Three of my four children have been baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church—when they turned 8, which is the age of accountability, or the age at which a child is accountable to God for his or her actions. (The fourth one has to wait a few more years.) In The Church of Jesus Christ, a person is baptized by immersion for the remission of sins by a man who has priesthood authority. The priesthood is the power that God gives to worthy male members to act in all things for the salvation of His children. After baptism, each child was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ and then received the gift of the Holy Ghost—which is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God and the Comforter. After each child has received these ordinances, he (or she) seems to radiate light. I remember after I was baptized at 8 years old, I felt so clean, and I didn’t want to do anything that would take away the beautiful feeling of peace and happiness that I felt at that moment. That “glow,” that radiance, and the feelings of peace and happiness all come from the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Who is the Holy Ghost?

"They who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled with the Holy Ghost." - 3 Nephi 12:6The Holy Ghost, or the Holy Spirit, is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit—unlike God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, who have glorified bodies of flesh and bone. We learn this from modern revelations in Doctrine & Covenants 130:22, which reads:

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

The Holy Ghost performs several vital roles in the plan of salvation or the plan of redemption—which is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, designed to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man. This plan includes the Creation of the world, the Fall of Adam and the Atonement of Jesus Christ along with all God-given laws, ordinances and doctrines. The Holy Ghost bears witness of the Father and the Son (1 Corinthians 12:3). He reveals the truth of all things (John 14:26). He sanctifies those who have repented and been baptized (John 3:5).  He is the Holy Spirit of Promise (Doctrine & Covenants 76:50-53).

Elder Craig C. Christensen, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy (Seventies, as in Biblical times, are called to proclaim the gospel and build up The Church of Jesus Christ), said:

The Holy Ghost works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling many important roles and distinct responsibilities. The primary purpose of the Holy Ghost is to bear witness of God the Father and of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to teach us the truth of all things. A sure witness from the Holy Ghost carries far more certainty than a witness from any other source. President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that “the Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings.” [1]

The Holy Ghost brings souls unto Christ by witnessing of Him. His role in God’s plan for us is essential, for without the Holy Spirit, we would not know God.

The Gift and Power of the Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost is manifest upon the children of men in two ways—the power and the gift. The power of the Holy Ghost can come upon any person before baptism and is the convincing witness that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. The Savior tells us in John 14:26: “…The Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things.” The gift of the Holy Ghost is received after one is baptized, by one who has priesthood authority, and this gift entitles those who remain worthy to have the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit. In the next verse, the Savior says, “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.” We feel this promised peace through the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Elder David A. Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles—with the First Presidency, the governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ—said:

The ordinance of confirming a new member of the Church and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost is both simple and profound. Worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders place their hands upon the head of an individual and call him or her by name. Then, by the authority of the holy priesthood and in the name of the Savior, the individual is confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and this important phrase is uttered: “Receive the Holy Ghost.”

The simplicity of this ordinance may cause us to overlook its significance. These four words—“Receive the Holy Ghost”—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon. The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed “receive the Holy Ghost” and its attendant spiritual gifts. “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:33). [2]

The Holy Ghost’s Communication is Personal

As Elder Bednar said, the gift of the Holy Ghost must be received. And as members of The Church of Jesus Christ, we must learn how the Holy Spirit communicates to us in our lives. I have a sister with whom the Holy Ghost communicates powerfully through dreams. I have to admit, I wish the Spirit communicated that way with me. But the Holy Ghost does not. He communicates with me through still, small whisperings and feelings of peace and comfort. He often speaks to me as I read my scriptures. Every once in a while, I feel the Holy Ghost’s answer so strongly that it seems I can hear an audible answer. The Holy Ghost communicates with each of us in a different way, but it is always personal. Elder Dallin H. Oaks, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, said:

For faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ, the companionship of the Holy Spirit should be so familiar that we must use care not to take it for granted. …A member once asked me why he felt so good about the talks and music in a sacrament meeting, while a guest he had invited that day apparently experienced no such feeling. This is but one illustration of the contrast between one who has the gift of the Holy Ghost and is in tune with his promptings and one who has not, or is not. [3]

I am grateful for the understanding and ability to recognize the influence and communication of the Holy Ghost in my life. Recently, I was having a rough day because things were not going right for me, in my opinion. I was really frustrated with some health issues I was having. The Holy Ghost whispered to me, “Ask your husband to give you a priesthood blessing.” A blessing is an ordinance—which is a sacred rite or ceremony that has spiritual meaning performed by the power of the priesthood. In a blessing, Heavenly Father speaks to us personally through the person giving the blessing. I have often received blessings, and I love them. But this time, I fought the impression because I was upset. But it kept coming back to my mind—“You need to ask your husband to give you a blessing.” Finally, later that night, I asked my husband to give me a blessing. The feelings of peace and comfort were so powerful, and the words so beautiful, that it was really what I needed to sustain me and renew my faith. I saw, for perhaps the first time, a clear purpose for this trial in my life. And I saw the love that the Savior and my Heavenly Father have for me. Had I not listened to the prompting from the Holy Ghost, I would have missed that powerful experience—one that I so desperately needed.

The ‘Mormon Glow’ is the Holy Spirit in our Lives

Our countenance glows as we live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. We feel the difference, and others can see it. I heard someone say once that they went into a bar—where the Holy Spirit cannot dwell—and instantly felt the Holy Ghost leave. That person never did that again. The Holy Ghost can only dwell in clean tabernacles, and the Spirit will withdraw when we sin or turn away from the things of God. Elder Oaks said:

If we are practicing our faith and seeking the companionship of the Holy Spirit, His presence can be felt in our hearts and in our homes. A family having daily family prayers and seeking to keep the commandments of God and honor his name and speak lovingly to one another will have a spiritual feeling in their home that will be discernible to all who enter it. I know this, because I have felt the presence or absence of that feeling in many LDS homes.

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 [1982], 114). The blessings available through the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon worthiness. [3]

We must live worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and learn to listen to the promptings. The Holy Spirit is the still, small voice, and we cannot hear it if we are not in tune to the whisperings. But when we qualify ourselves for this gift, the Holy Spirit will be a companion, a guide and a Comforter in our daily lives.

About Lisa M.
I am a wife and mother of 4 beautiful children in a small town in the mountains of Idaho. We ski as a family in the winter and camp, fish, and go to the beach in the summer. I’m a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I am grateful for the Savior and the blessings of the gospel in my life.

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