Glad I found this board.

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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Glad I found this board.

Post by HiJolly » 11 Feb 2009, 23:04

Hi, my name is HiJolly and I'm a Mormon Mystic. :o

I am very active in the Church and have a firm testimony of its truthfulness, though in a different way than some might suppose. I spend time on the LDSForums and MA&DB, and I support John D. and his efforts, so I'll be trying to contribute here as well.

I have studied many religions and faith traditions. Of great interest to me were these three ways of realigning or re-assessing personal beliefs. One was the Zen Buddhist deconstruction of all belief, and consequent systematic re-building of a new view of reality. Another is the Socratic method, wherein we question how we know all we think we know, until we get to something that cannot be questioned. If you get to THAT point, you're not doing it right. DeCartes used something like this to arrive at his great conclusion (the point where his thinking made his head hurt too much, so he stopped!): "I think, therefore I am!". The third is the buddhist "kill the Buddha" teaching. "If you meet the Buddha on the path, kill him!"

In other words, we all build up our view of 'truth' ('God') as we learn a religious/faith system. We do this on faith, on the reliance of what *other* people say God is. But what if we have a metaphysical experience, wherein we interact directly with God. And what if that interaction seems at odds with what we were told? Then, it is time to "kill the Buddha", and construct the true God from our own experience, not from what someone we trusted told us He was.

Are we driven to find 'truth'? Do we hunger for it? Does it drive us to action?

Truth is a tough, tough master. Many times learning the truth can be very painful or uncomfortable, as our self-deception is revealed. Is learning the truth worth the pain? Is it *really* the "fairest gem"? In my life, the Holy Ghost has taught me a lot of truth. I've experienced revelatory dreams many times, the earliest I can remember was back when I was probably 10 years old or so. I've experienced overwhelming emotions, even 'divine' feelings. I've received what I consider to be "pure intelligence". I've had little, obscure ticklings in my mind that bore wonderful fruit when I listened and obeyed.

Since 2006 (January, Stake conference, Theme: Spiritual self-reliance), though, the HG has not only born witness of truth, but has been working more on helping me un-learn things I had believed, but weren't necessarily so.

Once during my teenage years, I was very angry with my parents over some odd thing that I don't even remember now, some 35 years later. At that point, I was so angry and upset, that I retreated to my room and sulked. Anyone who knows me realizes that this is NOT my nature. But back then, I was considering making it my worldview, my 'native' disposition. As I sat there with a cloud of gloom and angst over my head, suddenly I had a compelling, overwhelming thought: "Do you like this? Do you want this to be how life is?" ...and I could see that I teetered on the edge of two divergent paths. Be *happy*, or be *morose*. Just as clear as a bright day, these were my choices, and I *HAD* to choose right there, on the spot. I chose to be happy. And that has been my disposition ever since. Generally speaking. ;-)

In 2007 reached a point where my life's path brought me to another clear decision point. I had been studying Church history for many years (since at least the early 1990's). I had also in that same time, been studing science and world history, as it impinged upon my Church studies. For example, what about evolution? I grew up in the 60's and 70's, where the prevailing 'Mormon' view was chiefly set or defined by such Church authorities as Joseph Fielding Smith (book: "Man, His Origin and Destiny"), Bruce R. McConkie (book: "Mormon Doctrine" talk: "The Seven Deadly Heresies"), Harold B. Lee and Boyd K. Packer (1988 BYU talk: "The Law and the Light").

This view was anti-science and scripturally very fundamentalistic. If a literal interpretation could be maintained, then it must be so, to the exclusion of anything else. At least, that was how I saw it. In the evolutionary sense, these Church leaders stated unequivocally that if evolution was true, then there could have been no Fall (as in, Adam and Eve). Therefore is was absolutely false. This of course depended on their understanding of what evolution is, which I since found out was drastically mistaken. Not only that, but it also depended on their understanding of the Garden of Eden, and the mortal world, and their relationship to each other. Their proof-text of 2 Nephi 2:22 was undebateable to them, and only could have one meaning, *their* meaning.

This is only one point, for example's sake. There are others. The point being, I began to see that not everything in the Church was 'perfect'. Sometimes, leaders made mistakes, even from the pulpit of General Conference. But yet, I had profound spiritual experiences in context of the Church itself, that at the very least, meant that God was teaching me and blessing me and developing me, *within* the Church. So I knew the Church was true, and at the same time I could see major flaws in things involving the Church.

Expand upon that with talks by people like Bart Ehrman, who questioned quite effectively the foundations of all Christianity, including the Bible and Jesus Christ Himself. I was torn between the secular and intellectual view on the one hand, and the faithful or believing view on the other. I knew that both are of value, and that a mediation between the two was the 'right' way to go, but how exactly did that work?

Would I back off to be safe, and honor my old beliefs; or would I press forward and possibly have to give up everything that had motivated me and given meaning to my life?

I chose the latter. In my mind and heart I gave up *having* to believe in my past teachings, in order to grasp the new fruit of knowledge that the Holy Ghost offered to me.

I am VERY happy to report, that God did not require me to give up everything I had known. All He did, was show me a new light by which to view it all. I now know that the LDS Church is not so much true in the sense of how *men* think it ought to be, but rather in the sense that it is TRUE as an arrow is true; perfectly functional in obtaining its purpose, in fulfilling its sacred design.

Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

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Brian Johnston
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Re: Glad I found this board.

Post by Brian Johnston » 12 Feb 2009, 08:10

Welcome HiJolly. I am sure you can share a lot of great ideas. I look forward to hearing more. I can't say enough about how much my journey in faith has been similar to yours. Very interesting! I had one of those one-path-or-another visions at a point in my life too. It was eerie reading your description.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.

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Re: Glad I found this board.

Post by hawkgrrrl » 12 Feb 2009, 10:02

HiJolly - I too really identified with what you had to say. Like you and Valoel, I had a turning point in my life where I chose to enjoy life and be happy and left behind my morose and serious approach I had to that point. It had a lot of consequences, not just for me, but in relationships with other people, too--essentially, there were some friendships that just no longer served because we couldn't relate to each other. One friend even said to me that I had changed so much, and I didn't used to be so positive (which was seemingly a bad thing to this person).

Great stuff!

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Re: Glad I found this board.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 12 Feb 2009, 10:31

Welcome. I love the description of your journey and am looking forward to talking with you here.
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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