Ontology refers to what is real, or the fundamental reality of existence. Ontologies are generally shaped by people’s beliefs about what is real in the world. For example, if you’re an atheist you might ascribe to a materialistic ontology which is that matter in motion is the fundamental reality. If you believe that social situations construct our reality then you might follow a social constructionist or relational ontology – for these people, interactions with others are the fabric of reality.  

If you are a devout Latter-day Saint you probably embrace a religious or supernatural ontology.

According to the LDS ontology all of us are spiritual beings having a physical or mortal experience. We existed as spirits far longer than we’ve existed as physical beings. During our lengthy pre-earth life we communicated, learned, and grew in a way very different from how we learn and grow in this world.  

We don’t remember what spiritual learning and communication was like because the God that sent us to earth put a veil of forgetfulness over our minds. He did so because this life is a test of faith, a test that would not be possible if we remembered standing in God’s presence.

However, many believers have an idea about what spiritual communication is like. They know it through the Holy Spirit. If you have ever “heard” the Lord speak to your mind you know what I am talking about. People who’ve had a distinct impression to do something or have “heard” words in their minds know what spiritual communication is like. As someone who has personally experienced spiritual communication I can say that it is just as real as sitting at my computer typing this blog entry.

Explaining spiritual communication to non-believers is a bit like describing the color green to a visually impaired individual. In many cases it cannot be done. Spiritual communication is difficult to describe. It is something that needs to be experienced to truly understand. Because it cannot be observed in an empirical way (i.e., measured with scientific instruments), spiritual communication does not fit into a materialistic ontology; therefore it is not considered real by empirical standards.

The full reality of spiritual communication hits everyone after they die. After dying, non-believers suddenly realize that there is a spiritual reality where things work quite differently from how they worked on earth. This realization leads many non-believers to accept the possibility that there is a God whose communicates with us spiritually. In due course many seek Him out in humble prayer and finally experience what believers experienced while on earth – they experience the reality of God’s love.

While in this world it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the physical domain is the only thing that exists – that we and everything around us is made up of nothing more than matter in motion. But if we remember that there is a whole other spiritual domain and that we are spiritual beings, we open our minds to new ways of learning and understanding our world, we allow our minds to receive inspiration from the Lord. When we receive inspiration we see things the way God sees them, we understand things the way he understands them.

Inspiration gives us, in some small way, the perspective of an all loving, all-wise, and all-knowing being. That can only be a good thing.   

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