By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog
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At Karen’s request, G.C. post-game poll #1.
Do you guys equate getting weepy with feeling the Spirit? That’s kind of a dumb question. Let me rephrase – how do you tell the difference?
I actually cried quite a lot yesterday–it’s the first time in a long time I’ve been so weepy. I say it’s no fair telling stories about people giving up their violins! Even Elder Shumway, whose delivery was very scary, got to me with the little kid stories. And Elder Hales stopping to get ahold of himself, President Hinckley at the end… A very bad day for mascara.
I almost never cry when what I’m experiencing is spiritual. Sometimes an intense emotional experience is prelude, but the spirit is usually after the tears.
The one thing tears usually tell me quite reliably is that I’m pregnant. This is so predictable that when Steve came home a few years ago to find me weeping over an NPR story about the Cleveland Indians going to the World Series for the first time in umpteen years, all he said was, “have you figured out the due date yet?”
I just give in to whatever urges I feel as being the spirit :)
I am not as weepy as some. But I still struggle with the notion of separating raw emotion from “the Spirit.” This isn’t easy since the scripture give us what I believe are mixed messages on this point. I think there are a few indicators we can look to to get a sense of what we’re really experiencing, none of which are really that helpful:
1. context. Is this a religious theme at hand, or an AT&T commercial?
2. ends. To what end is the emotion being pulled out of me? Is it to become an AT&T subscriber? Or to motivate me to some positive goal?
3. nature of emotion. There is a big difference between a real catharsis and raw pathos. Am I feeling a weepiness that leaves me, ultimately, stronger? Or am I emptied by it?
4. speaker. “Consider the source” is always good advice.
OK now, go – and debunk each of these!
No crying here. Having small children running around probably put a halt to that.
No, alas. I have no hormonal excuse for yesterday–just sappy, sentimental responses to a gathering of my tribe!
Pres. Hinckley’s was the one where I had to squint very hard and rub my eyes to remain manly.
So Kristine, any big news you want to tell the BCCers, since 1) “The one thing tears usually tell me quite reliably is that I’m pregnant” and 2) ” actually cried quite a lot yesterday”??
Steve E: I like your list of indicators. I generally cry when I feel the spirit, but I think I do this because of conditioning in my youthÂ—both at primary and at home. (My whole family is crying, so I better let the waterworks loose to show that I feel the spirit, too). (Also, my family is very emotional so some of my weepiness may be genetic). Lately, I have been trying to feel the spirit without crying, and this usually results in me closing my heart to the message so that I donÂ’t cry.
Kristine: That is really interesting that you feel the spirit after the tears. I get really embarrassed when I cry, so after I start the rest of the time is spent trying to stop and cleaning up my face. (I even get embarrassed when I am alone. I hate it that I have to cry when I feel the spirit). Next time I have a potential spirit-feeling moment, I will unabashedly get the tears over with and see how I feel.
Well, having also cried over numerous Hallmark commercials, I certainly can appreciate the question.
During general conference, I had several moments where the weepiness was accompanied by flashes of inspiration, about the eternal nature of the gospel, about the magnitude of the atonement, about the basic importance that sacrifice plays in our spiritual progression. My litmus test is that I’m feeling the spirit when my mind and heart are both in tune, and both are receiving inspiration. Tears and understanding together.
Yes, it was a rather weepy general conference for me too. But nobody topped Elder Holland and his violin selling missionaries with mismatched clothes. I thought it was just me, and I was trying to hide it, then I looked over at my roommate and saw she was trying to do the same thing. Then, the flood gates opened, and the mascara cleansing began.
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