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
[www.lds.org: 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?