We Orthodox Christians should be especially careful in dealing with religious phenomena, especially when it happens outside of the Orthodox Church. We must remember that while such religious phenomena may indeed be the work of God, it may also be demonic or something created by our minds. Valuable spiritual guidance for both converts to Orthodoxy and those who were born into the Orthodox Church, this article further explains how we should treat spiritual experiences not occurring within the Orthodox Church.
When Orthodoxy is the last step in a long journey of gradually turning to God, the Orthodox Church’s insistence on being the one, true Church often causes one to ponder what then to make of previous spiritual experiences. Some lifelong Orthodox, not having had experience outside the Church, see spiritual non-Orthodox and often wonder if their spirituality is of the same substance as the Orthodox way.
This leads us to the question of measuring such experiences. Is there a way one can know which of the above options any given experience was? Is it even profitable to do so? The Orthodox response might be that it is difficult to know, and is probably not profitable to investigate. A big clue though would be the outcome; as a result of any given experience, did the person come closer to God and His Church, or slip further away?