Chapter 3 – The Companionship of the Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost
Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described some of the duties of the Holy
Ghost: “The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, a personage of spirit. He is the
Comforter, the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit of Promise. He testifies of Jesus Christ, His work, and the work of His servants upon the earth. He acts as a cleansing agent to purify and sanctify us from sin. He comforts us and brings peace to our souls. The right to His constant companionship is among the greatest gifts we can receive in mortality, for by the light of His promptings and His cleansing power we can be led back into the presence of God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2002, 80; or Ensign, May 2002, 70).
Gift of the Holy Ghost VS. Influence of the Holy Ghost
Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, illustrated the difference between the influence of the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost: “Before baptism [all people] may receive revelation from the Holy Ghost for the purpose of giving them a testimony of the truth and divinity of the Lord’s work on earth. After baptism they receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and it is then their right to have the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead if they keep the commandments. The testimony before baptism, speaking by way of analogy, comes as a flash of lightning blazing forth in a dark and stormy night; it comes to light the path on which earth’s pilgrims, far from their heavenly home and lost in the deserts and swamps of the world, must walk if they are to return to the
Divine Presence. The companionship of the Holy Ghost after baptism is as the continuing blaze of the sun at noonday, shedding its rays on the path of life and on all that surrounds it” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 262).
The Light of Christ
President Boyd K. Packer taught that the Light of Christ is “another source of inspiration, which each of us possesses in common with all other members of the human family. If we know about the Light of Christ, we will understand that there is something inside all of us, and we can appeal to that in our desire to share truth. . . . “Every man, woman, and child of every nation, creed, or color—everyone, no matter where they live or what they believe or what they do—has within them the imperishable Light of Christ. In this respect, all men are created equally. The Light of Christ in everyone is a testimony that God is no respecter of persons (see D&C 1:35). He treats everyone equally in that endowment with the Light of Christ.”
“The more we know about the Light of Christ, the more we will understand about life and the more we will have a deep love for mankind. We will be better teachers and missionaries and parents, and better men and women and children. We will have deeper regard for our brothers and sisters in the Church and for those who do not believe and have not yet had conferred upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost. . . . “It is important for a teacher or a missionary or a parent to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ
already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them” (Ensign, Apr. 2005, 8, 10).
How the Holy Ghost Influences Us
We can receive spiritual impressions.
- “Although we often describe communication from the Spirit as a voice, that voice is one that we feel more than we hear. And while we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost, we often describe a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling . . .’ The Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery in section 9 of the Doctrine and Covenants . . . teaches this principle. However, this counsel is sometimes misunderstood. Upon reading that passage, some members of the Church become confused, fearing that they have never received a prompting from the Holy Ghost because they have never felt a burning in their bosom. Note the Lord’s final words in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8: ‘Therefore, you shall feel that it is right.’ The burning described in this scripture passage signifies a feeling of comfort and serenity, not necessarily a sensation of heat. As you continue to seek and follow the Lord’s will in your life, you will come to recognize how the Holy Ghost influences you personally” (True to the Faith, 144).
- Boyd K Packer said, “This burning in the bosom is not purely a physical sensation. It is more like a warm light shining within your being” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).
- It is difficult, if not impossible, to receive impressions of the Spirit while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or similar things. “Your body really is the instrument of your mind and the foundation of your character” (Boyd K. Packer, in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 93; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 72). You must take proper care of it.
- The Spirit of the Lord will never prompt an individual to act contrary to the standards of the restored gospel or the righteous priesthood authorities of the Church.
We can receive a feeling of peace.
- “The Holy Ghost is often called the Comforter (see John 14:26; D&C 39:6). As He reveals the will of the Lord to you, He will ‘speak peace to your mind’ (D&C 6:23). The peace He gives cannot be counterfeited by worldly influences or false teachings. It is the peace the Savior promised when He assured His disciples that He would send the Comforter: ‘Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27)” (True to the Faith, 144).
- “They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1846–1847, ed. Elden J. Watson , 529).
We can receive the still, small voice.
- Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles indicated how a strong need to know what God wants brings answers: “I have had prayers answered. Those answers were most clear when what I wanted was silenced by an overpowering need to know what God wanted. It is then that the answer from a loving Heavenly Father can be spoken to the mind by the still, small voice and can be written on the heart” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2000, 111; or Ensign, Nov. 2000, 86)
- President Ezra Taft Benson spoke about what the gift of the Holy Ghost will do for us: “The Holy Ghost helps you choose the right. The Holy Ghost will protect you from evil. He whispers to you in a still, small voice to do right. When you do good, you feel good, and that is the Holy Ghost speaking to you. The Holy Ghost is a wonderful companion. He is always there to help you” (in Conference Report, Ap
We can receive new ideas.
- The Prophet Joseph Smith taught how the spirit of revelation can bring new ideas: “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; (i.e.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 151).
We should remember that spiritual manifestations are sacred.
- President Boyd K. Packer: “Dreams and visions and visitations are not uncommon in the Church and are a part of all that the Lord has revealed in this dispensation. “It may be that you will be the recipient of a marvelous spiritual experience. I have come to know that these experiences are personal and are to be kept private. Ponder them in your heart and do not talk lightly about them [see Alma 12:9]” (“The Great Plan of Happiness and Personal Revelation” [CES fireside for young adults, Nov. 7, 1993], 7–8).
The Lord gives us revelation in His own time.
- Elder Neal A. Maxwell, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, emphasized the need to submit ourselves to the Lord’s timing while waiting for answers to our prayers and other righteous desires: “Since the Lord wants a people ‘tried in all things’ (D&C 136:31), how, specifically, will we be tried? He tells us, I will try the faith and the patience of my people (see Mosiah 23:21). Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, ‘Thy will be done,’ but patiently also, ‘Thy timing be done’ ” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 2001, 76; or Ensign, May 2001, 59).
- Dallin H Oaks said: “It is important to remember that the illumination and revelation that come to an individual as a result of the gift of the Holy Ghost do not come suddenly or without seeking. President Spencer W. Kimball taught that the Holy Ghost ‘comes a little at a time as you merit it. And as your life is in harmony, you gradually receive the Holy Ghost in a great measure’ (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball , 114).
We should not expect revelation in all things.
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks cautioned: “Revelations from God—the teachings and directions of the Spirit—are not constant. We believe in continuing revelation, not continuous revelation. We are often left to work out problems without the dictation or specific direction of the Spirit. That is part of the experience we must have in mortality. Fortunately, we are never out of our Savior’s sight, and if our judgment leads us to actions beyond the limits of what is permissible and if we are listening to the still, small voice, the Lord will restrain us by the promptings of his Spirit” (Ensign, Mar. 1997, 14).
Conditions to blessings of the Holy Ghost
- “The blessings available through the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon worthiness. . . . He will withdraw when we offend Him by profanity, uncleanliness, disobedience, rebellion, or other serious sins” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1996, 80–81; or Ensign, Nov. 1996, 61).
- Marion G. Romney, who was a counselor in the First Presidency, emphasized the need to follow the Lord’s guidance after we receive it: “When a person learns what the Lord’s counsel is and follows it, he irresistibly draws close to the Spirit. From its very beginning, the history of God’s dealings with his children on the earth testifies to the fact that those who disregard his counsel fail and come to grief”
Chapter 4 – Teaching by the Spirit
Preparation to teach by the Spirit
“One purpose of the Spirit is to ‘manifest the truth . . . of all things’ (Moroni 10:4–5). Only through the influence of the Spirit can gospel teaching be edifying and inspiring. “Your privilege as a gospel teacher is to be an instrument through whom the Holy Ghost can teach, testify, comfort, and inspire. . . . “If you prepare spiritually, the Holy Ghost will
help you know what to do and say in your teaching. You can prepare yourself by praying often, studying the scriptures, living the gospel, and being humble” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 169).
How to teach by the Spirit
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught how to teach by the Spirit: “We must strengthen ourselves and our people to get our teachers to speak out of their hearts rather than out of their books, to communicate their love for the Lord and this
precious work, and somehow it will catch fire in the hearts of those they teach” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley , 619–20).
“Your testimony will be most powerful when it is expressed as a brief, heartfelt conviction about the Savior, His teachings, and the Restoration. Pray for guidance, and the Spirit will help you know how to express the feelings in your heart” (True to the Faith, 180).
President Hinckley described the power of a missionary’s testimony: “[Testimony] is something that cannot be refuted. Opponents may quote scripture and argue doctrine endlessly. They can be clever and persuasive. But when one says, ‘I
know,’ there can be no further argument. There may not be acceptance, but who can refute or deny the quiet voice of the inner soul speaking with personal conviction?” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1998, 91; or Ensign, May 1998, 70).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles affirmed: “When you declare the truth, it will bring an echo, a memory, even if it is an unconscious memory to the investigator, that they have heard this truth before—and of course they have. A missionary’s testimony invokes a great legacy of testimony dating back to the councils in heaven before this world was. There, in an earlier place, these same people heard this same plan outlined and heard there the role that Jesus Christ would play in their salvation” (“Missionary Work and the Atonement,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 11).
Practice bearing testimony:
- Living prophets and apostles
- The Lord’s true Church
- The gift of the Holy Ghost
- The Prophet Joseph Smith
- The Book of Mormon
- The Savior Jesus Christ
Definitions of these words:
Apostasy – When people turn away from God and His teachings; a falling away from the truth.
Apostle – Apostles are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, called to teach and testify of Him throughout the world.
Atonement – to atone is to suffer the penalty for sins, thereby removing the effects of sin from the repentant sinner and allowing him or her to be reconciled to God. Jesus Christ was the only one capable of carrying out the Atonement for all mankind. Because of His Atonement, all people will be resurrected, and those who obey His gospel will receive the gift of eternal life with God.
Ordinances of salvation – Sacred ceremonies or rituals that have spiritual meanings.
Priesthood – God’s authority to act in His name; God’s authority that is shared with faithful men who are members of His Church.
Stake – a group of wards in a geographical boundary.
Testimony – a spiritual witness given to an individual by the Holy Ghost; conviction is a word other Christians may use
Ward or branch – A group of Church members who live in a particular area and worship together.
Bishop – The spiritual leader of each ward (or the branch president for branches). He is a member of the congregation who has been asked to serve as a volunteer in this position.
Endure to the end – staying faithful to the Lord until death.
Gift of the Holy Ghost – constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, received by laying on of hands after baptism, and is dependent on our faithfulness in keeping the commandments
Primary – a program for 18-months to 12 years, its purpose is to teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ and help them learn to live it
Relief Society – the oldest and largest women’s organization in the world. Relief Society was established in 1842 for women 18 years of age and older. Its purpose is to build faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and help those in need.
Restoration – the bringing back of something that was lost – in this case, Christ’s church
Sacrament – an ordinance in which Church members partake of bread and water in remembrance of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice. This ordinance is an essential part of worship and spiritual development. Through this ordinance, Church members renew the covenants they made with God when they were baptized.
Temptation – a test of a person’s ability to choose good instead of evil. It is an enticement to sin and follow Satan instead of God.
Teaching methods from the Savior:
- Pray for those you are working with – to soften their hearts, and to express your love for them.
- Study your scriptures. Use them to teach.
- Bear your testimony.
Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy taught how sharing our testimonies brings the Spirit: “Testify frequently while you are teaching. This may even be more important than the thing you are teaching. Testify in the name of the Lord that the things you are teaching are true. If you will do that, it will bring the Spirit of the Lord” (Raising Up a Family to the Lord , 49).
- Use music to invite the Spirit and to express messages.
- Share stories of how the restored gospel has affected your daily life.
- Show pictures to increase understanding.
- We need to keep the commandments, but also encourage our friends to live by them to know if they are true.
- Explain the doctrines simply and clearly.
- Use events as analogies for gospel messages. (i.e. birth of baby like being born again)
Tips for asking questions:
Yes and no questions are best to ask for agreement or commitment.
Open ended questions are great if you want a response, or want to get your friend thinking. (What, how and why)
Wait long enough after you ask a question for the person to respond.
Look at nonverbal ques. Is the person confused, disinterested? Or do they understand? Are they feeling the Spirit?
Listen intently to their answers. If you don’t understand, ask for clarification, or examples.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the importance of listening to those we teach: “Perhaps even more important than speaking is listening. These people are not lifeless objects disguised as a baptismal statistic. They are children of God, our brothers and sisters, and they need what we have. Be genuine. Reach out sincerely. Ask these friends what matters most to them. What do they cherish, and what do they hold dear? And then listen. If the setting is right, you might ask what their fears are, what they yearn for, or what they feel is missing in their lives. I promise you that something in what they say will always highlight a truth of the gospel about which you can bear testimony and about which you can then offer more. . . . If we listen with love, we won’t need to wonder what to say. It will be given to us—by the Spirit and by our friends” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 2001, 16–17; or Ensign, May 2001, 15).
Challenge: Pray to Heavenly Father to bring to your mind your truest, heartfelt testimony. Then, after a period of reflection, write it down.