Chapter 10: The Influence of the Holy Ghost

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, (1997), 66–69


President Brigham Young said: “When I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, ‘I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of the Lord,’ the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminate[d] my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality [were] before me.” He said that he was encircled and filled by them, and he knew for himself that the testimony of the man was true (DNW, 9 Feb. 1854, 4). President Young taught that the Holy Ghost is “the special gift of the Father” (DBY, 160), given according to our faithfulness, and can teach us all things and lead us to perfection.

Teachings of Brigham Young

The Holy Ghost is a gift from God that we enjoy according to God’s wisdom and our faithfulness.

To understand the first principles of the Gospel—to rightly understand them, a man must have the wisdom that comes from above; he must be enlightened by the Holy Ghost; his mind must be in open vision; he must enjoy the blessings of salvation himself, in order to impart them to others (DBY, 152).

What is required of us as soon as we come to the years of accountability? It is required of us, for it is an institution of heaven, the origin of which you and I cannot tell, for the simple reason that it has no beginning, it is from eternity to eternity—it is required of us to go down into the waters of baptism. Here is a fountain or element, typical of the purity of the eternities. Go down into the waters, and there be baptized for the remission of sins, and then have hands laid upon us to confirm us members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then receive the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Ghost (DBY, 159).

In the New Testament and Book of Mormon, we learn that when the Gospel is preached the people are taught to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, to repent of their sins, be baptized for the remission of sin, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; the Holy Ghost is then the special gift of the Father and is his minister. He also gives intelligence by angels, as well as by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and by opening the minds of the Saints to behold in vision things as they are in eternity. When true doctrines are advanced, though they may be new to the hearers, yet the principles contained therein are perfectly natural and easy to be understood, so much so that the hearers often imagine that they had always known them. This arises from the influence of the Spirit of Truth upon the spirit of intelligence that is within each person [see D&C 6:15]. The influence that comes from heaven is all the time teaching the children of men (DBY, 160).

The gifts of the Gospel are given to strengthen the faith of the believer (DBY, 161).

We believe we are entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost … according to the discretion and wisdom of God and our faithfulness; which gift brings all things to our remembrance, past, present, and to come, that are necessary for us to know, and as far as our minds are prepared to receive the knowledge of God revealed by that all-wise Agent. The Holy Ghost is God’s minister, and is delegated to visit the sons and daughters of men. All intelligent beings pertaining to this earth are instructed from the same source (DBY, 160–61).

woman being confirmed

President Young taught that the gift of the Holy Ghost “brings all things to our remembrance … that are necessary for us to know” for our salvation (DBY, 160).

Listening to and acting on the promptings of the Holy Ghost can lead us to perfection.

My knowledge is, if you will follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his Apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, every man and woman will be put in possession of the Holy Ghost. … They will know things that are, that will be, and that have been. They will understand things in heaven, things on the earth, and things under the earth, things of time, and things of eternity, according to their several callings and capacities (DBY, 161).

If you want the mind and will of God … , get it, it is just as much your privilege as of any other member of the Church and Kingdom of God. It is your privilege and duty to live so that you know when the word of the Lord is spoken to you and when the mind of the Lord is revealed to you. I say it is your duty to live so as to know and understand all these things (DBY, 163).

Then live according to every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, through those men whom he has appointed here upon the earth, until we are perfect (DBY, 159).

Suggestions for Study

The Holy Ghost is a gift from God that we enjoy according to God’s wisdom and our faithfulness.

  • What must a man possess to “rightly understand” the first principles of the gospel? Why? (See also Isaiah 55:8–9.)

  • According to President Young, “when the Gospel is preached” what are the people taught? What have these blessings, which come from being taught the gospel, meant in your life?

  • What is the role of the Holy Ghost in your life? Why does the influence of the Holy Ghost cause new doctrines to seem familiar? How can you tell whether feelings, ideas, and intuitions are from your own heart and mind or from the Holy Ghost?

  • According to President Young, to what extent are we “entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost”? What are the dangers of living without the influence of the Holy Ghost or under the influence of ungodly sources of knowledge?

  • What things did President Young say that the Holy Ghost can help us know? What is our responsibility for obtaining such knowledge? What is our responsibility once we have obtained this knowledge?

Listening to and acting on the promptings of the Holy Ghost can lead us to perfection.

  • How can we know “the mind and will of God”? Why is knowing this important? What blessings come from seeking and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost and God’s appointed servants?

  • What experiences have you or others had that help you believe that the Holy Ghost can help you understand and obey the mind and will of God in your daily life? (See also 1 Nephi 22:2 and 2 Nephi 32:2–3.)