Have you ever felt perfectly calm in the midst of one of life’s tumultuous storms? Or received a sudden idea of how to fix some situation, when before there seemed to be no solution? Or maybe you have been prompted not to do something, and later you find out that you may have been in grave danger had you ignored that thought? Perhaps you have had a dream, or a thought, about someone, and you later find that the person was in need of loving friendship that day? As someone who has answered in the affirmative each of these questions, I testify that the source of such great blessings is the Holy Spirit.
As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes mistakenly called the “Mormon Church”), I have been taught the importance of recognizing the Holy Spirit (also known as receiving “personal revelation”) in my life, since I was a little girl—as this is a foundational belief of Mormons. Because of this, my soul constantly tries to stay “in-tune” to the Holy Spirit, and I greatly desire to share my beliefs with everyone possible, so here we go:
Why do I need to receive personal revelation from the Holy Spirit?
In this ever-darkening world, the need for revelation from God is more vital for individuals than ever before. Television, music, magazines, and the Internet all having blazing messages of hate, immorality, wickedness, and spiritual demise—the only way to counteract these messages is to embrace the teachings of Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost—who is a member of the Godhead. We must learn to recognize the Holy Spirit in our daily lives in order for God to guide and direct us—while avoiding the messages of the Adversary, so that we will live with our Father in Heaven once again (Mormons teach the truth that we existed before we came to this earth, in what we call pre-mortality). Former Relief Society (an organization for Mormon women) General President, Julie B. Beck, said this, “The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.” [i]
God desires all to receive the Holy Ghost that they might walk in His ways, and learn of His truths. The Holy Bible, and other holy scripts, are not just nice stories to read at bed time; they are a conduit for the Holy Spirit to teach us what God the Father wants us to know for our current life situations; as the Book of Mormon says, we must “liken all scriptures unto us” (1 Nephi 19:23).
What makes the Mormons different in their belief of the Holy Spirit?
A letter written by the first Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith said:
In our interview with the President [of the United States], he interrogated us wherein we differed in our religion from the other religions of the day. Brother Joseph said we differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost. [ii]
There are two different ways that the Holy Ghost can influence us. The first way is through His power, or the power of the Holy Ghost. This power is made available to all. Someone praying to find out if the Book of Mormon is true, and receiving a confirmation of that truth, is an example of the power of the Holy Ghost. The gift of the Holy Ghost, however, is the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost with a person who is worthy. Concerning the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” a Mormon apostle, Elder David A. Bednar said:
The spirit of revelation is available to every person who receives by proper priesthood authority the saving ordinances of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost—and who is acting in faith to fulfill the priesthood injunction to “receive the Holy Ghost. [iii]
It is the basic Mormon belief that the Holy Spirit is the teacher of all truth; even if a preacher is eloquent in his words, it is only if his message is coupled with the Holy Spirit that it can make an eternal difference. Thus, if even a humble beggar had the Holy Ghost as his companion, he too could be a spiritual teacher.
How do I know if I am feeling the Holy Spirit?
A perfect scriptural example of describing the feeling of the Holy Spirit can be found in the prophet Elijah’s story when he was discouraged:
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:11-12, emphasis added).
The Holy Spirit can communicate in loud, and very obvious ways, but the more common way is through a still small voice. Elder Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve taught: “These delicate, refined spiritual communications are not seen with our eyes nor heard with our ears. And even though it is described as a voice, it is a voice that one feels more than one hears.” [iv] And so it is, the Holy Spirit can communicate through a simple feeling, or thought. Often times I receive a thought and wonder if it is from the Holy Ghost or not. But then I remember the scripture in the Book of Mormon that says, “that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God” (Moroni 7:13).
Another great way to know if you are feeling the Spirit is if you receive these 3 things concerning your revelation (as described to my wonderful in-laws by their local church leader):
- Clarity—You receive a clear, crisp thought.
- Peace—Helps you feel good about the matter.
- Action—You are motivated to take action.
I know and have a testimony of the Holy Spirit. He has the still small voice that can penetrate the heart in a way that molds our souls into true masterpieces of our Heavenly Father’s hand. I am grateful that I am a Mormon and that I have learned these truths since I was little. It truly has been a life-saver. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out for yourself to know if it is true—and I echo the promise found in the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5) that the Holy Spirit will testify the truth of it unto you.
[i] “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Ensign, Apr. 2010.
[ii] History of the Church, 4:42; from a letter from Joseph Smith and Elias Higbee to Hyrum Smith and other Church leaders, Dec. 5, 1839, Washington, D.C.; the president of the United States at the time was Martin Van Buren.
[iii] “The Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign, May 2011.
[iv] That All May Be Edified , 335
This article was written by Ashley Bell, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Ashley Bell is a 22-year old wife, mother, BYU graduate, and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ashley loves to run, cook, garden, read, and most of all spend time with family and friends.