(Read comments to previous post if you're just coming to this discussion)
Knowing Coop and Josh both very well, I understand where they are both coming from. Myself, personally, I am more like Josh here. And speaking 'within the tent' of our own religion as we are here, I feel comfortable saying that although my sentiments agree with Josh, and certainly my understanding of theology is way more like Josh's than like MDH's, my religious practice and faith is likely to remain unaffected.
I have had spiritual experiences that have made it clear to me that I have a stake in and a duty towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That is perhaps not everyone's definition of "testimony", but it's close enough to mine to be operative here.
This means that even though, like Josh, I am more likely to experience these events as a spiritual storm than as a bold confirmation of faith, my faith is that I will weather the storm, and that it will be over soon enough. In that sense, I consider myself fortunate not to be what we might term a 'universalist', for whom all things of faith depend on all other things being infallible. I don't even actually know who MDH is, but I think his or her declarations here but him or her squarely in this category. Maybe he or she would disagree, that's not really the point.
If it isn't fair to use MDH as an example, I'll turn to Coop, who I have had many long discussions on subjects like this with, spanning several decades and many campouts. He and I do not see things the same way, and I accept this about us, treasure it even. (Those of you not of our faith, or not of any faith, just assume for a moment that there are such things as spiritual promptings and personal [bidirectional] communication with the Divine). Coop believes (correct me if I misrepresent, Coop) that 10 times out of 10, if you're in tune with spiritual promptings, you will reach the same answer as everyone else who is in tune with spiritual promptings.
I, quite simply, believe nothing of the kind.I can (indeed, must) separate my belief in God and even my sustainment of the President of the Church from the decisions and day-to-day operations of the Church and from the actions or views of its members. I have to believe that I can pray and receive an answer, and Josh can pray and receive an answer, and Coop and MDH can both pray and receive answers, and each of us can get it heart-and-soul confirmed to us that we're getting the right answer, and all answers can be different. If the other point of view is a theory of Universalist Truth, call this one an idea of Emergent Truth. One is top-down, the other bottom-up.
I'm not sure I'm articulating this very well. Let's just put it out there and see what kind of holes get poked.
Christmas Around the World
2 days ago