Monday, May 18, 2015

Through Fasting and Praying comes...

Ok, it's true, that last blog was an attention whore post.  I'm not re-taking the missionary discussions.  Not exactly -- I am re-visitng them (see below).  I didn't actually write that I was re-taking the discussions (I just used it in the title of the blog).  I implied it, and yes, it was misleading, so I apologize.

It was a trick--a short lived one.  So are the emotional tricks of Mormonism that fool people everyday. Such is the parallel here to what I have done -- to show how "conversion" is an emotional manipulation trick. The LDS missionary discussions use a build up and an emotional tug to trick people into buying their story.

No, I'm not reconverting to Mormonism or to any religion.  Yes, I had a very emotional experience a few weeks ago.  But I know, and most of my readers know that this is physiological and it is explicable.  Transcendent or not, it is still biology.

To illustrate the point I am making, I am re-visiting my missionary journal.  This is an act of vulnerability.  I was a silly, immature, caught-up in the MTC moment kid.  And I'm embarrassed by how loopy I was then.  Perhaps I still am.

To wit, here are the first few entries of my own missionary journal.  At the end, I talk about a very specific spiritual experience you might find interesting.


9 Agosto - El Jueves
Well I can't believe it's finally here! My mission has just started and the MTC is going to be great. It was a long day full of orientations and meetings. It would all wear me out except for the terrific spirit here keeps me going. This whole day has been one big spiritual experience. My district is all going to my same mission. ...
We met our teachers and branch president. They all seem nice, and I'll say more about them tomorrow it's going to be hard to learn and study everything that needs to be done. I know I can do it with the help of the Lord! They might make a missionary out of me yet!

12 Agosto – El Domingo
In branch meetings today, we had a short testimony meeting and some of the elders who are getting ready to ship out bore their testimony.  I felt a spirit, but not as much as I thought I should.  They seem so sure of what they are about to do in the field, and I want to.  I don’t know if I can speak with as much power as some of them.  They’ve had spiritual experiences that proved the church is true.  While I believe and feel the spirit, I don’t have that same experience.  It makes me worried I won’t make a good missionary.  Then after meeting, our branch president, Elder P___ interviewed our distrito and he heled me on some personal problems I had.  He also told me to be patient with my full testimony.  That if I fast and pray, it will come.  I plan to do a long fast soon.

16 Agosto – El Jueves
I can't believe it's been a week. The time has gone by so fast. It's surprising how much I have gotten done. I started the baptismal commitment discussion today and learned it real fast in about 2 hours. I passed it off with two mistakes with pronunciation, but I got every word in. That's a great feeling.  We’re supposed to get the investigators to commit to baptism after the first discussion or by the second.  It feels fast to me, but I know the Lord has blessed me and helps me with Spanish and my testimony so that I can be a powerful missionary.  I started a fast last night and continued all day today.  I’m looking to have a spiritual experience like the ones I heard the elders leaving the MTC told us about on Sunday.  I’m already feeling a little weak and praying all the time is harder than I thought.  

17 Agosto – El Viernes
I'll tell you today was one big experience! I woke up really tired and cranky probably because I have been fasting. Today the district was falling apart. We all went our separate ways during P-Day. And we quit doing things together. I switch companions to get a haircut and the spirit about us was terrible.  I think the whole district lost it. We could sense something was wrong in our night class. During scripture study after the teacher left, we talked for a little and decided to pray to get the spirit back together. After praying the spirit was better in the room. Then our teacher Elder M___ returned and was showing us how to present a discussion. He did it in English, and at the beginning he mentioned that by the end of the lesson we would feel the spirit very strongly. I was worried because I felt like my testimony was wavering even as I was fasting and praying so much. Near the end of his lesson I felt a little something strange I thought maybe I was tired or something because it felt like the light in the room had gotten a little brighter.  My head then cleared.  Like I could think faster.  And then I felt like I was floating above my chair, and I was happy.  Like the world was so beautiful. At that point Elder M____ turn to me and asked me if I was feeling something. And I barely got the words out that something was happening when I felt consumed or like my whole body was taken over by the feelings that had started.  I was floating I knew right away what I was feeling;  it was the spirit.  It was almost as if I had left my body.  Light headed and very pleasant, comforting and peaceful.  It lasted for many minutes. I’m not sure how long.  When I came back down, tired and I expected to be hungry, but I didn't feel like I needed to eat.  I knew the Lord had answered my prayers.  I had wanted a spiritual experience so that I could have proof in my soul to take to the mission field. I felt so elated that I just bore my testimony right there in class.


Was I experiencing a true spiritual experience?

The experience on that last entry is probably what some call Fasting Ketosis.  

The process of ketosis is one of the physiological effects of fasting in which the brain (and some other bodily processes) produces and uses ketones produced from fatty tissues as a fuel instead of the usual glucose.  

"Anecdotal evidence links the initial phase of fasting or a low-carbohydrate diet with feelings of well-being and mild euphoria. These feelings have often been attributed to ketosis, the production of ketone bodies which can replace glucose as an energy source for the brain."    See

1 comment:

  1. Fasting on my mission was the worst. It wasn't the lack of food, but the lack of water that was a challenge. I was in a tropical area of Latin America and we would sweat constantly. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I was suffering from the early stages of heat stroke on many fast Sundays, but the leaders didn't care about that.

    You're brave to read through your old missionary journals. I read through mine when writing one of my books, and I literally had nightmares that the church took away my kids and sent me back into the mission field by force - it was awful. I also realized how incredibly gullible I was, while at the same time I had a lot of doubts. Remembering how I was manipulated at every turn during those 18 months made me incredibly mad.