Hearing the Spirit

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Hearing the Spirit

Post by GBSmith » 16 Sep 2013, 21:13

Our high council speaker gave a good talk yesterday mainly on recognizing the spirit. He finished with a story about his son who was driving back home and when he crossed into Idaho texted his dad where he was. Shortly after that the father, the HC speaker, had the distinct impression that he needed to pray for his son's safety and even though he was about late for work spent the next fifteen minutes on his knees "pleading" that his son would be protected. Shortly after finishing he got a call from his son who told him that he'd been in an accident. He was badly shaken but had only minor injuries and then a highway patrolman got on the phone and told him that his truck had spun on ice and rolled four times. With each successive roll the roof was crushed further and the patrolman said that with a fifth roll, his son would have been killed. The point was that his father listened and acted on the prompting and what was left unsaid but understood was that the father's pleading saved his son's life.

What I can't decide for myself is if the father hadn't heeded the prompting, would the son have died? If that was the case it would seem that God had set up a test for the father but I can't see that happening. Another question is that if he hadn't responded to what he felt was the Spirit and exactly the same thing had happened, would he feel guilt thinking that he could have affected the out come if he'd been faithful?

There was a time when even with the level of faith that I once did have, I'd have taken the story at face value. But now I really don't know.

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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Sep 2013, 21:37

I have no clue, really, but I tend to think experiences like this are real in some way. I also tend to think the father's actions didn't change anything, but rather that he was given an experience that strengthened his faith, for whatever reason I can't understand - since not everyone has that sort of experience.

I don't discount it, simply because I know of too many experiences that are similar in some unexplainable way - but I have no clue why they happen or why they only happen to some people. All I can say is that I'm convinced the reason for the difference has nothing to do with worthiness.
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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by hawkgrrrl » 16 Sep 2013, 21:56

I'm with Ray on this one. Faith promoting experiences are just that - it's hard to say whence they come, but they really do bolster your faith. I can't imagine the prayer really resulted in his son's life being preserved and he would have died otherwise. But who knows? I can also say that those family ties are very strong at times, and when a family member we love is in peril, those are times when I think we are particularly prone to spiritual experiences.


Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by Featherina » 17 Sep 2013, 06:36

Such a story could be faith-promoting, or shame-promoting.
So many people have had terrible things happen, and "what if they could have somehow done something to prevent it?"

I do believe in prayer, but I also believe there's a higher truth than we often realize.

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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by Sheldon » 17 Sep 2013, 08:46

Why didn't the "spirit" prompt the son to pull over and rest? Why didn't the "spirit" prompt the father to call the son and tell him to pull over? It seems the “spirit” is playing games. It knows what is going to happen, and can stop the whole thing, which it does in other faith promoting stories in the Ensign, GC talks, etc. In other cases it does not stop the accident, but keeps people from getting hurt. And in some cases people die. In every case it is a “faith promoting lesson”. How is this any different than there being no “spirit”, and things just happen?

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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by Orson » 17 Sep 2013, 08:53

I also can't imagine the father's actions changing the outcome in any way. I try not to judge stories such as this too harshly, but from my youth I have held them suspect because of my first hand experience of some stories that have been told publicly. For example imagine a child being in the room when the father receives the phone call, then after he hangs up the phone he says "I had an uneasy feeling before the phone rang." A short time later the story is told that he had an uneasy feeling and said a silent prayer before the phone rang. Even later the story is told in sacrament meeting the way it is written above.

I know some people are anxious to have faith promoting experiences, but unfortunately when children observe the "wrong" things it only makes believing these stories difficult.
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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Sep 2013, 11:34

Like you, GBSmith, at one point I would have taken the experience at face value and shared it when I felt it was appropriate. Also like you, I now question it. As Sheldon alludes to, why does God "inspire" some people and not others, even in the same situation? My Grandmother (may she rest in peace) used to have "feelings" about such things - she knew when someone close to her was in trouble or danger. Not only was she not LDS (we have no monopoly on the "spirit"), she was not religious at all, but not an atheist. Her feelings were almost always correct, and I only qualify that because she may have been wrong and not shared, but I don't recall a time when she was wrong (but sometimes she didn't share that she "had a feeling" until after the fact). I won't deny that your story actually happened, and in fact I'm pretty sure it did. But, as others have said, I don't know why and I doubt his prayer had anything to do with the outcome of the incident - just as Grandma knowing had no impact on the outcome.
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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by Roy » 17 Sep 2013, 17:49

Possibilities that I am comfortable with:

1) Some form of premontion or foreboding that we do not understand but does seem to occur to some people at some times. This could have meant that the accident already occured and the father was made aware of this through supernatural means.

2) Our perception colors every experience we have and several coincidences can be pieced together to form a miracle.

3) As Orson mentioned, sometimes the stories grow or take on additional faith promoting details over time. This is not always intentional.

I personally cannot allow the hand of God in this outcome because it would unravel certain foundational elements of my post crisis world view. This doesn't mean that I am right - just that I am trying to take ownership for why my worldview has certain limits.
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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by SilentDawning » 18 Sep 2013, 03:15

I honestly don't know anymore. There are tendencies to broadcast to the world experiences like these where feelings and outcomes are in close proximity, and then remain silent about the times one has feelings and there are no associated outcomes.

Ultimately what matters is the speaker believed it was God working in his life. And this belief will now direct his behavior in the future, presumably.
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Re: Hearing the Spirit

Post by GBSmith » 18 Sep 2013, 05:45

Roy wrote:Possibilities that I am comfortable with:

1) Some form of premontion or foreboding that we do not understand but does seem to occur to some people at some times. This could have meant that the accident already occured and the father was made aware of this through supernatural means.
I thought about that later and it seems a good possibility.

The other thing I've wondered about is if or even how much God intervenes in our lives unbidden. It seems like an agency issue. If God/the Spirit were stepping in all the time then what is the point of our having choice. My wife's theory is that we have guardian angels that are ready to help but can't unless asked. Then, of course, the help we get may be what we need but not what we asked for. Just a thought.

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