I recently heard a preacher repeat the oft-cited aphorism, “A man who has an argument is always at the mercy of a man who has an experience.”  This is quite true as an anthropological observation, but I don’t think this is necessarily a good thing.

The aphorism was quoted by the preacher in the context of those who doubt the reality of Spirit baptism and glossalalia.  I am inclined to agree with him in one very real and practical sense.  No matter what argument someone might present to me against glossalalia, the fact of the matter is that I have experienced it for myself and, thus, I know it is real.  But the blade can cut both ways.  What about the Mormon who claims to have received a “burning in his bosom” confirming the truth of the Book of Mormon?  Should the Mormon trust his experience over sound reason to the contrary?  I imagine the preacher would say that in this case, reason should trump experience.  But why should the aphorism apply to us, and not to the Mormon?  To the Mormon, his experience was equally as real as our own.  If we can reject arguments that contradict our experience, why can’t the Mormon?