Latter-day Saint Life

Study Reveals What Happens to Mormons' Brains When They Feel the Spirit


Is there a way to see how the Spirit literally affects those who feel it? A new study at the University of Utah reveals some pretty surprising insights.

The MRI scan of Auriel Brunsvik Peterson's brain, taken during a religious experience, was lit up like a Christmas tree.

Peterson, 29, has been a devout Mormon her entire life. But seeing that image was the first time her belief was more than abstract.

"I finally have a small shred of physical evidence ... that I am feeling something and I'm not crazy," she said. It showed that "you are experiencing something euphoric and life changing and ... something special and something different."

Peterson was one of about 20 returned Mormon missionaries tapped to participate in a 2014 University of Utah study examining the effects of a religious experience on their brains.

Lead image from The Salt Lake Tribune.
Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content