Tuesday, April 28, 2015

All Types of Lives and Experiences Are Legitimate and Valuable

I have had a handful of experiences in my life that I believe were truly miraculous and that testified to me of the existence of God.  I have mentioned that a number of times online, and I have been asked more than once to share those experiences.  Occasionally, in the right setting, I have shared one or more, but, generally, I have respectfully declined to do so.  

I have absolutely no desire to share my experiences in order to be dissected and analyzed to see if they can be proven to be objective miracles - especially by someone who is coming into the conversation strongly convinced that they aren't. I know what I have experienced, and I have examined those experiences as analytically as I can and can find no way to explain them logically (without factoring in the possibility of the miraculous, which is not traditionally logical).  However, I also am dead certain that many people wouldn't accept them as incontrovertibly miraculous, including many people whom I count as good friends.

If someone doesn't believe in unexplainable power of some sort that can be accessed by humans, particularly if he has never experienced anything of that nature, I am fine with that. I really am. As I've said here numerous times, at the most fundamental level, we only can "know" (to any degree) what we have studied, witnessed and/or experienced personally - and, even then, we can't know some of it objectively. We certainly can't explain to others adequately enough for them to believe if they can't see what we've seen. I also am fine with that. I'm not looking for unanimity of experience or belief here or anywhere else online where I comment; I are participating in communities of diverse people from whom I can learn - particularly in ways that are not natural (that are "foreign") to me. I'm looking for unique perspectives I would not be able to see naturally. 

I have shared the example of Laman and Lemuel and why I think they get a bit of a bum rap in the Book of Mormon. The example that related to this post is when Nephi asked if they had inquired of the Lord to see what Lehi saw - and they responded that the Lord didn't make those things known to them. If Nephi (and Lehi) had been open to that as a factual, honest, acceptable answer, we might have a different narrative than we have - if they had understood that some people simply don't have visions or hear voices or feel soul-burning impressions. Those who have those experiences tend to discount or reject the idea that others don't or can't have them, while those who don't or can't have them tend to discount or reject the experiences of those who do have them.

I'd rather be open to both types of lives and "experience-orientations" as legitimate and valuable - as well as all points between those extremes.

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