The Holy Spearmint
Date: January 31, 2014 08:30PM
I felt the need to respond to this closed thread:http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1153558
D&C 9:8-9 coupled with Alma 32:27 are both important to why I was TBM and why I'm not anymore.
They offer a clear doctrinal basis for scientific experimentation with belief. You have a question. You study it out (reasearch). Out of your study you should have something you think is right (hypothesis). Ask if it be right (test). Burning bosom (confirmation of test) or stupor of thoughts (negative results, back to errant hypothesis).
When I was young I decided to follow this method to establish a baseline. I'd had feelings that I thought were the spirit before, but I wanted to be more In Tune With the Spirit™. I picked several scientifically verifiable truths and put them to the test. As I prayed about each and every one I felt an amazing confirmation that they were, indeed, true. I had my baseline of what the spirit felt like.
Being an ever fervent seeker of truth I've used this method throughout my life. In a lot of instances there was no need for prayer. I would just study, hypothesize, ponder (AKA think) and I would receive my confirmation feeling.
Where it falls apart for me is the desire spoken of in Alma. You gotta want it before you get it. Of course it's going to feel right if you already want it. Desire can be dangerous if not backed by sufficient research grounded in factual truth.
My wife and I went through a very trying time in our marriage last year. She was making decisions that were damaging our intimacy and directing her libido away from me. I studied the evidence in front of me and came to the clear hypothesis she was cheating on me. I prayed and received confirmation from the spirit that she was. The thing that didn't sit right is that I desperately WANTED her to be cheating on me so I had a clear reason to kick her to the curb. There's that pesky desire.
Fortunately I love my wife more than TSCC and decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. I struggled with my answer and returned to study and hypothesis rather than move forward with accusations and action. Further study revealed it was still possible she wasn't cheating on me and I was blowing certain evidence out of proportion. I even shared blame in the issues that were driving us apart. I went back to prayer with a new hypothesis, that she wasn't cheating on me and we should stay together. This time I went in desperately wanting to stay with her. I received the same very clear confirmation that my hypothesis was correct.
Oh the conflict! I had feelings that confirmed two contradictory hypotheses. The feelings were identical and matched my baseline. The only advice offered by trusted, "spiritual" men was that feelings of the spirit can also come from satan. How then, do I differentiate? Listen to the prophets, they'll lead the way. So much for free agency.
To sum up the advice of priesthood leaders, parents, friends and modern direction from The Brethren™: "You have the ability to answer your own questions by the spirit, but you obviously can't rely on your ability to feel the spirit so listen to these men, unless they're merely speaking as men. You'll know if they're speaking as men by the guidance of the spirit, which you can't rely on, so listen to these men. Did you pray and read your scriptures?"
This experience weakened my shelf supports beyond repair. Cue deeper research into history and doctrine, plus a shelf already sagging under the weight of Prop 8, SSM, Unrighteous Dominion® by the patriarchy, misogyny, financial impropriety (hello City Creek), damaging reproductive health directives from leadership, and the list goes on. I'm done. I plan to carefully and slowly remove myself from the grip of TSCC. It will take time as I was BIC, have a highly TBM family that lives in the heart of the Morridor and most of my social structure is built around TSCC. Fortunately I escaped the Morridor years ago and have NeverMo coworkers and friends for support. When the time is right I'll come to you in my true identity and seek from you the signs and tokens of locals that can help me adjust to life after TSCC.
Feelings are just that, feelings. You can learn to rely on them, as they can lead you to what you truly desire. Use caution when those feelings are based on incomplete evidence or could potentially harm relationships with your fellow human beings. One thing I do believe, our feelings will always confirm our hearts desires. I just felt the Spearmint that leaving TSCC is the right thing to do.