Sunday, November 2, 2014

Feeling, and Fooling, the Spirit

But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.
Ether 4:11

When was the last time you felt the Spirit? 


Is it a common, regular experience? Is it easy to feel the Spirit? Are there things you read, watch, or listen to that reliably cause you to feel the Spirit?

What does it feel like?

These may seem like unusual questions, yet these questions are—or ought to be—of prime importance to Latter-day Saints. Common situations in which we "feel the Spirit" include testimony meetings, Sunday school classes, priesthood ordinances, and gospel discussions. We may "feel the Spirit" when we visit the temple or the home of a fellow believer. We consider "feeling the Spirit" as a confirmation of truth.

When you get right down to it, we base our testimonies, our acceptance of truth, our understanding of scripture, our relationship with God, and therefore our very salvation on the somewhat ill-defined notion of "feeling the Spirit."

Indeed, "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." (1 Cor. 12:3)

We equate these feelings with the influence of the Holy Ghost, and then base our testimonies upon these feelings. So we ought to be able to define the influence of the Holy Ghost, and how this influence gives us to know something is true. This ought to be the heart of our study until we have experienced it, mastered it, and can articulate it. We ought to be experts in the things of the Spirit.

We must, as we are admonished at confirmation, "receive the Holy Ghost."

So let's turn first to the scriptures, to see what God has revealed about the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Ghost:
  • Will "teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance" (John 14:26)
  • Will testify of Christ (John 15:26)
  • Is the "spirit of revelation" and will "tell you in your mind and in your heart." (D&C 8:2-3)
  • Causes men to speak the will of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, the word of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation (D&C 68:4)
  • Will unfold the mysteries of God to them that diligently seek (1 Nephi 10:19)
  • Remits your sins (2 Nephi 31:17)
  • Cleanses you (Moroni 6:4)
  • Sanctifies you (3 Nephi 27:20)
  • Is the power by which angels speak (2 Nephi 32:3)
  • Bears record of the Father and the Son (3 Nephi 11:32)
And perhaps the best explanation of all:
For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. (2 Nephi 32:5-6)
So, according to the doctrine of Christ, the Holy Ghost will show us all things that we should do, and, if obeyed, will ultimately lead us to encounter Christ while yet in the flesh—which is the very definition of redemption. (Ether 3:13)

Now, with all these mighty miracles worked by the Holy Ghost—revelation, sanctification, cleansing, even redemption—ask yourself this: What might be Satan's MOST EFFECTIVE strategy for capturing as many souls as possible in this fallen world? Where might he focus his efforts? What must he prevent?

I hope by now you realize that the most effective play Satan can make to capture any of us is to interfere with our reception of the Holy Ghost! I cannot overstate the importance of understanding this!

If Satan can prevent you from recognizing and receiving the Holy Ghost, he has won. Period. 

Regardless of how you spend your life, what you do, who you serve, what you worship, or how "righteous" you believe you are, without the vital influence of the Holy Ghost, you will be damned. End of story. Everything else we hope to receive from God begins with receiving the Holy Ghost.

Now with this sobering thought in mind, it's time to shake off the chains with which we are bound and examine the unbeliefs about the Holy Ghost that are holding us back. If you're not familiar with the definition of unbelief, please read this post first, and possibly the two that follow it. It's very important to understand the meaning of unbelief.

What follows may not be comfortable to confront, as unbelief never is. I ask you to keep an open heart and consider what I'm about to share. It is important.

The Unbelief of "Feeling the Spirit"

We speak so often of "feeling the Spirit" that it's just an everyday expression among Mormons. We hear it and nod knowingly, having had many of the same experiences ourselves. Here are a few of the more common things we feel. See how many you have felt:
  • Strong, even overwhelming, emotions
  • Tears, crying, weeping
  • Peace, warmth
  • Sentimentality
  • Chills, goosebumps
  • Pounding heart, shaking, sweating (time to bear your testimony!)
  • A "rushing" feeling in the body
  • A feeling of being "filled" in the body
Any of these sound familiar?


I've experienced these feelings, and I'll bet you have as well. In fact, so have my good Christian friends, my good Jewish friends, and my good atheist friends. Many people from many different faiths experience these feelings as confirmation of what they believe. Many also experience these feelings completely apart from religion. 

I experience these feelings when watching an exciting movie, an emotional television program, or when reading great literature. Certain music moves me and causes these feelings. I can recall specific movie scenes that reliably produce these feelings every time I watch them. (Yeah, I'll admit I'm moved when Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star. Every time.)

Is that the Holy Ghost? Should I bear my testimony that I "know" Luke Skywalker is "true?"

Do the tears and sentimentality that come with the memory of my father mean that he was similarly "true?" (Way to go, Dad!)

Do the same feelings felt by a Catholic, Muslim, and Evangelical Christian mean that each of their respective religions are "true?"

I'm sorry to say, ALL the feelings above are products of emotion, sentimentality, and normal physiological responses to thought processes. Look at the list again and ask which ones you might feel when going through a really good haunted house.

These are NOT the Holy Ghost. There is NO scripture that tells us to identify the Holy Ghost by any of these feelings. While the Holy Ghost does produce physical signs, the scriptures DO NOT teach us to identify the Holy Ghost by what we refer to as "feeling the Spirit."

Let that sink in for a minute. We don't "feel" the Holy Ghost.

I know, I know. Your seminary teacher, primary teacher, parents, bishop, mission companion and best friend all taught you about "feeling the Spirit." You and I, we grew up with it. And yet for all this "feeling" that was going on, were the gifts of the Spirit manifest? Tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, angels, healings, mighty miracles, and the visitation of the Savior—were these common to our worship experiences while we "felt" the Spirit?

Now, before you throw up your hands and call me a lunatic, consider what I said about Satan, above. What if—just for the sake of discussion—what if old scratch could cause us to "feel" things too? 

What if he he were the great deceiver and could, in actuality, counterfeit and deceive? 

And what if, possibly, he could get us to misidentify these feelings as coming from God? 

And what if this misidentification kept us from ever actually receiving the Holy Ghost and all the blessings and signs that the scriptures most surely promise—because we are satisfied with sentimentality as a substitute? 

Would that not be Satan's greatest achievement? Would that not cause the Devil to laugh and rejoice?

But of course, Satan couldn't deceive us, could he? 


God says he could, can, and does. (Moses 4:4, D&C 50:2-3, D&C 52:14). 

But God, always faithful, has given us the means to avoid deception. 
And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. (Moses 4:4)
The key to avoiding Satan's deceptions is to hearken unto the Lord's voice. How do we receive the Lord's voice? By taking the Holy Spirit for our guide.
For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. (D&C 45:57)
So to put it simply we MUST learn to hear the Lord's voice through the Holy Spirit. This is NOT about feeling something. It is about hearing Him.

It is vitally important that we learn to do this, so let's talk about how to do it.

Step One: Intelligence

If the Holy Ghost isn't about feelings or emotions, how, exactly do we receive and recognize the Holy Ghost? How do we hear the Lord's voice?

Let's start with some of Joseph Smith's statements about the effects of the Holy Ghost:

Revelation:
Said Joseph Smith: "No man can receive the Holy Ghost without receiving revelations. The Holy Ghost is a revelator." (TPJS 328)
Sudden strokes of ideas:
The Spirit of Revelation is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus. (TPJS 151)
Light communicated to the intellect: 
We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; (TPJS 51)
The Holy Ghost communicates intelligence, light and knowledge to your mind and intellect. "Pure intelligence" and "sudden strokes of ideas" refer to the somewhat surprising experience of suddenly knowing something you didn't know a moment before, without being taught it. It's just there—in your understanding where it wasn't a moment before. This often happens while pondering and studying the scriptures.
This first Comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body; (TPJS 149)
"The Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence." Not chills. Not tears. Not emotion. So the first question to ask when someone has "felt the Spirit" is what intelligence was communicated? What revelation was received? What new knowledge was given? What understanding exists that was lacking before? If none was given, this was not the Lord's Spirit.

When the Lord gives us knowledge in this way, by His Spirit, it is the beginning of our ability to hear His voice, or as Joseph Smith put it, to "grow into the principle of revelation."

Step Two: The Still, Small Voice

Have you ever had an experience when the Spirit was SO STRONG? When you received a powerful witness? When the "Spirit was so thick you could cut it with a knife?" When the "Spirit was so powerful I couldn't even speak?"

These phrases, common among us, describe a powerful feeling that we attribute to the Holy Ghost. 

And yet, could not such things also be attributed to Satan? 
I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak...the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being (JSH 1:15-16)
Notice that the powerful part of the experience was provided by Satan, and the enlightening part of the experience was provided by God. When Joseph cried out to God for deliverance, revelation was received, knowledge was communicated, questions were asked and answered, and the devil was banished.

The fact is, the Holy Ghost speaks in a still, small voice, and NOT a powerful feeling. (1 Kings 19:12, 1 Nephi 17:45) It is a whisper, and only available to those who are listening for it (Helaman 5:30) The voice is not heard with the ears. It comes from inside you. The voice of the Spirit speaks to you inside your soul. (D&C 85:6.)

As you begin to hearken to the intelligence communicated to you in step one, you will develop sensitivity to the Spirit's voice within, so that you can begin to hear it speaking to you when you're quiet and listening. It's quite surprising at first, until you become accustomed to it. With practice, you can become adept at relying upon the Spirit's voice, and the Holy Ghost will speak to you in sentences.

When I say it's surprising at first, here's what I mean:
  1. Speed: A few years ago, and I still remember it like it was today, I was reading the Book of Mormon and asked a question in my mind about the meaning of a phrase I had just read. I had scarcely formed the thought when my inner voice very clearly, but quietly, spoke a sentence that answered my question. It was clear, unmistakable, and immediate when I asked. The question was answered and light was communicated. It took me by surprise because I had scarcely formed the question when the answer came.
  2. Familiarity: That voice that answered my question in scripture study was my own voice. It was in the very core of my being, and extremely familiar. I struggled to understand how that voice could be the Holy Ghost when it's the same inner voice that keeps up constant chatter in my head. Yet, that's how it works. Said the Lord to Oliver Cowdery:Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart. (D&C 8:2)
  3. Insight: The answer was brilliant, insightful, and filled with light. It was definitely NOT something I knew before and could not have come from me. And yet, it was spoken by my own inner voice. It was spoken by the Holy Ghost.
As we learn to listen to, and obey that voice, we will ultimately begin to hear, and identify, not only the voice of the Spirit, but ultimately the voice of Christ and the voice of the Father. Each has a distinct voice. 

Step Three: It will Show unto You

The Holy Ghost will also teach us by showing us things. 
For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. (2 Nephi 32:5)
Such experiences come in very natural and unremarkable ways at first. You may ask something in prayer and "see" the answer in your mind's eye. I once had to teach an important topic in a gospel class and I wasn't sure the best way to convey it. I prayed and asked God how I should teach the principle, and the Holy Ghost immediately showed me, in detail, the object lesson I was to use and how to incorporate it with the appropriate scriptures. I saw it clearly in my mind, and it was a much better idea than I ever could have come up with on my own. 

I try to start each day by asking God what he wants me to accomplish that day. Very often, he shows me people I am to serve or tasks he wants me to do. "Seeing" them seems to be the most effective way for me to understand what is required.

The Fruits of the Spirit

You will be changed by receiving the Holy Ghost; it will bear fruit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
These fruits are not emotions, but states of being. When you obtain the Holy Ghost you will tend to BE more loving, peaceful, patient, gentle, good, faithful, meek and tempered.

Similarly, the receipt of the Holy Ghost tends to be accompanied with the Gifts of the Spirit: 
But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do...that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given; (D&C 46:7-8)
The gifts of the Spirit include knowledge, belief, wisdom, faith to heal, faith to be healed, working of miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, speaking with tongues, interpreting tongues and others. These are the fruits of the Spirit.

Now about those feelings. When the Holy Ghost has conveyed beautiful truth to your soul, there may indeed be tears. There may be chills, warm fuzzies, or tingles. But these are a RESULT of the information conveyed, not a substitute for it. Once we realize it's the information that's most important, the side effects take a lesser role. 

So What's Wrong with Emotion?

When knowledge is communicated by the Holy Ghost, there may indeed be an emotional response, as well as physical responses. But the response is to the intelligence communicated and the knowledge learned, NOT merely to the experience of hearing the voice. 

When there has been nothing communicated, but we still "feel" the spirit, we may be sure we are indeed feeling "a" spirit, but it might not be from God. It might merely be our own emotions, or it may be something far more sinister, hoping to deceive us.
Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you. (D&C 50: 2-3)
We put ourselves in grave danger when we intentionally seek to create moving, emotional experiences as a substitute for the teaching of the Spirit.
...too much of the literature used, seen, and quoted in the Church today is just sentimental trash which is designed to pull our heart strings or to moisten our eyes—but it is not born of true spiritual experience. The tendency of our youth to use sentimental stories in Church talks creates a culture of spiritual misunderstanding in which thinking and learning are discouraged. Because our youth often respond positively to sentimentalism, there is a danger that we might cater to that in the Church instruction more generally.... It [emotional sentimentalism] should never be leaned upon as a substitute for spirituality. Reliance on sentimentality will stunt our own spiritual growth by misleading us and filling our understanding with false experiences.
Reason and Revelation, Noel B. Reynolds, Academic Vice-President, BYU, Summer 1981.
You may not agree with me, but I've just got to tell you—the new LDS temple films seem to be directly going after the emotions, rather than conveying more truth and light. Not a word of the script was changed, but I found the sensational special effects, locations, music, and over-acting to be terribly distracting as I tried to hear the voice of the Holy Ghost in the temple. In fact, I couldn't hear the Spirit at all until the film portion of the endowment ended and the information was presented without all the sentimentality and special effects.

The tools of Hollywood are poorly suited to convey the things of God, though we do tend to seek them as substitutes, and Hollywood willingly sells them to us for money.

In the temple, I looked around and saw many people in tears, clearly moved by what they had seen, and ready to testify that the new temple films were SO powerful and they felt the spirit SO strongly. I heard many such testimonies about the new films. I'm not criticizing those who feel that way, but I do think they have confused sentiment for Spirit. This is dangerous.

The most important thing you can possibly do in the temple is LEARN...not feel. The endowment is rich in information, symbolism, light and truth. How much of it do we understand? Does more drama convey more truth?

Dark Feelings
One other point that I must make about feelings:

From time to time, someone tells me they stopped reading a book, or the scriptures, or this blog, because of a "dark feeling" they got when reading it. (I heard this one a bunch on my mission about the Book of Mormon.)

To this I ask: Where do dark feelings come from? 

Do you seriously think God is the author of fear, discouragement, anxiety, or darkness? If you believe that, you don't understand God at all.

Such "dark" feelings only have one source and it is not God.

Now, let's suppose that as a master deceiver, Satan can cause all sorts of different feelings in hopes of manipulating our thoughts and actions. What will he send if he wants you to follow a path that leads away from God or keeps you from progressing? Will he send dark feelings and fear of that path to dissuade you, or will he send chills and goosebumps in hopes you'll mistake them for "the Spirit?" 

As long as you're unredeemed, he'll do all he can to keep you comfortable where you are, and safely away from God.

And what will he do if he wants you to stop what you're doing and pursue a different course? If you start to make progress toward God, how will Satan react? Will darkness and fear get you to change course? Did he try it on Joseph Smith? 

And lastly, will Satan teach enough truth to keep you comfortable, happy, asleep, and certain you are right, just as long as he can get you to reject further light and knowledge? These important questions are worth pondering. Satan's opposition is one of the signs of greater light.

When your emotions become your ultimate gauge of truth; when something is "true" because you feel good about it, and "false" because you don't feel good about it, you have become Satan's puppet—dancing on the stage while he laughs at you, controlled by his strong cords. (2 Nephi 26:22) This is not revelation—it is manipulation. It was Satan's plan from the beginning. God help you if you've fallen for this deception.

Don't confuse sentiment for enlightenment. Settle for nothing less than revelation.

Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
—D&C 50:17-18

Postscript

This primer has been necessarily brief. There's more to cover (burning in the bosom anyone?) So watch for that in my next post. 

Also: There is indeed something of the Holy Ghost that is felt. But it is very subtle, refined, and quiet. It is not emotional; it is informational and difficult to describe. It comes after you learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit.

Also: I've intentionally used Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit or "the Spirit" interchangeably in this post. I did this because these names are commonly interchanged in Mormon teachings and I want this post to be accessible to all. In actuality, the Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost are not the same thing. There are important distinctions to understand, but that must wait for another day. What I've written here is a start, and this post is already too long.

And finally: Don't be discouraged, and don't tell yourself you can't receive revelation. Fact is, you already do receive it. You just don't recognize it because it comes inside you in your own voice. Start paying attention. The problem isn't that it's too foreign. The problem is that it's too familiar. You can do this. 


79 comments:

  1. Adrian,

    Thank you so much for this post. As you have suggested above this should be our focus until we "get it". It has been my focus for a very long time and I have felt/feel like Lamem and Lemuel that "the Lord maketh no such thing known unto us". Try as I may I have always felt that I can't get answers and can't feel the spirit.

    However, while reading this with my wife, I was enlightened with the truth that I have and do receive revelation quite often but not in the way I was expecting. I have a very long road ahead of me but this post will certainly help me and hopefully my son who is a chip off the old block.

    Thanks again for your incite and willingness to serve.

    Kevin

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  2. I would hesitate to paint this theory with too broad a brush. While it may ring true for some, excellent, but to others it may not. That doesn't necessarily make it right or wrong: just right or wrong for that person.

    I think there is a lot of danger in applying a one-size-fits-all solution to anything in the gospel because the gospel itself is very individualized and at times and seasons, some revelation is meant for us, some scripture is meant for us, and sometimes it doesn't apply to us at all. It's wonderful if this works for some people. It will probably not be applicable to all people, just the way for nearly everything, there is an exception.

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    Replies
    1. Marissa, Thank you for commenting.

      I think this is an excellent example of what I wrote about. How do we define "ringing true?" Is it based on how I feel about a teaching? Or how you feel about it?

      And is God's truth only true for some people and not for others? For example, if I say Christ is the Savior, and that rings true for one person and not for another, does that make the truth variable?

      There are some gospel absolutes. "True for me" and "true for you" are not the issue. What does God say is true? That's what matters.

      I would be very interested and open to any scriptures you can offer to support your position. If I err, I want to know.

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    2. Since, as Adrian rightly pointed out, the Holy Ghost is the only thing that can lead us back to God's presence, and since God himself said so, you'd think that if there was a completely different description of what he himself used to describe it, he would have it somewhere in scripture, right?

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  3. The Holy Spirit is definitely something that you can physically feel. I have felt it powerfully a number of times.

    Joseph smith describes a quaking in his bones.

    6 Yea, thus saith the still small voice, which whispereth through and pierceth all things, and often times IT MAKETH MY BONES TO QUAKE while it maketh manifest, saying: (Doctrine and Covenants, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 85)


    The Nephites that heard God's voice also experienced a powerful physical manifestation.

    3 And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that THERE WAS NO PART OF THEIR FRAME THAT IT DID NOT CAUSE TO QUAKE; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, AND DID CAUSE THEIR HEARTS TO BURN. (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi, Chapter 11)



    However, I do agree that much of what we have been taught in the church is to focus on peace and/or emotional feelings. If there is a story or experience shared that brings strong emotions or makes you feel peaceful, many will claim it was the spirit. Such is not always the case. You'll notice in the following verse that God's peace is NOT as the world giveth. This clearly shows that the world can offer feelings of peace.


    27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (New Testament, John, Chapter 14)


    Many that are brought up to believe that a message of God has to feel peaceful or emotional often reject true prophets when their message doesn't make them feel good.

    You'll notice in the following scriptures the people's reaction to Lehi, Abinadi and Samuel. Did the message of these prophets make the people feel peaceful?



    How did Lehi message make them feel?

    18 Therefore, I would that ye should know, that after the Lord had shown so many marvelous things unto my father, Lehi, yea, concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, behold he went forth among the people, and began to prophesy and to declare unto them concerning the things which he had both seen and heard.
    19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.
    20 And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi, Chapter 1)

    How did Abinadi's message make them feel?

    26 Now it came to pass that when Abinadi had spoken these words unto them they were wroth with him, and sought to take away his life; but the Lord delivered him out of their hands. (Book of Mormon, Mosiah, Chapter 11)

    How did they feel about Samuel's message?

    2 But as many as there were who did not believe in the words of Samuel were angry with him; and they cast stones at him upon the wall, and also many shot arrows at him as he stood upon the wall; but the Spirit of the Lord was with him, insomuch that they could not hit him with their stones neither with their arrows. (Book of Mormon, Helaman, Chapter 16)

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    1. Adam,

      I agree, and I’d point out that in both of the bone quaking cases you mention, the physical manifestation is in response to a voice. In the Joseph Smith case, the voice of the Spirit. In the 3 Nephi case, the voice of the Father. In both cases, the voice spoke in complete sentences and conveyed revelation. I think this is worth noting.

      Excellent point about how a true message makes people feel. It’s not always pleasant.

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    2. I agree with Adrian. It is the information that causes the quaking. Consider Lehi, who was shown things that made him quake with fear.

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    3. Adrian, this is one of the best articles you've written so far...thank you.
      Adam, excellent points, quotes, etc.
      "Bones to quake", both in Joseph and the Lamanites experience, is something that people usually don't use to describe their "testimony feelings".

      If I ever felt that description of the Spirit, "bones to quake", after hearing the voice of Jesus (as Adrian mentioned), I would say it felt as if a window to the other side of the veil was gonna be opened, yet it wasn't...as if my "bones" were vibrating different than they do usually.

      We are used to a certain vibration in our bodies. We therefore don't pay attention to it. But when that vibration changes we feel as a quake is going through our bodies. Our bodies are being quickened by the Spirit. That vibration is lifted because the light that comes to us and then through us carries a much higher vibration than the one we are accustomed to.

      Anyways, thank yo both...

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  4. This is so true that the importance of it cannot be overemphasized!!:

    "When the Holy Ghost has conveyed beautiful truth to your soul, there may indeed be tears. There may be chills, warm fuzzies, or tingles. But these are a RESULT of the information conveyed, not a substitute for it."

    For decades I thought the Holy Ghost didn't speak to me because the Church's explicit and implicit teachings are that the Holy Ghost = EMOTIONS. This is not true! To the extent that we allow our emotions to rule our lives, we will be (and are being) deceived.

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  5. The Spirit of God has many names - the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Enlightenment, Mercy, Goodness, Kindness, and so on . I believe as there is darkness within our being that must constantly be guarded against, that there is also a light given to each of us, a Spirit of Hope, to light our way no matter how dark our path before us may appear. Some call this the light of Christ. Whatever it is, our best hopes, desires, loves, kindnesses, wishes, and all we consider good and praiseworthy are embodied within. It helps us lift up our heads no matter how heavy our burden is and can help us find our way in the dark and set our feet upon the path. If you ever question what it is, know this - it is the very best of us. It embodies our ideals. It is the epitome of being kind, forgiving, merciful, understanding and so on. This is not some emotional trifle. This is the spirit of God.

    The Holy Ghost is different. Few know this, but it is a priesthood calling of the Noble Spirits before they enter this world. They act as guides, protectors, spirits of Fire and help us to understand and see the truth. When we are given this gift, it is done to help us on our journey towards God and seeing him face-to-face. After all, do you think you could withstand the presence of such glorious beings as we are? And do you really think they speak English? How would we understand them without such aid?

    So I beg and hope each of you will take such spirits and make them part your lives and being. And do not stop when you receive such things. They aren't given for us to simply find the path and then stop seeking once we are upon it. We are to drive forward and discover the truth for ourselves. That truth is revealed ultimately when each of us see the Lord face-to-face and hear his words with our own ears. Then you have a surety of the word of revelation. For these are the words of Christ that I strive each and every day to hear - "Well done, thou good and faithful servant..." This is to know God and the truth of our existence.

    -- Tobin

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    1. I don't mean to contend against your insight concerning the Noble Spirits (I find the concept worth looking into), but I was wondering if you had any scriptural references or quotes to support it. I'd really appreciate any references you have.

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    2. Ah, but there is none. You must speak with God yourself to find that out. There are many mysteries of the Kingdom of God that have not yet been revealed and if you wish to learn these things, that is how you go about learning them.

      But, if you need it said by someone else, I'll give you a hint. It was an early tradition within the LDS Church that Joseph Smith himself indicated that he held the Office of the Holy Ghost before he entered this world.

      In a 9 March 1841 discourse Joseph Smith apparently discussed three gods who covenanted to preside over this creation: "[An] Everlasting Covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and [it] relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth."36 These three gods, some argue, were Father Adam for the beginning of the mortal world, Christ for the Meridian of Time, and Joseph Smith for the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Others have seen Doctrine and Covenants 135:3 as evidence for Smith being the Holy Ghost: "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world than any other man that ever lived in it." Accordingly, Christ did the most to save humanity and is the second member of the Godhead; therefore, Smith, who did second to the most, is the third member."

      Now this tradition was discredited by Orson Pratt and Brigham Young because they did not understand it. However, others in the LDS Church still used the term "Office of the Holy Ghost". In fact, both Joseph F. Smith and Elder James E Talmage did so. James E Talmage does so in his book "The Articles of Faith". Now if it is a calling or office, who do you think are called to such a thing? The answer is obvious, the noble spirits of the Lord.

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    3. I sincerely appreciate the ideas shared, but just for the record, I see things differently. But this isn't the place to hash it out, so I'll ask your leave to let me teach my view when the time is right (translation: when/if the Lord gives me permission to do so.) I'm certainly not interested in debating the issue, and I don't sense anyone here is debating anyway. But as Tobin pointed out, some things must be learned from God, and some can be shared with others. I'm not sure where this knowledge falls.

      The best I can say for now, is study the scriptures about it.

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  6. I agree that far too much emphasis is put on "feeling" the Spirit, and not near enough is put on gaining personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. And i also agree, that Mormons far too often confuse simple feelings with the Spirit, but I do believe you are over stepping your bounds to say that the Holy Ghost does not communicate truth through feeling. The scriptures do say that (in a quote you used yourself) the "spirit of revelation" and will "tell you in your mind and in your heart." (D&C 8:2-3). He uses both thought and feeling, why would he not?

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    1. I think the answer is in the same scripture. "I will tell you." This implies the communication of information. What does a feeling convey? It's easy to make assumptions about what certain feelings mean, and in the absence of actual revelation, our assumptions can be wrong. Revelation must take place.

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    2. The reason because it says "I will tell you in your mind and in your heart" is because the heart is actually "the real brain" of the body, if I have to use a description for you to understand. Thoughts, information, intelligence, is actually processed and filtered though the heart, and then spread through the whole body by the exercise of the heart. The heart carries blood which, although difficult to comprehend, it carries light. Hence the quote from Joseph:

      "The Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge, of a man who is of the literal seed of Abraham, than one that is a Gentile, though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body; for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the literal seed of Abraham, it is calm and serene; and his whole soul and body are only exercised by the pure spirit of intelligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile, is to purge out the old blood, and make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost. In such a case, there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body, and visible to the eye, than upon an Israelite, while the Israelite at first might be far before the Gentile in pure intelligence".

      Again, although difficult to comprehend, different blood has different ability to "transmit" this light, or intelligence. That is why a gentile must first experience a change in his/her blood. After that change, when it becomes as one of the house of Israel, the ability to receive, transmit, and recognize light will be enhance, and equal to one of the house of Israel.

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  7. Thank you for this post. It left me with one question regarding seeking a confirmation of whether a message I've received from another person is of God. Let's use your post as an example. Certain parts of the post did cause an emotion-based confirmation feeling within me. But if that's not enough, what then should I be seeking to understand whether or not your message is true?

    If I'm looking for information to be communicated to my soul, it's kind of too late because you already communicated that information to my mind. So if I'm trying to discern the truthfulness of your (or anyone else's) message, what should I be seeking? In writing up this question, I've had some ideas come to mind, but before posting them, I'm interested in your response.

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    1. I think this is an excellent question. If you have received these things, meaning you have read them, seem to agree with them, and they persuade you, the next step is to do what Moroni says:

      Moroni 10:4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

      So the point is to ask God, according to the formula above. I'll be explaining more about this in my next post.

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    2. Thanks, I look forward to it. One other thing I wonder if you'll address, and I'll say this is the main area you have yet to persuade me. D&C 9:8-9 seems to somewhat counter your thesis. I hope you'll be addressing that too.

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    3. I think there are a number of scriptures that associate emotion with the Holy Ghost. Here are a few, in addition to the one mentioned by 7:19 Anonymous:

      - 2 Nephi 31:13 -- ("shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel" -- these utterances are by the Holy Ghost, and I'm assuming that these praises are full of joy.)
      - Moroni 8:26 (Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love)
      - D&C 11:13 ("my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind and fill your soul with joy")
      - D&C 6:22-23 ("Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?")

      Is it not possible that, sometimes, the emotion conveyed by the Holy Ghost IS the information/light/truth that God intended to convey?

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    4. AJ, I see what you're saying, but I think each of the scriptures contains the idea of information being conveyed.

      2 Nephi 31:31 refers to the signs that follow the baptism of fire (an event) that include speaking with the tongue of angels (thus conveying information) and shouting praises (response to the information conveyed.)

      Moroni speaks of being filled with Hope which implies you hope for something, or have something to look forward to. Ultimately, hope can be viewed, from a gospel perspective, as having received a promise of eternal life from God.

      D&C 11:13 speaks of enlightenment

      D&C 6 concerns God speaking to the mind (not heart) of Oliver Cowdery.

      So though there may be emotions associated with the information received, I believe there must first be revelation.

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  8. I really agree with so much you are saying. I agree because I have seen this and wondered about it in myself. My only qualm is to be careful when denouncing others spiritual experiences. Some people may have still had light knowledge given during the new temple videos and expressed in ways they are familiar with, such as "I felt the spirit so strong". They may not be able to articulate what they are feeling and learning but as you said, often after feeling the spirit teach you things, we are moved to tears or gladness or peace. Don't presume to know exactly what is going on in other people when they don't choose to articulate it to everyone around. Just because the temple movies may use sentimentality doesn't mean they still aren't truth that can teach us further knowledge. If it was only sentimental and not based on truth, that would be different. Such as Luke Skywalker killing Darth Vader, although in another forum I may argue there is much to be learned there;)

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    1. I think the point is, though, that the changes in the temple movies were not changes to the information conveyed (script) but rather changes to how the information is conveyed (special effects, drama, emotionalism.) I think the change indicates an attempt to produce an emotional response in the audience, which is a dangerous substitute for revelation. Clearly, the new films are more moving. But that doesn't matter a bit if there is not revelation. Why spend a lot of money to create a more moving and emotional experience?

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    2. I guess it's the difference between hearing my classmates read Shakespeare in my high school English class (no emotion) and watching classically trained actors perform the same material on stage.

      I'm just not sure that you can always separate the "emotion" from the "content" and not actually lose some of the intended message.

      I think this applies to God's communications as well as to Shakespeare's.

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    3. It's interesting, too, that the emotions portrayed when conveying the information can actually change the meaning of the words. I noticed that each of the new temple films has a different set of emotions for each of the characters, and the way the lines are delivered changes the intended meaning.

      If there's a "right" meaning that should be the one they focus on. So I'm left wondering why there's a "menu" of different ways to look at the information. The movies make this very clear. Pick the one you like best.

      In the end, at least for me, it's distracting to be shown/told how I should feel about the events portrayed, rather than letting the Spirit inform me how I should understand the information.

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    4. -----

      (1) "It's interesting, too, that the emotions portrayed when conveying the information can actually change the meaning of the words."

      Tone of voice can also change the meaning. So can facial expressions. So can costumes. So can the set props. But it's a movie. And movies have sets (with props) and actors (in costumes and with facial expressions) who portray specific emotions as they speak their lines with a tone of voice that implies a specific interpretation. That's what a movie is.

      But maybe we could just get rid of all that stuff. Then they would basically just be reading the text. But if we want to be really sure that we're not getting their bias, we should just read it ourselves, right?

      But then what about punctuation? They say that commas save lives. ("Let's eat Grandma!") Commas can make sticky doctrinal problems, as well. Ask Rob about that. And is there a difference in meaning if we choose an exclamation point as opposed to a plain old period? I guess punctuation is out.

      And how about the way things are divided into verses/chapters/paragraphs? Does that make a difference? Goodness, we'd better get rid of whitespace, too.

      The point I'm making here is that WHENEVER one mortal communicates with another, THERE WILL BE SOME AMOUNT OF BIAS. Yes, that applies to your blog posts, as well. But we just accept that any form of communication is biased and we roll with it the best we can.

      In any case, if the new movies do nothing more than help certain people stay awake, then that's a good thing; I'd wager that they're getting more information that way.

      -----

      (2) "I noticed that each of the new temple films has a different set of emotions for each of the characters, and the way the lines are delivered changes the intended meaning."

      If we can't get away from bias in form or another, then it turns out that this is actually the most responsible and genuine and helpful approach the directors could have taken. By providing a number of different interpretations, they are not imposing the One True ® Interpretation upon you, thereby allowing you to retain the blessing and responsibility of making up your own mind. And it just might be possible that these different interpretations will open the gateway for revelation as people start thinking about it in ways that they never had before.

      -----

      (3) "If there's a 'right' meaning that should be the one they focus on. So I'm left wondering why there's a 'menu' of different ways to look at the information. The movies make this very clear. Pick the one you like best."

      Ah. The One True ® Interpretation. We'd better get the Correlation Department in on this.

      -----

      (4) "In the end, at least for me, it's distracting to be shown/told how I should feel about the events portrayed, rather than letting the Spirit inform me how I should understand the information."

      OK, so for you it is distracting. For others, it is actually really helpful. But for both you AND the others, the Spirit remains THE ONLY ONE THAT CAN PERFECTLY CONVEY TRUTH WITHOUT BIAS. So we should all be spending a lot more time on our knees listening to Him, and a lot less time listening to other mortals. I think we can both agree on that.

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    5. Excellent points! Thank you for your insights!

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  9. Adrian... thank you for this clarification. I am a life time member, attended BYU and attended all the Religion classes. I assumed I had a testimony. After I was married and had three children, something happened and I had a hunger to learn the gospel like never before. I could not get enough. I read the scriptures and all the doctrinal books I could get my hands on.

    On day I ran into Rodney Turner from whom I took several of my religion classes. I expressed how I would have loved to have had that hunger when I was taking his classes... I may have gotten more out of them.

    Out of the blue, he invited me to attend his Summer D&C classes. "Just come... sit in the back, don't ask questions or take tests. Just come." Wow, what an opportunity. Every day I parked my car at the bottom of the hill and ran up the stairs to the Joseph Smith Building. I absorbed every word like a sponge.

    One day, a voice came into to my head. "What is man is teaching is true." It came out of the blue and nearly knocked my socks off. I remember looking and around and thinking it was a strange place to received such a powerful message. No mountain top, so to speak.

    When I have doubts, I go back to that time when I heard the voice so clearly, and I cannot refute that "I know." Then a feeling of peace comes over me.

    Since that time I have had other experiences with the voice. However, I have dismissed them because I thought it was my own mind because there were no warm fuzzies attached.

    Thanks again.

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  10. I guess I'm just scratching my head because you just got excommunicated from the church, and now you are expounding on various gospel principles. What, exactly, qualifies you to do this?

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    1. Getting excommunicated doesn't change who you are and what you know. It merely takes your name off the books.

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    2. Anon - you aren't paying attention. Adrian was ex'd precisely BECAUSE he was "expounding on various gospel principles," or in other words, quoting scripture that is incongruent with the "policies and doctrines of the church," which is not the same as the gospel of Christ.

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    3. I think this is a fair question, and it's certainly on the minds of many people. As an excommunicated member, what business do I have speaking about the gospel?

      Here are a couple of thoughts. They run counter to what Mormons generally believe and tell each other, but they are nevertheless true:

      1.Excommunication does not remove the Holy Ghost. Man cannot command God.

      2. Removing one’s name from the membership roles does not change one’s relationship with the Lord.

      3. Look through the scriptures and see how many prophets were rejected by, and cast out of, the church (meaning the organized religion). Yet, these prophets taught truth. I’m not claiming to be a prophet, but I am claiming to teach truth from scripture and Joseph Smith.

      The other part of your question is about qualifications to do this. This is important as well. This is the same question asked of the Savior when he taught uncomfortable things to the super-religious people of His day:

      And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders, And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority? (Luke 20:1-2)

      In fact, it’s the same question Lucifer asks Peter in the endowment. "By what authority?"

      Those who are caught up in hierarchal power and authority place this qualification above all others, and use it to challenge true messengers.

      I have no authority to command anyone. If authority impresses you, you'll have to look elsewhere. I have no special qualifications. I have no credentials, position, or title. The only things I have to offer are the messages I write. If they are of God, that is all the qualification required. If not, feel free to ignore them.

      I recommend you judge the message by the message, not the messenger. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m deeply flawed and desperately in need of Christ’s grace. But I do teach truth.

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    4. Adrian,

      Surely you see the need for order in the Kingdom of God. Otherwise, anyone could become an itinerant preacher claiming to have the correct take on the gospel. I believe that true leaders enter by the gate, and those that are cast off from the body often have an axe to grind. I'm sure you will deny that you have an axe to grind.

      Now that you are out of the church body you are free to do as you will. I really don't care what you do. What I care about is that you may develop a following like Rock Waterman or Denver Snuffer and become a pseudo prophet. You really have no authority to do anything.

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    5. I just have to shake my head every time a Mormon states the LDS Church is the Kingdom of God. IT IS NOT!!!!

      Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      We are all part of God's kingdom and I think God is quite capable of administrating his own kingdom. Now, if someone says they are ordained and called of God to do such-and-such, then they will be able to demonstrate it through power and the authority that God has given them. And here is the thing - God will back them up.

      -- Tobin

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    6. Tobin:

      I never stated that I was a Mormon, nor did I state that the church is the Kingdom of God. Reading comprehension my friend.

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    7. Ok, so you aren't Mormon?!? And you don't believe the LDS Church is the kingdom of God?!? That is rather unimportant to the point I was making. As I said, God is perfectly capable of administrating his own kingdom and selecting individuals to represent him by giving them power and authority, which is quite evident because what they are stating is true and God will back them up. I don't see how reading comprehension is an adequate response in the least?

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  11. Enlightening post! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us. A couple of weeks ago when I saw the 3rd new temple movie ( which was rather good) I did get a bit of knowledge that I had not realized before ( I am sure this is not new knowledge to many of you). Adam and Eve are praying and Satan answers; they ask him about his vestments. He replies with pride that they are a symbol of his power and priesthood. It dawned on me that is how Satan, thru mortals, disrupts the flow of prayer and inspiration between individuals and G-d.

    Blessings,
    Lena Hansen

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  12. Two scriptures I think should be considered:
    1 Nephi 17: 45. "Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he has spoke unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he has spoken to you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder."

    And

    Mosiah 4: 20. "And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging foraremissionof your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy."

    I have also been excommunicated for apostasy but that doesn't mean that one cannot still read or think or receive the Lord's Spirit upon them.

    Keith Henderson

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    1. Keith, great response. Thank you for sharing these scriptures. It's interesting to note that Satan can imitate the effect of stopping the mouth. The difference is the information communicated, in this case, that their sins were remitted.

      When there are great manifestations (quaking, shaking, piercing, etc.) it's always in response to a voice. Not just sentimentalism.

      God bless you Keith for your valiance in your testimony, even in the face of punishment.

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    2. Keith, thank you for your second witness in Phoenix as well!

      We are humans, and everything we do carries emotions. If we watch a movie, there are emotions involved. If the Holy Ghost communicates light and knowledge to us, we will respond to it also with an emotion. But the Spirit didn't cause the emotion. We did.

      We can also receive light and knowledge, as in the case of Laman and Lemuel, and decide to go past the feeling of hearkening to that knowledge. "I don't feel like doing this", I've exclaimed so often. The angel chastened Laman and Lemuel, but they didn't "feel" like listening.

      Another point is that, to have a feeling, and to "feel a voice", might be two completely different things.

      When angels speak to you they don't do it in a normal vibration of air that comes to your ear. They speak light to you, so you need to feel the light, or in other words, you feel a voice inside you. We use the word feel because it was void of an apparent physical phenomena (no air vibration).

      The more often scenario is actually that we don't "feel" the continuous voice of the Spirit, or in other words, we are not paying attention to it. The Spirit, and angels, speak to us, not though our ears, but to our whole bodies, and it's up to us to pay attention in the spirit to feel that voice, to comprehend it, etc.

      I guess it's hard to explain, specially when English is my second language. I wish you could feel my thoughts...

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    3. Thank you all for all of your sharing. I have been blessed with new insight.

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  13. Adrian,

    Wonderful post. Over the last couple of years I've studied on understanding when the Holy Ghost is communicating. There is a definite heart and mind connection. The voice in the mind, and a confirming feeling in the heart. This has been my experience so far. The mind and heart is the law of witnesses at work. I feel both are necessary in order to avoid being deceived.

    Everyone should read when Christ was tempted. Not only is it a portion of the endowment, but it gives us clues on how to detect Satan in our own lives and how to refute him. Satan not only over emphasizes feelings as you described here, but he uses scripture too, however he uses them out of context. Know the scriptures, do as the sons of Mosiah did (read Alma 17:2-3).

    Definitely sharing this as I know people who, though born and raised in the Church, still struggle with ID'ing when God speaks to them.

    Best wishes,
    Erin West

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  14. I'm thinking about the scripture where the spirit of revelation is defined (in the D&C). So you're saying the Holy Ghost is giving you information (tell you in your mind)? Is the feeling (tell you in your heart) simply a fruit then on the mind receiving information? I've been thinking about these very things for a while now and that scripture still confuses me, as well as the one about the burning in the bosom.

    I've often had the Spirit tell me things (warnings, instructions, enlightenment, etc) but there have been times when I have been told things (and the "feeling" accompanying the information conveyed was the same) and they haven't occurred, thus making them false information and I can then only assume they came from Satan and not God. So, my point is that even though one is receiving information, it is not often clear cut where it came from. It's been really worrying to me. How do we detect what is of God and what is not? I think the difference must be really subtle and I'm still trying to figure it out. Any thoughts?

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    1. Couple of thoughts.

      I find the first voice that answers when I ask a question is generally the Holy Ghost. And it is immediate when I'm sufficiently humble and seeking with real intent. If there is no answer, I try changing the question to make it more specific and remove my own assumptions.

      For example: "Am I paying enough tithing?" This question assumes a yes/no answer. "Yes" means it's enough. "No" means it's not enough. But what if I'm paying too much? How can the Lord answer my question with its implied assumptions? Since I'm not even open to the idea that I'm paying too much, the Lord can't answer me and doesn't. So change the question.

      It sometimes requires that we drop our unbelief so the Lord can teach us.

      One other thought. It's OK to go to the Lord with what we thing we understand came from Him and ask for a confirmation. I'll talk about that in my next post.

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  15. This is a very interesting and important point. People of all religions have similar powerful, emotional experiences, which they believe confirms their own faith. For example, here is a Muslim testimony:

    "During my clean up I found my old Qur'an in Arabic that I had bought while I was a student at Rabat. I had bought it as a study guide to help me learn to read Arabic.
    It had been many years since I had last read anything in Arabic. I was curious as to if I could still read it. I opened it to Surah Fatiha and the first line literally jumped out at me.
    Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem. 'In the name of Allaah, the provider, the Most merciful'
    It was like the words glowed and completely filled me with an inner peace I never felt before. I turned back to the preface and saw it was the supplication:
    'Auzu Billahi Mina Al Shaytan Al Rajeem'.
    (In Allaah(swt) I seek refuge from the evils of Satan)
    After over 20 years of not speaking Arabic it all flowed back to me. I could not stop reading and I was not simply reading words, the feeling of each ayyat came upon me with an indescribable warmth and sense of understanding. I could not stop. I do not know how long I read I know it was for at least 48 hours and I still could not stop the feeling was so powerful and filling me with a strong sense of love and joy on the morning of what I believe was the 3rd day I finally set the Qur'an down and knew I was Muslim. I instantly said the Shahadah and knew I was now part of the Ummah."

    (This testimony and many others can be read at http://testimoniesofotherfaiths.blogspot.com/)

    This man experienced peace, warmth, and understanding, which lead him to believe in Islam.

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    1. This is an excellent example! Sadly I think even the church would suggest now that these people are simply feeling the spirit testify of the truth. That this is how the spirit works. We simply believe that because we cry more than any other religion that we simply have to be true!

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    2. That website has a lot more testimonies, too. Here's one that seems to go against the Mormon conception of the Spirit:

      "I asked the Lord Jesus Christ for a sign to show that the True Jesus Church has the whole truth...
      One day, I was sitting under a tree, thinking deeply. I was trying to recall some Bible verses on baptism and praying about a doubt that I had. Suddenly, a miracle happened to me. It was like a light that I could not exactly figure out. It shone on me and took away the doubt in my mind. It seemed that the darkness in my mind was lifted. The doctrine on infant baptism, which I could not at first accept, suddenly became very clear me. I could then accept it with my mind and heart. Since that incident, each time I read the Bible, that former opinion to oppose and the refusal to believe and accept were gone. Today I believe that infants must be baptized in order to be saved.
      ...Now I know and am confident that this is the end of my search for the whole truth. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for answering my prayer and giving me a sign. I have found the whole truth of my salvation. Glory be given to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!!"

      http://testimoniesofotherfaiths.blogspot.com/search/label/True%20Jesus%20Church

      This doesn't seem to be an emotion based spiritual experience. It seems more like the "pure intelligence" type. So, is this man deceived? If so, how would he know it? What other explanations are there?

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  16. Adrian, great post. I would like to see some more explicit treatment of the idea that discomfort does not equal "the spirit leaving."

    The whole cannon is filled with examples of people who were very uncomfortable with what God had told them.

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  17. Great post Adrian! Funny thing, I've written a post on the exact same subject with many of the same references as you. I've been blogging on my own computer lately (not online yet). I want to make sure It's what the Lord is asking me to do before I post publicly.

    This topic is very important. I've seen some of my mormon friends recently become atheist who only a month previously were bearing testimony of how strongly they felt the spirit in the new temple videos. They were feeling the emotion of the new dramatized videos, not the Holy Ghost. Had they felt the Holy Ghost they would've received revelation, they would be cleansed, and they would be converted. However, this did not happen. They felt emotion, and believed that was converting them to the church. But after the emotion leaves, there was no experience with Diety, no true conversion and all the issues of the church caused them to reject everything including God. This is why it is so important to distinguish.

    Had I not had real experiences with the Holy Ghost as a revelator I would've probably rejected everything as well when I learned of the issues in the church. However, I have learned this difference for myself and this allows me now to go through the painstaking process of separating truth from the false teachings within the church. And there are a lot of false teachings! This process is taking much longer than I ever imagined.

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    1. Ian, it sounds like you must have had some very powerful experiences. Would you mind sharing any of them? Do you feel they are different than the spiritual experiences people in other religions have? Why or why not?

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  18. This makes so much sense! I have always relied on my emotions, as guidance by the Spirit. My emotions are very excitable, so I assumed I was pretty spiritual. Silly me! But I have had a handful of very distinct moments that I called my moments of pure intelligence. I tried to explain it, but did a very poor job. It would feel as if the top of my skull was removed, and I had light and pure information entering. There was always a very specific message, when this happened. I now understand that was the Holy Ghost.

    Just a few weeks ago, my family was watching the new clips about Christ, that the church put out. We watched 2 in a row, in which Christ asked a man to take up his bed. My husband turned to me and said, "Why do you think that Christ asked them to take up their...." He stopped, kind of crumpled and just started sobbing. When he could speak again, he said, "It's a symbol of Christ taking up the cross. It is symbolic of Christ. It's what he has asked us to do." He said the answer just was instantly in his mind. I thought it was a pretty amazing experience that he didn't even have the question all the way asked. Reading this post has been an ah-ha moment for us. This is how the Holy Ghost works.
    I think I've had one experience that was a "burning of the bosom". I was in seminary, and I had the thought that Jesus is the Christ. Instantly, my chest felt like it was full of hot soup (I know my analogies are really poor, but that's the best way, I feel, I can describe it). But even with the burning bosom, there was intelligence communicated. Anyways, great article. I will give me lots to think and pray about. My husband and I are always really excited when we see a new post up.

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  19. Very good article Adrien. I wonder about the article title. No one can fool the Spirit. But your article shows that the Holy Ghost is not recognized by feelings but by receiving light and truth. So what does "Feeling and Fooling the Spirit" mean?

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  20. George,

    You have a great name. Or alias. Either way, it's an honor to hear from George Washington.

    The title is a play on words. We can fool our own spirits, but not the Holy Ghost. Sometimes, by claiming to feel "the spirit" we are actually fooling our own spirits.

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  21. Thank you for this post Adrian.
    I need to mention that in this post and in a couple others, you've alluded to Satan's plan involving manipulation or compulsion. There's an excellent book by Greg Wright called Satan's War on Free Agency. He expounds the Book of Mormon to clarify and correct a very common held "unbelief" we mormons have about satan's plan. It's only 150 pages, I highly recommend it.

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  22. Priestcraft would come to a screeching halt in the church were the principles from this essay understood and applied. I thank you Adrian.

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  23. Adrian, I appreciate your post and think there is a lot of truth here. Another poster asked about D&C 9:8-9 above, but you didn't respond. I'd be interested in how you square that scripture with your thoughts above.

    I have had the experience indicated in that scripture once in my life when praying about the Book of Mormon. It's difficult for me to attribute that to a deception of Satan, especially when it is stated so explicitly in D&C. I generally agree with you that many of the other emotions we may attribute to the Holy Ghost are simply emotional responses or could be deceptions as you indicated, I don't believe that to be the case with the heart burning in the bosom.

    My paradigm has always been that if I have an emotional response to a teaching or in prayer that I cannot replicate on my own or that is not replicated as a result of any other stimulus (movies, music, etc), that it is from the Lord. I have had a few of these instances, in which I have experienced something (emotional or otherwise), that I had never before and have never since experienced. Perhaps these are not from the Holy Ghost, but are another form of heavenly communication? It is virtually impossible for me to believe that these communications are deceptions, their fruit was simply too sweet and produced the type of conversion you mention above.

    Any thoughts?

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  24. Hi Shane,

    Thanks for your insights. You bring up a vital point. As I mentioned in the postscript to this post, I'll be addressing the burning in the bosom in my next post. There are very important things to understand, and I'm excited to write more about them. I hope you don't mind if I defer to my next post to answer your questions.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  25. Thank you for this post. I wanted to comment on this section:
    "It, (the spirit) may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass;"
    This to me sounds like more than suddenly knowing something that you didn't know before. To me this sounds like being able to prophesy, and see it fulfilled. Is that the way you understand it?
    -Ruby

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    1. I think that's a valid way to look at Joseph's statement, though you may not necessarily need to prophesy that which the Holy Ghost makes known to you.

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  26. Our minds are very complex things, we are barely scratching the surface with our understanding of the human brain and amazing ways it functions. I see so much evidence for confirmation bias in everything you’ve explained in your theories about how God communicates to us including your scriptural proof texts used to support this thesis.

    Does God even try to communicate to us on such things? Possibly, but what if our minds are just making sense of what we have observed and remembering things that we should do, and there is no external force communicating to us? I guess there is value in listening to your inner voice, but I don’t see the value in attributing these inner voices to God.

    If you attribute these communications to God then you are subject to making poor decisions and ignoring proven practices of reasoned critical thinking that can more frequently lead you to the right decisions in life. This may be harmless if following your inner voice means giving someone a call to brighten their day, or baking cookies for someone you think is in need. But if you are deciding what job to take, or who to marry or other critical decisions all based on your inner voice alone, then this is very dangerous and irresponsible decision making.

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    1. D&C 8:2-3
      2. Yea, behold, I will tell you in your MIND and in your HEART, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
      3. Now behold, THIS IS THE SPIRIT OF REVELATION; behold this the spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground.

      Every word must be sustained by 2 witnesses. My experience strongly indicates that the SIMULTANEOUS witness to my heart and mind is the Lord's voice and it CANNOT be duplicated by the adversary.
      This has been a sure check and balance.

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  27. Adrian, I have been thinking about this exact thing for a while now. It is so simple. At least my understanding of it. The challenge remains for me to hear and obey.

    So for the longest time I lamented over the fact that I was confused about the Spirit, Holy Ghost, good feelings and so forth. I came to this subject many times in the last couple of years. I read in my mind Joseph's quote about the Holy Ghost and pure intelligence over and over again. In fact writing this right here and now I think I realized when I got my answer!

    I asked God for ANYTHING a few weeks ago. Dream, vision, just something when I went to bed. It is so funny that I am realizing this now. When I awoke I had the singular thought, and by the way wasn't thinking about this subject at all the day before, women would be in charge of priesthood quorums without holding the priesthood. But I understand, RIGHT NOW ACTUALLY, that God wasn't trying to tell me that specifically. He was trying to teach me something I have been pondering about for a long time. Because of that experience I solidified this burning question of what is the Holy Ghost or how does it communicate.

    My answer is this: God just speaks to you. They are foreign thoughts. They are not your own. So why do we assume in the Church a warm fuzzy has to attend those thoughts? Well first, like you said, it doesn't. In fact I believe God simply speaks the truth to you. He doesn't parade it or sound it through a Heavenly choir. It is simply "repent". Or "believe in Jesus Christ". The FEELING associated with the Holy Ghost is our own doing. When we realize the God is speaking to us, or even misleading spirits, we feel other worldly things! We go WOW! This is the best way I can describe it. If God put a random thought into your head, as He did to me, you're thinking where did that come from? At this moment there is NO emotion. It isn't until you realize that it came from God that you feel good or in some cases scared/fearful if it concerned repentance. You had your feeling instantaneously because you were studying your scriptures and made that connection right then. Amazing!

    In summary, God speaks to us plainly. No fireworks or thunderings (at first I suppose). If it conforms to the scriptures, along with a list of qualifications, you can be sure it is from God. If however, you talk about how holy and righteous some man is and pretend in our head that he is just that, those feelings are our own doing or misleading spirits.

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  28. Adrian,

    This is a valuable post. Thank you sincerely. I was impressed with the intelligence presented here when I read it the other day. Then, this morning, as I woke up, and was laying in bed in the dark, I was puzzling over a question in my mind, which was how to continue to present the message of 'the Restoration continuing anew in our day', to my wife and kids.

    As I laid there pondering this important question, I heard MY OWN VOICE talking to me and giving me ideas, and I realized, "Wait a second, this is the Holy Ghost speaking to me! This is God speaking to me!" I recalled you said, "You just don't recognize it because it comes inside you in your own voice. Start paying attention. The problem isn't that it's too foreign. The problem is that it's too familiar."

    So thank you for this invaluable contribution to my understanding! Since becoming acquainted with Brother Snuffer's testimony and his 10 talks, and reading this blog almost daily for two months now, I've been praying more individually and fervently than I have since converting almost 30 years ago. I have been asking to know Him. I have requested dreams and visions. And received a dream (sort of like Lehi's dream in the imagery, but just a snippet)!

    I have lately been asking to "hear the voice of God." Then I came across this post a few days ago. As the saying goes, when the student is ready...

    And now this morning I finally recognized (at least I think I did) the Holy Ghost talking to me. Then 30 minutes ago, as I prayed in a private spot in the forest, I again heard the voice (which was MY voice in my head, like I'm talking to myself), and He talked to me in a very familiar way, almost too casually. It was a surprise to me. Wouldn't Father talk to me more formally, like He talked to Moses (Charleton Heston) on the Mount?

    Then as I continued the conversation, I realized that His way of talking to me made me feel that He knew me, that He was approachable, that He really was "cool" with talking to me casually and without walls and communication blocks, which encouraged me to continue the conversation in a relaxed manner and to really have a heart-to-heart talk like I would have with my earthly Father, but much MORE relaxed.

    This is an important step in my journey to know the Lord. I feel I'm progressing.

    One question: if we do hear our own voice, then it seems like Satan would talk to us, that he would fill our mind with talk every bit as much as Heavenly Father would.

    Satan can mimic feelings, and so we should be cautious about the feelings we have. But can't Satan just as easily speak to us in our own voice too to attempt to counterfeit the Holy Ghost speaking to us so as to deceive us?

    It seems the answer has to be YES, in which case, that REALLY complicates things, doesn't it? But perhaps he can't speak to us? No scriptures come to mind on this question.

    Any comments on this question? Because everything you said about Satan seeking to deceive us by sending certain emotions could just as well apply to sending thoughts to us in the form of our own voice.

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    1. Underdog,

      This is a great question! Here are my thoughts:

      First, it's conversational, like you say. Meaning the answer comes immediately when the question is asked or the thought is expressed. Just like when you're talking to a friend. That first voice is often followed by a second voice of doubt. When you learn to catch the difference between the two, it's easier to trust that first, conversational voice. The second voice seems to be "butting in" to the conversation and you can sense it.

      Also, familiarity makes it easier to recognize the counterfeit. You'll find that as you get more used to the conversation, the "your voice" becomes distinctly "His voice," not based on sound or some such thing, but based on the sense that accompanies it. It's subtle and refined, but it becomes easier to distinguish your thoughts from His.

      And remember, it's always OK to explain your confusion to the Lord and ask Him to verify something you need verified, just to be sure. He's willing to do so when you ask in faith.

      Last, I love that you noticed that He wants to talk to you in a familiar manner, as a friend. It continues to surprise me that He has a personality, preferences, even a sense of humor. I was surprised the other day when I was driving to work, and the discussion drifted to cars, and which auto designs the Lord finds attractive. You know, just like anyone else! I don't know why I thought it so odd that He would have preferences, but it was a humorous moment.

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    2. Thanks Adrian. So you're saying from your experience that He speaks first and immediately. I'll remember that.

      Am I way out in left field with the idea that if we are praying to Heavenly Father in the name of Christ, that Satan has some limits, like...perhaps he IS bound from interfering by speaking to us? For example, your comment seems to agree that Satan is bound at least in initially responding.

      I wonder if he is bound even more than that? I wonder if he can interject himself at all in a conversation with Heavenly Father, aside from sending emotions? He temporarily overcame Joseph in the grove. Joseph has started his prayer. But rather than TALK to Joseph, Satan attacked him, and it was more like a quasi physical attack, as Joseph testified that his tongue was bound by an actual being from the unseen world.

      I can't think of any scriptural accounts which illustrate that Satan can and does SPEAK thoughts to our mind DURING prayer to Heavenly Father. Can you?

      We know Satan can and does talk to us (maybe OUTSIDE of prayer?), like the detailed conversation with Jesus in Matthew 4, or the extraordinary conversation with Moses in Moses 1.

      It appears that Satan's #1 priority is to STOP us from praying and from asking questions, from seeking, from knocking.

      In 2 Nephi 32:8, Nephi says that "the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray". So perhaps this is a clue that because Satan's focus is to persuade us not to pray, that his influence in our thoughts is limited?

      After all, Jesus does teach, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and he shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth..."

      This is a promise from God, and we know He doesn't lie. So if we are to ask a question to God, He promises to answer.

      You are saying the FIRST and immediate communication we receive is of God. But I'm wondering if the prayer channel is encrypted, so to speak. I wonder if Satan cannot interfere.

      But I believe unclean or evil spirits can and do possess our bodies, and therefore it would seem as if THEY could speak voices to our mind to confuse us.

      It does seem alarming to me IF Satan could speak in a still small voice (in our own voice to our mind), that he would certainly do it and do it ALL THE TIME. But maybe he can't?

      You said above, "If Satan can prevent you from recognizing and receiving the Holy Ghost, he has won. Period." True, and it almost seems to me that it would be a terribly unfair if not a nearly impossible task to have to discern where certain emotions came from, and ALSO to discern voices in our heads.

      "Ask and ye shall receive" to me indicates that God has made prayer off limits to Satan as far as speaking to us. But I'm not 100% sure.

      How many times have we heard testimonies from people, and know this ourselves, that as SOON AS we start to pray, we feel light and get answers or are delivered, and YES "feel the Spirit."

      Alma 36:18 demonstrates this point precisely. As soon as Alma "caught hold upon this thought" (of Jesus as Savior) and cried for Jesus to deliver him, he WAS delivered.

      Another story...I just prayed a few minutes ago to express gratitude and as SOON AS I expressed gratitude for your teachings and what I've been learning, I FELT the Spirit come over me as an emotion.

      This is what I'm accustomed to feeling. I didn't recognize a voice at that moment (now that I know what I'm looking for), but I DID feel a spiritual feeling.

      Surely THAT is from God. I feel to testify that I KNOW that feeling is from God. Do you disagree? Seems like in your post you have sort of knocked "feelings" off their pedestal. Is that right?

      And maybe that answers my question to you. You HAVE knocked feelings off the pedestal in that we should not be looking JUST for feelings, but rather for the still small voice (our internal voice). But you're not saying (are you?) that the spiritual warmth I felt a few minutes ago is not sent from God?

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    3. Interesting points, Underdog. I agree with you, I don't believe Satan speaks actual words to our thoughts, but rather enticements, feelings, and ideas, as well as emotions.

      As for the feelings you felt this morning, we often feel emotional and even physical manifestations as a result of the knowledge we gain. Just as you might have an emotional reaction to the police calling and telling you your missing child was just found safe. That knowledge will bring a flood of emotions. But it was the knowledge that was the revelation.

      Expressing gratitude for knowledge gained, and realizing it came from God, can be a very emotionally overwhelming experience.

      So, the key is to focus on the knowledge and enlightenment that brought the response, rather than merely the response itself. Because responses can be contrived, as you know. (See HeartSell.)

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    4. just going to toss this out there and answer the question

      God can speak to you any which way. but speaking of the mind...God can speak to your mind as your own voice as previously described and talk back to you. you can converse with this voice. God knows your heart and nothing is hidden from Him

      you can counterfit this yourself by talking to yourself in your own mind and presuming that it is God. This is called talking to yourself.

      Satan....He too can talk to your mind in the exact same way as God with one vital difference. He cannot read your mind and thus you cannot converse with him back and forth...HOWEVER Satan can make a good educated guess as to what you are thinking about. He is not stupid. He can also bombard you with enough thoughts, read your brainwaves and continue to make a good educated guess as to what you are pondering on or even get you to think outloud.

      furthermore....Satan can and does answer prayers first. there is no written rule that God will answer the prayer first. The rule is only that God will hear all prayers and if it is a good righteous prayer He'll answer it. there is no He'll do it instantly and/or first rule.

      Satan remember will deceive some of the very elect. Satan will even claim to be the Only Begotten Son(See Moses chapter 1 i think it is).

      so Satan has some high level deception. He will try very well to speak to your mind. one way of learning which voice is his verse God would be to see how long you can talk to it back and forth in your mind.

      but Satan does very much speak to your mind like God.

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  29. Thank you, Adrian. With my new-found prayer understanding, I'm now having actual conversations with the still, small voice inside my head. Praying is now very interactive. NO LONGER is it a monologue! Perhaps that's why I've strayed from personal prayer as the years have gone by. After all, if God isn't interacting with me, then prayer gets kind of boring and almost like, "what's the point?" I've continued to pray regularly, but the QUALITY of my prayers has suffered greatly.

    Now, thanks to your help, I am having real conversations.

    I'm experimenting, but it feels to me a little too stiff or formal to use "Thee" or "Thou", and to speak with Father the way He speaks to me, in a more familial or intimate manner. The honorific words I've been taught in the Church seem to create distance and formality and seem a bit unnatural. Maybe I'm overthinking this...

    What do you think?

    Lastly, I think I should have a note pad nearby when I pray because I'm asking questions and getting answers! However, I did ask him many doctrinal questions which are significant and may be considered a mystery, which we are commanded to seek to know.

    When I asked, unlike the quick responses I was getting when it pertained to my life personally, I got silence or a non answer, and my inner voice said, "Do you really think it's as easy as simply asking me? You must invest some time and effort and then come back to me," reminding me of DC 9:7-8.

    Thank you again for taking the time to post your remarkable insights on this blog. You are making a difference.

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    1. Yes, I ditched the formal speech as well. And I keep a note pad handy. He speaks in plain humility as one man speaks to another. Way to go, underdog!

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  30. 'The Spirit' (let alone emotions) has never been a way to discern truth over falsehoods, though (the Adversary wants us to think it is) for mortals cannot tell if they are feeling the 'right' spirit or the 'wrong' spirit, or even thoughts from their own mind.

    Millions in countless different religions are sure they are feeling 'the Spirit' confirming their beliefs, religion and experiences. Mortals also can't determine if a dream, visitation, vision or appearance of a divine being such as Christ or God is really the real deal or not, for we have nothing to compare it too and could easily be deceived by a false angel or the Adversary to make us think they are Christ, or God, no matter how good or loving we feel or we think the being is.

    I believe people underestimate the Adversary's ability to make us feel really wonderful, loved, inspired, at peace and all warm & fuzzy. The Adversary can also teach us alot of mostly wonderful insightful rare truths that resonate with us, to make us think he's the real deal, but he slips in just a few falsehoods most don't catch, to gently lead us astray.

    I believe this is happening alot as many people are being deceived by false Christ's appearing to them, especially since they come away believing or practicing things contrary to what the real Christ taught, like Joseph Smith did.

    For the real Christ taught us exactly how to discern if our revelation, inspiration is coming from the 'right' Spirit or not or if a 'spiritual personage' is really 'God/Christ or 'of God' or not. By simply comparing the ideas being taught by them, to the teachings that Christ taught in the New Testament Gospels. If it differs or is contradictory then we know for sure it or they are wrong and false.

    It's as easy as 2 + 2. But few seem to do this because it seems they either haven't studied Christ's words enough to use them to discern truth over error, or they like the falsehoods they are being told by such a being or Spirit, so they want to believe it's true, whether it is or not.

    When we use Christ's method of 'trying or testing the Spirits' and testing so called 'prophets' or beings that may appear to us', we can easily tell if they are preaching Christ's exact teachings or not.

    Christ knew that all mortals can be easily deceived by false revelation from false spirits or false visitations by false Christs or angels, and so he gave us this simple way to discern if what they convey is right or not.

    The bottom line is, we can feel tons of love, peace and joy (or what we think is love, peace and joy) hearing or doing really wrong things, especially if such things play to our natural man desires.

    And we also can feel really bad, fearful, sad and uncomfortable about really true things, especially if we don't want to repent or have to live them. Like the rich man who went away sorrowful because he didn't like the truths Christ was saying.

    Christ also taught that the way to tell true prophets from false ones is again, not only by what they 'say', but mostly by what they 'do', if they keep all his commandments or not, for that is the true test of any of his true disciples, they must keep all his commandments, which are simple and few but easily discernable.

    And unfortunately using this method of discernment shows that neither Joseph Smith or any LDS leader has been a true prophet, for they have preached and practiced contrary to the teachings of Christ, as have most of the so called prophets even in the Bible, and as do most all of those who claim to be 'followers of Him'.

    As Christ taught, his true followers will be very few, though most people will feel they are such. For most everyone feels they are right and righteous even when they are doing very wrong things, that's just the nature of man.

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    1. Anonymous, it's truly sad that you reject so many true prophets.

      You talk like you're a believer in Christ but don't you know when you reject those whom God sends that you reject Christ?

      Furthermore, how do you explain the origins of the BoM? Satan inspired Joseph? What say you about the BoM, for by it you shall be judged.

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    2. Underdog,

      I do believe in Christ, and he taught us to test any self proclaimed prophet to see if they really preach and keep all of His exact commandments, or if instead they preach their own doctrines and commandments and act contrary to Christ's.

      Though the BoM may have many wonderful wise truths and useful messages in it, I believe it also teaches things that are contrary to Christ's teachings, things true prophets would not do, say, write, publish or believe in.

      I believe Joseph had alot of help in compiling the BoM, which I believe is more and more obvious the more you look into it, especially if you are open to truth even if it not what you thought, but many aren't.

      None of us will be judged by the BoM, anymore than by any other book written by fallible & very imperfect men, be it half true to not. Why would I believe that? Just because someone claimed it? Christ never taught that.

      And we judge ourselves in this and the next life, by how well we kept the commandments of Jesus Christ, not the commandments of men like Joseph Smith or BY, who did not appear to keep many, if any, of the commandments of Christ.

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    3. Anonymous,

      I cannot deny that I was wrought upon by the power of God when I said "I no longer doubt the BoM is true".

      I feel like I'd be in danger of not being forgiven in this life or the world to come if I ever deny that witness.

      Furthermore, judging by the standard Mormon gave in Moroni 7, the BoM convincingly persuades and entices to believe in Christ throughout its pages.

      I doubt you've had any experience with God as is indicated by your lack of faith.

      Remember, you reject Christ when you reject the messengers He sends.

      You cannot be of two minds.

      Good luck on your quest to understand the things of God.

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  31. I havent finished reading this, and I only got here because of the link on your newest post i got in my email today but i just want to say

    "If Satan can prevent you from recognizing and receiving the Holy Ghost, he has won. Period."

    those are some profound words.

    words of wisdom. poster that. slogan that.

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  32. I concede the first litmus test of Recieving revelation must be whether learning occurs; I also believe we must be honest enough to test against scriptural truths, and whether it encourages faith in Christ (mor 7:16-19).

    I agree emotion is confused for revelation far too often, and that our own voices may constitute revelation (I like Denver's account in TSC during his conversion about an internal dialogue in his head, when he wondered if God existed, and the thought came 'who do you think you've been talking to?').

    However I would caution against the implication interacting with the divine is necessarily a dry cerebral process. It may have little inherent emotive content such as the voice that sounds like our own, but an emotive component may be occur too, taking into account individual spiritual learning styles and varying circumstances. I like Nephi's statement to his brothers where he says 'you were past feeling that you could not *feel* his words' (1 Ne 17:45). If there is an associated feeling, the experience should not be dismissed out of hand solely due to that. And yes, D&C 6:23 suggests a cerebral process since it states 'to your mind', but I submit the peace is not merely mental-- it can be soul-filling. Else why would Christ say 'my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth...". And at the end of the day, the Holy Ghost in addition to being a revelator is of course the first comforter.

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  33. You said, “While the Holy Ghost does produce physical signs, the scriptures DO NOT teach us to identify the Holy Ghost by what we refer to as "feeling the Spirit.” And, “When knowledge is communicated by the Holy Ghost, there may indeed be an emotional response, as well as physical responses.”

    You also said, “There is NO scripture that tells us to identify the Holy Ghost by any of these feelings,” and “ALL the feelings above are products of emotion, sentimentality, and normal physiological responses to thought processes.”

    In the interest to gain clarity and understand a topic that admittedly relies on revelation to understand, I have a few points and/or questions:

    1) You said, “There is NO scripture that tells us to identify the Holy Ghost by any of these feelings.” But Nephi famously chastised his brothers in 1 Nephi 17 by telling them they “were past feeling, that [they] could not feel his words…” which were “spoken unto [them] in a still small voice.” So isn’t it clear that it’s 100% legitimate to include “feeling” the spirit as part of the discernment process? Even Mormon observed the wicked Nephites were not only “without principle,” but they were “past feeling” in Moroni 9:20. DC 9 famously talks about “feeling” that an answer given to your mind “is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings…” So maybe it is appropriate to use the phrase “feeling the Spirit”?

    2) Is there a scripture anywhere that teaches us to NOT identify the Spirit by feeling vs. it being more intellectual in discernment? I’m not aware of any.

    3) If feelings are “normal physiological responses to thought processes,” as you say, then you must also be saying it’s normal and natural that we often DO experience physiological responses (goosebumps, chills, etc.) when the Holy Spirit communicates pure intelligence to our mind/heart/spirit.

    4) It seems to me that the real value of your teaching on the Holy Ghost is that we should not just MINDLESSLY believe a physiological response is from God! That is an extremely valuable contribution to those who seek to understand revelation from God. We must rather MINDFULLY be aware of ideas/thoughts/intelligence being communicated to us at the time of the physiological response. Or as you taught, “So the first question to ask when someone has "felt the Spirit" is what intelligence was communicated? What revelation was received? What new knowledge was given? What understanding exists that was lacking before? If none was given, this was not the Lord's Spirit.”

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  34. Continued...

    5) If we have a physical reaction in our bodies but are aware of no intelligence enlightening us, then we should ask what value/ what truth we received. If no truth or enlightenment was received, but we did experience goosebumps, it may be possible that we felt an imitation from Satan. As you said, “When there has been nothing communicated, but we still "feel" the spirit, we may be sure we are indeed feeling "a" spirit, but it might not be from God. It might merely be our own emotions, or it may be something far more sinister, hoping to deceive us.”

    6) It seems important to teach that we don’t want people DISCOUNTING their physiological responses, when THAT may be the very method God desires to get our attention?! That’s what I want to articulate here.

    7) Isn’t it possible that God may choose to get our attention by causing a physical reaction in our bodies? A great example would be the baptism of fire, after all, signs do follow faith and sacrifice. Another great example would be God impressing upon us a truth He just communicated. The Spirit or a wave of light is sent to our spirit and the effect of goosebumps occurs. There’s nothing evil about getting goosebumps. But w/o pure intelligence accompanying the goosebumps, there COULD be deception brewing from Satan.

    8) So I think it’s fair and necessary to point out and warn that Satan can and does imitate and counterfeit those physiological responses. So the physical reactions we have should never be trusted by themselves. They must at the very least be linked to an idea received to our mind/heart. However, I can tell you that very often I personally receive such physiological responses when thinking a true thought. But your point is that it’s the thought that is of value. The communicated IDEA is what is of lasting value, and not the goosebumps. But even then, there IS value in a physiological response because one would remember that specific “spiritual” experience if it was strong enough. Your valuable point is that it’s only truly MEANINGFUL if you learned a truth at the same time. OTHERWISE, it could be a random, false spirit from Satan causing you to feel something with the intent to deceive.

    9) Which gets to the final point – the way to judge. The question becomes, “Does a certain received idea persuade and entice one to believe in Christ or to deny Him?” Moroni 7.

    In summary, since as you say “the Holy Ghost does produce physical signs,” I’m not convinced it’s wrong to say, “I felt the Holy Ghost just now.” Nephi used the word “feel” as I quoted above, and the Lord did too in DC 9. I kind of got sidetracked into debating about the semantics of the word choice of “is FEELING wrong”, but the absolutely critical question to always ask is, “What if anything did I learn at the time of feeling something I think was the Spirit?”

    Truth or intelligence must accompany a physical sign and one thing to realize that has not been said is that the Holy Spirit may speak to us great truths and THERE BE NO ACCOMPANYING PHYSICAL SIGN WHATSOEVER! If the still small voice is communicating like this all the time, and we’re not “feeling” a physical response, then perhaps we are missing out on vast treasures of revelation on a regular basis! This is one major takeaway for me.

    Do you disagree with anything I wrote above, Adrian?

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