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What do you say to the spirit?
 
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Hey all, I posted a couple weeks ago, three kids, TBM wife, wishing for an easy way out. I've had a lot of coversations with my wife, and something she keeps coming back to is the spirit. I have felt "the spirit" or whatever it is a few times in my life, and so has she, strongly enough that she can't push it aside.

 

It seems difficult to be 100% certain the church isn't true with the spirit in play, because, while there's a ton of evidence against, it COULD all be countered by some very out there "what if's" but are possible none the less.  (e.g. maybe Satan did hide all the steel/horses/wheat/etc from America just to screw with the BoM, it's crazy, but it is possible)

 

So, do you guys know of any good facts or articles about what "the spirit" actually is, if it isn't what it's supposed to be? I hope you don't all think I'm naive, I'm just really actually trying to find the truth here.

 

Thanks in advance! 

 
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Ah, "The Spirit"TM 

 

Has your wife ever felt overwhelming peace and contentment?  It weren't necessarily the church providing that feeling.  Everyone on this earth at one time or another has an emotional response to a piece of music, the wonder of nature, the affection of a loved one or any number of other stimuli.  

 

It ain't something that the church owns exclusively.

 

The so-called spirit that is attributed to the church is guilt in a nice wrapper... 

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The "spirit" is a catch-all term for several different phenomena. It can be frustrating to define and explain it, when lots of things are going on.

 

I recommend checking out the research on how spirituality looks in the brain (here's one example):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/20/god-spot-in-brain-is-not-_n_1440518.html

 

Or research on artificially stimulating religious experiences by manipulating the brain (the God Helmet is one example):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_helmet 

 

BUT is it important to define and explain it? Not when you consider the following: 

 

She believes her experiences of the spirit differ fundamentally from those of people outside of her religion. 

 

All you really have to do is prove that's not true. I'd start by tracking down testimonies from people of many different religions and reading or listening to them. It becomes very clear, very quickly that not only Mormons have the spirit tell them their religion is true. So obviously either God made it too confusing to tell what he means (with lots of fake or misleading spirits), or the experience of the spirit is an emotion rather than a revelation from the divine. 

 

 

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Look into how beleivers of other faiths describe the feelings that support their belief. It's exactly the same as the way members of the church describe the spirit. How could the spirit be testifying to contradicting truths? Maybe the spirit, as wonderful as it can be, is not an accurate way to determine eternal truth. You are right, it is possible that the church could be true despite the evidence against it. But is it probable? I think more sound decisions are based upon probability rather than possibility. And the odds of the church being true despite the evidence against it are very, very small. 
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Could be drug use also mimics "the spirit" as well as anti-depressants. Who knows what the spirit involves other then upping the serotonin levels. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin
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I suggest reading the book "Mindsight" by Dr Siegel. I've read quite a few books on the brain, but this was one of the easiest to understand for a newbie. So much of what we feel and what we think can be attributed to our minds, and it cleared up "the spirit" question for me. (I have three kids, was a TBM mom until about 3 years ago.) I wasn't one of those people who always got an answer when I wanted one though, so it was easier for me to listen to the stuff in that book. My sister-in-law always sees an answer to her prayers somewhere and attributes it to God and the Spirit, when I try to talk to her about how her body works and why she feels what she does, she just glazes over. Some people just don't want to hear it. Hope the book helps, though! http://www.amazon.com/Mindsight-The-Science-Personal-Transformation/dp/0553804707
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Rocket Monkey, I don't think there's any way to "prove" the church is false.  I also don't think it's necessary.  That notion is part of the Mormon trap to set up a system where you have to "know of a certainty" before changing faith.  Well, you can join the church because of the warm tingling.  At the time no one is asking, "Are you absolutely positive that your upbringing as a [any religion or philosophical approach] is wrong?  Is it possible that it's true and your dissatisfaction is because of some flaw within yourself?  Were you living a life of purity and perfection when that tingling came to you?"

 

Once you're in the church, however, the rules change: now you need the tingle andyou have to somehow prove and defend yourself.  The thing is, you can't prove that there's no possibility of the church being true.  The case against the Book of Abraham is, in my mind, about as cut and dry as it can get.  Yet there is no absence of defenses of the divinity of the Book of Abraham.  Even when the truth is blazingly clear, there remains wiggle room for those determined to wiggle.

 

I personally treasure the moments of profound reverence and awe that come when I hear that inner voice, the different way of looking at the world, myself, and others.  When facing tough life questions I can get one answer thinking logically and a completely different answer by tuning into my heart.  I would never ride in an airplane designed via emotional logic, but I also would never negotiate a relationship using only logic.  They both have something to tell us.  The point is that you and your wife don't have to forsake the Spirit or dismiss all profound experiences as if they were only irrelevant neurological anomalies.

 

I think the best approach might be to put the Spirit into a new context determined by your personal experiences.  Where do you tune into holiness?  Is it watching your child asleep?  Is it in the quiet before dawn or while caressing your partner's face after making love?  Do you sometimes feel it when listening to music that reminds you of high school or of your grandmother?  Does poetry sometimes bring that to you and to your spouse?

 

I'd suggest learning where you get that feeling and build it into your life.  Begin disconnecting it from Mormonism, because it's not a proprietary property of LDS doctrine.  Try other forms of prayer, other reverent ceremonies, other ways of tuning into the parts of your soul that speak slowly and in quieter tones.

 

Good luck.  I really hope something miraculous happens so that you and your wife can stay in love on the rough seas that are stirring.

 
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I’ve begun worshiping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to God are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate.” George Carlin

 
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One example I've seen people on this board use is pointing out instances where the "spirit" was felt, but the situation wasn't spiritual or religious in any way. Example: If she feels the spirit while breastfeeding her baby, does that mean the baby is true? Or when listening to a moving piece of music? Or watching a moving movie? What about nature -- one thing that helps a lot of people feel spiritually centered and grounded, at peace with themselves and the universe, is enjoying nature. Several people here have felt far more spiritual experiences from climbing a mountain or rafting white water or taking photographs of grizzly bears (Dog, I miss Peter_Mary. ). Anyway, those people have reported "feeling the spirit" far and away moreso when engaged in these activities than they ever did while sitting in SM listening to people hack and cough and babies crying. 

 

Personally, I thought church was the most dehumanizing, spiritually deadening situation I can think of, outside of prison or working as a bill collector. One of my favorite spiritual "feel the spirit" situations is when my doggy hugs me. That'll make me cry when nothing else will -- when my dog seeks my comfort or seeks me out to comfort me

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rocketmonkey:

...

So, do you guys know of any good facts or articles about what "the spirit" actually is, if it isn't what it's supposed to be? I hope you don't all think I'm naive, I'm just really actually trying to find the truth here.

 

Thanks in advance! 

Brother Lloyd wrote the definitive scholarly work on this matter. Link.

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I haven't read through all the responses so sorry if this has already been said, but one thing I like to ask people when the pull the "spirit told me so" card is to ask them one simple question: "Who told you that what you were feeling was the spirit?" Obviously the answer is that they learned it in church. From there it's just a nod and maybe a "How very convenient for them" or something to that effect.
 
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Dogzilla Joy:

One example I've seen people on this board use is pointing out instances where the "spirit" was felt, but the situation wasn't spiritual or religious in any way. Example: If she feels the spirit while breastfeeding her baby, does that mean the baby is true? Or when listening to a moving piece of music? Or watching a moving movie? What about nature -- one thing that helps a lot of people feel spiritually centered and grounded, at peace with themselves and the universe, is enjoying nature. Several people here have felt far more spiritual experiences from climbing a mountain or rafting white water or taking photographs of grizzly bears (Dog, I miss Peter_Mary. ). Anyway, those people have reported "feeling the spirit" far and away moreso when engaged in these activities than they ever did while sitting in SM listening to people hack and cough and babies crying. 

 

Personally, I thought church was the most dehumanizing, spiritually deadening situation I can think of, outside of prison or working as a bill collector. One of my favorite spiritual "feel the spirit" situations is when my doggy hugs me. That'll make me cry when nothing else will -- when my dog seeks my comfort or seeks me out to comfort me

 

This is very important. It's also very difficult for mormons because they have been subtly programmed to frame any "spiritual" experience into a religious, faith-promoting context.

 

A few years back I visited Norway. Part of my ancestry is from there. As we were driving I saw a sign for a small community which also happened to be one of my family names on my mother's side. A short while later, another village bore the same name as one of my family names on my father's side. Later as we were in a boat on a fjord, I was overwhelmed by the splendor and grandeur of the mountains and the ocean, knowing that this was the land of some of my ancestors, and I began to cry. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life, but being a TBM at the time, I framed it in a mormon context. It was the Spirit of Elijah™ testifying to me that I had best do my genealogy!

 

Damn the mormon church for co-opting this extrordinary personal experience!

 

Another problem is that if the TBM feels "the spirit" in one context, especially if it is in a religious context, it means the whole damn thing is true! Shortly after I had told my wife that I no longer believed, a young woman sang a beautiful rendition of I Stand All Amazed in sacrament meeting. I was moved to tears by both the arrangement and by the simple beauty of her voice. My wife was similarly moved, except she turned to me and said "That's how I know it's true!" What the...? A girl sings a nice song, and somehow that means a horny 14-year-old boy saw god in a bunch of trees almost 200 years ago?

 

It's like going to a restaurant, taking one sip of a soft drink, and pronouncing the entire menu "excellent" without even trying it. 

 

These are two types of things you need to be aware of when dealing with your wife. I hope this helps.

 

I wish you the best.

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Dinah:
I haven't read through all the responses so sorry if this has already been said, but one thing I like to ask people when the pull the "spirit told me so" card is to ask them one simple question: "Who told you that what you were feeling was the spirit?" Obviously the answer is that they learned it in church. From there it's just a nod and maybe a "How very convenient for them" or something to that effect.

How do you know the church is true?   The spirit tells me so.

How do you know that's the spirit?   The church tells me so.  

[repeat until convinced]

 

One of the main things that got me out of the church was when I finally realized how circular this reasoning is.  

 

 

To the OP, this is,  understandably and rightly,  a frequent topic of discussion here. 

Here's just one of many great threads that explore it.  

Ambiguity of spiritual experience

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dave (e_nomo):

 

Dinah:
I haven't read through all the responses so sorry if this has already been said, but one thing I like to ask people when the pull the "spirit told me so" card is to ask them one simple question: "Who told you that what you were feeling was the spirit?" Obviously the answer is that they learned it in church. From there it's just a nod and maybe a "How very convenient for them" or something to that effect.

How do you know the church is true?   The spirit tells me so.

How do you know that's the spirit?   The church tells me so.  

[repeat until convinced]

 

One of the main things that got me out of the church was when I finally realized how circular this reasoning is.  

 

 

To the OP, this is,  understandably and rightly,  a frequent topic of discussion here. 

Here's just one of many great threads that explore it.  

Ambiguity of spiritual experience

 

 Then tell her to insert this reasoning and pretend she is a Catholic, JW, Baptist, Lutheran, Evangelical, Young Earth Creationist, Muslim, Hindu, Judaism...........but don't stop there, then tell her to use the same reasoning to test the truthfulness of the National Rifle Association, Justin Bieber Fan Club and well, you can just add on whatever else you want.

 

She needs to understand the circular rules that she is playing by and as the great dave points out it is the church that is first giving her the rules of the test.  The LDS church is giving her the context.  You could then try asking her some questions:

 

Did Heavenly Father lie to you when you asked Him if the LDS Church is true?

How do you know you are not being lied to?

Now then, how exactly is being a Catholic any different?

So what you are saying is that Heavenly Father is lying to them but not lying to you?

 

A problem to point out is that Moroni's Promise as a reliable test of truth is demonstrably falsifiable because people are asking God all over the world, every day, to know who he is and what is truth and HE is lying his ass off to them because they are all coming to totally different conclusions than she is.....and these conclusions just happen to predominantly reflect the religion of their parents and where they live and the time period they live in.

 

Of course God can't lie so she has to go with....................wait for it.........everybody else is either mistaken or not ready to hear the truth or not worthy etc.  Then you get to ask her:

 

So what your saying is that the people that are most able to accurately interpret the holy ghost and are worthy and ready to hear it.....those people, above the rest of the PLANET and its BILLIONS of inhabitants, well, they just happen to be located in Idaho, Utah, Las Vegas, Arizona.  I guess at that point you could ask her if she understands the definition of the word, hubris.

 

The other thing you could point out is that the spiritual test of Moroni's Promise fails for Mormons all the time.  Have her read this classic from the New Era:

 

Waiting for My Test

imony
BY CAROLYN LEDUC
The answer to my prayers wasn't a sudden flash of inspiration. It just took time.
"This time, I'm really going to do it," I told myself. "This time, I'm going to make it all the way through the Book of Mormon."

 

In the past I had read a chapter here, a chapter there, but now I wanted to say I'd read it from cover to cover. "I'll put Moroni's promise to the test," I told myself, eager to get started. "I'll finally learn whether the Church is true."

For the next 90 days, I diligently devoured the book's contents. Exultant with joy as I closed with Moroni's farewell and amen, I scrambled to my knees.

 

Brimming with anticipation, I posed my question: Was the Book of Mormon true? As I waited for a response, a cricket chirped. The air conditioner switched on. My watch intrusively ticked off the seconds as they passed. There was no burning bosom sensation, no chorus of angels, no flash of knowing. Nothing.

 

I was somewhat perplexed. "Do I just need to read the book again?" I thought to myself. "I guess it couldn't hurt."

Three months later, again finishing with Moroni's testimony, I leapt to the floor, doubly sure I'd done my part, doubly sure an answer would come. But my hopes were disappointed when, as before, my inquiry was met with silence. Unsure of what else to do, I got off my knees and started over. Again. But even after a third reading, there came no reply. I was confused. Where was the answer I'd been promised?

Not to be defeated, I picked up my scriptures, now with a fraying front cover, full of red highlighted verses and with random pages beginning to slip from the binding. "Okay," I said to myself, "once more."

 

When at last I finished the book for the fourth time in a 12-month period, I didn't immediately drop to my knees. I sat for some time, reflecting on the year. Truly, it had been a remarkable period of growth and change. I smiled, noting to myself that it was common these days for me to feel happy.

 

I thought about friendships I had formed with wonderful peers who strengthened my faith. I thought about how my family relationships had taken a dramatic turn for the better. I hadn't fought with my siblings in months, and my parents and I seemed to communicate with amazing ease. What's more, schoolwork seemed less stressful, odd jobs had been available to provide extra income, and even my physical fitness had improved.

 

But the most significant change had been in my spirit. I now looked forward to attending church, gladly paid tithes, fasted and prayed with much greater faith, and could list many times when the Spirit had prompted me to avoid danger, express kindness, or voice truth.

 

All told, there was little in my life that wasn't drastically better now than it had been just 12 months earlier. "That's so cool!" I said out loud, slipping to my knees.

Bowing my head, I couldn't even ask the question. "I get it," I said to the Lord. "I get it. The truth of this book isn't always manifest in burning bosoms and visions of angels; it's manifest in the lives of the people who read it and put it to use. I don't need to ask anymore if this book is true. I experience its truth every day I live its teachings."

 

This wasn't the answer I had anticipated when I first set out to put Moroni's promise to the test. It was far better. The Lord could have given me a single flash of confirming peace. Instead, He had given me a whole year of it.

 

 

 

Now how reliable is the spirit if the church has to put messages like this out.  The girl read the damn book 3 TIMES and got no answer and then after reading it a 4TH time, she does not even ask the question because she already knows its true because lost weight, made more friends and had more money.  The point to make with your wife is that Moroni's Promise not only does not work for billions of people but won't even straight up work for a girl who read the book three f ing times.  The problem is that the whole premise of the promise is unfalsifiable.  There is not circumstance when the person asking if the church is true can come to a conclusion that it is not.........and how do we know that?....well because the church told us so.

 

I think the better question to ask your wife is:

 

What other interpretations could you give your spiritual experiences?  Why do your spiritual experiences, which are real and valued by you, have to mean that the LDS church is the one true church on earth?  These are more empowering questions.

 

So she read the BofM and felt good...does that have to mean the book is a literal history of people who actually existed or could it mean something else to her?

 

So she listens to people share their testimony and feels nice, does that have to mean the church is the one true church on the planet or could  it mean that it just feels good when humans share their personal journey with each other? 

 

So she has felt the spirit give her the warm fuzzies when a priesthood holder has laid their hands on her head.  Does that have to mean that he therefore holds the ONLY AUTHORITY TO ACT IN THE NAME OF GOD ON EARTH or could it be that God is simply helping her know that HE is there and is there to help etc and that most religious people have similiar experiences when being blessed by other members.

 

I don't know that the first step when it comes to DW and the spirit is to totally discount it.  I think you try to help empower her to redefine the meaning of her spiritual experiences that don't require her to rely on embarrasing circular reasoning.  Meaning that at first is neither confirming the church is true or the church is false but somewhere inbetween......but at least an in between that is not morally bankrupt because of magical thinking.

 

The truth is she does not own her own spiritual experiences.  As has been pointed out in the thread, her whole spirtual life has been co opted by the church to confirm its own truthfulness. 

 

maybe you can turn her into an NOM, I mean at least it would be progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have posted this example a few times over the  years, so I will make this as short as possible.

 

As a kid growing up in SLC, I prayed a zillion times about the BoM. No feelings, nothing

Temple ceremony creeped me out, I never felt at ease in that building

I prayed for a long time on my mission...nothing

I did the same before my engagement and subsequent temple wedding, zilch.

I read the BoM 15 times, nothing

Never felt a thing in any church meeting, F&T meeting or seminary meeting

 

Fast forward 20 or so years, I am watching my daughter play her first basketball game. The band playing, the team warming up and the smile on her face......

 I felt a hot burning sensation in my chest, I was tearing up and could barely speak. I was completely overcome with emotion and happiness for her. So happy for her I could barely compose myself. It was a new experience for me......

 

Conclusion? basketball is true, and the church is bunk.

 

I wonder what would have happened to me if I had these emotions during a church service? What if the powerful emotional experience I had at her game had happened in the temple? 

 

Emotions are not truth detectors, but the church will never admit their most powerful tool, "the spirit" is a normal reaction to human interactions known to the rest of the world as emotions...and emotions are definitely not a manifestation of truth.

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I had a more powerful "spiritual" experience coming out of the church than I ever had while I was a TBM.  I never felt like my burdens had been lifted while I was a believer, but when I came to the realization that the things I believed in were not real I physically felt like a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  If feelings of the spirit are undenyable I can't deny the ones that come with my unbelief. 
 
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One can not refute the fact that another felt something. What we can refute is the cause of that something. Was if from god, satan, indigestion, alien probe, drugs, lack of sleep/nutrients? How can one be positive of the source of a feeling?
 
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The church completely loves to "define" every experience we have as a religious experience. 

 

You witness the birth of your child...the feelings of joy are manifestations of the spirit!

 

You are involved in a terrible accident...you haven't been living righteous enough (or paying tithing or some other lack on your part.) 

 

You hear someone say something that touches you because you have experienced something similar...the spirit is telling you to go comfort that person.

 

You are watching a movie on the supernatural and you get all tingly...the spirit is testifying to you that "spirits" exist

 

I've been reading "Social Intelligence" a book by Daniel Goleman.  This book delves extensively into the physiological responses we have in interacting with others in social ways, utilizing all of the devices that science can bring to bear.  It is fascinating and offers enormous insights into the social hardwiring of the brain.  The section on "mirror neurons" is illuminating on how and why we feel "empathy" and ties directly into this discussion on "feeling the spirit."  

 

Another excellent book, "The Happiness Hypothesis" by Jonathan Haidt also explores this subject extensively in the section on "elevation."  His work shows how oxytocin also known as "the bonding hormone" comes into play, creating feelings of elevation, peace, warmth, etc.  

 

The mental fortress of "The spirit told me so" can't be directly assaulted.  If you do, the Mormon programming will simply cause the TBM brain to erect a mental force field that deflects all contradictory information.

 

Kurt Hanks, co-author of the "Collapse of Belief" (known on here as Wongway) describes people's belief system as a window in which all of our beliefs are written, which exists between us and everything we see. This figurative "window" acts as a filter which deflects anything contradictory to those beliefs.  The TBM will never even see (or hear) contradictory information because this "filter" deflects it away from the concious mind. There are only two ways to get through this filter. One is to introduce information in such a way that the filters aren't activated or two, find and exploit contradictory beliefs. The concious mind expends enormous energy to hide, compartmentalize, or resolve the cognitive dissonance created by mutually exclusive beliefs.

 

Max 

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Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.
Blaise Pascal

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
― Marcus Aurelius

 
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 Uh oh, someone caught the holy ghost!!!

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I’ve begun worshiping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to God are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate.” George Carlin

 
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'The Spirit' is not some transcendant means of establishing truth the way the LDS Church would have it's subjects believe. It is a phenomenon that is subject to the same scientific scrutiny as any other phenomenon. One hypothesis is that 'The Spirit' represents a communication from a supernatural, omnipotent deity. Another hypothesis is that this is a neurological phenomena that gets interpreted within the context of the believer's culture. There are a number of very plausible reasons that human beings could have evolved with such tendencies. I highly recommend 'The Faith Instinct' by Nicholas Wade which deals with this topic at length.

 

In order to further help us answer the question of which explanation of 'The Spirit' is correct, we need to examine the other evidences out there. What evidence is there that the supernatural deity presumed to communicate through 'The Spirit' actually exists as described? What evidence is there that he doesn't? When we examine all the evidence together, the odds of the first hypothesis being true is vanishingly small. For many people (even otherwise brilliant people), this is simply not an acceptable conclusion. They refuse to cast a rational eye on their treasured 'spiritual experiences' and instead believe they've found something that transcends the scientific method. They confuse their desire to believe with the truth, as encouraged by the BOM itself:

 

"But behold, if ye will awaken and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words" (Alma 32:27).

 

For some, the implications that 'The Spirit' is a plain old evolutionary phenomenon is one they simply cannot bare. Many people seem to need a raison d'etre that a cold headed analysis cannot provide, and I have largely backed off my early millitant atheism as that realization crept in. I do wish they would choose a more benign raison than Mormonism, but this is not your father's Mormon Church (never mind your great-great-grandfather's Mormon Church) and I'm confident that it will continue to slowly follow the path blazed by the Community of Christ (aka RLDS) as it apostasizes further from the more harmful and ludicrous teachings of its past leaders.

 

Can anyone prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Church is not what it claims to be? No, but neither can anyone prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the moon is not made of green cheese. Is it reasonable to believe that the Church is true, or that the moon is made of green cheese? No. In determining what is reasonable, it is worth referring back to the LDS plan of salvation. Is it reasonable to propose that this life is a grand test by a benevolent deity to see if we will adhere to Mormon beliefs? Given the overwhelming evidences and superior explanations out there, is it reasonable for a benevolent God to expect such credulity?

 

My apostasy was complete when I finally determined that in the unlikely event that the LDS God really does exist and I am called to answer for my apostasy at the judgement bar, I can look him square in the eye with my head held high and declare to him that I made the best decision I could based on the conscience and intellect he gave me and the evidence he made available. If that's not good enough for him, than this isn't a being I want to dwell in the presence of anyway.

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“Now Korihor said unto him: I do not deny the existence of a God, but I do not believe that there is a God; and I also say, that ye do not know that there is a God” (Alma 30:48)

 
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Robby Sunshine:

 

[snip]

 

My apostasy was complete when I finally determined that in the unlikely event that the LDS God really does exist and I am called to answer for my apostasy at the judgement bar, I can look him square in the eye with my head held high and declare to him that I made the best decision I could based on the conscience and intellect he gave me and the evidence he made available. If that's not good enough for him, than this isn't a being I want to dwell in the presence of anyway.

 

Robby, your posts are so thoughtful and on-target, but this is one of my favorites.  Thanks. 

 
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Lloyd dobler, danboyle2 and no longer a steeple are all spot on! One of the biggest reasons why I feel so much peace about leaving is this very subject. I indeed "felt the spirit" but knowing what it is and recognizing times I still connect with people that way, has created aqn authenticity to myself! It's freeing and makes me happy that no one else gets part credit for who I am and what I feel. That being said, a great read about how the brain works is "How We Decide" by Jonah Leher http://www.amazon.com/How-We-Decide-Jonah-Lehrer/dp/0547247990/ref=la_B001I9N9VO_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1346875498&sr=1-1 My TBM dad wanted me to read this so I'd use me "emotional brain" to feel the church is true. What's funny is that what I truly feel conflicts with what I am supposed to feel. Acknowledging that they are different and acting in the manner true to myself- not the church- is difficult but so liberating. My husband is TBM and I'm still trying to find ways to help him understand me in this way. But the biggest thing was really pointing out that "the spirit" isn't invalid for him, but that the church doesn't have authorship on it. That there are many religions out there that claim the same things and the spirit will tell u, so how can one church, less than one percent of the planet, really be the only group that are feeling the "right and only" spirit? It's sad if that is the case, and I'd hate to believe in a god that is so exclusive. I think god would want all people in all places to connect with the "spirit", or good part of your conscience perhaps, to be motivated to be a good person. That's how I look at it anyways.
 
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The spiritual experiences I had in the church didn't cause me much issue when it came to leaving because I had been so terribly wrong at times when I was following the spirit!

 

The strongest spiritual experience I had was confirmation that I should marry my BYU boyfriend - but as it turned out he left me for another young lady and married her instead - in "our temple". 

 

Years later I found myself in a situation where I needed to know if I should try to have another child.  Despite the fact that I had been in poor health, we didn't have the money for the medical help (I'd had a long sad fertility history) and that my husband was not on-board - The Spirit had told me over and over that I needed to have this child.  I 'knew' this child was a girl and had already picked a name for her.  I was not surprised when I found myself pregnant - but was quite surprised when I miscarried a few weeks later.  And, as it turned out, I was unable to ever become pregnant again.  End of the line. 

 

I do think TBM's have these failed experiences as well - perhaps they don't admit to them or perhaps they believe Heavenly Father intends for them to hit dead ends in life and to make important decisions that are meant to be wrong.

 

I don't know - I just know that I've felt lifted up in the air and wrapped in a soft loving blanket and light felt like it was radiating out of my chest and fingers - and the answer ended up being totally wrong.  It happens.  Can't explain it but know it's not a truth-detector.

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I don’t want to ruin the ending for you ...... but it’s all going to be okay.

 
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MishMagnet:

The spiritual experiences I had in the church didn't cause me much issue when it came to leaving because I had been so terribly wrong at times when I was following the spirit!

 

The strongest spiritual experience I had was confirmation that I should marry my BYU boyfriend - but as it turned out he left me for another young lady and married her instead - in "our temple". 

 

Years later I found myself in a situation where I needed to know if I should try to have another child.  Despite the fact that I had been in poor health, we didn't have the money for the medical help (I'd had a long sad fertility history) and that my husband was not on-board - The Spirit had told me over and over that I needed to have this child.  I 'knew' this child was a girl and had already picked a name for her.  I was not surprised when I found myself pregnant - but was quite surprised when I miscarried a few weeks later.  And, as it turned out, I was unable to ever become pregnant again.  End of the line. 

 

I do think TBM's have these failed experiences as well - perhaps they don't admit to them or perhaps they believe Heavenly Father intends for them to hit dead ends in life and to make important decisions that are meant to be wrong.

 

I don't know - I just know that I've felt lifted up in the air and wrapped in a soft loving blanket and light felt like it was radiating out of my chest and fingers - and the answer ended up being totally wrong.  It happens.  Can't explain it but know it's not a truth-detector.

It's hard to discuss the church with TBMs for whom The Spirit trumps all facts. But MM, as usual, makes a good point. I bet all TBMs have had some spiritual confirmations, even about major life decisions, that turned out to be wrong. I know I did. It simply isn't a reliable source of truth. Realizing that people of all religions claim these same feelings is huge.

 

When my husband was deciding what to do with all the info I'd discovered about the church, he too asked, "What about the Spirit?" I compared the church to a boyfriend. Imagine, I said, that I've had good feelings around this boyfriend most of the time, although I sometimes felt uncomfortable with things he said or did. There were rumors about some bad stuff in his past, but he assured me those were false and promulgated by his enemies. Then imagine, I said, that I discover solid evidence--court records, signed statements by the boyfriend, testimonials from his close friends and family--that this boyfriend is a lying, abusive, racist, chauvinistic charlatan. How would I decide what to do? On the one hand, I feel so great about him. And he tells me these feelings are proof that he is telling the truth. But on the other hand, there's all this evidence, from multiple sources, that he has a pattern of telling lie after lie. Of course, the right thing to do in this situation is to get out fast. All the feelings in the world can't cancel out the evidence against this guy. It would be crazy to trust my feelings over the facts.

 

This is how I feel about the church.  

 
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MsLed, what a great comparison!  I think I'll put that in my little bag of answers.   The question does come up a lot and my usual responses have been bumbling and inefficient.

 

MishMagnet, your explanation brings the matter into a practical, real-life light.  It turns out that the Spirit just isn't a reliable indictor of truth.  I suspect that the feelings are mostly a reliable indicator of...our feelings.

 
       
 


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