never once instructed that callings be given to cheaters, child molesters, or other nefarious characters, then I might be more inclined to believe that there was actually something to it. But people with these LDS gifts seem to be just as fallible as those without them. It doesn't lend much to the idea that their religious experience is in some way more valid than anyone else's in any way. It is more reasonable to assume everyone is wrong.

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This is a big problem for the LDS, and one that I doubt many would be able to admit or discuss rationally. To a Pentecostal who holds snakes or spontaneously speaks in tongues, the Mormon experience will yield nothing even close to the practically hysterical state they are used to. To a monk, practiced at meditation, who can generate truly transcendent experiences through focus, most Christian religions are a joke. Hippies who take mushrooms or LSD end up with religious experiences far more impressive and lasting than anything Mormons ever experience, and they don't have to practice or be dedicated to anything.

You conflate excitement with spirituality in the sense that you do not differentiate between the two. And I do know pentacostals or "snake dancers" as they are sometimes called who have converted to the LDS church in Southwest Virginia near Saint Paul. If he cared he would tell you the difference, but more to the point, he knows what spirituality is. You seem to put spirituality and emotional excitement in one big jar. This error is not unique to you, but you should recognize it as such. I would also ask you to read the Book of Enos and consider the similarities to aesthetic monks and their practices.

So for you, who it appears have never had a religious experience, the idea of using drugs to achieve a state of confusion is the equivalent of achieving a state a knowledge and spirituality (telling as to your depth of understanding). Which is unfortunate, you don't have the wherewithal to tell the difference and so you are forced to conclude there is no difference.

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You've made reference to the Holy Spirit of Promise several times now.

To you, what is the specific experience or manifestation that is associated with the Holy Spirit of Promise. (separate from the physical ordinaces attached to it)

One has to receive the ordinance (which is not a purely physical transaction; all things are spiritual) for the spiritual experience or manifestation to take place, but the manifestation is in the growing and actual realization of the specific promises that I've listed, which can be revealed to a person in stages, beginning in mortality. The uniqueness of the Holy Spirit of Promise is not in that it operates through the spiritual media and senses that every human being has access to, and through which all sorts of spiritual phenomena can occur, but in the actual definition and realization of the promises.

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You conflate excitement with spirituality in the sense that you do not differentiate between the two.

Indeed, I do not. That is mention of one type of spiritual experience. There are a variety of spiritual experiences, all with the same neurological underpinnings. Do you think a monk has the same "excitement" in his spiritual experience? I don't know if this is willful ignorance, or not.

And I do know pentacostals or "snake dancers" as they are sometimes called who have converted to the LDS church in Southwest Virginia near Saint Paul.

So? I know a blond-haired blue-eyed converted Muslim woman who covers her face and form when she goes out in public. What's your point? We can compare numbers of converts from this religion and that all day long, you will still lose if you are hoping it will prove your religion true. Or is this more willful ignorance?

You seem to put spirituality and emotional excitement in one big jar.

Wrong, again. Is this on purpose, because it is kind of a poor debate tactic. Are you going to tell me monks and nuns are excitable during religious experiences? Clearly you have never witnessed any of the studies of people taking LSD. The ones having the profound religious experiences are very calm. They put some out on youtube. Search for "housewife does LSD."

This error is not unique to you, but you should recognize it as such. I would also ask you to read the Book of Enos and consider the similarities to aesthetic monks and their practices.

You are the one making the error. Did you mean ascetic monks? lol

So for you, who it appears have never had a religious experience, the idea of using drugs to achieve a state of confusion is the equivalent of achieving a state a knowledge and spirituality (telling as to your depth of understanding). Which is unfortunate, you don't have the wherewithal to tell the difference and so you are forced to conclude there is no difference.

Nice try, Jeff K. I was raised Mormon, and when I left, I explored a variety of religions. I am particularly prone to religious experiences. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about when you are suggesting that hallucinogenic drugs = confusion. Did you know that one of the most powerful hallucinogens is Dimethyltryptamine? Guess what produces this powerful drug... you got it, the human brain. It creates the "light and tunnel" experience. It can be synthesized or extracted from nature, as well, which means you can inject it or smoke it to replicate the effect.

So, can you tell me the difference between:

1. a "light and tunnel" religious experience that is produced when the pinneal gland is in a stressed, oxygen depleted environment, where it releases Dimethyltryptamine directly into the brain.

and

2. a "light and tunnel" religious experience that is produced when one receives a dose of Dimethyltryptamine via intramuscular injection?

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One has to receive the ordinance (which is not a purely physical transaction; all things are spiritual) for the spiritual experience or manifestation to take place, but the manifestation is in the growing and actual realization of the specific promises that I've listed, which can be revealed to a person in stages, beginning in mortality. The uniqueness of the Holy Spirit of Promise is not in that it operates through the spiritual media and senses that every human being has access to, and through which all sorts of spiritual phenomena can occur, but in the actual definition and realization of the promises.

So, there is no physically experienced manifestation that can be observed? Rather, its a defined and later realized list of blessings available to LDS?

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So, there is no physically experienced manifestation that can be observed? Rather, its a defined and later realized list of blessings available to LDS?

There are indeed physically experienced manifestations. My use of the word "realize" refers to things spiritual or physical, and to their occurrence in the past, present or future.

From my post:

"...the manifestation is in the growing and actual realization of the specific promises that I've listed" -- some of which have happened, do happen, and will yet happen...

"...the actual definition and realization of the promises" -- some of which have happened, do happen, and will yet happen...

The following list comes from an earlier post, and I've already pointed out that LDS can experience or observe any one or combination of these, and in some cases, a non-member can even observe some of these in an LDS, but it must be remembered that the spiritual and the physical are not separated, and perhaps this is another way in which the LDS experience with the Holy Spirit of Promise is unique to those unaccustomed to reality being a combined physical and spiritual experience:

sealed up unto the day of redemption

thrones

kingdoms

principalities

powers

dominions

heights

depths

in time

through all eternity

a fulness

a continuation of the seeds

the church of the Firstborn

given all things

priests and kings

glory

the order

gods

sons of God

all things are theirs

life

death

things present

things to come

they are Christ

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So, can you tell me the difference between:

1. a "light and tunnel" religious experience that is produced when the pinneal gland is in a stressed, oxygen depleted environment, where it releases Dimethyltryptamine directly into the brain.

and

2. a "light and tunnel" religious experience that is produced when one receives a dose of Dimethyltryptamine via intramuscular injection?

LOL

Sounds like you already know the difference but are just not grasping its significance.

One is produced by the brain and the other is injected- THAT is the difference.

No one denies that drugs can mimic natural experiences- the question is what is the "CAUSE" of the experience. So now you want to debate causality?

Suppose I say "God caused it" and you say "No- your brain caused it" and I reply, "Yes, God caused my brain to cause it". Then we could get down to the evolution of the chemical reaction and pretty soon you will be saying that the first blob of protoplasm on earth with DNA "caused" my near death experience.

I think there is no end to that nonsense.

Read my siggy.

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There are indeed physically experienced manifestations. My use of the word "realize" refers to things spiritual or physical, and to their occurrence in the past, present or future.

From my post:

"...the manifestation is in the growing and actual realization of the specific promises that I've listed" -- some of which have happened, do happen, and will yet happen...

"...the actual definition and realization of the promises" -- some of which have happened, do happen, and will yet happen...

The following list comes from an earlier post, and I've already pointed out that LDS can experience or observe any one or combination of these, and in some cases, a non-member can even observe some of these in an LDS, but it must be remembered that the spiritual and the physical are not separated, and perhaps this is another way in which the LDS experience with the Holy Spirit of Promise is unique to those unaccustomed to reality being a combined physical and spiritual experience:

sealed up unto the day of redemption

thrones

kingdoms

principalities

powers

dominions

heights

depths

in time

through all eternity

a fulness

a continuation of the seeds

the church of the Firstborn

given all things

priests and kings

glory

the order

gods

sons of God

all things are theirs

life

death

things present

things to come

they are Christ

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Ok, so how would one experience these items in your list. Have you experienced any of these?

This answer goes beyond the confines of a message board, and as a practical matter, the rules of this one. I think you have already been invited to "come and see." It may sound simplistic, but one experiences these items in the same way anyone experiences anything for what it really is. What makes them unique to LDS is what they are, and that they are an example of the Holy Ghost's function as the Holy Spirit of Promise. Yes, I have experienced some of these, but unless you come and see, I cannot show you; neither would I make this thread personal. And once you come and see, you won't need me to show you.

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This answer goes beyond the confines of a message board, and as a practical matter, the rules of this one. I think you have already been invited to "come and see." It may sound simplistic, but one experiences these items in the same way anyone experiences anything for what it really is. What makes them unique to LDS is what they are, and that they are an example of the Holy Ghost's function as the Holy Spirit of Promise. Yes, I have experienced some of these, but unless you come and see, I cannot show you; neither would I make this thread personal. And once you come and see, you won't need me to show you.

I'll second that, just for the record. CV is not making this stuff up.

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LOL

Sounds like you already know the difference but are just not grasping its significance.

One is produced by the brain and the other is injected- THAT is the difference.

No one denies that drugs can mimic natural experiences- the question is what is the "CAUSE" of the experience. So now you want to debate causality?

Suppose I say "God caused it" and you say "No- your brain caused it" and I reply, "Yes, God caused my brain to cause it". Then we could get down to the evolution of the chemical reaction and pretty soon you will be saying that the first blob of protoplasm on earth with DNA "caused" my near death experience.

I think there is no end to that nonsense.

Read my siggy.

So, if one is injected, one happens on the operating table, or if one is the result of years of practiced mediation... even though it is the same neurological reaction, even though the same "light and tunnel" experience happens, and the same spiritual epiphones occur, you are saying it is still different.

"LOL" isn't particularly productive, since it doesn't actually pinpoint any differences.

I used this religious experience as an example because it is the most profound a person can have, and it usually sticks with people for the rest of their lives. Monks who practice meditation can cause this chain reaction in the brain to occur from sheer discipline of mind, and so do dedicated practitioners of Yoga. Whatever the LDS claim about their religious experiences, there are other groups of religious people who have regular access to far more moving and powerful on a regular basis.

This particular religious experience, the NDE, or "light and tunnel" experience, has some results in common even among those with different faiths. These results occur whether the experience is the result of an injection, or if it occurs naturally through meditation, or if it occurs during a near death experience.

Often people see ancestors, angels, or "beings of light," and these beings are reported as intelligent and cognizant.

People come away from these experiences more at peace, with more empathy, and with a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things. People who use this drug as a means to explore their spirituality take these experiences just as seriously as anyone from any religion.

In Timothy Leary's day, LSD was given to 300 professors, graduate students, writers and philosophers. The vast majority reported the experience as one of the most educational and revealing experiences of their lives.

Considering how seriously people take these psychedelic experiences, and how they even have the ability to convert die hard materialists to believe in spirituality, I would say the attempt to dismiss these experiences as "confusion" or something trivial is far from the mark. People who have made serious studies of the issues would also disagree with you.

Suppose I say "God caused it" and you say "No- your brain caused it" and I reply, "Yes, God caused my brain to cause it". Then we could get down to the evolution of the chemical reaction and pretty soon you will be saying that the first blob of protoplasm on earth with DNA "caused" my near death experience.

There is a rash of TBMs putting words in my mouth, lately. I am addressing the lack of profound religious experiences within the LDS church. Other groups have regular access to the most profound type, and many more groups have experiences that are more potent.

LDS are pretty bad off when it comes to describing religious experiences that are exclusive to their own religion. They are described only in very vague terms, and goal posts are shifted to make their religious experiences more valid and the religious experiences of others less valid. However, a look at the concrete evidence in regards to spiritual experiences shows that the LDS aren't anything special. This is a blow to the religion who claims to be the "one true church" and whose only basis of validation is religious experience.

How can you expect people to believe in the LDS church based on confirmation via religious experience, when so many other groups... even drug addled hippies... regularly have more profound experiences that they feel generates insight and knowledge in regards to the spiritual realm. What is the difference between their confirmation of truth and the LDS confirmation of truth?

The OP isn't looking for religious doctrine, or examples from scripture to determine if these experiences are valid. Everyone interprets these things differently. I believe the OP is looking for specific aspects of an LDS religious experience in progress. These LDS experiences should be able to stand on their own, right?

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Just answering the OP title (I haven't read through the responses yet).

There are no spiritual experiences within the LDS faith that are unavailable to "outsiders". Spiritual experiences are metaphysical experiences, period. Joseph Smith woke up on his back gazing into heaven after experiencing the "first vision". He and Sidney Rigdon drew the curtains across the pulpit in the Kirtland temple; and with the room packed with waiting congregants, the two of them asserted to receive many visitants including Jesus Christ: accompanied by light and sound: yet not a flicker of that penetrated beyond the cloth hanging: in other words, METAPHYSICAL, not empirical visions were what typified the foundational revelations of the LDS faith. These kinds of experiences are everywhere in every religion. Some people are hyper spiritual, like Joseph Smith; others are hypo spiritual, like yours truly. Neither is superior to the other, just polar opposites during mortality. A hyper spiritual person might either create a religion from their revelatory experiences, or be unaccepted by the masses because of the very same thing (e.g. Brian David Mitchell!). A hypo spiritual person can wind up a disbeliever because of the lack of any perceived spiritual reality; and this can either hinder their happiness because they are not dissuaded from carnal appetites by a greater spiritual imperative: or, their very lack of spiritual feeling can protect them from falling prey to some weird religion that is dominant around them. In other words, being spiritually sensitive or its opposite has "built in" strengths and weaknesses, like everything else. The most important thing is for the person to early come to realize their own "set" of strengths and weaknesses....

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So, if one is injected, one happens on the operating table, or if one is the result of years of practiced mediation... even though it is the same neurological reaction, even though the same "light and tunnel" experience happens, and the same spiritual epiphones occur, you are saying it is still different.

"LOL" isn't particularly productive, since it doesn't actually pinpoint any differences.

I used this religious experience as an example because it is the most profound a person can have, and it usually sticks with people for the rest of their lives. Monks who practice meditation can cause this chain reaction in the brain to occur from sheer discipline of mind, and so do dedicated practitioners of Yoga. Whatever the LDS claim about their religious experiences, there are other groups of religious people who have regular access to far more moving and powerful on a regular basis.

This particular religious experience, the NDE, or "light and tunnel" experience, has some results in common even among those with different faiths. These results occur whether the experience is the result of an injection, or if it occurs naturally through meditation, or if it occurs during a near death experience.

Often people see ancestors, angels, or "beings of light," and these beings are reported as intelligent and cognizant.

People come away from these experiences more at peace, with more empathy, and with a greater appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things. People who use this drug as a means to explore their spirituality take these experiences just as seriously as anyone from any religion.

In Timothy Leary's day, LSD was given to 300 professors, graduate students, writers and philosophers. The vast majority reported the experience as one of the most educational and revealing experiences of their lives.

Considering how seriously people take these psychedelic experiences, and how they even have the ability to convert die hard materialists to believe in spirituality, I would say the attempt to dismiss these experiences as "confusion" or something trivial is far from the mark. People who have made serious studies of the issues would also disagree with you.

There is a rash of TBMs putting words in my mouth, lately. I am addressing the lack of profound religious experiences within the LDS church. Other groups have regular access to the most profound type, and many more groups have experiences that are more potent.

LDS are pretty bad off when it comes to describing religious experiences that are exclusive to their own religion. They are described only in very vague terms, and goal posts are shifted to make their religious experiences more valid and the religious experiences of others less valid. However, a look at the concrete evidence in regards to spiritual experiences shows that the LDS aren't anything special. This is a blow to the religion who claims to be the "one true church" and whose only basis of validation is religious experience.

How can you expect people to believe in the LDS church based on confirmation via religious experience, when so many other groups... even drug addled hippies... regularly have more profound experiences that they feel generates insight and knowledge in regards to the spiritual realm. What is the difference between their confirmation of truth and the LDS confirmation of truth?

The OP isn't looking for religious doctrine, or examples from scripture to determine if these experiences are valid. Everyone interprets these things differently. I believe the OP is looking for specific aspects of an LDS religious experience in progress. These LDS experiences should be able to stand on their own, right?

Thanks for your input on this thread Caudicus. I was wondering if you had any links on some of the research you have mentioned. Recommended readings on this subject? Thanks again.

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Just answering the OP title (I haven't read through the responses yet).

There are no spiritual experiences within the LDS faith that are unavailable to "outsiders". Spiritual experiences are metaphysical experiences, period. Joseph Smith woke up on his back gazing into heaven after experiencing the "first vision". He and Sidney Rigdon drew the curtains across the pulpit in the Kirtland temple; and with the room packed with waiting congregants, the two of them asserted to receive many visitants including Jesus Christ: accompanied by light and sound: yet not a flicker of that penetrated beyond the cloth hanging: in other words, METAPHYSICAL, not empirical visions were what typified the foundational revelations of the LDS faith. These kinds of experiences are everywhere in every religion. Some people are hyper spiritual, like Joseph Smith; others are hypo spiritual, like yours truly. Neither is superior to the other, just polar opposites during mortality. A hyper spiritual person might either create a religion from their revelatory experiences, or be unaccepted by the masses because of the very same thing (e.g. Brian David Mitchell!). A hypo spiritual person can wind up a disbeliever because of the lack of any perceived spiritual reality; and this can either hinder their happiness because they are not dissuaded from carnal appetites by a greater spiritual imperative: or, their very lack of spiritual feeling can protect them from falling prey to some weird religion that is dominant around them. In other words, being spiritually sensitive or its opposite has "built in" strengths and weaknesses, like everything else. The most important thing is for the person to early come to realize their own "set" of strengths and weaknesses....

Excellent post, I agree. I wonder if the reduction in Rigdon and Smith type manifestations may have more to do with the decreasing acceptance of the general public and membership in these types of experiences. A Zeitgeist like change in society that has led to a more serious approach to spirituality.

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Excellent post, I agree. I wonder if the reduction in Rigdon and Smith type manifestations may have more to do with the decreasing acceptance of the general public and membership in these types of experiences. A Zeitgeist like change in society that has led to a more serious approach to spirituality.

It was Grant H. Palmer who got me thinking about this (in his critically acclaimed book "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins"): he contends that the Church ought to not teach of these "historical" visionary experiences as empirical ones; but rather the metaphysical events that they were. This is important (and far too late coming, if it ever does) because too many young people grow up expecting spiritual experiences to be like those that came to the members and leaders in the early Church. But this is manifestly not the case. The contemporary Church, and going back through the entire 20th and late 19th century, is a pragmatic religion, its spirituality common as dirt: yet it has this mythical view of Joseph Smith, et al. the spiritual giants of the founding generation. It teaches that the stories from the standard works are literal, empirical events. But the real world lacks all such "commonplace" occurrences, while yet allowing that they must have been more visible "back then". Teaching/believing that view makes "God" a changeable being; or the modern Saints in a state of iniquity (because "if miracles have ceased it is because of iniquity", etc.); or the individual believes that OTHERS receive these kinds of visions, so there is something wrong with me because I don't. None of these possible explanations is good. Far better, if the Church accepts and teaches that metaphysical revelations are not perceived with our empirical senses at all. Keeping the two worlds of the empirical and metaphysical separated is wisdom....

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Just answering the OP title (I haven't read through the responses yet).

There are no spiritual experiences within the LDS faith that are unavailable to "outsiders".

Do LDS claim monopoly on spiritual experiences?

Spiritual experiences are metaphysical experiences, period.

The experience of the three witnesses of the BoM suggest otherwise.

If you want to label the first vision metaphysical so be it - it has always been portrayed as a heavenly vision experienced by a lone person.

Joseph Smith woke up on his back gazing into heaven after experiencing the "first vision". He and Sidney Rigdon drew the curtains across the pulpit in the Kirtland temple; and with the room packed with waiting congregants, the two of them asserted to receive many visitants including Jesus Christ: accompanied by light and sound: yet not a flicker of that penetrated beyond the cloth hanging:

Where did you get this anecdote? CFR

in other words, METAPHYSICAL, not empirical visions were what typified the foundational revelations of the LDS faith.

What exactly is an "empirical vision"? I think you are creating a strawman here.

These kinds of experiences are everywhere in every religion.

No kidding.

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Thanks for your input on this thread Caudicus. I was wondering if you had any links on some of the research you have mentioned. Recommended readings on this subject? Thanks again.

The Brain During Religious Experiences

Is This Your Brain on God?

Neurotheology - With God in Mind

Brain Activity During Meditation

Searching for God in the Brain... Related piece:Neural Correlates of a Mystical Experience in Carmelite Nuns

Rick Strassman

Magic Mushrooms Hit the God Spot

You can participate in a brief study here.

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Do LDS claim monopoly on spiritual experiences?

Certain kinds: direct visions/revelations from God to his Church. Other religions will not get angels or Deity appearing to them dispensing authority and instructions and "priesthood keys", etc.

The experience of the three witnesses of the BoM suggest otherwise.

Yet Martin Harris said he saw the angel with his spiritual eyes. He said this in Kirtland and all hell broke loose.

...

Where did you get this anecdote? CFR

HC vol. 2 pp 434,35. But my memory erred; it was Oliver Cowdery, not Sidney Rigdon. The congregants numbered as much as a thousand. The Kirtland temple was packed to capacity all that week since the initial dedication.

What exactly is an "empirical vision"? I think you are creating a strawman here.

No strawman; "empirical" would be a vision or spiritual experience that was confirmed by the five empirical sense of the physical body. In other words, anyone within range of their five senses would detect the occurrence. Clearly the Kirtland temple visions of April 3rd 1836 were not empirical, as none of the hundreds of congregants saw or heard a thing....

...

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It was Grant H. Palmer who got me thinking about this (in his critically acclaimed book "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins"): he contends that the Church ought to not teach of these "historical" visionary experiences as empirical ones; but rather the metaphysical events that they were. This is important (and far too late coming, if it ever does) because too many young people grow up expecting spiritual experiences to be like those that came to the members and leaders in the early Church. But this is manifestly not the case. The contemporary Church, and going back through the entire 20th and late 19th century, is a pragmatic religion, its spirituality common as dirt: yet it has this mythical view of Joseph Smith, et al. the spiritual giants of the founding generation. It teaches that the stories from the standard works are literal, empirical events. But the real world lacks all such "commonplace" occurrences, while yet allowing that they must have been more visible "back then". Teaching/believing that view makes "God" a changeable being; or the modern Saints in a state of iniquity (because "if miracles have ceased it is because of iniquity", etc.); or the individual believes that OTHERS receive these kinds of visions, so there is something wrong with me because I don't. None of these possible explanations is good. Far better, if the Church accepts and teaches that metaphysical revelations are not perceived with our empirical senses at all. Keeping the two worlds of the empirical and metaphysical separated is wisdom....

I agree with much you have said, but would just wonder what is wrong with a God who changes if indeed he progresses through interaction with his children?

I would also disagree with the notion that such experiences are no longer possible- if indeed that is what you are saying.

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