The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

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Beefster
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The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by Beefster » 03 Feb 2018, 10:28

This blog post from Adrian Larsen got me thinking... (Why was he ex'd?... Seems like he was collateral damage in the Denver Snuffer witch hunt...)

This is a concept that has been taught at GC on at least one occasion, yet so frequently when we talk about "feeling the spirit", there's a lot of talk about warm fuzzy feelings and the like. I often see speakers presume that their audience is feeling something, which is then tied to the spirit. Many times, I do not actually have those feelings.

A few months ago, I came to realize that some of those feelings--what I once thought was the Spirit--were not from God (that's not to say they were bad- just incorrect). It was simply me feeling emotional or excited about something. Emotions are sometimes an indirect effect of the Spirit, not the Spirit itself. The effect of the Spirit is enlightenment and revelation. While it's much harder to distinguish that from intuitive hunches and spurious thoughts, it should (if truly the Spirit) be more reliable and consistent than going on feeling.

And yet emotion and spirituality are often conflated. How is it that this came to be?
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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SamBee
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by SamBee » 03 Feb 2018, 10:37

Mormons catch many of their members so young that they fail to realize that just feeling happy or elated is not the Spirit. This is because they have so little of these experiences outside the context of church membership.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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LookingHard
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by LookingHard » 03 Feb 2018, 11:35

I just saw a link to this. Interesting Elevation

Curt Sunshine
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by Curt Sunshine » 03 Feb 2018, 13:26

I agree absolutely with the central message.

However, "the Denver Snuffer witch hunt" is not an accurate description. He actively challenged the church leadership as being apostate and began organizing a personal following, as an alternative to the LDS Church, prior to being excommunicated. I am not a fan of excommunication, generally, but his case was about as open-and-shut an example of classic apostasy as it gets.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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DarkJedi
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Feb 2018, 14:33

Curt Sunshine wrote:
03 Feb 2018, 13:26
I agree absolutely with the central message.

However, "the Denver Snuffer witch hunt" is not an accurate description. He actively challenged the church leadership as being apostate and began organizing a personal following, as an alternative to the LDS Church, prior to being excommunicated. I am not a fan of excommunication, generally, but his case was about as open-and-shut an example of classic apostasy as it gets.
And the very title of the blog indicates that Larsen is a "Snufferite" (AKA Remnant).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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dande48
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by dande48 » 03 Feb 2018, 22:33

When I gave up the idea that The Spirit === truth, I found myself feeling the spirit in all sorts of places I'd never expect. Beauty != Truth != Goodness. It doesn't have to be true to be enlightening or inspiring.
Lao Tzu wrote:“The truth is not always beautiful, nor beautiful words the truth. Good words are not always persuasive; persuasive words are not always good. ”
Religion answers some of the deepest mysteries of the universe... even if those answers are false. They give comfort and certainty, where cold, hard fact gives none. I don't think many people could bare to survive without the consolation their religion provides, even if their religion is fake. And I think there is a lot of goodness that can stem from believing in certain things that may or may not be true.

I've made it a point to never correct someone because I felt they were wrong in their religious beliefs. I couldn't reason them out of it, even if I wanted to. And even if I did, it'd be like taking the lifejacket, from someone who doesn't know how to swim.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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SamBee
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by SamBee » 04 Feb 2018, 00:35

LookingHard wrote:
03 Feb 2018, 11:35
I just saw a link to this. Interesting Elevation
Positive psychologists are interested in understanding the motivations behind prosocial behavior in order to learn how to encourage individuals to help and care for each other.
Or more likely they are being employed by corporations trying to monetize this behavior or by governments to try and work out how to use it to their own ends.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Roy
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by Roy » 05 Feb 2018, 11:56

The teachings on the spirit are all over the map. I am not convinced by anything written in the bible that the spirit was intended to be a person/sentient being. It could just as easily be a power or force or energy (as described in the Lectures on Faith).

I believe that the scripture (Galatians 5:22) that we use as missionaries to identify the spirit with feelings is misapplied. If we read the whole chapter we can see that these verses are describing what we LDS may be familiar with as "the natural man" that is an enemy to God unless "he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father." For behold, "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law" (for the sake of transparency, I spliced together Mosiah 3:19 and Galatians 5:22 to help make my point)

I strongly believe that Galatians 5:22 is not describing emotions that the spirit will use to help us identify eternal truth.

Furthermore, IMO almost everything about the holy ghost (who/what it is and how it operates) is unclear.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Beefster
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by Beefster » 05 Feb 2018, 22:11

Considering that the feelings that lead people to join the church are essentially the same feelings that lead people to join Islam- and pretty much every other faith, I don't think emotion is in any way a reliable test for truth- however it may be a test for goodness.

With the Spirit, what is it? Is it? Is it even a personage, or is it more like a divine influence ("The Universe")? How does it speak to us? Does it?

Every religion has a different name for this influence and a different way of interacting with it, but there is one common thread: love, peace, and goodness. It's all the same, but with a philosophy built around it. When you cast aside the exterior, nearly everyone in the world believes in essentially the same thing. And yet we let that outside define and divide.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Often I hear doubt being presented as the opposite of faith but I think certainty does a better job of filling that role. Doubts can help faith grow, certainty almost always makes faith shrink. --nibbler

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SamBee
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Re: The Spirit =/= Good Feelings

Post by SamBee » 06 Feb 2018, 02:35

Beefster wrote:
05 Feb 2018, 22:11
Considering that the feelings that lead people to join the church are essentially the same feelings that lead people to join Islam - and pretty much every other faith
Are they? Have you ever become a Muslim? How do you know?

Most people have joined Islam because of the sword and still do so today. Saddam Hussein's family were Christian a few generations back but his village mass converted. And the trouble with Islam is that if you unconvert, you run the risk of being killed.

In the case of Islam, fear (of people not of Allah), social pressure and economic advantage have been key drivers into modern times. While many places became Christian in a similar fashion, this is not really the case with our church, Pentecostals or the charismatic movement.

I see little evidence that people become Buddhists, Hindus or even Taoists through a similar conversion process. In the case of Buddhism, people tend to become interested in its philosophy and meditation practises, not a burning bosom.
Beefster wrote:
05 Feb 2018, 22:11
Every religion has a different name for this influence and a different way of interacting with it, but there is one common thread: love, peace, and goodness.
Totally disputing this again - there are minor religions which worship evil, and ancient tribal religions which are based on war. Do we think the cults of Mars, Kali and Shugden were based on this? No. Nor are many forms of Satanism. Anton LaVey's brand is based mainly around selfishness and self-advancement.

For example LaVey writes - "Death to the weakling, wealth to the strong!" and "Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek."

As you can see in my signature I am not completely against other religions, but I do find the one size fits all concept of them misleading. There is a lot of wisdom in many of them, but are they all the same? No.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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