Premonition and Foreknowledge
I have also had experiences with premonition and foreknowledge. On my mission I was reading an LDS historical book talking about the Nauvoo Temple, and I had a very distinct impression come to my mind that said “they are going to rebuild that”. It was so distinct and strong that I kept thinking about it for days. Just a few months later, the church announced their plans to rebuild the temple, and I was left to wonder about the psychological mechanism which gave me that knowledge beforehand. I’ve had similar experiences help me avoid major accidents. Similarly, my dad felt “strongly impressed” to get his affairs in order and write a personal letter to each of his children the month before his unexpected death. These letters proved very meaningful, and seemed far from coincidental to me—and seem to be but one of many examples I’ve seen of death premonition.
I once had an experience where after deeply meditating, I strangely kept picturing a specific image in my mind. With this picture in my mind, my wife unexpectedly asked me what I was thinking… I lied and said “nothing”. Then she proceeded to tell me that she was picturing the same wild image (a golden spider) in her mind. I never did tell her that I had the same image in my mind, but it was yet another of many strange experiences where my wife and I synchronously had the same thoughts during times that i was deeply mediating. I’ve had other similar experiences where I’ve been able to influence my own children’s dreams by my own deep meditation–having them recount to me in the morning the very thoughts I sent out in my meditation.
I have had a multitude of other experiences with what LDS people would usually call “the Spirit” (but something I would associate with a global shared unconsciousness and/or a fragmented ability to perceive events across dimensions, space and time). I felt strong spiritual impressions about what the gender of each of my four children would be (which could certainly be coincidence). I had incredibly strong (and correct) impressions that my 1 month old child was going to turn out 100% fine when she lay in the NICU with spinal meningitis, despite doctors giving us only disparaging statistics of the chances of deafness and other lasting complications. I felt while giving her a blessing that I could bless her to be healed with confidence. I have had strong impressions about the location of a lost child (which were later verified) and heard accounts of others far more impressive than mine. After pondering over questions, I have had strong impressions come to mind my concerning internet searches which led me to material which seemed exactly what I was looking for, and connected deeply with. After months of prayer and feeling strong impressions that a new revelation had been given in fulfillment to Biblical prophesy, I was led by a single sentence given to my mind to find The Book of Ben Kathryn (see background info here). Although I understand the power of confirmation bias and human tendency for apophenia, these experiences have led me to believe what ancient religions, books and even modern movies (such as Interstellar) have suggested for ages—that humans occasionally have the ability to peek through small transient holes across space and time, by the use of poorly understood exercises of thought, meditation & spirituality. I don’t pretend to fully understand these experiences, nor am I fully satisfied by the descriptions taught by most modern religions or scientists. I simply realize there is a strong component of unknowableness in this reality we call life.
My Faith & Beliefs
Because of my experiences I give more weight to channeled or revelatory texts than the average skeptic. But at the same time, my experiences cause me to be more skeptical and less dogmatic about channeled/revealed works than the average religious zealot. The fact that near death and visionary experiences tend to reflect cultural and religious conditioning (Christians see Jesus, Hindu’s sometimes see their Gods, and some cultures see nothing), tells me that there’s something subjective and complicated going on in visionary experiences. However, there are millions of examples of scientifically unexplained phenomena which tells me that these spiritual experiences are not just made up imaginations. Like billions on earth, I sense there is something profound to religious works like The Bible, Koran, The Book of Mormon, or more convincingly, the Law of One or Oahspe —where the revelator/channel repeatedly uses words or speaks of concepts far above the writer’s apparent native abilities. (For example, the Law of One channel, had no memory of the complex topics expressed while in trance). Or texts like the Doctrine & Covenants or Book of Ben Kathryn with thousands of biblical allusions woven together in a manner which seems far more sophisticated than any single author’s native abilities. But at the same time I am highly skeptical of the cultural distortions and dogmatic assertions (concerning absolutist truths) made by any of these works or their religious founders. (And LDS leaders in particular.) I have spent more time than anyone I know combing through the cosmological sections of channeled texts looking for a cohesive picture of reality, which takes into account all the available evidence from both science and the world’s many metaphysical witnesses.
In my childhood I let my religious leaders largely define my religious and spiritual experiences for me. As I mentioned, I’ve been a pretty down-the-line, orthodox Mormon. Because of my experience with the Book of Mormon and other experiences with “The Spirit” I believed it meant that the LDS church was precisely what its current leaders made it out to be. As I’ve gotten older and received my own revelation, delved into LDS church history, spent thousands of hours studying LDS scripture and combed through myriads of near-death experiences, revelatory/channeled works and other people’s supernatural experiences I’ve come to explanations which more fully harmonize my own experiences with the experiences of spiritual mystics and religious founders. Explanations which harmonize the contradictions. (I’ve found that every major religious tradition tends to develop a branch of mysticism full of visionary individuals or mystics/prophets who overwhelmingly seem to espouse a form of universalism. While at the same time most mainstream religions seem to eventually come to reject or demonize visionary experience, and become led by individuals with very little visionary or clairvoyant ability.)
My level of faith in LDS leaders is a product of my spiritual experiences as well. When I first began being woken up by beings and voices who answered my questions, the individuals who answered questions and information they gave was very Mormonesqe (conforming strictly to LDS language, scripture and culture). But as my questions began to push the envelope of what LDS doctrine was able to explain, my nighttime teachers and visions (or whatever you want to call them) became decidedly less Mormon and more Unitarian (With complete love and empathy for the Mormon perspective, but placing it within a larger more profound context). It was like Mormon spirits (my ancestors?) led me as far as their knowledge could take me; but eventually they had to refer me to higher beings which predated Mormonism & its culture. I really felt like I was led by higher, older, more intelligent beings to more pluralistic information that helped to reconcile the contradictions I encountered in Mormonism. However, I suppose from a non-mystical worldview this could also be explained in reverse—that my subjective nighttime experiences were a reflection of what I was consciously learning in my life. That my subconscious was for some reason synthesizing my changing worldview and presenting it to me in a surreal “vision-like” experience. Either way, it seemed to me that at night our brain somehow connects to a higher source of knowledge and emotion which allows and helps to organize, harmonize and make sense of all the raw data that is dumped into our senses during the day. To me, the experiences were very real–but at the same time entirely visionary.
I can certainly empathize with atheists and agnostics and see value in their purely humanistic explanations of these phenomena (although their explanations seem quite partial to me— and tend to ignore millions of explainable spiritual phenomena— take this impressive proof of reincarnation for instance). I can empathize with the explanations of all organized religions (which also seem partial). It’s very much like the Hindu proverb about six blind men and an elephant. (see my religion and truth article) But my experiences have suggested to me that there is so much more to this universe than the narrow views held by mainstream religion or science. Like many of the world’s most intelligent scientists, I believe in a non-anthropomorphic Most-High singularity (religions call it/him God), but I could explain him/her/it in a million religious or scientific terms and still not fully capture the immensity of what I perceive He/She/It is. My beliefs increasingly tend to accord more with D&C 88:41,6–13, than traditional/cultural LDS views on God, which I believe confuse scriptural archetypes of psychically-connected higher-dimensional human beings for the unknowable and omniscient Most High God (A singular intelligence which connects and pervades all creation and drives evolution). Frankly, I suspect most of those who have influenced mankind’s views of the divine have felt the same way as me concerning divinity—that their descriptions are partial, limited perspectives of something so much larger than what the human mind and human words can express (D&C 76:116).
I believe in the perception of spirits and visions because I have experienced them. I believe in a tiered or multi-level system of universal consciousness that mystics, prophets, or revelators are able to tap into in order gain information above that which they’ve cognitively learned. Whether this realm is a subjective internal shared human memory psychically accessed through poorly understood psychological mechanisms or whether it is truly an objective higher dimensional realm inhabited by the dead matters little to me. I tend to think it is a combination of the two where communication with the external higher dimensions occurs almost exclusively through the internal human mind. The human channel being forced to “translate” the communication signal into human words— in a way that always distorts the message according to the channel’s culture, biases, language and beliefs.
I loosely believe in angels, extra terrestrial beings and extra-planetary rulers (or ruling extra-dimensional beings) even though I really only have second hand, scientifically unproven evidence for their existence. (Channeled works, near-death experiences or the London mass UFO sightings in 2011 for example. see here & here) Higher dimensions and higher dimensional beings seem logically necessary to me because of Fermi’s Paradox. But, I believe (as many text describe) that these beings must be physically bound by barriers and laws of non-intervention (Similar to the Zoo Hypothesis). As suggested in the Zoo Hypothesis, I believe the influence from beings who do find windows in the barriers between dimensions or who disregard the laws of non-intervention, is always neutralized by yet higher beings in ways that preserve the self-determination of our species. I do not believe any one religion or philosophy has exclusive access to the highest beings who watch our planet — but instead they are spiritually led by their dead ancestors. (see The only true church). And I believe those religions who substantially claim exclusive access to God, are either misunderstanding their own revelations, or are allowing themselves to be influenced by manipulative or ignorant spiritual beings or their own egos. (The channeled text Oahspe has A LOT to say about that). I believe that a large part of most religion and religious experience, is a projection of existing beliefs and biases on the part of the “seer” or adherent—onto the divine. I think this is what 1 Cor 13:9–12/1 John 3:2 is trying to say in a veiled sort of way.
I believe the “Most high God” is synonymous with light, love and creation (D&C 88:41); and is a passive universal unity which does not directly interfere with the self-determination of humanity or individuals (despite it’s indwelling within us). I believe that religious prophets and mystics usually interact with extra-dimensional beings (or god’s mediators) subjectively through their minds and imaginations, wherein information is exposed to heavy distortion and cultural bias (Both the LDS ‘Father & Son’ from Joseph’s visions being examples of these different classes of mediator beings seen in a subjective vision and biased by the prophet’s cultural expectations). I believe that religion and science are divinely guided (in a very laissez-faire manner) by wise spiritual and inter-dimensional beings and have the ability to better my life and make me a better person. I believe that like religion and science, my understanding is constantly changing and expanding and my faith is that man’s destiny is headed back toward the complete unity of intelligence from which we originated.
I believe to be overly-sure or dogmatic about beliefs is to make yourself into a fool. I believe that “faith and beliefs” are typically nothing more than emotionally charged speculations and hold their importance, only in the way they might shape behavior.
Continued at My Testimony of the LDS Church & Religion (Part 2. My Beliefs)