Sometimes, in our posts and discussions, we take our experiences and use them to support general statements. But anecdotes do not equal data. Personal experiences are not global. Other people know all the same things I do about church history, and yet have not come to the same conclusions as I have about the mission and character of Joseph Smith. While I tend to look at my experiences as "normal," that doesn't mean that my responses are "the norm." They're just mine.
A comment exchange starting at #71 in the FMH Trailer Trash thread brought this subject up for me. It was a good exchange, about God-as-cosmic-vending machine. The statement "this is what happens to me" received the reply "that doesn't mean what you are saying." It all resolved very nicely, and interestingly, with a reference to Buddhism (so it must be true). But the initial exchange is one I've seen over and over: "This happened." "That doesn't mean what you say."
"Lead balloon moments," when contradicting data comes up in a class discussion and the room falls silent, are a well-worn experience in the DaMU. My own LBMs, however, have been few and far between. In one Gospel Doctrine class, when I piped up with "I don't agree with that at all," and went on to explain why, it resulted in an interesting and insightful lesson. I didn't add much beyond my initial disagreement; the other participants really moved the discussion forward. I wasn't the only one who didn't believe the premise being offered, and the resulting discussion led us to explore a richer variant of that premise. Just the same, only different.
Personal conversations and lessons have the advantage of immediacy. We don't really have that here in the 'nacle. It takes longer to get through the dialogue:
"This Happened to Me."But as the discussion on FMH shows, we are often able to get there eventually. I think it's an example of what's best about the 'nacle: moving from sharing experiences to understanding, and thinking of old ideas in a new way.
"That doesn't mean what you say."
"I know that. But it's what happened."