A good friend of mine is the minister of a large Presbyterian congregation in South Carolina. I told him the story of how I was recently on a business trip to India and went to a Hindu temple. At the temple I was overwhelmed by the very recognizable attitude of worship that I saw in the people there. My LDS upbringing let me instantly recognize an outpouring of the Spirit. The icons and symbols were completely foreign to me, but the devotion, faith and hope for divine intercession in daily affairs were utterly familiar. In fact, I was unable to distinguish what I experienced there from the fervor of an LDS testimony meeting.
My friend the pastor listened to this story and then told me that he feels that God has called him to be faithful within his tradition but that his community of faith is not inherently privileged, more valued by God or “correct” than any other. His moorings seemed to be quite intact. He was confident of his relationship with God and the value of his ministry to others. I was struck by how his acceptance of other traditions gave his faith strength, resilience and even a kind of maturity.
When I tell this story to fellow Mormons, the air gets thick. Before I even get done with the story, the answers are already formed. Sometimes the answers start even before the story is finished. :-) In essence, the Hindu religious experience can’t be real because there are no priesthood keys to confer the gift of the Holy Ghost. This devolves into hair splitting over the definitions of light of Christ versus Holy Ghost, etc. It ends up being a long, tortured and thoroughly unsatisfying discussion, at least for me. The problem is that I've been to testimony meetings and I've been to Hindu temples in India. You can't tell me that the experiences aren't identical. It contradicts direct observation.
My conclusion is that a belief in exclusive access to gifts of the Spirit based on ordinances and priesthood keys is not a pillar of faith. It's a pillar of sectarian division.