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 Post subject: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:57 pm 
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I grew up in the Church. When I was sixteen, I remember a priests quorum lesson during which our adviser, brother D., set out to help the class feel the Spirit. I don't remember the specifics of the lesson, but I remember that it worked for me, meaning that I had an experience which thereafter became my reference class for "feeling the Spirit."

Once it was pointed it out to me, I realized that I had felt the Spirit before. But knowing now what that feeling really represented made me more powerful. What an incredible gift; that mysterious frisson was really God Himself trying to tell me something! Sure, after following those promptings for a while it seemed that the answers God gave through the Spirit weren't always as unambiguous or as easy to hear as I'd have liked. I came to understand, though, that this was just the way it worked. Maybe God had reasons for not answering every one of my inquiries. Or maybe I was just an imperfect vessel trying to interpret the promptings of a perfect messenger. In any case, any errors of interpretation were my own.

I served a mission. I married in the temple. I had noticed more and more that the feeling I attributed to the Spirit had a funny way of attaching itself to things I was particularly interested and invested in. Why was that, I wondered. It seemed strange that I would have spiritual feelings associated with certain pieces of popular music, or while reading about the sciences (particularly physics and biology). I also noticed that there were a lot of people who clearly didn't know very much about the world (e.g. baby-faced 19-year-old missionaries) or even about their church, but who nevertheless claimed to "know" what God was like and what he wanted other people to do. It had not until then occurred to me to strongly question one of the most basic premises of my faith. Evidence is required to justify a belief in any claim. What evidence did I have for believing what my priests' adviser had told me? Just like I can't invoke the Bible to show that the Bible is true, I can't claim to know anything about the Spirit by the Spirit. And if I wasn't justified in believing that, then my belief in everything else that I thought I was justified in believing fell aside also, because that's the way I 'knew' religious truths.

Where was the evidence that the feeling I had labeled a long time ago as "the Spirit" was actually the Voice of God? The evidence was: First, someone I respected had told me that it was so. Second, it was an integral part of what I had been raised to believe, and I wanted to believe it. That was it. But those are weak reasons, insufficient to justify such an important and specific claim. And instead of strong evidence confirming that those feelings were the Spirit, there was evidence that those feelings were internally generated, that the Church creates a huge infrastructure designed to lead minds toward preferred conclusions, and that certain conditions can reliably produce the feeling that I'd misidentified. I have no doubt that brother D. believed what he was telling us, but belief doesn't make a thing true.

When people speak of testimonies, I know what they're talking about. They're saying that they associate that feeling that I've felt many times, which I still feel often, with a particular piece of religious doctrine, and that this feeling is evidence that the thing is true. They say the words "I know." Two questions seem relevant: First, are emotional experiences a good way for other people to determine whether something is true? And second, how do you know that what you felt is the Spirit?

Quinn


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:16 pm 
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hello Quinn,

My present understanding of instinct is that it is concerned with the survival of the individual and the species. As part of that agenda it provides whatever an individual (either human or animal) needs to live within his respective community. It also provides what is necesary for the individual to evolve. That's why people form inflated egos of there purpose in life with regards to possible future greatness. Instinct was never designed to be used for information about past civilizations or to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Those who use it for that purpose are setting themselves up for disapointment.

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:33 pm 
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sleepyhead wrote:
Instinct was never designed to be used for information about past civilizations or to unlock the mysteries of the universe.


Hi Sleepyhead, thanks for the reply. I agree that instinct was never "meant" to have those effects on us. The only thing that really gets selected for is greater immediate reproductive success. That's not to say we can't build marvelous futures and do great things. But we get there by working with what actually is.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:42 am 
Good first post. I too have felt the 'spirit' in various contexts where it didn't make sense. I've even felt in while reading material critical of the church. Realistically, our emotions are not a reliable way to determine truth.
I look forward to future posts by you.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:04 am 
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Quinn,

I wouldn't throw everything out. It sounds like you have some natural aptitude for and interest in contemplative practice. You will never be able to develop that aptitude or interest inside LDS, because there are no Mormons who are qualified to distinguish between genuine spiritual experiences and mere emotion. There are, however, individuals in other faith traditions who are capable of leading disciples to genuine realization. If you haven't already, I would highly recommend reading some of the works of Thomas Merton. Are you familiar with him?

Best,

--S


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:13 am 
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Quote:
I would highly recommend reading some of the works of Thomas Merton.
Seconded.

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Huckelberry said:
I see the order and harmony to be the very image of God which smiles upon us each morning as we awake.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/a ... cc_toc.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 10:38 am 
God
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The whole "feelings" thing is garbage. Go have a real experience with God or get out. Indigestion is a terrible way to determine the truth of anything but food poisoning.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:16 pm 
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Tobin wrote:
The whole "feelings" thing is garbage. Go have a real experience with God or get out. Indigestion is a terrible way to determine the truth of anything but food poisoning.


And your criteria for a "real experience" with God would be ... what?

There was a lady I met on my Mormon mission who claimed that the voices of angels and demons spoke to her from her television. In your estimation, did she have a "real experience" with God? How would a person tell the difference between a real and imaginary experience?

Please, enlighten us.

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:19 pm 
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keithb wrote:
Tobin wrote:
The whole "feelings" thing is garbage. Go have a real experience with God or get out. Indigestion is a terrible way to determine the truth of anything but food poisoning.


And your criteria for a "real experience" with God would be ... what?

There was a lady I met on my Mormon mission who claimed that the voices of angels and demons spoke to her from her television. In your estimation, did she have a "real experience" with God? How would a person tell the difference between a real and imaginary experience?

Please, enlighten us.

Joseph Smith and others in the scriptures claimed to see God, angels and have Gold Plates land in their laps on a regular basis. If that isn't happening to you, I guess you are either doing it wrong or it is complete non-sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:19 pm 
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My wife's aunt routinely has visions and entertains angels.... But is some kind of EV. Does that count?

And I regularly take walks with Exu.

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Some of us, on the other hand, actually prefer a religion that includes some type of correlation with reality.
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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:22 pm 
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SteelHead wrote:
My wife's aunt routinely has visions and entertains angels.... But is some kind of EV. Does that count? And I regularly take walks with Exu.
And when I see and speak with Exu too, I'll believe you.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:28 pm 
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sleepyhead wrote:
hello Quinn,

My present understanding of instinct is that it is concerned with the survival of the individual and the species. As part of that agenda it provides whatever an individual (either human or animal) needs to live within his respective community. It also provides what is necesary for the individual to evolve. That's why people form inflated egos of there purpose in life with regards to possible future greatness. Instinct was never designed to be used for information about past civilizations or to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Those who use it for that purpose are setting themselves up for disapointment.

and yet most every, if not just every, innovation in art, science, technology, etc.. has been the result of a "gut feeling" an "instinct" that something else was possible.
and when you say "Instinct was never designed..."...designed by who? If there is an "intention" behind instinct, then who/what intended it?...and more importantly, do you have any evidence for your claims about instinct...or do you just have a gut-feeling?

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:31 pm 
God
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Tobin wrote:
SteelHead wrote:
My wife's aunt routinely has visions and entertains angels.... But is some kind of EV. Does that count? And I regularly take walks with Exu.
And when I see and speak with Exu too, I'll believe you.


Right back at you chief! ->Chaaching

_________________
The ultimate action of a warrior, is to put down his sword.

Some of us, on the other hand, actually prefer a religion that includes some type of correlation with reality.
~Bill Hamblin


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:44 pm 
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Tobin wrote:
SteelHead wrote:
My wife's aunt routinely has visions and entertains angels.... But is some kind of EV. Does that count? And I regularly take walks with Exu.
And when I see and speak with Exu too, I'll believe you.

SteelHead wrote:
Right back at you chief! ->Chaaching
I haven't asked for anything less.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:47 pm 
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Quinn wrote:
...Where was the evidence that the feeling I had labeled a long time ago as "the Spirit" was actually the Voice of God? The evidence was: First, someone I respected had told me that it was so. Second, it was an integral part of what I had been raised to believe, and I wanted to believe it. That was it. But those are weak reasons, insufficient to justify such an important and specific claim. And instead of strong evidence confirming that those feelings were the Spirit, there was evidence that those feelings were internally generated, that the Church creates a huge infrastructure designed to lead minds toward preferred conclusions, and that certain conditions can reliably produce the feeling that I'd misidentified. I have no doubt that brother D. believed what he was telling us, but belief doesn't make a thing true.

Where is the evidence? Correct question, but wrong paradigm in my opinion. But let us look at it simply...from lectures on faith it is taught that people have faith in God because they are told to. Simple enough. But they have faith only up to a point...then God manifests upon them and they believe. So, the only "evidence" that will ever be presented to a person is by the actual manifestation of God upon them...yet again, simple enough.
So, you have three options...
1. Believe in God because you have been instructed to believe.
2. Believe in God because God has manifested Himself to you.
3. Do not believe in God.
A rational person should always consider true what is instructed to him provided that there is no compelling reason to believe otherwise. An irrational person would initially assume that instruction is false.

wanting to believe is not a weak reason at all...it may be weak science, but often a belief is the foundation of good science, so i do not agree with your assertion on that point and you have no justification for that position.

If you have "evidence" that those "feelings" were generated internally then surely you have evidence that those feeling were not initiated by the Spirit...a runny nose is not necessarily evidence of a cold. If you have a belief that these feelings are internally generated then surely you have the ability to generate them at your will, correct? Even if you can not summon them forth while sitting in a chair, surely you can bring together the circumstances that would precisely replicate that "feeling", correct?...that is evidence i would like to see.


Quinn wrote:
When people speak of testimonies, I know what they're talking about. They're saying that they associate that feeling that I've felt many times, which I still feel often, with a particular piece of religious doctrine, and that this feeling is evidence that the thing is true. They say the words "I know." Two questions seem relevant: First, are emotional experiences a good way for other people to determine whether something is true? And second, how do you know that what you felt is the Spirit?

Quinn

emotional experiences can be associated with the "truth", otherwise emotional experiences must be considered as deceitful, a condition which has no rational, reasonable, nor logical justification. This is distinct from the idea of "illusion" and one can not possibly, or effectively, argue that emotions are nothing more than physiological illusions which serve some unknown purpose....that is an absurd and illiterate position.

your second question is a good one...i would ask you a similar question...
How would you know if I was in "truly" Love with my wife?...is that something you are able/capable of instructing me on?

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 12:57 pm 
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subgenius wrote:
How would you know if I was in "truly" Love with my wife?...is that something you are able/capable of instructing me on?


Well, I think we can say with some certainty that your wife must truly love you!

Actually it's an interesting question.
What actually is true love and is it unconditional?

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“We look to not only the spiritual but also the temporal, and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually.”
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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:08 pm 
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Drifting wrote:
Well, I think we can say with some certainty that your wife must truly love you!

yes, i frequently boast to her that it obvious that i am the better decision maker and have better taste than her.

Drifting wrote:
Actually it's an interesting question.
What actually is true love and is it unconditional?

Is that an appropriate question for the masses?

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:46 pm 
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This is a really interesting post. My experiences have been similar. When I was young, I believed that feeling was "the Spirit" indicating some sort of truth or a feeling of being close to God. It's a feeling that I rarely had in church, but often had while exploring the outdoors and while listening to music and while looking at particular pieces of art. It kinda confused me that "the spirit" would be speaking to me somehow through the "The Final Countdown" by Europe!

I bet that the feeling is a chemical release of some kind, not unlike endorphin or adrenalin. It's probably tied to happiness.

As for discerning "The Truth," there are two kinds of people: people who make decisions based on logic/thinking and people who make decisions based on emotion/feeling. Neither type is inherently good or bad. I happen to be a logic/thinking person, so the LDS suggesting that I read scriptures and then wait for a confirmation-by-feeling is not ever going to work for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:53 pm 
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For years I struggled to gain a spiritual confirmation of the truthfulness of the Church and the Book of Mormon. Every time I prayed about it I got what can only be described as a stupor of thought.

On one day (i was researching for a Sunday School lesson i was to teach) I saw for the first time an image of Joseph with a head in a hat and a story about City Creek. I was immediately impressed upon that the Church was false. I got down on my knees and prayed as fervently and as purposefully as I have ever done in my entire life.
I was immediately given what i would describe as a complete and total lifting of my spirit. I literally soared. I had prayed that I reached the conclusion that the Church was not true and the Book of Mormon was not true and asked God to confirm that I was correct in my decision.
God answered.

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“We look to not only the spiritual but also the temporal, and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually.”
Keith McMullin - Counsellor in Presiding Bishopric

"One, two, three...let's go shopping!"
Thomas S Monson - Prophet, Seer, Revelator


Last edited by Drifting on Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:30 am 
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subgenius wrote:
sleepyhead wrote:
hello Quinn,

My present understanding of instinct is that it is concerned with the survival of the individual and the species. As part of that agenda it provides whatever an individual (either human or animal) needs to live within his respective community. It also provides what is necesary for the individual to evolve. That's why people form inflated egos of there purpose in life with regards to possible future greatness. Instinct was never designed to be used for information about past civilizations or to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Those who use it for that purpose are setting themselves up for disapointment.

and yet most every, if not just every, innovation in art, science, technology, etc.. has been the result of a "gut feeling" an "instinct" that something else was possible.
and when you say "Instinct was never designed..."...designed by who? If there is an "intention" behind instinct, then who/what intended it?...and more importantly, do you have any evidence for your claims about instinct...or do you just have a gut-feeling?


Hello subgenius,

As a theist, and more significantly as a believer in only one God (or what I would call force) then from my world view both inspiration and instinct would be part of the same force. When I mentioned it causes people to have inflated egos I didn't intend it as a bad thing. The inflated egos are needed for the individual to achieve his goals.
As far as who designed instinct I believe it is part of the one force. I don't know if it was actually designed or not. My guess is that whatever species it inhabits it sort of designs itself for the benefit of that species and for the individual within that species.
With regards to evidence it's mostly derived from watching various nature movies with regards to animals know to do certain things without being taught. If you saw the movie "march of the penquins" it was pointed out that penguins just automatically know to begin mating at 5 years old.
Is there something you actually disagree with that I wrote so that I can reply to that item instead of the entire thread?

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 Post subject: Re: Truth and Burning Bosoms
PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:31 pm 
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sleepyhead wrote:
Hello subgenius,

As a theist, and more significantly as a believer in only one God (or what I would call force)

force? wha? why the deliberate use of the word "force"? it would seem that the use of this words reveals that your view of the world is one that exists only within the physical ,and that things spiritual must be a physical illusion. I completely disagree, can you justify your position as to using the word "force"....and no star wars analogies allowed.

sleepyhead wrote:
then from my world view both inspiration and instinct would be part of the same force. When I mentioned it causes people to have inflated egos I didn't intend it as a bad thing. The inflated egos are needed for the individual to achieve his goals.

How so?
His goals? are these not the product of an ego? how can an ego be the solution to the problem which the ego created?
How do you justify the conclusion that the "instinct" creates an ego in order to accomplish goals (goals of either the instinct or goals of the ego)?
If you are proposing that having an ego is instinctual then i would like to read that conclusion.

sleepyhead wrote:
As far as who designed instinct I believe it is part of the one force. I don't know if it was actually designed or not. My guess is that whatever species it inhabits it sort of designs itself for the benefit of that species and for the individual within that species.


sleepyhead wrote:
With regards to evidence it's mostly derived from watching various nature movies with regards to animals know to do certain things without being taught. If you saw the movie "march of the penquins" it was pointed out that penguins just automatically know to begin mating at 5 years old.

it is "assumed" that they already "know"....nevertheless, sexual maturity and the "instinct" to procreate are presumably intertwined in your view, correct?


sleepyhead wrote:
Is there something you actually disagree with that I wrote so that I can reply to that item instead of the entire thread?


Allow me to be more specific about your post prior:

sleepyhead wrote:
My present understanding of instinct is that it is concerned with the survival of the individual and the species.


sleepyhead wrote:
As part of that agenda it provides whatever an individual (either human or animal) needs to live within his respective community.


sleepyhead wrote:
It also provides what is necesary for the individual to evolve. That's why people form inflated egos of there purpose in life with regards to possible future greatness.


sleepyhead wrote:
Instinct was never designed to be used for information about past civilizations or to unlock the mysteries of the universe. Those who use it for that purpose are setting themselves up for disappointment.

_________________
Seek freedom and become captive of your desires...seek discipline and find your liberty
I can tell if a person is judgmental just by looking at them


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