Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

This is Zachary again with part four of my five part post on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The fourth part of the gospel is the laying on of hands by those who are in authority to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This gift is the privilege to receive continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost.

One may be temporarily guided by the Holy Ghost without receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. All truth we learn comes from the Spirit. The ancient prophet Moroni stated: “. . . by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (see Moroni 10:5). I know Jesus Christ lives and loves us and has restored His church today because of the power of the Holy Ghost. All people can know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Holy Ghost.

Recall in John 3:5 where the Savior taught Nicodemus that “except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Only after we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands can we truly receive a remission of our sins and be completely spiritually reborn. We can have the Spirit to be with us always. President James E. Faust once stated:

The gift of the Holy Ghost comes after one repents and becomes worthy . . . The Holy Ghost bears witness of the truth and impresses upon the soul the reality of God the Father and the Son Jesus Christ so deeply that no earthly power or authority can separate him from that knowledge (“The Gift of the Holy Ghost – A Sure Compass”, Ensign, April 1996, 4)

We may only have the Spirit to be with us as we keep the Lord’s commandments and are faithful to our baptismal covenants. We must also follow the promptings we receive from the Spirit if we desire to be led and guided always. Elder Boyd K Packer taught:

The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither “loud” nor “harsh.” It is “not a voice of thunder, neither … voice of a great tumultuous noise.” But rather, “a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,” and it can “pierce even to the very soul” and “cause [the heart] to burn.” (3 Nephi 11:3; Helaman 5:30; D&C 85:6–7.) Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a “still small voice.” (1 Kgs. 19:12.) The Spirit does not get our attention by shouting or shaking us with a heavy hand. Rather it whispers. It caresses so gently that if we are preoccupied we may not feel it at all . . . Occasionally it will press just firmly enough for us to pay heed. But most of the time, if we do not heed the gentle feeling, the Spirit will withdraw and wait until we come seeking and listening and say in our manner and expression, like Samuel of ancient times, “Speak [Lord], for thy servant heareth.” (1 Sam. 3:10.) (“The Candle of the Lord”, Ensign, Jan 1983, 53)

I saw the influence for good that the Holy Ghost has over those who live worthy and follow it’s promptings as I taught the people of North Carolina. One such woman left a great impression on me. Christine had been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints her entire life. She had been fully active in the gospel. Then she had some trying times and slowly stopped keeping some of her commandments. She stopped attending church and therefore stopped partaking of the sacrament and renewing her covenants each week. She eventually lost the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When we stopped by one evening and I met her for the first time, I could tell she wasn’t happy. The Holy Ghost was not in her home. She had a lot of problems and wasn’t sure how to solve them. That evening, for the first time in six years, she listened to the still small voice that told her to let us come back and help her get back on the path. We taught her and her children each week and pretty soon she came back to church, she repented and began once again to keep the commandments. Things didn’t happen all at once, but over time I saw the effects of the Holy Ghost in her life as she obeyed its promptings. Christine was happier, her children were happier, her home was a pleasant place to be. She was receiving wonderful blessings that she had been missing for so long. She told me before I left the area that she had never felt so peaceful in her entire life. The Holy Ghost can always bring peace to our hearts as we are worthy, especially at troubled times.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is here for us as God’s children. Our loving Heavenly Father has given us this gift that we might have a light in this world, a guide to teach us truth and help us make righteous decisions so that we can return to His presence. As we follow the Savior’s gospel and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are showing faith in Him and his everlasting Atonement. We can be led from darkness to light and from misery to happiness.