Mormons (a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) believe that everyone is entitled to guidance from the Holy Ghost, which is the source of all truth. Without that help, we’d never be able to recognize eternal truths when we heard them. In addition, the Holy Spirit, which is another name for the Holy Ghost, can warn us of danger and comfort us in difficult times.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could keep the Holy Spirit with us every moment of every day to be provide constant companionship? Imagine how safe you’d feel knowing you had your own personal guide through life, helping you to avoid mistakes, dangers, and loneliness?
Jesus planned for life to be just that way. As He prepared to end His earthly ministry, he assured His apostles that He would not leave them comfortless, but would send the Holy Spirit to be their constant companion. This was possible because they had been baptized and belonged to the Savior’s true church.
Mormons and the Holy Spirit
When a person becomes a Mormon, he or she is baptized. Mormons baptize children at age eight, when they are old enough to know right from wrong and to be accountable for their personal choices. Those who become Mormon later than age eight are baptized at the time of conversion, even if they have been previously baptized into another faith. Following the baptism, they are confirmed members of the church. At that time, they are also invited to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. Now, instead of receiving periodic visits from the Holy Spirit, they are able to have the constant Companionship of the Holy Ghost.
This is an amazing gift from God. Life is hard. There are so many choices to make and so many people trying to convince you to make choices their way. Everywhere we look, people are trying to manipulate us and replace truth with gossip, propaganda, and fashionable beliefs.
Before I became a Mormon I used to make lists…lots of lists. One of my lists included every doctrine I learned when I visited a church or read a religious book. I placed each belief into one of three columns: I believe this. I don’t believe this. I have no idea.
How Do I Know What is True?
The problem is, of course, I was guessing and I knew that’s all it was. There were occasional flashes of testimony that something was, without question, true, but except for those specific items, I was guessing which column everything went into. I told a friend I longed for a science experiment to help me know for sure. That’s when she taught me how to pray and promised me the Holy Ghost would tell me what was true—my own personal science experiment.
That system worked very well for me. I learned to be patient, to study hard before asking for an answer, and to act on the answers I received, but I quickly came to realize that when I honored the answers given, life went pretty well for me.
The Holy Ghost, once I received the full-time gift, also became a source of protection for myself and others. Once it sent me hurrying off a road moments before a semi-truck swerved out of control into the spot I would have occupied. Another time it sent me to the home of an elderly women who was alone and in a coma when I arrived. Many times it sent me to check on my children or to make a telephone call at a critical moment.
Life is scary, but is helps tremendously to know my tour guide never suggests a wrong turn for me. When I follow the Holy Spirit’s advice, I am always on God’s chosen path.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.