Sharing Spiritual Experiences


FreedomOne of the binding ties all human beings can have in common, if they want it, is the sharing of spiritual experiences. Because we are children of God, we have His promise and an opportunity to approach Him in prayer, obtain revelation for ourselves, and, when appropriate, share it with others. This has always been the basic premise and core of my blogging efforts over the years.

I know not everyone agrees. I am questioned over and over in private emails, and in comments on this blog, why I feel the need to share some experience or some event from my life. This has been especially true when what I have shared is contrary to what others believed appropriate. I’m not sure why there seems to be this wide-spread fear we’re not supposed to speak of such things.

enospraying.jpgA Call for More Personal Revelation

In 2008 I shared an early experience of hearing the voice of the Lord at age 18. This sacred and powerful spiritual event occurred in prayer at the conclusion of a three-day fast. I was preparing spiritually and intellectually for my mission and wanted to be certain about some aspects of LDS church history I was learning. In the post I detailed how I went about obtaining the revelation.

I was surprised at the response of some readers who wrote privately to say they were offended or that I had offended the spirit. They warned if I continued to share such experiences, I could be certain the Lord would no longer trust me and would withhold any future revelations. I found through personal experience they were wrong and wondered why they felt the need to warn me.

RicksDevotionalLetter to a Reader

In 2010, at the request of a reader, I shared details about my experience of receiving the baptism of fire at age 17. After writing and posting my recollection of the event, I received more private emails announcing such events were for my own edification only and were to be kept private. I puzzled once again over what could have motivated these individuals to urge me into secrecy.

It was as if what I was sharing was foreign to them, that they had never experienced such a thing, and therefore felt either threatened by my account or felt I had been deceived by evil spirits. In fact, some who knew me from the rebellious days of my teens were very specific in accusing me of having simply experienced hallucinogenic flashbacks. They were wrong for several reasons.

TCaliforniaJamhe Attitude of Mocking

The poor decisions of my teen years which led me away from the safety of the Lord for a season caused me to feel like the proverbial coal on the hearth. Away from the warmth of the fire, I felt cold and lonely, even lost. I was away from the fire of the spirit and treading in outer darkness. Seeking comfort in the great and spacious building brought nothing but fear and paranoia for me.

On the other hand, repentance, or the turning from sin, brought immediately relief and a sense of the presence of God in my life again. This was ratified by not one but two sacred events in the summer of my 17th year that have caused me to wonder at the mercy of God in offering such real and powerful experiences to an undeserving and rebellious youth as me. They were profound.

BeStill_FribergParting the Veil

I shared these two experiences earlier this year in my post on parting the veil. If you go through the hundred plus comments you will find grateful readers who experienced something similar in their lives and expressed appreciation for what they read and the feelings it generated. However, what isn’t shared is the number of private emails and contrary comments from my priesthood leaders.

It was about this time I was undergoing regular meetings with my Bishop in which my loyalty to the LDS Church and the idea of following the prophet was being emphasized over and over. It was a difficult thing for me to sort out my feelings. On the one hand I felt the Lord whispering to my soul about what He would like me to share. On the other hand, I had feelings of oppression.

The day of the Lord will come quicklyThe Doctrine of Additional Prophets

I didn’t recognize those feelings until my friend Log pointed them out to me. When disciplinary measures were invoked upon me shortly after this time, I struggled with powerful feelings of frustration and resentment. I knew I was being led by the Lord to share my experiences. Yet I was being told by my priesthood leaders my detailed posts made some members uncomfortable.

My poor bishop was being bombarded with dozens of complaints from members of the stake who were telling him he needed to rein me in. When he shared this with me I about fell off my chair. Was the material offensive? The events were true. They were shared with a desire to bless and inspire, to uplift and to strengthen feelings of appreciation for a God who reveals truths.

Adam-and-Eve-Kneeling-at-Altar-PrayingThe True Order of Prayer

In fairness, perhaps it was not these posts in particular that others found offensive. It was more likely the posts in which I shared my experiences in prayer – the true order of prayer – that caused him to take disciplinary action. I was reading, pondering and sharing my thoughts as I studied the writings and lectures of a man I considered a modern-day Abinidi or Enoch.

You read my post on the true order of prayer and tell me if it was offensive. I was told this post in particular was one that brought many of the complaints. It caused me to marvel and mourn at the unbelief and unwillingness of others in my own stake, some in my own High Priest’s group, to consider that such a practice in the home is not only authorized but encouraged of the Lord.

MormonTempleWhy I Resigned From the LDS Church

My decision to resign instead of go through the disciplinary process was one I considered most carefully. I reflected again and again upon the promises in my patriarchal blessing about being led by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit. The patriarch worded the blessing in such a way as to have great affect in my understanding the Lord did speak to me and I could hear His voice.

I felt like Joseph. I had heard the voice of the Lord invite me to share my revelatory experiences. Yet priesthood leaders in my ward and stake were condemning me for sharing such things and demanding action be taken to control or compel me to cease such sharing. How could this be? Why did sharing my thoughts, feelings and spiritual experiences cause them such discomfort?

LecturesOnFaithYou Want Me to Sacrifice What?

It has been a long journey these past seven years. The Lord had been prompting me to start a blog for at least two years before I finally heeded the promptings. Things started small. I knew they would. I hoped to simply reach a few people who might be experiencing similar feelings of cognitive dissonance between what the LDS Church taught and what I knew had happened.

I prayed constantly over the blog. I asked for inspiration and revelation. It came. I shared. I confirmed it was what the Lord wanted in visits to the temple and intense efforts in fasting to make my spirit more contrite. He tested me. He asked me to give up my comfortable job to see if I would be willing to walk away from worldly security. I never imagined such a requirement.

Keys-of-the-KingdomWresting the Keys of the Kingdom

When I was introduced to and read PtHG from Denver Snuffer, I once again had a profound revelatory experience that could not be denied. At that moment I knew where it would lead. I knew the LDS Church and I would eventually part ways. I did my best to stay within the church, but eventually it became too hard to keep what I was experiencing within the orthodox tradition.

The Lord sent a messenger, a trusted servant, one who also was not shy about declaring a witness that eventually got him cast off from the LDS Church. I studied, I prayed, I studied some more, I prayed more intently. I continued to tell the Lord the things I was learning did not jive with what I had been taught growing up. Yet I could not deny it. The Lord was clear and specific in reply.

TimBaptism2aCroppedA Day of Rejoicing – A New Beginning

I knew I needed to show the Lord I believed him – both the messenger and what I was receiving directly from the Lord. I knew what the response would be. It has been the same from the day I started blogging and sharing spiritual experiences. “You have been deceived,” I was told. “It is not the spirit of the Lord telling you these things,” they said. “You must follow the prophet.”

Well, I suppose I agree only my definition of a prophet and theirs are two different things. I’ll conclude with this thought: What if the Lord did send a prophet among us in our day, to tell us the events of the last days pertaining to the establishment of Zion were about to unfold? What if the Lord really did send a messenger from outside the hierarchy of the LDS Church? What then?

77Truths77 Truths – Removing False Traditions

It’s only been five weeks ago I was baptized. I thought I was comfortable with and understood how the Holy Ghost works in our lives. I can see now I have been in a preparatory and schooling priesthood all my life. There is a higher priesthood available to us and it doesn’t come from the LDS Church. It comes directly from the Lord and in no other way. It is not received from man.

I invite you to consider what is happening in the LDS Church today. My friend Log has given us good advice in his post to contend against no church save it be the church of the devil. I will not speak evil of the LDS Church. It has been a blessing in my life for over fifty years. But there is another church we need to seek to join. It is the Church of the Firstborn and it resides in heaven.

16 Responses

  1. It’s true. Tim is happier, more full of love, relaxed, of a cheerful countenance, and at peace since quitting the Church.

    That being said, I believe a general reticence towards disclosing spiritual experiences is the standing policy.

    JST Matthew 7
    9 Go ye into the world, saying unto all, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto you.

    10 And the mysteries of the kingdom ye shall keep within yourselves; for it is not meet to give that which is holy unto the dogs; neither cast ye your pearls unto swine, lest they trample them under their feet.

    11 For the world cannot receive that which ye yourselves, are not able to bear; wherefore ye shall not give your pearls unto them, lest they turn again and rend you.

    12 Say unto them, Ask of God; ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

    13 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

    D&C 63
    64 Remember that that which cometh from above is sacred, and must be spoken with care, and by constraint of the Spirit; and in this there is no condemnation, and ye receive the Spirit through prayer; wherefore, without this there remaineth condemnation.

    D&C 6
    9 Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work, according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

    10 Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above—

    11 And if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, convince them of the error of their ways.

    12 Make not thy gift known unto any save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things.

    The problem with a blog is it is not a private discussion between friends. It is a public discussion. One of the problems with public discussion of spiritual experiences or gifts is that it invites prideful poseurs, pretenders seeking glory, who through one-upmanship seek to distinguish themselves by claiming credentials that cannot be checked on.

    It also invites sign-seekers who, because they are themselves disobedient and faithless, cannot be satisfied, and who through malice seek to harm. Why do you suppose that the prophets have always been persecuted, cast out, stoned, and slain?

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  2. Tim – One of the benefits of sharing experiences is that it gives others the opportunity to accelerate their own spiritual progression. While we each must be allowed to progress at our own pace, seeing another follow the patterns of scripture and obtain the promised blessings is a boon to those who are so inclined to follow. While I do not worship men, I do want to express how your personal journey and the fact that you have shared it publicly has helped me to find and follow the same patterns in my own life. You don’t know me apart from a brief introduction in Mesa, but I consider you a friend and hope that someday we will have the opportunity to meet again. God bless you and your family on this journey. – Brian Beckle

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    • I agree Brian. I appreciate sincerely the humble candor of both Tim and you, in sharing your personal journeys – and indeed, all the brave hearts who do so after receiving a confirmation from the Lord that such is appropriate and valuable. You are on the front edge of what I believe is a tipping point to “regaining normal”. It is entirely normal to yearn for personal connection to the Lord, to have spiritual experiences, and to desire open conversation with each other about these sweet experiences. We just haven’t had “normal” for so long, we’ve lost the pattern, we forgot what it looked like, sounded like, and felt like to be of one heart and one mind. The more we share personal journeys and increase the sheer volume of chronicles, the better able we are to compare, and discern the “flat notes” that thud through from the pretenders. Love to you both.

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      • With you there! “Normal” has become a lack of spiritual experiences, a lack of desire for them, even a lack of belief in them. Nothing surprises me anymore… What was that thing Moroni said, about miracles ceasing because of a lack of faith?…

        Normal should be more and more trials and spiritual experiences going towards the “end” of this first journey, which is to Christ. I’ve heard so many times in the missionary discussions to “endure to the end” or just go through the motion until one is “safely dead”. Bruce R. McConkie was the one who taught this. I am almost certain he regrets it now. It sickens me to hear that. So much is lost in this mortal life without Christ!…. But I am more shocked that he would have done so at all. I loved his books.

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  3. Dear Tim,

    We can always count on Log to bring deep thought to all of his comments. Thank you Log.

    Tim, as far as sharing your spiritual experiences, I think your audience helps to determine which experiences you reveal.

    I think those of us who have been faithful members of the LDS church, and are seeking spiritual confirmation, are probably not in the category of ‘swine’; but in the category of ‘believers’ who will not misunderstand a person’s experience with the influence of the Holy Ghost.

    I am encouraged to dive deeper into the scriptures, listen more closely to promptings, and to be more diligent, as I read or hear the testimony of others. Your blog has helped me a great deal in this respect.

    There will always be “prideful poseurs, pretenders seeking glory” who bear “testimony”; we’ve all probably seen them at the podium on Fast Sunday. Perhaps some even among General Conference speakers.

    Linda

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  4. I think the key point of this post is that you follow the spirit in what and who to share experiences with. If it is one by one. Great. If it is a book. Great. If it is a blog post. Great. Just because some people might think it is inappropriate does not make it so. If God says it’s okay, it’s okay.

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  5. Tim

    Great post. I believe sharing spiritual experiences is crucial when we are lead to do so. Most of the “swine” and “dogs” don’t frequent blogs like yours and those who do only shake their heads and think that you are another one of the “crazies”.
    Again like those who Jesus spoke to directly in the scriptures pointed out, I truly believe that God will tell us which revelations we are not supposed to share. When we preach nothing but faith and repentence, that includes pure testimony of anything that is faith promoting and ignite the desire of repentence in others. Thanks

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  6. Tim

    Great post. I agree with your take. Jesus tells us (like in the scriptures mentioned above) when certain things are not supposed to be shared. You have been acting according to the Lords guidance. Thanks for the post!

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  7. Tim,
    I have experienced both sides of the question.
    I had a great spiritual experience about a month ago. A few days later, in a gospel discussion with a sister the “prideful” thought entered my mind to tell her she should listen to me because of what I had experienced. Keep in mind it was just a thought, but I can tell you I lost the spirit for the balance of the day until I repented of it.
    But then again a couple weeks later I shared a small part of that spiritual experience here on this blog, but had been given the OK to do so first and felt concerned but good about doing so.
    Pride seems to be the culprit on so many of our issues!

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  8. Decades ago, in another Ward, I received the Baptism by Fire, and was unaware of what it was at the time, and later another visitation. My new found truths and spiritual gifts i was given to help with health problems and family problems , was taken as signs and gifts of evil and witchcraft. Luckily now I am in a different Ward, where I am considered special and gifted, amazing how the Spiritual awareness of others change from one place to another.

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  9. Tim,

    Just today, I visited with a wonderful lady in my ward that has had amazing spiritual experiences. She knew she had a “gift” at the age of 5. She was not a member of the LDS church at that time. She had an near death experience at the age of 16 and it changed her life’s journey and mission.

    She joined the LDS church in her early twenties. The witness of the Book of Mormon, along with the early spiritual manifestations of the restored gospel was one of the reasons she join. However, she was surprised that more people did not have the same types of experiences she did. She talked about them openly in the beginning but was ridiculed by ward members. Priesthood leaders told her they were for her only and they were not to be shared. Since that time she is very careful with whom she share anything with.

    I personally have appreciated hearing the experiences of others. It is nice to know that spiritual manifestations are happening today, apparently more than we realize.

    Tim, since your first unusual experiences happened to you at such a young age, perhaps, like my friend, you have a unique gift.

    I firmly believe, it is not appropriate question another person’s experience. It is their experience and I’m not to make judgment as to the source. To tell someone they didn’t have the experience, or it is not valid or it’s from the devil is the height of arrogance.

    Thanks for this post…

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  10. Revealing sacred experiences does pose a dilemma. Is your motive for revealing sacred experiences due to pride or due to a genuine love of others to share what is possible? I know that in my own case I have to be careful because I sometimes can not trust myself to leave pride out of it. I still have a lot to learn.
    –Craig

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  11. I was just thinking of some spiritual experiences that others have publically shared with all of us:

    A disembodied voice speaking from within the flames of a burning bush (that burned but wasn’t consumed.)

    A wind storm, followed by an earth quake, followed by fire, followed by a still small voice.

    Seeing a guy’s face (and even His clothes) light up, and seeig two long dead guys appear from out of nowhere and start talking to Him like they were old friends, and then hearing a disembodied voice from a bright cloud over head (on the mount of transfiguration.)

    Would we even have a Bible if men like Moses, Elijah, and Peter kept such things private?

    And speaking of Peter, didn’ he tell us to “be ready always to give an answer to anyone who asketh thee a reason of the hope that is in thee, with meekness and fear”?

    And would anyone have regarded the bok of Mormon as anything more than fiction if Joseph Smith hadn’t pblically claimed to have seen a vision?

    I thank you Tim for sharng what you share here, and what you’ve shared with me.

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  12. Regarding sharing spiritual experiences:

    I’m with Mike B. If we do not testify before the world, great opportunities for others’ conversions are lost.

    I’m with Minority. Few come to this blog who do not desire the true and pure things of Christ. Tim has done a wonderful job in publishing his blog after the instruction of God rather than the manner of men. His journey here has been very well summarized.

    There will be sign seekers, that is true. I believe Log mentioned there were some on LDS Freedom Forum like that. This danger must be considered and caution is needed. We MUST promote true faith wherever it is needed, in every place and unto every heart. That is the power of this community.

    I’m with Kathryn. I noticed few Mormons have or even value the faith they preach. It is being lost because of this. Truly faithful individuals like myself are finding this is not the church of Christ they really in their hearts desired. I find company through this online group. That is why I am grateful things like this are discovered publicly. I truly believe few are brought here regularly save by the hand of the Lord.

    I’m with johnD. It is easy to become prideful of our knowledge and power. The moment we are, they both are lost. I find that I cannot even properly remember spiritual experiences so far as my heart is in darkness, much less receive more in uncorrupted form. Therefore…

    I’m with Log. Things from above must be taken with care, and given by constraint of the Spirit.

    And finally, I’m with Minority once more. I believe The Lord will give us instruction on what is to be shared and not to be shared, if we listen for the WHOLE revelation, including asking God if there is more as Richard G. Scott taught.

    As these are with The Lord, I am with them.

    As for my experience: Revealing a small revelation under intense pressure lost me the job and the life I used to have in Russia. In this way it was my crucifixion; it needed to happen, but I wouldn’t have chosen it myself save God commanded such. So keep it in mind to “do what is right; let the consequence follow.” When he speaks, obey. If he remains silent after appropriately inquiring, make the best decision you can according to the patterns of what you’ve been taught and what you personally feel is good and would be right.

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  13. Tim,
    I love the guest bloggers! This is a GREAT idea! Thanks for listening!

    Kathy

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  14. Log: “One of the problems with public discussion of spiritual experiences or gifts is that it invites prideful poseurs, pretenders seeking glory, who through one-upmanship seek to distinguish themselves by claiming credentials that cannot be checked on.”

    I don’t think any of Tim’s contributors have a public ministry, or are capable of receiving donations, so what would these “poseurs” have to gain by sharing spiritual experiences here?

    Lynne Mckinley: “Nowadays a writer doesn’t have to actually publish with a Deseret Book imprint to set himself up with a following. He can be ‘paid’ by loyal blog readers who go to him for advice about what scriptures mean, instead of going to the Lord directly themselves to find out what scriptures mean. This is priestcraft.”

    “Paid” what?

    A published writer gets paid in U.S. currencey

    What could an anonymous author (with “no skin in the game”) hope to get out of pretending to have spirtitual gifts they knew they didn’t have, or making up spiritual experiences they knew they never experienced?

    And why would anyone who believes in a God who is the judge of all men risk incurring His anger by lying about such things?

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