Tom says NOT to base one's idea of what is truth based on someone else's (including his own) views/experiences, but rather your own experience. Isn't he essentially saying not to believe in MBT unless you experience what he is saying for yourself as personal knowledge?
This is a question that has come up often on the board and that I myself have also thought about a lot. Otherwise stated: "MBT makes sense to me and the model resonates as having truth to it, but I have not personally explored the larger consciousness system to confirm everything he talks about. So if I 'believe' it, am I not violating Tom's exhortation to 'taste the pudding?' Must I access NPMR and build MBT from the ground up in order to accept it?"
I think people often forget what the first letter of MBT stands for. MY
big theory. This is a model of consciousness and reality based on Tom's experience and understanding. You don't need to "believe" it or "agree" with it. Rather, the whole idea is to use it in shaping your own theory. In other words, MBT can be used as a guidebook, or maybe like a college textbook--where you can get a good foundation, context and framework to do your own experimentation and form your own hypotheses. Nota bene: many college textbooks have been flat-out wrong, so I'm not suggesting that MBT is a source of absolute truth in this regard.
As Human+ says above, you don't have to take a binary view on it: "MBT is true" or "MBT is not true." It is three volumes and thousands of hours of speaking that are densely packed with ideas. There may be aspects of it that you have experienced as true and you accept because they are also your truth. Then there may be aspects that resonate deeply within you as true, but you haven't yet experienced or confirmed. Then there may be aspects that don't seem quite right, and you remain skeptical. All of that is fine.
Tom spends a lot of time in the first book discussing the limitations of belief partly because it is not his intent to reproduce the negative effects of religion, where people blindly accept and repeat dogma just because it is told to them by an authority. MBT is to be used by individuals to liberate themselves from ignorance, not create yet another imprisoning belief system that propagates ignorance. The point is, gather your own evidence--both subjective (dreams, meditation, intuitive feelings) and objective, and form your own conclusions based on that evidence. I think that is the meaning of "pudding tasting."
One more word about exploring consciousness: Tom does it in a very strict, scientific, logical method with testing and retesting, rigorous analysis, and a high degree of skepticism. Our former board administrator Ted Vollers used to say that he arrived at his own truths via mystical intuition, where he accessed big blocks of information and accepted them as true based on his personal feeling and intuition. Ted said this was simply a difference in temperament. In other words, you don't have to follow Tom's process and way of thinking. Do it your own way. In the words of J. Krishnamurti, "Truth is a pathless land."