Lesson 30: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A, (2000), 223–29


The purpose of this lesson is to help us understand the great blessings that can come through the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Introduction

After we are baptized, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Concerning the gift of the Holy Ghost, President Lorenzo Snow counseled: “We should try to learn the nature of this spirit, that we may understand its suggestions, and then we will always be able to do right. … From the time we … [receive] the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend, if we do not drive it from us by doing wrong. That friend is the Holy Spirit” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1899, 52).

  • Show visual 30-a, “The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion.”

  • How is the Holy Ghost like a friend?

  • Have class members read John 14:16, 17, 26 and John 16:13. Why do we need the Holy Ghost to be our companion and friend? (List responses on the chalkboard. Answers may include the following.)

    Some of the ways the Holy Ghost helps us are:

    1. 1.

      He reveals the truth to us.

    2. 2.

      He helps teach us the gospel.

    3. 3.

      He helps us remember things.

    4. 4.

      He comforts us in times of sorrow.

    5. 5.

      He protects us from evil.

    6. 6.

      6. He inspires us as we teach the gospel in talks and lessons.

    7. 7.

      He warns us when we are in danger.

    8. 8.

      8. He tells us all things we should do.

Elder LeGrand Richards made this statement: “I would rather have my children and my children’s children enjoy the companionship of the Holy Ghost than any other companionship in this world because if they will heed the promptings of that Spirit, he will lead them into all truth and see them safely back into the presence of their Father in heaven” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1966, 112; or Improvement Era, June 1966, 540).

Because the guidance of the Holy Ghost is so important, we should do all we can to be worthy of His companionship.

Keeping the Holy Ghost with Us

There are many things we can do to keep the Holy Ghost with us. One way is to partake of the sacrament worthily. Each time we partake of the sacrament, we promise that we will obey the Lord’s commandments. If we keep our promise, the Lord has promised us that we can “always have his Spirit” with us. (See D&C 20:77.)

Another way to keep the Holy Ghost with us is to keep our bodies morally clean. The Apostle Paul taught that our bodies are like temples and that we must not defile them (see 1 Corinthians 3:16–17). The Holy Ghost cannot dwell in unclean temples; it is important, therefore, that we keep our bodies clean and pure in thought, speech, dress, and action, avoiding even the appearance of evil. Elder Melvin J. Ballard said, “The Holy Ghost is the most sensitive spirit I know anything about” (quoted in 1967–68 Priesthood Study Course: Deacons Quorum, 70). Because He is so sensitive, the Holy Ghost can be offended by what we may consider unimportant things.

To keep the Holy Ghost with us, we must live in harmony with those around us. Speaking to the Nephites, Christ said that the spirit of contention comes from the devil (see 3 Nephi 11:29). The Holy Ghost cannot dwell where disunity and disharmony exist. For this reason, arguing with our wife or quarreling with a brother or sister will drive the Holy Ghost away from us and from our homes.

The Prophet Joseph Smith, for example, could not receive any inspiration from the Lord unless he had the right feelings toward everyone. One morning he became upset about something his wife had done. Later, when he tried to translate some of the Book of Mormon, he found he could not. Concerned, he went to an orchard and prayed, and then he came back to the house and asked Emma’s forgiveness. Only then was he able to translate. (See B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:131.)

Our need for the Holy Ghost is just as great as the Prophet’s was. We need the Holy Ghost to guide us in our responsibilities and especially in directing our families. When our children do wrong, for example, we should not lose our tempers but should ask the Holy Ghost to direct us in correcting them (see D&C 121:43).

  • What are some things we do that prevent the Holy Ghost from being our companion? What can we do to keep His companionship?

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“The Holy Ghost will not dwell with that person who is unwilling to obey and keep the commandments of God. … In such a soul the spirit of the Holy Ghost cannot enter.

“That great gift comes to us only through humility and faith and obedience. … Did you ever stop to think what a great privilege it is for us to have the companionship of one of the members of the Godhead? Have you thought of it that way? That is our privilege, if we keep the commandments the Lord has given us” (“Fundamental Gospel Truths Balance Education For Students At BYU,” Church News, 4 Nov. 1961, 14).

Ways the Holy Ghost Helps Us

When we show by our faithfulness that we desire to have the Holy Ghost as our companion, He helps us in the following ways to live happier and better lives:

He Helps Us Be Better People

The Holy Ghost “inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity” (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology, 4th ed. [1877], 102).

He Shows Us What to Do

The Holy Ghost can help us make important decisions.

He Guides Us As We Serve in the Church

Elder Franklin D. Richards related how the Holy Ghost guided him: “I have heard the still small voice, or the whisperings of the Spirit, as I have counseled with you, my brothers and sisters; as I have conferred the priesthood upon men; as I have set men and women apart to positions in the Church; as I have given blessings to the sick; as I have borne my testimony to nonmembers as well as members; as I have been delivering a sermon, and at many other times” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 171–72; or Ensign, July 1973, 117).

He Warns Us

There are times when the Holy Ghost warns us of danger or temptation. Elder Franklin D. Richards told of a young father who “was awakened one night by a voice that clearly told him to get up and go downstairs. He heeded the warning, and in going into the kitchen he found one wall engulfed in flames. Hurriedly he awakened his family and called the fire department, and with the help of his family he fought the fire, keeping it down until the fire department arrived and put it out.

“There was no question in his mind that this warning was a manifestation of the protection the Holy Ghost can give to those who keep their lives in harmony with the Spirit” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 171; or Ensign, July 1973, 117).

He Can Comfort Us

One of the roles of the Holy Ghost is to be a comforter in times of pain or sorrow. At such times, the Holy Ghost can help us find peace and understanding. Elder Franklin D. Richards related the following experience: “It was my privilege to meet two wonderful women, close friends, who had lost their husbands in a tragic airplane accident. Did I find them in despair and deep mourning? No, indeed. I have never witnessed greater courage and strength. They bore witness to the fact that they had truly felt the comfort of the Spirit, … that they had an assurance that all would be well with them and their families as they lived close to the Church and kept the commandments of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1973, 171; or Ensign, July 1973, 117).

  • Share the following story with class members.

President Heber J. Grant told how the Holy Ghost brought knowledge and comfort to members of his family:

“About one hour before my wife died, I called my children into her room and told them that their mother was dying and for them to bid her good-bye. One of the little girls, about twelve years of age, said to me: ‘Papa, I do not want my mamma to die. I have been with you in the hospital … for six months; … [every time] mamma was in distress you had administered to her and she has been relieved of her pain and quietly gone to sleep. I want you to lay hands upon my mamma and heal her.’

“I told my little girl that we all had to die sometime, and that I felt assured in my heart that her mother’s time had arrived. She and the rest of the children left the room.

“I then knelt down by the bed of my wife (who by this time had lost consciousness) and I told the Lord I acknowledged His hand in life, in death, in joy, in sorrow, in prosperity, or adversity. I thanked Him for the knowledge I had that my wife belonged to me for all eternity. … But I told the Lord that I lacked the strength to have my wife die and to have it affect the faith of my little children … ; and I [asked] the Lord with all the strength that I possessed, that He would give to that little girl of mine a knowledge that it was His mind and His will that her mamma should die.

“Within an hour my wife passed away, and I called the children back into the room. My little boy about five and a half or six years of age was weeping bitterly, and the little girl twelve years of age took him in her arms and said: ‘Do not weep, do not cry, Heber; since we went out of this room the voice of the Lord from heaven has said to me, ‘In the death of your mamma the will of the Lord shall be done.’ …

“I … know that God hears and answers prayers! [I know] that in the hour of adversity the Latter-day Saints are comforted and blessed and consoled as no other people are!” (Gospel Standards, comp. G. Homer Durham [1941], 361).

He Testifies of the Truth

It is through the Holy Ghost that we receive our testimony of the gospel. In the same way, the Holy Ghost will help us know when our leaders are speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost. President Henry D. Moyle taught: “We can tell when the speakers are moved by the Holy Ghost only when we ourselves are moved upon by the Holy Ghost. Therefore, it is essential that the membership of the Church be just as diligent in their faith as their leaders” (“Revelation: Yesterday and Today,” Improvement Era, June 1962, 407).

  • Invite a previously assigned class member to relate an experience in which he felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Conclusion

The gift of the Holy Ghost is a great blessing given to those who have been confirmed members of the Church. If we live worthy of His companionship, He will help us to successfully complete our missions here on earth. He will do this by guiding us, protecting us, comforting us, and otherwise helping us in all areas of our lives.

Challenge

Seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost in your daily life. To know the areas in which you need to improve to have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. 1.

    Am I trying to keep all the commandments?

  2. 2.

    Am I praying regularly?

  3. 3.

    How am I showing my love for the Savior?

  4. 4.

    How am I showing my love for others?

  5. 5.

    Am I keeping my thoughts and actions pure?

  6. 6.

    Do I thank the Lord for His blessings, including the gift of the Holy Ghost?

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

    Read Gospel Principles chapter 21, “The Gift of the Holy Ghost.”

  2. 2.

    Invite a class member to prepare to relate an experience in which he felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

  3. 3.

    Assign class members to present any stories, scriptures, or quotations you wish.