Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chapter 7: The Holy Ghost


One important thing to keep in mind with this lesson is that later, Chapter 21 is “The Gift of the Holy Ghost.” With this in mind, following the Spirit, sort through what you think ought to be taught here and what should be taught later.

Tremendous resources for this lesson can be found in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church:... (the old Priesthood/Relief Society manuals). Especially helpful will be the manuals for Brigham Young, p. 33, John Taylor, Chapter 17, Wilford Woodruff, Chapter 5, Joseph F. Smith, Chapter 8, Heber J. Grant, Chapter 20, Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 70-72, Harold B. Lee, pp. 32-33. Remember, these can all be found on “lds.org” by clicking on “Gospel Library” then “Lessons” then “Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society.” All of the manuals are listed at the bottom of this page.

Again, one of the greatest resources for this lesson is Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual. It can be found at the website “institute.lds.org” then click on “Institute Courses and Manuals.”

The principles of obedience and endurance could better understood in this section by discussing the idea that they were grandparents and had sacrificed for many long years before learning of the Atonement as discussed on p. 31 of this lesson (Moses 5:1-3).

The two verses (Moses 5:10-11) quoted in this section of the lesson are among the most beautiful scriptures we have concerning the blessings of the Fall.

Another terrific resource for any lesson is the “Scriptural Index to the Latter-day Prophets.” It is found at the website “scriptures.byu.edu.” A group of BYU professors have linked every scripture ever used in a conference addresses all the way back to Joseph Smith. Just go there and choose a scripture and then click on a speaker. The portion of the talk wherein that speaker used that scripture then pops up. Commenting on the above scripture (Moses 5:10-11) Elder Richard G. Scott comments:

(verse 10): Adam was thinking about his responsibilities. He was trying to align his performance with the desires of the Lord.

(verse 11): Eve’s response was characteristic of a woman. She embraced all, wanted to make sure that everyone was considered. One response was not more correct than the other. The two perspectives resulted from the traits inherent in men and women. The Lord intends that we use those differences to fulfill His plan for happiness, personal growth, and development. By counseling together they arrived at a broader, more correct understanding of truth. (Ensign, Nov 1996, 73)

The LDS Seminaries and Institutes not only have some of the finest manuals ever created in the Church, they are all on line at “institute.lds.org.” Among the best of these are the manuals for each of the Standard Works. From the Student Manual for The Pearl of Great Price comes the following from Joseph Smith concerning the Kingdom of God in Adam’s time:

Some say the kingdom of God was not set up on the earth until the day of Pentecost, and that John [the Baptist] did not preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. But I say, in the name of the Lord, that the kingdom of God was set up on the earth from the days of Adam to the present time, whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed His word and gave power and authority to administer in His name. (p. 16)


The first question asked in this section is:

“How does the Holy Ghost differ from the Father and the Son? Why is that difference important to us?”

From “Additional Scriptures” at the end of the lesson come some of the best scriptures which can be used in discussion of the answer to that question. My favorites for this would be 1 Nephi 33:1; D&C 8:2-3; and D&C 130:22.

From D&C 130:22 we learn that:

“…the Holy Ghost can…dwell in us.”

In 1 Nephi 33:1 we are taught that:

…when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.

And in D&C 8:2 Jesus Christ says:

Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.

These ideas would be good to discuss as to how the Holy Ghost differs from the Father and the Son and why that difference is important to us.

Concerning D&C 8:2, President Boyd K. Packer states simply that:

This guidance comes as thoughts, as feelings through promptings and impressions. (Ensign, Nov 2009, 43)

I found the above quote by looking in “Scriptural Index to the Latter-day Prophets” referred to above, under “D&C 8:2” and then clicked on the first one there. It is (09—O, 46, BKP), which is short for 2009—October (conference), p. 46 (in Ensign) and Boyd K. Packer.

Those of us who tend more to the brain side and put more trust in thoughts than in feelings probably need to pay more attention to the heart and vice versa.

In John 14:26 the Savior teaches that the Holy Ghost:

…shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance…

While Jesus finished that sentence with “…whatsoever I have said unto you” the Holy Ghost apparently can bring other things to our remembrance from premortal existence, as taught by Elder Glenn L. Pace:

We first learned the gospel in our heavenly home. We have come to this earth with a veil of forgetfulness. And yet lingering in each of our spirits are those dormant memories.
The Holy Ghost can part the veil and bring those things out of their dormancy. Often my reaction to a supposedly newfound truth is, “Oh, I remember that!” [he then quotes John 14:26]. (Ensign, May 2007, 79)

President Marion G. Romney, of the First Presidency, quotes an interesting insight to the Holy Ghost as given by Elder James E. Talmage:

That the [Holy Ghost] is capable of manifesting Himself in the form and figure of man is indicated by the wonderful interview between the Spirit and Nephi, in which He revealed Himself to the prophet, questioned him concerning his desires and belief, instructed him in the things of God, speaking face to face with the man [then Elder Talmage quotes 1 Nephi 11:11]. (Ensign, May 1974, 90)

So the Holy Ghost would look like a man. When He does get His body, it will look like His Spirit. This doctrine is in accordance with D&C 77:2 which explains that our spirit is like our body:

…the spirit of man in the likeness of his person…

From Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual, Joseph Fielding Smith explains about the influence of the Holy Ghost:

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Spirit, in the form of a man. . . . The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, and has a spirit body only. His mission is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth.
As a Spirit personage the Holy Ghost has size and dimensions. He does not fill the immensity of space, and cannot be everywhere present in person at the same time. He is also called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of Truth, and the Comforter. (p. 11)


This is an exciting section of the lesson to understand. In the current Ensign, Elder David A. Bednar proclaims.

We are assisted in learning of and listening to the words of Christ by the Holy Ghost, even the third member of the Godhead. The Holy Ghost reveals and witnesses the truth of all things and brings all things to our remembrance (see John 14:26, 16:13; Moroni 10:5; D&C 39:6). The Holy Ghost is the teacher who kindles within us an abiding love of and for learning. (Ensign, Feb 2010, 26)

Hopefully we can learn and teach this material with that “abiding love.”

This section of the lesson quotes 1 Corinthians 12:3 as:

No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

Turning to the New Testament Institute Student Manual at “institute.lds.org” we find the following:

The Prophet Joseph Smith said that 1 Corinthians 12:3 should be translated “no man can know that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” (Teachings, p. 223. Italics added.)

How grateful we should to be, that through the Holy Ghost we can “know” instead of just “say” that Jesus is the Christ. Christ is the center of the Father’s plan and we only can know Christ through the mission of the Holy Ghost.

The New Testament Institute Student Manual is the hardest one to navigate. You need to first click on the “Appendix Section” and then click on “Scripture Index” to scroll down to locate the scripture you are studying and then click on the section of the manual where it is found. For this verse, you need to click on the second one listed for 1 Corinthians 12:3 (36 -1) to locate this quote. Yeah, it is extra trouble, but in this case, easily see to be worth it.

An important principle for us to understand about the fact that one of the most important missions of the Holy Ghost is to lead us to a knowledge of Jesus Christ is the following from Doctrines of the Gospel Institute Student Manual. Joseph Smith explained:

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. (p. 44)

So apparently, the Holy Ghost leads, if we choose, to the Gift of the Holy Ghost. But if we do not choose, the Holy Ghost will leave us.

P. 33 of this section has two powerful quotes concerning the power of the witness of the Holy Ghost. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin adds his testimony:

He is a revelator and teacher who conveys information to our spirits with far more certainty than is possible by our natural senses. (Ensign, Nov 1994, 75)

President James E. Faust takes it one step further:

…every person must have a spiritual confirmation by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is more powerful than all the senses combined. (Ensign, Nov 2003, 19)

Brigham Young struggled for two years as to whether or not Mormonism was true. In the heading of chapter 43 in the old Priesthood/Relief Society manual is recorded:

President Brigham Young’s search for the truth of God was finally resolved by the sincere and simple testimony of a “man without eloquence…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.’ ” Said President Young, “The Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 315)

An optional part of this lesson could be a discussion about what President McKay calls “The Dual Nature of Man” in Chapter 2 of Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay. A great scripture to preface this discussion is Galations 5:16-17.

Concerning this, Joseph Smith declared:

All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all; and those revelations which will save our spirits will save our bodies. God reveals them to us in view of no eternal dissolution of the body, or tabernacle (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6: 312 - 313).

So the Holy Ghost speaks to our spirits, not our bodies.

Brigham Young then stated:

You are aware that many think that the devil has rule and power over both body and spirit. Now, I want to tell you that he does not hold any power over man, only so far as the body overcomes the spirit that is in a man, through yielding to the spirit of evil. The spirit that the Lord puts into a tabernacle of flesh is under the dictation of the Lord Almighty; but the spirit and body are united in order that the spirit may have a tabernacle, and be exalted; and the spirit is influenced by the body, and the body by the spirit.
In the first place the spirit is pure, and under the special control and influence of the Lord, but the body is of the earth, and is subject to the power of the devil, and is under the mighty influence of that fallen nature that is of the earth. If the spirit yields to the body, the devil then has power to overcome both the body and spirit of that man, and he loses both.
Recollect, brethren and sisters, every one of you, that when evil is suggested to you, when it arises in your hearts, it is through the temporal organization. When you are tempted, buffeted, and step out of the way inadvertently: when you are overtaken in a fault, or commit an overt act unthinkingly; when you are full of evil passion, and wish to yield to it, then stop and let the spirit, which God has put into your tabernacles, take the lead. If you do that, I will promise that you will overcome all evil, and obtain eternal lives. But many, very many, let the spirit yield to the body, and are overcome and destroyed.
The influence of the enemy has power over all such. Those who overcome every passion, and every evil, will be sanctified, and be prepared to enjoy eternity with the blessed. If you have never thought of this before, try to realize it now. Let it rest upon your minds, and see if you can discover in yourselves the operations of the spirit and the body, which constitute the man. Continually and righteously watch the spirit that the Lord has put in you, and I will promise you to be led into righteousness, holiness, peace, and good order.
But let the body rise up with its passions, with the fallen nature pertaining to it, and let the spirit yield to it, your destruction is sure. On the other hand, let the spirit take the lead, and bring the body and its passions into subjection, and you are safe (Journal of Discourses, 2: 256).

David O. McKay also taught in Conference:

Man has a dual nature—one, related to the earthly or animal life—the other the spiritual life, akin to the divine. Man's body is but the tabernacle in which his spirit dwells. Too many, far too many, are prone to regard the body as the man and consequently, to direct their efforts to the gratifying of the body's pleasures, its appetites, its desires, its passions. Too few recognize that the real man is an immortal spirit which "intelligence or light of truth" was animated as an individual entity, with all its distinguishing traits, will continue after the body ceases to respond to its earthly environment.
Whether a man remains satisfied within what we designate the animal world, satisfied with what the animal world will give him, yielding without effort to the whim of his appetites and passions, and slipping further and further into the realm of indulgence or whether, through self-mastery, he rises toward intellectual, moral, and spiritual enjoyments depends upon the kind of choice he makes every day—nay, every hour of his life (Conference Report, April 1967).

The following chart illustrates what Elder William R. Bradford taught my brother Byron when he served as my brother’s Mission President (you can complete the circles when you draw the diagram on the board):

God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ have spoken to prophets, but rarely talk face-to-face with mortal man. Fallen man generally communes with the third member of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost (see D&C 130:22-23, Moroni 10:17, D&C 50:13-14). Satan also tempts man (see Moses 5:13, 2 Nephi 28:21, and Alma 30:53). Since both are spirits, they speak “by the spirit” (one a good spirit, one an evil one) to man. There is a gate, which shuts one or the other out. The handle is on our side. If we shut the Holy Ghost out, then we automatically open the door to Satan’s temptations. If we shut Satan out, then the Holy Ghost can commune with us. There is something that President Bradford did not show in his diagram that my brother and I think should be added. We think that for fallen man, there is a spring on the gate, making it harder to shut Satan out than to keep it open to the Holy Ghost. However, shutting Satan out and listening to the Holy Ghost is crucial to progressing and becoming like God.

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