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Spiritual experiences

Any “spiritual experience” I have ever had doesn’t feel theatrical or disconnected from reality. While many such experiences are not part of what can be considered possible in general experience, when they happen they are as real and tangible as anything else.

It seems that the degree we understand something is related to what we can compare it to.

Maybe you are familiar with the example where someone is asked to describe what salt tastes like. It’s a frustrating endeavor for something so common and it’s nearly impossible to put into words exactly how it tastes. Is it bitter? Bitter in what way? Some bitter flavors are enjoyable and others are horrible.

If you have experienced the taste of salt, then all one woul need to say is “salty” and you would instantly be able to relate.

When the scriptures speak of burning, fire, enlightenment, light, swelling, delicious, joy, peace, etc. The words don’t mean much unless we have experienced something similar, and when we do experience certain things, those words suddenly become very meaningful.

With small children, we point to things and say, “That is a cat, that is a shirt, that is a sandwich, etc.” Unfortunately, we don’t really seem to have a unique selection of words that are exclusively used to describe these spiritual experiences. Instead, we use approximate words like fire, light, peace, etc. and when we do, anyone who can’t relate to the particular experience might raise an eyebrow.

I think that this says more about the weakness of language than the reality of spiritual experiences.

 

  • Jeffrey

    Love it. I grew up hearing “the scriptures are best understood when experienced.”

    • oneclimbs

      It’s true. The scriptures core value, at least in my mind, is their ability to convey principles from the mind of God to the mind of man. The Lectures on Faith talk about the importance of “ideas” and that ideas must exist for any intelligent being to exercise faith. We can find in scripture the “ideas” that we can experiment with. Experimenting on ideas leads to experiences and as we return to the scriptures we find those experiences validated and the scripture, in turn, can even take us higher.