I gave a talk in my ward on Sunday. I am posting my talk outline (essentially a list of statements and scriptures). If you read it and was present, you will notice there are some things that are not in the outline that I said, and some things in the outline that I did not include. Either way, enjoy!
The Holy Ghost
Sacrament Meeting Talk
August 17, 2008
Scriptures to Consider: D&C 121:44-46
3 Nephi 9:20
3 Nephi 17:1-3
3 Nephi 19:9
I am afraid that my words will not allow me to be as eloquent as my feelings.
Relate the events of Christ’s visit to the Nephites and what happened all night and the next day and what they prayed for: the Holy Ghost.
We have just finished the sacrament. In the simple prayer uttered by our Priests, who are good young men, they plead that the Spirit will always be with us. A friend of mine once remarked, if God had a favorite scripture, what would it be? Possibly the sacrament prayers.
Joseph Smith appearing to Brigham Young.
I met with the brethren of the Twelve in the Historian’s office. Conversation ensued relative to emigration westward. I related the following dream:
While sick and asleep about noon-day of the 17th [of February], I dreamed that I went to see Joseph. He looked perfectly natural, sitting with his feet on the lower [rung] of his chair. I took hold of his right hand and kissed it many times, and said to him; “Why is it that we cannot be together as we used to be? You have been from us a long time, and we want your society and I do not like to be separated from you.”
Joseph, rising from his chair and looking at me with his usual, earnest, expressive and pleasing countenance said, “It is all right…we cannot be together yet; we shall be by and by; but you will have to do without me awhile, and then we shall be together again.”
…. I said, “Brother Joseph, the brethren you know well, better than I do; you raised them up, and brought the Priesthood to us. The brethren have a great anxiety to understand the law of adoption or the sealing principles, and if you have a word of counsel for me I should be glad to receive it.
Joseph stepped toward me, and looking very earnestly, yet pleasantly said, “Tell the people to be humble and faithful, and be sure to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful and not turn away the small still voice; it will teach you what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom. Tell the brethren to keep their hearts open to conviction, so that when the Holy Ghost comes to them, their hearts will be ready to receive it. They can tell the spirit of the Lord from all other spirits; it will whisper peace and joy to their souls; it will take malice, hatred, strife and all evil, from their hearts; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God. Tell the brethren if they will follow the spirit of the Lord they will go right. Be sure to tell the people to keep the Spirit of the Lord.” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1847-1850, Collier’s Publishing Co. Salt Lake City, 1997, p. 34-36.)
On another occasion, The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:
"You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost" (History of the Church, 5:499)
Elder Bednar taught:
“Brothers and sisters, if you and I would distinguish our personal emotions from the impressions placed in our hearts and minds by the Holy Ghost, then we must desire and seek, ask and discern, hear and obey, and then again desire and seek and ask and discern and hear and obey. Our faith and diligence and obedience are ongoing invitations for additional spiritual knowledge and insight. Faith leads to obedience which yields wisdom and an even greater desire for added light and truth.
“The process of discerning between our will and God's will becomes less and less of a concern as time goes by and as we strive to rid ourselves of worldliness—and thereby cultivate the spirit of revelation in our lives. That is, as we mature spiritually, we begin to develop sound judgment, a refined and educated conscience, and a heart and mind filled with wisdom. It is not just that we have grown older, nor have we simply become smarter and had more experiences on which to draw, as important as those experiences are. Rather, the Holy Ghost has over time been expanding our intellect, forming our feelings, sharpening and elevating our perspective, such that we increasingly think and feel and act as the Lord would under similar circumstances. In short, we have made steady progress in obtaining ‘the mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16).
“This ongoing cycle of gaining spiritual knowledge ultimately produces a precious and delicious fruit, but that fruit cannot and does not grow from a blossom to its ripened state overnight. Furthermore, such fruit cannot grow in barren soil. Obedience to God's commandments and our personal integrity and adherence to commitments such as the honor and dress codes at BYU-Idaho provide the needed nutrients for fertile spiritual soil. It should be obvious to all of us that evil influences such as filthy language, immodest clothing and appearance, and pornography are bitter poisons that kill the soil and halt the spiritually subtle process of receiving help from heaven ‘...line upon line, precept upon precept....’ There can be no shortcut around the law of the harvest; truly, we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7).” (“…Line Upon Line, Precept Upon Precept…” 2 Nephi 28:30, BYU-I Devotional, September 11, 2001.)
What does the Holy Ghost do?
• The Holy Ghost enlarges our minds,
• our hearts,
• and our understanding;
• helps us subdue weaknesses and resist temptation;
• inspires humility and repentance;
• guides and protects us in miraculous ways;
• and gifts us with wisdom,
• divine encouragement,
• peace of mind,
• a desire to change,
• and the ability to differentiate between the philosophies of men and revealed truth.
• The Holy Ghost is the minister and messenger of the Father and the Son,
• and He testifies of both Their glorious, global reality
• and Their connection to us personally.
• Without the presence of the Spirit, it is impossible to comprehend our personal mission
• or to have the reassurance that our course is right.
• No mortal comfort can duplicate that of the Comforter.
Beware of imitations. Satan, without a doubt, has his counterfeits. The best way to discern between the Spirit and the devil is what does the influence cause you to do?
• Entice or compel?
• Invite or force?
• Love or hate?
Said President Hinckley,
"There is no greater blessing that can come into our lives than . . . the companionship of the Holy Spirit" (Boston Massachusetts Regional Conference, 22 Apr. 1995; emphasis added).
Brigham Young lamented:
"[We] may have the Spirit of the Lord to . . . direct [us]. . . . I am satisfied, however, that, in this respect, we live far beneath our privileges" (Deseret News Semi-Weekly, 3 Dec. 1867, 2).
Things to erase from our lives so that we can feel the presence of the Holy Ghost:
• Foul language
• Impure thoughts
• Inappropriate media
We live in a day in which we are bombarded by information. A simply visit to the World Wide Web can take us to all sorts of information. As you view material that is Church-related, please be discerning. Listen to your feelings as you read. Do you feel the presence or absence of the Holy Ghost?
Joseph Smith once referred to the Holy Ghost as,
“God the Third, the witness or testator.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 65)
Ask yourself the following questions:
• When is the last time I know I felt the influence of the Holy Ghost?
• Are there things in my life that need to be removed so I can feel His presence stronger?
I feel the Holy Ghost. I love the way he makes me feel.