This talk was given on the occasion of the baptism of Josephine Mae Hunter on 11 June 2011 in Annapolis Maryland.
“God does not send thunder if a still, small voice is enough” (“Notwithstanding My Weakness“, Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, November 1976, p.14)
President Howard W. Hunter, the fourteenth President of the Church once said,
Perhaps no promise in life is more reassuring than the promise of divine assistance and spiritual guidance in times of need. It is a gift that is freely given from heaven, a gift that we need from our earliest youth through the very latest days of our lives (Ensign, November 1968, p.59).
That free gift of which President Hunter spoke is the gift of the Holy Ghost which you will receive tomorrow during Sacrament meeting right after being confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones, and is often referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Comforter.
The Holy Ghost works in perfect unity with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, fulfilling several roles to help us live righteously and receive the blessings of the gospel. Some of those roles include:
The Holy Ghost “witnesses of the Father and the Son” as we learn in 2 Nephi 31:18 which reads,
And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
The Holy Ghost reveals and teaches “the truth of all things” and It is only by the power of the Holy Ghost that we can receive a sure testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. We learn of this in Moroni 10:4-7 which reads:
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.
As we strive to always choose the right and remain on the path that leads to eternal life, the Holy Ghost will guide us in our decisions and be a shield of protection for us against physical and spiritual danger.
It is also through the Holy Ghost that we can receive gifts of the Spirit for our benefit and for the benefit of those we love and serve. In Doctrine and Covenants 46:8-12 we read these words:
8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church.
11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
The Holy Ghost is the Comforter (John 14:26). As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whisperings of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of our life, and comfort us when we grieve. The Holy Ghost can fill us “with hope and perfect love” and “teach [us] the peaceable things of the kingdom” (Moroni 8:26; Doctrine and Covenants 36:2).
It is through the power of the Holy Ghost that we are sanctified as we repent, receive the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, and remain true to our covenants (See Mosiah 5:1-6; 3 Nephi 27:20; Moses 6:64-68).
And the Holy Ghost is also the Holy Spirit of Promise (See Ephesians 1:13; Doctrine and Covenants 132:7, 18-19, 26) confirming to us that the Priesthood ordinances that we have received and the covenants we have made are acceptable to God. This approval; however, depends on our continued faithfulness.
The gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the influence of the Holy Ghost in that before you were baptized I an confident that you felt the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time and that it was through that influence that you received a testimony of the truth. After you receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, you are entitled to His constant companionship as long as you remain faithful and keep the commandments.
Josephine, each of us face our own storms, as it were, in this life. Some of us face more storms than others. And when those storm winds begin to blow we long for not only shelter from the storm, but also for calmness and peace.
I testify that there is One who can give us that calmness and peace that we long for. Christ promised His disciples that He would not leave them comfortless, but that He would come to them. He also promised in John 14:16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”. I further testify that He makes that same promise to you and to me. As you remain faithful and true and are obedient to the commandments and the covenants which you make, you will always have the Great Comforter to be your guide and to give you peace in the midst of any storm that you may face. These things I know to be true and bear witness of them in the Sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.