The Greatest Gift

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    We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. (A of F 1:1)

    After you are baptized, some one having the Melchizedek Priesthood lays his hands upon your head, pronounces your name, and confirms you a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then that person, usually assisted by other priesthood holders with the proper authority, invites the Holy Ghost to be your companion. If you live righteously, the Spirit of the Holy Ghost will abide with you whenever you need Him as a Protector, a Comforter, a Revelator, a Messenger of Truth from Heavenly Father and Jesus. There are other names, forms, and responsibilities the Holy Ghost assumes that are described in the following quotations:

    “Truly, all things are done by the power of the Holy Ghost.”

    —Joseph Fielding Smith

    “It [the Holy Ghost] inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation, and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is as it were marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”

    —Parley P. Pratt

    “There is a difference between the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Holy Ghost. Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was baptized, which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the Gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost until after he was baptized. Had he not taken this sign or ordinance upon him, the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God, would have left him. Until he obeyed these ordinances and received the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, according to the order of God, he could not have healed the sick or commanded an evil spirit to come out of a man.”

    Joseph Smith

    “The Lord gives to many of us the still small voice of revelation. It comes to each man for guidance in matters that pertain to his own life. For the Church as a whole it comes to those who have been ordained to speak for the Church as a whole.”

    —Heber J. Grant

    Recorded in the Manuscript History of Brigham Young, February 23, 1847, at Winter Quarters was a night vision or dream wherein the Prophet Joseph Smith talked to Brigham Young about the Holy Ghost:

    “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; 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; and their whole desire will be to do good, bring forth righteousness and build up the kingdom of God.

    “… 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 14:26

    Lorenzo Snow was baptized and confirmed in Kirtland, Ohio, when he was twenty-two years old. But he was disappointed that no miraculous manifestation (happening) took place after these ordinances were performed. Two or three weeks later, however, the young man, who was to become the fifth president of the Church, did have an unforgettable heaven-sent experience that he described in these words:

    “One day while engaged in my studies, I began to reflect upon the fact that I had not obtained a knowledge of the truth of the work … and I began to feel very uneasy. I laid aside my books, left the house, and wandered around through the fields under the oppressive influence of a gloomy disconsolate spirit, while an indescribable cloud of darkness seemed to envelop me.

    “I had been accustomed, at the close of the day, to retire for secret prayer, to a grove a short distance from my lodgings, but at this time I felt no inclination to do so. At length, I concluded I would not forego my evening service, and knelt as I was in the habit of doing, and in my accustomed retired place.

    “I had no sooner opened my lips in an effort to pray, than I heard a sound, just above my head, like the rustling of silken robes, and immediately the Spirit of God descended upon me, completely enveloping my whole person, filling me, from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and O, the joy and happiness I felt! No language can describe the almost instantaneous transition from a dense cloud of mental and spiritual darkness into [one] of light and knowledge. I then received a perfect knowledge that God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and of the restoration of the holy Priesthood, and the fulness of the Gospel. It was a complete baptism—a tangible immersion in the heavenly principle or element, the Holy Ghost; and even more real and physical in its effects upon every part of my system than the immersion by water; dispelling forever … all possibility of doubt … that the ‘Babe of Bethlehem’ is truly the Son of God; also the fact that He is now being revealed to the children of men, and communicating knowledge, the same as in the Apostolic times. I was perfectly satisfied, … for my expectations were more than realized.

    “That night, as I retired to rest, the same wonderful manifestations were repeated, and continued to be for several successive nights. The sweet remembrance of those glorious experiences … bring them fresh before me, imparting an inspiring influence which pervades my whole being.”

    “… the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”

    Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 [D&C 130:22]

    “The Holy Ghost is only given to men through their obedience to the Gospel of Christ; and every man who receives that spirit has a comforter within—a leader to dictate and guide him. This Spirit reveals, day by day, to every man who has faith, those things which are for his benefit.”

    —Wilford Woodruff