Lesson 4: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, (2000), 29–36


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

Why We Need the Gift of the Holy Ghost

Before we were baptized and confirmed members of the Church, the Holy Ghost came to us at times. For example, if we were taught by the missionaries, the Holy Ghost gave us a good feeling about the gospel and helped us understand and accept the gospel. But we did not have the privilege of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost until after we were baptized and confirmed. At that time, we were given the gift of the Holy Ghost through the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

The Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts we can enjoy on earth. President Lorenzo Snow said that “from the time we receive … the gift of the Holy Ghost, we have a friend” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1899, 52).

  • In what way is the Holy Ghost a desirable companion?

  • Display visual 4-a, “A young woman being confirmed a member of the Church and receiving the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.”

  • Have class members read John 14:16–17, 26 and John 16:13. What are some reasons we need the Holy Ghost to be our companion? Allow the sisters time to answer; then display a poster of the following list or refer to the information on the chalkboard:

    1. 1.

      He helps us teach and receive the gospel.

    2. 2.

      He helps us remember things.

    3. 3.

      He protects us from evil.

    4. 4.

      He warns us when we are in danger.

    5. 5.

      He tells us all things we should do.

    6. 6.

      He has a cleansing and sanctifying power.

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).

The Holy Ghost is a very desirable companion. We should do all we can to keep Him as our companion.

  • Read 2 Nephi 32:5. What does this scripture teach us about the companionship of the Holy Ghost? In what other ways is the Holy Ghost a desirable companion?

How to Keep the Holy Ghost with Us

Keeping the commandments will help us keep the Holy Ghost with us. Each time we partake of the sacrament, we promise to obey the Lord’s commandments. If we keep our promise, the Lord has promised us that we can “always have his Spirit” to be with us. (See D&C 20:77.)

The Lord has also asked us to keep ourselves morally clean. He has told us that our bodies are like temples. As we keep our bodies clean and pure in thought, speech, dress, and action, the Holy Ghost will be with us. (See 1 Corinthians 3:16–17.) We must avoid every form of evil, including the appearance of evil.

The Holy Ghost can be offended by what we may consider “little things.” In 3 Nephi 11:29 we learn that contention comes from the devil. Contention means that we do not have unity or harmony. If we argue and quarrel, the Holy Ghost leaves. Although arguing with a husband, a child, or a brother or sister may not be a serious sin, it does drive the Holy Ghost away.

The Prophet Joseph Smith could not receive inspiration from the Spirit unless he had the right feelings toward everyone. One morning he became upset about something his wife had done. When Joseph tried to translate some of the Book of Mormon, he could not, so he went to the orchard and prayed. Later, he came back and asked for Emma’s forgiveness. Only then was he able to translate. (See statement by David Whitmer, 15 Sept. 1882, in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:131.)

When our children do wrong, we should not lose our tempers. We should let the Holy Ghost direct us in correcting our children. (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 have His companionship? List the responses in two separate columns on the chalkboard.

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).

How the Holy Ghost Helps Us

When we show by our faithfulness that we desire to have the Holy Ghost as our companion, He will help us in many ways.

He Helps Us Have Happier Families

The Holy Ghost “inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness, and charity” (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology,  100). When we and our family members develop these qualities, we have more harmony in the home.

He Shows Us What to Do

The Holy Ghost can help us make important decisions and help us know what to do.

He Helps Us Grow in the Church

Elder Franklin D. Richards told how the Holy Ghost had 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

Sometimes the Holy Ghost warns us of danger or temptation. Elder Franklin D. Richards told of a young father’s experience:

“He 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, called the fire department, and with the help of his family 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).

  • Since receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, have you had an experience where He warned you of temptation or danger?

He Comforts Us

Many people have testified of the comforting spirit they have felt in times of pain or sorrow. The Holy Ghost has helped them to find peace and understanding.

Elder Franklin D. Richards told 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 both bore witness to the fact that they had truly felt the comfort of the Spirit, … and 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).

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; time and time again when 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 supplicated the Lord with all the strength that I possessed … [to] 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 of 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”’” (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.

A Jewish woman who was interested in learning about the Church went to the public library and checked out the book Gospel Doctrine, by Joseph F. Smith. While reading the book she had a strong desire to learn more. She decided to visit a Latter-day Saint church. She said:

“Being married at that time, I asked my husband to take me to the Mormon Church. I clearly remember hesitating at the entrance of the chapel for fear I would see a crucifix. What joy flooded over me when, upon entering, I saw a chapel full only of warm, friendly people. The whole Sunday School service made me feel as if I had come home after a long journey.

“After the service we were told that there were classes for everybody, and we were asked to attend one that I later learned was called the investigators class. The particular lesson that Sunday was about the organization of the Church. When the office of bishop was mentioned, the teacher explained, I guess out of deference to my husband and myself, that a bishop was like a rabbi. Afterwards, when he was showing us around the meetinghouse, I said to him, ‘I hope you don’t mind my pointing this out, but a bishop in your church is not at all like a rabbi. A rabbi is simply a teacher, whereas your bishop has the authority of God.’

“I was totally surprised to hear myself say that. And that was to be only the beginning. At that time I had no idea of the source of my ‘knowing’ those things. It was true that I had just finished Gospel Doctrine, but two days of reading is not long enough to intellectually absorb 543 pages of new ideas and concepts. Later I learned that it is the insights of the heart—the confirmation of the Spirit—that transform knowledge into understanding” (Renée Pool Vorhaus, “The God of My Fathers,” Ensign, Feb. 1978, 20).

Through the Holy Ghost we may know when the prophet of God reveals the truth. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. taught that “we can tell when the speakers are ‘moved by the Holy Ghost’ only when we, ourselves, are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’” (Church News, 31 July 1954, 9). It is important that we live so that the Holy Ghost can be our constant companion and guide us in discerning truth.

The blessings of the Holy Ghost are real. These blessings are available to us as members of the Church if we will seek them righteously.

  • Invite class members to tell about a time when they felt the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Conclusion

The gift of the Holy Ghost is a great blessing. It is given to those who have been confirmed members of the Church. This Spirit is essential for us to complete our mission successfully here on earth. The Holy Ghost will help us in all areas of our lives if we will be worthy of His companionship.

Challenge

Seek the companionship of the Holy Ghost in your daily life. Make a goal to improve in one or more of the following ways.

  1. 1.

    Trying to keep all the commandments

  2. 2.

    Praying regularly

  3. 3.

    Showing love for the Savior

  4. 4.

    Serving others

  5. 5.

    Keeping your thoughts and actions pure

  6. 6.

    Thanking the Lord for His blessings and for the gift of the Holy Ghost

Additional Scriptures

Teacher Preparation

Before presenting this lesson:

  1. 1.

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

  2. 2.

    Prepare the poster suggested in the lesson or write the information on the chalkboard.

  3. 3.

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