Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Holy Spirit

The prophet Mormon taught that “the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moro. 7:16)

The influence of the Holy Ghost can be felt by all of Heavenly Father’s children to bless them in moments of need, help them know good from evil, and to lead them to truth.  The Holy Ghost can only remain with those who have been baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. 
A newly baptized member told me what she felt when she received that gift. She was a good woman who had spent her life in service to others. She knew and loved the Lord, and she had felt the manifestations of his Spirit. When she received the added light of the restored gospel, she was baptized and the elders placed their hands upon her head and gave her the gift of the Holy Ghost. She recalled, “I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost settle upon me with greater intensity than I had ever felt before. He was like an old friend who had guided me in the past but now had come to stay.”
The Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  He personage of spirit which means that, unlike Heavenly Father and Jesus, The Holy Ghost does not have a physical body.  Because of this he can dwell in us and communicate with us in special ways.  The Holy Ghost is often called the still, small voice.  He speaks to us in our mind and in our heart.  We must be reverent and worthy to be able to hear Him. 
The Bible tells us that when the Savior gave his final instructions to his disciples, he promised that he would send them “the Comforter” (John 16:7). Earlier, he had taught them the mission of this comforter, which is otherwise referred to as the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, or simply the Spirit. That comforter dwells in us (see John 14:17). He teaches us all things and brings all things to our remembrance (see John 14:26). He guides us into truth and shows us things to come (see John 16:13). He testifies of the Son (see John 15:26; 1 Cor. 12:3).
The Bible’s teachings about the Holy Ghost are reaffirmed and elaborated in the Book of Mormon and in modern revelations. The Holy Ghost is the means by which God inspires and reveals his will to his children (e.g., D&C 8:2–3). The Holy Ghost bears record of the Father and of the Son (see 3 Ne. 28:11; D&C 20:27; D&C 42:17). He enlightens our minds and fills us with joy (see D&C 11:13). By the power of the Holy Ghost we may know the truth of all things (see Moro. 10:5). By his power we may have the mysteries of God unfolded to us (see 1 Ne. 10:19). The Holy Ghost shows us what we should do (see 2 Ne. 32:5). We teach the gospel as we are directed by the Holy Ghost, which carries our words into the hearts of those we teach (see 2 Ne. 33:1).
The Scriptures teach that the remission of sins, which is made possible by the Atonement of Jesus Christ, comes “by baptism, and by fire, yea, even the Holy Ghost” (D&C 19:31; see also 2 Ne. 31:17). Thus, the Risen Lord pleaded with the Nephites to repent and come unto him and be baptized “that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day” (3 Ne. 27:20).  It is through the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost that we can be made pure.
The blessings available through the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon worthiness. “The Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples” (Hel. 4:24; see also Mosiah 2:36–37; 1 Cor. 3:16–17). Even though we have a right to his constant companionship, the Spirit of the Lord will dwell only with us when we keep the commandments. He will withdraw when we offend him by profanity, uncleanliness, disobedience, rebellion, or other serious sins.

As members of the church take the sacrament each week, we renew the covenants that we made at baptism, that we will take Christ’s name upon us and always remember Him and keep his commandments.  The Lord has promised us that as we do this, we will always have his spirit with us. 

President Wilford Woodruff called the gift of the Holy Ghost the greatest gift we can receive in mortality (see The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, ed. G. Homer Durham [1990], 5).

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