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Posted by: am ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 07:40PM

Just curious what others do to have a sense of spirituality in their lives after leaving the church. I know I will never go back to believing in the Mormon church and I don't really feel like I will ever join another religion either. I don't know for sure that I am an atheist, but I don't think organized religion is for me and I really don't know that I can ever have faith in a God without question. I have many things in my life that give it meaning, but I do miss the feeling of really being a part of something bigger than myself. I am wondering if anyone else has felt the same sense of loss that I am feeling after leaving the church and what they have done to help themselves feel spiritually uplifted. I know this sounds kind of cheesy but I am just curious....

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 08:03PM

My spirituality has grown deeper since leaving Mormonism.

I have a lot more work to do, but feel I'm on a better trajectory than had I stayed where I was, because life as a Mormon was stagnant, spiritually speaking.

At times it felt like I was in a spiritual vacuum when I was Mormon. I haven't felt that emptiness since leaving it, thankfully.

I lost my spirituality as a teenager, when I went agnostic for a couple of years - I was inactive LDS then. Once I found it again, I've tried to cultivate and nurture it since regardless of what religion, or lack of one, I've had to believe in.

I've retained my belief in a monotheistic God of the bible. I accept Jesus as my Messiah. And I'm practicing Judaism. That is the deepest well spring of spirituality I've found of all the religions I've looked at, thus far. It speaks to the deepest recesses of my soul, so there I've stayed for now anyway. :)

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Posted by: poopstone ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 11:02PM

<<I accept Jesus as my Messiah. And I'm practicing Judaism.
Sounds more like you may be a christian with a liking to the old testament (which actually is rare). Most lds I've known say they can't stand the OT, but they sure love the BOM (or say they do).

But yes the Jews are branched out in all kinds of directions. Some jews don't even believe in God.

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Posted by: dagny ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 08:07PM


For me, a sense of awe might come from looking into a night sky or my dog placing her head on my lap or a really pretty geode or looking at the color of a bird or a song I especially like.

That thing bigger than myself is the realization that I exist at all and that I am part of biology, the cosmos and the mystery of it all.

The universe is plenty amazing and inspiring by itself without making up a bunch of things.

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Posted by: michaelm (not logged in) ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 08:22PM

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 10:17AM

I agree so much with dagny and Amyjo. My spirituality is much deeper and much more meaningful than it ever was as a mormon. Most of that is the sense of wonder and awe that things invoke in me now. Not necessarily any supernatural experience, more metaphysical and emotional. But so many times I'll be thinking to myself, "If I were still a mormon, this would be one of those moments where I'd say 'The spirit was so thick you could cut it with a knife'."

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Posted by: bettydee ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 08:13PM

I became an atheist. I too do not believe in organized religion. I think Mark Twain was right when he said "Religion was invented
when the first con man met the first fool."

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Posted by: merrychristmas ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 08:46PM

Here's my story..

After the passing away of my Dad and coming into middle age I really started questioning my own mortality more. I had been out of the Mormon church for a couple of decades.

I picked up a non-KJV version of the bible and read this...
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

That sounded much better to me than just never existing or seeing my family again in a cold grave so I started looking at pretty much everything under the sun.

I liked the fact as I was searching pretty much every religion that non-denominational Christianity was the only one I found that both rang right to me, and was the only one I looked at that wasn't works based. Unlike Mormonism, I liked the fact that in Christianity there only one way to heaven..not many paths and fortunately and you didn't get to heaven by a bunch of rituals or by "being a good person"

I liked the fact that it was a simple belief or faith in God and he did the saving, unlike Mormonism where you go to the temple, pay tithes, do genealogy, FHM, Calling, attend Elders Quorum, and never knowing where you stand with God etc..etc.. For me, I liked that came down to something simple faith in Jesus and Jesus alone.

Much Love to You All on this Forum. You really are a great bunch!

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Posted by: getbusylivin ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 08:30PM

Alan Watts said, "Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes."

I don't follow Zen or anything else. But what he said rings true for me.

I cook a ton of food and feed my family and neighbors. I study Spanish. I make love to my wife. I clean the cat boxes. I play with the dog. I wash dishes.

I love washing dishes. Why would anyone go to church--any church--when they could be washing dishes?

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Posted by: anagrammy ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 09:49PM

I found true spirituality in Buddhist psychology (not the religion).

I went from Mormonism fundamentalism to Christian fundamentalism, back to Catholicism, then onto the various forms of Protestant mainstream churches. I studied with Jehovah Witnesses and basically found the same "chosen people" mentality in all of it. I also became an employee of a church to make sure I hadn't missed the baby for the bathwater.

Losing important relationships over religion hurt me deeply. Then one day I realized the problem wasn't the religions, it was me. I deliberately pried open my mind and began reading alt-religious literature: new age, fringe, superstitious, everything and ended up with a book on intuition. That book told me to trust my own impulses and instincts, just follow what attracts me and expect there is something there for me.

That lead me to a book I would have never picked for myself, "Silence" by Eckhart Tolle. Such a slim volume, it had a first sentence which grabbed my attention, cynic that I had become. It said, "you may not need to buy this book. You may need only hold it to be reminded of what you already know."

Of course I bought it and as the old saying goes, "One day my mind just opened up." I learned that I was all wrong about silence. It is a form of communication just like negative space is a form of art. It communicates something very effectively.

Were there other things I could learn that would help me? I ended up reading Joseph Campbell, then World Religions and BANG! There were all the bible stories. The flood in Gilgamesh, the savior and the virgin births in the Hindu scriptures. I realized the Bible was a western reforming of the old myths from human history. How could the very same story about the apostle Peter escaping from jail via help from angels who put guards to could the very same thing have happened to Krishna's parents???

Words cannot tell you how shocked I was. Stunned.

Per Eckhart Tolle's advice, I went out onto the water where I had a clear view of the sky. I had an experience of unity with all living things, a soaring of my spirit into loving union with every plant, animal, fish and insect. I felt united with something I can only call love.

I had read about this spiritual awakening but in all my years of fasting and chest beating, sacrificing, praying, reading the scriptures...I had never had anything close to this.

It motivated me to look at my self-cherishing and to learn that there was a cure for my unhappiness. It was, to oversimplify, simply become a better person. All my problems were my own creation because all problems are perceptions of the mind.

That was almost ten years ago now. I made no announcements about my experience or the change from Christianity. It took three years for my grown children to notice that I had changed. But I had. By meditating on compassion, I realized that I was grasping, unappreciative and selfish.

Was this Mormonism's fault? Probably not, but it sure didn't help by feeding my narcissistic tendencies. I practiced the manipulative parenting that Mormonism teaches and literally ruined half my children.

Now, thanks in part to the great example of healed people on RFM, I am happier and consider my life to be much more spiritual than when I was religious.

I like what the Dalai Lama said - "My religion is kindness."

I have learned that the simple return to kindness leads to an inner revolution that brings joy to any life.


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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 01, 2017 09:32AM

I feel that I once was where you are now, Kathleen, and hope to be there again. Unfortunately, at this point in time I feel that my career is draining everything out of me. I HATE my abusive job and can't wait to retire. Perhaps at that point I will be able to rest, rejuvenate, and resume my spiritual journey.

You would think that having gone into one of the helping professions, that it would be one's orientation from then on. Instead, I think of it as, that's what I needed to do at that point in time. I did it, I did some good, but now it's time to move on.

I've even wondered if I would want to volunteer in retirement. I honestly don't know. If I did, it would have to be in some capacity other than education. I just feel so burnt out on that.

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 10:46PM

My 'spirituality' has soared since leaving Moism and trying to 'experience' life and 'human ability'.

I guess I define 'spirituality' fairly loose. It has nothing to do with 'organized religion' with me but experiencing 'truth' and abilities we have no matter what 'science or anyone else' has validated or recognizes.

I have sort of been 'chilling' for a few months deciding where my goals and activities were leading me. I, have experienced many things, got answers to my main questions using a variety of techniques and received fairly constant help periodically through techniques I learned. So I wondered if that was I all needed to do and look for other goals.

However, after being reintroduced to Remote Viewing, something I studied but very lightly a number of months ago, I am now back into at least half throttle 'experiencing' again.

I say whatever your 'spiritual' journey --- go for it if you 'feel' that is the direction you should go in! If not find some other goals!

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Posted by: am ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 10:59PM

Thanks for the advice! I am in the process of learning to just go for it if I feel as though something is the right thing to do. It is scary and extremely liberating at the same time to decide for myself what I feel to be right and wrong in my life for myself instead of having religion decide for me!

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Posted by: spiritist ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 11:34PM

I can promise you if you have the time and the tenacity you will get 'answers' to your main questions.

I have a lot of 'confidence' in my answers especially the ones I get using different techniques and reading books about people who get the same answers using even different techniques.

I would like to say I 'know' certain things but I am not there yet after about 1.5 years.

Based on my study 'the path back' is all inclusive but life is precious and experiencing life is a gift to treasure.

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Posted by: readwrite ( )
Date: December 26, 2016 11:46PM

Nature, Life, Art, (Some) People, various personal) Practices, enchanting Music... and kindness - not necessarily in that order.

I found it or it found me? Maybe I make it but it sure makes me.

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Posted by: ificouldhietokolob ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 09:48AM

I revel in the awe and wonder of the universe, our planet, and people...without calling it "spirutuality." 'Cause it isn't "spirituality." It's curiosity, wonder, awe, and emotion -- all things that come from human brains and bodies, not from "spirits."


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Posted by: kvothe ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 10:37AM

While I detest the word "spirituality" I think anyone who observed me closely since exiting the church would conclude that I'm much more spiritual now.

I don't believe in woo. I don't believe much really.

But I do enjoy being rooted in the present moment, I have much more awareness of my thoughts and internal dialogue; I savor moments of silence.

While most people are constantly watching TV in their heads, or worse, channel surfing in their heads all day long, I've learned how to find the "off" switch, and when that fails, I can at least lower the volume with some efficiency.

When I do, the grass is greener, the sky is a deeper blue. Clouds are more beautiful. Music becomes something one can take a ride on.

Your mileage may vary.

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Posted by: Done & Done ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 10:57AM

The various definitions of spirituality seem to fall into two categories: A connection to something larger than yourself or a meaning for life.

When I left Mormonism I had a void. I was empty BECAUSE of Mormonism. The hole wasn't because I had extricated Mormonism from my life, but rather Mormonism had left me with an atrophied sense of life and self and meaning.

Connection to something bigger? As a newly minted Exmo I was suddenly curious about the outside world, all the kinds of people, all their ideas, and customs, and hopes. All different to mine. I felt suddenly open and exploratory. I was curious and wanted to know--everything because I no longer kidded myself that I had all the answers. I left all the "DON'Ts" of Mormonism on the floor behind me. And for the first time I began to feel a connection to my world. And spirituality was being" in the world AND OF THE WORLD." Mormons are wrong. The world is not our enemy.

Meaning of life? So often I do feel like a another brick in the wall. There have been some 80 billion people pass through this planet. What does that make me? Just one more? What does it matter if I lived. So meaning of life on some grand scale? Haven't gotten that one yet. And lately I feel like one more mealy bug in a mass of them killing the tree of life.

But, I find incredible meaning in accomplishment. I find incredible meaning in interaction with others, and reciprocity, and lifting each other up. I find meaning in my pet's eyes and watching the Polar bears who play with the sled dogs and the little skunks that go down my street in the morning. And the plants that give us coffee and chocolate. So as long as I appreciate the meaning in the little things, there is hope that they will add up to a conglomerate that is the meaning to life on a grand scale. That is enough.

That is my spirituality when I stop to think about it, which is only when it comes up here at RFM because there rest of the time it never crosses my mind. I only appreciate the journey in hindsight.

And every time we give love to someone we never thought we would, we are no longer just another brick in the wall.

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 11:14AM

Almost twenty years ago I wrote a response to this question, which often arises when "spiritual" (i.e., religious) people find out that one is no longer religious in the traditional sense. I would post the whole thing here, but it's rather long, and even includes my "Atheist's Prayer" which was published in a collection called "How Do You Pray?"

"Atheist Spirituality":

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 11:17AM

When I stopped believing in spirits, I stopped believing in spirituality.

Spirituality is fiction, and fiction is fun, but should never been confused with reality.
I love a good novel or movie, and likewise, I love to fantasize or meditate by myself.
But I better don't believe my own fantasies.

You already are part of something bigger: all of humanity.
You don't need to distinguish between those who believe in the same imaginary friend and those who don't.

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Posted by: Visitors Welcome ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 11:21AM

When I stopped believing in spirits
I stopped believing in spirituality

Spirituality is fiction
and fiction is fun
but should never be confused
with reality

I love
a good novel or movie
and likewise, I love
to fantasize
or meditate
by myself

But I better don't believe
my own fantasies

You already are
part of something bigger:
all of humanity

You don't need
to distinguish
between those who believe
in the same imaginary friend
and those
who don't

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Posted by: Felix ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 01:32PM

I don't concern myself with whether or not there is a god and which is or isn't the true church. I believe that to be an excersize in futility.

I believe the bible to be a record of mans attempt to discover the purpose of life, to define good and evil and give a set of laws to govern behavior.

Our world is full of evil(problems and sorrows) and religion isn't the answer so why stay with it? Historically religion was the source of much evil and sorrow while at the same time providing easy and often false answers to lifes difficult questions.

Religions strongest suit is that it provides a sense of conection with others while offering people a comforting belief that they may find favor with the divine by following his decrees.

I believe religion to be a distraction from more important and effective means of solving the problems that plague humanity.

We are in the information age and have a better ability to discover the errors of the past and eliminate or correct them. We now have better tools to discover the nature of the problems that plague humanity.

I have always tried to persuade others to join with me in persuit of greater understanding of this wonderful world we share and find answers to problems that continue to plague us. For me this is the great challenge that should unite people.

I have found that people in churches are sheeple who are there to follow and be taught silly ideas by their often ignorant leaders with the bennefit of socializing with other sheeple.

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Posted by: am ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 07:08PM

Thanks so much everyone for your insights. I have enjoyed reading all of your comments very much.

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Posted by: koriwhore ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 07:32PM

My spirituality was devastated by 9-11.
It took me a long time to recover from that spiritually and emotionally.
I looked around me for any sign of humanity or empathy. I couldn't find it in Mormonism, or any other religion really. I found it in a saying by Gandhi, "Be the change you want to see in the world"
Then I found it in the responses to 9-11, like Sam Harris, The End of Faith and Richard Dawkins "The God Delusion" where he talks about the God of Einstein and described himself as a 'deeply religious non-believer'. To me this seemed like a good alternative. I did a lot of reading about Einstein's life and his spiritual beliefs. This is one of my favorite quotes I came across,

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”― Albert Einstein

Since that time, I have attempted to free myself from the 'delusion of consciousness' he talks about, by "embracing the whole of nature in its beauty."

Einstein was a pantheist, as is Dawkins, Harris and as was Spinozza and a long list of wise men and women. I find deep connection with nature and I commune with it and other creatures often. I find communion with others who are like me, nature lovers.
They're everywhere if you just look around.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/2016 07:33PM by koriwhore.

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Posted by: homecoming ( )
Date: December 27, 2016 08:03PM

I don't really have to "find" it. It finds me, now that the path is clear.

Being a human is the ultimate gift of life. I look at birds, and see what humans have done with the concept. I'm on a tiny, hand-held computer, typing on a virtual keypad, bouncing this message all over the globe, thanks to the spirit of mankind, who figured out how to get tons of steel aloft, and satellites into orbit. We tend to take it for granted, but let the sun send a massive blow our way, and there will be an instant, global appreciation. (And heaps of bi***ing.)

Look around. It's in the kindness to or from a stranger, in rescuing an animal, in letting some two or four legged critter comfort you, in the very car you drive and the road you travel. It's in taking pride in a job well done. Damn, I'm starting to sound like a country song, but for me, I am absolutely surrounded by and engulfed in spirituality. It is everywhere, in everything. For one instant, put your hand on the cold, hard surface of the building you enter tomorrow morning, and imagine what it took to get that strong piece into place.

It sort of pisses me off that religion stole the term, re-wote the meaning and tries to bottle and sell it. It's free, it belongs to everyone, and you are a part of it.

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Posted by: canary21 ( )
Date: December 28, 2016 08:31PM

am, I am non-denomination Christian. I wouldn't recommend joining another denomination given that each denomination, like Mormonism, has a system of beliefs, rules, and idea of how to get to heaven. Truthfully, Jesus Christ doesn't even care what you are trying to do for him because "our righteous works are like filthy rags" to him. We are saved by grace and faith. Jesus Christ is about about a relationship than a religion, so I would recommend this for you. The only requisite into heaven is believing and accepting Jesus as your Savior. Then live your life out through His love.

I can almost relate to your feeling of wanting to be part of something bigger than yourself. I don't want to be a member of the Mormon Church (I am an investigator), but I have grown to love the Mormon faith and the people at the ward I am visiting and I have a big heart for Mormons, too. Honestly, there were times when I just wanted to go through baptism because how much I loved them, but I couldn't do that because I would feel like a fake among them and it's not alright. Honestly, through my personal relationship with him, I already have the fullness of the gospel. The Bible and Church were just a foundation.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2016 08:32PM by canary21.

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: December 29, 2016 01:11PM

I would not agree with your statement that "each denomination....has a system of beliefs, rules, and idea of how to get to heaven." While not being an expert on every single denomination in existence, my overwhelming experience is that all that I am aware of have only one belief in how to get to heaven...and that by grace through faith in Christ. Denominational differences are not generally on salvation issues which is why Christians can have fellowship across denominational lines while not necessarily agreeing on every doctrinal issue.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: December 28, 2016 09:16PM

I have found it quite amusing. Mormon or not, it seems ephemeral and subjective. Not causal in any way.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/28/2016 09:17PM by donbagley.

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Posted by: Puli ( )
Date: December 29, 2016 01:45PM

I've discovered that "Spirituality" but be carefully defined to be certain that everyone is talking about the same concept.

I once experienced 2 religious individuals who got into a conversation with a less or non-religious person. The 2 religious people spoke in generally the same terms and appeared to be feeding off of one another until one asked the other which church he attended. When the first guy discovered that the other attended a church he didn't agree with, the conversation and their apparent connection concerning their mutual spirituality cooled greatly. Neither of the religious individuals considered the other as "spiritual" as defined by their respective religious belief.

As for what I consider spiritual, I think it would be the link between myself and the greater world. Pantheism is the closest concept I would consider as spiritual with God being the sum total of everything. It is the closest thing I can think of that provides a sense of belonging.

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Posted by: Puli ( )
Date: December 29, 2016 01:47PM

That first line should be:

I've discovered that "Spirituality" MUST be carefully defined to be certain that everyone is talking about the same concept.

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Posted by: juliebean ( )
Date: December 31, 2016 01:58PM

I had an epiphany, or spiritual awakening as the result of working a 12-step Program. I know everyone here doesn't need that kind of program, but what I discovered is that the God I was looking for was "inside" me the whole time. He hid Himself in the last place I'd think to look. And I keep this precious feeling of "pure love" by the way I live my life; by doing what I say I'll do; by walking my talk, by my integrity and honesty, and first and foremost, by the gentle, kind and non-judgmental way I treat others. Spiritual is what I do, and because of that I have peace and happiness.

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Posted by: Pariah ( )
Date: December 31, 2016 04:02PM

Reality does it for me. The miracle that is us. This life. This planet. Giving birth. Love. Brilliant minds helping each other and building this complex society. The incredible beauty of Nature, a child's sparkling eyes, and great music--you can't get any more spiritual than that!

The moment is the only reality.

Begin with LOVE, am. It's a start, and the Mormon cult (and a lot of the other groups you are thinking about joining) does not have Love as its basis. That's why Mormonism fails.

Don't join any group. Look within. Just "be."

YOU are the spirit. You are "spirituality."

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Posted by: CrispingPin ( )
Date: January 01, 2017 10:38AM

Spirituality = living in the moment.

Religion = repenting of the past and fearing the future.

I don't need a religion or a god to be spiritual--in fact, those things get in the way.

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Posted by: Lethbridge Reprobate ( )
Date: January 01, 2017 11:13AM

You know, I really don't know. Can't say as I've ever had a spiritual experience in my life. Don't know if I'd recognize it of it actually happened to me. Is an extremely happy moment spiritual? You tell me. I don't have a definition.

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