What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

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Hagoth
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What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Hagoth » Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am

Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist who uses fMRI scans to visualize spiritual states in the human brain. He has demonstrated that when people from all corners of religious practice (monks, nuns, meditators, mystics...) enter a state that we would call "feeling the spirit" their brains assume an identical blood distribution pattern and light up in the same way. In other words, everyone from all faiths experience "the spirit" in exactly the same way and to the same degree.

Dr. Michael Ferguson is a neuroscientist who has done a similar study with devout Mormons and determined that the Mormon version of "feeling the spirit" also manifests in the same way on brain scans. Ferguson, however, reported some inconsistency with his Mormon subjects. He attributed this to "influences of social desirability." In other words, some of the Mormon participants were overreporting the amount of "the spirit" they were feeling. They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
“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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Red Ryder
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:27 pm

Can you imagine having to lay down in the claustrophobic tunnel of an MRI machine listening to Fast and testimony meeting, general conference, or a Sherri Dew talk?

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deacon blues
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by deacon blues » Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:17 pm

Thanks Hagoth, can you post a reference to the articles?
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by wtfluff » Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:07 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am
They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
In a nutshell? Pretty much methinks.

That's where all the "too sacred to talk about" BS comes from.

I do like to say that one of the most important parts of MORmONism is out-MORmONing your MORmON neighbors. :twisted:
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moksha
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by moksha » Thu Nov 04, 2021 5:52 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:27 pm
Can you imagine having to lay down in the claustrophobic tunnel of an MRI machine listening to a Fast and Testimony meeting, a general conference, or a Sherri Dew talk?

Image
In that case, the lights would indicate a numbing sensation. Wonder how Mormon brains would light up with an inspirational talk from Marianne Williamson?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by hmb » Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:06 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am


Dr. Michael Ferguson is a neuroscientist who has done a similar study with devout Mormons and determined that the Mormon version of "feeling the spirit" also manifests in the same way on brain scans. Ferguson, however, reported some inconsistency with his Mormon subjects. He attributed this to "influences of social desirability." In other words, some of the Mormon participants were overreporting the amount of "the spirit" they were feeling. They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
I always wondered how many people going through their first temple experience, were as disappointed as me. Regardless of my disappointment, I put on my smiley face and feigned enthusiasm for the wonderful experience. I'm so embarrassed by that lie now.

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RubinHighlander
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by RubinHighlander » Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:12 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am
They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
That's really interesting! So the additional mental gymnastics that mormons do to keep their indoctrinated state of mind intact...they are not even acknowledged in the brain. I think this is the manifestation as to how much self-dishonesty and justification goes on in most mormon brains to try and keep their heads above water in the tribal soup. Maybe this makes a mormon faith crisis more intense than most other faiths, compounded by the potentially serious tribal social costs (at least behind the zion curtain).
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
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Hagoth
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:45 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:27 pm
Can you imagine having to lay down in the claustrophobic tunnel of an MRI machine listening to Fast and testimony meeting, general conference, or a Sherri Dew talk?
It can't be much worse than trying to have a spiritual experience while listening to the high councilman while Brother Rogers is coughing on the back of your neck and the Wheeler twins keep spilling Cheerios all over your shoes.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:48 pm

hmb wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:06 am
I always wondered how many people going through their first temple experience, were as disappointed as me. Regardless of my disappointment, I put on my smiley face and feigned enthusiasm for the wonderful experience. I'm so embarrassed by that lie now.
Me too! I was so physically ill after my endowment that I asked my parents to take me home afterward. While they were out celebrating my initiation into the upper crust of Mormonism I was home lying in the dark trying to suppress my nausea and pounding headache. But somehow, before I knew it, the temple had become the greatest experience of my life.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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Hagoth
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:53 pm

RubinHighlander wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:12 am
Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am
They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
That's really interesting! So the additional mental gymnastics that mormons do to keep their indoctrinated state of mind intact...they are not even acknowledged in the brain. I think this is the manifestation as to how much self-dishonesty and justification goes on in most mormon brains to try and keep their heads above water in the tribal soup. Maybe this makes a mormon faith crisis more intense than most other faiths, compounded by the potentially serious tribal social costs (at least behind the zion curtain).
I don't need to tell you that these brain scan studies also show that psychedelics produce the same brain activity patterns and enduring psychological transformations as traditional mystical practices.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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RubinHighlander
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Nov 08, 2021 10:49 am

Hagoth wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 2:53 pm
RubinHighlander wrote:
Fri Nov 05, 2021 8:12 am
Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am
They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
That's really interesting! So the additional mental gymnastics that mormons do to keep their indoctrinated state of mind intact...they are not even acknowledged in the brain. I think this is the manifestation as to how much self-dishonesty and justification goes on in most mormon brains to try and keep their heads above water in the tribal soup. Maybe this makes a mormon faith crisis more intense than most other faiths, compounded by the potentially serious tribal social costs (at least behind the zion curtain).
I don't need to tell you that these brain scan studies also show that psychedelics produce the same brain activity patterns and enduring psychological transformations as traditional mystical practices.
Indeed! I guess the POV of the individual still determines the category of these interactions: mystical, metaphysical or just bio chemistry. But, the science side of it, at least for me, is hard evidence that Smith incorporated does not own or have any special patent on a spiritual experience. In fact, their spin on it masks and heavily contaminates the personal experience. TSCC is deceiving and stealing from people what should be their own individual experience, using it to manipulate and control them.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

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stealthbishop
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Nov 08, 2021 11:43 am

Hagoth wrote:
Thu Nov 04, 2021 7:37 am
Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist who uses fMRI scans to visualize spiritual states in the human brain. He has demonstrated that when people from all corners of religious practice (monks, nuns, meditators, mystics...) enter a state that we would call "feeling the spirit" their brains assume an identical blood distribution pattern and light up in the same way. In other words, everyone from all faiths experience "the spirit" in exactly the same way and to the same degree.

Dr. Michael Ferguson is a neuroscientist who has done a similar study with devout Mormons and determined that the Mormon version of "feeling the spirit" also manifests in the same way on brain scans. Ferguson, however, reported some inconsistency with his Mormon subjects. He attributed this to "influences of social desirability." In other words, some of the Mormon participants were overreporting the amount of "the spirit" they were feeling. They were pretending to have a more profound experience than they really were because of the expectations of others.

Is that Mormonism in a nutshell?
That's fascinating research.

This is what started to help me pull away from orthodoxy, is learning (in a different way) that it was not uncommon for human beings to have powerful spiritual experiences and naturally they would see that those experiences lead them in the direction that they think is right for themselves rather than one straight and narrow path. I began to see the arrogance of believing that their spiritual experiences were somehow inferior or misguided compared to mine even though that is probably not atypical.

The part that I didn't know is the social desirability component. That's interesting and could account for why so many LDS people, even orthodox, are bored to tears but often keep it hidden. It can be very superficial.

Thanks for sharing this!
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Things on your chest
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Rob4Hope
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Rob4Hope » Tue Nov 09, 2021 9:22 am

Hello NOM. I'm still alive out here......occasionally checking in and seeing what the latest is.

The "feeling the spirit" events in my life are very interesting. VERY interesting. What blew the lid on it being subjective for me was when watching Star Wars. When Luke has his force moments, and the John Williams french horn music kicks in (which is just gorgeous music!) I get chills up and down my spine like crazy. And a burning in my heart,...etc. Its an "OH YEH BABY....HERE WE GO!!!!" moment.

From that, "I can say, with every fiber of my being, that I KNOW the Force is TRUE!"

I'm only being a little flippant. There is a serious side of this -- I lost 40 years of my life being part of a cult which manipulated spiritual events to control me. Who would have though that "The Force" would wake me up?

I must be a padawan in the making....

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Hagoth
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Re: What neuroscience tells us about Mormonism

Post by Hagoth » Fri Nov 12, 2021 7:22 am

Hi Rob! Good to hear from you.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

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