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The closest thing to a super spiritual experience…

June 7, 2009

I was reading the topic on Further Light and Knowledge (The New Foyer, I think that’s it?) about what gives us Warm Fuzzies…where warm fuzzies presumably are supposed to mimic the burning in the bosom that is so cherished and sought after by members…but which can be elusive.

And you know…I think I have had such an experience of intense warm fuzzies…the closest thing I could consider a spiritual experience.

It wasn’t for the church, and it wasn’t related to anything religious at all, unfortunately for you all.

What was it for, then?

I still remember that title without having to think about it. Protip: make it couplets.

I still remember that title without having to think about it. Protip: make it couplets.

It was for a little known (at least, I think they should be a lot more well-known than they are) prog metal album and band…Ayreon’s 01011001.

Ayreon, I think, was my favorite band/collaboration for a long time (although I had an intense like for Coheed and Cambria…and I still must admit that Claudio’s music has just a really catchy driving nature to it that I fall for every time). Anyway, I got into the Ayreon scene rather late, I think…but 01011001 was the first album that I was really watching for the entire release process. I listened to the mystery singer samples, and guessed at what singers they could be (for each project, Arjen, the mastermind of Ayreon, invites several singers as part of the concept albums…so his projects include people who are known in their own rights). In the end, that endeavor was futile for me, because I am not a good prog metal fan — instead of getting into Ayreon after hearing that x or y singer was on it, I often only got interested in x or y singer after hearing their contribution on an Ayreon album.

Well, anyway, when I was able to get that album…that was a magical and powerful experience. It was like, the best week in my life. Really, it’s kinda embarrassing to admit now, but I listened to that album upwards of 80 times in a row over the weekend and following week I had gotten it (Ok, I admit I’m a cheater; I didn’t go all the way through the nearly two hour double-cd album each time…I had favorite songs I abused)…my roommate thought I was really weird too, I bet, since I’ve never been a fan of closed headphones.

Even after the weekend, I think I listened to the album exclusively for quite a while…and I could see no wrong in that album. A++++. Best album ever, or so I thought. I worked to decode every message, work out the entire Ayreon mythos through all the old albums, work out all of the references, etc., etc., It was amazing. I was inspired.

Some reviews came out on progarchives…and I was kinda shocked that it wasn’t getting as good reviews as, say, The Human Equation (another album by Ayreon) had gotten. And some of the reviewers, also Ayreonauts, were finding real flaws in the album. I was shocked. How could that be?

…eventually too, my honeymoon with the album came to a close. I wouldn’t say I burned myself on the album (I don’t burn myself out on albums — you may think listening to an album exclusively for a time is asking for trouble, but that’s actually how my music tastes have worked for a while. I find an album, listen to it exclusively, and when I find a new album, I do the same. I don’t necessarily start disliking old albums…I just rarely find time to listen to those albums when I get a new one.)

Eventually, I began to realize what the reviewers were talking about. Yeah, 01 was a bit flawed. And now, even I recognize it isn’t my favorite Ayreon album (I like The Human Equation and Into the Electric Castle best, now.)

So, I was thinking…if I could have that kind of experience (which I bet some believers most certainly do)…dang…sign me UP.

But with relation to the church, I only had an amazing experience (yet it was much much much less amazing than the musical magic I have just described…and in many ways, the two don’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath) upon the realization that I do not have to be in the church. It was something I had honestly never considered, and the idea was so liberating.

I don’t say that just to conclude: “nwe he he i dislike the church.” Rather, the amazing concept — which I think members and exmembers and nonmembers all should get (so I guess I lied about my one thing from the Mormon Matters post), was this: if you go to church, make sure it’s on your conditions. Leave at any time, and go back at any time. If you want to commit, make sure it is YOUR decision, not your parents’, not your bishop’s, not even GOD’s. Because if you put yourself first (even if your ultimate choice is to lose yourself to gain yourself in Christ [or insert your equivalent here]), the no matter what your choice is, you will be able to appreciate it (and yourself) that much better. I reiterate — don’t think I’m saying just be a selfish so n’ so. No, rather, even the act of selflessness garners so respect because it recognizes that a person will personally value himself. So if he can take his most valued possession — himself — and commit that elsewhere, that is a great thing indeed.

So I recognize (as I probably have elsewhere on this blog), that if I go back to the church, or if I go elsewhere, this kind of knowledge that I am on my own terms will keep me satisfied, motivated, and energized, no matter what.

So there. Don’t say I was totally terrible.

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6 Comments
  1. A friend of mine who left the church and became an atheist was once disconcerted because he felt those warm fuzzies when he corrected an anti-Mormon who was spouting lies about the church. Could it actually be the Holy Ghost?! Then he realized that he had felt exactly the same feeling while watching The Lord of the Rings.

  2. now I will say, when I’m correcting anti-Mormons, I instead feel a different kind of warm fuzzy. It’s a burning, but it certainly isn’t good. It’s a kind of rage that wells up, because I mean, a lot of times, the claims are just ridiculous. And I mean, i think, if you’re going to try to criticize something, at least bring up real points.

    that’s my anti-religion, lol.

  3. In my experience, feeling good about something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s from God. I’ve been drunk in a strip clubs and felt good. I know that didn’t come from God.

    My invitation to become a follower of Christ came when the Lord allowed me to encounter pure evil in the form of a fallen spirit. This experience got my attention and from that day forward I decided to follow Christ.

    Since I’ve been following Christ I’ve had many experiences where the Lord has communicated with me. For me it has come in many ways. Some of the communication comes by dreams, sometimes by vision, sometime by strong impressions to my mind an heart. But this is followed by a verifying experience.

    For example, in LA I was getting ready to go to a UCLA branch activity. As I got into my car a strong impression came that I would experience danger while driving to the meeting. I knew I had to be careful but that I Lord would watch over me.

    While driving on the Santa Monica freeway I noticed a car behind me driving erratically–blinking lights, speeding up and then slowing. The car came very near me as it passed, it was then I saw a car load of men who appeared drunk. After passing the car turned sharply in front of me and accelerated and was bumping into the side of the freeway overpass. I could hear the tearing of metal and saw sparks. I lost sight of them as we merged into traffic. I got off a few exists later. This was before cell phone so I couldn’t call the police.

    The point I’m making is that Spiritual guidance is real, it comes in many ways, and there is a verifying experience that follows.

  4. Jared, I had a feeling you would come and post something like that.

    I agree. Feeling good about something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s from God. Furthermore, we can’t even somehow classify between higher and lower “feeling goods,” because I know some people who would say drinking “feel good” is just a lower, and comparatively insignificant “feel good” to some other “feel good” that they would claim comes from God.

    In the end, all of it really says more about us and our biases than about anything external to us…which is something I’ve been kinda saying for a while. Some people are going to want to say that some feelings come from God, and they should go right on, but as you point out, that doesn’t mean they necessarily do come from him.

  5. “Then he realized that he had felt exactly the same feeling while watching The Lord of the Rings.”

    That’s because that movie WAS divine.

    Duh.

  6. Anonymous permalink

    Jared,

    How do you know that feeling good while being drunk and at a strip club didn’t come from God?

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