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Saturday, February 12, 2005 

It Isn't All About Me...

So basically I want to just copy and paste everything that has already been said (as usual). But I hope my perspective can add one more aspect to this discussion. Keep in mind this is MY perspective…I am not projecting this view upon ANYone else. This is so very personal. And I also want you to know how difficult this post is for me. I am not eloquent (or concise) when it comes to this specific topic. I still have a lot of my own issues to work out here.

But here’s how it works for me…very personally.

I have a conscience. I was born with it. It was a freebie that came along with the package deal of being a human being and not a mollusk. Having a relatively normal brain and relatively normal psyche, I know and understand what the rules of humanity are (Kaycee spelled those rules out for us quite nicely). I will know when I have done well by the good feelings I feel. When I have crossed the line, I will know it by the bad feelings, the guilt I feel. But for me, it goes a step deeper.

When I was eight years old, I received the gift of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit) through an ordinance that was performed by someone who I feel had the authority to do so. I was promised that as I came upon choices I had to make, I would be shown the correct answers or that after I had made a choice, I would know if it had been the right or wrong thing to do.

I would “know” these answers to choices in several ways: I might have peace of mind, I might feel happy, the choice might have natural positive consequences, I might feel like I want to hide or be secretive, I might feel guilty, the choice might have natural negative consequences…

Through extensive experimentation, I have been able to hone my skill of “listening” to the Spirit. Sometimes I listen, sometimes he speaks and I pretend that I am busy and I didn’t hear him.

And Cameron’s dinosaur story provides the perfect segue into my next and more difficult point… I know that I have a father in heaven. He has blessed me with things that I cannot even begin to count nor do anything to repay.

I had a BIG decision to make last week. So first, I called my dad. We spent almost an hour talking on the phone about ME, and my question. I talked, he listened, he talked, and I listened. He had a lot of good things to say. I didn’t necessarily agree with everything, nor did his single opinion sway my choice, after all, it’s up to me…but I was really thankful for his input.

Then later that night, I took the same question to my other father. I knelt and thanked him for sending me to such great parents. I thanked him for my health, my husband, my home, and my life of leisure. I knew that I could ask him my big question, and that he would care, he would have an opinion, and maybe some advice. I don’t always agree with what he tells me, nor did his single opinion sway my choice, after all, it’s up to me…but I always appreciate his input.

The next day was Fast Sunday, the slowest Sunday of the month (especially when you have early church). I thought about my question a lot. I thought about what dad had said, and I listened for hints of what father was trying to say to me (through his messenger, the Spirit). I eventually got my answer. No angels or lights; I got my peace of mind. And I haven’t doubted that I made the right choice.

And now the toughest part of all… My father loves me so much. He is always there whether I want him to be or not. Sometimes (so often!) I don’t even kneel because I feel so unworthy of everything that I have been given at his hand. I can’t even bare to speak to him. And worse of all, he gave me the most precious gift he had, the life of his own son, so that I shouldn’t ever hesitate to come back to him.

When I make a bad decision, my dad doesn’t always know about it (thank goodness). NOTHING is worse than disappointing Mom & Dad. Except, Father knows… every time I make a bad decision, it hurts him as much as it would hurt my mom & dad, and then some. Not because I went contrary to his advice, his authority, his tradition, or his “rules”, but because I took one step away from him. I gave him the cold shoulder in the midst of all his generosity.

Now a lot of people don’t like to feel guilty. I don’t like to feel guilty. Sometimes we feel guilty for really stupid reasons: we think people are judging us, we ate too much at dinner, we aren’t living up to someone else’s standards. But I have slowly learned to tell the difference between earthly guilt, the kind I can usually shake off when I realize that it is my own insecurity causing it, and what I call true guilt; the guilt I feel when I KNOW that I have gone contrary to my truest self. (Sometimes I forget who that “true self” is, and I get terribly lost and really unhappy….)

But it isn’t all about me. It’s not all about how I feel. Like most people, I am not making decisions that only consider MY consequences. We all make decisions daily, often selflessly, so that the people that we love are taken care of and feel loved. We don’t just make decisions that will give us pleasure and comfort. So I am trying to make decisions that don’t hurt or turn away the ones I believe in and love. Including my father…he is at the core, he is my compass…

Beautiful insight into your soul, Carrie Ann. Thank you for sharing that with me.

You amaze me. Thank you so much for posting this... it was what I needed to hear. You are one heck of an extrordenary person CA!

There's nothing to say to that! What an eloquent post.

I frequently read VSofM and enjoy the different views. You all speak so openly and are loving and accepting of each other, even when you have a difference of opinion.

This post is the first one I've commented on, but I couldn't help myself this time! This was such a beautiful post! I felt the spirit strongly as I read your testimony.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

I understand that this blog site is about exchanging views in a nice way.

I would hate to attack your post it is very emotional and personal. But at the same time I think you would what people to be honest with you.

So I will bring the different side that people here may be afraid to post, because they care for you. (I care to)

I have some friends that are Pena costal who claim that the Holy Ghost helps them in their decisions to life. I visited their church service as usual it was nice. They also displayed the influence of the Holy Ghost by crying their eyes off in front of me, near an altar. I told them that I was mormon and understood how the holy ghost worked. As we compared the differences in feeling the ghost, there was no real difference. But the holy ghost helped them understand that mormon’s were not real Christians, it helped them in their decision. It helped them in many was in life. (Example creationists.) Who’s holy ghost is right??

What I am getting to is obvious, who real has the holy ghost? Do we have to have an emotional feeling to be right?? Can we make a decision based on data only??

Speaking about right and wrong I found this interesting link about Kinsey. The father of sex ed on PBS. He had struggled to consummate his marriage (sex, Maybe some one was living sheltered life)

Kinsey InfoWatch the promo
Here is the Site PBSMaybe we can learn about love's right and wrong on Valentine’s day

I appreciate your view Rodrigo, that's why we are doing this. I REALLY hope that no one bases their decisions solely on emotion thinking it is divine guidance.

For me, the Spirit isn't just an emotional thing or feeling. It's a combination of a sound mind and an open heart. When I feel I have found peace of mind, or when I have questions about doctrine or scripture and I think it out carefully and clearly and arrive at what I feel is right, it isn't accompanied by crying or even emotion. It's a clarity.

By both being a Mormon and by exploring other faiths, I have come to the unshakable conclusion that Mormons aren't the only sincere people looking for truth, and that people of other faiths often TRULY believe that they have found the truth. That does not conflict with my beleif that I have found the truth. It's a personal journey.

We should glory in our ability to chose for ourselves, that was the whole purpose to God's plan. If you believe in that sort of thing...

Rodrigo V, before joining the lds church, I attended a non-denominational church where there was much in the way of crying, speaking in tongues, hand waving and clapping, hysterics, and frankly, quite a bit of theatrics. Each lengthy service was a roller coaster of emotions. And then I'd walk out the door and I'd feel empty. The intensity was over. I didn't feel high about the Lord. I felt like when you leave a really good concert and the euphoria - the mob mentality that was floating you along - is gone.

It's a mighty different feeling than the "still, small voice" of peace. The former is emotional soley (dare I say souly)and it feels good for the moment. Then again, so does dropping acid (which feels good for a rather long time IMO) but it's not exactly beneficial in the long run for you. The Spirit can trigger emotions but that's rather different then emotions triggered by the human dynamics of praise and worship.

Everyone can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. I heard it before I ever heard of the lds church. However, that doesn't mean everything you think is the Holy Spirit speaking to you really is. That goes for the lds faithful as well.

You ask, "Who's holy ghost is right?" That's akin to saying only one group can hear the Spirit. That's simply not true. Everyone can. The question is one of discernment. This question will face everyone to an even greater degree in the future as the scriptures say that even the elect will be deceived.

This could be delved into much further as far as the heart people pray with (sincere? open?), if their alleged answers contradict God's nature, their level of pride, if they are living in a way that is conducive to the Spirit talking to them at that point in time, and even if they are ready for the whole answer yet or not.

In summary, all people can feel the Holy Spirit at different times. All we claim as members is the ability to have it as a constant companion if we live worth of it.

I don't know what you're getting at bringing up Kinsey. I first read his stuff 20 years ago wouldn't use his name in the same sentence with the ability to distinguish right from wrong. If you think there are no absolutes, that's your perogative. No one can prove to you otherwise.

Carrie Ann, want to go tap some doors? Thank you for sharing! Thats just one of the reasons I love you!

Renee, well said. Your explanation was way more consise, thank you.

I am a little lost as to how the father of sex Ed has anything to do with the Holy Ghost.

I love the reference to how other churches envision the Holy Ghost. Having lived in Brazil for a couple of years, I have seen more then my fair share of the yelling and crying and the tongues. And the sad thing about all of that is that it has nothing to do with what Paul taught the Galatians in regards to the Holy Spirit. He said "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Carrie Ann has identified the most basic concepts of the Spirit in its influence in our lives. "No angels or lights; I got my peace of mind” one of the key fruits of the spirit, peace.

Renee - The question is one of discernment. I totally agree!

The ability to discern can only be done with the information that one has. What I am saying is that all decisions are based on the information that one carries.

There is greater chance of making wrong decisions with bad data.

I guess I am saying that people lack correct valid information and rely to much on the holy ghost with out researching.

I personally meditated a great deal on what information my mind has and how it works. I understand that I am not an expert in all manners of life. So I ask experts to clear my doubts. It is good to have multiple sources.

It is good to meditate and use the holy ghost as you have described it. What ex-mormons or experts will say is that you may lack certain information on seeking truths or asking the holy ghost. It is not an external entity (holy ghost) that tells you this is right and this is wrong it is your own mind that is processing the information that you have.

All truths that were discovered came from valid information.

Renee - This question will face everyone to an even greater degree in the future as the scriptures say that even the elect will be deceived. These is interesting, it is like saying do not trust experts or ex-mormons (evil).

Like I said it is all about information and the experience that you have to make correct decisions.

Maybe we should try to identify what are the requirements on making correct decisions.

Do you need the holy ghost?
Or do you need information?
Which one is more important?

I never read Kinsey you may be right It just looked interesting to me because some of the blogs on the site seemed to refer to some guilt of life with maybe related to sex, Of course I may be wrong I am a little new as a commentator.

Rodrigo, are you saying that man and the human mind can out think God? I can tell you if an educated person tells me something and God tells me something different, I am going to follow the prompotings of the Holy Ghost.

Information is still more important. You still need the data (info) of god and the holy ghost before following the promptings of the holy ghost. It is impossible to ask the holy ghost without knowing that information of the holy ghost.

Cameron - you are in a very dangerous area if you think that way. It is the reason why people don't question what is valid.

So many people say God told me so. Or God made me do it.

If its a question between what God says and what man says, no matter how learened they are, I choose to pick God EVERYTIME! The prophets of old recieved their commands from God, and people said the same thing, shwo me the "data". WHy are people so affraid to walk blind and have a little faith?

As to the importance of "data". I am not sure if you were a convert baptism or born in the church, if you were a convert data, you were presented the teachings of the church, and then the missionaries should have asked you to ponder on the things they had taught you, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Return of the Priesthood authority on the earth etc. After that they should have invited you to pray on them. Because no matter what they taught you, Gods word was final, if he sent you an answer thats it.

I do not need to question that which I have without a doubt recieved an answer for. I will continue to study and search for other answers, but if I have recieved an answer, then that is good enough for me.
Mens thoughts will change, new discoveries will erase old theories, peoples learning and thoughts will change, but God is eternal.

I could also say why are people afraid of the data or information? Do you not have faith in reasoning and using logic to see.

I think I have more faith in data then in God. Maybe it is because the data points to something that may be called God or truth.

Well I think we hit the wall on this topic. We have come to the end of it. thx for your input it is hard to communicate ideas that are only text. It was real pleasant to read all the comments I really enjoyed it. It was a health discussion thx guys.

I was a convert. Did the temple thing about 40 to 50 times. Got sealed to my family, which was really nice. Also did the instituted thing. My bro served in panama.

Rodrigo, I was not suggesting that we don't search out the answer in pysical terms first. I am also not suggesting that any of us just sit and wait for the answer to come to us without any research or learning; that's preposterous. That's not the way it works.

We are responsible for our education on everything, especially in matters of God and the existence of a supreme being. I think most people learn all they can about a subject before they make up their minds. And the more they learn the more they are free to become firm in thier stance or change their minds, like you have done. But not all educated and experienced people, "experts" as you call them, come to the same conclusions that you have. Many reknowned scientists, thinkers, writers, and educators from all fields believe in God.

I don't blame you, but I resent the general implication that religious people are not cerebral. That we don't make extensive inquiry into our own faiths as well as other faiths before drawing conclusions.

Have you never read C.S. Lewis? Do you (I am speaking generally) think that he was a intellectual moron? He is a great example of the educated thinking religious man.

What makes you think religion is any different from any academic persuit? I know there are a lot of people who just go with the flow of their families traditions or their cultural traditions without finding out for themselves. It happens... but I don't think you are giving "church goers" enough credit for doing their own homework.

However, I do believe there IS something called inspiration, where a thought or idea will "just come to you." You may say that that idea rattled around in your subconscious for a while before making itself present in the conscious (God uses natural means to do his work), but some people also call that divine. Einstien did...

While reading the VERY interesting discussion about the Holy Ghost vs. other forms of "data", a scripture kept bouncing around in my mind. So, I finally looked it up. It is D&C 9:7-9. The background is that Oliver Cowdery is assisting Joseph Smith as his scribe. He wanted to translate, too. But, this wasn't part of God's plan (for whatever reason) in bringing forth the Book of Mormon.

It says, "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
"But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
"But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong..."

Through this modern-day scripture we are clearly taught to "study it out in our mind" and make the best decision we can based on our logic and the evidence we find. Only THEN do we bring our question to the Lord, and say, "I've been studying this out in my mind a lot. This is the conclusion I have come to. Please either confirm that this is right, or help me to know if I need to find a different solution." This confirmation or the opposite "stupor of thought" then comes through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. As mentioned, it may come in various forms/feelings for different people and in different situations.

It is DOCTRINE of the church that we should use our heads (logic, data, whatever) and not just our hearts (emotions, feelings) before asking the Lord what is right. It is NOT an "either / or" situation.

That being said, I know that there are other functions of the Holy Ghost where He does not manifest himself only after much thought and studying. I'm thinking about inspiration and forewarnings (though there are others).

For example, last night my daughter was very sick with croupe. She was having a very difficult time breathing. She was wheezing with every breath; she was struggling. The medicine the doctor prescribed didn't seem to be working. We finally calmed her enough that she went back to her room to sleep. As I was praying before bed, and asking specifically that she would be ok, a thought quite suddenly popped into my head that I really feel was PLACED there. I suddenly remembered that I had an albuterol inhaler in the medicine cabinet and it would help her. I don't think I thought of that on my own.

Thanks for this interesting discussion.

Great posts guys- the plan was to have mine up by late last night- but it looks as though I'm a little behind schedule. It should be up before this afternoon.

Oh good job Rodrigo, you got the ladies mad at you. For someone who talks a lot about learing, and studying, you apparently have not studied about the fairer sex enough to know that is a no no. Even I am smart enough to know you just grin and nod your head, and throw a "I'm sorry" in there every once in awhile. (Just a little Valentines lesson for you)

Thanks for the lesson Cameron I will try to remember that. lol

I do not think the girls are that mad at me, at least I hope not. They are just helping me to understand.

But I do not think the holy ghost is always 100% right. Even when you have a burning of the bosom within you. Because their are people that had the burning of the bosom to certain decisions which still came out to be wrong. I will put myself in that example but their are many more some of which can be called ex-mormon.

Discernment is the problem. So lets get valid data where we can. :-)

The Holy Ghost IS right 100% of the time! Mormons believe He is a member of the Godhead, He cannot be wrong.

It is us who sometimes misinterpret what we are feeling. We sometimes believe the answer is coming from the Holy Ghost, when it is really our own desire.

Also, there are times we are prompted to do things that lead to what seems like a mistake. But we don't see the whole picture. If we could see it, we may be surprised at how many "mistakes" were actually blessings in disguise.

I echo what has been said before, we are responsible to learn, study, search, etc. We should try to find our answers, then we must take what we've learned/decided to the Lord and get a confirmation.

The Holy Ghost will NEVER lie to you or lead you astray. If you ever feel this has happened to you in your life, you need to look back and think about which spirit it was that sent you those promptings.


Interesting thought. The Sunday School lesson was on Personal Revelation. (In light of the discussion we have had, I even avoided playing Tetris during Sunday School ;) ).

One of the points I took out of it was that you can always relay on the Holy Ghost, You need to study things out in your mind, get the data if you would. Then you need to take it to the Lord.
There were some interesting points about discerning between promptings that come from the Holy Ghost, and promptings that from else where in an effort to decieve.

THe final word on that matter was a scripture from D&C 50:24.

"That which is of God is a light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day."
And I will end too because I think Sariah has said it a lot better then I could ever.
Its been a fun discussion this week, thanks everyone.

Beautiful post, CA...I very much appreciated your words and insight. Its hard for me to write down how much your words touched me...but still...they did.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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