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What is God trying to tell us?


Let_Us_Reason

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I've been spending some time lately on some Christian/Protestant testimony websites and I've been quite amazed at the experiences and sincerity of the posters. Not that I doubted their sincerity to begin with, but I was surprised at how deep it was; they were easily as dedicated and profound as fellow Mormon testimonies of family/friends I'm familiar with.

I remember when I gained my testimony of the LDS church and how profound it was for me. One of the primary effects was how much it strengthened my belief in the truthfulness of the church in comparison to any others. There was no chance in you know where that I would've even given another church the time of day (save for missionary work) in regards to the truthfulness of their church.

In much the same way, and with few exceptions, these testimonies and powerful witnesses these Christians are giving of Jesus is solidifying their current church affiliation and basically creating almost a concrete wall against the LDS church. It's not that they think of evil of us, they are just so confident that they are already in the right way much like how I felt.

So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

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To be quite honest, I think it doesn't really matter what God is trying to tell other people, as so much as to what God is trying to tell me. What God wants for me, that's what I need to do... I can't rely on other people to be accurate in how they act... but I can rely on myself.

Thus, a personal testimony is all that matters =).

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To be quite honest, I think it doesn't really matter what God is trying to tell other people, as so much as to what God is trying to tell me. What God wants for me, that's what I need to do... I can't rely on other people to be accurate in how they act... but I can rely on myself.

Thus, a personal testimony is all that matters =).

Your opinion (IMO, ha) is a good one and nothing to sneer at.

I just feel a little concerned that the feelings I had that proved to me the truthfulness of my church are the same feelings others receive on behalf of their churches and relationships with God.

I mean, God knows people's natures, right? He obviously knows that when he gave a Protestant man such powerful feelings of peace when his preacher was teaching a sermon that that man wouldn't give his true church the time of day.

Why would He do that?

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Your opinion (IMO, ha) is a good one and nothing to sneer at.

I just feel a little concerned that the feelings I had that proved to me the truthfulness of my church are the same feelings others receive on behalf of their churches and relationships with God.

I mean, God knows people's natures, right? He obviously knows that when he gave a Protestant man such powerful feelings of peace when his preacher was teaching a sermon that that man wouldn't give his true church the time of day.

Why would He do that?

Anybody who reaches out to God in humility with a desire to do good will find God. We are all children of God and he is no respecter of persons. You can find truth is many religions and you can find God in many religions. God reaches out to all not just mormons. The revelations that we have in the COJCOLDS simply adds to that which others have. Just becasue you feel spiritual at a mormon meeting does not mean that a protestant cannot feel spiritual at his meetings. We are praying to and serving the same god. It is really that surprising?

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Your opinion (IMO, ha) is a good one and nothing to sneer at.

I just feel a little concerned that the feelings I had that proved to me the truthfulness of my church are the same feelings others receive on behalf of their churches and relationships with God.

I mean, God knows people's natures, right? He obviously knows that when he gave a Protestant man such powerful feelings of peace when his preacher was teaching a sermon that that man wouldn't give his true church the time of day.

Why would He do that?

To be quite honest... I don't know. I think some people misinterpret. I think for others, God has reasons for that I cannot see.

But I have found, truly, that living off of another's experiences is impossible.... we have a communication barrier, and cannot read other's feelings fully. I am Autistic, so I had to be specifically trained to read other's feelings, but even I cannot read perfectly... I cannot communicate my feelings perfectly either.

And thus, we must rely on our own, for only we can feel what we feel in our hearts =).

It does feel risky at times though =/.

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I've been spending some time lately on some Christian/Protestant testimony websites and I've been quite amazed at the experiences and sincerity of the posters. Not that I doubted their sincerity to begin with, but I was surprised at how deep it was; they were easily as dedicated and profound as fellow Mormon testimonies of family/friends I'm familiar with.

I remember when I gained my testimony of the LDS church and how profound it was for me. One of the primary effects was how much it strengthened my belief in the truthfulness of the church in comparison to any others. There was no chance in you know where that I would've even given another church the time of day (save for missionary work) in regards to the truthfulness of their church.

In much the same way, and with few exceptions, these testimonies and powerful witnesses these Christians are giving of Jesus is solidifying their current church affiliation and basically creating almost a concrete wall against the LDS church. It's not that they think of evil of us, they are just so confident that they are already in the right way much like how I felt.

So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

If your testimony of Mormonism is just a "feeling" and nothing more, then it may not be a genuine testimony at all. A testimony is a personal witness of the Holy spirit to one's soul that the restored gospel is true. And the Holy Spirit does not give contradictory testimonies. If those "Christian/Protestants" you are referring to have a "testimony" which at the same time leads them to reject the gospel of Restoration, then by that token you may know it is a deception and a fraud, and not a genuine witness of the Spirit at all, no matter how "sincerely" it might be expressed. Allow me to quote you something from Mormon scripture:

D&C 84
:

46 And the Spirit giveth light to every man that cometh into the world; and the Spirit enlighteneth every man through the world, that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit.

47 And every one that hearkeneth to the voice of the Spirit cometh unto God, even the Father.

48 And the Father
teacheth him of the covenant which he has renewed and confirmed upon you,
which is confirmed upon you for your sakes, and not for your sakes only, but for the sake of the whole world.

Anyone who claims to be led by the Spirit that rejects message of the restoration is either deceived, or practicing deliberate fraud and deception on others. No one acting under the Spirit of God can or will reject the message of the Restoration through the Prophet Joseph Smith in the latter days.

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What is God trying to tell us?

- that He loves each of us

- that He wants us to come unto Him so He can lead us home

- that there is no place His love can't reach

- that whatever our starting place is, all roads but one eventually converge and lead to salvation

- that the overriding commandments to love God and love our fellowmen are etched on our soul through the Light of Christ which we all have without respect of religious affiliation and those who draw close to God will embrace those commands regardless of which pew they sit in or what hymnal they sing out of

Personally, I have no problem accepting The words "My ways are not thy ways" and trusting that God knows what He's doing with the pure in heart in every sect and congregation. Eventually all churches pass away except of the Church of the Firstborn and just as He scatters, God gathers His own. So I try not to worry about where someone is when they feel the Spirit or which church they align to at the moment.

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- that He loves each of us

- that He wants us to come unto Him so He can lead us home

- that there is no place His love can't reach

- that whatever our starting place is, all roads but one eventually converge and lead to salvation

- that the overriding commandments to love God and love our fellowmen are etched on our soul through the Light of Christ which we all have without respect of religious affiliation and those who draw close to God will embrace those commands regardless of which pew they sit in or what hymnal they sing out of

Personally, I have no problem accepting The words "My ways are not thy ways" and trusting that God knows what He's doing with the pure in heart in every sect and congregation. Eventually all churches pass away except of the Church of the Firstborn and just as He scatters, God gathers His own. So I try not to worry about where someone is when they feel the Spirit or which church they align to at the moment.

What makes you so sure that God had anything to do with it at all? I agree with what Paul said:

1 Corinthians 12
:

3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say [or know] that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

I would argue by the same token that no man speaking by the Spirit of God would call Abraham accursed, or Moses, or Isaiah, or Peter, or John, or Joseph Smith. If they do, that is a sure sign that they are not speaking by the Spirit of God at all

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Your opinion (IMO, ha) is a good one and nothing to sneer at.

I just feel a little concerned that the feelings I had that proved to me the truthfulness of my church are the same feelings others receive on behalf of their churches and relationships with God.

I mean, God knows people's natures, right? He obviously knows that when he gave a Protestant man such powerful feelings of peace when his preacher was teaching a sermon that that man wouldn't give his true church the time of day.

Why would He do that?

Because they are

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So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

The most logical, evidence-supported and parsimonious explanation is that the feelings and emotions you describe are a consequence of normal human neurological function and are therefore shared by a large percentage of humans (regardless of their unfounded beliefs) and have nothing to with any god, ancient or modern.

In other words, I agree with the question zerinus poses:

What makes you so sure that God had anything to do with it at all?

(Zerinus' question shows great insight.)

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What makes you so sure that God had anything to do with it at all?

Well, for starters, the fact that I've attended other churches and been edified. And then there's the fact that I've had conversations with non-members in which we've felt our hearts burn within us.

My experience is that the Holy Ghost bears witness of ALL truth.

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The most logical, evidence-supported and parsimonious explanation is that the feelings and emotions you describe are a consequence of normal human neurological function and are therefore shared by a large percentage of humans (regardless of their unfounded beliefs) and have nothing to with any god, ancient or modern.

In other words, I agree with the question zerinus poses:

(Zerinus' question shows great insight.)

Well, for starters, the fact that I've attended other churches and been edified. And then there's the fact that I've had conversations with non-members in which we've felt our hearts burn within us.

My experience is that the Holy Ghost bears witness of ALL truth.

Thank you for both your replies. I just edited that post; feel free to edit your replies accordingly.

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So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

As always, He gives His children what they are willing to receive from Him; allows them to take what they are willing to take from Him or from others; allows them to decide which is which; and allows them to act (or not) accordingly.

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So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

Hi Let Us Reason,

As an FYI, I am an Evangelical and have struggled with this same question from my own paradigm of faith.

My own thought is that God is telling us all the same thing and I think it's a very simple thing he is saying. That being, that we should choose to accept Christ as our Savior and follow him and be like him in the best way we can.

I think we run into the differences between different sects because this information is filtered through them. I think a lot of these variant teachings, doctrines and so forth are man made constructs on some level. I think in many ways such filters actually dilute or perhaps pollute the simplicity of the Gospel to a degree, but I don't get to hung up about it.

Reason being, I don't think it's possible for man to erect barriers of error that are strong enough that they can prevent the Holy Spirit from penetrating or circumventing them.

I think the fact that the Holy Spirit seems in touch with so many different sorts of believers is good evidence.

"All things work together for good for them that love God." I think as long as we are doing our best to love God then God will find a way to help us all work through the rest of it.. even in spite of our many inconsistencies that occur amongst those who follow Christ.

Regards,

Mudcat

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- that He loves each of us

- that He wants us to come unto Him so He can lead us home

- that there is no place His love can't reach

- that whatever our starting place is, all roads but one eventually converge and lead to salvation

- that the overriding commandments to love God and love our fellowmen are etched on our soul through the Light of Christ which we all have without respect of religious affiliation and those who draw close to God will embrace those commands regardless of which pew they sit in or what hymnal they sing out of

Personally, I have no problem accepting The words "My ways are not thy ways" and trusting that God knows what He's doing with the pure in heart in every sect and congregation. Eventually all churches pass away except of the Church of the Firstborn and just as He scatters, God gathers His own. So I try not to worry about where someone is when they feel the Spirit or which church they align to at the moment.

Beautiful. Amen and amen.

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We have no way of knowing for certain whether or what God is saying to others, because we have no access to their experiences except through second hand accounts. We therefore must judge only by our own experiences.

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So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

Try living in a dual-faith household where both parties try show one another the confirmation of the Holy Ghost and the message from the other spouse was 'that was nice' while the other one was overwhelmed by the experience.

I had promised that would take my wife to GC since she had never been to one. To be in the same room with the prophet and apostles and listening to the messages was an absolute pleasure for her. The only major issue was that she needed to elbow me so I could pay attention. My thoughts was that it was nice and glad I attended, but I'm fairly sure my wife would prefer I never attend with her again since I 'dragged it down' for her.

I have a similar Catholic experience in going to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress with 40K other devout Catholics and it's sort of my yearly 'spiritual fix.' A 3-day weekend (plus 1 day for the youth) of listening to presentations, attending various classes on topics that I chose a couple months ago, and attend various flavors of the Catholic Mass of my choosing. Last year I attended a Byzantine Mass as well as a Indonesian Mass. One year I attended a contemplative Mass that was a highlight of the weekend for me. The following year, I had my wife attend that particular Mass with me but got the 'it was really nice and was glad she attended' but one could tell the spiritual connection didn't happen.

What did I learn from this?

Answer - That HF does whatever He needs to do for us 'to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life so that we can hope to be with Him in the next life.' People ask me what drives me in being the active Catholic that I am in being an example for others in showing my Christian beliefs. Most are surprised when I give my LDS wife the credit in finding Christ.

I'm just happy I don't need to continuously deal with the dual-faith issues..... :P

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...

So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

There is no difference between one religion and any other where spiritual experiences are concerned.

People outside of religion have metaphysical "epiphanies" as well.

So "God" is telling us in a multitude of ways that reality is far more then mere empirical "five-senses" living: "God" is real, that's the bottom line. No other specific information is forthcoming. It appears that each of us has a unique concept for "God" - or rather, that such concepts are constantly developing and evolving....

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Alma 29 says it all pretty well. God gives unto all people all that he sees fit for them to have, so we ought to be content with what the Lord has given us. D&C 1 explicitly says that God is no respecter of persons and is willing to give his truths to all flesh. And I occasionally post the Perry Scheme of Cognitive and Ethical Growth as way of considering why some people have a harder time than others, in dealing with such principles. Joseph Smith explicitly taught that people are judged according to what they have, not according what they do not have.

Regarding LDS spiritual experiences compared to non-LDS, I think we come out looking very good, if I drop the notion of exclusive truth and revelation. Only well pleasing relative to the ideas embodied in "true and living" is sufficient for me.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/22100469/model_of_experience.pdf

Kevin Christensen

Pittsburgh, PA

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So what is God trying to tell us by giving these experiences to other religious people (and not just to Christian denominations) that, in effect, ensures that most don't give the LDS the time of day? What should we learn from this?

From my experience, the fundamental difference I see is that these people are not testifying of the greatness or truthfulness of their church/denomination. They are testifying of the greatness of Jesus Christ. For them, the church is only a means of getting to know him and in helping them link their lives with our Eternal Christ.

Speaking without any ambiguity, if they are literally experiencing Jesus now, why would they feel compelled to join another denomination? What they have has already opened the door for the greatest reward they can fathom! Personal communion with Jesus in this life as well as the one to come.

Now from my perspective, I never desired the church of the Lord when my heart was first and foremost centered on pursuing the Lord of the church! Hope this makes sense...

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If they come to have faith in Jesus and become better people because of the church they are involved in... Praise the LORD!!

The semantics of doctrine and practice can be sorted out when New Jerusalem is built and the pure in heart are gathered.

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@Jason: precisely, it is impossible to know that your spiritual experiences are genuine, and those of another - even one who rejects becoming a Mormon - are somehow less genuine. Therefore, all religions are on equal ground in this assertion of testimony....

No, it is possible to know that your own spiritual experiences are genuine. It is not normally possible to know if the spiritual experiences of someone else are genuine - because you don't have direct access to their experiences.

What you said is that there is no difference between the experiences granted different people in different religions. Unless you personally experienced every one of those spiritual experiences, this is impossible to know. At best you can say "the accounts of each seem very similar".

You were essentially restating the black swan fallacy. "I have never personally had an undeniably genuine spiritual experience, therefore there are none" is equivelent to saying "I have never encountered a black swan, therefore there are none."

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