Spiritual Experiences Are Subjective

Maybe this is obvious. But maybe it’s not.

The spirituality of an experience is subjective, not objective. 

Three examples: 

Sometimes hear people say, “I really felt the spirit” in a meeting/lesson that I have found particularly lackluster. Other times, I’ll have a deep, intense experience in a sacrament meeting and look around to see that everyone else is staring at phones and not paying attention. 

Another example is Mark Twain’s reaction to the Book of Mormon. He found it such a “slow… sleepy… mess of inspiration” that he called it “chloroform in print.” (Taken from Roughing It, Ch. 16). Others find inspiration, joy, and a connection to Jesus Christ that changes their life. 

The Day of Pentecost is another illustration, fifty days after Passover (around the time of the crucifixion). Christ has been spending 40 days teaching his disciples. Peter, who seems to have gone from Christ denier to powerful witness in that time, stands up in front of a crowd from 13 different regions to preach repentance and baptism. Miraculously, everyone here’s him in their language. But some mock and say, “Hey guys! Peter’s drunk!” (Acts 2:13, Hugh Spackman Translation). 

Sometimes, when others mock, I question my own experiences. Could it have been that special if someone else didn’t experience the same thing? If others read the Book of Mormon and get nothing out of it, can it be what it says it is? 

Yes. 

Because the spirituality of an experience is subjective, not objective. 

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