Yesterday, I attended a very beautiful baptism for a very beautiful woman. I was honored to be able to give the talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost. I am sharing it here…
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word”… (2 Nephi 31:13)
You have done this today. Actually, even though I don’t know you very well, having met you and felt your strong spirit, I have a feeling that you have been following Christ for a long time. You have done this with an honest heart. You have done this with real intent, and willingness to truly repent of the sins you have.
I believe that this desire is what has led you to be here today, and now, you have followed Christ – into the waters of baptism. In doing so, you have made a covenant – that you are willing to take on His name and keep His commandments.
The thing about a covenant is – it is a two-way promise, usually made by unequal partners. You and Heavenly Father are unequal partners, yet he has covenanted with you. Just has you have promised to be a witness of Christ, and take on His name – which means to keep His commandments and always remember Him – Heavenly Father has made a promise to you:
“Behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:13)
He promises you the Holy Ghost. There are many facets to the gift of the Holy Ghost, and as you keep your covenant with Heavenly Father, you will experience this gift and learn more about it. For now, though, here are four aspects I’d like to mention.
There is a difference between being clean and being sanctified. To be sanctified means to be made Holy.
So – you were made clean in the waters of baptism, but it is the Holy Ghost that will make you holy.
Anciently, Isaiah had a vision – he saw heaven – he saw the Lord and many other holy beings. He was amazed by the glory and holiness of it all. He quickly noticed the difference between him and the Lord and remarked, “Wo is unto me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” Isaiah realized that he wasn’t holy, and didn’t really belong there. Isaiah continues:
“Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar;
“And he laid it upon my mouth, and said: Lo, this has touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” (SeeIsaiah 6:1-8)
Isaiah had been sanctified by the seraphim.
When Isaiah was sanctified – a hot coal had been taken from a holy place. Sanctification isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is uncomfortable. But it is necessary in order to be humble. We can, however, rest assured that such sanctification happens as a result of the atoning power of the Savior – just as the coal was taken from the altar.
The Holy Ghost, through the atoning power of the Savior, sanctifies us so we can be worthy to be in the presence of the Lord.
Not only this, but through such sanctification, we are also able to feel more of His Spirit in our lives. So, as we become more holy, we qualify more for His Spirit – which, in turn, makes us holier.
The Holy Ghost gives us testimony and understanding.
After Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery had been baptized, They were filled with the Holy Ghost. Of the experience Joseph Smith relates:
“…we were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.
“Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of…” Joseph Smith-History 1:73-74
Again, this is a marvelous blessing – the Lord knows that in order for you to receive Eternal Salvation, you need to know Him. He has given you the gift of the Holy Ghost so you can continue in your relationship with Him. The Holy Ghost will testify of the truths of the gospel to you. He will testify of the truth of all things.
In comparison to this example of Joseph Smith, I think of the pharisees, who were contemporaries of Christ. Supposedly, they were masters of their religion and the scriptures, yet they didn’t recognize Christ – their Messiah – when he came. I suppose that this is because they didn’t have the Spirit. When you have the gift of the Holy Ghost, you can gain testimony – you will come to know the Savior.
The Holy Ghost will help to guide you through your life.
You are a parent. I’m sure that you’ve had experiences where one of your children may have either desired your advice or expressed a certain desire. A simple example, My 18 month old always wants to get into my poison cupboard. I’m sure she’s attracted to the brightly colored cleaning solutions. They seem interesting to her. Yet I keep her away from them.
You know, as well as I do, that this is not to punish her. I don’t keep her from the poison to prove my power over her. I do it because I have more knowledge and experience than she does. I know that, despite how much she thinks she wants to play with the Windex, she really doesn’t – she doesn’t want to taste ammonia and be poisoned.
In some ways, we can relate this relationship with the one that we have with our Heavenly Father. Just as you have a broader perspective than your children do, Heavenly Father has a much broader perspective than you. In fact, His perspective is eternal.
He doesn’t intend on keeping his knowledge to Himself.
He has endowed you with the Gift of the Holy Ghost so that you can receive wisdom and impressions from time to time – according to his infinite wisdom.
Nephi teaches, “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.” (2 Nephi 32:5)
You can receive unique and specific guidance. The Lord will reveal His will for you to you, and He does this through the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Finally, the Holy Ghost comforts us.
I find this to be one of the most miraculous blessings on this earth. For a long time, however, I didn’t get it. I thought that this invisible gift was kind of silly. It was abstract and hard for me to understand. The truth is, I took the comfort of the Holy Ghost for granted. I didn’t realize how many people are searching for peace, for comfort. Perhaps that’s why some people self-medicate through drugs, or other addictive behaviors. Some people can’t find comfort at all. There are so many who suffer.
We may have trials, but we don’t have to suffer, instead, we can go to the Lord and receive His Peace and Comfort.
Jesus taught his disciples,
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
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.” – John 14:26-27
As we learn the things taught to us by the comforter, they will bring us comfort and peace. His influence will fill our souls with Hope. Even when we labor and are heavy laden, if we take upon us Christ’s yoke – as you have done today in the waters of baptism – we will find rest in our souls.
I know that the gift of the Holy Ghost is real. It is one of the greatest blessings I can think of – we can always have Him to be with us. As you learn to incorporate the Spirit in your life, you will feel of the power he has to sanctify you, you will see your testimony increase, you will be guided by His omniscient knowledge, and you will be comforted.