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Carborendum

No Talk of Miracles

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There is something I'd like some clarity or background on.  It is the counsel to not tell people about miracles or powerful spiritual experiences.  

I kind of understand the idea that we are to treat such topics with the reverence they deserve.  But why should we NEVER talk about them?  If something happened that was highly testimony building, we are only supposed to say something general like,"And the Lord let me know that the Church is true."  Don't give the specifics of how He old me.  If we witnessed a miracle -- truly miraculous -- we're not supposed to repeat it?

I guess if everyone told of all their spiritual experiences, then it would somehow cheapen the experiences.  But in a way, wouldn't it have a tendency to increase societal faith that miracles still happen?

I can only guess that there was a period where so many people had miracles that it became a pressure for others who did not experience them to make stuff up. And it also made it all too easy for charlatans to trick people into believing incorrect doctrines.  There is also the fact that our miracles and special experiences are our own and won't necessarily have the same message for others.  

I can make a dozen arguments why we should keep things like this to ourselves.  But I also see the other side of the argument that would also make it desirable share our experiences -- "to witness to others" as evangelicals would say.

But it seems sad to me that we live in a world where we cannot / should not share these things.  Truly, Hamlet was correct.  There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophies.  And people just won't get to share them.

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7 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

There is something I'd like some clarity or background on.  It is the counsel to not tell people about miracles or powerful spiritual experiences.  

I kind of understand the idea that we are to treat such topics with the reverence they deserve.  But why should we NEVER talk about them?  If something happened that was highly testimony building, we are only supposed to say something general like,"And the Lord let me know that the Church is true."  Don't give the specifics of how He old me.  If we witnessed a miracle -- truly miraculous -- we're not supposed to repeat it?

In general, I think this is not so. indeed, we are commanded to bear testimony, and what is a miracle if not a testimony to you of God?

Here's my current take: Things that are given for us alone are probably not appropriate to share. If an angel appears before you to instruct you, then based on that experience you can bear testimony of the reality of God's communication with us. But you may be extremely reluctant (and rightfully so) to share details of your angelic encounter. Can you imagine the doubt and mockery from many corners that would follow such a recounting? We always bear testimony, but we do not cast our pearls before swine.

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33 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

There is something I'd like some clarity or background on.  It is the counsel to not tell people about miracles or powerful spiritual experiences.  

I kind of understand the idea that we are to treat such topics with the reverence they deserve.  But why should we NEVER talk about them?  If something happened that was highly testimony building, we are only supposed to say something general like,"And the Lord let me know that the Church is true."  Don't give the specifics of how He old me.  If we witnessed a miracle -- truly miraculous -- we're not supposed to repeat it?

I guess if everyone told of all their spiritual experiences, then it would somehow cheapen the experiences.  But in a way, wouldn't it have a tendency to increase societal faith that miracles still happen?

I can only guess that there was a period where so many people had miracles that it became a pressure for others who did not experience them to make stuff up. And it also made it all too easy for charlatans to trick people into believing incorrect doctrines.  There is also the fact that our miracles and special experiences are our own and won't necessarily have the same message for others.  

I can make a dozen arguments why we should keep things like this to ourselves.  But I also see the other side of the argument that would also make it desirable share our experiences -- "to witness to others" as evangelicals would say.

But it seems sad to me that we live in a world where we cannot / should not share these things.  Truly, Hamlet was correct.  There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophies.  And people just won't get to share them.

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/2001/06/miracles?lang=eng

In the words of Elder Oaks (and whole article is worth reading), "Although we are generally counseled not to speak of sacred things like the miracles we have witnessed, there are times when the Spirit prompts us to share these experiences, sometimes even in a setting where our account will be published."

I think a term such as "societal faith" indicates that society, and not the Spirit, drives the popular attitude toward spiritual things (whether in favor or in opposition to the Gospel) and not a number of elect sharing the same inclination to follow the light of Christ within them to build a Zion society. Even in Zion, peer pressure will not stimulate true faith.

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7 hours ago, Carborendum said:

There is something I'd like some clarity or background on.  It is the counsel to not tell people about miracles or powerful spiritual experiences.  

I kind of understand the idea that we are to treat such topics with the reverence they deserve.  But why should we NEVER talk about them?  If something happened that was highly testimony building, we are only supposed to say something general like,"And the Lord let me know that the Church is true."  Don't give the specifics of how He old me.  If we witnessed a miracle -- truly miraculous -- we're not supposed to repeat it?

I guess if everyone told of all their spiritual experiences, then it would somehow cheapen the experiences.  But in a way, wouldn't it have a tendency to increase societal faith that miracles still happen?

I can only guess that there was a period where so many people had miracles that it became a pressure for others who did not experience them to make stuff up. And it also made it all too easy for charlatans to trick people into believing incorrect doctrines.  There is also the fact that our miracles and special experiences are our own and won't necessarily have the same message for others.  

I can make a dozen arguments why we should keep things like this to ourselves.  But I also see the other side of the argument that would also make it desirable share our experiences -- "to witness to others" as evangelicals would say.

But it seems sad to me that we live in a world where we cannot / should not share these things.  Truly, Hamlet was correct.  There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophies.  And people just won't get to share them.

There are spiritual experiences that are personal - sometimes there are parts that are not to be shared.  In essence sealed up or spoken of by someone else.

There are spiritual experiences that cannot be expressed or explained.  Any attempt lacks  important elements that cannot be expressed.

As far as speaking with an angel - as noted is scripture - one is more likely to be called to repentance than congratulated.   If one is congratulated, it is not uncommon to face opposition as well and it is seldom a good idea to speak of dark encounters. 

Always spiritual things should testify of Christ and not draw attention to the person providing the experience.

 

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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Matthew 7:6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 
 

 

Or even better:

 

 

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.

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17 hours ago, Carborendum said:

There is something I'd like some clarity or background on.  It is the counsel to not tell people about miracles or powerful spiritual experiences.  

 

Oops.  That's all I talked about in my interview.

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I have never heard that we should never speak of miracles, but rather, only if the Spirit prompts us to share. I have had miracles occur in my life. Most of the time I do not share them, but there are times when I have felt prompted to do so.

For my children, now all adults, I created a binder I called “Family Treasures“. In the binder I have recorded the miracles that have happened to me, my husband, my children, and many of our ancestors. I believe there is a time and place for some of these miracles to be shared. They are sacred. I hope in my telling of the events that they will help strengthen my children and grandchildren’s testimonies.

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On 5/15/2020 at 5:51 PM, Vort said:

In general, I think this is not so. indeed, we are commanded to bear testimony, and what is a miracle if not a testimony to you of God?

Here's my current take: Things that are given for us alone are probably not appropriate to share. If an angel appears before you to instruct you, then based on that experience you can bear testimony of the reality of God's communication with us. But you may be extremely reluctant (and rightfully so) to share details of your angelic encounter. Can you imagine the doubt and mockery from many corners that would follow such a recounting? We always bear testimony, but we do not cast our pearls before swine.

I have certainly come across this response multiple times.  And I don't blame them.  I don't know if I'd believe others if they related the things I've experienced.  But I had listened to a stranger relate a miracle to me.  And she, too was wondering why people tend not to believe in them anymore.  As she shared hers, I shared mine of a similar nature.  And I believe we were both edified in the exchange.

Other times I related only general ideas rather than specifics.  And people were left "wondering" rather than "disbelieving."  I suppose that was a better response.

On 5/18/2020 at 5:47 PM, classylady said:

I have never heard that we should never speak of miracles, but rather, only if the Spirit prompts us to share. I have had miracles occur in my life. Most of the time I do not share them, but there are times when I have felt prompted to do so.

This is one reason I'm never going to be entrusted with the secrets of eternity.  I seem to not have a filter on my mouth.  I can't keep secrets.  If I feel something is truly exciting, I really want to share it with everyone.

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On 5/15/2020 at 7:19 PM, CV75 said:

In the words of Elder Oaks (and whole article is worth reading), "Although we are generally counseled not to speak of sacred things like the miracles we have witnessed, there are times when the Spirit prompts us to share these experiences, sometimes even in a setting where our account will be published."

Do the recorded miracles in the Bible by Jesus and the apostles in the early church and the
Nephite disciples (in 4 Nephi 1:5,13) mean those who experienced and or performed them 
did not hold them sacred?  If no, why are the apostolic ones mentioned?

What miracles wrought by the LDS apostles are mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants?

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5 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I have certainly come across this response multiple times.  And I don't blame them.  I don't know if I'd believe others if they related the things I've experienced.  But I had listened to a stranger relate a miracle to me.  And she, too was wondering why people tend not to believe in them anymore.  As she shared hers, I shared mine of a similar nature.  And I believe we were both edified in the exchange.

Other times I related only general ideas rather than specifics.  And people were left "wondering" rather than "disbelieving."  I suppose that was a better response.

This is one reason I'm never going to be entrusted with the secrets of eternity.  I seem to not have a filter on my mouth.  I can't keep secrets.  If I feel something is truly exciting, I really want to share it with everyone.

One thought comes from our family white water rafting experiences.  I would tell my kids, when teaching them to river guide - When on the river, always remember that regardless of how tragic, frighting, wonderful or exciting something is that you just got through or encountered - it is more important to focus on and get ready for what is coming up next.  It is important to realize and understand our past but not so important that we ever loose focus on our future. 

Another thought specifically about miracles.  Most miracles are not large unexplainable events that change everything.  Most miracles are small almost unnoticeable corrections that pile up on one another until a beautiful masterpiece is finished.  Many years ago my bishop gave a talk at church about his rock garden.  He was busy but decided to place at least one rock every day.  Often the rock was placed at 1:00 am in the middle of the night.  It took him two years to complete his garden but it was a beautiful wonder to behold.  To him each stone placement represented a miracle.  A miracle that by it's self would never be recognized as a miracle but in concert with the collection of many miracles of the completed task was a great miracle.

Sometimes reading a verse of scripture and realizing a helpful thought or a thought of comfort is a miracle.  Sometimes a smile is a miracle.  Having enough to eat is a miracle.  Being loved is a miracle - so is loving someone.  Getting up in the morning, getting dressed, making your bed and starting your day with a prayer - outlining your plan for the day to G-d - is a miracle you can return to G-d.  Heck - just praying is a miracle.  Being able to hear an answer to a prayer is a miracle.  It is a miracle when recognize we just experienced a miracle or able to recognize a miracle that is unfolding.

 

The Traveler

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Carb, a couple thoughts that come to my mind...first miracles don't convert...Laman and Lemuel were rebuked by an angel and it hardly phased them.  :(  

Second, you want to be careful that you don't inadvertently place yourself between an individual and the Lord.  By sharing a miraculous experience (without the approval of the Holy Ghost) you may unintentionally come between the person you shared with and the Lord, I mean, in the future, they might have a question and come to you because they deem you "so spiritual" rather than seeking answers for themselves.  

That said, I believe we do have miracles, I have experienced them, and when the Holy Ghost moves us, they are given to strengthen believers.  So there is a time to share, it should just be guided by the Spirit.

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4 hours ago, LiterateParakeet said:

Carb, a couple thoughts that come to my mind...first miracles don't convert...Laman and Lemuel were rebuked by an angel and it hardly phased them.  :(  

I never said the word "convert."  And I never meant it.  So, I'm not sure if you understood my meaning.

Quote

Second, you want to be careful that you don't inadvertently place yourself between an individual and the Lord.  By sharing a miraculous experience (without the approval of the Holy Ghost) you may unintentionally come between the person you shared with and the Lord, I mean, in the future, they might have a question and come to you because they deem you "so spiritual" rather than seeking answers for themselves.  

Trust me, there's no danger of that happening.  The only people who look up to me are my kids.  And they should.

Edited by Carborendum

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On 5/24/2020 at 3:17 PM, Jonah said:

Do the recorded miracles in the Bible by Jesus and the apostles in the early church and the
Nephite disciples (in 4 Nephi 1:5,13) mean those who experienced and or performed them 
did not hold them sacred?  If no, why are the apostolic ones mentioned?

What miracles wrought by the LDS apostles are mentioned in Doctrine and Covenants?

Q1: That is not at all what Elder Oak's remarks suggest: "there are times when the Spirit prompts us to share these experiences." Others, both inspired and uninspired, are free to record them as well. It takes some discernment to recognize and appreciate what God hath wrought, hence not everyone believes in miracles or are selectively biased concerning them.

Q2: LDS apostles do not work  miracles, God does. The revelations recorded and many of the events referred to in the D&C are types of miracles. Other miracles are recorded in historical accounts and published journals. These miracles involve LDS apostles and others.

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On 5/27/2020 at 8:38 AM, CV75 said:

Other miracles are recorded in historical accounts and published journals. These miracles involve LDS apostles and others.

Would you mention some that would be considered mighty signs and wonders as is recorded several
times in the book of Acts (of the Apostles)?  

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44 minutes ago, Jonah said:

Would you mention some that would be considered mighty signs and wonders as is recorded several
times in the book of Acts (of the Apostles)?  

Here’s some of the reported miracles done through Joseph Smith particularly.

But frankly, when we dwell on such stories, it becomes really easy to conflate “faith” with “voyeurism”.  In the past I’ve been referred to such stories (maybe a bit too cavalierly) as “miracle porn”—not that I necessarily disbelieve in them or don’t believe in their potential for edification; but that they are so commonly bandied about for the sake of spectacle and spiritual titillation. 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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2 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

Here’s some of the reported miracles done through Joseph Smith particularly.

But frankly, when we dwell on such stories, it becomes really easy to conflate “faith” with “voyeurism”.  In the past I’ve been referred to such stories (maybe a bit too cavalierly) as “miracle porn”—not that I necessarily disbelieve in them or don’t believe in their potential for edification; but that they are so commonly bandied about for the sake of spectacle and spiritual titillation. 

Thanks, JAG.  

I know you meant to respond to Jim.  But this actually helps me understand this position much better than the ideas I had when I posted the original post.  If we look at it through this lens, there is the danger of making the powers of God more of a sideshow than the miracles they really are.

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1 hour ago, Carborendum said:

If we look at it through this lens, there is the danger of making the powers of God more of a sideshow than the miracles they really are.

Plus the fact that miracles of healing and such, while indeed signs of God's power to the faithful, are beside the eternal point. This life was never meant to be anything other than a sojourn. Death itself is not a tragedy, but a blessing. We do not, cannot, and would not want to live forever in a fallen state as we are now. Life is for spiritual growth, coming unto God, not for being physically comfortable.

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On 6/6/2020 at 3:06 PM, Jonah said:

Would you mention some that would be considered mighty signs and wonders as is recorded several
times in the book of Acts (of the Apostles)?  

How many are listed in Acts for comparative purposes? What is the scholarly or faithful benefit of doing that, given that publicizing such things is the exception to the rule?

Edited by CV75

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20 hours ago, CV75 said:

How many are listed in Acts for comparative purposes? What is the scholarly or faithful benefit of doing that, given that publicizing such things is the exception to the rule?

I have not done a comparison between Acts and the D&C but I did see this quoted on
https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Joseph_Smith/Healings_and_miracles

"The Saints believe in healings and other miracles through Christ's priesthood power, but are cautious
about sharing such events. However, such events are mainly for the comfort and blessing of the Saints,
and are not intended to convince others or act as a "sign."
 

I know that the biblical writers included a mention of quite a few of the miracles and that even the
Book of Mormon made a mention of the Nephites performing miracles.  Apparently they were not
cautious about sharing such events. IMO,  they are recorded for the comfort/blessing of Christians
and non-Christians alike (like Hebrews 11) for subsequent generations.

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17 hours ago, Jonah said:

I have not done a comparison between Acts and the D&C but I did see this quoted on
https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Joseph_Smith/Healings_and_miracles

"The Saints believe in healings and other miracles through Christ's priesthood power, but are cautious
about sharing such events. However, such events are mainly for the comfort and blessing of the Saints,
and are not intended to convince others or act as a "sign."
 

I know that the biblical writers included a mention of quite a few of the miracles and that even the
Book of Mormon made a mention of the Nephites performing miracles.  Apparently they were not
cautious about sharing such events. IMO,  they are recorded for the comfort/blessing of Christians
and non-Christians alike (like Hebrews 11) for subsequent generations.

How can you see Elder Oak's counsel applying to the writers of scriptural and other legitimate publications in answering your question? How can you see his counsel and the quote from FairMormon being mutually supportive? How can you see these and your opinion as mutually supportive?

If you think the writers of scripture were not cautious, then that is a separate issue entirely.

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