Elder Oaks Speaks on Revelation and Gift of Holy Ghost
By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News assistant editor
Teaching by the Holy Spirit is fundamental to missionary work, said Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve during the 2013 Seminar for New Mission Presidents on June 24.
“We teach as directed by the Spirit of the Lord,” he said.
Speaking without a prepared text, Elder Oaks addressed the topic of revelation and the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Elder Oaks said that at the beginning of the conference for new mission presidents 27 years ago, President Ezra Taft Benson said: “I have said so many times to my brethren that the Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit and magnifying your call, you can do miracles for the Lord in the mission field. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed, regardless of your talent and ability.”
The Spirit referred to by President Benson is the Holy Ghost, Elder Oaks said. It is also referred to as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Truth, and the Comforter.
Elder Oaks said President Wilford Woodruff called the gift of the Holy Ghost “the greatest gift that we can receive in mortality.”
He also noted that Elder LeGrand Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve, in a talk in 1979, said the gift of the Holy Ghost is as important to man as sunshine and water are to plants.
The scriptures have great teachings about the mission of the Holy Ghost, Elder Oaks said. “The Savior told His early Apostles that the Comforter would teach you all things and guide you into all truth. In modern revelation we read that the Comforter knoweth all things and He showeth all things.”
Elder Oaks said the most important function of the Holy Ghost, described again and again in the scriptures, is to testify of the Father and the Son.
Quoting President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Oaks said the Holy Ghost will give Church members the words they should speak.
“All of this underlines the importance of our acting under the influence of the Holy Ghost,” he said.
Elder Oaks said members must constantly earn the companionship of the Holy Ghost through obedience and worthiness. “When we consciously and sincerely renew our baptismal covenants as we partake of the sacrament, we renew our qualification for the promise that we may always have His Spirit to be with us.”
Any who think it is a small thing to partake of the sacrament are not conscious of the full significance of it, he said. Latter-day Saints should remember “the Lord’s declaration that the foundation of a great work is laid upon small things, ‘for out of small things proceedeth that which is great.’”
Elder Oaks said members and missionaries cannot take the gift of the Holy Ghost for granted. “The sacrament and the weekly partaking of it and the conscious renewal of our covenants by so doing is fundamental to the process of revelation, to the ability to teach by the Spirit.”
Elder Oaks concluded with a scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 11, which was received in May 1829, a year before the Church was organized and at a time when the Lord was teaching Joseph Smith spiritual fundamentals. That passage prophesies that “a great and marvelous work is about to come forth” and contains the Lord’s promise, “I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind” (see vv. 1–14).
Elder Oaks closed by saying, “I testify of the fundamental nature of the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, sent to be in fellowship [with] each one of us, to testify of the Father and of the Son, and in that revelatory function connect us to our Heavenly Father and to our Savior, to lead us into truth.”