When a new member of the Church is being baptized and entering the Kingdom, it is customary for someone close to them to give a “talk” on baptism and the Holy Ghost. Many times the power of the Holy Ghost is understated to a being that He simply serves as a companion to warn of danger or to comfort during times of need and sadness. These characteristics are dramatically underselling the power the Holy Ghost can have in our lives.
I often use an analogy of the prophet Joseph Smith’s most well-known childhood prayers to illustrate the mission of the Holy Ghost. When Joseph was 14 years old, he knelt in a grove of trees to inquire as to the true church of Christ on earth. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, visited the young boy and answered the inquiry regarding his search for truth and gave him his divine and foreordained calling. The first mission of the Holy Ghost is to “testify of the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5) The first principle of the Gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost facilitates our growing faith by confirming truths of His Gospel as they are made known to us. As stated in The Lectures on Faith, faith requires “an actual knowledge that the course of life which [we are] pursuing, is according to His will.”
The second prayer recorded by Joseph Smith during his youth leads to the next important mission of the Holy Ghost. What was Joseph praying for when the Angel Moroni appeared to him for the first time to instruct him? Joseph relates: “I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections.” (Joseph Smith-History 1:29) On that night, the young Joseph asked forgiveness for his “sins and follies…that I might know of my state and standing before Him.” While Joseph Smith received confirmation of his standing through an angelic manifestation, the Holy Ghost is charged with this duty for the lay membership of the church. Through the second principle of the Gospel, repentance, we unlock the power of the third member of the Godhead to cleanse us and allow us to stand blameless before Christ at His earthly altars, and ultimately, at His judgment seat.
I testify of the mission of the Holy Ghost. I have felt His presence testify of the truth when I have sought it with “real intent.” I have felt the sacred cleansing power of the Spirit on those occasions when I have laid my sins at the mercy of the Lord’s feet and allowed for His atonement to effect a “mighty change of heart.” Let’s not reduce the Holy Ghost to a mere friend, but a powerful agent in the Plan of our Father in Heaven.
- “Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins” – Elder David A. Bednar, April 2016
- “The Spirit Giveth Life” – Elder Loren C. Dunn, April 1979
- “Your Own Personal Testimony” by Elder Angel Abrea, April 2000
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