Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

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Advocate
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Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Advocate » Thu Jan 19, 2023 11:55 am

I had some interesting thoughts this past week and want to share them with the group. I’m interested in any thoughts, feedback, criticism, or support anyone wants to share.

First, a bit of background on me. I went through a faith transition almost 10 years ago. Went from being a full believer to being a true New Order Mormon in a few years. I take a New Order Mormon to mean someone who doesn’t believe, but attends for family reasons. Thank goodness for this board (and version 1.0) and all who share on it. #tendermercies. Currently I have a calling as a counselor in the bishopric. My personal view is that most of the people in my ward are absolutely wonderful and are trying the best they can to be better. My issues are with the leaders in Salt Lake (past and present) and some doctrines that don’t add up for me.

Being in the bishopric means I give a lot of blessings. Besides blessings for the sick and afflicted, typically a blessing is given every time someone gets a new calling and is set apart. Giving so many blessings has been interesting and different because I don’t get a chance to prepare for each individual blessing. In the past whenever I gave a blessing it would be one every few months or to a family member, giving me ample time to think about it. In contrast, some weeks I might give 4 or 5 blessings a week and often to people I don’t know very well. Which brings us to last Sunday.

I was asked to set apart a sister who recently got a new calling as a primary teacher. She stopped by with her husband and everyone else was busy, so I said I would do it. I’ve had very limited interactions with this family in the past. They are quiet, younger than me, and pretty much stick to themselves. They seem to be good people, but I don’t know them very well. For example, I don’t know what either of them does for work (or if the woman works outside the home), where they moved from (probably Utah but who knows), how many kids they have (a few?), the kids ages, or where they live. The point of all this is to say that there isn’t a connection there and I didn’t take any time to prepare.

Her husband and I laid our hands on her head and I set her apart for the calling and proceeded with the blessing. While giving the blessing I felt very “moved” by the spirit. There wasn’t some special revelation given (meaning I blessed her for something I wouldn’t have known otherwise), but I felt a lot of love and care for her. Dare I say, it seems entirely possible that Heavenly Father was expressing His love for her through me. It could be said that I felt the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness). Upon finishing the blessing and shaking hands with the sister, I could tell that she had been moved too and was emotional from the blessing.

Later as I was thinking on what had happened, the thought came to me along the lines of “you felt the spirit today so the church is true.” But that didn’t sit well and I’ve continued to think on it. Even though I rarely pray (it seems crazy to me that I’m in a bishopric and I rarely pray, but that’s how it is), I still think and believe that God exists. I have a couple thoughts on why I felt what I did:

(1) Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” I think this explains how so many people in so many churches (including non-mormon) feel the spirit.
(2) The love of God. Whether the LDS church is true or not, God loves this sister and she needed to hear and feel it. I was just there as a conduit.

You’ll note that neither of these explanations logically lead to the conclusion that the church is true. And that brings me to my final thought. Isn’t it interesting how often that church materials and leaders teach that feeling the spirit means the church is true. Even me, a NOMer for many years, first had that thought upon feeling the spirit. And now I can see why they focus on it so much. Emotions are powerful and being able to teach that these emotions (fruits of the spirit) means the church is true is a great way to keep people in the church, even when it doesn’t logically make sense.

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Palerider » Thu Jan 19, 2023 2:09 pm

If we think in terms of Heavenly Father and the Savior watching over their children here on earth, we should ask ourselves, how many would be blessed or cared for if God said, "Oh I can't give you a blessing because you're not in the right church. I only give blessings to my children through properly approved and authorized channels"....???

Not many. Even sounds a little like a bureaucracy. :geek:

And yet God says that He sends his rain and sunshine both "on the just and on the unjust". So, people, regardless of what religion they belong to receive blessings and earthly trials no matter who they are or how righteous they think they are.

The problem is Mormons are forced by their faulty paradigm to always attach some sort of church related spiritual significance to each experience. When in reality those experiences are usually just a part of living in mortality with its ups and downs. But they can't see it when it pertains to them. Only when it happens to other folks.

They can't see that if someone prays over them or gives them a "blessing" and they are comforted by that blessing, it might simply be because (as you state) God loves them. Not because the "blessing giver" has the "priesthood".

Mormons are very good at assigning God's mercy to non-members who happen to get blessed in some way, but they can't see that God might be doing the exact same thing in their lives when someone prays over them, not because those who are praying or blessing possess any real priesthood but just because God loves them.

So I think "feeling the Spirit" move in our lives has very little to do with one's religion and everything to do with our reaching out to God in faith and prayer. Unfortunately, Mormons have difficulty making that logical differentiation.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by malkie » Thu Jan 19, 2023 3:02 pm

At one point in my church life I had a reputation for giving "good" blessings.

Ironically, it was at a time that my faith in all things LDS was almost completely gone, and I was simply going through the motions, so that if the priesthood I held (and still hold!) were in any way real it was probably completely extinguished.
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by wtfluff » Thu Jan 19, 2023 3:21 pm

Advocate wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 11:55 am
...
While giving the blessing I felt very “moved” by the spirit.
...
My Fluffy logic tells me that "feeling the spirit" is the normal emotion of any decent human being who knows and experiences empathy.

Just speaking worlds of encouragement out loud to another human being - whether done with hands on head or not, is very likely to elicit those same emotions in them.

Normal human emotion, that every being on the planet can experience. The fact that religions hijack these emotions as proof of their "Trueness" is one of the best cons ever invented.

I no longer believe in any gods, ghosts or angels in the religious sense, yet I experience the "Gifts of The Spirit™" constantly, and can elicit those same emotions any time with the right set and setting.

Normal human emotion, that's all.

[/END-FLUFFY_LOGIC]
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Linked » Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:06 pm

My thoughts are similar to the fluffy ones above.

You are a good person and want good things for people. You were in a situation to offer support to someone and you know enough about them to offer pretty good/accurate comfort but you also know little enough that you can imagine nice things for them without the weight of knowing what's reasonable. And it makes you feel good to imagine the good you are doing, as it should, cause you are a good person doing a good thing.

Your ward is lucky to have you.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Advocate » Fri Jan 20, 2023 12:18 pm

Thanks all for your thoughts and responses, they are wonderful. The discussion here makes me sad for how poor the discussions are that we have at church. I think it is fascinating and enlightening to hear different viewpoints, and those different viewpoints help me learn and grow. Everyone who attends church is worse off because different viewpoints are not allowed; only faith-promoting viewpoints can be shared.
If we think in terms of Heavenly Father and the Savior watching over their children here on earth, we should ask ourselves, how many would be blessed or cared for if God said, "Oh I can't give you a blessing because you're not in the right church. I only give blessings to my children through properly approved and authorized channels"....???

Not many. Even sounds a little like a bureaucracy. :geek:

And yet God says that He sends his rain and sunshine both "on the just and on the unjust". So, people, regardless of what religion they belong to receive blessings and earthly trials no matter who they are or how righteous they think they are.
Love this logic. It makes so much sense to me and bonus points for the scriptural citation.
At one point in my church life I had a reputation for giving "good" blessings.

Ironically, it was at a time that my faith in all things LDS was almost completely gone, and I was simply going through the motions, so that if the priesthood I held (and still hold!) were in any way real it was probably completely extinguished.
I don't know that I have any special reputation but some people have given compliments about a blessing, even while I'm a non-believer. All it does is reinforce for me that love and concern is more important than any sort of "worthiness".
My Fluffy logic tells me that "feeling the spirit" is the normal emotion of any decent human being who knows and experiences empathy.

The fact that religions hijack these emotions as proof of their "Trueness" is one of the best cons ever invented.
I can't say that you're wrong. I'm not sure I agree with you in all cases, but definitely agree that religions hijacking these emotions (whether they are naturally occurring or stem from God as love for His children) to get power over people is a very powerful con.

Linked: thanks for your kinds words.

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Angel » Fri Jan 20, 2023 3:08 pm

This video shows comparisons of people feeling the spirit from heaven's gate to polygamous cults to mainstream religions:

https://youtu.be/UJMSU8Qj6Go

It is: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevation_(emotion)

Or https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frisson

I think the important thing is knowing its just chemicals, it is NOT from God (unless you think God calls pedophiles to work with children). It is a herd bonding instinct, nothing more.

Is it easier to feel... frisson... with someone young and cute you don't know? or... with someone older, not so cute, that you know all too well.... be honest, then tell us what that sensation was again ;)
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by 2bizE » Fri Jan 20, 2023 6:09 pm

I’ve evolved on priesthood blessings. I see them like more of a pep talk. Think of how invigorating a great half time speech by Knute Rockne (think the locker room speech in the movie Rudy). These can be inspirational, give you chills, and make you believe in the cause.
If healing blessings really worked, Utah would have much fewer deaths.
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by malkie » Fri Jan 20, 2023 7:21 pm

2bizE wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 6:09 pm
I’ve evolved on priesthood blessings. I see them like more of a pep talk. Think of how invigorating a great half time speech by Knute Rockne (think the locker room speech in the movie Rudy). These can be inspirational, give you chills, and make you believe in the cause.
If healing blessings really worked, Utah would have much fewer deaths.
Hahaha.

You made me think about something that happened in a ward priesthood meeting about 20 years ago.

The EQP was going on about something or another (I don't remember what) and said something like: "So, guys, it's like 3rd down and 10, so you all know what you have to do!"

And I'm sitting there thinking that I haven't got a clue - I expect that it was some kind of American football thing, but what it might mean is totally beyond me. :D
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by blazerb » Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:55 pm

One of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life told me to marry my now ex-wife. It's obvious how that turned out. Sometimes those hormone rushes lead to good things, and sometimes they lead to bad things. I think they tend to lead to good more often just because almost any decision usually has some good results from it. We can often display to others only the positive if we have enough motivation to hide what is going wrong.

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Angel » Sun Jan 22, 2023 8:54 pm

blazerb wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:55 pm
One of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life told me to marry my now ex-wife. It's obvious how that turned out. Sometimes those hormone rushes lead to good things, and sometimes they lead to bad things. I think they tend to lead to good more often just because almost any decision usually has some good results from it. We can often display to others only the positive if we have enough motivation to hide what is going wrong.
My patriarchal blessing was a ... frisson filled experience - thankful that blessing was bs (warned me that my children would be handicapped requiring my special attention... my kids are not handicapped) ... and another *spiritual * temple experience... with people who should *not* have been in the temple.

Loking back, so many times my spidey sense was waaay off, so embarrassing.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by MoPag » Sun Jan 22, 2023 11:54 pm

Angel wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 8:54 pm

My patriarchal blessing was a ... frisson filled experience - thankful that blessing was bs (warned me that my children would be handicapped requiring my special attention... my kids are not handicapped) ...
WTF was that patriarch thinking?!?!?!? OMG Angel I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

Advocate you are a great leader. I believe what you experienced today (however you chose to define it) is proof of your loving leadership skills.
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by blazerb » Mon Jan 23, 2023 7:46 am

Angel wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 8:54 pm
My patriarchal blessing was a ... frisson filled experience - thankful that blessing was bs (warned me that my children would be handicapped requiring my special attention... my kids are not handicapped) ... and another *spiritual * temple experience... with people who should *not* have been in the temple.

Loking back, so many times my spidey sense was waaay off, so embarrassing.
That is really disturbing. I think we all feel embarrassed sometimes. We did the best we could. I'm glad for a community of people who know what we've gone through.

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Hagoth » Mon Jan 23, 2023 1:24 pm

Linked wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 6:06 pm
My thoughts are similar to the fluffy ones above.
Ditto. You dipped into the well that is available to everyone everywhere, but which every organization trying to corner the market tries to claim as their personal property.
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by nibbler » Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:50 am

Up front I'll say that I find that some things just don't need an explanation. If the church is true to you in some way, why second guess it? Now to contradict myself.

It's not too surprising that thought popped into your head. We hear that connection being made at church so much. I really want to emphasize that point, so I'll repeat it. We hear that connection being made at church so very, very much. Repetition can trigger automatic responses. Two plus tw... FOUR! I felt the spirit so the church is true resides very deep in the Mormon subconscious.

The further I get outside the Mormon bubble the more and more, "I felt the spirit, therefore the church is true." feels like a non sequitur. Other people in other religions/churches feel the spirit, maybe that means their religion/church is true... for them? That they're where they need to be in their lives, not necessarily that the place they're at is the one place that every human being should be.

To really drive the point into the ground... someone in a Presbyterian church feels the spirit in their religious practice. But we know the LDS church is true. But the person in a Presbyterian church felt the spirit. They felt the spirit in a "false" church. If a person in a Presbyterian church can feel the spirit in a false church, why does feeling the spirit in the LDS church denote its truthfulness? We've established that people can feel the spirit in a "false" church so who is to say that the LDS church member isn't feeling the spirit in a "false" church?

Switching gears, religions carry a lot of baggage so what if we apply a similar if>then conclusion to some other subject. I ate a pizza and it was really, really good. Ok, so pizza is true? Or maybe the restaurant that made it is true? I don't know. I wouldn't know what a true pizza or a true restaurant even meant. Applying that back to churches and religions, I don't know what a true church or a true religion even means.
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by nibbler » Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:04 am

Palerider wrote:
Thu Jan 19, 2023 2:09 pm
They can't see that if someone prays over them or gives them a "blessing" and they are comforted by that blessing, it might simply be because (as you state) God loves them. Not because the "blessing giver" has the "priesthood".
I think it's because of the faith that they have that they're getting a blessing from someone with PH given by the actual factual God allows them to overcome the fear and anxiety they're feeling (not good enough to do a calling, being overwhelmed by the responsibility, all the anxiety that comes with being sick, etc.). Reducing anxiety levels does have real health benefits.

If you take away the faith in the PH, does someone putting their hands on someone else's head and saying things really have that anxiety dispelling effect?

I think it's less the medium and more the beliefs someone holds. If the church spent all their time indoctrinating people to believe that holding a cinnamon stick between their pinky and ring toes (right foot only!) would bring forth the blessings of god then I suspect people would feel calmed when they put a cinnamon stick between their pinky and ring toes (again, right foot only, how many times have I GOT to say, right foot only!).

In the LDS church the blessing involves more than just an action you can take for yourself, it involves other people. Knowing other people care about you can be healing. It also involves physical interaction. For some people the human touch can be healing.
We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by alas » Tue Jan 24, 2023 1:28 pm

Angel wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 8:54 pm
blazerb wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:55 pm
One of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life told me to marry my now ex-wife. It's obvious how that turned out. Sometimes those hormone rushes lead to good things, and sometimes they lead to bad things. I think they tend to lead to good more often just because almost any decision usually has some good results from it. We can often display to others only the positive if we have enough motivation to hide what is going wrong.
My patriarchal blessing was a ... frisson filled experience - thankful that blessing was bs (warned me that my children would be handicapped requiring my special attention... my kids are not handicapped) ... and another *spiritual * temple experience... with people who should *not* have been in the temple.

Loking back, so many times my spidey sense was waaay off, so embarrassing.
My patriarchal blessing was not only a nope, it was a hell nope. It told me I would be a comfort to my father in his old age. No, thanks, I was to be the biggest thorn in his side in his old age. He is not capable of enough repentance for me to trust him as far as I can throw him, so no way am I going to be any kind of comfort or reassurance that he is loved, cause, duh, he isn’t. He abused everyone who ever loved him and the consequences for that is that there is nobody left who loves him. Even his mama didn’t. And why should I, the one he abused the worst be expected to comfort his sorry ass? I didn’t get my “blessing” until I was far enough into the healing process to know that forgiveness does not undo the damage. I was already a married with children adult and my husband pushed because he thought it might help me heal. Yeah, it might have if it had said, “you have no responsibility to forgive and reconcile with the unrepentant.” But God laying the kind of guilt trip on me that says I am the one who has the responsibility to make his life better? No, I don’t think so.

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by deacon blues » Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:39 pm

Angel wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 8:54 pm
blazerb wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:55 pm
One of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life told me to marry my now ex-wife. It's obvious how that turned out. Sometimes those hormone rushes lead to good things, and sometimes they lead to bad things. I think they tend to lead to good more often just because almost any decision usually has some good results from it. We can often display to others only the positive if we have enough motivation to hide what is going wrong.
My patriarchal blessing was a ... frisson filled experience - thankful that blessing was bs (warned me that my children would be handicapped requiring my special attention... my kids are not handicapped) ... and another *spiritual * temple experience... with people who should *not* have been in the temple.

Loking back, so many times my spidey sense was waaay off, so embarrassing.
I can't recall any talk or lesson in the LDS Church that deals honestly and thoroughly with problems like this. Has anyone else?
God is Love. God is Truth. The greatest problem with organized religion is that the organization becomes god, rather than a means of serving God.

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by wtfluff » Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:13 am

deacon blues wrote:
Tue Jan 24, 2023 5:39 pm
Angel wrote:
Sun Jan 22, 2023 8:54 pm
blazerb wrote:
Fri Jan 20, 2023 8:55 pm
One of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life told me to marry my now ex-wife. It's obvious how that turned out. Sometimes those hormone rushes lead to good things, and sometimes they lead to bad things. I think they tend to lead to good more often just because almost any decision usually has some good results from it. We can often display to others only the positive if we have enough motivation to hide what is going wrong.
My patriarchal blessing was a ... frisson filled experience - thankful that blessing was bs (warned me that my children would be handicapped requiring my special attention... my kids are not handicapped) ... and another *spiritual * temple experience... with people who should *not* have been in the temple.

Loking back, so many times my spidey sense was waaay off, so embarrassing.
I can't recall any talk or lesson in the LDS Church that deals honestly and thoroughly with problems like this. Has anyone else?
The first rule of patriarchal blessings is: (You know the rest...)

I do have a friend that claims they did a lot of research about patriarchal blessings - and they claimed they found evidence of a meeting "in the upper rooms of the temple" where a gathering of patriarchs were told to STOP blessing people that they would live to see the second coming. No talks or lessons in the regular "curriculum" that I have ever heard of.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

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Re: Thoughts on priesthood blessings and feeling the spirit meaning the church is true

Post by Hagoth » Wed Jan 25, 2023 3:22 pm

When I was a missionary at the MTC we had a visit by apostle LeGrand Richards (IIRC). During his speech he asked, "have any of you been told in your patriarchal blessing that you will be one of the two prophets who will lie dead in the streets of Jerusalem for three days and then come back to life?" Several people raised there hands. "Don't you believe it!" he said, "sometimes they just get carried away!"
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

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