All religions point adherents toward gaining knowledge and insights for themselves through their own spiritual dives. Religious cultures, however, often (overtly but more often subtly) put a premium upon group cohesion, following rules and counsel from leaders or elders, staying on the well-worn path, and so forth. These cultures encourage one to rise up to the level of the collective, but then discourage her or him from too much exploring. (There be monsters out there! Stay safe!)
How can we gain the confidence to explore Spirit as fully as our traditions invite us to? How do we overcome the cultural and psychological barriers that sometimes discourage us? What is the experience of direct spiritual experience like? How do we seek it? Must we be at the end of our spiritual ropes before it can enter in? As we experience it, what should we expect? What, exactly, is the “experimenting” section of Alma 32 really saying? Spiritual journeying is hard, but why do so many who have gotten the taste of their own eternal nature and spiritual belonging keep at it, even with all the difficult things one must confront as we move ahead?
This episode features two insightful and powerful spiritual explorers, Billy Phillips and Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, along with Mormon Matters host Dan Wotherspoon, speaking about all of the above and more. What emerges is not exactly a step-by-step guide to finding one’s own spiritual confidence so much as a chance to immerse oneself in a conversation among three people for whom this transition to trusting their own experiences even in the face of occasional discouragement from other Latter-day Saints has been and still is a wonderful and worthy pursuit.
Lower Lights Sangha. Learn more about Thomas McConkie’s work, workshops, gatherings, and retreats.
Thomas Wirthlin McConkie, Navigating Mormon Faith Crisis: A Simple Developmental Map (Salt Lake City: Mormon Stages, 2015).