The Universal Holy Ghost

Brian Johnstonchristianity, God, Mormon, mormon 22 Comments

What is the Gift of the Holy Ghost? We have a lesson or two about this each year in our Church classes. People have lots of great ideas, but I sometimes feel it doesn’t quite pin down what I observe when I look around me in life. I’m not saying our Mormon answer is wrong, but I think there is more to it than the short answers we discuss skimming the surface of this topic.

Here’s the description from the LDS Church website:

“The Gift of the Holy Ghost
[ Gospel Library, Gospel Topics, Holy Ghost, Additional Information]

All honest seekers of the truth can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, leading them to Jesus Christ and His gospel. However, the fullness of the blessings given through the Holy Ghost are available only to those who receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and remain worthy.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is different from the influence of the Holy Ghost. Before baptism, a person can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost from time to time and through that influence can receive a testimony of the truth. After receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, a person has the right to the constant companionship of that member of the Godhead if he or she keeps the commandments. “

I run into problems with the constant companion idea as the “gift.” I’ve known people who are not Mormon, and who are wonderfully spiritual people. They are consistently more spiritual and on fire than some/many Mormons. What about great past leaders like Buddha or the Prophet Mohammed? They changed the world and brought people closer to the divine through their teachings. How about other important, past, pre-Restoration Christian leaders? Is there such a thing as constant temporary access for non-members? It seems counter-intuitive. There are also people who have been given the gift, who live seemingly worthy lives, and yet they lack fire.

There are all kinds of permutations and combinations. I confess that I’ve had some of my important Spirit experiences when, by Church definition above, I should have had no access due to being in an offensive and unworthy state. The bottom line is that this special access gift doesn’t seem to be all that exclusive. A lot of people have access to light and truth. Some aren’t even Christian. Some don’t always seem to be all that straight-arrow and worthy. If God wants to give someone light and truth, He seems to get His point across. I’m calling it like I see it.

I have been meditating on an alternative idea. I’m not declaring this to be some new truth. It’s just a different way to look at things. I am probably not even original in my insights. It’s new to me though, so I thought I would share.

I ponder that all people who seek truth, love and light find it. Some are more inclined to it than others. Some develop access in this life more than others. It appears to me to cross all religious boundaries. Perhaps this “Light of Christ” is like a flash bulb. It’s bright and gives powerful insights and promptings. This is the still small voice that seemingly prompts people of all faiths toward action. There are many accounts of all types of people having experiences with the divine. God appears to stay very busy bringing about the eternal life and exaltation of man[kind] — everyone, not just a few people with the gift. It looks like He works with whoever He can find that is listening.

I ponder then that the “Gift of the Holy Ghost” is like a slow burning coal. It’s not dramatic. It glows dimly, but it slowly burns off the impurities a little bit at a time. It’s what brings about the powerful conversion within us to something more holy. It’s not over in a flash, *POOF*! It’s more like the constant companion, keeping us warm. It works upon our spirits in this life and on into the eternities.

What do you all think?

Comments 22

  1. Good post. I have not been able to distinguish in my own life promptings that come through the “Light of Christ” and promptings that come through the “Holy Ghost” that I might have received without the “gift” and promptings that came because I had the “gift” of the Holy Ghost and that would not have come otherwise.

    I have come to believe that, in many ways, it does not matters. What matters to me is seeking to know God’s will and following it, whether the promptings come through (a) the Light of Christ, (b) the portion of the Holy Ghost available to all, or (c) the portion restricted to those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  2. To me, it is like how God was able to touch the stones and make them lamps to light the barges for the Jaredites. We are like the stones. We either make ourselves receptive to light which then illuminates from us, or we remain closed to spiritual light. But we all start as stones.

  3. Here is how I like to think about it:

    Three people listen to an Orchestra playing. One hears beautiful music, another not only hears beautiful music but can pick out performances of individual instruments. third also hears beautiful music, hear individual instruments but is so in tune can also hear missed entrances, wrong notes and additional subtle changes in tempo.

    That is how I would distinguish between the light of Christ, Holy Ghost and Gift of the Holy Ghost.

  4. Okay, don’t laugh at me because I am not a deep thinker and I am definitely not eloquent, but I was talking about this just last weekend with my husband…

    I picture the Holy Ghost sort of like “The Force” from Star Wars, a real power that is in each of us that connects us to each other(the whole human race) and to God and if we are in tune to it and listen to it, it can guide us. I had an experience with it last week. I emailed one of the ladies I visit teach last week. There was no reason for me to email her. My partner was making the appointments and I knew I would talk to her in a couple of days, but I felt like I needed to email her. Well, it turns out that she was scheduled to have surgery in two days which made me very glad I emailed her and then that same day my partner called her (without talking to me first). This women was so impressed that we had both reached out to her at the same time. She emailed me and said it was like we were on the same wavelength or something and it really meant a lot to her. I know it could just be coincidence, but I like to believe that there is some power out there that connects all of us together.

  5. These are excellent questions.

    Mormons do not have a monopoly on the Holy Ghost. I have witnessed the Spirit at work in the lives many non-members.

    Regarding the gift vs. the influence, I was excommunicated long ago. My return to the church two years ago was prompted by a profound encounter with the Spirit that began four years ago. The Spirit seems to have had a continuous influence on me but at varying intensities since then. Re-baptism had no perceived effect. I have read about others who retained the Spirit after excommunication. Perhaps the gift of the Spirit is not removed by excommunication.

    The Light of Christ is our conscience, a mix of divine inspiration with our hearts and minds. I usually experience this as turmoil, an internal debate over right vs. wrong. But, for me this feeling is quite different from inspiration, prompting and personal revelation that comes from the Spirit.

    Hawkgrrrl; “We are like the stones.” Beautiful description!

  6. A search on “gift of the holy ghost” in the LDS scriptures yields these results:

    A cursory perusal of these results (and a few cross references) will show that two sole biblical references to the “gift of the Holy Ghost” (GotHG) mentioned are found only in Acts (Acts 2:38 and 10:45), on the day of Pentecost, and after preaching the Word and finding those who were not Jews being wrought upon by the GotHG. With these two scriptures alone, the GotHG hardly seems anything different from feeling the Spirit witness truth to your soul, not referencing an ordinance. Additional references to Christ baptizing by fire and the Holy Ghost (John the Baptist in Matt. 3:11; angel to disciples in Acts 1:33) don’t mention the laying on of hands for this gift, only that Jesus would accomplish it. The laying on of hands in the NT is overwhelmingly used for healing the sick; in the OT it is mentioned in connection with the transmittal of authority or bestowal of sins upon a burnt offering. In Acts 8, however, the Apostles Peter and John were sent from the Church headquarters in Jerusalem to Samaria, where those who had been baptized by Philip had hands laid upon them by the Apostles, and who subsequently “received the Holy Ghost”.

    Looking to the Book of Mormon references in scripture we find no direct reference to the GotHG as an ordinance. Nephi claims that the “power of the Holy Ghost…is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him” (1 Ne. 10:17) to witness the truthfulness of things, but this gift isn’t connected with baptism per se. In 2 Ne 31:12, the voice of the Son tells Nephi that “He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me”, but does not mention the manner by which that HG was given. Further references in the same chapter to the “baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost” similarly do not mention an explicit ordinance. Nephi’s warning in 2 Ne. 28 mentions denying the GotHG, but it seems from context that it means denying the promptings of the holy spirit, portrayed as a gift from God. Jacob uses the term in Jacob 6 in exactly the same way.

    Alma speaks to the people of Ammonihah and references having the GotHG along with a bunch of other fruits of the Spirit (“spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation”), suggesting that the witness of the Holy Ghost to truth was a spiritual gift, and possibly not necessarily ordinance-based. Alma actually “claps his hands” upon the missionaries to the Zoramites and they are filled with the Holy Ghost (Alma 31) but this probably does not reference him bestowing the GotHG upon them (these men having undoubtedly been baptized many years previous).

    Jesus touches the disciples in 3 Ne. 18:36, and in 37 the disciples witness that Jesus gave them the power to give the Holy Ghost (cf. Moroni 2:2-3). It is here and in Acts 2 & 8 that Joseph Smith probably understood the GotHG as an ordinance linked to baptism. After Christ’s appearance to the Nephites, all those upon whom the Disciples laid their hands the Holy Ghost “fell”.

    In D&C 20:19 mentions the laying on of hands by Apostles for the “baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost” as a practiced prescribed by scripture upon those baptized into the Church. All subsequent references to the GotHG in revelations given to JS, including those in Moses 5 and 6, mention it in connection with the laying on of hands as an ordinance.

    I’m not sure JS really understood what the GotHG really meant at first. He possibly formulated and developed his understanding over the process of time. I’m not sure we really have a satisfactory definition from scripture about what it is, even now, though. In reading this post, however, my mind freely associated on a quote I read today in “The Mormon experience” by Arrington and Bittin today, a claim made by Joseph Smith.

    Concerning “seer stones” or “peep stones”, as late as 1841 Joseph Smith “readily said every person was entitled to such a stone”. (Arrington and Bitten, ME, 2d ed., p. 12)

    While this may sound far afield from the GotHG, I think Joseph Smith was keenly interested in awakening the divine connection of communication between Deity and every man and woman, and especially to those who had made a covenant relationship with the Lord through baptism. Claiming that all had entitlement to revelation through a seer stone, and that all could be privileged to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost (a concept broached in scripture in those exact terms only in D&C 121:46, btw, and in relation to the proper administration of priesthood authority) through the bestowal of an actual gift upon baptism were efforts to promote this line of thinking. His claim that the Heavens were indeed open, and that revelation had not ceased were the essence of these claims, perhaps. It brought normal men and women out of the notion that God spoke only in the distant past, and gave them faith to importune the Lord for guidance and direction and actually expect real answers to come.

    Finally, two quotes, one from Peter and one from JS about the GotHG in connection with power and organization of God’s kingdom on earth. From Acts 10:38: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” From TPJS, p. 243: “We believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost being enjoyed now, as much as it was in the Apostles’ days; we believe that it [the gift of the Holy Ghost] is necessary to make and to organize the Priesthood, that no man can be called to fill any office in the ministry without it; we also believe in prophecy, in tongues, in visions, and in revelations, in gifts, and in healings; and that these things cannot be enjoyed without the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Perhaps the GotHG is best understood as a gift given to those whose mission it is to preach and testify of the Gospel, and can be distinguished from witnesses of the Holy Ghost to truth or revelations and inspiration given to men and women of all faiths and in all ages. Is the GotHG God’s call to action, wherein the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel lead somewhere productive rather than as simply ends in and of themselves?

    Sorry for the long comment. 🙂 Maybe someone will read it.

  7. Thanks, SteveS. I almost posted earlier on this topic, but I felt like I should try to address it in a slightly different way than I normally do. When I came back to do so, your scriptural review set the foundation perfectly.

    Fwiw, I see the “gift” of the Holy Ghost as an actual gift – something of value given to someone by someone else. I also think the bestowal of the gift is MUCH more powerful than we tend to teach or realize – that it is a literal “embedding” of the spirit of God that isn’t “withdrawn” subsequently by God but rather “covered” by us. I believe it still is there, often working within us without our recognition of it. I believe much of the ability to understand the “mysteries of godliness” that we teach results from such an embedding of the Holy Ghost’s influence in our souls.

    When one of our “foster” sons lived with us, he mentioned being amazed that our eleven-year-old daughter understood the scriptures better than his youth minister did. I realize she had been raised in our home reading and hearing the scriptures on a regular basis, but I also believe a big part of her understanding came from the gift she had been given after baptism – and the fact that her parents and older siblings who were teaching her also had had that gift given to them. I believe that there are many times when we “have a great idea” that the idea really isn’t ours – that it is a direct result of the GofHG, but that it has become so commonplace to us that we don’t recognize it as such. That “embedding” isn’t eradicated upon excommunication, for example; it merely is “covered up” if the excommunicated person is sinning actively. If not, that access still is real and vital and enlightening.

    That’s my quick, summary take on it, anyway. There’s so much more, but that will have to suffice for now.

  8. Oh, I forgot completely to add that I believe ANYONE can access the Holy Ghost regularly (or even continually) if they live an incredibly righteous life; I just believe that there is a sort of melding of the influence within those who have “received the Holy Ghost” that doesn’t happen within those who have not received that gift. That’s why even incredibly righteous people generally are amazed at how much clearer and simpler the scriptures seem to be after their baptism and confirmation – how they can read and understand things that they simply hadn’t been able to understand previously.

    One is a constant connection to an outside force; the other is a constant connection to an inside force. There is a difference, imo, and it is not a slight one.

  9. #3 Jeff Spector–thanks for your insightful comment.

    I would like to comment more on this subject but I am unable to at the present time. I would like to contribute the following to the subject:

    Every man can receive a manifestation of the Holy Ghost, even when he is out of the Church, if he is earnestly seeking for the light and for the truth. The Holy Ghost will come and give the man the testimony he is seeking, and then withdraw; and the man does not have a claim upon another visit or constant visits and manifestations from him. He may have the constant guidance of that other Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Every man may receive such a manifestation from the Holy Ghost when he is seeking for the truth, but not the power to call upon the Holy Ghost whenever he feels he needs the help, as a man does who is a member of the Church.”

    Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1:42
    Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Fielding Smith

  10. Ray,
    Your description closely matches my experience.

    My sinning had stopped and I had begun a quest for temporal truths such as health and wellbeing, nutrition, the causes of war and man’s inhumanity to man, etc. when the Spirit made his presence known. My one beer a day habit was ignored but I was soon prompted to give up coffee in favor of the health benefits of green tea bringing me into literal compliance with D&C 89.

  11. Valoel,

    Nice theory. As a kid in the Church I heard quite a bit about the Light of Christ versus the Holy Ghost. Never made sense to me in terms of a real lived distinction in everyday life, so I never worried about whether someone “had” one or the other as long as they appeared to be living many of Christ’s teachings. I figure that if someone wants to seek out God in their life, God will reciprocate in some way.

    Why do we speak as if the Holy Ghost is a possession, not a person, by the way? We say, receive the Holy Ghost, that person has the Spirit, etc. It becomes difficult to assign a personality to this force when we talk this way.

  12. I always used to think that the light of Christ was pretty much the same thing, but a few months ago, I ran into an interesting distinction. I was at dinner with a colleague. The light at our table was out, and I was joking around and said she should just screw the bulb back in. As soon as I said it, I knew she shouldn’t do it, but it was too late. The lightbulb blew out half the restaurant, gave her quite a shock, and sparks rained down all over me.

    I was telling my assistant, who is by all accounts far more righteous than I am (she’s non-denominational Christian and is always building homes for the poor). I said to her, “You know how sometimes you know what’s going to happen right before it happens? or you get a feeling to take a different route home?” I just assumed she would experience the same thing, but she just said, “No. That’s never happened to me.” I tried several different examples, but it was completely unfamiliar to her.

  13. I have some non-denominational Christian neighbors across the street, really great people. We brought them cookies one night as a family activity, and they invited us in for a chat. They told us about how they were starting the process of registering to adopt a child from Nigeria. Not a specific child, but just that they had been guided to do that and felt strong enough about it to trust it in spite of it not being completely rational.

    As they described their experiences and promptings, moments of serendipity and coincidence, my wife and I both felt like all they needed was a Del Parson painting of Jesus or a photo of the temple on their wall and we could have been in a Mormon home listening to a testimony of the gift of the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. The language was startlingly identical to how Mormons describe it.

  14. I think the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost has two purposes. The first is to purify and sanctify us as if with fire for the remission of our sins (2 Nephi 31:17) The second part is connected to the Holy Ghost and represents a source of wisdom and knowledge as found in D&C 39:6:

    “And this is my gospel—repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.”

    I find it interesting that the examples in the Book of Mormon of the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost demonstrate several different ‘paths.’ One finds a ‘group’ baptism of the people of King Benjamin. We have to assume that these were people who were trying to live according to the law of Moses and experienced baptism of fire as a single event. Enos again represented one who had likely been brought up in a righteous home. We find him wrestling with God for his remission of sins. Alma, on the other hand, was fighting against the church and, perhaps aided by the prayers of his father, experienced spiritual rebirth. The Lamanites of Helaman, chapter 5, again were likely not righteous as they had to be taught what was happening to them.

    So, of these four cases of baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, two came to apparently righteous entities, both a group and an individual. It also was given to a group and an individual who were not considered righteous. In this latter case, both Alma and the 300 Lamanites went on to accomplish great things for the Lord. The Lord saw the hearts of these people just as he knew the heart of Saul and visited him on the road to Damascus. The point being – baptism of fire can come to both those who are righteous and those who, at the time, may not be aligned with God but need a little ‘encouragement.’

  15. Spektator-Nice insights into a subject that ought to be a regular topic in the bloggernacle. When I first came to the bloggernacle I anticipated finding members of the church discussing the things of the Spirit and sharing experiences that would increase faith. After a year,I haven’t found what I’m looking for. This tread is an example, 14 comments in two days, while subjects of far lesser value, when it comes to increasing faith, get 5 to 10 times the attention.

    The warning words of Moroni in the last chapter of the Book of Mormon ring in my ears:

    17 And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will.
    18 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that every good gift cometh of Christ.
    19 And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men.
    20 Wherefore, there must be faith; and if there must be faith there must also be hope; and if there must be hope there must also be charity.
    21 And except ye have charity ye can in nowise be saved in the kingdom of God; neither can ye be saved in the kingdom of God if ye have not faith; neither can ye if ye have no hope.
    22 And if ye have no hope ye must needs be in despair; and despair cometh because of iniquity.
    23 And Christ truly said unto our fathers: If ye have faith ye can do all things which are expedient unto me.
    24 And now I speak unto all the ends of the earth—that if the day cometh that the power and gifts of God shall be done away among you, it shall be because of unbelief.
    25 And wo be unto the children of men if this be the case; for there shall be none that doeth good among you, no not one. For if there be one among you that doeth good, he shall work by the power and gifts of God.

    Moroni 10:17 – 25

  16. Post

    I recall that a vital part of the Church in the early days of Joseph Smith was the outpouring of the Spirit. The expression of gifts of the Spirit were what converted people and convinced them of Joseph’s claims.

    Now people seldom talk about this stuff in public for fear of being labeled crazy. It’s my opinion that far more people than we might assume have spiritual experiences. I think society is opening up to that more lately, maybe.

  17. Valoel: “Now people seldom talk about this stuff in public for fear of being labeled crazy.”

    About half of the Christians I talk to do not really believe in life after death, they know it’s doctrine but they haven’t actually personalized it. Mormons have little conflict with life after death; instead most of them do not really believe their own doctrine regarding personal revelation from the Spirit. Anyone with more access to the Spirit than themselves is suspect.

    Pretty strange given the Joseph Smith story and the fact that the church admonishes members to seek spiritual gifts and personal revelation!

  18. Elder Packer and Pres David O McKay said that the Holy Ghost speaks to us through the Light of Christ. It’s like they both come in on the same channel or frequency.

    Many evangelical-type Christians believe and preach “walking by the Spirit” and personal individualized revelation. I wish more LDS realized that we have that in common with them.

    John 3:8,
    The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

    Isn’t the Hebrew or Greek word for wind and spirit the same or similar?

    I think Heavenly Father pours out the Spirit wherever and whenever it suits his plans. Even the “bad” or disobedient prophet Balaam had the Spirit come upon him, and he received revelation to bless the Isrealites.

    It’s kind of hard to tell who’s side he was really on. He blessed Israel like God told him to, but he was also working for (or trying to work for) Balak, the enemy of Israel. And even after he prophesied in favor of Israel, he told Balak how to get the Israelites to commit sin. Which was probably the final straw that got him killed by the Israelites.

  19. John 3:8 illustrates an interesting point. The Spirit is very respectful of agency, the subtly of “canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth” provides each of us with plausible deniability preserving agency. Did I actually feel something…or not?

    The intensity of the Spirit’s promptings may be increased when we release him from the task of preserving our agency. This can be done by following Jesus’ example; not my will but thy will be done. When we lay down our will, our agency for the Father and tell him that we are willing to be his humble servant, we open the door to much more intense encounters 3 Nephi 11:3:

    And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.

  20. Gosh, I love this subject!!!

    I’m a convert (age 15yrs 10 mo. old). Before I became a member, I had occasional but rare clear encounters with the influence of the Holy Ghost. The earliest one I can remember, at about age 7 or 8 occurred on the taxi ride home coming from a school party for kids and their parents by my Spanish school). We lived in Morocco at the time. I had spent most of the party going upstairs to the tables full of snacks and food, getting some of the food, and going downstairs to the iron fence to feed a Moroccan beggar boy. I don’t know how many times I did it, several for sure. On the ride home I felt an unusual burning in my chest I hadn’t felt before.

    Later on, still as a non-member, I had revelatory knowledge given me, at about age 12 or 13. One day, all of the sudden I just knew this world is a stage. As on a temporary set build for us to play our part. The intelligence or knowledge just flowed into me seemingly from nowhere.

    I also remember that as a Costa Rican Boy Scout (age 11 or so) I took very seriously the “commandment” to do a daily “good turn”. In Spanish we called it a “Good action” or a “Good Deed”. Whenever I would do something to serve others, I would sparkle with joy of the Holy Ghost.

    One day, while riding the bus home from school, the Spirit spoke to my mind, “Your sister has lost your backpack”. She had left earlier because I had a school project to do, so I gave her my pack to take home. After I got home, I found that she had, indeed, lost it, and she was afraid of how I might react.

    I definitely felt the Spirit as we started to take the discussions from the Elders. Trough the Spirit I could literally feel the goodness and purity of these young men, both Panamanians, one of African and the other one from Hispanic ancestry. I felt more goodness from them that I had ever felt from any of the preachers and pastors I had met in our investigating other churches.

    The day we got baptized the room of that small chapel—in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica—seemed to be on fire with the Spirit. We had been investigating on and off for 9 months or so, so we were good friends with the members of that small ward, so we packed between 50 to 70 people in there. I remember feeling that amazing and overwhelming joy when I came out of the water. I listened in amazement as I was given a blessing while receiving the gift of the Holy ghost and that good Elder said things I held privately in my heart.

    After I became a member, I was amazed at how the Scriptures were opened to me. I understood so much better while reading the Bible, when earlier I had such a hard time. I felt as if someone had taken the blinders off my sight.

    Do you know how Sundays feel “special”, different from other days? Or how in the Temple we go from lesser light to a greater light? That’s what it felt like for me to go from nonmember to being a member. While before I had occasional, but very rare encounters with the influence of the Holy Ghost, now I had a quiet, happy spiritual influence around me then that I did not have before. Spiritually, or inwardly, I went from living in a telestial world to living in a terrestrial world. I include this here for the benefit of you who have always have been members and have never felt the difference, and wonder what the difference is between the Light of Christ all people have, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    I don’t have the time the many experiences since, but they have been legion, for which I humbly acknowledge my gratitude. Serving a mission and going to BYU brought the opportunity for many spiritual experiences.

    But there is one more I want to mention, because it surprised me and because it has been talked about in this thread. At one time I was not living as I should and was definitely unworthy. My friend and roommate at the time was also going trough a rough spot, even more than I. So much so that as we talked one day, he openly despaired and talked about his fear of ever being forgiven.

    Well, I was not “Mr. priesthood”, or anything near that at the time, but trough the Scriptures and my own experiences I knew of forgiveness. I started to speak and shared with him my testimony of God’s forgiveness, of his mercy, of repentance and of the power of the Atonement. As I spoke, the Spirit flooded the room powerfully. When I finished speaking, my roommate’s only words were a surprised, “ I felt the Spirit when you said that.”

    It was surprised us both because we both knew I was in no way worthy to receive such a powerful manifestation, and that he was even less worthy of it. But the Lord saw fit to give of his grace (“an unearned gift from God”) and to grant us a spiritual witness we both badly needed. While being worthy makes it possible for us to enjoy of the company of the Holy Ghost, sometimes Heavenly Father, in His wisdom, gives us grace while we don’t deserve it.

    My wife and I are teaching seminary for the first time this year! We are having a blast. But we have noticed that while reading and studding the Scriptures is great, what truly brings the Spirit into the room is when we testify of Christ and of eternal truths.

  21. Perhaps this is why it is called the ‘gift’ of the Holy Ghost. It is nothing that we can earn nor purchase save through a broken heart and a contrite spirit. At the same time we must be careful not to assign the ‘Spirit’ to an emotional event.

    I cannot measure the spiritual experience of another. Especially when those experiences defy description. it is encouraging when someone like Carlos can speak of these things and reflect in some fashion the joy that follows the Spirit

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