by Eric Kotter, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (“Mormon“), student at BYU-Idaho studying communications, and freelance writer.
The Holy Spirit, also referred to as the Holy Ghost, was given to us by God in order to guide us and strengthen us here in this earth life. The Holy Spirit is an actual person, but he doesn’t have a physical body, He has a spirit. The Holy Spirit,, and Heavenly Father are three separate beings that are all a part of the Godhead. They all have the same purpose, which is to help bring us back into the presence of God so that we might have eternal life.
There are two parts to understanding the Holy Spirit. There is the power of the Holy Spirit, and there is the gift of the Holy Spirit, or gift of the Holy Ghost. Before someone is baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost, they can feel the power and influence of the Holy Spirit testify to their hearts of things that are true. It can help them feel peace and lead them to what is right and good. When the spirit leads others to truth, it prompts them act on those truths. For example, after finding out that Jesus Christ asks us to get baptized, the Holy Spirit would then prompt that person to make changes in their lives in order to get ready for baptism. After baptism, when given under proper priesthood authority, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost which is the right to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost whenever one is worthy. The gift of the Holy Ghost has a sanctifying effect on the body, and helps remove the desires to do evil and sin. It helps us literally become like Jesus Christ, and allows us to be cleansed from our sins.
One purpose of the Holy Spirit is to testify of all truth. In The Book of, a volume of ancient holy scripture which testifies of Jesus Christ, it says, “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things. And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is” ( : Moroni 10:5-6). The Holy Spirit speaks to us through our thoughts and feelings. When Heavenly Father sent us to this earth He did not want to leave us alone and lost without any way of knowing what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what isn’t, so He gave us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through thoughts, feelings, and impressions. The Holy Ghost speaks to us more as a still small voice rather than a loud voice. An apostle of Jesus Christ said, “That sweet, quiet voice of inspiration comes more as a feeling than it does as a sound” (Elder Boyd K. Packer). The book of Galatians in the Bible helps us recognize when we are feeling the influence of the Holy Spirit. It says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23). When I feel the spirit it helps me want to be more loving, kind, patient and good. When I feel the spirit, I want to be more like Jesus Christ. I know that I am feeling the Holy Ghost when I feel calm and at peace, and when confusion and doubt clears away. When I feel this way, it helps me know what is true and good. I have felt that way about Jesus Christ and His restored church. I know that His church has been restored to the earth. Just as a blind man knows that the sun exists because he can feel its heat, I know that Jesus Christ lives because I can feel His love for me when I read about Him, and follow His counsel to love and serve others. I also know that there are living prophets and apostles on this earth who speak for Jesus Christ by revelation. I have felt the same feelings of the Holy Spirit testify to me that these things are true.
When I was a child of eight years old, I was baptized a member of The(commonly misnamed “The ) and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. Through the authority of God, which is called the priesthood, I was baptized, and then hands were laid on my head to confer upon me the gift of the Holy Ghost. I don’t remember everything that was said at the baptism, but I do remember the feeling I felt. I felt clean–clean spiritually. I felt happy and peaceful. I felt that the Lord was pleased with my decision of committing to follow Him. The Holy Spirit rested upon me and I felt the Lord’s love. The Holy Spirit has been a tremendous blessing in my life. Without it, I would be lost in this world of confusion. I know that it is real. I have felt it’s power and influence lift me, teach me, and testify to me of the reality of Jesus Christ. I know that the Holy Spirit can be felt by all who honestly want to do what’s right and find truth.