Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Gift of the Holy Ghost

The last part of the 4th Article of Faith states our belief in the “laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

We believe that men who hold the restored priesthood of God can bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost to baptized members of the LDS Church. The gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit. The Holy Ghost himself is part of the Godhead and is a distinct personage, but many at the same time can feel his influence. It is similar to the sun. While the sun itself stays in the sky, people in California can feel sunshine at the same time as people in New York.

The gift of the Holy Ghost means the right to his constant companionship or influence. We believe that as we strive to live the gospel by keeping the commandments, we will have the guidance that comes from the Holy Ghost. We believe that those who have not yet been baptized are not entitled to the constant companionship, but recognize that anyone can feel a prompting from the Holy Ghost from time to time.

It is the mission of the Holy Ghost to witness all truth. Whenever anything is true, the Holy Ghost can witness that to those who are sincere in their efforts to find the truth. The Bible contains records of people who experienced a witness by the Holy Ghost before they were baptized into the Church. The same is true today. When missionaries teach true principles of the gospel, those who are earnestly seeking the truth and are listening with sincere hearts will have a witness, they will know that the message they are hearing is true.

The Holy Ghost can also warn us of physical or spiritual danger. If we listen to the still, small voice we will be protected.

When I was a teenager, I was driving to a friend’s house. I had some passengers in my backseat. It was raining and the night was very dark. As I rounded a corner along an unlit road, I asked my passengers if they saw anything in the road ahead. They answered they did not. Suddenly, I felt the urge to swerve into the oncoming lane. I resisted because I could not see clearly enough to determine that the other lane was free of vehicles. Again, I was urged to swerve into the oncoming lane. I again asked my passengers if they saw anything in the road. A third time I was urged to swerve and decided to listen. Just as I entered the oncoming lane, I could see that a large, dark-colored van was stalled in my lane. Because of the angle of the van, the reflectors were not visible. I barely missed hitting that van. Unfortunately, a vehicle behind me did not have the same warning as I did, and slammed into the van. By the time I reached my friend’s house, I could hear the sirens. I realized that I had been warned by the Holy Ghost to swerve out of the way. I’m certain that had I ignored the prompting one more time, I would have killed all of us in my car.

Now, as I look around the dinner table at all of my children, I realize my purpose was to live that night so that I could provide mortal tabernacles for 10 of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. The Holy Ghost saved my life that night and has since prompted me in various situations. I am so thankful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and for the times he has intervened in my behalf. It truly is a gift to have the influence of the Holy Ghost.

Return to the neighborhood.

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