Per Kimberly Ann’s request, and because my heart is still twitterpated at the recollection of her in slinky black dress, I am posting my reply from the other thread, along with the reply I made to Ryan’s subsequent questions:
I confess that I used to be kind of a Star Trek devotee. Not when they were shown originally, but much later, when they were in syndicated reruns. Some of them were downright silly. But others actually had some depth and considerable import to them. At least I felt like I could glean something of real significance from them.
There is one episode that I found fascinating. I think it was called Spock’s Brain
. The premise was kind of silly: some aliens (all female) appear and steal Spock’s brain, take it to their underground living quarters, and proceed to wire it up as their central control unit. Of course, Kirk and McCoy must somehow reunite Spock’s brain with his still-functioning body. So they locate the brain and demand that the aliens put it back in. The women appear, but they’re all manifestly incapable of doing anything so complex. The woman who is the leader, when pressed for answers, makes reference to “The Teacher.” Well, it turns out that “The Teacher” is some kind of a device that can be placed on one’s head, and after it performs its function, it can then be removed and the recipient of its effect is immediately endowed with stupendous amounts of knowledge and understanding. It was by this means that the leader woman was able to remove Spock’s brain and install it as their control unit. However, the effect doesn’t last very long, and so after a while, the woman resumed her normal level of knowledge, understanding, and capacities.
Well, she refuses to use “The Teacher” in order to restore Spock’s brain, and therefore Kirk orders McCoy to attempt it. McCoy ultimately consents, places the unit on his head, and after a few moments where it looks like the device will fry his brain, it is removed, and his eyes light up. He immediately commences the operation on Spock, exclaiming, “Why, it’s so simple, a child could do it.”
He works feverishly for several minutes, brimming with confidence and complete self-assurance. However, after a while, you can see uncertainty begin to sweep over his countenance, and before long he is perspiring heavily and consumed with self-doubt.
Of course, the effect of “The Teacher” has worn off. And he just can’t put it back on his head. He is left to his own devices to bridge the gap between how far he has gotten and how far he still has to go.
Well, of course, the script dictates that Spock’s brain be restored, and McCoy manages to restore Spock’s speech center, and with Spock’s assistance, the operation is completed successfully.
Now, what am I driving at here?
Well, many people have suggested that the effect of the Holy Ghost is simply some warm, fuzzy, peaceful, or comforting feeling. Many people here who no longer believe in the “Restored Gospel” nonetheless report having felt just such feelings during their tenure as believing Latter-day Saints.
I suppose I have felt such feelings myself at times. But, to me, that is not
what I associate with the Holy Ghost; not what I would characterize as the basis of my knowledge.
Rather, the experiences I have had that I associate with the “Holy Ghost” are very similar in nature to what that episode of Star Trek
is hinting at with its “Teacher” device. It is a clarity of thought, an infusion of pure intelligence, a confident “knowing” of something. However, just like the effect of “The Teacher” on Dr. McCoy, the effect of the Holy Ghost does not last indefinitely. What was it that Joseph Smith wrote?
23 A man may receive the Holy Ghost, and it may descend upon him and not tarry with him.
And Jesus said to Nicodemus:
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
And yet, Nicodemus was confused, and answered, “How can these things be?” To which, Jesus then replied:
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
In my life experience, there is nothing
that has been as real, as authentic
as those fleeting moments when that supremely unique influence has “descended” upon me. Would that I could bottle it and drink of it at will. But it cannot be done. Not here. Not now. I wish it could be. It would make things so much easier. Instead, I am forced to wade through the doubts, just like Dr. McCoy did, and somehow find a way to bridge the gap between my doubts and fears and the next strengthening – the next knowing
experience that blows my way.
That bridge is built with faith. But it is not blind faith. It is faith based on the solid recollection of what was once seen clearly, but is now only seen through a glass darkly.
That is how I know things.
How do you know that it was the holy ghost doing/causing this?
I never said that I know
it is the Holy Ghost. What I described were:
… the experiences I have had that I associate with the “Holy Ghost” …
I was describing my
experience; the type of thing that I
have come to associate
with the term “Holy Ghost.” The intelligence I have received during those kinds of experiences is what I bank on in my life.
Look, people can choose to rely on whatever means is at their disposal in their search for knowledge, truth, and meaning. I’m simply telling you that I have had experiences such as I describe above, and that I have concluded that those experiences are consequent to an external influence (which I call the Holy Ghost) interacting with me. I have learned to trust
the things that I have learned during those experiences. I also read books, contemplate things, and engage in intellectual exchanges with others. All these things are tools I use to acquire knowledge, truth, and meaning in my life. But, in the final analysis, I have learned to trust what I call “the Holy Ghost” above all my other intelligence-acquisition tools.
What do you say to those who have had similar experiences, but that are not attributable to the holy ghost (or at least, not attributable to your - the lds - version of the holy ghost)?
I’m not sure what you mean. I am willing that all people seek knowledge, truth, and meaning in their own way; according to the dictates of their own conscience, reasoning powers, and even prejudices. It doesn’t matter to me either way. I do not doubt that there are many means utilized by people around the globe (and throughout this galaxy and beyond) to acquire intelligence. I’m simply speaking of my
experience, in response to the question posed at the beginning of this thread.
Wouldn't someone, who is not lds, attribute those experiences to whatever it is that they've been taught causes those experiences?
No doubt they would.
And then how do you know that they're wrong and you're right?
I don’t. That is, I don’t know that they’re wrong. I don’t even think about it, really. As far as my conviction of being “right” is concerned, I’m not sure that would even be an accurate characterization of what I feel about my knowledge. I have simply learned, within the unique parameters and circumstances of my own existence, to give my trust to the kind of intelligence I receive via my personal conduit. It speaks to me. It has relevance for me. Of those things that I claim to know
, it has been the primary mechanism for their transmission. Whether they have meaning or relevance to others is beyond my capacity to determine.
It just seems all rather subjective to me...
How could it be otherwise?
By the way, KA, even though I get e-mails back suggesting that mine sent to you were rejected for exceeding the size limitation, they are apparently getting through to you. I sent you some more songs. I also recorded a couple of my own compositions on my keyboard this afternoon, and I sent those to you just for the heck of it.