31 Oct 1996
Re: Voices

Hi Trudy

>What, specifically, in my description, fit your experiences? And is the experience always the same? Or does it vary, depending on the individual angel speaking to you? In other words, what is the "pattern recognition" of an angel?

I recognized what you wrote: "An intense feeling of gratitude coming from a large group of entities, and love the likes of which I've never felt before, all around me. I sensed no words at first. Just sincere gratitude and joy and love so strong and palpable, I was completely awed."

It is not always precisely the same, and it does vary somewhat depending on the individual angel speaking to you, but the pattern recognition of any holy spirit is an atmosphere of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). To which Paul might have added the Greek word *charis* (grace or graciousness) which is generosity in giving, gratitude in receiving, and a loveliness of form or style.

>One thing in common between all our experiences seems to be that angels don't waste words. Short sentences, to the point.

Yes, clarity is typical of truthers, as wordiness is typical of those who have nothing to say, and obfuscation is typical of deceivers.

>Any scientist worth his salt examines the information from every conceivable angle prior to drawing any conclusions. You are also willing to modify your suppositions based upon further information. This is why I've asked to be your "student." I do not have the logical bent of mind to be a scientist. But I'll learn what I can, and leave the rest to God.

Thank you. And any scientist worth her salt examines information-providers from every conceivable angle prior to deciding who she will listen to. (smile)

>I've spent the last few weeks trying to remember why it seemed so easy for me to talk with God then. I think I had suspended belief in "God as Santa Claus with a flame-thrower."

Yes, you suspended belief in a bad theology -- and that allowed you to suspend disbelief in a good theology.

>Interesting, that God never requires a lot of faith, or trust, or belief from me. Only willingness to believe, or suspend belief, as the situation warrants. Only trusting as much as I am able.

Like a good Parent, as Jesus says.

>But I must also have some way of testing a goodly portion of the theory. I believe in reincarnation, in part, because it's a fairly good explanation of why things are the way they are. And in part, because there are a few legitimately documented cases of people who remember past lives. I believe in life after death because I've seen ghosts, and "heard" disembodied spirits, and spent time in astral states. I believe in angels, now, because I've heard and felt beings, who, if they *weren't* angels, *should* be, and my friend, Ben Swett has shared experiences that are very similar, and he believes these beings are angels. I believe in an historical Jesus because years ago I set about researching to disprove his existence, and ended up proving it instead. And I believe in God because I've seen the results of God's personal involvement in my life. So, I *choose to assume* that what Jesus said about God and the Kingdom of God is true, based in part, upon personal experience, and in part, upon what others have said about their experiences, and in part, because I can respect Jesus' theology.

Well said. I don't know many people who can state *why* they believe what they believe as succinctly as you did in this paragraph.

>Remember Helen Keller? Before her teacher finally broke through her isolation, experiences meant nothing to her, no one and no thing in her life had meaning because nothing was named.

I first read the story of Helen Keller and her teacher when I was in Junior High School. When I got to that moment -- when her teacher held her hand under the flowing water from the pump and traced out the word for water in the palm of her hand, and Helen *understood* -- I wept. (Of course, in those days, big boys didn't cry, so I hid my face from the other kids in the library.)

>My experiences with the light-show in 1987 and the angels at St. Augustine were like the finger-shapes on Helen's hands. Sensations without meaning. The Kingdom of God is a reality to me now because you helped me name my reality.

... words fail me. I am deeply moved by this paragraph, but I cannot express these feelings adequately. All I can say is, you are welcome, and thank you for what you have said.

>As I work through the discernment process, I realize that a large part of my confusion has been the fact that I perceive *many* voices, and I have not learned to tell them apart.

Yes, that is the challenge as soon as one knows that he or she is receiving spirit communications *and* that there are a wide variety of spirits, not all of which are trustworthy. Modern communications systems provide useful analogies because they also involve many "voices" and we have to learn how to tell them apart -- not so much as individuals, but as types of individuals.

>someone in the flight crew handed me a set of earphones so that I could listen to the radio transmissions. It was a mystery to me who was talking to whom, and I recognized someone only if I knew the individual personally.

Again, it is not that the aircrew identifies each voice as a specific person, but as a member of a type or category or function: "That one's a tower operator; that's an air traffic controller; 'Blue Dog' is a tanker; ignore the rest for now."

>So Ben, any guidance you can give on identifying the origin of these voices would be a big help. I will continue the discernment process, and the prayer.

My basic starting point for discernment is the neutral assumption that a spirit is most likely a human being. Instead of the dualistic assumption that every spirit must be working for *either God or the Devil*, I assume it is far more likely *neither God nor the Devil*. Then I watch for indications relevant the question, "What does this guy want?" From those indications, I form and test my hypothesis of where an individual spirit voice is coming from.

I have a list of criteria for discernment in my paper, "Prayer As A Form Of Two-Way Communication" (By Their Fruits You Will Know Them), but it is too terse and should be expanded into a stand-alone paper. Lessons learned and criteria for discernment are scattered throughout my web pages. (sigh)

Although they are by no means perfect, basic feelings of being surrounded or immersed in light and warmth, or dark and cold, are indicators of spirit types. This is because good spirits send their energy to us (bless us), whereas bad spirits try to draw our energy out of us (feed on us), and the cells of our bodies can sense either an in-flow or an out-flow of energy if the flow is fairly strong.

Good spirits often don't give their names, because if they do, we come to rely on the name itself -- and then bad spirits can use that name to deceive us.

Let's continue this dialogue on discernment. My tools are being tested in your use of them, and with your feedback, I may be able to refine them and define them more clearly.

Peace and blessings


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