Could we explain this difference in the meaning of genuine as being between it being a genuine experience and a genuine interpretation of the experience?Hagoth wrote: ↑Fri Jun 10, 2022 4:27 amOK, I think I understand the disconnect now. Thank you so much for helping me see what I was overlooking!dogbite wrote: ↑Thu Jun 09, 2022 11:12 amI'm aware of those things.
To use the word genuine then is to cast all spiritual experiences in equality.
As you/we now reject the validity of some to all of the spiritual experiences we had in mormonism. So they are not all genuine in the same sense after all.
So to say psilocybin is a genuine spiritual experience while rejecting some to all of your mormon spiritual experiences makes me wonder what you meant by genuine.
I don't think you've addressed that. It may be me forcing Freudian meaning on your usage, but I don't think so currently.
You and I seem to be using the word "genuine" to mean two entirely different things. I think you are using it within a more typically Mormon context, as in associated with the literalness of truth claims. I am using it in a more, I dunno, anthropological or neurological context.
We have all had spiritual experiences in the LDS church. We were taught that if you feel the spirit while hearing about, or praying about, singing about, or watching a film strip about X, then you must conclude that X is literal truth. If you have a spiritual experience while watching a sunset it's because God is telling you that he made that sunset so you will have more faith in him and his One and Only True Church. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I have used the example of a member of my High Priest group who bitterly criticized someone for claiming they had a spiritual experience just being out in nature. High Priest Guy insisted that you cannot have a genuine spiritual experience outside of a church setting, because the purpose of spiritual experience is to testify of the truthfulness of the church. If Nature Guy claims he had a genuine spiritual experience while sitting on a rock looking at the stars without acknowledging Joseph Smith or Russell Nelson or even Elohim, in High Priest Guy's worldview, that must mean Nature Guy is claiming that sitting on a rock looking at the stars is The One and Only True Church, and we can't have that. So Nature Guy's spiritual experience must be a lie, a case of mistaken identity, or a demonic deception that he mistook for a genuine spiritual experience. It cannot possibly be genuine by High Priest Guy's standards.
I had a conversation with my bishop once about spiritual experiences. I asked him if he believed people in other religions have spiritual experiences. He conceded that appears to be the case, but they obviously either aren't genuine, or they are some lesser form of spirituality designed to nudge the recipient toward the One and Only True Church, because you cannot possibly have a genuine spiritual experience in context of a false religion.
When I talk about spirituality I'm talking purely about the experience, not the context. For me, a genuine spiritual experience is one that is transcendent and can stand on its own without the need any context at all. Our pattern-seeking nature makes us want to assign context, and we can even use context as a tool for generating spiritual experiences, but THAT is the part that is not genuine, in my opinion.
"Spirituality" can be snapshotted in a brain scan image as a blood flow pattern. Is it that all it is, or is that pattern a reaction to something else? Who knows?
Somehow this experience makes us feel connected to nature, or that we are catching a glimpse of something bigger than ourselves. For whatever reason it feels like an outpouring of love and it is nourishing and enriching. It gives us a broader perspective than the box we normally live in. It makes us more empathetic. It is a real thing, and it does not belong to a religion; it belongs to anyone in possession of a human brain.
I think the purest form of spirituality is to be able to just accept that gift as your nature-given right, regardless of whether you achieve it spontaneously, or from meditation, hymn singing, psilocybin, or listening a Mark Knopfler guitar solo. And I believe it has absolutely nothing to do with ancient books, or institutions, or ideologies, even though it can also be found within those contexts.
If we want to talk about context within the church, if I am to be honest with myself, I was doing everything in my power to try to convince myself that tiny little molehills of spirituality that trickled down to me were actually mountains of faith, and in retrospect I now understand that I had very few tools with which to do that. Psilocybin is one of the things that has helped me break through some barriers to make this spiritual experience thing, whatever it is, a much more real and significant part of my life than it actually was within the church context. I'm not trying to talk you or anyone else into doing the same, I just want to dispel misinformation and unnecessary prejudice.
Does that help at all?
To say, “we have all had the Mormon spiritual experiences” isn’t quite true. I never did have the typical Mormon spiritual experiences. But I had moments of … say, enlightenment, or answers to prayers. One happened when I was in the temple. But it had nothing at all to do with the temple. Now, I could interpret it to mean that I am closer to God in the temple, therefore the temple is of God and the church is true. Or, I could interpret it as that was just where I happened to be at a moment when God communicated with me. The experience would remain the same. The moment of joy, the enlightenment, the knowledge given, all that stays the same. It is genuine. But the interpretation would be different.
Now, looking at your typical “Mormon spiritual experience”. Say I am reading the BoM and something touches me very deeply. Big powerful feeling. Interpretation: the Book of Mormon is True.
Then when I leave the church, how do I look back on that experience? Was it a genuine spiritual experience? I would still say that t was, but that my interpretation of it would change. Instead of saying the book is true, I would say that the particular passage touched me. But I wouldn’t say that the experience wasn’t genuine, just that my original interpretation wasn’t genuine.
Same deal with the two dudes discussing if a spiritual experience in the woods is genuine. The experience was certainly real, so genuine. But what is the interpretation? Does it mean that if I have a spiritual experience in the temple the church is true, but if I have have one in the forest the church isn’t true? That is interpretation rather than experience. The burst of joy may be identical, but my interpretation be different. So, it wouldn’t be that all those spiritual experiences were not genuine, but the way we interpreted them was exactly the way we had artificially been taught to interpret them, and not necessarily correct. So, it was the interpretation was not correct, but the experience itself was genuine.
And it doesn’t matter if the experience was self induced or induced by a communal experience or whatever.
But it is next to impossible to go back and say, what is a different interpretation that I could give this because our actual memory of the even is shaped by the interpretation that we put on it for years.