Sermoncitos, a family tradition
The Holy Ghost
As Michael, our first father played a leadership role in the creation of the earth, but began his mortal life as Adam, having forgotten all. He had become like a little child. His transition to living on the earth was the Garden of Eden, where he enjoyed the presence of God, and he had time to solve problems, such as learning how to use the fruits and flowers that came abundantly. His transition from the paradise of that garden to the lone a dreary telestial world had one additional challenge, he was cut off from the companionship of God. He still had problems, more than ever before, and still needed solutions beyond his own power. Those challenges of earthlife were God’s gift to Adam. The greater the challenge, the more Adam needed God, the more humble he could become, and therefore always remember God. In his fallen state he could no longer be with God, so answers to his prayers came a new way: the ministration of angels and inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
“And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence...” Yet they received and obeyed commandments that God gave to them. Before receiving further guidance, Adam first had to be humbled by a great need. “And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam... [saying], ‘thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.’”
It was not the presence of God, but the need for God combined with his humility that allowed Adam to receive testimony of the Savior. “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam... And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled...” The Holy Ghost, which came after his suffering and time of need, was a greater gift to Adam and Eve than the voice of God in Paradise, or the ministration of angels to teach them correct principles. When they were ready to receive it, the Holy Ghost gave them understanding to deal with their current problems, hope for the future, and peace and joy in their hearts. ”And Eve, his wife, heard all these things and was glad, saying: Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (Moses 5: 4-11).
Our first parents give us the pattern: to help us stay close to God, He gives us problems beyond our own ability so that we will humble ourselves enough to seek Him. We should be like Adam and Eve, and learn to recognize this role of problems in our lives, yet as we become more independent, we sometimes become too proudful to follow this pattern. We need to become more like little children if we want the attention of the Holy Ghost. My youngest grandchild has this figured out. She knows how to call upon her parents, day and night, for all her needs. My elementary school grandchildren are more independent, yet they know to depend upon their parents for protection, and comfort, and are quick to obey. My teenage grandchildren suffer more, as their independence and pride makes them forget how valuable their parents (and the Spirit) can be.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
1. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God the Father in the Garden of Eden.
Adam talked with Heavenly Father.
Adam and Eve lost the presence of God when they left the Garden of Eden.
“And Adam and Eve, his wife, called upon the name of the Lord, and they heard the voice of the Lord from the way toward the Garden of Eden, speaking unto them, and they saw him not; for they were shut out from his presence”
Adam did not see God.
“And after many days an angel of the Lord appeared unto Adam... [saying], ‘thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.’”
Adam and Eve had faith, repented, and were baptized. “And in that day the Holy Ghost fell upon Adam... And in that day Adam blessed God and was filled...”
“By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5).
“When Jesus was baptized the Holy Ghost descended...upon him, and a voice (of the Father) came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased... (Luke 3:22).
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever, 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” (John 14: 16, 26).
The Holy Ghost teaches me.
When I pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost helps me learn, remember, and solve my problems. The Holy Spirit “...will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5).
The Holy Ghost helps me learn.
After I am baptized, I am confirmed a member of the church and given the “Gift of the Holy Ghost”.
I can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost.
To receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, I must have faith, repent, and be obedient to the commandments.
The Gift of the Holy Ghost
King Benjamin said that a man can be blessed if he “...yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father” (Mosiah 3:19). Thus we see that the Holy Spirit “...will show unto you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:5). However, even those who have received the Gift of the Holy Ghost must ask for the guidance of the Spirit, be obedient, and have faith in order to benefit from this gift (32:7).
Baptism is a first step, the door to the path, but we need guidance along the path (2 Nephi 33:9). John the Baptist said “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mghtier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; he shalll baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” Matthew 3:11). There are three members of the Godhead, each with a unique role, although on occasion they appear together: “When Jesus was baptized the Holy Ghost descended...upon him,, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Jesus promised that his followers could qualify to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost after his departure. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 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” (John 14: 16, 26).
Comfort may be one of the most important gifts of the spirit, but there are many, including miracles, prophecy, discernment and the gift of tongues in its various forms (1 Corinthians 12:10). We can ask for the gifts of the spirit (D&C 46:8), but we receive just those gifts that match God’s plan for us. For example, I have a limited gift of tongues. I first experienced this gift in January, 1968. I had studied Spanish for years, but could barely understand or communicate when I got to Costa Rica. Then one day my companion had laryngitis, and the family we were teaching had serious personal problems. I was astonished that I could understand everything they said, and could give counsel that lifted their spirits. Although the next day I was back to struggling to understand, I kept nourishing this gift and found that within one year I could understand everything, remember everyone, and communicate like a native speaker of Spanish. Since then I have kept practicing this gift daily, and can even translate, do simultaneous interpretation, read, write, and do creative work, including singing and composing new songs. It is an astonishing gift, and I assumed that this gift would equally apply to other languages. However, after struggling for 25 years with Navajo, the Spirit has gifted me with only the phonology and the ability to decode the written language. I can read so others can understand me, but it is only a partial gift, not like the gift I received for Spanish. Yet it is a valuable gift, as I can share the scriptures with others, and teach the Gospel terms in Navajo, a blessing to the struggling Lupton Branch.
The Gifts of the Spirit come individually, and on the Lord’s terms. Some have the gift to heal, others have the gift to be healed (D&C 46:19-20). D&C 42:43-52 explains this principle of blessing the sick: that some are healed, others are blessed in their death, and others are strengthened in their faith. Not everyone receives the gift of healing in the same way.
On a number of occasions I observed people receiving a powerful witness of the Spirit as they heard the testimony of the missionaries (James 1:5), then lose the testimony because they did not follow through on their insight (1:6-7). This begins with the spirit being present during the instruction (Moroni 10:9-10). Then the Spirit witnesses in an undeniable way. I have seen people deeply moved by the Spirit when only hearing the simple words of young men (D&C 6:22-23). Those who attend church, read the scriptures, pray, and strive to live the principles they learn, are blessed with baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost, an abiding strength which helps them stay on the path to Salvation (Alma 7:19-20).
May you always give thanks for the gifts of the Spirit you receive, work at recognizing and developing your gifts, and use them to bless others.