Mysticism vs. Insanity | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Mysticism vs. Insanity 

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Hallucinations can be quite frightening, especially for those experiencing them. A dear friend called years ago to tell about the voices she was hearing. These “voices” were telling her to jump from her vehicle she was driving. By sharing this information with others, she was prescribed anti-psychotic medications and referred to mental-health counseling. Happily, she has not had any more hallucinations.

Before modern science—especially psychology, psychiatry and the mapping of the brain—those hallucinating were often thought to be channeling demons or gods.

A thousand years ago, wandering shepherds in the Middle Eastern deserts had “visions” and heard “voices.” Stories of these ancient men were passed down in their tribes for hundreds of years. Eventually, scribes recorded them and, over time, these tales were translated into many languages.

Anyone who ever played the game gossip or telephone as a child, or anyone who has difficulty understanding someone speaking in a heavy foreign accent, can easily understand how confusion can result.

It continues to baffle me that many otherwise bright people believe that these ancient stories from the Old Testament are factual records.

Perhaps even more baffling is a belief going back only slightly more than a century, based on the wild stories of a teenage boy.

Today’s parents, especially those with young sons, realize that the fascination boys have with monsters and superheroes is just a harmless rite of passage. Adults who continue to believe in monsters and superheroes are generally considered to be intellectually challenged or mentally ill.

Many adults, other than those mentioned above, who continue to believe in monsters and superheroes are called religious. Frequently, the goal of these people is to bring others into their belief system and to influence the making of laws. For examples, look no farther than Iran, Israel, Idaho and, of course, Utah.


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