This talk was given on the occasion of the baptism of Patrick Tambu and Bintu Esther Mbayoh on Saturday morning, 29 October 2011, in Annapolis Maryland.
The Holy Ghost is “a personage of Spirit” (See Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). He does not have a body of flesh and bones. His mission is to bear witness of the Father and the Son and of all truth. The Holy Ghost also purifies, or sanctifies, us to prepare us to dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father.
Prior to your baptism, as you were investigating the Church, you were guided by the influence of the Holy Ghost. It was that influence that witnessed to each of you that the teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church are true, and has brought you to where you are today. However, the Holy Ghost will not stay with a person until they have been baptized and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is the gift of the Holy Ghost that gives a person who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ, been baptized, and been confirmed a member of the Church, the privilege to receive continual guidance and inspiration from the Holy Ghost predicated upon their faithfulness and obedience.
In a few moments you will enter the waters of baptism, and tomorrow morning during Sacrament meeting members of the Priesthood will gather around you, place their hands on your head, and confirm you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and then you will be given the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I like the way Elder David B. Haight described the gift of the Holy Ghost. He said,“The gift of the Holy Ghost is a priceless possession and opens the door to our ongoing knowledge of God and eternal joy. (Ensign, November 1989, p.61.) And Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught, “The gift of the Holy Ghost is the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead based on faithfulness. It is the right to receive revelation, to see visions, to be in tune with the Infinite. (Ensign, November 1977, p. 33.) And so, in order to be worthy to have the help of the Holy Ghost, we must keep our thoughts and actions pure and seek earnestly to obey the commandments of God.
The Holy Ghost usually communicates with us quietly. His influence is often referred to as a “still small voice” (See 1 Kings 19:9–12; Helaman 5:30; Doctrine and Covenants 85:6). President Boyd K. Packer explained: “The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear. … While we speak of ‘listening’ to the whisperings of the Spirit, most often one describes a spiritual prompting by saying, ‘I had a feeling …’” He continued: “This voice of the Spirit speaks gently, prompting you what to do or what to say, or it may caution or warn you” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1994, 77; or Ensign, Nov. 1994, 60).
The gift of the Holy Ghost is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. Through the Holy Ghost we may gain a testimony that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that His Church has been restored in its fullness upon the earth today.
In the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 32:5, we are taught, “For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way (that way is baptism), and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.”
This precious gift from our Heavenly Father can also bring peace to our hearts and an understanding of the things of God. In the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 we read:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
I conclude my remarks with the words of Elder Bruce R. McConkie who taught:
There is nothing as important as having the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Those who first receive this endowment and then remain in tune with this member of the Eternal Godhead will receive a peace and a comfort that passeth all understanding; they will be guided and preserved in ways that are miraculous; they will be instructed until they receive all truth; they will sanctify their souls so as to dwell spotless before the Sinless One in His Everlasting Kingdom. (“A New Witness For The Articles Of Faith,” Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985, p. 253.)
I add my personal witness and testimony that I know these things are true and leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.