I value and treasure the experiences I’ve had with other humans in the church. There was not a more fun scene to be in than my youth group. Human connection and relationships are powerful. I believe I was feeling the experiences and emotions that are part of being alive.
Confirmation bias. I wanted to believe so I interpreted my feelings to validate what I wanted to believe. I was taught how to do this from a young age. Feelings are not facts.
People in all religions have spiritual experiences. Mine convinced me that there is a being I identify as God and that this God loves us. While I was in the church I took these spiritual experiences as confirmation that the things I'd been praying about - the book of Mormon, gospel questions, etc. were also true. But looking back the only actual answer I got was that God loves me. It's like when I was a kid, proposing some crazy theory to my mom. She would listen, laugh, and then tell me how much she loved me. The response was true, but had nothing to do with the question asked.
I'm not sure what I believe about the nature of God. Honestly I'm a little exhausted trying to figure that out. But I do know, with more certainty than I ever felt to the contrary, that the answers are not found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And that the spiritual experiences I had aren't invalid because they occurred at a time when every spiritual question I asked was framed so that any response would further belief in the church.
I never had any that were real while I was alone, not that were positive any way.