Episodes

Mormon Awakenings: Episode 023: God Magic, Spiritual Experiences and the Paranormal.

Jack Naneek and Bill Reel sit down to discuss spiritual experiences, telepathy, healing, and precognition.  Priesthood, truth claims, and exclusive rights to wield God magic are considered.  The first half of life is compared with the second half of life.  Literalism, symbology, and personal spiritual guidance are analyzed.  Yes.  It’s a long episode!  But, in the end, we just might rediscover there is indeed something special going on inside our ward houses.

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6 thoughts on “Mormon Awakenings: Episode 023: God Magic, Spiritual Experiences and the Paranormal.

  1. Great thoughts on the Holy Spirit. When dud the confirmation of the Holy Ghost become apart of the blessing. Was this simultaneously Initiated with baptism? Or was thus instituted after the conversion of other religious leaders into Mormonism? Such as the laying on of hands?

  2. That’s a good question and I don’t have the specific answer. I suspect it emerged early in church, and if I had to guess, I’d say probably when Sidney Rigdon joined. Rigdon brought many doctrines and practices from the Campbellites. But, I’m speculating. Maybe others know, or, with a little research, maybe we can find out!

  3. The Holy Ghost:
    I finally, finally, heard somebody state that I’ve wondered about for years!

    I think it was Jack who talked about children who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and then wonder why the feel no different. Something logical doesn’t sit well. Well, I’m well into my fifties and I’ve never had a good answer to this question and my mind still reacts to the logical fallacy of the teaching: One receives a gift (and, please, without the nuance of “its a latent gift”, or a “gift you have to work to receive”, or its a “gift that is constant vs. temporary”) through the priesthood that nobody else is supposed to have except Mormons and is supposed to guide us and is supposed to be a source of answers to prayers in a way that guides our lives and, yet, there is nothing different from the 10 minutes before the confirmation and 10 minutes after or 50 years after the confirmation. Non-members or even evil people describe the same things that Mormons say about feeling inspired or receiving an answer to a prayer and yet they are not supposed to have the gift.

    This is a big one for me. It is not something I’ve grown out of. It is not something that an adult can and should understand and a child should not. It is a logical implication that simply can’t be ignored.

    If it is the gift of the Holy Ghost and that entity is a member of the Godhead, then something should be different after the gift is received. Something different should be felt after a silent prayer. My life should be lived differently because it should be guided whereas all of the other people who don’t have the gift should not be similarly guided.

    I am left to conclude that the gift of the Holy Ghost (or the non-gift) is one of the biggest “drink the lemonade” elements of the Church. For me…like everyone else…I want to learn to follow my intuition, my gut reaction, my sense of what is right. Everybody has that…and no Mormon I know has something that is different.

  4. Thanks Glen. You reiterate a key question here about what the phenomenon actually is. People inside the church have what most people who call spiritual experiences. The question is how unique these are to Mormonism. I think people who seek these types of experiences have them, so in that regard, I think Mormons have a fair amount. But I’m not sure if there is anything especially unique about Mormon spirituality from other spirituality other than we look for it. But, others who look for it, focus on it, have them. And, some of more talented in these areas than others. There has been much scientific work on what appears to be precognition, telepathy, clairvoyance, etc, which look a lot like good old fashioned spiritual experiences. Are they related? The same? These are questions worth asking and I think God is okay with asking them and having opinions about them that might differ from standard sunday school quick answers.

  5. Thanks, Jack and Bill! You call it “the second half of life,” which is good. I call it graduation from “Primary.” I see that I would have not had such a profound and insightful awakening had it not been from the deep sleep of being staunch, obedient, non-questioning LDS, with stagnant growth.

    Several things shook me awake. I pushed them back at first, but as the stream trickled and then became greater, I could no longer remain blind or hold back the flood that came in as I sought and still seek more truth. Learning is infinite. Now is the time to learn, experience and grow, not later after wasting life having handed our agency to another greater than us who “will save us for surrendering our agency to him, obeying and not questioning and growing.”

    That is not Christ’s plan. Is this a test, to see how long before we realize we are following the other brother’s plan, then rebel, and do something about that? This earth is loaded with endless variation of that “safety of the boat” plan.

    It is an “always journey” of sorting through real and not so real history or questionable history, seeking and sorting through truths, learning to recognize falsehoods, cleaver counterfeits, tricks and illusions, to refine what I think I may know, but may not, yet. The big picture gets painted as I go. It gets constant remodeling, anytime that is needed, as truths or untruths are further made evident.

    Is this the real “line upon line” of not looking constantly to a leader but to God, to keep learning, experiencing, progressing, as Christ, Lehi, Nephi, Moroni and more leaders admonished was the right choice to choose? Is this the graduation to the teachings of the Spirit, to that truth of all things, opening the door to that ongoing search for infinite truths, eternal learning which starts now, or not till we have shown we can obediently postpone our learning till after this life? Jesus told us that this graduation journey is only for those ready to use their own eyes to see and ears to hear.

    I do believe we can get those “God’s Mysteries” and answers in the here and now, and I have on some things, enough to let me know there is a whole lot more to keep learning and experiencing to grow and progress now. That is a thrill to know I am on the second, more exciting leg of my eternal journey with even more exciting graduations to come.

    We just don’t know when graduation times are until we experience enough to grow enough to know that we must further seek beyond “the safety of the boat,” when we knock and it is answered and more is opened and given to us because we listened to Jesus and asked our Good Father who is generous and giving, for more.

    Can we even imagine James or John sternly rebuking Peter, threatening “excommunication of brotherhood” for getting out of the boat to walk toward Jesus on the water, dissobeying the captain’s orders, in order to go direct, to graduate to the next leg of his journey?

    Or, maybe that is what James and John did, scolded Peter’s sin of “disobedience and stupidity,” as Peter then doubted, feared and faltered for his “sin” of getting out of the sure safety of the boat. Did this faltering postpone his graduation from the boat, to preserve the integrity of the safety of the boat lest everybody would want to graduate prematurely as the captain of the boat feared?

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