388–389: Our Brains and Faith

Our faith lives, including how we orient toward the world, God/Spirit (or whatever we consider the highest center(s) of value and power), and ourselves, are fed by many things. Some we can easily identify. Others—perhaps the majority, and especially the ones that are wired into various neural pathways—are hidden, unconsciously held, and only show themselves to us through inner work.

In this two-part episode, we examine some of these harder-to-spot orientations through a schema partially developed by Russell Osmond, Ph.D., and then apply it to Mormons and various aspects of Mormonism. In particular, we look at four questions/quadrants—Why, What, How, and Who—that all of us are familiar with even though we likely don’t recognize how we orient toward one of them more than others. Nor have we likely analyzed how that orientation (especially when ours is different than those of friends, family, and co-workers) has contributed to some of the frustrations and struggles in communicating with them about the importance of certain things that are obvious to us. Each orientation carries its own gifts, but each also entails certain blindspots with respect to the others. When we can recognize and understand our brain’s own wiring and preferred mode for meeting key aspects of life and our world, as well as recognizing those same things in others, we can move meaningfully toward greater understanding, bridge building, and problem solving. And who wouldn’t want that? Especially in the faith arena?

This edition of the Mormon Matters podcast features Russ Osmond and Henning Mueller in conversation with host Dan Wotherspoon in which they introduce and engage with the four-quadrant model and its revelations about different brain vocabularies, paying special attention to its effects on faith and faith journeys. Why does new information or changes in policy cause deep crisis for some but not for others? How can understanding the gifts of other vocabularies help alleviate some of this suffering and lead us to fuller understandings of ourselves and others, as well as the way God or Spirit or the Universe works? This model is also fascinating in helping explain various phases of Mormon history, as well as what is occurring within the church right now. Henning adds great insight to all of this from his perspective as a German citizen and student of European religion and contemporary trends within Mormonism. He also, near the end of Part 2, offers a wonderful description of what it means to have a “living God,” and how those who associate with the traditions of the Restoration should embrace the principle of continuing revelation in far bolder ways than most currently do. You won’t want to miss that section, nor this whole conversation between two old friends and an interested and enthusiastic moderator.



To gain free access to the My Motivators assessment tool talked about in the podcast, please write to Russ Osmond at blindspotspivots@gmail.com. Mention to him that you are a Mormon Matters listener and he will set you up. Thanks, again, Russ!



1 comment for “388–389: Our Brains and Faith

  1. May 19, 2017 at 11:41 am

    If anyone is interested in being informed about or perhaps even supporting the Sunstone Europe event we have touched on during the podcast, please go to https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/sunstone-germany-2017/
    The deadline for the call for papers is July 1st, 2017 when we will release the full schedule.

    Thank you for listening to this important podcast and thank you Dan and Russ for the exceptional value in creating Mormon Matters as a platform for dialogue and understanding.

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