What is the difference between me, a former Mormon and believer, and many (well, most) of my believing Mormon family members? What would make me leave the community wherein I was raised and go against all I was taught (well, rather than leave, get myself excommunicated)? How could I dash all the hopes and dreams of my family? How could I break the trust?
It’s not a small thing to be excommunicated for apostate behavior. Temple recommends can be denied believing members for simply associating with apostates. I am a risk to my believing family.
This (my unbelief) is certainly my own perspective. I can provide evidence to support it. My believing family can only provide feelings. They’ve been taught feelings provide all the proof they need to support beliefs. I was taught the same.
Feelings. What kind? Well, here is a talk by a current high placed leader. Read it. Watch it, if you wish. Please point out any actual evidence his interpretations are factual. Please. In my mind, he is just using what he was taught to interpret in the manner he was taught.
There is no evidence.
However, cognitive and neurological science are delving into physiological responses and their causes. “Burning bosoms”, elevation, frisson, goosebumps, etc. These things have many causes, not just “spiritual” experiences. But many are taught that these are evidence of the “Spirit” working in us.
How do we know when the cause is “spiritual” and when it is not? What. Is. The. Evidence? Is there evidence?
I’ve said it several times outside this article in other conversations and so I will need to say it here. The sensations are common to all mankind. It’s the interpretation that differs! Each sect has traditional interpretations passed down generation after generation. This is why we have thousands of religions. Interpretation.
The experiences do not differ. Mankind shares in wonder and the unknown. We react with feelings. And we interpret. No real evidence. No supernatural being or force leaves an undeniable and unambiguous physical signature.
Show me an undeniable and unambiguous physical evidence that an experience is “supernatural” and not the result of interpretation and I will take all this back.
Think about it. Really think.
And keep an eye on what fascinating things cognitive and neurological science are bringing to light.