One of my favorite parts about BYU-Idaho, or rather, one thing I actually liked about BYU-Idaho, was the religion classes. Systematic, academic study of the Standard Works was something I’d never experienced before and I loved it.
One thing that hit me like a ton of bricks in the middle of a religion class at BYU was this: I don’t know who the Holy Ghost is. Even my religion instructor admitted ignorance on the subject, though speculation abounded.
The identity of our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, is a big deal to us, so much so that it is one of the defining characteristics of our faith. The first Article of Faith asserts the separate identities of the members of the Godhead, turning 1700 or so years of theological history on its head. From the Bible Dictionary, under the entry for God:
We learn from the revelations that have been given that there are three separate persons in the Godhead: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. From latter-day revelation we learn that the Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bone, and that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit without flesh and bone (D&C 130: 22-23).
Fair enough. So in the scriptures we learn about Heavenly Father:
- He is our Father in a very literal sense.
- He has a physical body (hands, arms, legs, eyes, etc.).
- We worship Him.
- We pray to Him.
- He is a God.
Similarly, Jesus Christ is very similar to His Father.
- He is our spiritual brother.
- He obtained a physical body during His time in mortality on Earth.
- We worship Him.
- We pray in His name.
- We do ordinances in His name.
- He is a God.
The Holy Ghost is a “personage of spirit.” We can conclude from this and a couple other passages in the scriptures that a personage of spirit looks like a man, but has no physical body.
To illustrate our ignorance, and the relative scarcity of information on the subject, I took the liberty of interviewing myself about the Holy Ghost:
1. Is the Holy Ghost our spirit brother? A: Umm. I would guess so? I think?
2. Is the Holy Ghost a “God”? A: He’s in the Godhead, right? So I would have to go with Yes. I think.
3. Do we worship the Holy Ghost? A: Not really. It’s not the Church of the Holy Ghost. We don’t pray in the name of the Holy Ghost. We definitely use the Holy Ghost. He’s our constant companion. But we don’t worship Him. If I prayed to the Holy Ghost, I would definitely feel like I’m doing it wrong. So the answer is no, probably.
4. Will the Holy Ghost obtain a body? A: That would only be fair, right? I have no idea. Maybe?
5. So that means the Holy Ghost is inferior to God or Jesus? A: That doesn’t sound right. Maybe? It would seem so.
6. Is there only one Holy Ghost? A: Probably?
7. Why don’t we know anything about the Holy Ghost? A: Good question.
See what I’m getting at here?
Now, before this turns into another “Unbridled Speculation” thread, let me say that I’m not necessarily looking for the answers to these questions, per se. What I’m really wondering is, why do we know so little about the Holy Ghost, his identity, his relationship to the other members of the Godhead, etc. compared to Christ and His Father? Or if the information’s out there, why don’t I know it, even in light of me being a 25-year-old member who has served a full-time mission and has studied the scriptures pretty darn well for my whole life? Is his/her/its identity so irrelevant that we simply don’t need to know? So the Holy Ghost’s identity is just majorly de-emphasized in our curriculum? And yet the Holy Ghost’s function is fundamental to our theology, our search for truth, people joining the Church, finding out its truthfulness, etc. Take the following things into account:
1. The Holy Ghost is our constant companion. We don’t know the identity of this being that is supposedly with us always? Not only that, but the Holy Ghost “dwells within us!” How comfortable are you with the idea of a being you don’t know living inside you? Is this figurative or literal?
2. The Holy Ghost is essential for salvation, in a roundabout way. We must have a testimony of Jesus Christ in order to be saved, and the only way to truly have a testimony of Christ is through the Spirit. Yet we don’t know what the Holy Ghost actually is?
So why the mystery?
Why the mystery?
Boy, I’d love to know the answer to that question.
I believe the Holy Ghost dwelling in us is figurative. I just posted on this very topic, and feel that the Holy Ghost is more of a figurehead, and that it is the ministering angels who actually provide us with inspiration. I don’t know if you’ve read The Message by Lance Richardson. He had a near death experience and tells that on several occasions, it was dead family members who whispered inspiration to the living. And no, they didn’t get inside anyone’s body to do this.
One interesting point made by Andrew Ehat is that our scriptures are proven to be fallible on the point of D&C 132:22-23. In his book, “Words of Joseph Smith,” he quotes the Willard Richards version of that speech as written in the Joseph Smith Diary as follows:
“…Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as mans the Son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.—and a person cannot have the personage of the H G in his heart he may receive the gift of the holy Ghost. it may descend upon him but not to tarry with him…”
In a footnote regarding this discrepancy with our current scriptures, Ehat writes:
“Neither the William Clayton Diary, the Joseph Smith Diary here quoted, nor the draft Manuscript History of the Church entry for this date, implies the phrasing of D&C 130:22: “Were it not so [that the Holy Ghost is a spirit], the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” Originally the wording in the Manuscript History of the Church entry for this date was the same as in the original draft, but in the 1850s the Church historians reworded it to read the way it appears in the Doctrine and Covenants. Other than this alteration, the Joseph Smith Diary is the source for D&C 130:22-23.”
So, there’s a bit of false doctrine in our scriptures with regards to the Holy Ghost. I like the original words personally as it makes the most sense to me.
I can only go on my personal experiences with the Holy Ghost.
Since a “witness” or “true conviction” can only come with the presence of the Holy Ghost, and/or a visitation of him, it is a matter of feelings and clear cognition within ourselves, not without. It MUST be a spirit touching our spirit in order for the experience to occur and be valid. There is nothing else like it, nothing else that gives such a confidence or clairity of self and existence. Everytime I have had such an experience, it was always within the laws / ordinances / principles / doctrines that governed it happening….and I knew it. This blessing is so extraordinary and recognizable after frequent experience, giving such peace, joy and ALL the other “fruits” that touch our physical and spiritual being…that one begins to be willing, even self insistent to adhere to any requirements needed to have this feeling / guidence / fruits throughout the day. There is NO other comparative or equivilent. Pow. Bam…. in the best intrinsic ways. Perhaps we don’t know more, as it falls under the catagory of “Not necessary to know about Holy Ghost more” because it’s not necessary to advance our process of gaining “immortality and eternal life”…..with THE
most important things being just to “get Him” and “keep Him” as a constant companion…..2 Nephi, Chpt. 32…whole chptr. pretty clear instructions. Just that alone is sufficient….and He does, when present reveal all mysteries necessary to understand in our very OWN pathway / process / mission / lifetime.
Knowing Him, thus far, has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in ALL my life. I share this testimony to you all, I KNOW He is indespensible to coming unto / becoming like Christ, and knowing God the Father….and making it successfully through mortality.
MH’s post and thread are interesting. I highly recommend it for this topic. Here is a link:
After Death Experience – The Message
“2 Yea, behold, I will atell you in your mind and in your bheart, by the cHoly Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
3 Now, behold, this is the spirit of revelation;” (D&C 8:2-3)
I like verses of scripture that define something – in this case revelation. Since the ‘s’ in spirit is not capitalized I’m assuming the term ‘spirit of revelation’ in not referring to a personage of spirit. What is being taught is the nature of divine revelation.
What it teaches is that God speaks to us things He wants us to know. But that is only half of it. As He gives us this information, the Holy Ghost confirms the truthfulness of the information we are receiving. That, according to these two verses, makes this experience we are having as divine revelation. In other words, revelation is information given to us by divine power. As God, Himself, has set it up – Even if He were to come and tell us something, if the Holy Ghost were not there to confirm it, then whatever it was that God told us would only be information given, but it would not be revelation.
This makes the mission of the Holy Ghost unique and indispensable. For me, it also makes him unique – and irreplaceable. Consider the language in the D&C – “…the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of cSpirit.” He is a personage of spirit – like us. These things we live in called bodies are nothing more then places of residence. If we leave them, they, relatively quickly, fall to pieces. We are spirits just like the Holy Ghost is except we live in bodies and he, without a body, has a mission like we will never experience.
If Heavenly Father comes to you and tells you that Jesus Christ is His Son and if while He is saying this to you the Holy Ghost is confirming the Father’s words as truth then you will have received a very specific kind of truth. If, at any time after that, you deny that specific revelation you step, irretrievably, beyond grace. There is terrible power associated with the ministry of the Holy Ghost. (Should we be capitalizing pronouns that refer to him? I don‘t know.)
In the First Presidency of the Church all three are prophets, seers, and revelators, but only one of them presides. In the First Presidency of Heaven all three are Gods but only one of them presides. We speak with Him through His Son and receive revelation by the power of the Spirit. The three individuals are one. I’m not trying to teach the nature of revelation but the individuality the personage we know as the Holy Ghost.
Sharon. We should all know the Holy Ghost as you do.
There is a term used to describe the Holy Ghost–the office of the Holy Ghost. That is an interesting idea, but the most important thing we need to know about the Holy Ghost is that we need to diligently seek for His companionship. Nothing is more important. We need to fulfill our baptismal covenant and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
I believe we should search deep within our hearts and ask ourselves candidly if we enjoy the gift of the Holy Ghost. We will know if we have this gift by the manifestation of the Holy Ghost. If we suspect we don’t have this gift then we need to repent and plead with Heavenly Father to bestow this gift.
Acquiring this gift has nothing to do with our church calling. Now some may want to argue this. But I ask them to produce a scripture that says otherwise. The Lord is no respecter of persons, He will give us the gift of the Holy Ghost when we have sought for it diligently–as a man who is hungry seeks food.
“I just posted on this very topic, and feel that the Holy Ghost is more of a figurehead, and that it is the ministering angels who actually provide us with inspiration.”
I agree with you that those from the others side help us and inspire us, but I also have had very distinct answers come that I knew without a doubt where directly from the Holy Ghost. Those answers have left me with a “knowledge” that they were true and that I was not being deceived. At times when other answers have come, I might question them. Those seem more likely to me to be from those helping us, or mininstering angels.
Understanding the Holy Ghost might be a mystery, but when answers come from Him I know it is Him and there is no mystery in that.
I have studied this mystery myself in some depth and have come to find that the Holy Ghost is as mysterious and strange as is Catholics definition of the trinity! The part i find unique is this-
The HG is supposed to be just one person and yet can be in everyones heart at the same time. how is that possible? Some say it is just his “influence”, but what does that mean or entail? Does this mean that he doesn’t really go around crazy fast and inhabit millions of peoples hearts but that only his “influence” goes around? What is that supposed to mean, and how does his “influence” travel? I have heard that the HG uses the light of christ and that is how his influence can be everywhere in peoples hearts at the same time. But this makes the light of Christ the HG himself doesn’t it- I mean if he really is in all of our hearts at the same moment? If he is using the light of Christ as his tool of influence then it can be stated firmly that the light of Christ and the HG are synonymous. It would be like saying that the light of christ just whispered in my ear telling me of the danger.
Another thing to think about is that “ministering angels” are not the HG, they do not dwell in us. The gospel is preached by three methods- By Gods voice himself, by ministering angels and by the gift of the Holy Ghost. So, if the ministering angels aren’t the HG and the Hg can be everywhere at once and yet not be Gods voice either, then I would state with some firmness that the Holy Ghost as a presence residing within our bodies is not an individual spirit with personal identity! I tend to think of the gift of the Holy Ghost as not necessarily the actual presence of a spirit body accompanying me but rather my own spirit encoded with the will of God- a type of special spiritual power that gives me direct access to the intelligence of spiritual things. As this applies, I am not sure there is therefore much difference between the light of Christ and the Holy Spirit himself and may indeed be the same very thing.
Another point of interest is that the HG is sometimes referred to both as an “it” and as a “he” or “him” in the scriptures. Also in reference is that sometimes the HG is the same being as Christ himself- his very spirit. In this instance, the Holy Ghost is more of a type of “karma” that is exerted as intelligence rather than a spirit body itself! This most likely to me fits the case it (the holy ghost) being the spirit of Christ and the Father they themselves possessing the same will together. This intelligence therefore is the light of Christ and in another way to say it- the “spirit of God” or even the “Holy Spirit” which is the mind and will of the Christ’s intelligence as intelligence itself that penetrates all space and living things. This is how a person who has the gift of the Holy Ghost can carry conviction into the heart of the believer. Having the gift of the HG means that one has the gift of spiritual power and thus can speak in the tongue of angels. this means that he or she can speak the words of Christ with authority and power into the hearts of those who hear! Their own spirit is exerted as and in the form of the HG into their hearts, they themselves having that gift.
The Holy Ghost’s influence is like the sun. It only has one physical location, yet millions can feel its influence simultaneously. Similarly, the power of the Holy Ghost can be felt by those worthy seekers of truth at any moment.
I would highly recommend the book, “Following the Light of Christ back into His Presence.” This book speaks of the relationship between the Light of Christ and the Holy Ghost. Briefly, the author says that the Holy Ghost is the medium and the Light of Christ, or the Words of Christ, or the Spirit of Christ is the voice. Don’t ask me how that works. There are many scriptures which indicate that this indeed is probably the case. Two that I like are in 2 Nephi 32:
3 Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
5 For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do.
Here’s a thought:
Since the Holy Ghost is our constant companion, perhaps we know him better than any other member of the Godhead. I know for myself, I have spent my whole life trying to identify the different ways the Holy Ghost speaks to me and others. I look forward to teaching my children the difficult task of knowing how they can feel and recognize the Spirit in their own lives.
I myself do not know the answers to the questions above, but I do know what the Holy Ghost can feel like. By virtue of this, I can say that I know the Holy Ghost. Because of this, I know the Saviour, and I know our Heavenly Father.
We don’t need to understand how the sun is able to do all that it does for the planet we dwell on in order to benefit from its power. We don’t have to acquire a PhD about the air we breathe in order to take in life giving “oxygen”. So it is with the light of Christ, the Holy Ghost, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Lord has revealed all that we need to know so we can receive these sacred things and utilize them to our advantage.
Many who are familiar with sacred things will testify that they experienced the things of a sacred nature first, and then later learned the doctrines.
I second Curtis’ comments above – an excellent book. Also, you might enjoy the book The Words of Joseph Smith if you can find a copy. I recently blogged about Lorenzo Snow’s experience with the Holy Ghost.
The OP said, “So why the mystery?”
If you are having trouble with the LDS version of the Holy Spirit maybe you should consider the Holy Spirit from the Christian perspective? What would it hurt to carefully study and consider the other position?
I’d recommend the following book: Mystery of the Holy Spirit by R.C. Sproul.
“If you are having trouble with the LDS version of the Holy Spirit maybe you should consider the Holy Spirit from the Christian perspective?”
With all due respect please don’t differentiate LDS from Christians…..LDS people ARE Christians. That is why the name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. How much more simple and straightforward does it get?
Jen, Fwiw, Joe is our resident conscience – letting us know that we still have the chance to accept the real Jesus and let him snatch our souls from Hell. He takes every chance he can to call us non-Christian, but he does it with love and concern in his heart. Honestly, he used to bother me, but I have come to believe he is sincere – so I overlook his ridiculous assertions and am able to appreciate his heart.
If you let him bother you, he wins; if you turn the other cheek and refuse to play his game, he doesn’t win. It really is that simple.
Joe, I really mean what I told Jen. I’ve reached peace with you, if you care at all.
Thanks for the insight Ray. 🙂
#13. You assume I HAVEN’T studied it carefully from a “Nicean” perspective. If you read my post carefully you’ll realize that a Trinitarian model wouldn’t do it for me at all.
Give a man a potato and you will feed him for a day.
Teach a man how to grow potatoes and you will feed him for a life time.
Teach a man how to distill potatoes and he won’t care either way.
Finally… someone starting to make sense around here.
Yes Jared, but he’ll wake up with a splitting headache! 🙂
Jen and Ray… There is a huge void between Mormonism and Christianity. No matter what title we go by we must admit, there is a distinction between Christianity and Mormonism. Former LDS prophets and apostles tend to agree.
Brigham Young: “Should you ask why we differ from other Christians, as they are called, it is simply because they are not Christians as the New Testament defines Christianity” (Journal of Discourses 10:230).
John Taylor: “We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense …the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century” (Journal of Discourses 6:167). “What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing …Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest of fools; they know neither God nor the things of God” (Journal of Discourses 13:225).
Heber Kimball: “Christians – those poor, miserable priests Brother Brigham was speaking about – some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth …” (Journal of Discourses 5:89).
Bruce McConkie: “What is the church of the devil in our day, and where is the seat of her power? …It is all of the systems, both Christian and non-Christian, that perverted the pure and perfect gospel …It is communism; it is Islam; it is Buddhism; it is modern Christianity in all its parts” (The Millennial Messiah, pp.54-55). “The gods of Christendom, for instance, are gods who were created by men in the creeds of an apostate people. There is little profit or peace in serving them, and certainly there is no salvation available through them” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pg.545).
Joe, I agree that there is a HUGE difference between Mormonism and other Christian denominations. That’s indisputable – but it’s not the same as saying that Mormons aren’t Christian. Those are two completely different discussions, and until non-Mormon Christians come to grips with the difference, there is no hope for productive discussion.
That’s why I’ve reached a peace with your perspective. You simply refuse to see the distinction that is so obvious to Mormons, non-Christians and, frankly, millions of mainstream Christians. Calling us non-Christian is TOTALLY different than saying we are different than other Christian religions (or generic “Christianity”), and I’m not getting sucked into the rabbit hole of arguing the first point. It never will be productive, since it is a circuitous argument that never distinguishes the difference between the two discussions I describe above.
So, I’m not going to engage you on it.
Well said, Ray.
It sounds like we agree and you admit there are huge differences between Mormonism and Christianity. With the quotes I provided it is difficult to understand why the LDS would want to be called Christian. I suspect in the times of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith they would have carefully avoided the term. Now that the LDS desire to become more mainstream they are quick to call themselves Christians.
If you want to call yourself a Christian maybe I’ll start calling myself a Mormon. Might be a good conversation starter. Would you mind?
Go ahead and use the term if you’d like, but I warn you not to use it at parties, as you will become instantly unpopular. Trust me.
Joe, call yourself whatever you want. It’s no skin off my nose. I mean that seriously. The difference is that if you call yourself Mormon, you are lying – and you know it. If I call myself Christian, I am being honest about my personal belief – and you know it.
Btw, I NEVER want to be known as a mainstream Christian, or an evangelical Christian, or anything but a Christian – when we are talking about using that term. I’m fine with “Mormon” as a nickname, but I am a Christian to the core in my own mind, so I couldn’t care less about what you want to call me. I mean that. I am totally at peace with your view, since I care only about my own relationship with Christ – and it’s a very good one, if you care to know.
As I said, this topic bores me. It’s just so sophomoric.
If you and I were standing in front of Bin Ladin and he said he was going to chop off both of our heads if we claimed to Christians, would you save my life and say I’m not a Christian and you are? Do you think Bin Ladin would care about your distinction?
Ah, an appeal to Reductio ad BinLadinum.
Of course, if Bin Laden were to properly follow Islam, he might spare the Christian and kill the “non-Christian.” (“People of the Book” — Jews, Christians, and maybe Zoroastrians — are supposed to be well treated. Others, not so much.) So the real question for Joe should be, “If you and I were standing in front of Bin Laden and he was going to chop off my head because I’m not a Christian, would you save my life and say I am?”
The logical fallacy d’jour…reductio ad Hitlerum is sooo 1940s…
Seeing Bin Ladin advocates the killing of Jews, Christians, and cooperating Muslims, I’d say the he doesn’t “properly” follow Islam.
I said “if.” 😉
I would hope to have the courage to do everything possible to save your life. Of course I would call you a Christian if it saved your head.
To take a line from Ray… I do think this is getting a little sophomoric. 🙂
Wow – Bin Laden buddies in Christ. Kumbaya, y’all!
Since this conversation lost its sail…
I believe the revelation that Adam became the Holy Ghost when he died. I found this revelation deeply profound.
Eloheim, Jehovah and Michael– three exalted beings with their angels– created this earth, and these three perfectly represent the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Michael the Archangel was the chief angel in the creation. Angels have resurrected bodies according to the D&C. How could the chief angel be without a body?
Micheal, became Adam, and then became the Holy Ghost. He will return at Adam-Ondi-Ahman as the “ancient of days” and take up his body again.
If one can believe that Abraham and his faithful sons can become Joint-Heirs with Jesus Christ, and go forth to create future worlds, then one can also believe that Adam was one like Abraham from a previous world who created this world with His Savior.
The following quotes from Joseph Smith conflict with your theory:
“The Holy Ghost is yet a spiritual body and is waiting to take to himself a body, as the Savior did.” [Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith’s Teachings, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q. Cannon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997)]
“The Holy Ghost is now in a state of probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has.” (Joseph Smith, The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 245; Sabbath address, Nauvoo, 27 August 1843. Reported by Franklin D. Richards.)
Since Adam already had a body and died, Joseph Smith wouldn’t say Adam was still waiting for a body. And, since Adam was righteous at death, he would no long be in a state of probation in Joseph Smith’s day.
Please cite your source on Adam becoming the Holy Ghost when he died.
Richard, if you are going to post something like this, please be open about the source for your “revelations”. At the very least, make it clear that the source you site is NOT an LDS source – that, in fact, it is from a non-LDS source that explicitly is opposed to the LDS Church and its leadership. That kind of openness and honesty is important in public, group settings like this.
Just so you understand, I ask the same thing of those who make claims about the teachings and beliefs of the LDS Church from an “orthodox” standpoint: Site the source, and be open about the source. Even when we disagree, we want to be able to trust each other.
Yes, I’d also like to know the nature and origin of the “Second Book of Commandments” and to which person/organization it’s attributed, out of genuine curiosity.
The document linked says the “sections” were written by “The School of the Prophets” and published in Salem, UT (near my home town) by “United Order Publications”. The “preface revelation” was printed in 1965, four years after the first “revelation”, in Wellington, UT. (which models the LDS D&C – the preface being revealed after the initial revelations were compiled)
It appears from the language in the link associated with Richard’s name that these “revelations” were received by a Mormon High Priest who broke from the LDS Church and claimed new revelation. I couldn’t ascertain any other information from the links Richard used for his comment.
Richard, if my guesses are incorrect, please clarify for us.
This is the most in-depth information I could find on it. I’m still wondering if it’s representative, but I think you’re mostly correct, Ray.
(what such an article is doing on a website called economicexpert.com is beyond me, however)
Arthur, I figured it was a polygamist sect, but I wasn’t sure. The info in that link makes it clear that the founder of that sect is a polygamist. (Well, perhaps not crystal clear, but it is a strong implication.)
Thanks for the link – and I think the economicexpert.com association has to rest on the insistence that the United Order as practiced in the 1800’s still is the economic model that true believers will follow now.
Excuse me Ray and Arthur for not replying sooner.
And I apologize for not making it clear that the 2BC is not accepted by the LDS church. I post occasionally on http://www.mormonapologetics.org and do make it clear there that the 2BC is not accepted by the LDS.
The 2BC testifies that the LDS church is the Lord’s church, and forbids setting up another church. However, it also predicts a coming year of cleansing of the LDS church (see Section 24) in which the Lord will remove the Gentile pollutions in the church– including the rejection of the 2BC revelations.
You should know that while the 2BC teaches “plural marriage when necessary”, it does NOT support those who accept the Lorin Wooley or LeBaron or other claims to special authority, and their polygamy groups. Those of us called to the School of the Prophets authorized by the 2BC have nothing to do with those groups.
If you have other questions about the 2BC, you are welcome to join this yahoo group and ask:
Here is my experiences that led to accepting the 2BC:
economicexpert.com is a site that takes all Wikipedia articles and reposts them on their site. There are actually many sites on the Internet that do this. The Onias article you read was originally on wikipedia, and then was taken down (as it is not in harmony with their rules). But economicexpert.com and others still keep the old copy up.
Many of the issues presented here are addressed in various conference talks and books by general authorities. I think all of you just need to do a little more homework. Search http://www.lds.org for answers. The Doctrines of Salvation books by Joseph Fielding Smith are also a wonderful source of infromation. I have found good answers to the questions you are bringing up from these sources.
As to the first question, I found the information on FAIR’s site enlightening. See – http://www.fairlds.org/Misc/What_about_the_Holy_Ghost.html
I have a theory about the holy ghost. First some other questions to add to the equation. In our accounts of the pre mortal life and the council in heaven there is no mention of the Holy Ghost. There’s God, Jesus, even Satan, and all of us. If the Spirit is a member of the Godhead, where was he then? Furthermore, in the temple, there really is no mention of the holy ghost. Why? Or are we just missing something? I think we have been looking at the doctrine of the holy ghost wrong.
So the Godhead is “One” right? In Jesus’ intercessory prayer he states:
“21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:21-23)
Why does Christ not mention the Holy Ghost in there? The three groups are God, Jesus and Us.
My theory is that the intelligences that were before the world was (mentioned in the account in abraham) which includes us, all encompass what we know as the Holy Ghost.
Let me explain further…
What do we know about the spirit world? It’s all around us, full of those that have passed on, maybe those who haven’t (another argument for another time), our loved ones still love us, those who have stewardship over us in this life following a patriarchal order (fathers, grandfathers, etc.) have stewardship over us there as well, and there is a boat load of missionary work going on. Spirits teaching other spirits and those spirits trying to get their decedents to join the church so they can be baptized in the temples. Who better to testify of truth (role of the HG) than someone who deeply loves the person being taught, who had stewardship over them in mortality (and still in immortality)?
My patriarchal blessing says how my ancestors will be sent to watch over, protect, prompt me and keep me and my family safe. Sounds like some of the roles of the spirit?
Read “the spirit world, our next home” on Lds.org, it’s a good reference for a lot of what i’m talking about, also “what’s on the other side” by Brent L. Top.
We feel the spirit strongly in the temple right? That’s because there are so many spirits there doing work and getting work done for them.
Now the question of the Holy Ghost being referred to in the singular. Think of the constitution (an inspired document according to D&C) There are three branches: The Executive, Inforces the lay (Justice- The Father); The Judicial, Interprets the law (Mercy-Jesus Christ); and the Legislative- pass laws (made up of the people- Us) Joseph Smith said “At the first organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior chosen and appointed and the plan of salvation made, and we sanctioned it.” (Teachings of the Prophets: Joseph smith, ch. 17) AND we sanctioned it with a two thirds vote non the less. Interesting. Three branches in heavenly organization, Three branches to the Godhead. Elohim is a title not a name, so is Christ, so is the Holy Ghost.
Also to the point of the spirit being mentioned in the singular.. Back to stewardship. Who had stewardship over us? Parents. What about the church? Bishop, stake pres., apostles, prophets. BUT a dispensation head has stewardship over a dispensation. Brigham Young said that Joseph Smith is responsible to preside over the work done in the spirit world, seeing that everyone in this dispensation, who will, will enter into the celestial kingdom. (not an exact quote but it’s in the discourses as well as an ensign article on lds.org) Adam has ultimate stewardship, being our first father and will be the one to report to Christ before the second coming. It’s appropriate then that he is depicted in the creation with Jesus, but I feel he represents all of us his posterity.
Another interesting references in support of my theory:
3 nephi 19:9 (desired Holy Spirit), 13-15 (spirit fell upon them like fire, angels came down and ministered) 20 (Jesus thanks the Father for giving them the Holy Ghost)
I can go on, Elder Holland has some interesting quotes that support this theory as well. Anyways that was long but hopefully clear enough to be understood.
Adam, I very well enjoyed your thoughts, and was pleased to see that your post was more recent than 2009!:) The things you posted are my exact views. So let me give you some of my insights, just for fun.
Michael is the Ancient of Days. We find the reference to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:9-14. We read in these verses that all judgement will be given to Christ by Adam. Christ is the one who will judge us. But wait a second…doesn’t the scriptures tell us that the Son will give all judgement to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24)? And does not the scriptures also tell us that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgement to the Son.”?
This could be very confusing to someone who has a limited understanding of the role Adam plays in the Godhead. The Hebrew word for Michael means: Like unto God. So let’s take a trip to the Book of Abraham, chapter 3 and verses 24-28. For sake of space, I will only emphasise verses 27-28. “And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN (verse 24 says “Like unto God”, the exact and literal meaning of the name Michael): Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first. And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him.”
I believe the person the LORD chose was Michael. Why else would he be the one Satan wanted to fight (Revelation 12)? This only helps us understand why Satan was so set on trying to tempt Adam, which led to Christ as being the enmity BETWEEN them. Satan was jealous of Michael, not Christ.
Who is the opposite of the Holy Ghost on this earth? Satan. But does Satan personally visit you every time he tempts you? No, he has followers for that. He is essentially the “Archdemon”, the head of all evil spirits. Who did Joseph Smith say is the head of “the spirits of all men”? None other than “our Father Adam, Michael”. Those quotes are found in the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith book.
The Gnostics believed Pistus Sophia (the Holy Ghost) to be a fallen Angel who was redeemed. Just as Satan uses his minions to tempt us, Michael uses his spirits to teach us. Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Michael is the Archangel. All angels report to him. It is by his power. As Joseph Smith said, the only thing the Holy Ghost does is enlighten our understanding. When we get caught up thinking our feelings are reliable, we forget how easily manipulated the human emotions can be. Hope in Christ should be everyone’s only reason for believing. Can a man have faith in something he has not heard? The spirit gives us a reason to hope by increasing our knowledge, not by fondling with our feelings.
If we had no capacity to remember anything whatsoever, how easy would it be to live life? Memory helps us gauge our place in the Universe. We go to our brains to remember physical things. We go to the Temple to remember spiritual things. Genealogy is the way we remember. It helps us gauge our place in the human family. It helps us remember why we are here, where we were before this life, and where we are going. The Holy Ghost brings things back to remembrance through our ancestors, with Adam himself being our last ancestor.
Anyways, just some food for thought!
The Holy Spirit in Hebrew is the “Ruach HaKodesh” and Ruach in Hebrew is actually feminine (female). It has only been changed in translations from Hebrew to other languages. No matter if Heavenly Father has a body or not the Ruach might be Heavenly Mother and could be a reason to why we don’t know much because Heavenly Father wouldn’t want anyone to blaspheme is Wife. Just a thought.
Here’s my logic: If a celestial glorified Almighty God with a bloodless body body had to use a mortal mother to sire the mortal Jesus who could bleed and die then isn’t it logical that He had to use a spirit mother to sire premortal spirits?
But there are so many Joseph Smith quotes referring to the Holy Ghost as “he” and “him” that I hesitate to get behind the heavenly mother idea. The prophet certainly had lots of experience with the Holy Ghost and would certainly have known. But, perhaps it was the kind of truth that would have gotten him killed before his mission was fulfilled.
So, I’m keeping the idea on the shelf with many others.
I would agree Jason. At least, this could be good speculation as I have always felt the Holy Ghost is actually the role of our Heavenly Mother. Margaret Barker I recently viewed the talk she gave at a FAIR conference of couple years ago actually agrees with this conclusion. I am not saying I believe this to be true, however, I believe it could be a possibility.