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What spiritual experiences are exclusive to LDS?


maupayman

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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....

I think your position would be stronger if you made the distinction between "subjective" and "objective"- objective being defined in terms of what may be seen by multiple people at once vs subjective, which would only be sensed by one or two or a dozen perhaps.

I don't know if you are familiar with the philsophy of Thomas Nagel- one of his famous essays is listed in my siggy- and it bears direct relation to this question.

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Thanks for these references- very interesting stuff- but knowing you, I think you are attempting to argue from the chemical basis of experience that somehow spiritual experiences cannot be "real" in the sense of being caused by factors somehow "outside" the brain- ie specifically God.

But of course all experience correlates with brain chemical changes, the real question is what is the "cause" of experience and how one shows that.

When you see an 18 wheeler coming at you on the wrong side of the road, I can guarantee that your brain and other physical systems will react.

The fact that you could duplicate that "experience" in a lab by injecting the right chemicals (if indeed you could- I would dispute that assumption incidentally, but will go with it for now) does not prove that the 18 wheeler was never there.

So the question is not whether or not experience is correlated with brain states- the question is- does the experience cause the state or the state cause the experience.

One would have to be a solipsist to believe that it is all "in your brain"- or take on some pop-psych "Matrix"- "Avatar" position to believe such a thing. I for one do not believe the "brain in a vat" theory of reality- surely you are not saying that's all we are- are you?

Again- I don't think you have responded to the point made by my siggy- The subjective experience cannot be "reduced" to the objective- they represent two different points of view, which present two different logical/linguistic ways of looking at things.

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...what is wrong with a God who changes if indeed he progresses through interaction with his children?

Are you suggesting that it is an improvement in our relationship if "God" becomes more nebulous and distant? If that is the case, then shouldn't this changed relationship be announced from the prophets? But instead, we are taught that Joseph Smith's experiences from the first vision till his death were literally true in the empirical world sense; and that furthermore this has continued, with it tacitly understood that apostles, as "special witnesses of Jesus Christ", have each received equally real visitations from him. "Having your calling and election made sure" includes SEEING Jesus Christ in person. So there is no apparent change in the nature of visions and revelations; "God" is not changing, much less "progressing"; and the original scriptures clearly state that if visions or miracles have ceased it is our fault not the result of a changeable Being.

I am saying that such experiences as Joseph Smith had are not understood for what they are: metaphysical ones and not physical, empirical ones. And of course, if such occurrences have happened in the past - and were not simply delusions - then such metaphysical communications from "God" are still happening today. And as evidence shows these claimed experiences (communications) happen without regard to religious differences, it must mean that religion plays no part in whether or not an individual is the recipient of a metaphysical experience....

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Are you suggesting that it is an improvement in our relationship if "God" becomes more nebulous and distant?

How is our relationship with God more distant if he progresses through helping us, his children, though knowing all things, and not progressing in knowledge, but in glory?

If that is the case, then shouldn't this changed relationship be announced from the prophets?

Milk before meat, they say.

But instead, we are taught that Joseph Smith's experiences from the first vision till his death were literally true in the empirical world sense; and that furthermore this has continued, with it tacitly understood that apostles, as "special witnesses of Jesus Christ", have each received equally real visitations from him. "Having your calling and election made sure" includes SEEING Jesus Christ in person. So there is no apparent change in the nature of visions and revelations; "God" is not changing, much less "progressing"; and the original scriptures clearly state that if visions or miracles have ceased it is our fault not the result of a changeable Being.

As I said earlier (and I believe I can find a quote by a prophet on it, if I remember right, and you would like me to), God doesn't progress in knowledge - he progresses in glory. He progresses in happiness. He progresses in exaltation. For every one of us that he helps, his joy is greater. That is what is meant by progress, indeed.

In terms of God not always having glory, how does that matter now, considering he has always had glory to us, his spiritual sons and daughters. Does your mom and dad once being little children make them any less your parents? Indeed, it does not, you love them as your parents all the same, despite their humble beginnings.

I am saying that such experiences as Joseph Smith had are not understood for what they are: metaphysical ones and not physical, empirical ones.

I disagree. Why do you believe they are metaphysical?

And of course, if such occurrences have happened in the past - and were not simply delusions - then such metaphysical communications from "God" are still happening today.

They are. And there is a quote by an apostle, I believe, relating to a certain picture, where he said, that that picture was the closest looking to the Savior of all he had seen.

The Savior still shows himself today, that he does, and all it takes is an intense faith. Not easy, but possible with very very hard work. I hope one day to be able to have this experience myself, if it is God's will.

And as evidence shows these claimed experiences (communications) happen without regard to religious differences, it must mean that religion plays no part in whether or not an individual is the recipient of a metaphysical experience....

Why do you base your opinions off of other people's experiences? It is much more joyful to experience the thing in your own flesh =).

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TAO said,

...there is a quote by an apostle, I believe, relating to a certain picture, where he said, that that picture was the closest looking to the Savior of all he had seen.

Christ in a Red Robe by C. Rosseren (sp) Chambers You can't find this picture anywhere. The insipid replacement by Del Parsons for the LDS Church has no imaginative power. This is an old story; I first heard it back in the mid to late 70's; and I believe the GA who said it looked most like Christ (or the "others" didn't look as much like Christ as this one did), was Harold B. Lee. I have had this portrait on my livingroom wall since c. 1990. I had bought one way back in c. 1978, but it had gotten damaged and thrown out before I could put it in a frame. When I went to buy a replacement, only Del Parson's version was available. My then-stake president had an extra print and gave it to me; I had it mounted on canvas.

"How is our relationship with God more distant if he progresses through helping us, his children, though knowing all things, and not progressing in knowledge, but in glory?"

That makes no sense. Glory without knowledge is impossible; or at least not comprehended by the glorious ignorance of the glorified! What is the point of that? Happiness without knowledge is equally impossible; happiness cannot be recognized much less appreciated without knowledge. I think that you enjoy stringing words together so that they "sound" profound.

...Why do you believe [Joseph Smith's visions] are metaphysical?

Because of the circumstantial details. First Vision: he wakes up on his back gazing into heaven. With Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple, they drop the curtains over the pulpit, screening themselves from a full capacity "audience" of c. 1,000 souls: and NOBODY in the room sees any light or hears any voices emanating from behind the curtains: Jesus Christ, Elijah and other prophets are asserted to have paid a visit on this famous occasion. Martin Harris said in Kirtland that he saw the plates and angel with his spiritual eyes, etc.

In terms of God not always having glory, how does that matter now, considering he has always had glory to us, his spiritual sons and daughters.

The Original Cause of my Existence matters to me, far more than a glorified being (advanced, immortal human), whose Existence is also caused by that same Cause. I won't be worshiping any anthropomorphic, polytheistic deity.

Why do you base your opinions off of other people's experiences? It is much more joyful to experience the thing in your own flesh =).

You are much more exercised in a pursuit of religion at a much earlier age than I ever was. That makes you have more in common with Joseph Smith than I have ever had. But to assume that I base my opinions off of other people's experiences only is not correct. Of course I must believe what I feel and accept what I do not feel. In order to ascertain what is going on with other people's claims to visions and revelations I find examination of all the circumstances not only interesting but essential....

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Quest

Well you are a different one I will give you that. It seems you are LDS but yet believe in a transcendent God who doesn't change, which to me is a Platonic idea carried over from Apostate Greek philosophy, and you have a major problem with the term "polytheism"

How does that relate to the LDS Godhead?

And yet you see your belief as "Pragmatic"- don't quite know if you mean that in a philosophical or common sensical way.

I wonder what you think of the King Follette Discourse, if God does not change.

Furthermore, it seems to me that an immanent God who follows the natural laws of the universe "or he wouldn't be God" (paraphrase). It seems to me that that view goes against a transcendent unchanging God as well.

If you throw out the KFD, how do you handle the problem of what your transcendent God was doing for all eternity "before" he created us (and presumably time itself?)

How does that relate to the eternal intelligences we all are who can progress to be like our Father?

Just wondering if the differences are genuine or semantic I guess.

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Actually, no, this is not the picture I am thinking of. The one I am thinking of, Jesus has black hair, and looks a lot more human, so to say. I believe he is wearing red though. But it's not a 'generic' picture, so to say. I'll see if I can find it tomorrow... I know someone who has a copy of the picture =P.

You can't find this picture anywhere. The insipid replacement by Del Parsons for the LDS Church has no imaginative power. This is an old story; I first heard it back in the mid to late 70's; and I believe the GA who said it looked most like Christ (or the "others" didn't look as much like Christ as this one did), was Harold B. Lee. I have had this portrait on my livingroom wall since c. 1990. I had bought one way back in c. 1978, but it had gotten damaged and thrown out before I could put it in a frame. When I went to buy a replacement, only Del Parson's version was available. My then-stake president had an extra print and gave it to me; I had it mounted on canvas.

No as said, it is not this picture I am thinking of. It is another.

That makes no sense. Glory without knowledge is impossible

That isn't what I said. I said God' grows in glory, though he does not grow in knowledge.

or at least not comprehended by the glorious ignorance of the glorified! What is the point of that?

His glory is brighter than the noon-day-sun, to say in the least. Imagine how it will be in the future.

Happiness without knowledge is equally impossible;

I disagree. A child is happy. Not necessarily super-knowledgeable, as the world sees it, but very happy. To know how to be happy is a type of knowledge in it's own way.

happiness cannot be recognized much less appreciated without knowledge.

I disagree. Were Adam and Eve happy in the garden, though nieve in some senses?

I think that you enjoy stringing words together so that they "sound" profound.

I do like doing that but that isn't why I was saying such. I rarely talk just to sound profound, oftentimes I make it sound profound so other people spend time thinking about things.

Because of the circumstantial details. First Vision: he wakes up on his back gazing into heaven. With Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland temple, they drop the curtains over the pulpit, screening themselves from a full capacity "audience" of c. 1,000 souls: and NOBODY in the room sees any light or hears any voices emanating from behind the curtains: Jesus Christ, Elijah and other prophets are asserted to have paid a visit on this famous occasion. Martin Harris said in Kirtland that he saw the plates and angel with his spiritual eyes, etc.

1) Why do you doubt 'spiritual eyes', when that is the way it happens nearly all of the time. For example, with Paul, you will recall 'scales falling off of his eyes' or something like that. It's the veil being taken away. You must have the veil taken away to see with your spiritual eyes, and most people don't have that happen. Thus why they cannot see.

2) This explains why nobody can see nor here in the Kirtland Temple and explains Martin Harris's comment. They are correct.

3) I have no idea why you think it is any less reliable to wake up looking at heaven.

The Original Cause of my Existence matters to me, far more than a glorified being (advanced, immortal human), whose Existence is also caused by that same Cause. I won't be worshiping any anthropomorphic, polytheistic deity.

As I pointed out in another thread, there is no such thing as an original cause. All causes are caused by things before it. I'll re-post the diagram I used the other day. Here it is:

Universe-Relative.png

As you can see, all things in this diagram have a previous cause. No matter how far you look back, there is always something causing the thing before it. There is no such thing as an original cause, due to an impossibility of time being able to exist if there was a first cause (because a frame cannot cause a movie to occur, because it cannot change).

You are much more exercised in a pursuit of religion at a much earlier age than I ever was. That makes you have more in common with Joseph Smith than I have ever had. But to assume that I base my opinions off of other people's experiences only is not correct. Of course I must believe what I feel and accept what I do not feel. In order to ascertain what is going on with other people's claims to visions and revelations I find examination of all the circumstances not only interesting but essential....

I wasn't saying I was more experienced or better than you. What I am saying is that you shouldn't put so much trust in other people's experiences (even mine), because they have a tendency to not be explained to the exact degree they were experienced. You can't live their life and determine what they did, so it's much safer to try the thing yourself =). That's all I was saying XD. To discover the truth yourself is better, at least for me... but I guess I've had lots of practice too, so maybe I'm biased ;-)

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Questing Beast:

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....

I think your position would be stronger if you made the distinction between "subjective" and "objective"- objective being defined in terms of what may be seen by multiple people at once vs subjective, which would only be sensed by one or two or a dozen perhaps.

I don't know if you are familiar with the philsophy of Thomas Nagel- one of his famous essays is listed in my siggy- and it bears direct relation to this question.

Semantics is a personal preference. I find "empirical" and "metaphysical" more to my liking than subjective and objective. No doubt it is because I chose those terms rather than having other more philosophical terms drummed into my head via an education I never received.

If I take Nagels' meaning accurately, he's advocating that no single viewpoint can possibly arrive at any answer of reality. I don't agree at all. Because each of us is permanently CONNECTED to "God", the Original Source of all Existence, ergo the Source of an infinite viewpoint. But to convey that viewpoint to another empirical, separate being is the problematical part. No matter how convinced I am of MY reality it remains solely mine, shared only with "God".

Even if every man and woman in the Kirtland temple had heard Jehovah's voice, and the voices of the other angelic visitants, and saw great lights emanating from behind the curtains: even if every bosom burned with conviction that they were sharing in the presence of Deity, afterward not a single one of them could apply any convincing evidence to allay the assertion that somehow Joseph Smith had pulled off a group delusion....

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Quest

Well you are a different one I will give you that. It seems you are LDS but yet believe in a transcendent God who doesn't change, which to me is a Platonic idea carried over from Apostate Greek philosophy, and you have a major problem with the term "polytheism"

How does that relate to the LDS Godhead?

It doesn't relate: it addresses Joseph Smith's theology of never-ending "gods", of which our Father is just one: Brigham Young taught (somewhere) that God the Father is the only God with which we have to do (that he also equated said-Being with Adam is another matter). That is clearly defined polytheism, one so huge that it blows Pagan polytheism out of the water.

...

I wonder what you think of the King Follette Discourse, if God does not change.

The KFD was simply Joseph Smith's latest take on defining "God". His theology was constantly changing. The Church is "stuck" with the latest word he had to say on the subject/issue.

Furthermore, it seems to me that an immanent God who follows the natural laws of the universe "or he wouldn't be God" (paraphrase). It seems to me that that view goes against a transcendent unchanging God as well.

If you throw out the KFD, how do you handle the problem of what your transcendent God was doing for all eternity "before" he created us (and presumably time itself?)

"Eternity" is a space-time concept. "God in Total" does not reside in space-time, but created it. The best word that describes my concept of "God's" perspective is NOW. The scripture has "God" saying "All things are before my face continually", and, "I comprehend the beginning from the end", and, "my creations/worlds are not numbered to man but I know their number", etc. In other words: "God" knows every particle making up every world or living creature on it, "worlds without end" (i.e. numberless, as they are "generated" - conceived - outside of space-time within NOW), always increasing and passing away, and populated with countless sapient beings connected to "God" individually. In effect, the "multiverse" is the collection of endless sapient, egocentric universes, which each of us are: immortal within the space-time, moment-by-moment Existence in which we have been placed.

So "God" wasn't/isn't doing anything BEFORE or AFTER "eternity". My incomplete definition of "god" is, "God = Existence in the First Place". That's not elegant, I know. But it means the First Cause (Original Cause, Prime Mover, et al. whatever names mean the same thing) is the ONLY Cause that itself is not caused. Our universe (my egocentric universe) may appear to be endless but it only lasts as long as I do; yet even if I opt to be annihilated - taken back INTO "God" - my existence is as much a part of NOW as every subatomic particle: "God" knows of my Existence because I am part of "God" manifesting. Being finite, I will never comprehend "God in Total"; a finite perspective cannot comprehend infinity, although the concept of comprehension remains theoretically possible, i.e. comprehensible itself.

I believe that that perspective is what I have been given up to this point. But in order for an actual comprehending of every sapient soul (egocentric universe making up the multiverse), much less the subatomic particles making up the numberless worlds and the space between, I would have to BE "God in Total", i.e. perceive Existence in the First Place as NOW: that would mean my being absorbed back into "God in Total", or becoming "God in Total"; which of course would result in my individuality (my uniquely separated, free will-possessing manifesting self) ceasing to be in space-time, i.e. annihilation from within space-time.

How does that relate to the eternal intelligences we all are who can progress to be like our Father?

Just wondering if the differences are genuine or semantic I guess.

I don't see any of this as semantic exercise, but instead frustration with trying to articulate an infinite concept with a finite vocabulary! Eternal intelligences are manifestations of "God", infinitely variable and numberless within a space-time perspective. So in the sense that "the intelligences were never created nor can be", that is accurate, since we "appear(ed)" within space-time at the same moment (NOW) as everything else. I see the one-on-one relationship that each of us has with "God" as the only intimate connection we ever have. Relating to every other sapient manifestation of "God", we remain separated other than empirically: that is the nature of our "terrible loneliness". It can only be answered by "God" communicating directly to us; while at the same time never violating our "God-given" agency to remain alone. (A personal belief I hold at the present time is that "God" chooses not to read our minds; that would spoil the effect for "God in Total" observing the end from the beginning, if "God" pried into all the intimate details: if "God" did that it would indeed become like puppet-mastering which of course is unthinkable. Heh, "unthinkable" refutes my assertion that our finite minds cannot imagine anything impossible: which itself is a conundrum; for how can it NOT also be possible to imagine the impossible? I can only resolve this by allowing that "God in total" in an Original NOW state of existence, is both Void and the fecundity of the Multiverse: is all contrasts and paradoxes together: for surely "God" is the author of good and evil, and every other opposite comparison that we can possibly conceive of: yet in this world it appears that the immutable laws are designed to bring to pass never-ending Joy through the choices we make, so I must suppose....)

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The question is straightforward: Given the LDS claim, of exclusive access to the Gift of the Holy Ghost, what experiences, feelings, abilities etc are only available to LDS members with the Gift of the Holy Ghost?

Green Jell-O

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As I pointed out in another thread, there is no such thing as an original cause. All causes are caused by things before it. I'll re-post the diagram I used the other day. Here it is:

Universe-Relative.png

As you can see, all things in this diagram have a previous cause. No matter how far you look back, there is always something causing the thing before it. There is no such thing as an original cause, due to an impossibility of time being able to exist if there was a first cause (because a frame cannot cause a movie to occur, because it cannot change).

Huh?

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Actually, no, this is not the picture I am thinking of. The one I am thinking of, Jesus has black hair, and looks a lot more human, so to say. I believe he is wearing red though. But it's not a 'generic' picture, so to say. I'll see if I can find it tomorrow... I know someone who has a copy of the picture =P.

No as said, it is not this picture I am thinking of. It is another.

My former stake president told me the story firsthand; how President Gosslind (sp) of the Seventy was looking at Chamber's painting in (iirc H. B. Lee's) office, when he came in behind him and remarked that it was the portrait that most looked like Christ; or, conversely (my stake pres couldn't recall which Gosslind said) the other portraits known of did not look as much like Christ as this one does. So I am naturally intrigued to see YOUR painting, asap. Thank you.

That isn't what I said. I said God' grows in glory, though he does not grow in knowledge.

Ah, my mistake. I agree with this.

I disagree. A child is happy. Not necessarily super-knowledgeable, as the world sees it, but very happy. To know how to be happy is a type of knowledge in it's own way.

I wasn't saying the state of happiness/joy doesn't exist without knowledge: I am saying that happiness/joy is wasted on any sapient being that is unaware of what its opposite is. One cannot apprehend a thing without having knowledge of its opposite. Therefore without apprehension of opposition (as Lehi pounded home perfectly) sapience is of no worth, being created as a thing of naught. Or in other words, without knowledge existence itself has no meaning. The more we attain to the knowledge of "God" the more like "God" we become; the more appreciative of Existence we become.

I disagree. Were Adam and Eve happy in the garden, though nieve in some senses?

Of course they were PERFECTLY happy. But neither of them knew it until they became less than perfectly happy and could make the comparison.

1) Why do you doubt 'spiritual eyes', when that is the way it happens nearly all of the time. For example, with Paul, you will recall 'scales falling off of his eyes' or something like that. It's the veil being taken away. You must have the veil taken away to see with your spiritual eyes, and most people don't have that happen. Thus why they cannot see.

The "as scales" that fell off Paul's eyes were a physical manifestation. Others in his party either saw a light or heard a voice; so the empirical quality of what Paul saw in vision was there too; it was not entirely metaphysical. This story is one of the reasons why the Church teaches these events as possessing a physical/empirical component. I do not have any trouble at all with "saw with my spiritual eyes"; that's the way all metaphysical manifestations occur. But Martin Harris signed the testimony of the Three Witnesses making it a real, that is to say empirical (five sense) occurrence, not a "spiritual only" one.

2) This explains why nobody can see nor here in the Kirtland Temple and explains Martin Harris's comment. They are correct.

I agree. That's why the Church ought to be teaching that these kinds of visionary experiences are not detectable scientifically, but only "spiritually".

3) I have no idea why you think it is any less reliable to wake up looking at heaven.

I was only pointing out the fact that the First Vision was a metaphysical event, like a powerful realistic dream; and not a meeting with God the Father and Jesus Christ in the woods, like bumping into each other and Joseph Smith being made aware by his five senses; which is the ONLY way that physical beings apprehend each other.

As I pointed out in another thread, there is no such thing as an original cause. All causes are caused by things before it. I'll re-post the diagram I used the other day. Here it is:

Universe-Relative.png

As you can see, all things in this diagram have a previous cause. No matter how far you look back, there is always something causing the thing before it. There is no such thing as an original cause, due to an impossibility of time being able to exist if there was a first cause (because a frame cannot cause a movie to occur, because it cannot change).

Your diagram is WITHIN space-time. It cannot show the state that "God" IS outside of space-time. The Creator of space-time comprehends every particle within it, being the Author of it all. To "God" it is all NOW. "God" is the ONLY Cause that is not caused. "God" = Existence in the first place: the only Existence that is....

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According to LDS, non-LDS cannot have the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I'm talking about the ordinance after baptism here. What is unique to those who obtain the Gift of the Holy Ghost, not feel the power of the HG.

According to the stories I've been told, by faithful LDS and general RS and Primary presidents, the holy ghost:

1. tells LDS to stay out of bars and strip joints

2. tells the LDS where their car keys and TV remotes are located

3. tells the LDS to take a different route to work so that they are not late

4. tells the LDS what job to take when offered two jobs

5. tells the LDS when to close their eyes during R-rated movies

6. tells the LDS not to play sports on Sundays (well, it tells most LDS not to play sports on Sunday, unless you are really good at football, then it says to go right ahead)

7. tells the LDS not to go to parties on Sundays

However, before receiving the gift of the holy ghost, it has been known to testify of Jesus Christ.

H.

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According to the stories I've been told, by faithful LDS and general RS and Primary presidents, the holy ghost:

1. tells LDS to stay out of bars and strip joints

2. tells the LDS where their car keys and TV remotes are located

3. tells the LDS to take a different route to work so that they are not late

4. tells the LDS what job to take when offered two jobs

5. tells the LDS when to close their eyes during R-rated movies

6. tells the LDS not to play sports on Sundays (well, it tells most LDS not to play sports on Sunday, unless you are really good at football, then it says to go right ahead)

7. tells the LDS not to go to parties on Sundays

However, before receiving the gift of the holy ghost, it has been known to testify of Jesus Christ.

I've been fascinated for a very long time with the phenomenon of cynicism and its effects on cynics.

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I've been fascinated for a very long time with the phenomenon of cynicism and its effects on cynics.

Good for you, Dan...not sure how this is on topic, though... My post, however, chronicles my actual experiences with the holy ghost, as related by members, and seems to be an answer to the question posed by the OP. It's not based on cynicism, rather, personal experience.

H.

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As you can see, all things in this diagram have a previous cause. No matter how far you look back, there is always something causing the thing before it. There is no such thing as an original cause, due to an impossibility of time being able to exist if there was a first cause (because a frame cannot cause a movie to occur, because it cannot change).

I agree.

It's similar to the "time before time" problem.

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No matter how convinced I am of MY reality it remains solely mine, shared only with "God".

Yes, I think we agree, we are just using different words and have a little bit different understanding of the philosophy stuff. but that's ok

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Good for you, Dan...not sure how this is on topic, though... My post, however, chronicles my actual experiences with the holy ghost, as related by members, and seems to be an answer to the question posed by the OP. It's not based on cynicism, rather, personal experience.

Nobody in your experience has ever mentioned or even alluded to the possibility of having the Holy Ghost affirm a doctrine or a practice or a concept or a significant truth? You've never encountered anybody who had the Holy Ghost bear witness to, say, the atonement of Christ, the resurrection, life beyond the grave, the restoration of the gospel, the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, the divine calling of Thomas Monson, or the truth of the Book of Mormon?

In that case, please allow me to be the first.

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... My post, however, chronicles my actual experiences with the holy ghost, as related by members, and seems to be an answer to the question posed by the OP. It's not based on cynicism, rather, personal experience.

H.

It isn't a comprehensive list, surely. Dan Peterson's additions all apply at least equally.

My personal experience includes praying to find my keys, and having an uncanny, almost instantaneous affirmative. Also I prayed to get a jack loose out of my car so that I and my aged father would not be stranded (inconvenienced, really; and just then, I didn't need that). The very next twist on the retaining knob it was already loose; whereas before I had been busting my knuckles for all I was worth and getting nowhere. Little things like that make a believer in the metaphysical out of me. I can't explain them, but I know such things are real. The reason why I won't go assigning a special LDS "Gift of the Holy Ghost" to any of them (including testimonies about the truth of doctrine) is because literally the entire religious world has countless duplications of such stories, without regard to religious affiliation....

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Nobody in your experience has ever mentioned or even alluded to the possibility of having the Holy Ghost affirm a doctrine or a practice or a concept or a significant truth? You've never encountered anybody who had the Holy Ghost bear witness to, say, the atonement of Christ, the resurrection, life beyond the grave, the restoration of the gospel, the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, the divine calling of Thomas Monson, or the truth of the Book of Mormon?

In that case, please allow me to be the first.

I can tell you, with all sincerity, that for every affirmation of a truth about the gospel, I hear about 100 affirmations of meaningless, "a member of the godhead found my keys/told me not to take that route to work/told me to look up just in time to see a piano dropping on my head" type stories. And, of those affirmations of gospel truth, most have been stories about how the member felt prior to baptism.

H.

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I can tell you, with all sincerity, that for every affirmation of a truth about the gospel, I hear about 100 affirmations of meaningless, "a member of the godhead found my keys/told me not to take that route to work/told me to look up just in time to see a piano dropping on my head" type stories. And, of those affirmations of gospel truth, most have been stories about how the member felt prior to baptism.

Wow. I've spent a little bit of time with members of the Church in the Toronto area -- in local wards, in the Temple, and the like -- and I had literally no idea how foreign and strange they apparently are.

Very eye-opening. Thanks!

I've had a fair number of uncanny experiences of the less-than-cosmic kind, too, but, well . . . Your report from the Canadian frontier is really quite stunning.

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I can tell you, with all sincerity, that for every affirmation of a truth about the gospel, I hear about 100 affirmations of meaningless, "a member of the godhead found my keys/told me not to take that route to work/told me to look up just in time to see a piano dropping on my head" type stories. And, of those affirmations of gospel truth, most have been stories about how the member felt prior to baptism.

H.

I can tell you with all sincerity, that your 1:100 statement is idiotic hyperbole.

I don't know what church you attend, but at the one I go to, testimonies about the Holy Ghost finding car keys are nonexistent - a mormon cliche that I have never actually heard in person. Testimonies about God helping someone out with something trivial are in the minority.

The majority being genuine gratitude and simple statements of belief about various gospel truths - love for family and Jesus being first and foremost.

Some lack poise and polish. Some sound rehearsed and insincere. Some meander into silly narratives.

But trivial miracles outnumbering gospel truths 100 to 1?

Give me a break.

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Wow. I've spent a little bit of time with members of the Church in the Toronto area -- in local wards, in the Temple, and the like -- and I had literally no idea how foreign and strange they apparently are.

Very eye-opening. Thanks!

I've had a fair number of uncanny experiences of the less-than-cosmic kind, too, but, well . . . Your report from the Canadian frontier is really quite stunning.

Yes, visits really amount to living here, Dan. But thanks for your response, it's the most constructive way to call me a liar, I suppose. Your sarcasm, too, was very eye-opening.

H.

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Yes, visits really amount to living here, Dan.

My response was predicated on precisely the opposite assumption -- that visits to "Mormon Toronto" had clearly not clued me in to its reality (as you depict it).

But thanks for your response, it's the most constructive way to call me a liar, I suppose.

I don't believe you to be lying.

Your sarcasm, too, was very eye-opening.

I resort to irony in an attempt to keep things in good humor; I don't favor the use of sledgehammers in conversation.

Here, though, straight up, is my working hypothesis in this case:

Your current cynicism toward Mormonism and Mormons has seriously distorted your perception and/or memory of them. I do believe that cynicism is both corrosive and, if permitted to thrive, self-nourishing. And, ultimately, all-consuming.

No sarcasm. Just sorrow.

Did the Holy Ghost tell you that?

No comment required, really.

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