The Father and the Son
In most of our meetings as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins (2 Nephi 25:26).” And that is how it should be. Because “there is no other name given whereby salvation cometh (Mosiah 5:8).”
At the beginning and end of all our meetings, we invoke the name of Christ in our prayers so that they may be heard by Almighty God.
Our eternal Father organized us, gave us spiritual bodies, taught us his ways, and presented us with an opportunity to come to this earth and be enrobed with a physical body. It is a flawed and corruptible telestial body, to be sure (just look at it), and part of our earthly mission is to have our spiritual body gain control our physical body, rather than the other way around. If our spirits can tame it and teach it to obey higher laws, such as the terrestrial laws like the ten commandments, or the celestial laws like the law of consecration, then someday we can be enrobed with upgraded and more glorious bodies.
We didn’t have to come to earth. Undoubtedly, we were concerned. Especially when we learned that this world-unlike all the other worlds populated with other creations and other children of God-this world was going to become the most wicked one in existence.
Partly this awful state was due to our own consistently sinful and rebellious choices, but it was made extra wicked because this is where Lucifer and his part of the host of heaven were exiled, unembodied and unseen, yet very real, very cunning, and very influential. These devils will do absolutely everything and anything within their power to torment, tempt, and deceive-especially when we are at our weakest.
As a result, this world has become the wickedest world of all, and it is going to become even more so in the months and years ahead.
How wicked is it? It is the only world that would, on what became the worst day of all eternity, in place called Jerusalem, where the creator of our heavens and our earth, who had condescended to come here to obtain his own mortal body, who came here to show us the way, the truth, and the life, who had, just hours before in a grove of olive trees, paid the total price for all of our sins and all of our iniquities, he would stand before his own covenant people and they would shout, “Crucify him, crucify him, crucify him!”
And that’s where we are at now, brothers and sisters, we too are the Lord’s covenant people, and we too have failed to keep the Lord covenants. In fact, all of us have chosen or will choose to disobey and dishonor God. And, because God “cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance (D&C 1:31)” we could not return to his presence, meet him, or even approach him or our other exalted family members ever again. Ever.
But, because of Jesus, and his grace, love, and mercy, because of his condescension, mediation, and intercession, we can once approach the throne of God through prayer and address our Eternal Father-who hears our prayers, our cries, our pleas, our songs, our praises, our rejoicings, our testimonies, our witnesses, our struggles, our triumphs, our hurts, our worries, our frustrations, our fears, and sometimes, even our silence.
I am so thankful for God the Father and God the Son, and I, with you, love to worship and sing praises to them, and hope, someday, to be able to dwell in their presence.
The Holy Ghost
But it is the third member of the godhead, the Holy Ghost, with whom we can have a close relationship with now, here on this wicked planet. In fact, he is assigned to interact with each of us here and now, in the present, in our corrupt, telestial condition. Furthermore, he can literally dwell with us.
He, like the Firstborn Son, is also like unto God. Because this spirit personage is perfectly obedient to the commands of the Father and only does what the Father would do, he is also glorious, omniscient, and omnipotent.
Because he does not have a physical body, and isn’t confined to the mortal notions of time and space, he can go wherever and whenever he is needed. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have form and substance, he does: he has a dimensional body composed of a refined spiritual substance.
Because he is a spirit, we cannot see the Holy Ghost with our mortal eyes, but only our spiritual eyes. We cannot hear him with our mortal ears, but only our spiritual ears. We cannot feel him with our physical bodies, but only with our spiritual bodies.
He can only be in one place at a time, but his power and his influence can be felt throughout the universe-and in that sense, he is omnipresent.
The Light of Christ
Now, to avoid confusion, let me step back for a second and describe another omnipresent spirit that we call the Light of Christ or the more generic Spirit of the Lord. Moroni (Moroni 7) taught us that this spirit is felt by everyone on earth. It is the conscience that entices us to do good, to be better, to obey higher laws that bring us to Christ.
This light is everywhere and in everything because it comes from its creator, Jesus, the Light of the World. It encourages us to draw close to him and feel godly emotions like charity, love, and forgiveness. It is always edifying. If we listen to it, and don’t tune it out, it will help us differentiate right from wrong. It opens our eyes and provides the knowledge of good and evil.
The Roles of the Holy Ghost
Now the Holy Ghost is different from the Light of Christ. The job of the Holy Spirit is not to entice and persuade, but to deliver insights and intelligence directly to our spirits through a process called revelation. His job is to reveal truth and convince us of its truthfulness.
As a messenger, he receives instructions from the Father and the Son and relays those instructions to us. Afterwards, as is the pattern, he reports back on what he hears and observes from us.
His role is to deliver truth. Sometimes the truth will encourage us to feel good, joyful, or peaceful. But other times hearing the truth will make us feel awful, which may compel us to make course corrections.
You can see that pattern throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, where in one section the Lord blesses, and in the next he curses. The truth will help us identify and purge out the poisons in our life-a very painful process. That is why it is called the “refiners fire.” Not because we feel warm and comfortable by sitting next to the fire, but because have chosen to walk into the fiery furnace to be cleansed, purged, purified, and sanctified. Nothing about that process sounds particularly pleasant.
The role of the Holy Ghost is not to trigger a chemical response in our body which makes us feel good, tingly, warm, loved, or emotional. But to convince us of the truth. Period. Our body responds in different ways to that truth, sometimes by generating emotional reactions, like a burnt bosom, but it would be a mistake to think of the Holy Ghost as a feeling or an emotion. He gives us pure intelligence that expands our mind, enlightens our understanding, and brings things to our remembrance. Essentially, it makes us smarter and brighter, both figuratively and literally, as shown in our countenances.
And this power can be felt by both members and non-members who want to follow Christ. Hearing the truth from the Holy Ghost convinces their hearts and minds that it would be worthwhile to enter into a covenant relationship with him.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
Furthermore, if we make that covenant, and have been baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have had priesthood holders confer upon us the Gift of the Holy Ghost. With that gift, if we are trying to be true and faithful by constantly repenting, returning, and realigning, then we can invite the Holy Ghost into our lives-not just as a rare revealer of truth, but as a constant companion.
But he will not come if he is not invited. He will not go where he is not welcomed. He too, like the Savior, stands at the door and knocks. But we must choose to let him in, even if our house is messy.
If we partook of the sacrament, which we did a few minutes ago, and did it with a spirit of repentance, contrition, and obedience, we have partaken of the Bread of Life and have been washed clean through the Blood of Christ. All our covenants made in sacred spaces have been refreshed and renewed. God will now keep his part of the covenant, and allow the Holy Ghost to visit us, and pronounce us clean, and sanctify us, and purify us, and prepare us to receive further instructions from the Father and Son.
The Holy Ghost will enlighten our minds, and the truth that he offers can bring comfort to our souls, fill us with peace, lighten our burdens, heal our infirmities, refine our characteristics, polish our rough surfaces, and help us move from the telestial, through the terrestrial, and into the celestial.
Gifts of the Spirit
The Holy Ghost can also give us gifts. I’ve found 55 of them in the scriptures or from the sermons of prophets and apostles. These gifts will not only bless our lives, but the lives of those around us. We are each entitled to at least one of these gifts, which one is yours?
Is it the gift of charity or the gift of dreams? The gift of gratitude or the gift of humility? The gift of knowledge or the gift to teach knowledge? The gift of asking, listening, being able to weep, being agreeable, not passing judgment, or offering prayer? Or the gift of comforting, counseling, obeying, preaching, remembering, reverence, grace, diligence, and on and on.
If a gift is good, it comes from God. Ask him for your spiritual gift and then share it with others. Then ask for another. If ye ask, ye shall be given.
It is impossible to measure the blessings that come from having the Gift of the Holy Ghost in our lives. I’m sure there are many of you who would immediately stand and bear witness of the truths he has given you, and the marvelous changes you made so that you could live up to those truths. It is truly transformative. One of the biggest purposes of the church is to give us opportunities to hear that voice and then do something good with it.
What would the world think if they knew they could receive pure and undefiled truth directly from the mouth of a member of the Godhead whenever they wanted it. It is so much better than a neural link to Google. It is up to us to tell them about it, isn’t it, but that’s a talk for another day.
The Holy Spirit of Promise
Let me conclude with talking about one other function the Holy Ghost provides. After we have been baptized and confirmed, and have started to live a more righteous life, we will be permitted to enter the house of the Lord. When we worthily enter the temple, we are endowed with even more truth, and the power that comes through that truth.
This power gives us the ability to conquer the Lord’s enemies-who are also our enemies. These aren’t just the miserable minions who follow Satan, whether they have bodies or not, but these enemies include the habits and behaviors that are unworthy of children of God. As we purge them, we will be able to see things as they were, as they are, and as they will become. Is there anything more powerful than that? But that can’t happen and won’t happen without the approval and assistance from the Holy Ghost.
You see, whenever we receive a priesthood ordinance or blessing, it is not recorded in the heavens until the Holy Ghost verifies and confirms that we are worthy of it. Once we are, he seals those blessings to us, upon our faithfulness, in his role as the Holy Spirit of Promise. We can lie to each other, lie to our families, and lie to the bishop (don’t do that, by the way), but no one can lie to the Holy Ghost and get away with it. As a God, He always knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts.
Brother and sisters, is your spirit gaining control of your body? Is the light of Christ helping you discern good from evil? Is the Holy Ghost revealing truth to you, and are you letting that truth, purge out your flaws and work changes into your heart? Are you willing to live the kind of life that will allow the Holy Ghost to be your companion, so you can constantly receive the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Will you let him seal the blessings that have already been pronounced on you?
If we do not, or if we will not, we will not survive the days of tribulation that are beginning to unfold around us. Even the very elect will be deceived. This has happened in the past, it is happening all around us, and it will continue to happen until the Earth is finally purged of deception, evil, and unrighteousness. Until the telestialites are gone.
We have been called, but will we be chosen to welcome the reign of the Holy Ghost in our lives? If we cannot do that, then we will not be around to welcome the reign of Jesus Christ in our lives, now, in the millennium, or throughout eternity. Nor will we ever be able to return to the embrace of our heavenly parents. We will meet them, to be sure, as we face our judgment, but if we choose not to be worthy, it will not be as good of a day as it could have been, as it should have been.
But that day is not today. At least I hope it isn’t. Today we can choose to leave this meeting filled with the light of Christ, filled with the truth that comes from God, filled with the grace and hope from Christ, filled with the inestimable love of our Heavenly Father. May this be our present to them, in the present, and in the future. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.